The walls between worlds begin to weaken, and one man seeks to bring them crashing down for good...


Side Quests: Why?

Side quests are a pretty common things in video games. Some games, like Fallout 3, are pretty much ONLY side quests, with the main story being extremely short (~10 hours for an RPG? pff!). But... why do we feel the need to jam so many optional quests into the game?

I mean, I understand not wanting to FORCE the player to go and collect ten apples or fifteen wolf pelts or whatever other shitty side quests you can think of, but there are plenty of very interesting objectives and missions that can be totally overlooked in some games. Sometimes, these quests fill in gaps left by the main story, or offer additional details on the matter. Why are these interesting, story-related quests left out of the main arc? It seems like we, as RPGMakers, are conditioned to add side quests just... because... OTHER GAMES HAVE THEM!

Unless your game is very reward oriented and side quests are the main route to gaining more power to make the main game easier (which is sometimes the case) or the side quests are extremely time consuming and you expect players to replay your game over and over again (which is the case for Fallout 3, which I mentioned earlier) there is no good reason to not have your interesting side quests tie into the main plotline some how. If the quests are fun, then the player will be happy for the additional gameplay (who doesn't with their favourite RPGs were a little longer?). If they aren't fun, they have no business being your game, anyways.

There is another topic going on about people investigating; one thing people are forced to investigate is possible openings for new side quests. But if you just make those optional missions parts of the story, then you can rest assured the player will be seeing your story, fully fleshed out, displayed to them as opposed to hoping they are being really thorough and finding every snippet themselves.

Now I'm not saying do away with side quests; far from it. Just have those interesting side quests tie into your main storyline wherever they are applicable. Nobody really wants to be moving from Point A to Point B and get sidetracked twenty times to do stupid things, but most players like to be derailed to do something interesting on an otherwise boring leg of the story/main quest. There is a balance in here.

Western RPGs are particularly guilty of inundating the player with a huge number of optional missions which aren't really optional. Missions that you theoretically want to do, but don't advance the story. The problem is (AND THIS IS MY MAJOR POINT POORLY CONCEALED IN THE SECOND TO LAST PARAGRAPH) that you have to do them to succeed. If you don't do the side quests, you're underlevelled/out of money/embarrassingly powerless in the face of evil. I suppose you have some lee way in terms of which ones you do, but when there is an obvious correlation between Doing Quests and Being Stronger, most people are going to choose "All of the Above" when it comes to side quest selection.

It seems like an excuse, to me, to add content without bothering to actually tie it into your game properly. Anything can be fitted into a 40+ hour epic if the story is interesting enough in the first place, since it should take the player to all corners of the game world (which isn't necessarily a world, as it could be a city or a cave or the galaxy, depending on the scope of your game). What are your takes on it? Why do you guys add side quests instead of tying that content into the main story?

The RPGMaker Hump

Many of you, surely, have felt the surge of energy you get when starting a new project. You get to do all that stuff you enjoy doing and seeing a new idea take shape, and the intro comes together and blah blah blah, but then a few months/years into the project suddenly... the energy isn't there anymore. You've done all the parts you wanted to do.
There is no shortage of ideas, but you're not sure how to present them.
There are gaps in the story/gameplay that you kept meaning to fill in, and can't put off filling in any longer (but still don't want to). You can get from Point A to Point F and all points in between, but Point H remains totally disconnected.
You've redone the same areas so many times that when you make a new area, it looks terrible by comparison.

I'm sure this has afflicted a huge number of game makers, but since I make RPGs, this is aimed at that group. What do you do to get past that terrible hump? Please don't say "you must plan before making rpgs nyarrr" or anything like that, since I'm not talking about "getting started" or "finishing touches", I'm talking about: Game is 29% done, but you're not sure what you should do next. This could mean the systems are mostly there, or the maps are mostly done, or any combination of any number of parts and variables. The point is, it's not complete (or even demo ready, you feel) but you really don't want to scrap it, since you'll just get to this point again. What do you guys do? (I know some of you just give up, but for anyone who has found a solution that works for them, I'd love to hear it!)

Pages... view at the top of the page!

I don't know about everyone else, but when I am searching for a specific thing in a long thread, I don't like having to scroll down to the bottom every time I want to change pages. Having a Page list at the top of the page would be (I assume) fairly easy to implement and would make forum navigation much easier, especially when you are trying to search through the screenshots thread (although currently we don't have one for some reason) or a good thread you like for a specific bit of advice or something.

I checked the last couple of pages and didn't see a similar topic, but if I missed it I apologize. I have been thinking this since the first time I used RMN, though!

Oh hi

Hello, I'm Kaempfer and many of you probably already know me despite my MYSTERIOUS PAST. I've had an account here for awhile now, although this is my first post.

I'm excited about this RS!D so I figured I would start posting.
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