Monday, January 24, 2011

Games I Want to Make: Console Based "Tabletop" RPG (Part 2: Essence)

Of course, the idea as presented in the previous post does seem somewhat complex. As people in the comments have indicated, RPGs are possibly the most complex genre of game to develop, due to the demand for deep systems. If you're going to show the player your work, after all, you have to ensure that that work is thorough. Otherwise, they're just pulling back the curtain to see that Oz is an old lost guy.

So, let's take a step back. It occurs to me that it doesn't seem I've properly communicated the essence of the idea. I've also probably bogged myself down in unnecessarily clutter. Forgive me. Let's get back down to the essential and do away with confusing window dressing.

In short: This concept represents a Role Playing Game, literally. Not an "RPG" in the sense of the genre standard, of rolled dice and +X to STR. I have absolutely no desire to produce a D&D game because, for one, I don't think adapting those rules to a different context is a very effective or worthwhile goal. The benefit of a video game, over table top, is the ability to work in real time.

So, what would the game look like?

Well, from the player's perspective, an action game. Running around from a top down perspective, slashing enemies, exploring dungeons, would have much more in common with Zelda, Pixel, or Gauntlet than D&D. If the characters are choosing from "Wizard," "Warrior," etc. then there may not even be any necessity to customize your characters stats, especially not in any early prototype of such a game.

So, how the hell is that an RPG, or a "Virtual Tabletop?"

Because it is an avenue to Roleplaying. IE: A person taking on a character and interacting with the guy running the game and his fellow players on a complete subjective level.

And there, I believe, is where I have failed to communicate properly. This origin of this idea was in its simplicity. I can run a traditional roleplaying game without any accessories. No books, no dice, no character sheets, just a group of friends. They tell me who they are pretending to be, I describe a scenario, and they react. That is an RPG. Everything else is just a tool to aid in establishing that scenario.

And how would such a game do this? By not getting in the way. Such a game should be a toolset, much like Minecraft or Garry's mod in that it doesn't really represent a game in and of itself. All you need is character models, a toolset for the person running to game to create a rudimentary play-space and populate it, and a simple interaction system for the players that removes the burden of traditional RPG rules from the host.

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