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Default Developing a MM6-style party based RPG …

November 8th, 2013, 23:15
Hi guys and girls of RPGWatch,

I'm a ~30-year-old software developer from Virginia, US. I am developing a RPG. I want it to be old-school (where applicable) with a party system, stat-heaviness and a general abundance of numbers. Like Might&Magic VI.

As lovers of hardcore RPG's, I'd sure love it if you guys could give me some ideas about a couple of issues.

I decided that I want the game nonlinear, open-world but with no monster leveling - like MM6.

- Isometric / 3rd / 1st person? I feel like isometric isn't a good choice for an open world game. 3rd with a party system always feels too cumbersome (Dragon Age).

So I've been thinking about doing it in 1st person, nearly totally MM6-8 style (single view, 4 characters). But then where do you guys think I should put the portraits etc.? GUI elements in first person are always an annoyance. But on the other hand I need a lot of GUI elements like portraits, map, etc. to put on the screen.

In any case. This is the game that I've been working on. If anyone has any idea/feedback on how I should tackle the camera/GUI problem, I'd love to hear it.

Also, hopefully, I'll stay on this forum for the duration in which the game's being developed, and share with you guys how it's coming along.
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November 9th, 2013, 00:29
check the new M&M X, might give you some ideas
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November 9th, 2013, 00:52
I did, actually… I don't like the concept of that game but I might use a few GUI-related ideas. I don't like the idea of a grid-based first person game in 2013.
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November 9th, 2013, 14:52
- Isometric / 3rd / 1st person? I feel like isometric isn't a good choice for an open world game. 3rd with a party system always feels too cumbersome (Dragon Age).
They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and in the end it will depend on how you want your gameplay to flow. Arcanum for an example managed to work quite well as an open world party based CRPG with an isometric viewpoint.

I did, actually… I don't like the concept of that game but I might use a few GUI-related ideas. I don't like the idea of a grid-based first person game in 2013.
A grid-based system has a huge impact on gameplay, in particular if you are going the real-time rout. Compare how combat flows in a game like Eye of the Beholder, Anvil of Dawn or Legend of Grimrock to games with free movement like Might & Magic 6, Morrowind or Lands of Lore 2. Even if the grid-based system might at first glance look archaic, there are still reasons to go for it in this day & age, as there are things that you can do with it, that won't work with free-movement. That being said, if you don't like grid-based movement, you should obviously not force yourself to make a grid-based game.

You do by the way not have to show your map at all time. All you really need to have in the GUI is a simple way of viewing the status of your party-members, everything else can be hidden in sub-menus that you call up with shortcuts (look at Legend of Grimrock for inspiration here). Depending on how you handle spells and such, you might want to have a quick-bar though, so that you don't need to enter sub-menus as soon as you want to cast a specific spell.
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November 10th, 2013, 23:41
Originally Posted by rotalihinna View Post
I did, actually… I don't like the concept of that game but I might use a few GUI-related ideas. I don't like the idea of a grid-based first person game in 2013.
I agree completely.

As for the interface: It shouldn't be that hard. Mini map is typically in the upper right or left corner, icons/portraits either on one of the sides or the bottom. Depends a bit on whether you want to take position (left to right, front to back etc) of party members into consideration. If so, the interface should reflect that in a natural way (portraits should be at the bottom if it's left to right, but on the side if it's front to back). If positioning is irrelevant, as in most such games, it probably doesn't matter too much.

The biggest challenge will probably be somewhat decent scaling - it looks pretty crazy when portraits and so on take up a huge chunk of the screen.
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November 13th, 2013, 18:40
Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and in the end it will depend on how you want your gameplay to flow. Arcanum for an example managed to work quite well as an open world party based CRPG with an isometric viewpoint.
Was Arcanum a non-linear open world game like MM6 or Skyrim, or more in the vein of Fallout and Baldur's Gate?

What I'm calling 'open world' has a 'needless exploration' element to it… I don't want it to be as big and scarcely populated as Skyrim, but I do want some 'wandering in the mountains aimlessly' in my game. And for that I think isometric click-to-move would get boring. Would you agree with that?


A grid-based system has a huge impact on gameplay, in particular if you are going the real-time rout. Compare how combat flows in a game like Eye of the Beholder, Anvil of Dawn or Legend of Grimrock to games with free movement like Might & Magic 6, Morrowind or Lands of Lore 2. Even if the grid-based system might at first glance look archaic, there are still reasons to go for it in this day & age, as there are things that you can do with it, that won't work with free-movement. That being said, if you don't like grid-based movement, you should obviously not force yourself to make a grid-based game.
I can definitely see how well a grid based system would work especially if you want to incorporate some deeper context of strategy in the game, but it's not what I want for this game.

You do by the way not have to show your map at all time. All you really need to have in the GUI is a simple way of viewing the status of your party-members, everything else can be hidden in sub-menus that you call up with shortcuts (look at Legend of Grimrock for inspiration here). Depending on how you handle spells and such, you might want to have a quick-bar though, so that you don't need to enter sub-menus as soon as you want to cast a specific spell.
I will almost certainly have a quick bar that will be different for every player. I still want combat to have a 'click/press button to attack once' feature (like in M&M) as well as a 'set target & forget' feature. In that vein I will probably even introduce keyboard shortcuts based on quick bar feats/spells.

Thanks for all the suggestions!

Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
I agree completely.

As for the interface: It shouldn't be that hard. Mini map is typically in the upper right or left corner, icons/portraits either on one of the sides or the bottom. Depends a bit on whether you want to take position (left to right, front to back etc) of party members into consideration. If so, the interface should reflect that in a natural way (portraits should be at the bottom if it's left to right, but on the side if it's front to back). If positioning is irrelevant, as in most such games, it probably doesn't matter too much.

The biggest challenge will probably be somewhat decent scaling - it looks pretty crazy when portraits and so on take up a huge chunk of the screen.
See, I want the game to be first person but with first person you usually want as few HUD/GUI elements as possible on the screen. Initially I thought the portraits were going to be on the bottom, but then it'd interfere with players looking at the ground (for loot and whatnot).

But the portraits definitely need to be there (at least in combat?) so I think I might put them on the left side of the screen.

I think my problem is that I want too many things from too many games. For example I absolutely love the 'console' in Infinity Engine games where everything that happens during combat is listed and you can scroll up/down to see farther back.

But as a console it needs to be wide and thus I don't know where I would put it in first person. If it were a box I might place it some place on the sides, but it kind of needs to be a rectangle, and I don't know how I'd do that.
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November 15th, 2013, 23:16
Originally Posted by rotalihinna View Post
Was Arcanum a non-linear open world game like MM6 or Skyrim, or more in the vein of Fallout and Baldur's Gate?
Both. It is a bit closer to the original Fallout, but without a time limit. You can wander about, doing side quests and completely ignore the main quest, much like in say Skyrim (though the quests are less liner and offers more choices than Skyrim or MM6).
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