VILLAGES, TOWNS, AND CITIES.

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I think that, aside from hour long intros, a poorly designed town can make me stop playing an RPG immediately.

Towns can be absolute nightmares when they're not done right (Which is often): labyrinths full of multiple-floor houses with absolutely nothing in them but the occasional 10G and an NPC uttering a random line about her husband's drinking problem, and only a vague indication as to what area you have to step in to trigger the next 'story event.' And often (More of a case with the RPGs that follow Dragon Quest) The only buildings worth going in are the ones marked with a sword/armour/staff/inn symbol.

Radiata Stories's main town has to be my absolute favourite location in a JRPG, because it living, breathing town. The citizens are all characters in their own right instead of being faceless NPCs (And you could recruit most of them, but that's another story). The town had a variety of areas, from shopping/guild hub to the run down, shady areas that come alive during the night. I also like Baldur's Gate/KOTOR/TES towns, as they often contain as much 'gameplay' as the dungeons do (And by this, I don't mean silly minigames). I haven't gotten far into Persona 3, but the school sim is pretty interesting, particularly the way it ties into the stat/battle system and the dungeon segments.

I use RPG Maker VX and I'm not that experienced with it, but I'm pretty sure that a small scale version of the Radiata Stories town can be made with a bit of work.

What do you think? In traditional JRPGs, are you happy with the towns being treated as resting stops/used just to trigger the next part of the narrative? What are your favourite game towns? What are you doing in your game? and the rest...


LouisCyphre
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
4523
Persona 3 is a spectacular game. What I'm trying to emulate I like is the way the town changes as the year progresses. Stores open, stores close, people move around, people change the clothes, relations, and ideas, etc. It really brought the town to life.
I actually have one city in my game, so I do go out of my way to make stuff change as time goes on.

If it didn't, it would be pretty boring, so yeah.

(also you need to get on IRC/AIM more)
I'm trying to make my towns as far from static as I can, in a Fallout 3 sort of way. As you complete certain contracts and make certain choices, the towns and the people in them all change accordingly. I want the player to not only feel attached to the residents of a town, but also to be as much a part of it as them. I dunno how I'm going to do this, but I plan on having a small settlement turn into a town and develop in different ways depending on what the player says and does. I'll probably replace Saint Nemo Village in the starting archipelago with this.
And not in a cheap way like Fable II where it either changes or it doesn't, and it just transforms the area into something static and boring in the few years you're away.
harmonic
It's like toothpicks against a tank
4142
I like the one, big, dynamic town idea.

Diablo 1's tristram is a good example.
LouisCyphre
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
4523
author=harmonic link=topic=2462.msg44549#msg44549 date=1226871840
I like the one, big, dynamic town idea.

Diablo 1's tristram is a good example.
THIS MAKES NO SENSE.
harmonic
It's like toothpicks against a tank
4142
Whatever. It's not big. But it's still a good example.
I find cities (not viages that much, mainly cities) the most interesting yet less explored part of RPGs. Usually in RPGs city are just a bunch of convenient places grouped and disguised as a city, like shops, save point, recovery point, journey guide etc.

The best thing that could be done to improve on that would be incorporating more, making actual important events including battles and relevant puzzles in the city.

Also building cities as actual cities is important, by that what I mean is: Think of why the village is located there, what are the villagers sources of food and water, what do the village produce for trading, where do they get prime materials for producing anything besides food, what are the common recreational activities in that place and a lot of other important things.

Other than that, yeah, making things change as time goes by and deep NPC interaction is awesome.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
Absolutely NONE of my games have standard world maps or any standard vanilla towns. Actually, there is not a single town or village featured in any of my games:

1. Iron Gaia/Iron Gaia: Virus: Takes place on a giant hostile space station/dungeon. No friendly areas. All buying of items is done from autoshop machines.
2. Backstage series is survival horror so obviously not.
3. The Tower, the part I made of it, took place in a huge necromancer's tower. It offered services and citizens but they were obviously nonstandard because it was a giant tower.
4. Between Two Worlds has the closest to a standard town, since pretty much the entirety of it takes place in a huge floating city. The entire game was to take place in the city (dungeons, shops, story, everything) with the story opening up more and more sections of it to explore. It was much much bigger than your standard town, and it contained the entire game.
5. Mage Duel. Gladiatorial arena. No towns. No quests. No dungeons. No random battles. But Mage Duel is a very strange game.

Also I agree with basically everything Clest said.
author=Clest link=topic=2462.msg44555#msg44555 date=1226872116
The best thing that could be done to improve on that would be incorporating more, making actual important events including battles and relevant puzzles in the city.

Except sewer dungeons. I agree that the average JRPG town needs a shakedown but they do not need sewer dungeons. Nothing needs sewer dungeons. Ever.



My plans involve making towns more important places than just places to buy and heal. Plot happens in towns, there are dungeons in towns, and towns change based on where the story is (although it won't be anything grand, it'd be more like the Imperial occupation of South Figaro in FF6). It won't be anything too groundbreaking though (there'll still be towns where nothing significant happens, making them the standard JRPG towns), making great towns is much easier when there's a hub city like in Radiata Stories which is a favorite of mine.

Another favorite town would be Tazmily from Mother 3. Its constantly changing as the game progresses and you can see how the inhabitants are changing as well.
What is the problem with sewer dungeons?:P They are just as good as any other dungeon, meaning: as good as the creator makes it. Works specially well for sci-fi games (Chrono Trigger and Xenogears come to mind).

And FF6 empire occupation was one of the most interesting town events ever, along with invading Narshee :P I also liked certain town events in Phantasy Star IV (because I must talk about the game from time to time :P) like the town of Zema with ppl turned to stone and the Birth Valley being right into the city. I also like Sumaru City in Persona 2 and that town in Alundra.
author=Clest link=topic=2462.msg44964#msg44964 date=1226953540
What is the problem with sewer dungeons?:P They are just as good as any other dungeon, meaning: as good as the creator makes it. Works specially well for sci-fi games (Chrono Trigger and Xenogears come to mind).

Sewer dungeons are like parking lots: They bring out the worst in whoever is involved in it. They're drab, uninteresting locations that involve fighting rats and bats and other boring critters with bad/no music that take too long to finish and are almost always just filler dungeons. There's certainly potential for them to be good but every sewer dungeon I've seen (CT included, but I never got far in Xenogears) is a boring place that I can't get out of soon enough.
Xenogears sewers involves "cleaning" the sewers from monsters who eventually grow in there, however ppl who do that service start to die so you gotta go down there investigate who has been killing the best "cleaners".

And the idea of just lame monsters in sewers suck, I´d considere more on mutated creatures, automated "monster cleaning" droids and human enemies lurking in there (most of my game´s enemies are humanoid/inteligent beings ).
I associate sewer dungeons with tedious puzzles that require you to mess with the water flow to clear blocked paths, as well as multiple 'water' and 'above water' levels that add to the confusion. That may be only in a few games, though.
Well those are the same things you find in water caverns and water element temples/shrines and submarine bases.

Now the main problem I see in sewer dungeons is when said sewer is there just to be a dungeon since you don´t see it as having any function to said town. And it happens :P
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20844
author=Scribble link=topic=2462.msg44428#msg44428 date=1226859965
Towns can be absolute nightmares when they're not done right (Which is often): labyrinths full of multiple-floor houses with absolutely nothing in them but the occasional 10G and an NPC uttering a random line about her husband's drinking problem, and only a vague indication as to what area you have to step in to trigger the next 'story event.' And often (More of a case with the RPGs that follow Dragon Quest) The only buildings worth going in are the ones marked with a sword/armour/staff/inn symbol.
This describes every town I make ever.

Whatever. It's functional.
author=GreatRedSpirit link=topic=2462.msg44972#msg44972 date=1226956144
Sewer dungeons are like parking lots: They bring out the worst in whoever is involved in it. They're drab, uninteresting locations that involve fighting rats and bats and other boring critters with bad/no music that take too long to finish and are almost always just filler dungeons. There's certainly potential for them to be good but every sewer dungeon I've seen (CT included, but I never got far in Xenogears) is a boring place that I can't get out of soon enough.

There's a group of turtles here to see you...they seem to think you're insulting their home.

Said turtles happen to be of the heavily armed, mutated, teenage variety. I think they may be ninja, but I can't be sure.

Aside from that? I actually agree with you on most points, though I still believe sewer dungeons have their uses-even if it is just as a 'filler dungeon' going from point A to point B.
As far as I'm concerned, RPGs are all about difficult dungeons you have to find your way through. If you don't like dungeons and puzzles then you probably shouldn't be playing RPGs o.o;

Anyway, I try to make my towns/cities interesting by putting actual gameplay in them. That and by having some sidequests take place in them. It also helps to have NPCs who have multi-level conversations with each other, not just with the player, and for conversations with the player to involve choices that actually result in something. Still, towns/cities are (for most people) just another dungeon to "get through". It just happens enemies don't tend to jump out and hit you and you can buy things.
Sewer dungeons are drab, uninteresting locations that involve fighting rats and bats and other boring critters with bad/no music that take too long to finish and are almost always just filler dungeons.
Erynden
Gamers don't die, they respawn.
1702
Nice, MikeMC.

Well, I am a generic kind of guy, so expect generic towns. Enough said.
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