Role-playing games and Interactive fiction

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Mika Oksanen

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Oct 29, 2006, 7:36:55 PM10/29/06
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Hello, here are some questions from a relative newbie.

Many classic IF games have included role-playing elements - e.
g. Hound of Shadow, Shadowkeep, Beyond Zork, Advanced Xoru, Zyll etc.
Some such games have been very good, e. g. IMHO Hound of Shadow.
However, I have not found similar elements in modern IF games. Have
there been any attempts to include role-playing elements in modern
non-commerical IF games?

Looking at Baf's Guide to the If Archive, I see that most games listed
under RPG Genre have been written the Eamon, a rather outdated system
designed for the Apple computer. Recent activity on that system has been
rather limited, so there are few recent IF games with RPG elements.

Has anyone tried to implement detailed role-playing mechanics such as
might be found in a pen and paper game, (characters' ability scores,
skills, classes etc.) in Inform? Even if no one has done this, would
this be a very hard or relatively easy task?

Emily Short

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Oct 29, 2006, 7:48:54 PM10/29/06
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Mika Oksanen wrote:
> Hello, here are some questions from a relative newbie.
>
> Many classic IF games have included role-playing elements - e.
> g. Hound of Shadow, Shadowkeep, Beyond Zork, Advanced Xoru, Zyll etc.
> Some such games have been very good, e. g. IMHO Hound of Shadow.
> However, I have not found similar elements in modern IF games. Have
> there been any attempts to include role-playing elements in modern
> non-commerical IF games?

Some, yes. You might want to look at

http://www.carouselchain.com/if/statistics.php?genre=13&type=genre&limit=10

for a few; there's also "Reliques of Tolti-Aph":

http://inform-fiction.org/I7Downloads/Examples/rota/

> Has anyone tried to implement detailed role-playing mechanics such as
> might be found in a pen and paper game, (characters' ability scores,
> skills, classes etc.) in Inform? Even if no one has done this, would
> this be a very hard or relatively easy task?

Coding it is relatively easy. The hard part lies in the design. When
you have detailed role-playing mechanics, you usually have some
randomizing factor to make use of the stats; which means either that
the player will be able to UNDO any outcome he doesn't like, or that
you disable UNDO functionality and severely annoy many players. There
have been several discussions on rec.arts.int-fiction about the design
challenges here; see for instance these threads:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/browse_frm/thread/8765176cbc6e41b8/892f91d02e5634f7?lnk=gst&q=rpg+undo&rnum=2#892f91d02e5634f7

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/browse_frm/thread/9b22b7fa9ea7d2b0/30dc2ff10e79bcf5?lnk=gst&q=rpg+undo&rnum=3#30dc2ff10e79bcf5

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/browse_frm/thread/de023f432c30b802/4399870aa483d4d8?lnk=gst&q=rpg+undo&rnum=4#4399870aa483d4d8

Arnel Legaspi

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Oct 29, 2006, 8:04:57 PM10/29/06
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Mika Oksanen wrote:
> Has anyone tried to implement detailed role-playing mechanics such as
> might be found in a pen and paper game, (characters' ability scores,
> skills, classes etc.) in Inform? Even if no one has done this, would
> this be a very hard or relatively easy task?

If you're talking about Inform 7, check out Reliques of Tolti-aph
(ROTA) from the Worked Examples page:

http://www.inform-fiction.org/I7/Worked%20Examples.html

Mike Rozak

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Oct 30, 2006, 3:20:25 AM10/30/06
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Mika Oksanen wrote:
> Has anyone tried to implement detailed role-playing mechanics such as
> might be found in a pen and paper game, (characters' ability scores,
> skills, classes etc.) in Inform? Even if no one has done this, would
> this be a very hard or relatively easy task?

I've implimented CRPG functionality into my own platform (not Inform
though).

As soon as you impliment CRPG the nature of the world starts changing. I'll
try to explain this in a few words...

In Inform IF, the author creates a world that fits together tightly and
exactly. Everything has a purpose. Everything has a known outcome. It's like
a poem.

As soon as you add randomness and the concept of resources (such as money or
hit-points), then the world has to take into account what happens if the
player squanders their resources... such as spending all their money on
useless equipment, or gets injured so often they need healing, which
requires money (or time). Players need a way to recover lost resources, and
recover them repeatedly if they keep messing up. In a CRPG, if a player
spends all their money, they just go out and mow down more (limitless) orcs.
In typical IF, if they spend the coins they need to give ty Chyron to cross
the river Styx, they don't get across and the game ends (in fustration). IF
gets around this problem by not letter players ever spend or lose their
coins.

Those limitless-orcs (or whatever resource recovery method is provided)
inevitably lead to content that's more procedural/simulated in nature, and
is not finely crafted and as tightly/exactly integrated as standard IF
components.

Personally, I think a world should contain both hand-crafted content (like
traditional IF) and procedural content (like traditional CRPG). They each
have different effects; hand-crafted adds depth and meaning, but is
"fragile" ("guess the verb" being one such effect). Procedural content makes
the world feel large, but is fairly shallow. Some thoughts on
http://www.mxac.com.au/drt/OblivionProcedural.htm . I suspect many people on
this board would disagree.


--

Mike Rozak
http://www.mxac.com.au


georgeo...@gmail.com

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Oct 30, 2006, 9:32:27 AM10/30/06
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Though I think in a few years 'procedural' will mean something very
different, i.e. http://www.proceduralarts.com


Mike Rozak wrote:
> [snip]

Bob

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Oct 30, 2006, 1:08:20 PM10/30/06
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Mika Oksanen asked:

> Have
> there been any attempts to include role-playing elements in modern
> non-commerical IF games?

I don't know if it counts, but I'd definitly recommand "Necrotic Drift"
to anyone who likes RPG and IF. It's awesome.

Bob

Mantar, Feyelno nek dusa

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Oct 30, 2006, 4:46:08 PM10/30/06
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On Mon, 30 Oct 2006 08:20:25 +0000, Mike Rozak wrote:

> Personally, I think a world should contain both hand-crafted content (like
> traditional IF) and procedural content (like traditional CRPG). They each
> have different effects; hand-crafted adds depth and meaning, but is
> "fragile" ("guess the verb" being one such effect). Procedural content
> makes the world feel large, but is fairly shallow. Some thoughts on
> http://www.mxac.com.au/drt/OblivionProcedural.htm . I suspect many people
> on this board would disagree.

Hey, it's a good read. A couple nitpicks, though: I would point out that
Oblivion dungeons also come with bandits, marauders, necromancers,
vampires, and mythics (trolls, etc.) for monster groups, in addition to
the goblins, daedra, and undead -- making a total of eight enemy types,
rather than three. Those first three neatly comprise the standard humanoid
classes of thieves, fighters, and mages, for a different set of challenges
each. My mage character suffers 100% weakness to magic, so necromancers
are especially dangerous, whereas my nimble thief was more afraid of the
heavy-hitting marauders. The bandits, unfortunately, don't make use of
stealth or poison, so they kind of end up as vending machines for light
armor and weapons. (I counteract that a bit with plugins to increase the
speed and damage of arrows, so at least the archer bandits pose a threat.)

The tilesets for dungeons aren't pointless eyecandy at higher levels --
the kind of traps of which you have to be wary depend on the dungeon's
type (and your level).. You'll only encounter the very nasty 'elevating
floor + six foot steel spikes in a recessed ceiling' in the Ayleid ruins
at higher levels. (I run the Deadlier Traps plugin, so they're pretty much
all instantly fatal. My first encounter with that trap nearly stopped my
heart -- I didn't see the big dark hole high up in the ceiling, even with
night-eye, and stepped onto the corner of the innocuous-looking floor.
Then an instant later, I was staring at that wicked impaling spike just
inches in front of my character's nose. Heh!)

--
- Mantar --- Drop YourPantiesSirWilliam to email me.

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