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Article - 'RPG Standards' by Kazeuri

An item about Plots/Characters posted on Aug 8, 2003

Blurb

Kazeuri goes through things that an RPG should have and should not have, will you agree with what he has to say?

Body

RPG Design

So, here you are, with a ton of resources to make a great game, and all the skills you will ever need. You sit down, and are just about to start making your great game. That is when it hits you: You have no clue what a game is made out of. Not the skeleton, but the bones of the game. What makes any RPG a classic? What separates 'Final Fantasy 3' and 'Final Fantasy 8'?

Well, I am here to help. I can show you some basic steps, and procedures to follow. Let's get started.

First, set a mood. Many people like an RPG to be set in the past, preferably medieval times. You know, dragons, demons, castles, mages, etc. I think it is a very good place to start. Lets make a city back in this time, call it 'Harrogath'. A king in a castle rules it. The town is a might fort-town, built for wars. It has seen no war for a very long time, but there is word of war brewing in the East.

Lets make a hero now. The character that people will want to play, given you provide proper monologue, and character traits. (I will leave that up to you). Our character, 'Kazeuri', for lack of a better name, has come from the future. He is not sure why he is in Harrogath, but he knows that the high council of Mages in the castle will. If only he can get there.

Now, upon waking up, Kazeuri notices the 'love' of the game. Narrata, for lack of a better name, was the one that found Kazeuri. She travels with him, and they become friends. Narrata only lived with her Grandmother, until she died a few days ago. Now, all she has as you. While you may think she is annoying at times, she is destined to follow you, and learn your past.

The evil villain. Every game has to have one, eh? I tried to think of a cool name, but could not. So, lets call her 'Kashya'. Was one of the high-mage council? She found out she had powers much greater than them though. Born into sorcery, and raised by Plagued dark-wood elves, she was always a troublemaker. Now, she is much worse, and starting to become a menace to society. Sealing her away in an abandoned castle to the north, the game will really start to make sense after you meet her.

Now, I left a lot of gaps, and did not write a full story, that is up to you. These are character examples. It will help to use them, and you can surely use these characters in your game if you would like. The story and setting are also very simple and nothing special. If you use this story, or just change the basic elements around, make sure you are original. Be creative, and have fun.

Below are things to always keep in-check. This will help your game stay focused.

'Where is the hero?' Always explain the hero location.

'Where is the villian?' Make sure the villian is occupied. Never just 'freeze' any characters, or events.

'What is the quest?' Set aside mini-quests for every area of the game. It is useless to have a character roaming around with no goal.

'Am I in a hurry?' Try to make a character rush to a certain area. This prevents them from, prehaps, completeing a fun side-game. This will add re-play value. In the instance of 'Chocobo Breeding' or such. You can always come back later and do it, but advances players might want the special advantage of completeting the mini-game first.

'Character levels?' Yes, always play-test and make sure the character can by-pass the current area at a level that is AVERAGE. Never factor in the levels one might build to beat a boss. Those are always optional if a boss has a good design.

There are probably more things to keep in check, but these are important. Make sure to add more if you know any. Moving on now...


Now, you will probably want to follow 'RPG standards', just a basic set of simple rules most, if not every, RPG has.

1.) Make sure that the main-character gets to play other side-characters, and near-main characters. This will give people of wider audience more fun with your game, since they may like certain characters more than others.

2.) Be certain to make the final villan TRUELY EVIL. Something so Dark and nasty, it should be death to even see it on screen. Make the player fear this main villain a lot.

3.) Make sure travel is allowed. Having some form of ship, or transportation, like a portal, to another world-map will be essential for a longer RPG. This ensures a great deal more fun.

4.) Do not rip/copy other games. Make sure that no one is called 'Cloud', and uses the cloud character set, or that you have 'Moogles' or 'Chocobos' or, something like 'Gato' as a robot somewhere.

5.) Try to get someone else to compose midi's for you. Everyone gets tired of the same Final Fantasy midi's every game, or similar broad-name RPG songs. If you do want to rip music, or have to, rip it form little-known games, and in rare areas.

That is really all I can say that should make a great RPG. Try not to release a lot of DEMO games. This sometimes will ruin a creator, and their game. If you feel like you know some more 'RPG Standards' feel free to add them below.