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Subject: Persona 3: FES
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Date: 3rd October 2014 Time: 16:00 EST
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Author Topic: The RPG towns thread  (Read 12137 times)
GrimReality
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« Reply #45 on: April 02, 2009, 11:02:02 AM »

Like DC I have always been partial to the more techy or futuristic towns. Midgar, Esthar, Solaris, etc., with a few exceptions.
I agree with Kstar on the snow town in Symphonia. It just felt warm and inviting. Plus it was gorgeous.
I liked the towns in Skies quite a bit. That whole game just felt "right" The perspective really helped that.
Rabanastre from FFXII was incredible. I was quite overwhelmed at first, but came to appreciate it as feeling like a bustling city. Plus, the music fit perfectly.
Great music can make a mediocre town that much better. I remember the first time I played Suikoden, some of the town music just floored me(voices!).
In general I do not want to spend a lot of time in a town, and they rarely require it. But then you have places like The Citadel in Mass Effect that demand you spend gobs of time there. I gladly did. The conversations alone made it worth it. Throw in the fact that the game actually rewards you for said conversations, and I could spend hours wandering the place.

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magusgs
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« Reply #46 on: April 02, 2009, 04:49:41 PM »

To add another dimension to the topic, what is it that makes a good town for you?  Is it the layout/ease of navigation?  The music?  The cool townies?  The architecture? 

I see a lot of people enjoy towns where you can really spend time and explore them because they feel vibrant.  Yet in some RPGs, the big explorable towns are a chore to explore.  Legend of Dragoon comes to mind as having some towns that were large, but rather painful to explore. 

If I were to base the awesomeness of a town based on its townies, then I'd have to give the nod to Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana.  Shopkeepers Veola and Blaire always made me want to spend time at their shops in Kavoc and Arcose respectively.  Whenever I went into one of those towns throughout the game, my first visit was always to Veola or Blaire. 

I like towns that are packed with things to do.  While size is nice, a large mostly empty town is just a waste of time running place to place.  Give the town a life of its own (its citizens do more than just wait to talk to you all day...right?), engage the player with meaningful quests, perhaps even let the town change based on the player's actions.  These are some ways of using good town design to further the story and immerse the player in the gameworld.
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« Reply #47 on: April 02, 2009, 06:00:54 PM »

One that always sticks out in my head is Tien's Landing in Jade Empire. It was just so insanely beautiful with the everlasting sunset and the sound of the ocean. I spent ages there just walking around and looking at everything.
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Edmond3
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« Reply #48 on: April 05, 2009, 09:10:15 PM »

I like Sheratan Village in Baten kaitos origins. Zanarkand is also awesome.
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« Reply #49 on: April 05, 2009, 11:29:57 PM »

To add another dimension to the topic, what is it that makes a good town for you?  Is it the layout/ease of navigation?  The music?  The cool townies?  The architecture?

Obviously, it's a combination of things. But I'd have to say that the best towns have their own unique feel to them. Not just village after village of Germanic/Scandanavian-stye houses (Final Fantasy 1-5, Tales of, etc...). But on the fipside, the best towns don't just take one exact style and copy it over and over again, each building has its own individuality befitting of its purpose. So, instead of an inn just being a residential house with a sign over the door, it might have a more commercial look to it, might have spiffy gables  to attract custormers, etc. Thirdly, and possibly the most important, a combination of navigational clarity + speed of navigation (including load times) is very important. YOu can have the best designed, most immersive town in video-game history, but people will simply be a burden if the camera angle makes it impossible to navigate, if its slow to move around, and you're faced with 10seconds of load time ever 2 screens.

So here's the list:
1. Uniquely cohesive feel for every town (denoting differences in culture)
2. Individualistic styles to buildings befitting their function and to add variety
3. Well laid out Navigation system, speed, and low load times

Most games are able to gt #1 fairly well these days. Ever since the yawning moments of the SNES (FF6 on), designers have had lots of fun creating a sense of "culture" for each town. #2 is a little bit less common. Actually, #2 was done a little better during the Pre-rendered days of the PS1, when static camera angles mixed with individualistically photoshopped 3D "paintings" allowed every building to have its own unique flair. The fully 3D era has been a little hard on #2, because, in a way, we're back to "chipset" design philosophy, just in 3D space. #3 has always been a problem. Some of the finest towns also provide the worst navigation. "interesting architecture" sometimes makes for confusing navigation.

Many people point to Rabanastre from FFXII as a great city. However, while I think it absolutely excells at point #1, creating a very unique and realistic cultural atmosphere, a lot of its architecture becomes too repetitive. Additionally, somehow about the camera positioning made me feel like I was never looking out across the city, I was always looking slightly down, so I never got to view the tops of buildings or the sky to get my bearings. While I would say that Rabanastre was a wonderful creatioin, I never really found myself "enjoying" it.

I don't think any RPG has gotten it close to 100% correct yet. Skies of Arcadia and Grandia II are probably the most enjoyable so far, with maybe FF9 coming in third.
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« Reply #50 on: April 06, 2009, 02:43:10 AM »

One that always sticks out in my head is Tien's Landing in Jade Empire. It was just so insanely beautiful with the everlasting sunset and the sound of the ocean. I spent ages there just walking around and looking at everything.


Agreed, Jade Empire itself I think is pretty under appreciated as a whole; and the towns, Tien's Landing especially were pretty awesome.
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« Reply #51 on: April 07, 2009, 04:04:18 AM »

I reached Melphina (TLR) yesterday and that's definitely on the list. What an amazing place, really beautiful.
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