HOW WILLING ARE YOU TO INVESTIGATE?

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Everyone knows a staple strategy in RPG is to talk to everyone and investigate. But in RPG Maker games, how often do you do this just to turn the switches on to progress with the game, as opposed to really investigate the plot, setting, and what's going on? Do you ever actually give a damn about the world you've decided to play through? Do you like to try to immerse yourself in the setting?

This was actually spurred on because I was watching some Youtube videos of a Deus Ex playthrough. Deus Ex is absolutely one of my favorite games of all time, and if you're unfamiliar with it, it's basically an FPS with RPG elements in the fact that you get skill points to upgrade stuff, and upgrades, etc etc. But the biggest link it has to RPGs and sets it apart from other FPSs is that its story is absolutely fantastic. While the presentation can be a bit dated, the plot alone is above and beyond standard RPGs.

But a big part OF that plot is walking around and investigating. Maybe a little more than half of the game is explosions and shooting shit pew pew, but the other is going around a city or base (New York, Hong Kong, etc) talking to people, getting the scoop, and investigating terminals, reading stuff, etc etc. But the number of people/computers/terminals/whatever you can investigate to just to dig around for extra plot goodness vs. what you have to get through the game is a pretty large gap. You can get through the game by doing very little talking and a lot of shooting. But I ENJOYED talking and investigating, and going by the awards and accolades the game enjoys, so do a lot of others.

I dunno, I used Deus Ex as an example to shake it up a bit. It's really something when something is out of its genre and does it better than genres that make it its main way of doing things. In my own game, I've always wanted to make tons of little conversations and stuff that the player can investigate and find out to get a better grasp of the world, but sometimes I go 'Why bother? Who's gonna read this?' I want to make my world a lot bigger than it is, but not if the player is only going to put themselves through the bare minimum.

So does anyone sometimes feel this way? I dunno, it's really late and I'm going to sleep. But bounce this around or whatever.
I enjoy investigating and exploring RPGs as long as they're interesting. I like talking to NPCs, reading books (sometimes!) and checking cabinets as long as I know there's hidden stuff. It's no use adding stuff if you give no indication at the start of the game that there is stuff to find out there.

A pet peeve of mine is when a game doesn't show you that there's items to find/books to read/hidden extras in the first half hour or so. If you're making a game then let the player know there's stuff there to look for. You don't need to spell it out via NPC or book, just have examples of what to look for at the beginning of the game.

Can you find items in cabinets/barrels/pots/boxes or can you only get them from chests/monster drops? Can you read books on shelves or are they only readable if they're open? Do NPCs say random pieces of dialogue/do they change what they say after events or do they just repeat the same dialogue over and over? Are quests given at guilds/taverns, do they have to be found, do NPCs give them out, do you need anything to get them? Are bookshelves there for decoration, can you read the shelves or is it just titles of books?

All questions that need addressing at the start of a game and kept consistent. And now I'm just ranting. XP
Mostly, it depends on how interested I am in the writing. Naturally if I enjoy the story and the characters I will take the extra effort to learn as much as I can about them. If I'm awarded in some way even better, though the game should not require me to search out every last thing (Deus Ex too handled this very well).

Personally I put a lot of effort into this kind of thing. Some of the people who've played my game have examined every last object, while others have just rushed through to plot points. Even though every single player may not fully examine your world as long as your writing is fairly competent it's almost certain at least someone will take the time to explore it. And even if they don't you'll likely find yourself improving the world's design as you begin filling out the details, which will undoubtedly improve the overall writing quality of the game.
I try to do this in every RPG and RPG Maker game that I play. I'm always interested in learning about the world though, so I'm likely going to stop if no one says anything but "Hello!" and "Nice day!", cause I'll know that no effort was put into the NPC dialogue. Also, like Silviera said the same goes for hidden objects.

I do however get worried that people wont examine NPC's, crates, or somesuch, or go into anything optional, which makes me think that making these things might be a giant time waste...
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15170
It depends on the game. Karsuman had me start playing Phantasy Star IV a few days ago, and whenever I found a new place on the map (there are five optional towns or something like that) I would immediately go in and investigate, find out how they've been affected, and potentially help solve their problems (no more earthquakes, yay!). I even went back to talk to old party members a few times, just to see what they have to say now. Now that I have two planets of towns to explore, I'm a happy man.

When playing Chronology of the Last Era, I was interested in the world because MOG managed to keep things interesting without covering anything up; instead of fifteen enigmas, there were two or three biggies. However, I didn't want to explore in the game because it was presented as a fast-paced high adventure romp though interesting dungeons powered by active cutscenes. Then, after several hours of this, I was thrown into a city and had to do a bunch of random stuff out of a logical order and would up dumping the game because the interesting part was taken out. Breaking into government facilities and ancient ruins while chased by the bad guys is fun; suddenly dealing with weakling enemies and mediocre city is not so fun a side-activity. It's like That One Minigame or whatever - it sucks but you have to do it, or you just stop caring.

Also, what I think Liberty said: reward exploration.
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15170
post=105191
I do however get worried that people wont examine NPC's, crates, or somesuch, or go into anything optional, which makes me think that making these things might be a giant time waste...

Keep your places small. Golden Sun 2 (haven't played the original) has plenty of interesting NPCs to mind-read and barrels to examine, but they're all in small villages and towns. Hero's Realm does fairly well with making you want to get everything, but at the same time it's tedious because everything is SO BIG.


EDIT: That didn't work. I hit "edit" on the previous post and then "quote" on Lennon's post... whoops.
Hero's Realm is SO BIGepic. And the little animations and jingle when you find an item is surprisingly rewarding. At least it was for me. I got the idea from a playthrough of Dragon Quest III on a GB emulator.

I like exploration as long as I'm rewarded - and I'm not just talking getting actual items. I mean I want feedback right away when I try to investigate something, even if it's a "There is nothing in this pot" message. I hate it when you have no idea if something is searchable or not (FF games are notorious for this). I remember spending a lot of time reading books and item descriptions/histories in Baldur's Gate and KOTOR too. It can add a lot of flavor to a game.
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15170
Oh, it's terrific and I love the polish in HR. It's just that, like, when I got to Sidney (Maybe? I forgot how you bastardized the Aussie city's name =D ) it was like OH BRIDGE... and a lower city... and so much more. The very first castle/town was a good size, but anything bigger than that was a little overwhelming for me.

I think that, for Karsu and I's project, we're going to have a "..." bubble pop up when you investigate stuff and there's nothing there. Short, quick and effective. No "..." means that type of item is examinable but doesn't haven't anything in this instance.
post=105183
A pet peeve of mine is when a game doesn't show you that there's items to find/books to read/hidden extras in the first half hour or so. If you're making a game then let the player know there's stuff there to look for. You don't need to spell it out via NPC or book, just have examples of what to look for at the beginning of the game.

Can you find items in cabinets/barrels/pots/boxes or can you only get them from chests/monster drops? Can you read books on shelves or are they only readable if they're open? Do NPCs say random pieces of dialogue/do they change what they say after events or do they just repeat the same dialogue over and over? Are quests given at guilds/taverns, do they have to be found, do NPCs give them out, do you need anything to get them? Are bookshelves there for decoration, can you read the shelves or is it just titles of books?

My solution to this? In my game, I made the barrels/crates/etc that might have something in them a different shade of color than the ones that aren't examinable.

post=105192
When playing Chronology of the Last Era, I was interested in the world because MOG managed to keep things interesting without covering anything up; instead of fifteen enigmas, there were two or three biggies. However, I didn't want to explore in the game because it was presented as a fast-paced high adventure romp though interesting dungeons powered by active cutscenes. Then, after several hours of this, I was thrown into a city and had to do a bunch of random stuff out of a logical order and would up dumping the game because the interesting part was taken out. Breaking into government facilities and ancient ruins while chased by the bad guys is fun; suddenly dealing with weakling enemies and mediocre city is not so fun a side-activity. It's like That One Minigame or whatever - it sucks but you have to do it, or you just stop caring.

Yes, but I stand by the way I did things, and here's why; there are a lot of RPGs that start off with ALL ACTION; Final Fantasy IV, FF7, FFX, and FFXII. I'm unapologetic about that. What I'm trying to improve on, however, is to make that transition from action to less action enjoyable and interesting.

For example, in FF7, even though hopping off a train, blowing up the reactor, and making our escape was action packed, I was just as interested when the game slowed down and I explored the slums.
My solution to this? In my game, I made the barrels/crates/etc that might have something in them a different shade of color than the ones that aren't examinable.

Do you have a message every time I click on one of those special barrels? Like, if its empty do you say "Nothing in here!" and if you've already raided it does it say "Nothing in here!"?

I also hate not knowing if I've already searched through a room or searched every crate.
Well now Feld, I would like to bring up Mass Effect again. Because I did the exact same thing you did in Deus Ex. I never really explored for gameplay reasons, even though getting loot and raising your paragon/renegade was addicting. I explored it because you're sort of just thrown into this huge galaxy that is presented really well. Not only that, but the choices you make for your character influence the events that happen, and your choices actually impact the story later on in the game. I think that's the key to making it fun, making the player feel like they're actually making a difference by investigating and exploring.

But as developers, it's very tough to do this. When teams have a really large world they have to develop, they split up into groups where one focuses on the investigating/exploring and the other focuses on the main story. Unfortunately we can't do that, so it's tough trying to manage this kind of stuff. Making an RPG sucks.
Do you have a message every time I click on one of those special barrels? Like, if its empty do you say "Nothing in here!" and if you've already raided it does it say "Nothing in here!"?

Yes!

post=105234
Well now Feld, I would like to bring up Mass Effect again. Because I did the exact same thing you did in Deus Ex. I never really explored for gameplay reasons, even though getting loot and raising your paragon/renegade was addicting. I explored it because you're sort of just thrown into this huge galaxy that is presented really well. Not only that, but the choices you make for your character influence the events that happen, and your choices actually impact the story later on in the game. I think that's the key to making it fun, making the player feel like they're actually making a difference by investigating and exploring.

But as developers, it's very tough to do this. When teams have a really large world they have to develop, they split up into groups where one focuses on the investigating/exploring and the other focuses on the main story. Unfortunately we can't do that, so it's tough trying to manage this kind of stuff. Making an RPG sucks.

Yes! I was actually going to mention Mass Effect in this example, but I forgot. :( Mass Effect did a great job of making me actually WANT to talk to all those turians, asari, volus, etc etc that I didn't have to. Another great thing you said was how your previous choices impact the story later on, which Deus Ex/Mass Effect do a great job doing. Unfortunately, this isn't as easy to do when making an RPG, but still, interesting, branching storylines or not.
Impact on the story on that scale would be impossible for us, yeah. But I remember Phantasy Star IV just like Craze. Helping the townspeople out by getting rid of a giant worm that had a history of causing earthquakes has the same effect. You feel like what you did made a difference. And maybe they will reward you by opening up their weapon shops now. =)
I included a bunch of side-quests based on investigation that lead to tangible rewards that are useful in the game (and also add interesting story elements). To just shoot through it is basically playing the game on hard-mode.

That said, the reward for finding absolutely everything is to fight the hardest bosses in the game and get an alternate ending. So there's a swing back in that direction as well.
I'm glad people do this since a big reason that my game is going along so slowly is because I'm adding in fairly lengthy exchanges with most NPCs (with alot of them saying somthing different if you try to talk to them again) and making most checkable object text different.. The biggest reason its taking so long though is that I'm just so horrendously busy, ;______;

I'm a check absolutely everything nut case. I think I've talked to every NPc and checked absolutely every checkable thing I saw in Hero's Realm. Give me the sense that there is stuff to find/read and I will go absolutely neurotically nuts

I'm stealing Dragon Quest/Every Kentona Game Ever's idea of hiding 100 whatevers all over the place for neato bonus rewards for even more insane searching fun (though I'm going to try to only put them in things you know you can check, instead of important seeming dirt patches)
post=105312
I'm stealing Dragon Quest/Every Kentona Game Ever's idea of hiding 100 whatevers all over the place for neato bonus rewards for even more insane searching fun (though I'm going to try to only put them in things you know you can check, instead of important seeming dirt patches)

Have you played a DQ game? I'm positively easy going compared to them!
tardis
is it too late for ironhide facepalm
308
post=105326
post=105312
I'm stealing Dragon Quest/Every Kentona Game Ever's idea of hiding 100 whatevers all over the place for neato bonus rewards for even more insane searching fun (though I'm going to try to only put them in things you know you can check, instead of important seeming dirt patches)
Have you played a DQ game? I'm positively easy going compared to them!


i was kinda amazed that every single bookshelf didn't have something awesome in it in hero's quest. i was expecting a shit tonne more hidden crap.
that said, by 'awesome' before, i meant totally pointless and a waste of my time. so good job kentona
tardis
is it too late for ironhide facepalm
308
wait what? did i phrase that badly?
i meant the lack of 3 gil in every single barrel to waste my time was a good thing. :(
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