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"Of HP and 3D: My treatise on CRPG realism"

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analander (145 posts) Click to EMail analander Click to send private message to analander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Apr-22-00, 08:53 AM (Pacific)
"Of HP and 3D: My treatise on CRPG realism"
Hello all,

Iíd love to head other peopleís take on my opinions below.

Someone pointed out on this board that slashing a monster 84 times with a sword and merely causing 300 of its 900 hit points damage is a tad unrealistic. Where I come from most hits with a Katana are critical by nature.

The basic premise of hit points, stared I guess in D&D and picked up in Proving Grounds, requires a little suspension of disbelief as we role play in a world where all entities have a quantifiable Ė and easily adjustable Ė life force. This is almost everywhere in gaming: in Quake you can be down to 3% health, but step on a few med kits, and then youíre fit as a fiddle.

Attached to the notion of hit points is a hyper-elongated concept of character growth: they can start out with 10 hit points, but level up to have well over a hundred. Again, where I come from, one healthy individual isnít at all capable of sustaining 10 times the amount of physical damage as another one, especially if their stamina is based on how many things theyíve killed (experience points)!

Adding more realism in the above areas, however, would not make for a better gaming experience. For one thing, exponential character growth provides a constant challenge in the dungeon. After all, what fun would it be if the monsters on level 10 were the same strength as level 1? By upping the stakes in the power of monsters and character abilities, the game stays fresh and retains a constant challenge for survival. Besides, games that have experimented with slowed character growth Ė Dragon Wars comes to mind Ė are much more frustrating to play, since thereís little continual rewards and a sense of accomplishment.

What Iím getting at then, is that realism in gaming is not always the way to go. The one thing I harp on in gaming is food: I have to go to the grocery store enough on this planet without having to play a game where Iím more worried about ration stats than hunting dragons. As far as Iím concerned, my characters can sleep and eat on their own time; when Iím controlling them, I just donít need the broader party management skills in dealing with such banalities; I would much rather be concerned with the spiritual enlightenment and critical thinking skills game play provides than constantly worrying more than necessary about things like chain mail rusting.

But the main concern with realism I have with computer RPGs is the graphics. RPGs are built on dice and imagination Ė and this spirit survives today in the text-only MUDs. As technology gets added to a game, an extraordinary care needs to be taken to make any new technology transparent. Sure I can switch floppies, but nothing about the fantasy world should ever seem artificial in comparison to its medium.

I consider Proving Grounds acceptable in this respect Ė the black and white walls and character stills are sufficient enough to provide a window to the world Iím navigating, and not feel like itís a computer screen: they donít over-reach in their attempt to be realistic. Any graphics or other special effects are also merely tools for relating the underlying plot, which is what the game is all about anyway (as Iíve mentioned before, George Lucas is a successful filmmaker because he is conscious of this).

When I look at some of the screen shots out there today, especially those with blocky 3D polygons, it really makes me shake my head, because to me, theyíre too greedy in their technological efforts of what can be realistically expressed on the screen Ė which in actuality just emphasize their artificiality - and just donít get why people (or me at least) play computer games. To be fair, they are stills of lighted and animated images, so I realize weíre seeing them at their worst.

Still waiting for holodeck technology,
- John
http://www.tk421.net/wizardry/

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Llevram (5022 posts) Click to EMail Llevram Click to send private message to Llevram Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Apr-22-00, 11:48 AM (Pacific)
1. "So, is it one step from Wiz 1 to Holodeck?"
I agree, I dislike the blocky polygonal renderings. But which is more artificial .. a 2D sprite floating across a background to simulate animation or an animated polygon?

You can't very well expect them (mainstream games) to be released in Wiz 1 level of graphics. Sure, there are text only MUDs, but I think there are fewer and fewer (of them and players).

Progress can be a nasty, painful thing sometimes. But why wait for the Holodeck? I'm holding out for the cerebral link
Tools for your Wizardry(r) toolkit

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Katie (Guest) (1 posts) Click to check IP address of the poster
Jul-29-02, 09:59 AM (Pacific)
4. "question"
You mentioned that there are still text-only MUDs... where would I be able to find them?
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Lord Gram (259 posts) Click to EMail Lord%20Gram Click to send private message to Lord%20Gram Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Jul-29-02, 03:25 PM (Pacific)
5. "Answer"
Check out Realms of Despair.

Lord Gram the Light

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myrddin (202 posts) Click to EMail myrddin Click to send private message to myrddin Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-06-02, 00:02 AM (Pacific)
7. "RE: question"
You can find TONS of online text-only muds at this site:

http://www.mudconnector.com

-Myrddin

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myrddin (202 posts) Click to EMail myrddin Click to send private message to myrddin Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-06-02, 00:03 AM (Pacific)
8. "RE: question"
You can find a TON of muds on this site, which is dedicated to all things mud.

www.mudconnector.com

-Myrddin

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anonymous (Guest) (0 posts) Click to check IP address of the poster
Jan-31-03, 02:27 PM (Pacific)
10. "RE: question"
Check out www.cardea-rpg.com. It is one of the best MUDs I've ever played, and it's 100% text. They are going through a little bit of a tough time at the moment due to a bug or to that's surfaced recently, but they'll be ironed out soon and will be back to their everyday normality of awesomeness.
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RONA (76 posts) Click to EMail RONA Click to send private message to RONA Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Apr-25-00, 06:58 AM (Pacific)
2. "RE: Of HP and 3D: My treatise on CRPG realism"
If you are interested in the combat system based on concept different than hit points take a look at EON RPG http://www.neogames.se/.
As far as I have understood this system bases damage in combat on organs in the sense that if you hit in kidney it is gone or damaged and this affects your life for certain period of time couple of month or even forever. Definitely this gives you completely different way of playing the game because now you have to think twice before swinging the sword. Certainly it is more like in life we do not kill people every day or do we?
As the consequence developers should put much more thoughts into alternative routs and dialogs in game.
RONA

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Llevram (5022 posts) Click to EMail Llevram Click to send private message to Llevram Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Apr-25-00, 08:47 PM (Pacific)
3. "More (oxymoronic) thoughts on CRPG realism"
There has been a lot of talk about realism in CRPGs, but isn't that just silly? Somewhere we must have lost the "F" that should be out there in front, for Fantasy. All of these games should be started with a "suspension of disbelief". After that, how far the game takes it , or brings it back, is another question.

Though, I have to admit, as I play more games and see more and different features and twists implemented, most seem to fall into the annoying category of micromanagement. But that really has more to do with the implementation and it's associated interface, not the idea behind it all.

For instance, Food & Water. Most games leave it out as an annoying detail that most people want left out of their game. Others include it, but it is often (or maybe always) just an annoyance, not really adding anything to the game.

I imagine the reason some of these features get added is to give a game an "edge", allowing you to do something others of the genre don't let you do (i.e. Ride a horse, as Wizards and Warrriors is supposed to let you do, or make your own boat/raft if you can't find the Wikum boat, which would have been nice in Wiz 7).

But making these additional features meaningful, and fun, and easy to use, within today's games still seems a bit out of reach. My son plays Ultima Online and was showing me how his character could bake bread all day long and eventually sell enough to buy some armor he wanted. Oh boy! (please note the sarcascm )

I could only think ... and this is fun for you? You pay monthly for this? But then, who am I to talk, when I might save and reload (many times) for a given effect.

So, do I have a point? I guess I better come up with one .... I don't want much more realism in my games, just a good game (which I haven't been able to find in a long time ... probably since Thief).

And I just don't see how games (of our genre anyway) can get (much) more realistic, without it being a hinderance to gameplay, given our current controls system (mouse, keyboard, joystick, maybe headphones). One innovation we will need (and probably have to wait quite a while for) is a better interface.

I saw one the other day for a PC billiards game. It came with a mouse-like device, that had a mini-cue stick that slid back and forth in it. It was kind of like taking the place of your hand that would be holding the cue. I thought that was pretty cool.

Now if I could just invent that FCRPG mouse replacement interface, that allowed me to easily ride a horse, while building my raft and baking my bread ....

Tools for your Wizardry(r) toolkit

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Llevram (5022 posts) Click to EMail Llevram Click to send private message to Llevram Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Jul-29-02, 08:22 PM (Pacific)
6. "RE: Of HP and 3D: I guess it is the fast forward effect"
Thanks for resurrecting this thread, I was amazed to find it, and even more amazed to read my reply ... (that I had *absolutely* no recollection of).

I guess part of the hit points thing has to be because we don't have the time Conan had (walking in circles, pushing the wheel, bulking up), to develop our characters. Can't believe I missed that point last time.

Tools for Wizardry(r) 7

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myrddin (202 posts) Click to EMail myrddin Click to send private message to myrddin Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Jan-18-03, 01:30 PM (Pacific)
9. "RE: Of HP and 3D: I guess it is the fast forward effect"
One way you can look at HP is more of a defensive nature.. that you're swinging that katana at your opponent and you keep nicking him here and there.. making him bleed a little here and there.. and that is the HP.. every nick it drops his HP down because when he gets to 0 - thats when you've nicked and hurt him little by little so bad that he can't put up any kind of a a fight allowing you to then deal a "deathblow" and "run him through" so to speak...
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