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SenGrisane

"In-Game" explanations for "Out-of-game" events

You often have things happening in the game that should totally derail the whole world. Most common is the the fact that you as player have several lives/continues.
Let's take Final Fantasy 7 for example. How often does one character die in battle and you simply revive him/her? And then in one video sequence a character dies and suddenly you can't reverse it?
Or World of Warcraft. Oh no. The great leader has been killed what should we do?...
We just wait 5 mins for respawn.

This is of course necessary, because people won't spend money on a game you can only play once and when you die its over.
But I wondered why not more game designers tried to incorporate these necessary game elements into their world. By choosing the right explanation you can make a lot work.

See Portal 2 co-op mode. When they die the robots are simply reassembled. You even get blown up on purpose on some maps.

I have hatched ideas for many games and in most I try to explain why players can die over and over while for "normal NPC folk" there is still the fear of death.
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My first idea is for a Fantasy Setting like in World of Warcraft (I pondered it while waiting for raids to start way back when I still played ^^).

Every normal person in the game when killed stays dead. Every "Hero" has gone through a procedure that binds his soul to a glowing gem in his chest. So when they die their soul can't leave and a mysterious ethereal race (who also offers the service of soul-binding) can reform their bodies afterward.

But why don't everyone get one? - Because it is very risky and very painful. You need to be tough and strong to survive the implantation. And still a majority don't survive the process (I'd guess maybe 80-90%)

So people think. I have a 40% chance to reach old age if I don't do any risky jobs (work in a city). Working outside a city without protective walls might reduce this to 20-30%.
Going into the cave of the Lich King and face his army of death? 0,001%

So for people that want to do the really, really risky jobs (that pay incredibly well of course) they make the procedure. Sure most people die, but the few that don't, get rich and powerful. Real world People have risked their lives for less.

Then why do the mysterious beings do it? - Remains a mystery at first and is explained later (prepare planet for an invasion of demons to give them a chance? Other more evil plans? I dunno. Could be all kinds of stuff. But it certainly would be a huge impact if the guy that re-spawns you every time you die, suddenly becomes part of the whole storyline. I like that they might be evil, so in the end you may have to fight them as the ultimate boss!)

Also they don't do it for free. People that are transformed have to pay a hefty fee. Most sell all their belongings (explains why you start "naked") and go into debt to afford it. This explains why you earn less money at the first levels. You have to use a percentage of your income to pay back the people that gave you immortality. As you pay them back that percentage drops and you get more and more money even for the same jobs (I thought this up for a game where you also have the option to become a merchant or a smith as main occupation and not go fighting at all).

So in-game all friends/foes that need to respawn have a soulstone. All others do not. And they really stay dead when you kill them.
You could make this even more interesting. When doing PvP (players killing players) you don't see the police suddenly appear and arrest them for murder. And here it would have an explanation. Soulstoned ( ^^ ) people can't be killed so they can't be murdered. I'd think most normal people would simply avoid and ignore them, not caring what they do to each other and simply hope they get left alone.

However if you allow NPC killing (like in Fallout/Skyrim) when you kill non-soulstoned people you get penalties. Guards attack you etc.

By making the respawn process part of the setting you can create interesting conflicts. Normal people, versus the Heros. It would kinda be like in X-Men where the normal people are afraid of the Mutants.
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The second is more simple for an ego shooter-like game (it is sort of an MMO ego shooter with RPG elements with some MegaMan thrown in :P. I might tell about my game ideas some other time if people are interested)

Depending on your settings you can only have so many bullet holes (decals) on walls, before they vanish (to save processing time).
This is even more important for an MMO, because if every bullet hole - explosion crater where to be saved permanently and someone enters a zone their computer would crash from all things it has to load after some time gaming.
But simply letting them vanish is a bit cheap :P

So I created the setting of a planet that is controlled by machines (original owners long dead, machines still running and self replicating... the usual). So when you blow a hole in a wall of perforate it with your machine gun, moments later robot spiders appear running over the walls and immediately begin to fix the holes.

And I even would integrate them into the game. I said I wanted to add some MegaMan elements. This means you can learn new abilities (you play a robot too) by watching/studying/absorbing the robots running around here (and the less violently you kill something the more you can learn).

From the spiders you can learn how to walk on walls. So... shoot wall. Wait for spiders to come... study them. Walk on walls yourself.
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Hope you enjoyed my rambling. And if you want me to elaborate more on those two game idea in general then just tell me so and I will write something up in another journal.
Viewed: 66 times
Added: 6 years, 6 months ago
 
Kolo
6 years, 6 months ago
Runescape has an explanation for the Death/Respawn thing.

Le Paraphrased Quote: "The deity of your choice sees great potential in you and instead of taking you to The Void/Shadow Realm/Whatever they simply attach you to one of the channels that people use for Teleporting Magic and drop you off in the last major town/city you stayed in just so you can continue your mission and fulfill your destiny."

It went something like that, I'm sure. :3


Great Ideas mate... The spiders sound a lot like Dwemer Spiders from Skyrim, fixing everything you break. :P
Also I like how you put survival against the Lich King it 0.001% when in reality fighting him and his army is more like 5%... xP
PlaneshifterLair
6 years, 6 months ago
Well, he said 'normal' people, 0.001%
The ones that DO respawn can train, level up... become a decent enemy.
The ones that don't respawn? Need LOTS of luck to survive up to the level to be able to face him.
Kolo
6 years, 6 months ago
Maybe...

Have you ever noticed that the level mechanic in most if not all MMO's makes absolutely no sense? I mean, let's take for example, herblore in RS, for the love of god, you're throwing leaves into a pestle and mushing them together and putting them into a vial, what's the difference if it's Guam (lvl1 herblore) or Torstol (lvl85)? And maybe then mixing like coconut milk, nightshade or other bullshit into it? Anyone can do that, and if it's like "use only certain leaves", ask someone how to distinguish which ones and you know how to do it? Honestly... So goes with skills like Archery, sure you need to know how to shoot, but what's the difference if you're shooting a metal or gem arrow and from what bow you're shooting them?
Or defence/armour, I mean how hard is it to put some armour on, you don't need levels to put stronger armours on, or wield better weapons!
PlaneshifterLair
6 years, 6 months ago
Alchemy: Implies different, more delicate processes go into higher level potions. not the same to prepare a salad, preparing rice, or preparing fliet mignon...
Archery: Weight of the arrow, and make of the bow, DO make difference on how to shoot them. Not the same to shoot a primitive bow, than the composite bows used in competitions...

On the better weapons I have no real excuse. I mean, a longsword and a longsword with runes on it... that simply does more damage? Yeh, I see how that makes no sense. Now if the game has magic on it, you can simply use the excuse that you need a certain level of raw magic power yourself so the weapon doesn't overload you with it's own power~
Kolo
6 years, 6 months ago
More delicate processes, well, as I said, how hard is it to ask someone for a little help and learn from them?

Now about the archery, while that is right, that's not how it usually works with levels in games. And I am mostly talking about "Why can you shoot a dragon claw arrow from a Dark Bow but not from a Yew Longbow?
theuncalledfor
6 years, 6 months ago
Cooking is difficult, that's why there are professional cooks who cook better than you. It should still be possible to at least try making things, maybe with a chance of getting a lower quality product, and a chance of botching it completely.

Maybe the arrow is too short. *shrugs*
Kolo
6 years, 6 months ago
But you're not getting the point that arrows are exactly identical in most games besides the tip being made from something else. They even all weigh the same!
theuncalledfor
6 years, 6 months ago
I didn't know that.
Well, for this particular example, that is.
PlaneshifterLair
6 years, 6 months ago
If you want to be picky, ig they're the same, with different tip then they DO weight different.
Same size od wood, metal and diamons weight differently.

Also, dofferent bows aren't used the same way, different tension from the material they're made of and the rope itself, so makes sense you can shoot it from one and not the other.

Now, if you DON'T wanna be picky, then remember you talk of a world with dragons and magic.
Magic.
Deal with it. XD
SenGrisane
6 years, 6 months ago
Yes. It does not have to be a huge explanation. Just an explanation ;3
Kolo
6 years, 6 months ago
Skyrim probably has the best system, it's really hard to die, and when you do die, you just launch your last save. But it would never work with multiplayer. xD
theuncalledfor
6 years, 6 months ago
Awesome ideas! 8D
I'm a big fan of proper and well thought out worldbuilding.
So naturally I love the idea of structuring a game in a way that makes sense even with the player's actions taken into account.
I'd love to play one of those games. X3
SenGrisane
6 years, 6 months ago
Thank you :3
HavenInc
6 years, 6 months ago
I beleive Mortal Online has some decent ideas and stuff. It's pretty much as realistic as you can get. There's no levels, there's only skills you can train up, the whole world is pretty much free game, you can become a blacksmith or a horse tamer or a butcher, whatever you want. All the really unique legendary monsters don't respawn. Probably not what you're thinking of. XD But it's a pretty good game that actually is as realistic as most games.

As for the death mechanics, you turn into a ghost, people can't hear you or anything unless they have a skill in a certain magic, and you have to go to a priest to revive yourself. And here's the brutal thing, all your gear you had on your body, is still on your body, it doesn't magically reassemble itself or teleport. So unless you get back to your body fast and get your stuff back it's liable to be looted by other players. =P
SenGrisane
6 years, 6 months ago
Never heard of it. Sounds like it is doing it pretty well.
PlatinumPen
6 years, 6 months ago
Two interesting things my dear Usagiuma,
One in Final Fantasy VII in battle your PCs are "knocked out" (in negative HP but not at -10 in Pathfinder for example) While that one does die (cinematic death, beyond help)

Two for a bit more "realism" play Adyin: Chronicles of the First Mage, if you , you die no resurrection at all. The same goes for your allies they die and that's it they are dead forever.
SenGrisane
6 years, 6 months ago
Well yes. I always just get "knocked out" when I get hit by four planetoids ;3

Have not heard of Adyin.
raftguy37
6 years, 6 months ago
Very interesting, though I have to admit that I thought your were gonna touch on the all too often occurrence of in game NPC's explaining game mechanics/warnings using out of game terms. For example; in Skyward Sword, Fi will pop out with the message: "Master, the batteries in your wiimote are nearly depleted..." to which, every time without fail, I imagine Link thinking "The what in my what are depleting?"

Or, instead of using stand alone text boxes, games will have NPC's explain game controls directly to your character. Another Skyward Sword moment: An NPC tells Link that to climb up crates he has to press A while running towards it, which makes me wonder how Link managed to move around for 14 years, and makes me imagine Link going, "What in the hell do you mean, 'press the A button'?"
SenGrisane
6 years, 6 months ago
Yeah that feels weird too. ^^
Nightwind292
6 years, 6 months ago
I'd play the game with the soulgem, or the mmo shooter... I like such elements in the games.

Lets look at a classic example of this.  Known in the USA as Final Fantasy Legend 2...  originally as SaGa 2.  If you die one of the gods offers to resurrect you and let you fight that fight again, at the cost of having to face him in battle someday.  And there is different dialog if you can reach Oden without having died.
SenGrisane
6 years, 6 months ago
Interesting. So many games I dunno about.
Nightwind292
6 years, 6 months ago
Part of being old, I remember ancient games that nobody knows about.

You might have heard of unlimited saga, one of the newer ones...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SaGa_%28series%29
SenGrisane
6 years, 6 months ago
Nope, sorry.
Nightwind292
6 years, 6 months ago
ah, pity, and as they are very much character and plot dependent game style, and square enix has lost those skill
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