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.
The Unofficial Squaresoft MUD is a free online game based on the worlds and combat systems of your favorite Squaresoft games. UOSSMUD includes job trees from FFT and FF5, advanced classes from multiple other Square games, and worlds based extremely accurately upon Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and Final Fantasies 5, 6, and 7. Travel through the original worlds and experience events that mirror those of the original games in an online, multiplayer format.

If a large, highly customized MUD, now over 10 years old and still being expanded, with a job system and worlds based on some of the most popular console RPGs seems interesting to you, feel free to log on and check it out. Visit uossmud.sandwich.net for information about logging on.
Born Under the Rain
Why does the jackal run from the rain?


[Poll] What is your BMI?

The other poll about people's weight was poorly worded and didn't account for things like height or age. So I made a "better" one.

Choices with consequences: Why?

I was watching a game design video about choice and consequence in video games. The idea applies most obviously to western RPGs, but also potentially to any game that focuses on delivering a story.

The video, in which MrBtongue mostly rants for ten minutes about how good Fallout 1 is.

The idea in this video is that simulation and replayability are the two main reasons to focus on choice and consequence in a game, or at least the main ones. These certainly seem to be things that both reviewers and developers love to bring up as selling points.

It's easy to understand why he likes the idea of simulating a world. Immersion is a powerful tool, and drawing the player into a consistent and realistic world can create a powerful level of connection to the game. It's easy to become lost in a game when you really believe in it, and hard to do so when something uncanny breaks your immersion. Additionally, the idea that art imitates life has been around for millenia - statues and paintings that perfectly depict things from the real world with exquisite attention to detail and realism are considered to be excellent works of art. And these arguments for realism don't just apply to graphics; they apply equally to the story, and especially to the way the player interacts with the world to shape that story. If cause and effect don't make sense, immersion is broken.

To me the desire for replayability seems to come mostly from players. Designers, though they might claim that a game has it, don't really have any incentive to provide replayability unless their game has a subscription or microtransactions. On the other hand, if a game is fun to play through ten times, it can allow them to make a 60 hour game out of 6 hours of gameplay, which might justify a higher price on the game. If my choices in the game result in a branching path, personally, it often just makes me angry that I have to replay the first part of the game that's the same. Replaying the story to get different results also cheapens the original experience to me - the story feels less authentic. If we're talking about choice and consequence, then I have to say that once I've personally rewound it and negated the consequences of my own choices, they pretty much lose all their meaning to me.

I disagree with the premise that simulation and replayability are the two main reasons to add choice and consequence to your games, though. I think both of them are helpful things to have in your game, maybe, depending on the game, but they're not why I care about choice and consequence as a player, or why I try to put it choice and consequence my own games.

A third possible goal of choice and consequence in games, and to me the most important one, is player control. Giving the player the ability to customize their experience is an extremely powerful tool that gives them good memories of the game. Strategically focused RPGs might give players an incredible amount of control to customize the combat portion of the game, while open-world games instead focus on giving the player directional control. Both of these are important - but when your game focuses on a character-driven story, giving the player story control is often important also. It can create a strange disconnect when one aspect of the game is extremely directed and linear while another aspect is full of choices that change the way the game plays out in noticable ways.

You don't have to play Mass Effect or Dragon Age: Origins twice to experience the feeling of control over the world that the game gives you, nor to enjoy it. And while some of the results of your choices help lend credibility to the world, that's not why the choices are there. Replayability and simulation aren't the goal. The goal is to give the player a feeling of power, of control. That the player is the one holding the controller. A feeling that he or she is co-authoring the story. When done right, the events that happen as consequences of the player's choices, good or bad, have that much more impact as a result of the fact that you know they're your own doing.

Do you agree with me? Which of the above reasons is your driving goal for adding choice and consequences to your games - or are you driven by something else entirely? Do you see one or all of the above goals as actually negative?

The 9 options to make beep boops in this web app that you won't believe are your own! #7 will leave you speechless!


Found this today. Very simple web app to make 8-bit sound effects. Great for things like menu and laser sounds in any game, or, obviously, for any sounds in 8-bit games.

You have full rights to all sounds made with bfxr, and are free to use them for any purposes, commercial or otherwise. Pretty cool. There's also a Windows version, if you're worried about the website disappearing one day.

LockeZ designs boss battles for you

In an attempt to get more exposure I'm duplicating my antique thread from the other board. If you want to see the old boss battles I designed for people, you can read through this thread and decide if you hate my style or not, maybe.

I'm not going to claim to be any kind of expert - all I can claim is passion. And an abundance of free time to spend thinking about this stuff and wasting my days on game design forums, I guess. And two articles [1] [2] which you can read if you're intested.

I'm talking about gameplay here, just to make that clear. How the boss plays, not how it looks or what its story is. I know there are a lot of people who mostly are trying to tell a story, or create an artistic experience, or build a world to explore, or something else and most of the combat gameplay they include is just whatever occurs to them; they care about the gameplay, but it's not where they want to spend their time. I feel you. I'm here for you! Others of you are very interested in gameplay design, but might have a case of designer's block and could use a jumpstart for certain battle.

In the previous thread, I mostly just did one or two bosses per person. But if you want ten or twenty, SWEET. That should probably happen over PMs though instead of in a forum thread.

Bare minimum of what you need to tell me if you want some boss design up in this bitch:
- Who or what the boss is, if you have decided that much. For example, "a robot that spews slime" or "a wizard who's in the process of summoning a demon."
- Short summary of the player's party (like two sentences per party member probably) (if you have 150 party members or fully customizable characters, then tell me what are the main differences the player will look at to decide which characters/skills to take)
- Whether your game is ATB or turn-based; and if it's turn-based, whether you input commands for the whole party at once or not
- How comfortable you are using complex events or scripts to get weird results (like an enemy that self-destructs when hit with fire magic).
- Any key abilities the player has that you think are important in a boss fight or that make your game's battles unique
- Any ideas you think you would like to use, even if they suck (I will make them not suck)
- Whatever you think is relevant

I will then probably ask a few more questions! But that'll at least give me an idea of what questions to ask.

What you will get when I'm done is a fairly detailed description of boss mechanics. I will tend to list damage and HP values as something like "enough HP to take five hits from the player party" or "enough damage to take away about one third of a character's health", but if you need more detail, I can give as much detail as you need. If you need help figuring out exactly what stats to give the boss to get the numbers you want, or figuring out how to actually do one of the things I said, I can do that too. This would be a pretty pointless thread if I didn't help people actually get the bosses into their games.

I would prefer to discuss everything right in this topic, just so the topic keeps getting bumped, but if you'd rather do it privately for any reason, that's perfectly fine. Send me a message.

[RMXP] Need animated battle sprites for characters in game about punching lava sharks

I am looking for help to make battler graphics for my game, Iniquity and Vindication, which is stalling due to my deep-rooted disdain for spriting. The game has been in production for a while and has a playable download and a couple reviews, so you can decide if it's a game you'd be interested in helping with. Character sprites are admitedly not really immediately needed to move forward with production, but they definitely affect my motivation, and I'd definitely like it if someone helped me with them!

The game uses a Chrono Trigger-like visual style for its battle system, with characters and enemies battling on the field map. This means that enemies are small, typically the same size as a normal field sprite. However, it also means they're animated like the playable characters. As a result there are a lot of these to potentially do. The majority of enemies are human, with a smattering of machines, elementals, and sharks.

I'm not looking for someone to do all of them! I mean, if you want to, that's amazing. But I'm also capable of doing them myself. I'm just looking for help. My passion is creating gameplay, not visuals, and so I would like to get back to doing the part of game design I enjoy the most. It takes me a few hours to do a spritesheet, but a few weeks to pick myself up off the floor afterwards.

The sprite style is based on the RTP sprites for RPG Maker XP, so anyone with spriting experience should be able to handle it.

Thanks for your interest!

[Poll] Fundamental RPGology

Edit: Welp, RMN deleted all my poll choices except the last one.

Sorry, this topic was apparently too welp for welp, and its autoimmune system fought back.

Making the player care, not just the character

Since watching Egoraptor's sequelitis video about Ocarina of time, this is something I've been paying a little more attention to. The player should care about what they're doing in a game.

I don't mean care about the plot. That's obviously good too. But I'm talking about player motivations that would still exist without any cut scenes. Or, in some cases, a cut scene might be used to motivate the player instead of the character.

An example of the first one might be an important looking locked door. The player will want to open it, because that's human nature. You can make them want to open it more by establishing a pattern: every locked door with a dragon etched into it has a miniboss and a treasure behind it. But how does the player know how to open it? If they're motivated to open the door but have no way to find the key except "explore everywhere", you've motivated them to explore everywhere (which is good!) but not to do anything specific. Assassin's Creed IV has a lock that needs five keys, which you get at the end of five sidequests that are each labeled on your map, so you are motivated to do the next one, but this kind of grandiose sequence doesn't work so well for smaller things.

I find the second type easier - use cut scenes to explain or hint what you'll get if you do things. I feel like this isn't as good of design though, and anyway it's not always possible without doing incredibly weird things in cut scenes in the middle of dungeons. This often feels very... forced. Like the heroes stopping mid dungeon to tell me that "Look, that monster's blood can be used to make healing elixirs! Be sure to scoop it up in a jar, and leave the monster alive if you want to be able to come back and do this again later." Man. If what you want me to do is that far away from what I would naturally do, maybe you should train me over the course of the game... or just not make me do that and reward me for doing what I want since this is supposed to be fun for me.

I'm not actually good at doing this. At all. I'm trying to add more player motivation to my games but in some cases I'm barely even sure what would motivate the player to do the next part of the game. More power always works, but isn't always easy to communicate.

Font sizes on mobile

Got a new phone today. Replaced my dying Android 2.4 phone with a shiny new Android 4.4 phone. Everything else appears to be the right size except the body text of posts.

All the text and interface settings for both the browser and phone at 100% zoom. Actually tried two different browsers and same problem in both (though the top user bar is better in one, but that is probably harder to fix and isn't the point of this post).

Zoomed in doesn't help:

Your stuff is MINE

A lot of people like the way stealing works in RPGs like Final Fantasy, where many enemies have a chance to give you rare equipment. However, many other people don't like the idea of trying to keep enemies alive while you fail at stealing five or ten times in a row, only to then get a potion because that enemy had nothing. There's value in a treasure hunt - people like finding things - but it can be really tricky to keep them from being extremely easy to get without making the process of finding them really boring.

Instead of debating the merits of the Final Fantasy stealing system... let's try to come up with ways to improve it without removing any of the good feelings it gives. There must be plenty of ways to create that feeling of a treasure hunt, of finding a rare item through perserverence, without the other 99% of the time being nothing but depressing failure, and without encouraging you to stop progressing in the rest of the game until you're done confirming that the monsters you're fighting have nothing to steal.

I did Steal this way in one game:

- By default, Steal can only steal basic healing items.
- There are missions you can do to unlock "leads" on stealable equipment. Each completed mission gives you one lead.
- You can do one mission each day. You're given three random missions with different rewards, and it tells you up front what the rewards are, and you can choose which one to do. So you can kinda choose which reward to get, but you don't have full control. (Actually, it tells you what two of them are, and the third is a mystery reward.)
- Getting a lead on a piece of equipment tells you exactly which monster you can steal it from. Without the lead, you can't steal it, even if you looked it up on GameFAQs.
- If you have a lead on a piece of equipment, the chance to steal it is 100%. However, you can only steal one piece of equipment per day.

I felt like this left in the "hunt down rare enemies to get steals from them" thing that people actually enjoy, but added in a way to actually figure out which ones to do instead of having to just try every enemy in the game. But then instead of just creating a simple list you can check at the pub, which would make it effortless, I tried to create a method of unlocking the steals that required about as much effort as going around stealing from a bunch of random enemies.

Another side-effect of this system, which I think is *really important*, is that you have visible progress on what you're doing. This is something lacking in 99% of stealing systems - until you get your reward, nothing you do brings you any closer to it. You might narrow down which enemies don't give rewards, but that doesn't progress you towards getting a reward, it just progresses you towards not having to steal any more in this zone. Players can't stand to work for twenty or thirty minutes at something, and then be at the same place when they're done as they were when they began. It's extremely disheartening.

I've seen other solutions also. What are some ways you've used, or seen, or thought of?

Penalties for leveling up

Penalties for leveling up piss me off.

This thread was inspired by the recent expansion pack to Diablo 3, in which the game was changed so that the sole effect of leveling up is now that all of your equipment gets slightly worse. That's all. Nothing else. You gain no benefit whatsoever.

But aside from that horrifying worst-case example, there are a lot of games where the game penalizes you in subtler ways for leveling up. Making you gain less gold or AP unless you fight higher level enemies is a popular method of screwing you over. Once you're high enough level, it becomes almost impossible to gain money.

Many games use damage or hitrate formulas that divide by your level - so your chance to hit is based on the ratio of your agility stat compared to your level, for example. So if you gain a level, but don't gain any agility, your chance to hit decreases. This causes serious potential problems as you actually become weaker and weaker the higher level you are.

Enemies that level up with you are another popular gimmick. This is the bullshit Diablo 3's new expansion pack uses. You fight the same enemies no matter what level you are - they just grow in power to match your level. This means that leveling up makes you take more damage from and deal less damage to the same enemy. Sure, it might also unlock some new equipment - but getting that equipment will just put you back to the point you were at before you leveled up. Other games like FF8 will use a hybrid of this and a normal level up system - in FF8 every enemy has a minimum level, so you do have to level up to that point. It's used in FF8 to make sure you don't skip all the fights while also removing the benefit of grinding.

All of these penalties are seemingly designed to remove the benefit of grinding, so that players have to gain power by proving their skill and performing various tasks instead of by spending 150 hours slaughtering billions of identical rabites. A noble goal, but at what cost? Surely there are ways to do this without actually penalizing you for playing the game more. Like capping your level. Or not having levels in the first place.

Making you gain less XP if you fight lower level enemies is a different category of penalty in my mind - instead of penalizing you in one area of the game for progressing in a different area, the game simply provides diminishing returns on experience points. This seems completely fine to me, but maybe other people disagree? Can you explain why if so?