Design Suggestions For My RPG

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Davaris, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. Davaris

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  2. impossible

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    It's a nice game, but yeah, you're right, the demo doesn't really show me anything that seems very entertaining. I really liked Fallout, but this game is no Fallout. I think I remember playing a beta version of this game months ago, and there were a lot of interface, graphical and game balance problems. It seems to have improved for the most part, but it's still not great.

    I've played Fallout, and I am still confused about what I was supposed to be doing. The first time I was a little lazy and didn't read much (I wanted to jump into the gameplay) but you really need to actively look for the tutorial. I would rather have the tutorial automatically come up in the center of the screen than have to hit the info box at random points. I think you ended up changing this from the beta version I played because people complained about tutorial interface problems? I say still go with an automatic tutorial, just give people the option to turn it off. I also didn't quite see how to equip weapons. I was surprised when the aliens escaped I didn't have a decent weapon so I just ran and let the guards take care of them. The then I guess the demo ended? A weird popup came up and when I clicked ok it launched IE (not my default browser :)) and opened up your buy now page. When I played the game properly (the second time) I had some guns and ammo and had talked to the boss.

    The interface, overall, is just bad imo. It uses a weird non-standard combination of left-clicking, right clicking and keyboard commands. There were a lot of little things that annoyed me. Like, in order to open that armoury door, I had to equip the key, cycle my items and then use the key. That's 3-4 steps to use a key... Most RPGs will automatically use keys for you if you click the locked door, I was really expecting that. I also didn't know how to reload at first, I don't think there was any mention that right click was reload. Why not automatically spend the APs to reload when you try to use a unloaded rifle? The combat targetting is also weird. It seems like you should be able to click on the actual character to attack, not just the circle underneath them. The path finding is not very good, but it's not horrible. It would also be very nice to have some kind of quest log and journal, and to have areas of interest marked on the minimap. These aren't revolutionary features, they're standard in most CRPGs.

    There is also the issue of marketing. How have you marketed this game? It's basically a niche hardcore game for people that really like Fallout. You might want to try advertising on some of the Fallout fansites out there and getting involved in the communities. They might even be able to help you improve your game. The problem is, these people are just as likely to rip your game apart for being a bad Fallout clone as they are to embrace it, but I think if you're active in the community they will be excited about it.

    The whole game reaks of Fallout, but not as good. There could be a great game here but the demo makes it hard to find. Improving the interface would go a long way toward making the game more playable.
     
  3. ggambett

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    Can't find MSVCP50.DLL :(
     
  4. Davaris

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    impossible:
    I was thinking of getting rid of the tutorial altogether, because it makes the game seem much harder than it is. I just put in a new scheme where you hit the TAB key and a diagram pops up. Did you find that? The only screen that looks complex when you hit the TAB key is the Encounter Screen.

    >It would also be very nice to have some kind of quest log and journal

    Yes that is in (hit the computer button in the encounter screen and click on mission notes). On the next update, I'm going to put in a little message that tells you when it's been updated.

    >There is also the issue of marketing. How have you marketed this game? It's basically a niche hardcore game for people that really like Fallout.

    So far its just on the download sites, as I've been taking comments and improving it. But I figured by now it would start selling in those places. When hard core RPG sites find out about it, it converts okay until it drops off their radar. What I was hoping to do is keep polishing it until it starts to convert on its own and then hire one of the Indie marketers to push it in magazines. But this strategy hasn't worked.

    >They might even be able to help you improve your game. The problem is, these people are just as likely to rip your game apart for being a bad Fallout clone as they are to embrace it, but I think if you're active in the community they will be excited about it.

    Yes Fallout fans can be pretty scary. I don't dare post on their sites for fear of getting into a war. :) The older members are very supportive and have been encouraging me to get it into the magazines. But up until now I haven't thought it was ready.
     
    #4 Davaris, Oct 18, 2005
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2005
  5. Davaris

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    ggambett:

    >Can't find MSVCP50.DLL

    Thanks for that. I'll look into it. Keep the download so you don't have to get it again and I'll make a new executable for you.

    Edit 1:

    I was told that it might be that I didn't set it to a release build. I think I did, so you may not need to get the dll in Edit 2 below. Anyway I rebuilt the executable and you can get it here so it would be a good idea to try the new executable first. Let me know which method works.

    www.ausgamedev.com/OmegaSyndrome.zip

    Edit 2:

    Here you go I found this info about MSVCP50.DLL.

    "The SDL library on Windows requires that executables link dynamically with some run-time libraries. They are all supposed to be libraries that come with the OS's."

    You can get the file here:

    www.ausgamedev.com/msvcp50.zip

    I was wondering if you would first test it in the same directory as my game's executable? I was thinking of shipping it with my game but I don't want to install it into the windows/system directory on another person's computer.
     
    #5 Davaris, Oct 18, 2005
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2005
  6. ggambett

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    Hmmmmm, I will test the new EXE first and the DLL if it doesn't work, but my own games which all use SDL don't distribute or need that DLL. Maybe it's the debug thing you mention.
     
  7. Mark_Tempe

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    Another Fallout fun hear. First of all nice engine , rivaling the Spiderweb Software Geneforge series. Something like this is more complicated and needs more content then another breakout, you have my respect there. Good tactical move as far as setting: where Fallout went 1950-MadMax you went 1950-Man in Black so you steel have a possibility of grabbing Fallout fans and Man in Black fans.

    I played for just a few minutes because I do not have much time today but this are my thoughts:

    -If I seat to the game with an intention of evading the apocalypse as an agent of a secret government organization my suit has gat to be black not blue. (I know it’s silly but that just the way it is)
    -The beginning of the game is tedious, maybe it is necessary but ’tedious’ is my first impression.
    -I know it’s much too late for that but, A game like that I would start with: Underground complex stopped responding to routine calls initiating a full lockdown, You are a part of the team which investigates the complex. On arrival you find a bunch of dead bodies, some notes and deep in the corridors one alien you kill, most of your teammates get slathered in the process. You also find evidence that more aliens managed to escape a full lockdown. In your game your first mission is to find your Boss , At work I have to do that couple of times a day , it’s not that exciding. ( I know it is easy to say something like that and much more difficult to create game like yours but look at it from a players perspective.)
    -The text is hard to read, maybe larger font?
    -The inventory is not intuitive, maybe system similar to Diablo or Geneforge3?
    -And a totally first impression staff: as a Fallout fan I would expect a the gadgets and screens to be badly abused postmodern staff-your gadgets are just too clean. As a Man in Black fan I would expect black suits and shiny gadgets- your gadgets are kind of gray steel. ( not much you can do about this, gadgets fit reality of YOUR game)

    That is as much as I can say after playing couple of minutes. There is a lot of good things I could say about your game but that want make it better. Criticism is what improves games.

    You have a makings of a great game. Keep working on it.
    Good Lack

    P.S.
    Fallout is probably the best RPG ever made it will be difficult to upstage it even with a very good game
    (and I really wanted to add some words of encouragement at the end… sorry…)
     
  8. Davaris

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    >If I seat to the game with an intention of evading the apocalypse as an agent of a secret government organization my suit has gat to be black not blue.

    The only problem with black is he is hard to see when he's out on the road. :) But I'll see about changing it anyway.

    >-The beginning of the game is tedious, maybe it is necessary but ’tedious’ is my first impression.

    Excellent! These are exactly the sort of comments I was looking for! :)
    I'll get to and change the start of the game then.

    >-The inventory is not intuitive, maybe system similar to Diablo or Geneforge3?

    Can you offer any hard suggestions? Like what sort of a mouse click should occur in certain situations? The difficulty I've had is you can use skills on the weapons and items as well as unload them and select their ammo in the inventory screen. So you need a command box to perform actions on them and a right click to drag and drop.

    >Fallout is probably the best RPG ever made it will be difficult to upstage it even with a very good game

    Thanks for the comments. I agree with you about Fallout. It is what got me started on making this engine many yonks ago. No games before or after were any where near as good as it was (except for Ultima 7) so I stopped playing after that and started learning to make them.


    P.S.
    I just uploaded a new version. The tutorial at the start of the game has been fixed so it floats and you can hide or show it. I also streamlined the cycling between items, as well as included a 'd' hot key to cycle between weapons.
     
    #8 Davaris, Oct 21, 2005
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  9. Pallav Nawani

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    I haven't played Fallout (I have played the demo though). Here are my critiques:
    • I also had the missing dll problem. New executable did not fix it, I had to download the dll.
    • Scrolling the screen (using the mouse & the keyboard both) is very slow, even at the fastest. You should allow it to be 200% faster (at max) at least. I can tell you that I positively dislike the slow scrolling!
    • Movement is also slow. Maybye you can make character movement faster.
    • About two problems make the game feel sluggish and (maybe) tedious.
    • You should consider adding scroll bars to the interface where talking/interaction takes place, or maybe just have visible buttons on the side to scroll options up and down. You could also number the choices and allow the user to press the number keys instead.
    • You could make the talking interface baldur's gate style instead.
    • In battle mode, you should indicate somewhere that it is the PC's turn to move (maybe text should appear in the text window like:
      It is now your turn.
      You damaged xx for xx points, you have used xx action points. xx action points left.
    • Text window should have a scroll bar, or at least buttons allowing up/down scrolling. It should also buffer some text, So I can see what really happened. You can also allow the sentences used while talking to go into that text window. Eg: If I ask someone about someting, then the text window could later show the text:
      Max Power: Why are consoles blowing up everywhere?
      General: That's for you to find out!
    • Initially I had great trouble figuring out how to move stuff from my inventory to use slots. Only by chance did I realise that I had to right click and drag. Any reason why you can't left click and drag?
    • I also had some trouble figuring out how to use the key to unlock the door.
    • Text font size is too small, I found reading it somewhat stressful. If you are going to include a lot of text in the game, make font size bigger (and add scroll bars!). I like to read background stories, but I gave up after a while as It was becoming somewhat stressful to read.
    • Reduce the amount of text. Having some backstory is nice, but if there is too much of it, then it becomes difficult to discern what is important.
    • On the map, indicate important places. Indicate General's room, armory, etc.
    To anyone who hasn't played Fallout, this game would be a bit difficult to figure out, I think. I had played the demo (and that too, somewhat recently), so I was familiar with game mechanics somewhat. Btw, right now I am stuck in the game, and cannot figure out who is the saboteur :confused:
    Still, a nice game. I could buy it, if I had the cash.
     
  10. Mark_Tempe

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    I played some more few more suggestions:


    - I would not copy the Fallout inventory interface, it was by far the most tedious part of the game specially in the later stages of the game where you had a lot of items. I think we ware spending like 20 min on micromanagement. While Fallout could be forgiven for something like that because of involving story line graphics and old age your game want be.
    My suggestions for inventory:
    -Redesign it from scratch, make all the items of the inventory visible at once (no tedious scrolling through inventory bar, this is what I didn’t like in Fallout).Another wards backpack Diablo style.
    -Make an Big icon of your main character and boxes by right hand, left hand, belt , etc. That way player can see what he is giving his main character in to his right hand without reading anything.
    -No matter what you do, move items in inventory using left mouse button

    What I would do if I ware you is: buy (borrow, steal or go to a friend who has them ) a few successful RPG (Bouldurs Gate, GeneforgeIII, Guild Wars, World of Warcraft,) and take good look at their inventory interface.

    Other suggestions:
    - The problem with a key, make the lacked door open automatically if you have a proper key in inventory
    I didn’t figer out how to open that door yet ( granted I am not that smart, and I am lazy ). I expect this is on of the places in the game where players just give up and uninstall your game.
    -When aliens die during combat you see a fountain of green blood and then a body of an alien laying on the ground. The problem with that is that Fallout was big on realism. That’s what will be expected of your game. Fountain of green blood looks commix-parody like. Much better would be alien hit by gunfire falls to the ground and begins to bleed (few frames of animation).
    -Story line is not that involving, I talked to the boss, killed to aliens, talk to the boss again, I am looking
    For an moll in the complex now. Again I am tempted to uninstall. After talking to the boss I thought I will be sent to another complex to kill some aliens, investigate alien landing site, Take back town control by aliens but I am looking for a gay in the white coat who is sabotaging panels. Not terribly exciting.
    - Nag screen in the middle of the combat. I felt tricked into going into buy mode, some people would uninstall your game after this incident. Good example of persistent nag screens with clear choices is Desperate Space by Nexic. Download and copy.

    Again This game has a lot of potential. It could be one of the best in the genre.
    And SpiderWeb Software example shows that it could be very successful financially.
    Keep working on it, I am already looking forward to Omega Syndrome II and Omega Syndrome III

    Best of Lack
    _____________________________________
    Hunique Games
    Huge and Unique Fantasy and Science Fiction Games
     
    #10 Mark_Tempe, Oct 21, 2005
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  11. Pallav Nawani

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    Ok, I found the saboteur, but...
    The general suggests that I talk to everyone about it. However, nobody gives me *any* useful information about the incidents. On top of it, All the technical staff was too busy to be talked to. It was not until I read the help and noticed that I could click on an object/person and hold the mouse button pressed to get a menu with extra option - examine, that I was able to find the saboteur.

    I expected that I should be able to find the culprit by talking to the tech people, and their responses would give me some clues, but nobody could be talked to at all. You could give them all some standard response, while the culprit should respond slightly differently (Maybe he wouldn't talk, or maybe immediately attack the Pc, since he was caught red handed after all)

    Btw, now that I have a fairly good idea of how to play the game, I actually like it. Why don't you approach spiderweb software to publish your game? If you take care of the interface problems, I think your game is good.
     
  12. Davaris

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    >Initially I had great trouble figuring out how to move stuff from my inventory to use slots. Only by chance did I realise that I had to right click and drag.

    >I also had some trouble figuring out how to use the key to unlock the door.

    >Text font size is too small, I found reading it somewhat stressful. If you are going to include a lot of text in the game, make font size bigger

    Okay these 3 seem to be a common theme for everyone. Changing the font size is going to be a lot of work, but I'll do it anyway and post some links to screens shots here until the size is right (if no one minds).

    I'll fix the key and change the inventory. People definately don't like those right clicks. :)

    > expected that I should be able to find the culprit by talking to the tech people

    Okay I'll fix this as well.


    I got rid of the in game nag boxes and put in a 1 hour timer in the latest version, with 2 minutes after that runs out. If you want to play it for more than 1 hour delete the config.dat file in the games directory and it will reset.
    What do you think of the 1 hour limit? Do you think its too short?


    >Why don't you approach spiderweb software to publish your game?

    Like most creative people he's a bit odd. He says on his website he wants to publish and market other peoples games, but when you ask him about it he says he's not interested and doesn't want to see your demo. The guy isn't even intereted in having affiliates sell his own games! Weird! :)
     
  13. dogzer

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    I want to help but i'm afraid i'm going to sound silly, maybe the problem is not the game but the way you sell it. How do you advertise it?

    I was thinking you could list your game's features, like how's the gameplay like, and stuff like that. And the game cover looks good but it's a bit small.
     
  14. Pallav Nawani

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    And don't forget to add scroll bars! Please do add this little feature, it will improve the usability of the game. You have already done lots of hard work on the game, don't cut down on these features. I found out that you can indeed scroll the text window in the game now, but then if it had an obvious scroll bar, it would have been much easier.
    How long is your game? If it is long enough then you should consider allowing the user play until he kills 10 rabid dogs and the WT gangster agrees to help him assault those black suits. That's where you should cut off, not allowing the coming battle. 1 Hour time limit is not a good idea, because, it will prevent people from getting into your game. Btw, I haven't killed those dogs so far. If you allow people to play that far, and then cut them off, you could see better sales. Who knows?

    I don't mind the in game pop ups, but make them consistent with the game UI. For example, give a message on the user's field unit - or some such. Or just pop up the computer console saying that the user got a message - and then make your selling pitch.

    Hmm, he is probably just afraid that you will take away his customers. I think you really need to find a way to get to your target audience

    The battles were kind of tough in the beginning, until I realised that I could rest to cure the damage.

    Btw, I know that the scrolling speed can be adjusted in the game, but could make it so that the scrolling speed can be increased to something a lot faster than the current maximum?

    Also, you should make 'Run' a toggle. Rather than Shift+left click every time I want to make the char run, make it a toggle (and store that info!), so that I can toggle it once and have the character run always.
     
  15. Davaris

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    I'm working on those changes now. Including the scroll bars. Its a lot of work. :)

    >I was thinking you could list your game's features, like how's the gameplay >like, and stuff like that. And the game cover looks good but it's a bit small

    I've tried those things and they didn't affect the sales at all. So the problem is with the game. A lot of the suggestions made here made a lot of sense to me. So hopefully when I've fixed those problems, the game will do better.
     

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