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Fundamentals of Game Design, 2 nd Edition by Ernest Adams Chapter 15: Role-Playing Games
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games2 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Objectives Know the definition of role-playing games and the game mechanics common to them Understand the history and evolution of role- playing games from tabletop to computer Design character attributes for a role-playing game
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games3 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Objectives (Cont.) Define a world and setting suitable for a role- playing game Understand the use of experience points and character level for this genre Know the different gameplay modes within this genre
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games4 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. What Are Role-Playing Games? Overview Objective is to experience a series of adventures in an imaginary world, through an avatar or a small group of characters whose skills and powers grow over time Essential parts are the quest or story and character growth Victory consists of completing the quests Many players just enjoy exploring and interacting, even without trying to win
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games5 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. What Are Role-Playing Games? (Cont.) Many types of challenges: Tactical combat Logistics (managing supplies) Economic growth Exploration Puzzle solving
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games6 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Comparisons to Other Genres CRPGs and war games Both include combat governed by rules CRPGs—small group of characters who exhibit growth; no factories to produce more units War games—large group of identical units; factories produce more units
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games7 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Comparisons to Other Genres (Cont.) CRPGs and action games CRPGs Physical challenges becoming more common in hybrids Non–action-related activities such as buying and selling as well as conversations with other characters Puzzles more sophisticated than in action games Action games Physical challenges Non–action-related activities are rare
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games8 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Comparisons to Other Genres (Cont.) CRPGs and adventure games Both have rich storylines, highly detailed characters, and exploration challenges CRPGs—player-defined character; characters defined by numeric attributes that improve over time; complex internal economy Adventure games—avatar provided by the game; concentrate on a single character; puzzle challenges; no numeric attributes; personal growth; simple internal economy (or none at all)
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games9 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Game Features Exploration and combat make up a big part of most CRPGs Themes Saving the world is an overused theme Try to find an alternative approach Progression Long quest broken into episodes Major challenge at the end of each episode Optional side quests
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games10 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Game Features (Cont.) Gameplay modes Exploration and combat—actions include setting a destination, designating an NPC to attack, and using special skills Conversation—uses dialog tree Trade—buy and sell items Inventory—manage carried objects
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games11 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Core Mechanics Rolling dice—know the probabilities to get the result you want Character attributes Characterization attributes—determine general abilities and qualities; change infrequently Race Sex Character class Physical, mental, moral, and social attributes
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games12 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Core Mechanics (Cont.) Character attributes (cont.) Status attributes, experience, and character levels Attributes that change frequently Experience points and character level measure the character’s growth Cosmetic attributes add richness to the game
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games13 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Core Mechanics (Cont.) Magic and its equivalents Concept that allows characters to influence the world by means not available to us in real life Science fiction implements magic as “advanced technology” Use of magic restricted by character class Define magic, how it’s invoked, how it’s limited Player can often spend magic points, called mana The mana system is more convenient and flexible than the D&D “memorization” system
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games14 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Core Mechanics (Cont.) Skills and special capabilities Obtaining new skills for a character is similar to upgrading a unit in a strategy game Skill trees provide a growth path similar to a tech tree in war games Character design Most CRPGs allow the player to create the character Roll dice to generate points to distribute among character attributes
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games15 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. The Game World and Story Settings Tend to be fantasy and science fiction settings Must be appealing to explore Some CRPGs provide an editor to enable players to create scripted adventures in the game world
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games16 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. The Game World and Story (Cont.) Story First, determine the game’s overall quest—the ending Then, design the episodes that the player experiences from the beginning to the end Add side quests Write an enticing opening
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games17 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. The Presentation Layer Interaction model Party-based in single-player CRPG Avatar-based is becoming more common, however Avatar-based in multiplayer online games Camera model First person or third person for avatar-based models Aerial perspective allows player to see all members of the party at once as well as surrounding terrain
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games18 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. The Presentation Layer (Cont.) User interface Wide range of actions—interface can be complex Hide the mechanics to aid the player’s immersion Repetitive tasks—instead of making the player try repeatedly, automate the repetition and show a progress bar If the character has low skill at the task, it will take a long time Allow the player to interrupt and abandon the attempt
Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games19 © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Summary You should now understand How to identify a role-playing game How to describe the development of the role- playing game from tabletop to computer How to design character attributes How to define a world and story How to use experience points and character levels How to define gameplay modes for RPGs
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