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So, I had a generic concept for an RPG/Adventure game that I want to make for mobile. The main character is a robot and can send electricity via contact with special pads on his hands and feet. I have a plethora of general gameplay concepts for this:

  • Power up elevators
  • Turn lights and doors on
  • Magnetic attraction (attract objects, cling to magnets, possible walking on walls, charge objects + or - and let them attract or repel)
  • Stun enemies
  • Super high power jump
  • Launch everyday objects (just with electricity)
  • Possible projectiles, beams
  • Contact abilities (holding a metal rod)

    ...But I really DON'T want to make another RPG with a million turn-based battles and combat. I'd much rather focus on the adventure gameplay elements, like Zelda. I'd prefer to make this game about the puzzles, quests, adventure, and story, with some elements of platforming.

    I'd like to get a discussion going about everyone's favorite parts from RPGs and action/adventure games outside of the battles.



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    i love making rpgs on rpgmaker, have you made one before? if you havent be ready to spend a lot of time, for me it took like 2 months to make it good enough to go on the rpg maker website..i made one of rpg maker xp a few years ago. in mine your a girl whos parents sent her to boarding school and she was about to return home for the holidays but she got a letter saying not to return home because its dangerous but she does anyway and a bunch of weird things start happening then she finds out her family has magical powers that are passed along to the daughters and while shes on the island (her home is one the island) she comes home and finds her town has no people in it except for one butler and she talks to him and attacks her and finds her in a dugnon underneath the house and you being to fight monsters and discover things about your family you didnt know. (kind of clock tower 3 inspired) it has about 90 downloads..not much considering i made it in 2010. but am still like it actually i might play it again. if anyone wants to try it i can send u a link, but i think since its only rpg maker xp, which isnt free you might have to own rpg maker xp to play it. also if u do decide to make it turn-based lmk i want to play it i love older style turn based rpgs


    Edited February 3rd by Brandy

    That's awesome that you made an RPG with RPG Maker! Unfortunately, I do not have that software. I am fully aware of the time it takes to make a game. Mine will be made in 3D with Unreal Engine, so animation will definitely be a concern. But cinematics, gameplay Blueprints, and lighting/shading/post processing are so easy, I'll take the good with the bad and end up with something spectacular.

    Posted February 3rd by mariomguy

    The most important things in an RPG for me personally are:

  • A sense of growth. The controlled character(s) should change (visibly, mechanically and/or psychologically) over the course of the game.

  • Multiple solutions and methods. While it makes sense for certain challenges to lend themselves to certain solutions, I like being able to experiment with alternative solutions and try out weird things.

  • An intriguing world. A lot of the value that I place on RPGs has to do with how long I can spend investigating all the little nooks and crannies of the world - and how much that behavior is rewarded.

  • Edited February 3rd by nullfather

    Growth - This is something the game is primed and ready for, but I have a bit of a conundrum with. I love growth in adventure games and I have a lot of intriguing ideas for how he can grow (he's a robot, his creator is making upgrades throughout the game), but a lot of those ideas lead to things you can't do earlier in the game. One idea that might not be so successful is that he can get a boost in jumping height and running speed allowing him to reach places he couldn't get to before. These kind of things that mess with the controls can make the game feel really cheap. A more successful idea is the UV flashlight: shining it will reveal invisible items, decals, and more. As a mid-way upgrade, this would encourage backtracking around previously completed areas to encourage further exploration.

    Growth in terms of the story is something I'm developing. I know the game starts with the robot booting up, but I'm not so sure what message I want to convey. Growth in this manner will be different.

    Multiple Solutions and Methods - We should definitely talk about this some more. I love Zelda's dungeons, but they all mostly have only one linear path through them, and you just have to figure it out. I love Undertale's morality system, but I don't think I'll be doing that kind of game. As for the more immediate controls, I was thinking about ways to experiment with things like fire and water with electricity. I want to have SOME boss battles, but I don't want to focus on combat too much. I love the atmosphere and the adventure more than anything else. So if there are going to be multiple solutions and methods, it will be to the game's puzzles. And that will be intriguing.

    Intriguing world - Yes! I plan on having an open world sort-of environment. I like the idea that the robot can find materials, equipment, and blueprints, and bring them back to his creator to make new upgrades and abilities, and halfway through the game you get a UV light that can reveal hidden objects with ease. How I balance the main game with all these different pieces is going to be a challenge. I just want to make a nice, short adventure game with interesting puzzles, fun characters, and a beautiful environment. As far as the length goes, though, I'm really hoping the main story will fall somewhere between 5-7 hours. I really hope 100% the game doesn't go beyond 15 hours, though. I really want it to be a refined, concise game.

    Posted February 4th by mariomguy

    well, what kind of presentation are you looking at? Like, top-down or 3/4-angled exploration? Side-scrolling? The pictures included (which could be a separate topic) strike me as the kind of thing you might use for event scenes rather than exploration/adventure gameplay, so I'm curious (as it can also influence other preferences and such).


    couple general thoughts to start with while I'm here:

    aside from combat, I care a lot about characters, which I see as kind of a distinction from the action/adventure genre. A game always feels less like an RPG to me if I don't find myself interested in its cast. Not for everybody to be steeped in personal drama and issues that are supposed to force me to feel things, but for them to have personalities and stuff. Identifiable traits, like where I get a sense of who a character is and how they might react to things. It makes me feel more invested in them, their world, their goals, and so on. Things like the Tales series' skits and Dragon Quest series' party chat both add to and benefit from this sort of thing, which enhances my experience with them.

    if you're considering "emotional" plot elements (used sparingly, ffs), take the time to do it right because I find it really annoying when it seems like a game is telling me how to feel without leading me into it properly. For instance, I'm not going to be sad over a character death just because you throw up some weepy music and have my character mourn - I'm more likely to roll my eyes and hurry through any dialogue in an effort to physically get past it (since I'm already emotionally past it). Amateur melodrama is painful, decent drama is okay (personally kinda tired of it; I'd rather just enjoy a game and feel HAPPY about it), but when done right it can absolutely stick with you (after all, I sorta have a mental list of 'saddest games,' which are made memorable because of that connection).

    brief discussion of modern example: Final Fantasy XV (plot spoilers, obviously, so ignore this if you don't want that)


    Posted February 4th by Pirate_Ninja

    I was hoping for a Paper Mario-esque front view, but I've been experimenting with a fully controllable camera. The main concern is, on mobile, using virtual joysticks, if you're running and using the camera at the same time you can't jump or perform any other moves. I'll have to experiment with motion controls for the camera.

    Of course the cast will be interesting! And of course I'm not going to overdo the emotional moments (as you said, sparingly). I personally believe the higher you go, the farther it feels when you fall. Games like Paper Mario and Wind Waker squeeze this for all it's worth. The world is very innocent and idyllic, so when something or someone screws that up it's a huge deal. If the whole game is a pity party you don't really feel anything for the characters. And on the flip side, if you don't have any emotional moments or problems, then it's Barney.

    Posted February 4th by mariomguy

    If the whole game is a pity party you don't really feel anything for the characters.


    Or it becomes so draining that you have to stop playing. This is what happened to one of my friends after playing DayZ for a while. He said it was so stressful that it was actually effecting him IRL.

    Edited February 4th by nullfather

    I...was with you on the emotion until you used those examples, lol.

    and yeah, I personally feel little drive to go into something that I know is going to be a total downer. That's what life outside of games is for. I can appreciate sad moments, but I'd rather overcome them most of the time and feel like I'm a force for good who's helping to make things better and make people happy. And while tragedy done well can be something I find really memorable (let's talk about Tales of Xillia 2, fucking hell), it can definitely leave me feeling bummed out in the moment and even afterward, so it's kind of a risk and not something I want to see all the time.

    Posted February 4th by Pirate_Ninja

    OK, those examples were not the best. But I haven't played enough games in line with my own thinking on what a game should be and should do to really promote it as such. Paper Mario does come closest, though. Monotonous emotional melodrama is not my thing. Atmosphere is one thing, but pissing over your audience is another entirely.

    There should always be that tether, a ray of hope that keeps you engaged. And no matter how many times you subvert their expectations, you cannot EVER betray your audience.

    I would like to talk more about gameplay, though. The story isn't everything :)

    Posted February 4th by mariomguy

    I like secret areas and easter eggs... I like going through holes in fences and finding secret items

    Posted February 7th by MarvaIo
    MarvaIo
     

    I think I came to the realization that I can't make an adventure game like Zelda interesting without some sort of combat. Otherwise, it would be too boring :(

    Posted February 12th by mariomguy

    It can still be very abstract combat, with more focus on problem-solving or exploration, like Limbo or Inside.

    Posted February 12th by nullfather

    here are some videos that would indicate the direction that I personally think you ought to go.






    these are the sort of thigns I would priortize

    Edited February 12th by tnu
    tnu

    I've been spending nearly a decade on a my own action RPG, set to release on PC sometime in the future.

    My experience has gone something like this: We came up with the concept, tried to make a game that was too big for our own good, and had to restart about twice now.

    We are finally on the path to the final product (should have a demo for our hand-selected testers pretty soon), but it took us years to get there because we lacked experience AND we tried to make a game that was too big for a first project. We are still working on this same game, but it's more like we only started REALLY getting it right in the past couple of years. All because we didn't know what we were doing to make something great.

    The game you are trying to make sounds...too complex for mobile. Most people would prefer not to play an adventure game of this caliber on their phones. They want something simple and, dare I say, almost mindless to bide their time while sitting down and waiting for whatever occasion to get into gear.

    Unless your heart is set on mobile, I would reconsider the platform you are aiming to develop this game on. Or simplify the gameplay to a point where players can easily pick it up and drop it on a dime. On the other hand, maybe there is some hardcore mobile demographic out there I am unaware of.

    My advice is try not to make the game too big or ambitious for a first project. In addition, you will also gain some much-needed knowledge about HOW to develop a game and what the process truly involves. It sure took me years to see it... Keep the gameplay simple, and you'll win players' hearts.

    Simple is usually better, after all.

    The philosophy of simplicity being highly appealing to players is no more evident than in the charming game that is known as Undertale. That is one of many games I could point to for my personal influence (not to mention Toby Fox was using Game Maker--the same program we use--to make Undertale).

    Edited February 13th by Laxan
    Laxan
     

    Can I ask: did you know much about coding or the tech side of game-making prior to using Game Maker? I'm always curious how accessible those are for someone without any real know-how.

    Posted February 13th by Jet Presto

    here are some videos that would indicate the direction that I personally think you ought to go.

    I saw the Shandification video - This actually cleared up a lot of confusion I've had about the structure! There should be one large overarching story, but the moment-to-moment life in the world should be filled with smaller things that are more interesting. That's what gives the world life: when you as the player give the world purpose.

    The game you are trying to make sounds...too complex for mobile. Most people would prefer not to play an adventure game of this caliber on their phones. They want something simple and, dare I say, almost mindless to bide their time while sitting down and waiting for whatever occasion to get into gear.

    The biggest reason I wanted to make this game is because I feel mobile is a great platform that has been shortchanged. People look at mobile devices and instantly think of the bottom-of-the-barrel puzzlers first (Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Words with Friends) before realizing that you can actually have a great RPG on this thing. Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story was my saving grace during a disappointing vacation I had that lasted 3 weeks, and that was a DS game. If I can get a decent RPG on mobile that lasts for half as long and is at least as humorous and fun, people will want to play it. And of course I'll release it for PC as well, but PC is already bloated with good RPGs and adventures. I want to target mobile for this reason.

    My advice is try not to make the game too big or ambitious for a first project. In addition, you will also gain some much-needed knowledge about HOW to develop a game and what the process truly involves. It sure took me years to see it... Keep the gameplay simple, and you'll win players' hearts.

    Fully aware. And this is not my first game. I've made two games for a museum using the same engine, several smaller games for college using this engine's even-more-difficult predecessor, hundreds of small levels between ROM hacks, creator games, and more, including one simple Game Maker game.

    Also, I, too, was inspired by Undertale. It reminded me of what I love about video games. I really want to make something like that. I'll try to work with systems that I know are easy to program so I won't need outside help and I'll try to limit the scope, but I still want it to be an RPG adventure.

    Can I ask: did you know much about coding or the tech side of game-making prior to using Game Maker? I'm always curious how accessible those are for someone without any real know-how.

    Ugh. It's been over a decade since I made a really simple game with Game Maker, and I wouldn't recommend it. It's easier than Unreal Engine for the type of games most people want to make, but I understand UE well enough now to be able to make a decent game for it. If you don't have too much time to code and you want something beautiful, you can achieve it in UE easier than any other engine. If you know what you want and you're a brilliant programmer, Unity is what you want.

    Posted February 13th by mariomguy

    A small selection of some of the things I made in creator games and level editors (LBP, Boom Blox, Lunar Magic/SMW Rom Hack):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJhPPSkL1rk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAEYRV1h_Xo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kObsuMh1LP8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugIepAbezYA
    My channel is filled with Unreal Engine stuff after this.

    Posted February 13th by mariomguy

    Can I ask: did you know much about coding or the tech side of game-making prior to using Game Maker? I'm always curious how accessible those are for someone without any real know-how.


    As someone who doesn't have a lot of prior coding knowledge (I learned bits of various languages when I was at college and that was ten years ago) I would say it's pretty easy to pick up.

    There are a lot of good people in the "Game Maker Community" who have produced all sorts of tutorials (particularly on YouTube). If you're thinking about trying it, it's well worth just running through those, even if they seem irrelevant to the type project you want to try, as they can teach you stuff about the engine that will help you.

    It does have a built-in "building blocks" style of making a game too, where you can just drag and drop certain commands like "move left". But I learned quickly it is best just doing 100% code as you have full control over what happens that way (and imo get a better understanding of how your own project works).

    Even if you later decided you wanted to make something beyond the scope of what Game Maker can do, it's definitely a good starting point.

    Posted February 14th by Moonray
    Moonray
     

    *sees SMW with flagrant graphical error and gets Mildly Ticked

    People look at mobile devices and instantly think of the bottom-of-the-barrel puzzlers first (Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Words with Friends) before realizing that you can actually have a great RPG on this thing. Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story was my saving grace during a disappointing vacation I had that lasted 3 weeks, and that was a DS game.
    well, mobile and portable really aren't the same thing. Not that I disagree with your overall point - my brother has actually been playing through the iOS port of Final Fantasy IX lately, for instance, and I've been starting Tales of the Rays (watered-down compared to a console/portable installment, but it seems fairly involved).

    Posted February 14th by Pirate_Ninja

    ***sees SMW with flagrant graphical error and gets Mildly Ticked

    I know what you're talking about: the ground appears to float in mid-air. But there was no way for me to avoid it. I needed the player to be able to jump up from above and slide down a hill. This error does actually appear once in SMW. Kudos to Nintendo for being able to design around it. Shame on them for not being able to make it function properly!

    well, mobile and portable really aren't the same thing. Not that I disagree with your overall point - my brother has actually been playing through the iOS port of Final Fantasy IX lately, for instance, and I've been starting Tales of the Rays (watered-down compared to a console/portable installment, but it seems fairly involved).


    But mobile phones are significantly more powerful than the popular portable handhelds nowadays, despite most AAA development effort being focused on the portables. Newsflash, RPGs were popular on the SNES! Now, if there was a 3D game on mobile, that would be pretty cool.

    Posted February 14th by mariomguy

    I recognize that it's a really old video so it probably doesn't matter at all, but just for the record you can totally fix that by placing dirt tiles in the empty space under the slope (extending a section of flat ground that's layered underneath it works too).

    Newsflash, RPGs were popular on the SNES!
    gosh thanks I had no idea!!!!

    either way, controls are more of a concern than power in that comparison. Touchscreens are wonderful things, but they just don't compare to traditional controls for more demanding applications. I mean, look at Super Mario Run - Nintendo simplified Mario to one-button tap controls and made it work really well, but playing something like Super Mario World on a phone isn't nearly as smooth an experience. You gain portability, but you take a huge hit in the way things handle and feel. BiS on a touchscreen could probably work, but it'd be a worse experience than its original control scheme, and I don't think it's really a fair comparison to the likes of the simple puzzles you mentioned. They're fittingly designed for the platform, which I'm sure is part of the reason they found such success.

    Now, if there was a 3D game on mobile, that would be pretty cool.
    I don't know how 3D you mean (like...not stereoscopic 3DS shit), but both of the games I mentioned are 3D mobile RPGs. FFIX was originally on the PSX as a full-fledged multi-disc adventure, and Rays has simplified, mission-based gameplay based on the same 3D map-roaming and combat as normal series titles.

    Posted February 14th by Pirate_Ninja

    but just for the record you can totally fix that by placing dirt tiles in the empty space under the slope

    I recall trying to fix it and it being a problem for some reason because of something placed in the level, so it remained unfixed.

    either way, controls are more of a concern than power in that comparison.

    Mobile has virtual joysticks, so it's easy to make a 3D game with camera controls, or a thumstick, menu, and a single button. I can do that. Also, I was hoping to get something like Paper Mario so the camera doesn't have to be controlled: all you have to worry about is running, jumping, and attacking.

    I don't know how 3D you mean (like...not stereoscopic 3DS shit), but both of the games I mentioned are 3D mobile RPGs.

    Something that ISN'T a port. Also, I understand there might be a few games, but a few games out doesn't mean it's a problem. It's still a field that I think could use more developing.

    Posted February 15th by mariomguy

    yeah, I get virtual joysticks and the like - Rays uses one for movement, and camera control isn't really needed so you don't have it (aside from the fact that it'll zoom in/out to accommodate you when you switch targets during battle). But it still lacks the satisfying precision and tactile feedback that you get with "real" controls. It's an effective solution to the "how can we make this work" problem, but it doesn't hold up nearly as well under more demanding conditions.


    and while I don't think that's a field that needs to be avoided or anything, I think there are definitely reasons why it's not as popular. The mobile structure of providing quick, small experiences is purposeful, since it lends to "let me dick around on my phone while I have a couple minutes to kill" - and that's generally not a trait of RPGs. And I get the impression that most people aren't looking for a complex experience, but rather some quick entertainment. Exceptions exist, sure, but they're relatively niche compared to the mass-appeal satisfaction of "match these shapes and make them disappear."

    to be clear - I'm not disagreeing with you or trying to discourage you on that. I'd like to see increased popularity in games like that, and for more to exist. I just don't think it's very likely, unfortunately, and understand why they're not taking off in the same way.

    Posted February 15th by Pirate_Ninja

    Well I think what this leads to is a pocket where there is very little actual support because the appeal is not as widespread. But that means it's a much easier market to corner and capture: people who want a game they can enjoy on a longer airplane or car ride that's deeper than what you usually get from mobile affair.

    I knew RPG puzzles would fare much better than any serious platforming because the controls are not going to be the best. The only difference is these puzzles are part of a larger, more epic world rather than just a simple screen. The ability to save is important for sure.

    Posted February 16th by mariomguy
    Reply to: Let's Talk RPGs - I'm Making a Game
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