Makes a Role-Playing Game?
         by Marz

This is actually an ongoing debate on many forums now-a-days. What really makes a RPG stand out from another RPG?

Well...If you ask some people, they would tell you that it is the Storyline that makes the RP game unique. Then there are those who would say that the Characters are what makes it unique. How about the battle system or the maps or...well, you understand where I'm coming from.

If you ask me, it takes all of those to make a great RPG. Now, as a programmer though, what are the things you are going to have to worry about when you try and figure out what to do with the RPG?

For one, you will need to have a really %^&* good story written up. I'd highly suggest that if you yourself are not creative enough to do this, to find the most creative individual around to do this for you. It needs to be intense and it needs to be done in a dialog system at times as well.

Next, I would say you would have to start working on the graphics system. No matter what, you will need something that looks unique when compared to all the other RPG's out there. We don't need 50 million Zelda look-a-likes and I know that for sure. The graphics engine is very important because, well...let's face it...even though Flash is graphics based...you can't just have all the game's graphics sitting there in one file. Your game wouldn't even run at 1 fps. So you'll have to have some sort of loading up feature....called a tiling system, or whatnot.

Now, the sound engine doesn't have to be completely extravagant. Therefore this topic probably won't be a very long one. But, still there is the possibility that you will want to have multi-layered sounds with music and sound effects. So that's what this section will be all about.

Character Development! Why so far down the list? The reason is because this is the one that takes a lot of thought. You will need someone extremely creative and it usually ends up being the person who is writing the story. As he will see the most likely characters in his own story of course. Then, while aesthetic designing of a character is all good, so is a profile. How will this character fight, walk, jump, magic, limits, stats, items, steal? All of those are legitimate questions. And that doesn't even get close to how much you'd really have to touch base on. Other characteristics include strength, Intelligence, how are stat points done? What about levels? This we will all touch base on later.

Battle system. Much like the character development, this has to be well thought out. An overly easy system will draw people away from the game while an overly complex one will do the same also. Make it a happy little median that's not too hard or too easy, and you have yourself a winner!

Turn based or Real Time? This is a question! To find out the difference between these all. Look at these three games. Secret of Mana (real time), Final Fantasy 7 (real time walking, turn based fighting), Final Fantasy Tactics (turn based all around). Then you will figure this out.

These are the basics behind an RPG. Of course you have stuff like dialog boxes, inventories and all that other good stuff. But they will all come in due time.. In their each little individual packet of information.

You can also post into the Game/AI Programming forum also.

Mental Concepts



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