*blows dust off ancient readme.txt*

Currently working on: The Machine that Breathes https://www.instagram.com/machineofbreath/
A cop investigates a cult connected to a case of missing children.




it lives *_*

Screenshot Survival 20XX

Grats on the KS progress so far. I'm sure you'll get funded.

What Defines Grinding

You know, you're right, it IS weird that a good portion of designers lean on "games should have good graphics" when the original games had garishly colored squares that kind of looked like something if you squinted!

Like, the reason battles should have tactics is that tactics are significantly more fun than "keep using the strongest attack until someone dies."

Except a better analogy would be if in an alternate universe the Mario series became more about power ups and projectiles than being a game about jumping because "who wants to play a game where all you do is jump over and over?" (this is facetious btw). It's not a mystery to me why innovating in the battle simulation side of things was more appealing to do, it's just that RPG as a starting point was pretty shakey compared to other genre developments because the very act of raising the numbers up to abnormal degree can potentially remove the point of designing strategic encounters in the first place.

A game like Wine & Roses almost disregards leveling up completely in favor of just the RPG battles on their own (though there are some optional power gains). A lot of advice when it comes to game design is to make your games central to just one thing and do that one thing well. It's easier to balance and satisfies the strategic itch. Of course you won't scratch the grinding itch people have or have that difficulty slider. The flipside of course is to make a game about leveling up as its own metagame (in which I cited several examples). So again the two pillars sometimes contradict each other, it's just that one of them gained more of a focus as the trends went on.

Obviously I agree with the notion of just "embrace the chaos" if your game has so many moving parts that may or may not invalidate each other then at least try to make those contradictions interesting.

What Defines Grinding

@EtherPenguin: I would say some of DQ1 falls under "random knowledge you gain from trial and error" but a lot of I think comes from navigating the power thresholds to get those spells that allow for flexibility. Also if my foggy memory is correct, I remember getting pretty frustrated in parts in which I probably didn't know certain spells worked that well. Conversely FF1 and Mother 1 have the problem of grinding being actually bad, in that critical strikes and variance in the values means its better to keep speedrunning to the dungeon boss over and over to score lucky hits and get exp that way. Which in a way is its own weird grinding without the "more time you spend the more powerful your characters are" direct benefit.

But yeah I don't really mean "Hey make your game about grinding" as some kind of suggestion, more of a thought experiment to address the what if grinding was taken to the extreme to at think about tailoring grinding to the experience and even make it invisible. Because I do think the RPG genre as it is has its weird contradictions.

If you look at the "mission structure" or "stuff/steps the player has to do" just about every game has some sort of set of repetitive tasks to keep things going. Sure there's new concepts to hopefully learn on the way but I feel like a lot of designers tend to only focus on that stuff as their game's core when in reality it'll probably prolong development if you try to make everything not feel repetitive. It seems the trend buster with games like The Witcher 3 is to make all the side content or "stuff you do" contextually interesting as possible. Even if the gameplay becomes redundant due to some factors you can still enjoy navigating the world.

I've been thinking a lot lately in what content actually is in games, and the optional component of that is that some people will find ways to make their own content out of things if the game lets them or makes it even marginally viable. I also think it depends on personality being a huge factor though.

This is a funny anecdote, but the tldw or spoiler is: Designers made an advanced ecology system for programming simulation fetish reasons that allowed animals to breed and procreate somewhat realistically and players just killed everything in sight. There was no exp gain or real benefit to it, players just did it because it was an early era where people were more naive and interested in the goalless aspects of things. I remember a video critiquing Legend of Zelda in all of its obtuse ways, but I think the reason people cherished that game wasn't its dungeon key design or anything. Just that you could walk around freely and stab things was enough to keep peoples attention those days. Getting addicted to shopping list driven games is sort of a curse that correlates activity with a reward. Once games became better at purposing, and players got better at acknowledging them, I think the rabbit hole becomes evident.

The cop-out answer to the grinding dilemma is to probably rethink how accomplishments are done or how an entire game is structured. The caveat though is that most audiences will be very confused when things aren't setup the way they're used to.


shooting an unarmed man, that's cold

What Defines Grinding

I find it funny that a good portion of RPG designers lean on the "battles should have tactics" side when in the original Dragon Quest grinding was sort of the main mechanic. You're supposed to grind it out before crossing the bridge etc. Making it not grinding in a reverse galaxy brain way. As far as I know classic western RPGs were more on the DND battle simulator side where you had like 8 characters and everything was convoluted to someone who didn't DM back in the 80s. I'm exaggerating but the point is games like FF made the push to to gravitate more to story oriented content where you get just enough encounters to level you up to fight the boss that progresses you to the next thing. Then it was only natural that battles had more of a purpose to involve 4D chess logic. Nuanced turn based tactics and progression can co-exist though, grinding to me is just a difficulty slider where maybe the intended level isn't suffice for casual players.

I guess it'd be more interesting if RPG dungeons just plopped a boss at the very beginning of the dungeon, you explore past it to find the goodies and run into exp mobs and the goal feels more oriented to getting powerful for its own sake. Progression can often feel tacked on and feels more like its for "oh boy what do I get next" which is fine for some people. One non-RPG example: Breath of the Wild, does not care what you have when going into the Ganon fight. It'll even make the fight longer if you decide not to do the 4 divine beasts (which "feels" mandatory for open world junkies). There are ways to offset it with skill or exploits, but it does paint a picture of how interesting the game's win state is compared to a typical OoT-like game.

To shift gears to games ABOUT grinding (I will use grinding in its purely repetitive context), MMO grinding to be exact. Ragnarok Online is an MMORPG with a bunch of interconnected maps that are just grind spots. Some grind spots are good for some classes others not so much, some grind spots might only be good for items, some grind spots might not have as much monsters but might not be as player populated. The acolyte's heal spell can harm any Undead type monster, "heal bombing" is a form of grinding where you travel to a place with high level undead monsters, bomb some zombs, then sit in a place to regen sp only go go back at it again. Hell you don't even have to be an acolyte to kill some undeads, if you have enough money you can even buy Phoenix Down equivs to bypass being a devout christian. Depending on your class there are many high-risk methods in how or where you can grind. There are also annoying enemies or setups that are designed to make grinding in high risk areas harder. It was interesting to me that picking a new class or which classes you partied with would determine where you went get your precious exp. In other words... RO is a game where you abuse degenerate grinding because everyone else is doing it.

World of Warcraft is a big contrast due to the quests being a stronger more guided game loop (it also ya know, changed MMOs forever). You don't have to stay in a spot for long but the actual method for killing largely remains the same. You pick up objectives that tell you to kill things or escort a thing through things that want to kill you, pick up things near killable things or take things from killable things. The speed grinding of this game is being efficient with how you grab quests, knowing which quests are a waste of time, skipping instance dungeons, having foresight on turning in all your quests at once, and enjoying that sweet rest exp after logging on etc. Even in its most optimal way you're at least getting more variety of the locales but you're ultimately going the same route as everyone else. There is something to the mission based structure of the quests that doesn't feel as repetitive though, but that's when it gets blurry on the "what even is grinding" part. Point is, even MMORPGs changed what it means to grind just a little bit when leveling up your stupid alts.

Half-Minute Hero is a really good example of breaking down what a game about grinding aught to be without being tedious. The goal not being: "get to the next cutscene/boss/thing" and more like "rise above a certain power threshold in whatever way possible" I feel like the sped up nature of the game (or FF12's speed mode for a more conventional RPG) really does reveal how merit-less grinding as a mechanic on its own really is though if we don't want to see most of it play out.

It's probably the case that "how do you making leveling up its own nuanced game" starts to distance itself further and further from what people like about oldschool RPGs. If you ask me I "put up with" most caveats of RPGs in favor of hoping it feels like an adventure (however vague that means). It just so happens that a lot of RPG trends incidentally lead to beefcake games. I say this as someone who will probably not beat your game if its longer than 20 hours, but even just knowing that the quest that I'll embark on is going to be vast (or has a optional vastness) has its own weird appeal.

Old RpgMaker Games - SegNin's Rare/Obscure RM Games Request Topic

I think that's the thing, LBR's wondering what the original Holiness sounds like. My guess is that the early RTPs had some added stuff in it by Don (like the doraemon charset...) but then later on there was a more pure RTP release that became the norm. It could be a renamed Holy.wav but hard to say since 2 different projects had that exact naming.

There's also the 1.32 RTP Don made with a bunch of ripped assets added. Some games use that.

Old RpgMaker Games - SegNin's Rare/Obscure RM Games Request Topic

Anyone have Utopian Chaos 1 & 2?

edit: realized my links were broken

Utopian Chaos
Utopian Chaos 2 Demo
Utopian Chaos 2 Demo 2

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