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Default Age of Decadence - What is an RPG?

January 31st, 2008, 19:21
If a player could indicate his intent through every step of the game, those choices could be counted, measured and evaluated using Boolean logic. Like exercise performed every day, the results could then add up to something significant.

For instance, during a negotiation. A paladin might express his desire to deal in good faith while a thief might decide to bluff or posture in order to get the best deal. Or during combat. An assassin might be more prone to dispatch his enemy with precision while a barbarian might be more interested in delivering pain.

If those day-to-day indications were counted as causes, they could add up to produce meaningful effects later in the game. A character might become more prone to find special items or weapons that only someone of his ilk can use or wield. He might spot something that would otherwise remain invisible to him. There could be special quests or alternatives within quests.

Unique characters, like rogues with a special sense of honor, or knights who lust after every woman they encounter, could produce unique options as the effects of causes made throughout the game.

Or causes could start producing effects that are more immediate. A cleric with strongly-developed virtue might cause NPCs to reveal things to him that they would otherwise keep secret. Or his God might become more prone to intervene with assistance or advice.

It's just another level of sophistication, another set of considerations to factor into the equation. It's not how video games work now, but it's how this kind of video game ought to work, because this kind involves role-playing.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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January 31st, 2008, 19:27
That sounds like a *very* promising idea.

Have you thought about how you would work this into the user interface?
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January 31st, 2008, 19:38
Wiz8, MM7. Broadly, "old skool RPG". Story exists mostly as a vehicle for character development, rewards via combat and quest completion, 30-40 levelups typical, class-centric skill set combined with out-of-class limitations, usually turn-based.

I think I can squeeze that into the structure you've proposed, Squeek, with a little twisting and shoving, but I don't really see any crack to jam into with GBG and Asbjoern's plan. We like to say that RPG is "all about the story", but the stories in old skool titles were flimsy at best. We like to say that RPG is "all about choice and interactions", but old skool was primarily about watching your electronic babies grow into successful killing/looting/world-saving optimized machines.

edit- missed a couple posts, hopefully still relevant

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January 31st, 2008, 19:38
I take back everything I ever said about you, Prime Junta! (unless you're not aware of those, in which case I never said any of them).

A little, but nothing's gelled. I'm imagining different interfaces for different situations, but something like a mandala (sorry, the only term I can think of to describe it), an expression in three dimensions representing every facet of human nature in relation with each other. This would be less detailed, naturally.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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January 31st, 2008, 19:44
The way you phrased it this last time finally hit me also Squeek—I don't think I ever really got what you were driving at by "playing a role" before. This makes a lot of sense and also sounds like fun. The only way I can visualize it happening is through traditional dialogue, though—is that what you mean by a mandala, a sort of wheel of choices? Could it happen outside dialogue?

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January 31st, 2008, 19:55
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Could it happen outside dialogue?
Well, that's putting your finger right on it, magerette. Dialogue options are often the only opportunities players have to indicate style now. I'm suggesting something new where the player could indicate style or intent all the time. So that could have an effect on dialogue options among other things.

It's something we all do all the time in real life. When you drive your car you might indicate your intent with your facial expression, your horn or maybe a gesture. But there's no control for it on the dashboard. This would put a control for it on the game's interface.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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January 31st, 2008, 20:12
Hmmm, so sort of a mandala with icons expressing an intention—the obvious I guess would be to use symbols..say in game, you happen on one of the situations you describe—the mandala is a small interface somewhere, the action is paused and you click or hotkey a symbol expressing your intention—say a magnifying glass to examine someone in more depth to get their true purpose, or a bag of gold to open a negotiation, maybe various facial expressions on a uniform face symbol?…each character type could "grow" their own icons adapted to their particular approach and what attitudes and skills they choose to emphasize throughout the game, similar to the icons you get to Turn Undead as a cleric or cast a certain spell in d&d..I like it a lot, Squeek.

I'm probably simplifying it a lot, but it's a very interesting idea.

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January 31st, 2008, 20:32
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
A little, but nothing's gelled. I'm imagining different interfaces for different situations, but something like a mandala (sorry, the only term I can think of to describe it), an expression in three dimensions representing every facet of human nature in relation with each other. This would be less detailed, naturally.
Would it be possible to work the intentions deeper into the game mechanics?

For example, you could have different combat styles matching different intentions — one that maims and hurts, another that produces swift, painless kills, another that is non-lethal and aims to incapacitate rather than harm, and yet another that is purely defensive. These could be mapped to intentions. The same could easily be applied to spells and such. So when you enter combat and pick a style, that intention would be silently chalked up. If you had to progress your styles (at the expense of others), you'd simultaneously be progressing your personality. Was that what you were getting at?

For dialog, though, I can't think of any easy way to get around a UI widget for picking your intention, though — eliminating it would just lead to very long dialog option lists, possibly with [Lie] modifiers and such. OTOH if you had a widget that let you pick your intention, which brought up a shorter list of suitable replies, it might work well enough, even if it added another step to reacting to dialog. (Keyboard shortcuts for the intentions would speed this up too.)

But yeah, I like this idea a lot.
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January 31st, 2008, 21:05
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
If you had to progress your styles (at the expense of others), you'd simultaneously be progressing your personality. Was that what you were getting at?
Yes, that's it. At the same time, it would also progress the game's evaluation of the character being played.

I would love it if this idea were discussed to the point where someone actually decided to do it or something like it. I'm not a software guy, myself, but I think all those suggestions sound good.

It also occurred to me that this feature could be implemented via a Dungeon Master and that a player could be offered a choice of which type of DM they prefer. That way the effects produced by causes would vary, according to the personality of the DM.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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January 31st, 2008, 21:13
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
So again I have to ask, where does spreadsheet RPG fit into your structure, GBG or Asbjoern? It would appear that it simply…doesn't.
Oh, it' not like I don't like the classic spreadheet XP-driven RPG. Its a fun convention, just not for me the ultimate goal.


I think squeek and me have been going on for a while about these ideas that RPG games should try to be more responsive to players style and intentions. It's what I have been trying to express with the Dungeon Master AI in posts before. I think I have a slightly differen notion of this concept than squeek, but it is definitely going in the same direction. There needs to be a meta AI in the game that trys to gauge the players preferences, the role he is trying to play, and also, simply, if he is having fun. And then adapt the game in subtle ways to better suit the player. I don't think that Dialogue is the only, or even the most important way to poll the player. There are many ways: Is he rushing into every combat, or always going for dialogue? How long does he think about making a dialogue choice. Does he like to stop to read books or not? Which weapons does he prefer? How often is he sneaking? Is he winning fights too easily? Does he have to reload often? All that could be noted in a player profile and used to adjust the game.
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January 31st, 2008, 21:31
Wonderful ideas. Absolutely wonderful.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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February 1st, 2008, 20:16
So I wonder what the AoD crew thinks of our discussion? Any brilliant ideas to grasp?

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February 1st, 2008, 20:25
Great discussion, tons of good ideas. Some ideas go beyond our humble abilities, but I sure hope to see games reflecting those ideas one day.
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February 2nd, 2008, 03:40
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
I don't think that Dialogue is the only, or even the most important way to poll the player.
Quick clarification here. No, and that's essentially my point. The player should be able to indicate his intent every step throughout the game, and that intend should be counted as a choice each and every time that intent is indicated.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
Last edited by Squeek; February 2nd, 2008 at 03:46.
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February 2nd, 2008, 20:29
If AoD doesn't provide a Fallout style, switchboard/spreadsheet level-up system, with a sound cue, well, then I'm going to CRY !
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