SINGLE CHARACTER RPGS: HOW CAN THEY WORK?

Posts

post=211559
post=211422
I found Morrowind to be aimless and unsatisfying. As a result, it has soured me on "free-roam RPGs" so that I can no longer really enjoy RPGs that aren't linear.
this so much

overworlds that aren't navigable by menu really are almost too much for me at this point

also bethesda in general has a godawful design philosophy but that's something different altogether

p.s. vagrant story rules, you just have to learn how to play it properly (god forbid games have learning curves)

I'm playing an elder scrolls game now and I can see what you guys mean. However, "free-roaming" RPGs can be done right. Gothic 1 and 2 are definitely worth anyone's time. I also managed to slaughter every living human being for both games in one of my save files. It was quite satisfying.
Puddor
if squallbutts was a misao category i'd win every damn year
5692
It depends on what you mean by Single-Character. If you mean gameplay wise, then I've planned games like that, but I've never tried developing a game where your MC was the only character in the entire game.

As for my other game, I had it that the player could chose what side of the MC to develop through weapons- maximize attacking strength, maximize magic, or equally develop both. Or they could switch between them through equipping different weapons for a little while. The game was intended to be short, with several different levels of a tower you could ascend with puzzles, and it was going to be CTB akin to FFX, allowing the player to strategize on how they were going to combat enemies with their single-player set up.
I liked the idea because it kind of showed a bit of the MC's personality- a loner who trusts no-one but his sister, who he is trying to save. He is also incredibly powerful, but has yet to truly understand his power and develop it.
I think giving the player control is the key with single player RPG's. You have to keep them engaged gameplay wise as well as being a fairly good writer (assuming you're not making a battle-based game)

I would consider working on it again, but I had difficulties with the system (as usual) and it no longer fits into the story properly.
I had an idea for a single hero RPG-project sometime ago, but it never got anywhere.
It was going to be set up so you could use more than one command per turn in battle. You could also get some items that give you even more turns.

A typical situation where I only thought about the gameplay-mechanics and non about the story.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
5958
I think one of the cleanest, most balanced examples of a single-character traditional JRPG is Pokemon. As much as I hate Pokemon. But instead of talking about Pokemon, I want to talk about my online game.

The online RPG I help run does a decent job of managing this. Yes, okay, it's online, and people can theoretically group up with other players. But it's a low-population amateur game (average of 10-15 people on at a time), so they're neither required nor expected to. Not only is it not feasible due to the relative lack of players, but also we made quests, coliseum bosses, and almost all other types of real challenges specifically disallow partying.

We use a class system ripped (mostly) straight from Final Fantasy Tactics. This means the player can multiclass. But because there are 40 different classes, and at least five or six different popular methods of stat distribution, there's guaranteed to be a lot of setups that can't do certain things. A will-based character who casts Zombie on enemies to turn them undead and then uses cure magic to damage them until they die is going to be super-effective against enemies that are naturally undead, but totally ineffective against enemies that are immune to zombie. A holy knight is going to be unable to damage anything that absorbs the holy element. Though characters can set a secondary class to use abilities from, they usually use their main class for attacks and their secondary class for either healing or buffs or debuffs. So their attacks at any given time are going to be limited.

The solution: simply expect them to change classes to meet the situation. You can change classes any time you're not in combat. The holy knight can't kill the holy-aligned boss, but once he sees that the boss absorbs holy, he can run away and change into a swordsman or soldier or monk. Hopefully he learned some decent skills in at least one other job besides holy knight - if not, he'll have to go do that. If he's too slow or too stubborn to run away, then he dies - but this is an online game, death isn't game over. He just loses 10% of a level's worth of XP and reincarnates at the church.

So, we don't handle customization by making every class equally able to handle every challenge. We handle it by expecting players to adapt, and allowing them to easily do so. Letting the player run from any battle is key here, as is letting them change class at any time. You could maybe even let them change class mid-battle.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9159
Giving up tactical depth is sort of a given when you're only dealing with one person. Tactics are per definition often team coordinated things. (though sometimes the team members are parts of your body as you try to coordinate them in... yeah whatever) Without a team there's not much tactics to be had really.


I'll admit I'm fuzzy on the exact delineations of tactics/strategy/whatever-you-want-to-call it. Let's go with 'strategic' for now.

Single character games don't have to give up strategic depth and complexity. Vagrant Story certainly didn't.
I don't consider pokemon to be a single player rpg, or at least not the type we're discussing in this thread. Technically, it's like a 150 +1 character rpg.
I don't think single character RPGs work that well unless they're action RPGs. The first Dragon Quest was unique because of this and you should also notice how they ditched it for a full party since then.
I liked Elder Scrolls a lot.

The only thing that pissed me off was that Oblivion wasn't as "free" as Morrowind... since there were unkillable NPCs.
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15240
post=212070
I liked Elder Scrolls a lot.

The only thing that pissed me off was that Oblivion wasn't as "free" as Morrowind... since there were unkillable NPCs.


This is a silly reason.

Also, I would not consider Oblivion/Morrowind to fall under this topic, although their strengths and weaknesses in an interesting topic. TES games are action RPGs.
post=212070
I liked Elder Scrolls a lot.

The only thing that pissed me off was that Oblivion wasn't as "free" as Morrowind... since there were unkillable NPCs.


I love the unkillable NPCs since you didn't have to babysit them as they played lemmings off of castle walls chasing after enemies

I always thought TES was FPS with swords. FPS = first person slasher in this case.
I always thought TES was a Game with Role Playing. RPG = role playing game in this case.
I always thought Super Mario Bros. was a Game with Platforming. Platforming game in this case.
I always thought Gran Turismo was a Game with Racing. Racing game in this case.
I always thought Halo was a guy with cool. A cool guy who doesn't afraid of anything in this case.
post=212137
I always thought Halo was a guy with cool. A cool guy who doesn't afraid of anything in this case.


We've killed the topic.
Yeah I think I want to throw up.
The very first Dragon Quest game had the hero as the sole playable character.
And it worked incredibly well.
So did GTA 3. That is an RPG you know.
post=211391
post=211388
Single Character RPGs
Vagrant Story
Which was a horribly balanced game where everything was harder than hard. Everything took hundreds of hits to kill, "exploiting" weaknesses didn't seem to do that much, and the bosses were just insane. Not the good fun kind of hard, it was the more annoying broken game kind of hard.

That's too bad because the weapon customization and level exploration is amazing.


Actually it was just a complicated system that if you didn't use it exactly right, the game became almost impossible. When I first played, I was fighting a boss and every weapon I had did 1 damage. Needless to say, I restarted.

One I actually understood the attribute system, the game was not too hard and was quite fun!
For me, the biggest thing that made Vagrant Story go from Impossible to Fun was not trying to make one super weapon and instead specialize weapons. Then you get gems and you only need to worry about having a good Blunt + Piercing + Edged weapon and just gem it up as required.

But damn they need to make it quicker to change weapons. The hotkey to the weapon menu isn't enough for how often I did it when I played though.


*edit*
Vagrant Story is sweet
So did GTA 3. That is an RPG you know.

Even if that's true, it would be an -action- rpg, and we already know those can work. =P

Vagrant Story is sweet

Indeed, for me it is the very epitome of rpg's, right next to ff tactics... *sigh* memories...
post=212102
post=212070
I liked Elder Scrolls a lot.

The only thing that pissed me off was that Oblivion wasn't as "free" as Morrowind... since there were unkillable NPCs.
I love the unkillable NPCs since you didn't have to babysit them as they played lemmings off of castle walls chasing after enemies
Yeah, but where's the fun if your dumb buddies can't die from a fall?

I thought it was awesome that the player could choose to ruin his game by exterminating the entire province of morrowind if he/she chose to.