RPG character development

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by lordGoldemort, May 26, 2016.

  1. lordGoldemort

    lordGoldemort New Member

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    I am just starting to develop a Final-Fantasy-Lite style "RPG" based on a storyline that involves 2 main characters 3 parallel worlds. It's a combination of 3rd person puzzle-solver and FF-X turn-based combat (or at least that's the plan). I'm using Unreal 4, and C++ to do the hard stuff because drawing graphs to Do Code is cute but tedious for complicated things :)

    I am currently pondering character development. This seems to comprise of

    1. Characters developing existing skills.
    2. Characters acquiring new skills

    For 2, there are game mechanics that basically allow you to choose your path through a graph of upgrade nodes (FF-X, Child of Light). This leads to interesting design choices as to the length and contents of paths. It's entirely possible in these sorts of games for a player to head off in the wrong direction and lock yourself out of what turns out to be required abilities. You could view this as a strategic part of the game, but because the tech trees can be large and sprawling and you don't know what you don't know at the start of a game, the choice can be arbitrary.

    On the other hand, games such as FF X-2 largely choose the upgrades for you (though in that game you can tweak the order you learn new skills in). You level up, you get new skills. As long as you grind enough, you'll get every skill you can get.

    So it's either arbitrary choice and luck, or long tedious grinding sessions to develop characters. Is there a better way? Final Fantasy pivots around random battles. You just run around a save point, beating the living snot out of baddies until your stats are high and your brain starts to rot. On the other hand, a game that *doesn't* have such random battles will need to be very delicately tuned so that players can get through the game with just the battles that are scripted. Both seem pretty unsatisfactory. Thoughts?
     
  2. kevintrepanier

    Original Member Indie Author

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    You could be gathering XP points with each level and seek out NPCs that could train you in some specific skills at the cost of those points. Finding those "masters" could be quests in itself.

    Or you could bind some abilities to pieces of equipment so that you can change them when necessary. It could be just bonuses or elemental affinities like the oculis in Child of Light but it could also be actual skills (ex : boots of high jumping, sword of decapitation, splitting axe, whatever..).
     
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  3. lordGoldemort

    lordGoldemort New Member

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    That's not a million miles away from one idea I had. Instead of gaining money for battles, the characters would earn "erg" (an outdated unit of energy that fits into my storyline). The team shares a pool of erg, and almost all battle actions costs some erg. My characters will never die, but completing the key game objectives will require gathering a certain amount of erg. (Obviously I'll have to find a way to stop the team running out altogether!). Not enough erg to complete the end-of-level subgame? Go find a suitable baddy to pound.
     
  4. kevintrepanier

    Original Member Indie Author

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    I just remembered an old SNES RPG game called Robotrek. In this game robots you built would fight for you and you could customize them somehow. There was also a system for combining items to create new ones. I don't remember everything about it. It was a weird but interesting title. Maybe you could look into this one for inspiration?
     
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