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Fundamentals of Game Design, 2 nd Edition

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  1. Fundamentals of Game Design, 2nd Edition by Ernest Adams Chapter 15: Role-Playing Games

  2. 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 Games

  3. 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 Games

  4. 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 Games

  5. What Are Role-Playing Games? (Cont.) • Many types of challenges: • Tactical combat • Logistics (managing supplies) • Economic growth • Exploration • Puzzle solving Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games

  6. 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 Games

  7. 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 Games

  8. 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 Games

  9. 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 Games

  10. 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 Games

  11. 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 Games

  12. 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 Games

  13. 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 Games

  14. 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 Games

  15. 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 Games

  16. 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 Games

  17. 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 Games

  18. 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 showaprogress 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 Games

  19. 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 Chapter 15 Role-Playing Games