Codex with Progressive Unlockable Content

aozgolo

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So a Codex is basically a series of encyclopedias collectively called a Codex that is available through an in-game menu that offers background lore and info about a world. Usually there's a bestiary, location synopsis of visitable areas in the game, item lists, and if there's any crafting in the game, a recipe list.

Progressive Unlockable Content simply means that you don't start with a completed codex but you fill it out over time by actions you do in-game. For example you don't get a bestiary entry on an enemy until after beating said enemy, you don't get recipe info on something until you have learned the recipe, etc.

Now I think most people would agree that a Codex is not a bad feature as it adds an unobtrusive way of expanding game lore and provides a quick reference for players to use in-game.

I'm curious more about what kind of information players would most be interested in having access to in a codex as well as how you feel the information should be unlocked. Should entries be robust and give detailed info on stats, drops, shop info, etc. or just basic synopsis?

Personally I am a bit partial to the Final Fantasy XII system where you got basic bestiary info for killing said monster, but a number next to the entry showed how many of said monster you had to kill to unlock additional info about the world's locations or history. It added an interesting element and for lore buffs and completionists it gave them a reason to kill multiples of every enemy type. My only grievance with the system is that the history and location info was not segregated from the bestiary but instead tacked on as secondary pages to bestiary info.

What's your opinion on this feature and it's best implementation?
 

Uzuki

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Yeah when I unlocked the first one about bazaar trading and an history page it did feel a little tacked on, but I was grateful for the info none the less. I always enjoyed a game that went into it's own lore and gave more information about the world. It shows that the designers care and put their hearts into everything they could. 
 

whitesphere

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Well, the system I've seen are in the roguelike games.  These have Codexes which show the most basic information on monsters, you've encountered, but as you kill more of them, you get more and more information.  Also, as they do certain attacks, you get those added --- for example, if a dragon can breathe fire, you only get the "breathes fire" note added once the dragon does actually breathe fire on you. 

A nice feature for the Codex might be the ability to go to an in-game location and get more info added to the Codex.  For example, reading "All About Dragons" might add a good amount of (but not all) information related to dragons in the game.  Except, perhaps, certain extremely rare dragons.

This might be very helpful to both prepare the players for an area, and fill in backstory.  And it would encourage players to really search every nook and cranny of the game world to find more books to expand the Codex, before encountering that type of opponent.
 

omen613

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Always thought that's what the pokedex in the pokemon games should have done....like list all the moves that pokemon learns and at which levels...and what possible abilities they could have....you know the stuff people go look up online for.

More "optional" information is never a bad thing.
 

The Prince of Sarcasm

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This "Codex" is new to me but it sound really cool. Does anyone know how to make one in RMVX Ace? It would be a great addition to my game.
 

aozgolo

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This "Codex" is new to me but it sound really cool. Does anyone know how to make one in RMVX Ace? It would be a great addition to my game.
It's really probably no more difficult than doing a custom menu, you could probably do everything purely with eventing. I'd suggest trying your hand at making a simple custom menu system and it easily segues into that. I mean a Codex when you get right down to it is 90% text information, so really the only difficult part is that 10% finding a nice system to house it and make it accessible.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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you can even probably use items and common events that show texts and/or pictures... Like each codex entry is one item that triggers 1 common event... Quite hard to set-up due to the 1:1 correspondence between items and common events but I think it will work fine, unless of course you would like to just use the existing scripts out there like the journal ones...
 

Eschaton

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All right, the Codex!

My thoughts on the Codex:  all of the information should provide context to references that don't directly affect the plot.

Do you need to know how magic works in your setting?  No.  But it is nice trivia.

On the other hand, the player shouldn't have to scour it for clues to advance the plot.  Big no-no.

More personal thoughts:  numbers and mechanics should stay the hell out of it unless you're a deft enough writer to make sure the player doesn't notice.  If I read about "power levels" I will close.

I have never played a game in which the characters spoke as if they were aware of the Codex.  They were completely oblivious or they just took it for granted.  Either way, imagine someone on a show talking about Wikipedia in the middle of a conversation.  It would be distracting.

I think the Pokedex is a good example of a Codex being important to the plot done right.  However, it only seems to record absurd urban legends and myths regarding the mons rather than anything useful.  If Arceus was God, then It wouldn't allow Itself to be caught.  Too busy running the universe.  But that's, like...my opinion, man.

Above all else, though, the Codex must not be intrusive.  The Pokedex fails in this regard because you have to see a mon's entry any time you catch a new one.  That really slows the game down if you're catching 'em all.  If a Pokemon game didn't force you to see every mon's entry, but rather showed a little popup that read "Update:  Pokedex," or something along those lines, I'd be pleasantly surprised.  I'd also be surprised if the entry comprised of more than a poorly-translated blurb.

In Mass Effect, the Codex served to translate the technobabble.  Completely unnecessary, but it was nice to have a context.

In Dragon Age, a lot of the myths, legends, and political nuances were further explained past the point of comprehending the plot.  Again, not necessary, but it was nice to have context.  Imagine poring through the appendices of Dune, the Lord of the Rings, or A Song of Ice and Fire in order to comprehend the story.

Flavor text.  That's all it really is.

I just thought of a fantastic use of the Codex.  Instead of having the player sit through a very slow-appearing-text intro discussing the back story, you can just put all that stuff in the Codex and let the player read it at their leisure.
 
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