RMMV Non-Standard (Non-Humanoid) Protagonists

CrowStorm

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I feel like I make this caveat with every other thread I make, but I apologize if this is in the wrong subforum, RMW has many, many subforums.

Anyway, I'm very curious if anyone reading this has made or considered making an RPG type game where you play as well...not just not your typical JRPG adventurers (there are lots of games, professional, indie, and amateur, where you play as like a shopkeeper or an innkeeper or whatever)...but something not even human, like some kind of monster. Dragon has definitely been attempted, and not just by me, but I'm curious what other very-not-human Actors people have tried to build games featuring!

My own recent go-nowhere pipe dream (no pun intended) ideas have included games where you play as a tank, dwarven steampunk machines, and a time whale respectively.
 

gstv87

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google the flash game The Visitor, and The Visitor 2.

space slug that eats living creatures and evolves based on what it consumes.

I guess the point of entry for something that is "not human" would be (as in that game) "where does it come from?"
 

StarkSnow

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I really like making games that don't have any humans at all. I was working on a game where you played as a four armed friendo called a Whisp, never finished it though. I made another game where you play as the lad in my avatar.
Creating new species for my games is something I like doing but make sure not to over do. I don't want to go overboard and have too many to keep track of.
I guess in the more general question of "Non-humanoid" I haven't actually made any that would fall into that category. They always seem to end up being bipedal beings that stand vertically.
 

Prez

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I've had plenty of ideas of this type, mostly involving aliens or robots. One of my most recurring settings (recurring in my mind, that is) has no humans at all, with the protagonists being long-legged frog critters from space, alongside monopedal birds and sandworms with cyborg arms. I've had a handful of such ideas for fantasy settings, too (just not as many because I always lean towards sci-fi), like an adventure game where you play as a kobold (the lizard kind, not the dog kind).
 

Kilravok

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I have seen a demo on YouTube for a game where the main protagonist is a skeleton. Game starts with him just waking up to the chaos of his village being attacked by heroes. By the time he leaves his hut, he is the only one left and the Heroes believe him to be the Boss of the undead monster village because he has an accessory. The Narator saves his life by teleporting the Heroes back to Starting Town and the Skeleton pledges revenge on those evil Heroes.

I don't remember the name of that game or who made it, I think it was made on VX or VXAce. Don't even know if it ever was completed, but I would love to play it.

I am currently working on a very short mini game (as it should be, since it is my first attempt at actually finishing a game), where the Protag starts out human but becomes more and more unhuman as he levels up. The story is simplistic: You wake up to the blaring alarm of a science lab, lieing naked in the wreckage of a man-sized test tube. Other former test tube occupants are dead in the shards of their former prisons and slaughtered scientists litter the halls. ...also, there is a self-destruct count-down to clean up the containment breach. You have to fight your way through the lab, finding clothes and weapons to face the mutant monsters (test tubers just like you, but more out of control) and get out before time is up.
 

Philosophus Vagus

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Honestly I find most of such games kind of pointless, aside from the neat, cutesy artwork. That's because at the end of the day whether your protagonist is a person, a puppy or a plant for narrative reasons if nothing else your protagonist is still going to be intelligent from a human perspective, that is, essentially a non-human, but personified as such regardless.

Not that I don't love them Crash Bandicoot/Jak and Daxter, Spyro and the like are among my favorite games from childhood, and games like Stories impress me to this day, none of which had aesthetically "human" characters in them. But despite all of the trappings at the end of the day the characters are still just people, but fantasy people no different than elves or dwarves, really more akin to an alternate race of humans than anything else.

There was this one old ps2 game I played as a kid that actually portrayed an animal protagonist as more or less...an animal. A dog's life, it was called. Where you play around as a dog. Obviously made for children, but as I recall the game was given a Teen rating because it allowed you to do...well typical dog stuff, like marking your territory and such. Really missed its target audience there.

TL;DR Go with whatever aesthetic you like, but chances are I'll still look at your characters like they are people no matter how inhuman the aesthetic is, because you'll probably just personify them as such anyway. That said though, said aesthetic can be very important to some, so if you are among them might as well go for it. I know one guy on this forum in particularly who won't even touch a game if the characters are all just "human-sues" as he tends to refer to any character that isn't aesthetically nonhuman in games.
 
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Kilravok

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Honestly I find most of such games kind of pointless, aside from the neat, cutesy artwork. That's because at the end of the day whether your protagonist is a person, a puppy or a plant for narrative reasons if nothing else your protagonist is still going to be intelligent from a human perspective, that is, essentially a non-human, but personified as such regardless.

Not that I don't love them Crash Bandicoot/Jak and Daxter, Spyro and the like are among my favorite games from childhood, and games like Stories impress me to this day, none of which had aesthetically "human" characters in them. But despite all of the trappings at the end of the day the characters are still just people, but fantasy people no different than elves or dwarves, really more akin to an alternate race of humans than anything else.

There was this one old ps2 game I played as a kid that actually portrayed an animal protagonist as more or less...an animal. A dog's life, it was called. Where you play around as a dog. Obviously made for children, but as I recall the game was given a Teen rating because it allowed you to do...well typical dog stuff, like marking your territory and such. Really missed its target audience there.

TL;DR Go with whatever aesthetic you like, but chances are I'll still look at your characters like they are people no matter how inhuman the aesthetic is, because you'll probably just personify them as such anyway. That said though, said aesthetic can be very important to some, so if you are among them might as well go for it. I know one guy on this forum in particularly who won't even touch a game if the characters are all just "human-sues" as he tends to refer to any character that isn't aesthetically nonhuman in games.

True, this problem exists. However, to say all non-human protags are just humans with unhuman aesthetics is placing the supposition that only humans can be people or be intelligent. But I still see your point. The way around the humanisation of non-humans is in motivation and possible actions/behavior given to the characters.
If you are playing an intelligent large Praying Mantis, would you have any qualms over killing and eating your own mate? What do hive insects or galactic empires think about the topic of genocide? Ever met a demon with human morals around murder and sexuality?

Also, what metaphors and habits does the character have. Does the character actually smile and laugh, or is the face completely unreadable, but the tail wags when happy? Is the species even capable of hapiness? This all would have to be expressed in the descriptions, dialogue and animations (often too much work to be worth it). Non-human intelligences would have evolved along sexual selction and natural selection factors that makes their emotional and cultural dispositions different to humans. In spite of what modern political correctness demands, gender specific behavior is not created by society, no matter how much it is enforced or deconstructed by society. For thousands of generations, status and success driven males passed on their genes while meak men did not; caring and nurturing females had offspring, harsh and selfish ones did not. Both males and females had to be social and part of a tribe to survive long enough to pass on their genes, loners didn't reproduce. This went on long enough to become hardwired in genetics. How would an intelligent species that evolved from a solitary animal behave? What moral codes and cultural doctrines would a creature enshrine into their social construct if eating your husband after sex was a biological requirement to produce healthy offspring (to make essential nutrients available to the unborn without starving the mother?)? How would this affect the behavior of males of that species, if only those willing to die right after sex would be able to pass on their genes? And so on.
This is a lot of effort, for small indi projects, too much effort to be worth it. Small indis often lack the time, funds or experience to think about everything and focus on the main part of the game: the gameplay.
And most AAA projects neglect it because either the non-humans are just <trope>faceless mooks<\trope> to be slaughtered by the human heroes or really nothing but humans with alternative pixel art. Afterall, spending your money on flashy special effects and novel game mechanics is soooooooo much more important than good storytelling and convincing world building....

TL:DR Just because it is intelligent, just because it is a person, does not make it a human in fancy dress. It all comes down to how the creator defined their cultural and biological base-line.
 

Questilda

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I have seen alot of good projects on rpg maker but usually they are the same cliche fantasy hero type quest games. I would love to see some more robotic/cyberpunk/sci-fi type games with mechanics like turn based gun battling. With stores that you can go to, to buy laser guns , revolvers etc with a cyborg class that can undergo cybernetic enhancements. If someone can point me to any good projects like these it would be much appreciated.
 

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