How to pull off "open world"

Adam Ferrell

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
155
Reaction score
13
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
So many of my favorite games are open world. Take Skyrim for instance. You create a character and essentially do whatever you feel like. Go to the store and steal everything, run around the woods hunting deer, test arrow physics on distant bunnies, and you can also do thousands of quests without narrow corridors to show you where to go.

I would like to make all of my games open world, but I don't know how this would be implemented in vx ace. The quests are easy enough to do and all of the crafting would be a chore, but still feasible. The only thing I don't see happening is combat. How would you keep the character's progress consistent to the enemies he's fighting?

My guess would be to make many copies of the same enemy/troop with different levels and use a variable to control which troop is used based on the player's level.

Has anyone tried this before? 
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Galenmereth

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 15, 2013
Messages
2,247
Reaction score
2,080
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
There are multiple scripts out there where you can make enemies scale with the players' level. For example: http://yanflychannel.wordpress.com/rmvxa/gameplay-scripts/enemy-levels/

What you have to take care of, however, is to make sure the player actually feels like his characters are getting stronger. That is, if enemies simply always scale with the player, you get the Oblivion effect where you never really feel like you progress, since they're always pretty much the same challenge no matter what gear/level you have. This can be achieved by minimum levels, maximum levels and restricting certain areas until certain conditions are met, while making sure it doesn't feel "forced".

Open world game design combined with level based stats is a really hard thing to pull off properly. I'm aiming for an open world game myself, but I'm going to remove levels and xp in the standard sense to achieve it. My big challenge with that is exactly what I described above: How to make sure the players feels like they're (or their characters) are becoming stronger. That their efforts to strengthen their character doesn't just result in fluff. I'm trying to solve it by making a combat system that requires player skill as much as tactical skill; where timing and execution is the key. But it's very hard to make it feel "right" :)
 

kerbonklin

Hiatus King
Veteran
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
1,728
Reaction score
282
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I can only recommend 1) using an ABS for something open-world, and 2) using a connected-map script to break up your main world map into connected smaller sections to prevent event/parallel-process overload.
 

hiromu656

Praise the Sun (Arcana)
Veteran
Joined
Mar 10, 2013
Messages
437
Reaction score
123
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
Like kerbonklin said, you definitely want to use small(er) maps. But not too small, you want to create expansion zones, but going for a 500x500 map and filling it in with things isn't necessary, as it can lead to lag as well as getting lost a lot. Also, if you used an ABS on a large map like that, lag could become a problem (Of course there are anti-lag scripts, but still). There's nothing wrong with using the connected-map system, the 2D Zelda games pulled them off well, as well as games like Alundra or Secret of Mana, I would still refer to those as open world, even though you may pass through multiple zones.

When it comes to balancing combat, Galanmereth was right on avoiding the "Oblivion" effect. Although Oblivion had systems to make sure that Rats or Mudcrabs (and other minor enemies) only evolve up to a certain point, this can make you feel like you aren't getting anywhere. Balancing a "Non-linear" open world game is very tough, even Skyrim or Dragon's Dogma fell into a hole where eventually you'll be destroying everything, but at the same time you wouldn't want to feel weak the whole game either. I feel like Kingdom's of Amalur did a fairly decent job with this, only because they went for a more "MMORPG" approach when it came to progression. Different zones have powerful enemies, and others will not, so you'll be progressing to new locations the stronger you become. Of course, this inadvertently creates a feeling of linearity in the game, so straying from this idea is understandable.

Back when I used VX, I was working on an open world game (never got close to finishing), but what I had planned to use to balance the game was making your equipment much more important than your level. You could be the toughest guy in the world, but if you haven't gone out to gather (for example) fire resistant equipment, you're gonna have a tough time in some specific zone. Pretty much, the concept I was going for was making sure that the player wasn't solely tested on how much damage he can deal, but more about always adapting to new challenges, which is why the 'Souls' series (demons, dark souls) has great, rewarding combat, along with the older Shin Megami Tensei games. Then of course, you have to mesh this together with an open world.

Oh, and side bosses that are ridiculously strong until end game. Do that.

 
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,453
Reaction score
4,776
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
You could just event each of the monsters to have "levels" based upon a switch that trips based upon character level.

It always amazes me that people jump right to "use a script to solve your problem" and aren't just like, "here's how to do it without a script and it does the job fairly well, but requires you invest some time into your game to pull it off".  Still, for minimal work, a script is probably a better idea in this case.  Even if you could do it without any sort of script.  I, for one, wouldn't want the fun of having to include pages in every single monster troop in order to scale it via level.
 

Andar

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
30,401
Reaction score
7,222
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Open world type games are a lot of work, no matter which way you go - but there are several possible ways, and not like some here indicate only fixed ways to do things.


Each type of game or way to handle it will get different praise or critic from different gamers however. And from the answers given so far it's appearent that I'm a different gamer so far ;-)


1)


Leveling the enemy with the player is something I absolutely hate, no matter how it's done.


Some games out there made it worse than other's, but I haven't found a single game where the enemy levels with the player, that I would call "good".


For me, open world games are about exploration and discovery - not only how to handle NPCs differently, but also to find and explore the world. As that is the focus, a new area should have new enemies (not just leveled older enemies), and I don't want to fight myself through peviously explored areas.


That makes an automatic leveling of enemies useless - older areas don't need stronger enemies, because they wouldn't be passed as often later, and new areas should have new enemies balanced to my current actors. And if the enemy is map-dependent anyway, you don't need any enemy leveling (only good playtest/balancing).


If that results that the player might wander into an area where the enemies are too strong, then what? That's reality for an explorer, he has to check for warning signs and be not afraid to run away when he got farther in than he can handle.


I hate games where the designer made the "game over" impossible. And why do you think more and more current games offer an iron man mode? The developers have finally realised that there are players who want to have a challenge, not a railroaded game where the player can't die.


2)


I like my games to allow me to play in my own pace. That usually means turnbased combat that can be initiated or prevented by the player, nothing action-based (not like most ABS or on-map-battlesystems).


Yes, I've played games like Diablo - but never as exploration game, only as a simple action game to pass time (and I won't condiser them as extremely good games - they're better than many of their clones, but not Top-Class like the old XCOM (DOS) series or the Ultima/Might&Magic-Series games.


So for me, an interesting open-world game would use evented enemies moving on map, but initiating battles on the battlescreen.


3)


What is also important to me is to have options for an open world game. If you have only the basic figther/mage/thief/healer-setting, then that game can't be one of the top variants. Especially I like actors who are tricky to play - an healer that can't fight or tank means that you're loosing combat ability when selecting a healer - but that can be compensated by letting the fighters stand longer due to healing, if healing is otherwise rare in hte game.


And if you have to carry different weapons to change depending on your enemy, that's also an improvement in a game - if the combat and equipment is balanced in a way that you always need the latest weapon and can't use anything else, where is the challenge?


Check what kind of open world game you yourself would like to play and ignore advice like "you have to use X and Y" - of course, the player who gave that advice will not like your game when you ignore that advice, but there are thousends of players out there - and you can't please everyone.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Adam Ferrell

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
155
Reaction score
13
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I have been thinking of a system where each level up gives you a little health, a little energy, and 1 ability token. You then take this token to a town and use it to buy a skill from one of many trainers. If you want to use it to further boost your energy or your health then you can. You can also go to the barracks and have a soldier train you in combat, or go to the monastery to learn a bit of healing. That way the character will face the same level enemies, but he will have a choice on how he wants to deal with them. 

I definitely agree that equipment must be important in this kind of game. I should implement resources in it as well. You can go do a quest and level up while you grab a few broken branches off the ground. You go to town and get a skill then stop by the woodworker to have a bow made. He'll take the wood you gathered and charge a modest price for labor. 

To get an idea of what I would like my game to look like then think of a Divine Divinity with turn based battles.
 

Cope

Villager
Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2013
Messages
20
Reaction score
7
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
I'm working on an open-world project myself, and I'm interested in how this thread will develop. I'm in the map-production stages so I still have a long way to go. 

As for game-mechanics, I plan to use an equipment-/buff-based system instead of the usual leveling-up and character classes. The discussion about the difficult curve for enemies in particular areas got me to thinking, though I might not have to worry about that until I have most of my maps done. 
 

Adam Ferrell

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
155
Reaction score
13
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Personally I like these 2 ways.


1. Skyrim = Level up gives you a small stat boost and a perk point. These perk points eventually make your character strong but weapons/armor/accessories are the biggest part of conquering difficult enemies.


2. World of Warcraft = When you level up you get stat boosts and you learn new skills(sometimes replacing older skills with stronger variants) so progression is dependent on gear and level equally.


For the maps I would suggest doing something like World of Warcraft. Make a big zone with a rough level requirement. Say you have a desert zone and you have to be ~lvl 10-20 to get any of the quests here. You can travel there but they won't give you the quest until you're 10, referring you to train a little more before you take such risky adventures.


Provide a hub(city, town, camp, fort, outpost) where there are a lot of quest givers/shops/etc. Around this hub you will have a "wilderness" which has the occasional interior(house, shack, village) and the occasional dungeon(cave, bandit camp, etc)


The key to these maps is to make a big wilderness but each area inside be it a city, dungeon, interior or whatever will have it's own map. This will give you a big zone to walk around in but you will go into a new map to get bombarded by events. Putting these events onto your big map is not a good idea because the game will lag.


Example(as if I haven't babbled enough!)


Start in a level 1-10 forest zone with a village in the center that you can see the walls but in order to go into it you must go through the gate to the separate map. It has a cave dungeon, a bandit camp dungeon, a couple of ruins, a creepy old man's house where he gives you a quest to get a vial of Miley Cyrus tears! Then when you are about level 9 or 10 you decide to go to the next area. Or keep doing all the quests until you're level 15 just so that you are astronger. Or go at level 7 because you like a challenge.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

pawsplay

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
165
Reaction score
5
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
I don't like scaling enemies. An open game does require you to scale enemies properly so players can get away if something is too nasty for them. Sprite-based encounters could be good, otherwise if you are using random encounters, keep those Agility levels under control. 
 

Casia

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 8, 2013
Messages
313
Reaction score
54
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
What I did with Casia (also an open-world game) was to generally have the enemies be stronger and tougher the further you travel from the starting point. This applies to all directions. If you lose a battle somewhere, you understand that you need to practise and level up your characters before you can enter that place safely.

It also makes things more realistic as the game doesn't offer you easy fights by default. In an open world it's all about free exploration, but it also involves risks and the possibility to choose whether to enter a specific area now, later or never.
 

jayray

Jay Ray Games and Art Design- Oklahoma City, OK
Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2013
Messages
136
Reaction score
97
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
This method that Casia speaks of is already used in such MMORPGS as World of Warcraft, Twelve Sky, and more... This allows you to break through to other areas...

Another idea is to drop troop types all together in relation to maps, and instead utilize a common event randomizer.. We're already basing everything on steps so you can create a common even that uses the player steps to determne the percentage of chance that a player gets hit with a monster.

We'll say a player should normally have a battle every 50 steps. Okay, so you create something like 100 as a variable, that when each step is taken, a dice is rolled, giving a 2% chance of a battle, and this goes up each step if there was no battle. Now, depending on variables like Player level and environment type, you can create challenge ratings marks.

So basically, it'd be a randomizer (100) and if the randomizer is more than the step percentage, you got to a battle labeler...

Now comes the fun stuff. You know that a little level 1 bat isn't going to cause our level 5 player a lot of grief, so depending on what level your player is, you can throw different troop ideas at him, and these can grow and grow depending on the level of the player. However, sometimes, you can play with it, giving troops that are a little easier, and a little stronger than average, all based on the player. Run Battle, and of course, if you're running a battle off of a common event, you can add factors if you win or lose that, conditional branches for loot that varies based on more randomizer things, and then the steps reset again.
 

Jesse - PVGames

Game and Graphics Developer
Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
1,782
Reaction score
2,775
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
What I am doing with Aleph to avoid the whole enemy scaling thing is to replace the enemies when the player reaches a certain level (or more accurately, have a chance of them being replaced). 

For example: The player is level 3 and walks through this particular woods. The monsters he would encounter would be wolves, let's say. But once the player reaches level 8, the wolves are obviously not much of a challenge any more. But now there is a random chance that instead of a wolf spawning, a dire wolf spawns instead, which provides more of a challenge to the player.
 

Berylstone

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jun 3, 2013
Messages
642
Reaction score
62
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
What I am doing with Aleph to avoid the whole enemy scaling thing is to replace the enemies when the player reaches a certain level (or more accurately, have a chance of them being replaced). 

For example: The player is level 3 and walks through this particular woods. The monsters he would encounter would be wolves, let's say. But once the player reaches level 8, the wolves are obviously not much of a challenge any more. But now there is a random chance that instead of a wolf spawning, a dire wolf spawns instead, which provides more of a challenge to the player.
That's somewhat similar to how I go about it.  I randomize the strength of the encounters but use the character's level as a guide that way nothing too powerful that the player has no chance to beat ever attacks.  So some fights may end up relatively easy while others are challenging... but none are impossible. 
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
34
Reaction score
3
First Language
Italian
Primarily Uses
Actually, the project I'm working on right now is an open world.

As said, there are many scripts that can help you. But, since I'm not a programmer but more of a writer, I can give you this recommendation: keep you story simple ( doesn't have to be predictable, but easy to follow ), because people in open world games get easily distracted by sidequests, crafting and all the other goodies you want to put in the game.

Anyway, Casia's game it's a fantastic example of Open-World game :)
 

omen613

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2012
Messages
309
Reaction score
109
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
Could make it so level ups just give you abilities or tokens used to purchase abilities and stats are controlled by gear instead. Maybe boss enemies drop better gear or materials to make better gear. This way every encounter with bandits or Orcs is a challenge. No level 10 area, no level 50 area….just don't go to the island kingdom till you find a boat….or can't pass this cave till you bring the king X item.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

Husband has roped me into playing one of his PSO2 characters. Productivity is now negative.
Tileset A is lava! Don't burn D:
as MZ come out what you guys think about.....Some particles engine :3c?
Who wants to sing this song with me?~

Decided to submit my games to the Monday Night Stream. Figured it might be a fun way to get some traction.

Forum statistics

Threads
100,703
Messages
978,544
Members
132,320
Latest member
LavaWave
Top