Skipping Building Interiors

Are building interiors essential for shops and generic npcs?

  • Absolutely!

    Votes: 4 21.1%
  • No need really.

    Votes: 15 78.9%

  • Total voters
    19

shadefoundry

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So I've finally been able to get a copy of Bravely Default and I'm really enjoying it. Something I noticed that it does is rather than having interiors for shops and homes for generic npcs/shops it just opens up a screen where you deal with the shopkeeper directly. This seems to me like a really good way to save time in my project, which heavily features exploring a large city and asking different people for information. So what are your thoughts guys? Do interiors really matter for things like shops and housing if it's for npcs who aren't essential/important to the core plot?
 

padr81

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I've left them out on mine too.
 

Andar

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It depends on what you want to focus your game on.
Making an interior room for a shop with nothing but that shop going on there is probably a bit much work and could be skipped.

But every interior is also a chance to place more content there - if that content exists. For example other customers to talk to, books or items to get better descriptions for and so on.
Doing that will really increase the workload on those shops, but in that case that workload will have a purpose where the interior shop with nothing but the shopkeeper does not.
 

Llareian

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I personally enjoy the interiors when they're well done because they can give a feeling of immersion and a look into the daily life of the NPCs. But if you don't care about the interiors of the buildings, it will probably show in your final product, and then I won't care about them even if they're there. As a player, I'd rather you give me something that you clearly enjoyed making than slap in something half-hearted because you think I want it to be there.

So while I like to see interiors, no, I don't think they're required to produce a good game, and they might be a detriment if you don't want to do them.
 

Pine Towers

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If with a good artist, there's always the possibility of using Show Picture to show the inside of the shop as an image instead of a map (as seen in Baten Kaitos shop system).
 

Wavelength

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I did this to save time to meet a contest deadline once, and when the judge played it he loved that the shop screen came up as soon as he entered a building (rather than needing to load and then traverse the interior)! I was kind of surprised.

I can't think of a ton of RPG I've played that do this - Chantelise and Persona 3/4 are the ones that come immediately to mind - and honestly I feel like I'm missing very little in those games by way of not having shop interiors. I would definitely recommend allowing for some shopkeeper dialogue, but yeah, this seems like a really acceptable dev shortcut since it also saves a bit of the player's time.

As far as also abstracting houses, I've never seen that done! I suppose I wouldn't have a major problem with it if you used a similar approach to shops ("entering" the house immediately gives you dialogue and any quests or other gameplay mechanics that you'd find there, and there's no actual interior). But I don't like when all the NPCs are outside and all the homes are just decoration (can't be interacted with at all, or say "it's locked") - this makes towns feel less "living" and less immersive.
 

Arithmetician

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Interesting discussion... it's true that Bravely Default and Persona does it that way, and map-making is quite time consuming. Maybe I'll use this in my game. I already have a shop accessed through a menu for the Merchant class, so why not make other shops menu-based?
 

Kes

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Quite a lot of really old games made on RPGMaker 2000 did this. You clicked on the shop door, and all you got was a black screen with just a sprite and the shop screen. It never bothered me.
 

shadefoundry

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@Pine Towers I definitely don't have a good artist working on the project. It's just me and my original artwork is akin to a garbagefire, though I'd imagine that some of the battle backgrounds would work pretty well.

@Wavelength That is pretty surprising tbh, since I normally expect criticism when I take shortcuts :p. For homes I was thinking of having a sort of fire emblem esque house system, with a background and whatever event you'd see going on when you enter.
 

Wavelength

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@Wavelength That is pretty surprising tbh, since I normally expect criticism when I take shortcuts :p.[/QUOTE]

When you take shortcuts, think about what the player is going to miss out on (or be able to enjoy less) as a result of you taking that shortcut. In this case, it's the loss of the ability to see the interior of a place, but it's also the streamlining of what's usually a tedious process (walking into a building, getting oriented to the new map, and walking up to the NPC before you can do anything). For some players, it's a positive overall! :) On the other hand, taking a shortcut like using a premade map for a dungeon is going to take away a lot from the game experience, so that kind of shortcut shouldn't be taken.

For homes I was thinking of having a sort of fire emblem esque house system, with a background and whatever event you'd see going on when you enter.

Sounds good to me! Has some shades of VN gameplay to it.
 

Arcmagik

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I never really played enough of Bravely Default to realize that, but I did recently play a little bit of Chronicles of Tsufanubra that did this. I was quite surprised for it at first, but it definitely got me thinking about it. The picture idea is pretty good too... I might use that!
 

Piyan Glupak

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A lot of older role playing games did this. The original Bard's Tale (and, if I remember correctly, Bard's Tale 2 and 3), and also Might and Magic III (Islands of Terra) are examples. With Might and Magic IV and V (Clouds of Xeen and Darkside of Xeen/World of Xeen) insides of shops, taverns and similar buildings started to creep in. I am not entirely convinced that they were absolutely necessary, or added a huge amount of benefit, assuming small shops and other establishments were depicted.

The original Bard's Tale had you starting off by exploring the town. Even the houses didn't have interior maps and were dealt with by either a graphic and text message or a random encounter fight that was replaced with the house interior graphic, assuming that your party survived.

EDIT: Just had a thought. (This does happen very occasionally. :D) If you had, for example, a village or small town where your PCCs knew most of the inhabitants, it might be feasible to have a slightly more realistic number of dwellings without overdoing the "The door is locked" message, or the well-known device of houses with no doors that look as if the doors are on the side that you can't see.
 
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mara_vertin

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I must say I like roaming through peoples homes (in games of course). I think it adds a lot to the whole world exploration feeling. But I don't think I would dislike the game when it handles this differently. On the other hand I find it annoying when every second door is just "locked" or a message pops up where people tell you to leave their home ...

For a shop I like the way Tales of Graces-f did it. There was only a window in the building where the shop keeper sits so you can talk to him directly without having to enter the shop.
 
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Killing off an interior space basically eliminates an opportunity to make a story trigger related to that particular inside location. Which in my opinion can be a bit assinining and takes away a bit of depth from the game environment. In the end you are left with this sore feeling that all you have is the overworld, without any nooks and crannies to explore inside tight spaces.

Then again I am very, very used to this mechanic. I'm sure there could be a way around it with some clever design choices.
 

Lunixx

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It depends on what kind of vibe and style you're going for. Honestly I love see devs put more effort into making more buildings accessible. However, it can be nice to just have a shop menu pop up. It saves time on loading maps and walking up to the shopkeeper. So it definitely is something that works well as long as you implement well. But there'll always be somebody who doesn't like it. So just make your art the way you vision it.
 

Piyan Glupak

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@An Additional Pylon - Maybe there might be a tendency to do so, but it is not necessarily so. If I remember correctly, in the original Bard's Tale, all the taverns were the same except for one. The odd one out had an additional option on its menu, "Wine", but otherwise looked identical. If you chose "Wine", instead of making you drunk (as the other alcoholic beverages tended to do if selected repeatedly) it sent you to explore the cellars, which were the beginning of the first dungeon.

For the record, for the project that I am working on I do do interiors for shops, inns and so on. I have used the resident NPC (shopkeeper, blacksmith, barmaid and so on) to give clues and be part of the process of opening up dungeons and so on. It hasn't seemed reasonable for me to hide clues or do anything to progress the game from the shop or inn maps except through the NPC.
 
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@Piyan Glupak That sounds freaking amazing. Sadly I am one of these pleb that have not yet played Bard's Tale (although got it on GOG a few weeks ago) but you've already sparked my interest a lot. I love it when a game tackles such mystery concepts in quirky ways like this one; it makes you feel like there is always some depth underneath everything that at first glance looks unassuming.
 

OwMeEye

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Unless your shop interior is somehow a part of your plot or gameplay, it is probably unnecessary. For example if you want to have some items hidden in the shop or use it to hide some secrets or something, or maybe the npc plays a role in the plot and his/her family is important, then it would make sense to have an interior, right?

Also, if all your other buildings can be entered, then I think it may be worth having shop interiors for the sake of consistency.
 

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