Should I include a dating/friendship sim in my game?


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RivalRamen_Games

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Okay, so context!
I've seen some game ideas that utilize a dating and romance system, and I'm wondering if that would be a good idea! Kinda like how in Miitopia, your party members being best buddies gives them new abilities. I was thinking that the characters say different stuff when on breaks, you can do combo moves when your relationship is high enough, and also... Perhaps, buffs having greater effects and duration if a buddy has fallen (Revive working more often, healing working more on the characters you're pals with)? Also... Should I include a jealousy system? And how do I make this a non-focal thing in my game? I kinda want it to be something your characters do on the side, and not the main "Hey! We need to do this!" part.
Thanks in advance!
 

ShadowDragon

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that really depends on your game mechanic, but it can be usefull,
like gain "trust" and track those in order to recieve a quest, or
able to "buy/learn" new skills, open new path to explore.

it can add endless creative idea's how you manage this, as long
as it fits your game story.

I dont know MiiTopia though, but if you want to add a system
like that, go ahead.

otherwise, drop it, the choice is yours.
 

Milennin

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If it gives gameplay benefits, it feels like you have to do it even if you don't want to.
 

RivalRamen_Games

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If it gives gameplay benefits, it feels like you have to do it even if you don't want to.
It doesn't have to be done. You can easily beat the game without it, but it can unlock some newer things like PC and NPC backstories, new quests, and some new skills. Might make the game easier, but it doesn't have to be done for the people who don't care about the NPC's or PC's.
 

AphoticAmaranth

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I don't see why not. More features are always good unless they prevent you from actually finishing and releasing your game.

If you don't want it to be the focal point, then any benefits from it could be minimal, so it doesn't feel like the player is forced to do it.

A jealousy system does sound interesting, but I wouldn't recommend it unless your game is short, because then players would have to do multiple playthroughs to see everything.
 

alice_gristle

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I'm usually like, should I include a game in my dating sim, but I get your problem. :biggrin: My answer gonna be no, 'cuz if yo game not a dating sim, then I think it's gonna risk bein' obnoxious. Altho, if you can do something like Fire Emblem: Genealogy of Holy War, then I'm always for! :kaoluv:

(Like, in that game, yo dudes do relationship stuff, fall in love, have kids, and the kids grow up and right the wrongs that happened to their parents. It's a riot... kinda... sometimes. :kaoswt2: )
 

RivalRamen_Games

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I don't see why not. More features are always good unless they prevent you from actually finishing and releasing your game.
This is actually regarding my "Oh boi I wish I can make this someday!" game, which, Ironically, is a remake of my first, unfinished RPG maker project! I just wanna help Norman and pals out in their quest to... Well, no spoilers! Hehe! :kaopride:
Altho, if you can do something like Fire Emblem: Genealogy of Holy War, then I'm always for! :kaoluv:

(Like, in that game, yo dudes do relationship stuff, fall in love, have kids, and the kids grow up and right the wrongs that happened to their parents. It's a riot... kinda... sometimes. :kaoswt2: )
I didn't think of that before, but that sounds like a good idea! The children can also provide another character to play as! And since the game isn't about, like "Oh noes! It's a time crunch to save the world!" Players can take their time raising their kids. Thanks for the general idea! :kaoblush:
 

TeiRaven

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I personally am not a fan of shoehorning dating sims into games in which that isn't the actual focal point. Especially if it's a system where any character can marry any other character: that gets so many combinations so fast that it's almost impossible to give each the attention it deserves.

Alice brought up Genealogy of the Holy War--which I have not played, but I've played other FEs. My understanding of Geneology was that FE4 was about the parent generation and FE5 was about the kids, rather than both being in one game like Fates and Awakening--which seems like a smoother way to do it, because cramming both generations into one game can be rocky.

Radiant Dawn, Awakening, and Fates fell into that "too many options to give them all proper development" trap, but I really liked the support system in FE6 (Binding Blade) through FE9 (Path of Radiance). The support conversations hid character development, and you could only complete a limited number per play, but the stat bonuses weren't so game-changing that there was only one correct combination. That, to me, was a nice way to handle character relationships as game mechanics.

Marriage systems where the parents affect the stat spread of the children (looking at you, Awakening) can be polarizing, because that does tend to create a "one right answer" feeling, and players may be less inclined to experiment with other combinations for the story when future stats are at risk. (Which is what I mean by it being difficult to include both generations in one game, to say nothing of the plot engineering it can sometimes take.)

TL;DR: marriage and child systems that majorly change gameplay are not usually my cuppa tea, but I do love a well-developed support system for adding character interactions and info with minor mechanical bonuses attached!

EDIT: excuse me, phone, I was not done typing! Post finished now, haha.
 
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alice_gristle

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Alice brought up Genealogy of the Holy War--which I have not played, but I've played other FEs. My understanding of Geneology was that FE4 was about the parent generation and FE5 was about the kids, rather than both being in one game like Fates and Awakening--which seems like a smoother way to do it, because cramming both generations into one game can be rocky.
Umm, not at all! FE4 totally crammed both generations into its big, bloated hard-as-nuts self. :biggrin: :biggrin: And yeah it wuz rocky, but the storytelling wasn't even the worst point, the worst was trying to get Mr. Tectonic Plates Slow hang out with Ms. Kill 'Em All On Turn 2 so you could get them to fall in love and get a super duper doozy kid in the second generation... :kaoswt2:

I got no idea about Fates and Awakening, but yeah, the support system was pretty fun!
 

TeiRaven

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Umm, not at all! FE4 totally crammed both generations into its big, bloated hard-as-nuts self. :biggrin: :biggrin: And yeah it wuz rocky, but the storytelling wasn't even the worst point, the worst was trying to get Mr. Tectonic Plates Slow hang out with Ms. Kill 'Em All On Turn 2 so you could get them to fall in love and get a super duper doozy kid in the second generation... :kaoswt2:

I got no idea about Fates and Awakening, but yeah, the support system was pretty fun!
Today I learned! I started with the GBA-era games and just never ended up going back to the older ones, haha.
 

LunarWingCloud

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I wouldn't do it if you are just phoning it in because the mechanic is there. You should add it because it will have a purpose in being included. That said, if you can weave it into the story, sort of like Persona, then go for it.
 

MarxMayhem

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Will your relationship system:
  • Affect plot and narrative of the game?
  • Affect other systems in ways more than one?
If the answer to any of these questions is "No", I would advise against implementing this system.

If it affects plot and narrative but not other parts of the game, then that's no different from a Visual Novel, and depending on how fleshed out the game is, it would feel like either the relationship system or everything else would be shoehorned.

If it affects other parts of the game but plot and narrative, then it will definitely feel like the relationship mechanic is shoehorned in.

You brought up Miitopia and that's an interesting case study. For those unaware: Miitopia is basically a class-based dungeon crawl JRPG. It has a system that keeps track of relationship between PCs. To this extent, Miitopia does two things outside the norm of JRPGs:
  1. Characters can be assigned a "personality" that affects how they behave in and out of combat; and;
  2. Except for your main character, you cannot control any of your party's actions.
What makes Miitopia fun and challenging is that you have to expect and rely on individual PCs' behaviors, and the relationship building they do outside of (and sometimes, during) combat. The relationship system of Miitopia does not affect the class system or the plot, but it affects everything else. For OP: If what you want is how Miitopia does it, then my recommendation is to recreate Miitopia's system, and adjusting it to fit your needs.
 

Htlaets

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Make the game you wanna make. If you want dating sim elements, then put dating sim elements. Don't add them because you feel they'll be popular, because your players will be able to tell that it's tacked on.
 

freakytapir

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Okay, so context!
I've seen some game ideas that utilize a dating and romance system, and I'm wondering if that would be a good idea! Kinda like how in Miitopia, your party members being best buddies gives them new abilities. I was thinking that the characters say different stuff when on breaks, you can do combo moves when your relationship is high enough, and also... Perhaps, buffs having greater effects and duration if a buddy has fallen (Revive working more often, healing working more on the characters you're pals with)? Also... Should I include a jealousy system? And how do I make this a non-focal thing in my game? I kinda want it to be something your characters do on the side, and not the main "Hey! We need to do this!" part.
Thanks in advance!

See, this is the problem.
Either the bonus is small enough that I can ignore it, or it's big enough that I feel forced to do it.
That said, it can work for some games where it is a central point.
I think it worked really well in FF7, where the only thing it determined was who you wound up on a date with.
It also worked well in Persona 5, where building relationships was the focal point of the game, and the point wasn't "Do I do this?" but "Which one do I do first?"
But any point in between is a mine field, I find.
Because if there's any truths, it's that players will quite often optimize the fun out of a game.
To bring it back to Persona 5, I kind of liked, at first, that different dialogue options gave me more or less progress in the relationship. But then you always start picking the 'right' option that gets you the most friendship points.
Or ignoring certain NPC's you really like because you've already maxed out their link.
Or not doing some of them because you like a more annoying character's abilities better.


It is also a lot of work for something that might not pay off that well.
Also, how's your romance writing? Because that's where this will stand or fall.
I've read a lot of bad romance fiction to know how hard the balance is between 'romantic' and 'eye-rolling'.

That said, go for it.
I know I tend to be a bit negative in my comments.

Things to consider for a system like that:
- Social stats (Charm, Courage, ...)
- Gifts
- Just how trackable should the relationships be? Is there a score, or is it all flags and variables behind the scenes.
 

pawsplay

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The answer to adding any new subsystem to the game is the answer to the question: Is this why people play the game? Some games have a number of mini-games or relationship systems built in that are well-integrated into the playstyle. On the other hand, this kind of thing can feel tacked on, or even get in the way of playing the main story.

My general suggestion is that relationships should mainly affect dialog and a few options, like A versus B. If you want a full dating sim built in, then you are making a game that is, at least to a great extent, about dating.
 

kvngreeley

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As previously pointed out, this is definitely a matter of preference. If a gamer doesn't like these types of systems, chances are, they won't like it no matter how well it is developed and integrated. If a gamer likes these types of systems, they might put up with poor development and integration, but dislike another aspect of your game.

For me, because I won't be doing this for a living, just enjoyment as I near retirement, I would put in what I wanted to put in to make a cohesive game. If the system fits well in your game, as others have pointed out, awesome. I am making a game that I would want to play.

I agree with "freakytapir" that many gamers default to min-maxing the fun right out of games. I have definitely done that in the past. And it is weird what aspects of a game someone might feel the need to do if it is there, yet completely ignore other aspects and not bat an eyelash.

For instance, some people can ignore extra classes or races or weapons or skills that they aren't interested in, but add a system that provides a balanced addition that is completely optional and suddenly they feel the need to engage with it and, therefore, are unhappy.

I don't like playing basic classes like Fighter, Cleric/Priest, Rogue/Thief. I prefer specialty classes that have the same premise as the basic classes. But I don't fault a game if the basic classes get something unique to them that I won't be able to access.

For people who like as many options as they can get and not a quick "wham, bam, thank you sir or ma'am" type of game, I think a well conceived and integrated relationship system could be enjoyable. And I think there is a difference between a relationship system and a dating system.

I have seen very basic systems, like King's Bounty, where a spouse and child system was extremely peripheral to the actual game play, but who you chose and if you decided to have children provided tangible benefits in the game. No real role play aspect at all.

I have also seen games with a very intricate relationship system that affected the party dynamics as well as NPC interactions.

If you really want realism, a relationship system can add or detract from that. For me personally, I like having as many options as I can get and I like playing longer games that take hundreds of hours. But I also don't like being forced into something to complete the game.

If a relationship system enhances your game then I say go for it. You are never going to make everyone happy. In fact, you are lucky if you can make a majority of gamers mildly satisfied and not grumpily disgruntled. Having gruntled gamers is actually the goal. (Yes, gruntled is actually a real word that spell checker doesn't recognize. Look it up.) :wink:
 

greenrivers

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This is a very hard 'maybe'. I'm personally fond of games with relationship mechanics (persona, various bioware rpgs, etc.) but I've also seen games where it's done poorly. If the mechanic is just tacked on for the sake of having it, it can feel like a shallow afterthought and that's the last thing you want if your intention is to have the player be invested in the interpersonal relationships between characters.

Another thing to consider is how central to your game would character relationships be? Will how the player interacts with these characters tie into your game's core themes and have a huge impact on them (especially around the endgame), or would it be more subtle, with only certain choices taking effect later on?
 

Shora

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Would be nice to have in a game, but it would require much more work to make it actually dynamical and not being a mess. If you're planning to make a long RPG game which have side stories tied to your characters, then having it will give a good affect on the gameplay immersions.
Also, the *Confused Confusing Confusion* just make me laugh out loud lol.
 

Iron_Brew

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I do think that the issue with a mechanical question like this is that the answer is always going to be "it depends"! Does your game feature a lot of dialogue choices/inter party banter? Do you plan to weave any mechanical advantages into these relationships (ala Persona) or narrative changes (ala Dragon's Dogma)?

Without understanding the scope of your project, and the style of game you're trying to make, this question is a little unanswerable for me. There are certainly ways to hang an entire game off this mechanic as well, so I'd love to know how prominent you're looking to make it, if indeed you are going to implement some kind of party relationship system.

If it's just tacked on for a couple of lazy h scenes though? I'd definitely say no :LZSlol:
 

Tech

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As someone who's painfully shy, I'd like to see whoever said "all stories need a love triangle" undergo a Witch Trial. I'm going to quote Zero Punctuation on this: "Imagine if there was some kind of parallel universe where every game and movie, regardless of genre, was required to incorporate at least one line dancing competition by law. We'd think they were all raving lunatics!"
That's how I feel about romance sidequests and dating sim elements.
 

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