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I had this random idea for a RPG. It's not really pony related, but you can do what you want. It's just an idea after all. Rolleyes

The main features are a (relatively) great freedom of choice for the player, that leads to multiple endings (think something like a visual novel, even if it's completely unrelated).

These features are a consequence of the fact that the main character is magically sent to a parallel dimension, where the inhabitants speaks a different language based on their geographical place (like how Europe has many countries with their languages).

This means that the player can interact with the main storyline (say, an evil king wants to conquer the world) by pure chance, or even just never meet the related events, while he can ideally create a new village or whatever you want, like a "choose your own adventure" game.

Given this mechanic(?), the game should use a system based on days or key events for each possible storyline, that makes the main story advance based on player's position (example: if he/she is on a complete different town than where he/she's supposed to be, the enemy wins or something).

Also it would be a good idea to use made-up languages (even if it's something like Ubbi Dubbi) and put places that teach how to understand the NPCs.

Well, this is what happens when I go to bed very late. What do you think?
Sounds like a user-friendly RPG of Help Snowdrop. I love it Wink
(01-29-2014, 04:28 AM)Dark_X Wrote: [ -> ]Sounds like a user-friendly RPG of Help Snowdrop. I love it Wink

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My only response to this.
The way I understand it, it would be something extremely non-linear. Which, while interesting, is also extremely hard to turn into a game.

Also, using sign language or some other forms of nonverbal language, rather than gibberish, could be an interesting option.
(01-29-2014, 07:52 AM)Xinef Wrote: [ -> ]The way I understand it, it would be something extremely non-linear. Which, while interesting, is also extremely hard to turn into a game.

Also, using sign language or some other forms of nonverbal language, rather than gibberish, could be an interesting option.
Eheh, Sign language is just as bad. You'd think it's universal, it's not. Apparently what means 'Stop' in America's sign language means 'Welcome' in (I think)Syria. This resulted in many civilian casualties.
(01-29-2014, 09:45 AM)Dark_X Wrote: [ -> ]Eheh, Sign language is just as bad. You'd think it's universal, it's not. Apparently what means 'Stop' in America's sign language means 'Welcome' in (I think)Syria. This resulted in many civilian casualties.

Just like showing two fingers means "V for victory" in some cultures, and "I've got two fingers to shoot you with my English longbow" in others. And a thumb pointing upwards might mean "let the gladiator live", "ok", or "up your ****".

Cultural differences are interesting indeed... and sometimes deadly.

Also, the last one, in light of the "likes" on facebook and other sites, that use this symbol... I wonder how many gladiators died because of that.
Well, I wasn't really talking about gibberish.
You can even just pick english and switch letters (for example whenever there's an R you put G). It's not gibberish per se, but it's not easily understandable with no previous knoweledge.

Anyway, how would you show sign language? (that, by the way, is universal. It's the one used by deaf people. You just included non-universal signs in it) Even if you use 3D graphic, you'd need to put the camera at the right angle, etc. I think it'll be just a hassle than anything. Unless you put different body languages as a detail, something not important but that's a nice touch.

Xinef Wrote:The way I understand it, it would be something extremely non-linear. Which, while interesting, is also extremely hard to turn into a game.

Yeah, it's definitely non-linear.
Ideally, you could start a "quest" to marry the mayor's daughter, when suddenly you find yourself into an international war, maybe as The Chosen One.
It takes a lot of work and extreme writing skills, but all in all is just a classic RPG.
The main concern would be if it'll be fun to play or not, but only time will tell.
(01-29-2014, 07:53 PM)Vanni Wrote: [ -> ]Anyway, how would you show sign language? (that, by the way, is universal. It's the one used by deaf people. You just included non-universal signs in it)

I'd say there is "the sign language", which is used by deaf people, and there are "sign languages" which are pretty much any form of communication that involves signs. Hand signs are used by soldiers, when they want to remain silent, they are used by people who want to communicate with someone even if they don't know any languages in common, and so on.

The way I see it used in game is pretty much like this:
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Except the signs do not even have to be hand signs. They could be any symbols, hieroglyphs, or anything else. Though I think symbols that represent real-life objects look funnier than abstract symbols. I remember a few games that used symbols in speech bubbles instead of written language. Even more games use gibberish as a sound effect to represent people speaking. One game that comes to mind (with both things) is The Sims. I was wondering if something like that would make sense in your game idea.

(01-29-2014, 07:53 PM)Vanni Wrote: [ -> ]Yeah, it's definitely non-linear.
Ideally, you could start a "quest" to marry the mayor's daughter, when suddenly you find yourself into an international war, maybe as The Chosen One.
It takes a lot of work and extreme writing skills, but all in all is just a classic RPG.
The main concern would be if it'll be fun to play or not, but only time will tell.

When comparing linear to non-linear games, one good example I can think of is Baldur's Gate compared to Icewind Dale. Both games run on the same engine, but Baldur's Gate is somewhat non-linear, while Icewind Dale is extremely linear. Both are quite fun to play, but have a different feel. In Icewind Dale, you fill like an actor who is given the script, and there's very little room for choice. Apart from assembling a team of heroes (and being able to change them at any point during the game), there's no room for decision. In Baldur's Gate, there is the open world and not only can you choose and pick where to go and what to do, but you can skip certain events altogether, solve problems in a multitude of ways, and at times you won't really know where to go. This feels more like being... maybe not the director, but a vice-director, being able to rearrange the scenes, remove some of them, change some endings and so on. Nevertheless, there's a catch. A player still has to progress through most of the scenes, since otherwise they will be underleveled and otherwise it'll be hard or impossible to progress. This way, the game gets a non-linear feel, yet the developers didn't spend extreme amounts of time making things that few players would ever see.

I think when working on a non-linear game, it's important to keep this in mind - if you give your players a lot of possibilities and they all have impact on dozens of other possibilities, and so on, it grows exponentially and you'll soon notice that the amount of work necessary to make the game even a little bit longer will be not really worth it. You need some way to reduce the complexity of the dependency of certain events on other events. One way to solve the problem is to have a mix of linear and non-linear elements. Another way is to have randomly generated events and relations between events, so that you don't have to implement each and every one of them by yourself. Another way is to simply have few related events, most events being independent of each other.

In any case, you need some strategy to overcome the exponential growth of complexity caused by being non-linear.
Xinef Wrote:I was wondering if something like that would make sense in your game idea.

This link should explain the main idea without writing an essay here.
Obviously it's not strictly about that kind of language, since you can use Klingon or Quenya if you want.



As for linearity, when I had this idea I was thinking about a game similiar to visual novels.
I'll make some examples to explain it better.

Since it's a role-playing game, the story itself is, say, an emperor discovers a new and powerful form of energy, and he uses it to conquer the world.
Meanwhile, the player is magically sent to said world, that is in a parallel dimension, or another planet, or even the past/future of the player's world.

The problem is that said world has different cultures than the player, and as such, he/she doesn't understand what is happening, unless he/she searches way to do so (like going to in-game schools).
Given the communication difficulties, the player can't really follow the main story, build a team and stop the evil emperor.

As such, it's possible to begin travelling the land and never be at the right spot in the right moment.
Obviously, it's unthinkable to have infinite choices, so there are a fixed number of possible storylines, and, similiar to a visual novel, each choice you made before reaching that point will have a different outcome.
These choices are "fixed points" of every storyline: they will always be there, regardless of what you do, the only things that change are the activation conditions (example: you can activate event 1 only if you have activate event 3), and the outcomes.

Think of the game as a tree: the beginning is the common point, and it's the trunk/root.
As you progress, you meet a divergence, that is where the branches of the tree begin.
Whatever branch you choose, you'll never be able to go back, you can only climb up the branch.
Though, just like real trees, the game's "tree" doesn't have straight branches: each branch has other branches starting from it, that may leads to leaves (the end of that storyline, and as such of the game), or other branches, either new ones or "bridges" to branches born from some branch you didn't pick.
This is just a semplification, as you can't really enter a storyline if you miss certain events, so, to be more precise, each fixed point actually creates a complete new branch, but you should've get the general idea.

If I explained well enough and you followed, you should've seen that more than gameplay itself, it's a matter of being able to write a quite big number of branches (I can't really thell the real number but it should be no less than n! branches, with n=number of storylines), and all the lore of the world, that is the main focus of the game.

Maybe we can argue about game balance (you know, what monsters you meet, bosses, etc.), but in my opinion, it's not really that hard: either you create a system that decrease/increase the enemy's stat depending on player's level and location, or you create multiple instances of a boss, each with a different behaviour. It's not really optimized, but it's something.

(oh man, I don't like writing walls of text...)
I think I pretty much understand what you mean about the languages, but this leaves a few important questions...

First - is it more important that the player learns the language, or the player's character learn the language? For example let's say you've played the game once and you know what a certain person is speaking, even though your character hasn't learned that language yet. Will you be able to use your knowledge of the language to your advantage, and to what degree? Or will the game be constructed in such a way that you still have to learn the language in-game to gain any real benefits?

Second - will there be different stages of learning the language, or just a single yes/no thing? If you plan to have stages like "basic understanding", "advanced understanding", "fluent", etc. it'll require a lot more work and a lot more thought. It'll complicate the game a lot.

Third - will learning one language help you learn other languages in some way? For example in Europe many languages are similar to each other, learning one Slavic language will help you learn other ones since they have similar grammar and vocabulary. Will this play some role in the game or not?

Fourth - will you be able to hire translators (once you learn one of the languages) or find people who know a number of languages and use this to your advantage?

Fifth - will the game try to somehow simulate misunderstandings and other language errors? Like for example if you have a basic understanding of the language, so you think that you know what someone said, but actually what he said was something else, but simply similar enough to be mistaken? Or if you say something, and someone misunderstands you because of your bad pronunciation or something.



Anyway the tree-like storyline seems like just the kind of problem that could mean a lot of work goes into a short game. n! branches is... pretty bad. If writing a game with let's say 10 consecutive events takes a month, changing this into 11 consecutive events will result in 11 months of work, to make the game less that 10% longer. Add another event, and it's 10 years of work. Unless you somehow solve the problem and ensure that most of the choices will not have any effect on other choices. Obviously, there are ways to avoid this faster-than-exponential growth, but it's important to decide which of the ways to avoid it will be used. Ending the game early at many points definitely helps, but it's a good idea to have other solutions used too.
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