Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 29, 2014, 11:10:11 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
RPGFan Community Quiz
Next Quiz Date: January 11, 2014
Subject: 999 (Nintendo DS)
For more information click HERE!
327640 Posts in 13412 Topics by 2169 Members
Latest Member: KopeAcetic
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  RPGFan Message Boards
|-+  Media
| |-+  Single-Player RPGs
| | |-+  if it's not broken dont fix it...
« previous next »
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 6 Print
Author Topic: if it's not broken dont fix it...  (Read 16614 times)
Dincrest
Onoda
RPGFan Editor
Posts: 11629


Lieutenant Commander Vacation

Member
*


View Profile WWW
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2007, 11:05:59 PM »

Re: "If it ain't broke..."

To expand on that whole concept and take it in a different direction, sometimes I think that many modern RPGs tend to go overboard with making various in-game "systems" (be they character growth systems, battle systems, magic systems, whatever else) needlessly complex or twiddly.  

I can definitely name some RPGs that had really twiddly, needlessly complex systems that felt very tacked on and only there to add unnecessary complexity.  That's been my biggest complaint with FF12 and I've talked about it more than enough times.  A more intuitive, streamlined system would have served the game better than that wacky and almost nonsensical license board.  

I'm all for experimentation, innovation, upgrading, etc. but not when there's no method to the madness.  A Shin Megami Tensei game has some pretty complex gameplay systems, but the complexity fits in the context of the game's world.  

One could say Final Fantasy is a series very guilty of "fixing what wasn't broken" in many of their later titles.  And will you look at that, FF13 is reported to return to the Active-Time battle system, for what it's worth.  Some people may even say that the Chrono series is guilty of that.  I applaud Square for taking some innovative risks with Cross (particularly with the complex battle system), but I just couldn't get into Cross like I could and did with Trigger.

On the other hand, if you follow the "if ain't broke, don't try to fix it" credo to the letter, then you get series like Dragon Quest.  Fine games, they, but there really hasn't been much innovation in that series.  It's pretty much the tried and true Dragon Quest formula that people know, love, and are familiar with.  Like a comfortable old pair of shoes.  But others might say it's stagnating because Dragon Quest games generally do play it safe and don't fix what ain't broken.

There should definitely be a balance between staying true to the formula but still spicing it up to keep it interesting.  If you deviate too much, people complain that it's too different from what they're familiar with.  If you don't deviate enough, people complain that it's a retread and rehash of the same old formula and why can't "they" do something different.
Logged

"Immortality is a manga artist without deadlines.  Without deadlines, the manga artist will never get the job done."
   -Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Phase 58
Tomara
Posts: 1987


Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2007, 02:38:32 AM »

Quote
i'm never in favor of a series taking a step backwards unless its a situation like xenosaga 2 -> xenosaga 3.


So, sometimes you're perfectly happy they changed something that wasn't broken (the first two Wild ARMs games worked just fine, even though they didn't age that well), but sometimes you're not?

You're probably trying to say it's no problem when they change things for the better. But better or worse is often a matter of opinion. Prime example: Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter.
Logged
Willy Elektrix
Lord of the Sword
Posts: 531


Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2007, 09:49:09 AM »

Quote from: "Dincrest"
To expand on that whole concept and take it in a different direction, sometimes I think that many modern RPGs tend to go overboard with making various in-game "systems" (be they character growth systems, battle systems, magic systems, whatever else) needlessly complex or twiddly.


Bingo! The best games are the games with one system that is simple to learn but extremely customizable. I think Etrian Odyssey has this (although it is probably not the best example). The only tweaking to be done is in the level up system and there are lots of interesting skills that make tweaking satisfying, but outside of this you don't have to mess with around anything else.
Logged
MeshGearFox
Posts: 8359


HERE ON RUM ISLAND WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN RUM!

Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2007, 11:57:33 AM »

Oh, the whole 'system' design concept. The idea isn't anything new -- having various portions of the game function differently, I guess -- but the implementation and... subtext? of it is something I've never quite understood. That seems like it's almost entirely a JRPG invention, and something that's not reallyexisted in its CURRENT form for THAT long.

anyway, right. The thing that annoys me about this design philophy is how modular it feels. You have the battle system, the character growth system, the shop bartering system/some bizarre minigame for diplomacy (And yes, I'm making fun of oblivion on that one because that entire diplomacy thing was STUPID), a couple minigames, and item creation systems. Nothing inherently wrong with this, but there's limited interaction between systems or, even worse, like in the case of Oblivion's talky wheel, or the license grid, the lack of interaction means you can easily make a system that in and of itself works fine, but in context of everything else, really makes little sense as a way of representing whatever it's supposed to represent. (For clarification, though, I don't think the sphere/licence grids anywhere near as WTF? as oblivions talky wheel. But I think I can safely say that making the interface a minigame in and of itself isn't something I'm typically fond of).

Anyway, the lack of interaction between systems means you're focusing individualy on certain systems, and not on the game as a whole. This creates a rather skewed experience, with a bottom-up architecture:


       Battles
Items  | Character Creation
        \ | /
         \|/
       Story

Basically, little cohesion and ways of abstracting and representing rules that don't make sense.

SH:Covenants does this a lot. I think it works in spite of it. I have absolutely no idea how.

I think there are two other larger... paradigms? that work better. One of them: In this setup, you have, say, a large number of simple systems, all of which interact extensively and semi-predictably with eachother in such a way that you end up with one large and complex super-system at the top of it. I recently talked about a game called Exile on Misc. Games. Something like SimCity 2K or a lot of the roguelikes also work off of this idea.

In another, you'd have one major trunk system, and then branch systems. Branch systems can consist of one or multiple subsystems, all of which need to extensively interact with eachother, though. Each of the branch systems would have limited directed interaction with other systems, but would produce output/products/results that would feed back into the trunk system, and then have direct effects on the other systems, through various means (usually said output would affect other systems branching off the trunk). The modular systems type thing I was talking about first uses this to an extent too (Actually, all three would), because obviously your modular systems DO have to feed into something, but I guess the main difference is that if you're not going the modular route, you'll need to have all of your systems work in roughly the same way to make sure they interact properly, but just work on different portions of the game. It's a really minor distinction, I guess. Maybe someone will knwo what I'm trying terrible to say and rewrite it for me XD

Anyway, I guess in a nutshell, it's battle systems that feel like seperate minigames versus battle systems that feel like other ways of interacting with the gameworld.
Logged

o/` I do not feel joy o/`
o/` I do not dream o/`
o/` I only stare at the door and smoke o/`

Merkava
Posts: 427


Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2007, 01:20:11 PM »

Quote from: "Dincrest"


On the other hand, if you follow the "if ain't broke, don't try to fix it" credo to the letter, then you get series like Dragon Quest.  Fine games, they, but there really hasn't been much innovation in that series.  It's pretty much the tried and true Dragon Quest formula that people know, love, and are familiar with.  Like a comfortable old pair of shoes.  But others might say it's stagnating because Dragon Quest games generally do play it safe and don't fix what ain't broken.

There should definitely be a balance between staying true to the formula but still spicing it up to keep it interesting.  If you deviate too much, people complain that it's too different from what they're familiar with.  If you don't deviate enough, people complain that it's a retread and rehash of the same old formula and why can't "they" do something different.


I totally agree with the last paragraph, though I'd say DQ is one of the series that manages that. I do agree that the games maintain a "Dragon Quest feel," there have been some drastic changes made to the series. The first instance would be the change from one party member to three between DQI and II. Then, the inclusion of the job system, an increase to 4 party members, and more customization of a central character between II and III. Then, a greater focus on plot and characters, including a more episodic structure until the middle of the game with DQIV. V had you follow a character through the years, from a child to an adult, and even added in a tiny bit of Life Sim when making decisions for the hero. VI returned to the job system and made it even more in-depth, allowing more customization, combined job classes, etc..

Then DQVIII came along. 2D to 3D. An exceedingly detailed world map the likes of which I've, at least, have never seen. The points system instead of the job system. And yet, though all of these changes, the series feels familiar. It feels like Dragon Quest, so much that the changes can seem unnoticeable. But when you think about each game specifically, you realize the many differences in your experiences.
Logged
TurnBasedDude
Ys Man
Rainbow Club Member
Posts: 2406


Member
*

hotshot562@hotmail.com Alcazard0 emmy_sols
View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2007, 01:42:07 PM »

Personally, I feel Dragon Quest should remain the same core style it has throughout the years. It's the one series I feel that is meant to remain traditional and nostalgic as many other franchises try to get more complex. They can still make changes like the ones Merkava mentioned above, but keep the essense of the series. A simple tale of heroes going through a charming adventure to save the world, that is what I like in the series.

There are many other RPGs around if I want to go play something with a complex plot, battle system and such. No need to give DQ radical changes. That's just my thoughts though.
Logged


Xbox Gamertag: Gig01
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Zapper101
Eusis
Administrator
Posts: 11792


Member
*


View Profile
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2007, 01:58:50 PM »

The Elder Scroll games, or at least Morrowind and Oblivion, really did have cohesive world comparable, and probably in many ways far moreso. However, DQVIII's the only one to do an entire world like that as far as I know, and the only JRPG that I know of that's done it. I'll be very disappointed if no one attempts similar for next-gen RPGs. It kinda feels like DQ keeps giving what I want newer technology to do but everyone goes 'nah.' Ok, it's probably a good thing we weren't overwhelmed by 100+ hour games just because of CDs. :P
Logged
Dincrest
Onoda
RPGFan Editor
Posts: 11629


Lieutenant Commander Vacation

Member
*


View Profile WWW
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2007, 03:51:53 PM »

Don't get me wrong, I do respect the Dragon Quest titles and have enjoyed some of the games.  One thing I like is that it retains the traditional turn-based gameplay.  Not broken and doesn't need fixing.  Still, there will be people out there who think the series is stagnating because it hasn't "evolved" from the "archaic" turn-based structure.  

And though FF has been experimenting with more realtime and semi-realtime combat systems (i.e. FF12), it's going back to the tried and true ATB for FF13 (or so has been reported.)
Logged

"Immortality is a manga artist without deadlines.  Without deadlines, the manga artist will never get the job done."
   -Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Phase 58
MeshGearFox
Posts: 8359


HERE ON RUM ISLAND WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN RUM!

Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2007, 04:01:07 PM »

FF12's combat was basically ATB, though. You could move around on the battlefield but this was mostly inconsequential. The only main difference was the ability to swap people out.
Logged

o/` I do not feel joy o/`
o/` I do not dream o/`
o/` I only stare at the door and smoke o/`

Eusis
Administrator
Posts: 11792


Member
*


View Profile
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2007, 04:04:28 PM »

Quote from: "MeshGearFox"
FF12's combat was basically ATB, though. You could move around on the battlefield but this was mostly inconsequential. The only main difference was the ability to swap people out.

No, the main difference is that you seamlessly go into battle. FFX had swappable characters. Speaking of which, it sounds like FFXIII will retain the element of having encounters right on the field. I wonder if that means it'll play like a flashy CT or what. And hopefully if developers keep miming FF, this is one of things they imitate.
Logged
Willy Elektrix
Lord of the Sword
Posts: 531


Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2007, 04:23:59 PM »

Quote from: "MeshGearFox"
anyway, right. The thing that annoys me about this design philophy is how modular it feels. You have the battle system, the character growth system, the shop bartering system/some bizarre minigame for diplomacy (And yes, I'm making fun of oblivion on that one because that entire diplomacy thing was STUPID), a couple minigames, and item creation systems. Nothing inherently wrong with this, but there's limited interaction between systems or, even worse, like in the case of Oblivion's talky wheel, or the license grid, the lack of interaction means you can easily make a system that in and of itself works fine, but in context of everything else, really makes little sense as a way of representing whatever it's supposed to represent. (For clarification, though, I don't think the sphere/licence grids anywhere near as WTF? as oblivions talky wheel. But I think I can safely say that making the interface a minigame in and of itself isn't something I'm typically fond of).


I'm not sure that the problem with multiple game play systems is a lack of elegance (as I think you are saying). To me, the problem is that many of these systems are so abstract, that they require the player to learn an entirely new vocabulary, and then when there are many different systems in the same game, it becomes an utter mess. It's like forcing the player to master 3 or 4 different games.

Although, honestly, I have a serious problem with abstract systems altogether, regardless of how many there are. I understand that video games (especially RPGs) are abstract by nature, but the problem arises when they adopt strange board game-esque rule schemes which attempt originality by utilizing strange statistics (Riviera's trigger points are an example). Certainly, it's a matter of preference, but to me it seems that by using statistics and vocabulary a gamer already understands and modifying those (instead of trying to reinvent a battle system from the ground up), a game might be much less frustrating for new players and allow them to figure out the up and downs of the game play themselves instead of just looking at an FAQ.
Logged
MeshGearFox
Posts: 8359


HERE ON RUM ISLAND WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN RUM!

Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2007, 06:48:02 PM »

Quote
To me, the problem is that many of these systems are so abstract, that they require the player to learn an entirely new vocabulary, and then when there are many different systems in the same game, it becomes an utter mess.


No, THAT was my point. I was more going for WHY systems like that end up happening. As you put it, a lack of elegance in how they're attached to the game is what I was saying led to systems like that.

Basically, if you're trying to implement them in a way that's graceful, you're not going to come up with extremely abstract and insane systems.

Actually, no, it's not the probably of making them too abstract. About abstract as you can get is a menu with a list of possible skills to choose from. Making the skill system a board game is effectively un-abstracting it. THIS is where stuff stops making sense. Because it's unabstracted only partially, and into something that really has no correlation with what it's supposed to represent.

FFXII's license board was mostly a menu, really. Slightly odd represenation, but you're spending skill points on skills. Nothing terribly odd about that.

Rogue Galaxy's... skill board thing, on the other hand, has you fitting random junk you find into slots to unlock skills. The hell? "I found a tin can, some lipstick, and a pair of earrings! NOW I CAN SPEAK DANISH!"
Logged

o/` I do not feel joy o/`
o/` I do not dream o/`
o/` I only stare at the door and smoke o/`

Prime Mover
Posts: 2791


All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio

Member
*

Shattre
View Profile WWW Email

Ignore
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2007, 08:52:42 PM »

Here's an idea I've been kicking around now, for a little while. Something I call the "concentration system". It's a system that mimicks learning behavior. If you want to get good in one area, you must actively pay attention, while in battle, to that specific area. By setting values, you can choose to pay attention to one of any number of your attributes. As you gain experience, abilities under the umbrella of those attributes will become available.

Say, for instance, I wanted to concentrate on making my character fast, I'd have him/her concentrate more on speed and agility, while in battle, paying more attention to reflexes and overall running. Eventually, not only will my character be able to move more quickly, but also develop agility based skills as well.

I remember when I used to play tennis back when I was a kid. I'd practice serving for a while. For a bit, I'd try to concentrate on throwing the ball straight up, and where I want it to be. When I had that down, I'd concentrate on my foot positioning, and then eventually I'd move onto my follow-through. Each one of these things required a certain amount of active attention for me to improve on them.

Now, as I got better at tennis, I found I could concentrate on more different things at once. And so should your "concentration points", or whatever you want to call them, as you become more and more attuned to your abilities.

See... that's a real-world abstraction of how one approaches gaining experience in life. It's not the ONLY one, there are many different approaches you can take. But it makes a lot more sense than buying licenses to use things. I tried to apply the license grid, at one point, and realized how idiotic it is. "So you're telling me that, before I can use this skill, which may save my life, I must purchase a license just to use it?" The term is lunacy, and the whole concept has no bearing in any sense of learning.
Logged


eelhouse.net
- order the new album

Currently Playing: Metroid Prime 2, Trails in the Sky, Bioshock: Infinite
Currently Listening to: Devin Townsend, Dream Theater
Watching: Star Trek: TOS, Slayers, Doctor Who (as usual)
Bernhardt
Posts: 657

Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2007, 12:00:48 AM »

Yeah, about License boards and other ways of attaining skills:

http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=215
Logged
Ashton
Contributing Editor
Posts: 5040


Lawful Asshole

Member
*


View Profile WWW

Ignore
« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2007, 12:41:38 AM »

Quote from: "MeshGearFox"
Rogue Galaxy's... skill board thing, on the other hand, has you fitting random junk you find into slots to unlock skills. The hell? "I found a tin can, some lipstick, and a pair of earrings! NOW I CAN SPEAK DANISH!"

Best post ever.
Logged

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 6 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!