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Article - 'Building Your Game To Success, Part 2: Game Design' by lithium

An item about Game Design posted on Aug 9, 2003

Blurb

Want to make your game appealing? Then read this article on to make the player LOVE the maps in which you express your game. It is striaght off the lithium presses!

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Building Your Game To Success, Part 2: Game Design

In this article, I will cover what you need to do in order to make pretty looking maps in your RM2K game. Following these easy steps can ensure an "easy on the eye" experience for your gamers and as we all know - the better design, the better replay value. So, now lets get on with it already. Jesus, what are you still reading this for? GO READ THE ARTICLE. Deaf people...


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GAME DESIGN IMPROVEMENT

Game Design is a pivotal feature of your game. It basically defines weither your game is a success or a tradegy. It also, later in your game, becomes a great point to build a plot twist around (i.e. OMG REMEMBER THE SHOP? WELL THE GUY IS DEAD NOW AND HE WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT COULD FIX DA SWORD OF ALMIGHTYNESS!!!). As a beginning, I suggest that you use custom maps (or what you can find here, at the glorious gamingw.ner resource center) because using RTP maps, in most cases, don't turn out well. Ok, lets go!

First off, let't talk about some house design. This sound like an easy task, but in reality, it is a daunting and sometimes hectic thing to do in your game. I think you should start off by thinking in actual terms. Let's use Chrono Trigger as an example. In CT, you start off in a house that is basically a kitchen and Crono's room. This is a bad house design because it has obvious flaws - 1) Where does the mother sleep? 2) Where does Crono take a crap? (Granted they didn't have indoor plubming back then, but hey Lucca invented a transportation device) 3) The stairs to go up leads striaght into Crono's room (WTF? No second floor). Depending on the time frame of your game (300 AD, or 2981093248BC), it may be appriopriate to add a bathroom - or at least room that could be used as a bathroom. Now, if there is a family living in the house (as is the case with many RPGs other than Chrono Trigger) you NEED to add their rooms because it is so wierd when I go to play a game and there is four family members but only two rooms and only one of them has a bed - No family can split a twin sixe bed four ways, WHAT THE HELL DO THEY DO FOR THE COMFORTER? Anyways, adding rooms for other members of the house is crucial to keeping consistency in your house. Now, for the scenery - I suggest that you add several of these housey (Did I spell that right, IS THAT EVEN A WORD?) effects such as: plants, pictures, wallpaper, personals for each member of the household. Those things can add a more realistic house touch because no one wants to see a house that is walls, a bookcase and some stairs, do they? No. That is what I thought. Overall, if you keep this stuff in mind you should be on your way to a good house design. Onto number two you sexy little midget you.

Second, let's (and when I say 'lets' I mean ME!) talk about town/city design. Now, just like in a house - the size of your city or town depends on the number of those who inhabit it. Don't make a huge city if you have six people living in it, it just doesn't work - got it skippy? Good. Again, I suggest that you use custom maps (or what you can find here, at the glorious gamingw.ner resource center) as chipsets for the town. They are so much l33ter. Now, I know I talked about house design, now I am goign to tell you about out-of-house design. Consider how many floors are in the house before you make the outer house design because it is stupid to see a house that has three floors look like it can only fit a dog and a bag of peanuts (and not the gallon size). It is also stupid to see a house that is just a dog and a bag of peanuts look like the Sears tower. For houses that have families in them, you should add some garden effects around the house to give off a little 'homey' feel. Now, onto something COMPLETLY different. You know how in your town there is this thing called a green? Well, if you happy to be one of the unusual ones that don't have one in your town - a 'Green' is a place usually designated in the center of the city where the citizens can roam freely. IT will look most like a regular park, but in this green you can add something to give to your plot (let's say a monument of a great general? wizard?). Overall, if you keep these short points in mind, you should be able to create a good lookin' city. A sexy city. A city that would make Faust & Bart scream out in pleasure, like I di...err - Onto number three.

Third and last, let me gab a bit about world map design. I take Legion Saga III's world map system in example. Granted, it was a bit ripped off from Chrono Trigger - but still, it proves that it can be done in RM2k - so you should do something like that. One thing you should keep in mind, even if it has nothing to do with the story - Any forest or mountain range should have its own map (I suggest that you hide a powerful item there that if the player goes through all thr trouble for no reason (or so they think) they should get a good reward for their valiant effort. Also, a player should NOT be able to walk OVER forest ranges, which I have seen in so many RM2K games. Lets see, ALSO try to make sure that everything is relativly close together (you wouldn't want the player to trek for 5 hours trying to get a town so that he can just spend another 5 hours trekking back.)

Now, I asked our trusted friend RPGoddess for some tips on world map design. And here you go:

- Maps MUST make geographical sense.
- There's no such thing as a perfectly square mountain range (But according to DP, there is such a thing as a perfectly oval lake, called "The Oval Lake")
- With an RPG, anyway, the best way to make ANY map perfect is to reflect the imperfections of reality.
- Also, the world map should have a certain amount of obstacles. You shouldn't be able to go from town A to town B that easily - for example, in most RPGs, you can get to different towns by aquiring new skills, completing quests, or getting a ship or something.

And DarkPrist had a little tip:

If you plan to have deserts and glaciers, note the realistic placement of them. (GOOD POINT DP! *pat on back for dp*)

Well, as you can see - there is a way to make your maps appealing to the eye. I hope we (Me, RG, and DP) helped you.

-lithium

(I'd like to give a big thanks to the lovely RPGoddess, and the sometimes smelly DarkPriest for there help with the world design paragraph.)