Ideas for Open World Game

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by BananaShiki, Apr 15, 2016.

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  1. BananaShiki

    BananaShiki Warper Member

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    I'm currently working on a game with a focus on exploration. You have a huge world map with plenty of locations to explore, including towns, mountains, caves, forests, dungeons, among others. Every area that isn't a town will vary in size but will be made with exploration in mind, meaning every area will have different paths and things to find in them, sometimes including houses and NPCs as well.


    The game would feature two different continents and a bunch of islands to explore. The player will have to buy a big ship in order to be able to sail towards the second continent.

    The main story will guide you through key locations from both continents, inciting the player to explore optional areas. It will also make you travel to an island at some point, in order to let the player know that there's other places to explore in the sea.


    Exploring these optional areas, the player will find more party members to recruit. These will be mostly recruited by completing quests, while some others might require more specific requirements, like meeting a character a certain number of times around the world, obtaining a treasure from a dungeon and later meeting a thief character who fights you for the treasure and then joing you, etc.


    While the main story would only have one character join you, it would set you up so you could recruit some people early on, but still making it optional. Every recruitable character is purely optional, and the player has to find them on their own.

    Whenever you entered a town, you'd be able to find some of your party members around town to talk to them and trigger events like in the Star Ocean games. Upon reaching certain levels, your party members would also give you quests that expanded their stories and gave them power-ups as well.


    More on characters:



    Using a CTB system, the player controls the protagonist(locked) and three other characters to battle.

    Enemies will have levels, and barriers will be fairly common, though the player will be able to use barriers as well. There will be very few enemies inmune to status ailments, including bosses, in order to make ailments more relevant.

    Characters will be divided into 8 different types (types and names subject to change):


    Fighter: Any character with a focus in attacking and dealing damage through physical attacks. Basic stuff. Will include characters with swords, spears, maces, clubs, axes, fists, etc.


    Hunter: Any character with a ranged weapon focused mostly on damage, but also mixing in some buffs and debuffs. These characters are also the only ones with the ability to bypass enemy barriers.


    Wizard: Any character focusing on dealing damage with spells. Most wizards that use elemental magic will only be able to cast magic from that one element.


    Healer: Any character focusing on healing allies. Not restricted to magic-users, just anyone who excels at healing.


    Saboteur: Any character focusing on boosting the party and saboting the enemies. Saboteur characters use a wide range of skills to inflict powerful status ailments on enemies and buffs for allies. Just to mention a few: giving allies HP/MP Steal, increasing crit rates/dmg, generating/dispelling barriers, the usual poison/silence/etc. along with granting allies inmunities to these.


    Defender: Tanks. These are characters with a pathetic ATK stat but high DEF and skills focused on defending allies by taunting, creating barriers, buffing defense, and ocasionally granting auto-revive on themselves. While they're not usually meant for attacking, some of them will include attack skills scaling off DEF or something. Not sure what to do about equipment for these guys, thinking about only allowing them to equip shields, but I don't know.


    Berserker: The complete opposite of a Defender, a class purely focused on dealing damage, as well as redirecting damage away from them, towards other allies. All of a Berserker's skills will cost HP, and the character will deal more damage the lower their HP goes. They will take more damage from enemies compared to the other types, but will compensate with their high damage. Best coupled with a Defender and a Saboteur for mad combinations.


    Special: More gimmicky characters not fitting into any class fall here. Characters capable of altering turn order for allies and enemies, characters using money to fight(think Yojimbo from FFX). In contrast to other types, these characters will be mostly one-off uniques made for fun, and will probably require special party setups to be powerful.


    My aim is to have a high number of recruitable party members with relatively small skill sets (about 5 or 6), as well as characters of the same type having different skills, as well as some shared skills with variations in order to make them different. This is to prevent players going with the "best" characters every time, and instead encouraging them to try out various party combinations while keeping them all viable.


    The protagonist would probably be the exception to this. Since he would be able to change classes into various classes within the different types, and giving him a bigger skill set than any other character. His skill set would essentially be a "best of" of different effects found in those character types.

    In order to promote the use of various characters I would also like to make it so all characters gain exp, even when not active, though for non-active characters the exp would be reduced to about 75%; and also use a fatigue system where characters get tired and perform worse the longer they've been in the active party. They would rest by sleeping at inns or using certain items, resting like this would also grant them something like a well-rested bonus to perform better.


    This is still in the early stages so I'd like some feedback to improve things.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2016
  2. Baerthe

    Baerthe An Art Director Veteran

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    I do not mean to dis-sway you from your project, however, it is very trope and is quite a large scale.

    How are you going to handle manging such a project while making sure there are interesting things to do in these vast zones and keeping a steady supply of new things for players to engage in? Exploration is good, unless there is nothing to do. Even something simple as mining or roaming traders does a great deal to make the player want to explore.

    Also, from my experience, players do not like it when only one character can change classes; Instead they usual prefer characters they can grow to know and love while molding them to their own idea of what that character should be. Take a look at Disgaea compared to Dragon Age (any of them). If Disgaea you have disposable characters, sure some have story elements, but at the end of the day they are all just units in your army. But in dragon age you have a smaller roster of characters you can recruit to your cause, you can talk to them and build relationships so that you actually care what happens to them in battle, they are not just "oh another Warrior, whatever...". (In fact a better example is fire emblem!)

    Unless done very carefully, players do not like having disposable characters.
  3. Menos

    Menos Veteran Veteran

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    Have you given a thought about how you're going to balance this? Will the areas all have a set difficulty, or will they level with the player? If the former, you're effectively forcing people to explore at least a certain amount, and potentially letting the player become overpowered. If the latter, you ensure balance but potentially undercut the fun of exploring since everything the player finds is just another step on the treadmill.
  4. lolshtar

    lolshtar Master of Magic thatknow nospell Veteran

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    Here's two questions for you.

    It is your first game? Are you alone?

    If you answered yes to any of those 2 questions then you won't be capable of completing it due to how ambitious it is.

    Always make your first game simple, linear and plot based.
    Roguedeus, Prescott and Frogboy like this.
  5. LightningLord2

    LightningLord2 Psionic Bird Thrower Veteran

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    Honestly, your first game can be more nonlinear - just don't attempt too large of a scope. Maybe like a plot-driven mystery game taking place in a relatively simple area like a village or a mansion. For a more traditional RPG experience, you could look at Megaman - you have a set number of bosses to beat and you're free to do them in any order.

    So while I agree the game should be simple and not too long, it's not mandatory to be plot-driven or linear.
    Frogboy likes this.
  6. Prescott

    Prescott argggghhh Veteran

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    I would agree that you should definitely make a game first where it is kind of linear, and not massive.

    First game I made was a piece of crap thing that only had 50~ maps and only took about 2 hours to complete. Second one is actually a first person horror game that I haven't even beaten because it's incredibly hard, but there are people that have beaten it so congrats for them xD the third one I rushed a lot because I made it with a very small team for a contest, and when it first came out it had lots and lots of issues, but I've updated it a bit and it is definitely better now. That one is an adventure-type horror game that lasts about an hour if you know what you're doing and has quite a few different endings.

    Besides those three games that have actually made it out (all of which are very short), I've done a lot of experimenting and I know for a fact that I can create a game of this scope, which is exactly what I'm doing now. Even still, I have a decent sized team going in on it with me and I've estimated two years of working on it, it's a huge project to go after and you have to make sure you're ready for it and you won't give up so easily.

    ANYWAY that's a completely different topic.

    Like I said, our game is an open world-esque game too. Our artist has likened it to a "2D Elder Scrolls game." You should definitely have a great story that shows off everything you can do in a way that the player can easily understand without it being thrusted upon them, and I think you're doing a wonderful job of that in concept, at least. But I think more important than a good main story for an open world game is a good world. Good lore. Lots of stuff to do that will get you lost in the world. All of the characters should be affected by whatever is going on in the story and should be able to affect the player's story (not the main story, per se) in some way, even if it's telling your main character a piece of lore from the game's world. Everything has to work naturally to the point where it doesn't just feel like "an open world game" but a world in of itself that the player can delve into and have fun with no matter what they're goal is.

    Like @Baerthe mentioned, things like mining, crafting, fishing, etc can give the player a lot to do in your world. In our game, most of the animals are dead so there isn't any fishing or hunting, so we must turn to alternate methods of side quests that aren't just typical "fetch this for me" deals. For instance, and I won't spoil too much, but we have a side quest where a wife asks the player to find her husband because he was supposed to report back to her and she fears he has met his doom, so you go on an excursion and things take some pretty radical twists. We even have an entire side story where you can kill half of the high-ranking officials like leaders of towns, princes, guard captains, etc.

    The key is to make it feel like a living, breathing world. Characters shouldn't be just pieces of cardboard that say "Hmm, I wonder how Jackson is doing today..." and then you go to Jackson and he gives you a quest where you need to kill 5 purple slimes, you know what I'm saying?

    Just make it exciting, make it feel alive. Make sure every character serves some sort of purpose for some reason and isn't just a random NPC that drops a hint telling you to go to the next dungeon.

    Stay diligent and keep working hard! It may take a while but it will be well worth it if you can make your own world for people to explore.

    Also, on a different note, we are taking a more liberal approach to our world, kind of like Breath of the Wild that was just announced where you can go straight to the boss if you want to. For us it isn't that drastic, but you can choose to go to whichever place you want first and the game will change depending on where you go in what order. These areas all have a different level of difficulty to them, but if a player is dedicated enough to seek his own quest, he will, and if he grinds up to maximum level to defeat the hardest boss in the game next to the final one, then the rest of the game SHOULD be a cakewalk because he spent all of the time doing that, and different things will change because of that (for instance, one boss changes their form if you have defeated a harder boss before them, enabling the boss to return to "good" and be at peace).

    Of course, it is up to you to decide whether things scale with the player or are static for the player to explore and find out for themselves, but there should always be some sort of different thing that happens based on where they decided to go first, who they decided to kill, etc. Makes for a more unique playing experience!

    Hope I could be of some help :)
  7. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Prescott, please refrain from necro-posting in a thread. Necro-posting is posting in a thread that has not had posting activity in over 30 days. You can review our forum rules here. Thank you.
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