AeroPergold

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So as you can guess with this thread name. Why haven't more people made an RPG in which you collect special items in themed worlds that unlock other themed worlds via a hub level.

The reason I asked is because I made two games (OGMS and Numbskull Monotagari) that works like a collectathon a la Super Mario 64, DK 64, and Battle for Bikini Bottom but in a JRPG form factor. I think making a collectathon RPG is still a cool concept and while it would de-emphasize the story or plot it would highlight level exploration and puzzles.

I'm curious to hear about why this sort of thing isn't done super often.
 

Andar

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it is a cool concept, but to make it really work you'll need a large number of items with unique images and unique descriptions.
that is easy to do on a company-level game development, but a lot for a single developer working on hobby time. Especially if there is no budget to hire an artist.
 

Milennin

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It requires good, intricate map design, which is very hard to get right. You need maps big enough and crowded enough that you can hide collectables in corners that aren't easily spotted, but also not be so hidden that the majority of players will never even notice them. Or, going with smaller maps, you need to have enough on-map puzzles to make them challenging to get, and designing puzzles isn't exactly easy either (takes quite a lot of eventing knowledge, and creative ideas for different kinds of puzzles that are also intuitive to understand). And if the game is heavy exploration based, coming up with good gameplay rewards is difficult too, unless you also want to have a good combat system to base the rewards on, which also requires a lot of development time on top of all that.
 

Shaz

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I've moved this thread to General Discussion. Thank you.

 

Failivrin

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Lavish artwork, fluid controls, and unique movement abilities are also important features of collectathon games, which is why they tend to be platformers. If the theme is exploration, simply moving around the map should provide a thrill. It's really difficult to achieve this with a classic RPG format in which the maps are uniform and movement is unidirectional (This, incidentally, is why many players prefer to dash. Moving around the map feels like a chore).

I've been working on a puzzle game with some light collection elements. Some tricks I suggest to make moving around the map more fun:

1. Make your collectables visually attractive and give them a place in the narrative. If the player is picking up coins, come up with a reason that coins might be scattered everywhere and a reason (other than game progression or high scores) that the character needs to pick them up.

2. Heavily edit your tilesets/maps/sprites to make every corner of your worlds unique. The features of your map should not only be attractive, they should tell a story that unfolds gradually as the player progresses. NPC sprites (especially monsters) should have realistic behaviours, and they should respond to the approach or behaviour of the PC. The player should feel that things were happening in this world before they arrived, and things will continue after they leave.

3. Don't make any flat maps. The player should be able to climb up to new levels or fall down into the abyss.

4. Maps should have regions that are dangerous/lethal but also necessary to navigate. Think of spurting geysers, hidden traps, and areas with tall grass where unseen monsters will chase you.

5. Maps should have multiple surface types. Sticky floors, slippery floors, cracked tiles that break after you pass over them.

6. The player should have multiple tools, abilities for interacting with their environment, and they should be able to use them consistently throughout the game while also discovering new applications/combinations.

7. I'm not implementing this in my current project, but I think it would be awesome if changing the avatar changes the way the player can interact with the world and the way NPCs interact with the player.

Hope this helps!
 

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