By: xION ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
(C) 2001 Obsolete [ www.obsolete1.cjb.net/
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2001
Warning: There are some spelling errors, grammatical errors, and swear words. It shouldn't hurt you though, there's more swear words on television anyways.
I'm to good for a Table of Contents. Besides, the articles don't go in any particular order...Oh yeah; THIS TUTORIAL SHOULD NOT GO ON ANY OTHER SITE EXCEPT MINE OR MAYBE DON MIGUEL'S! So, don't put it on your site unless you get permission from me. Don't let me catch you with this on your site without my permission and don't put your name on this :P Come up with something original you slack hoes :D
======== Introduction ===========
First off, I would like to thank KaosuMahoutsukai for the er...informative title. I would also like to thank the mass of newbies and um...oldbies who have created RPGs that I would wipe my ass with if I had the chance. It's not your fault, you didn't have this...'spiffy' tutorial ( :D ). Seriously, this is just to help the non-experienced and the experienced RPG making person, so please read on and send me your comments. I would also like to thank Tool, Deftones, Chevelle, Incubus, and Nine-Inch Nails for providing music for me to listen to while composing this tutorial...
======== Beginning ============
I er... 'like' to play other peoples RPGs. There are several
great ones out there on the Internet. I hate to say this, but I don't stick
with games very long. If they bore me, I quit. There are a lot of games being
make with Rpg Maker 2000 and lots of other RPG Makers. Some (most :o) games
are worthless, and aren't worth playing at all. I'm saying that the beginning
of your game could decide whether people play it or not.
Take it easy at first! Some games throw you straight into the action. Never giving you time to build up your character, get decent armor, or get used to the games controls and setting. I'm not saying that your game should be boring within the first 15-45min. But you should give the player time to build up before sending them straight to their death.
Easy does it man! When you create your game, try not to make the monsters deathly strong. Yes, if you've read the first part of Beginning, you shouldn't be facing super strong people. This is more of emphasis. Not everybody has the advantage of being a good strategist and knows where to level up. Check and test your game through, make sure the opponents can be beaten. Some people may play your game and get right through the 'hard' monsters. Some people may try 20 times and give up because it's so fucking hard!
Just ease up a bit, OK?
I've seen this next problem not only in RPGs but also in other types of games. Take FPS for example, mainly Turok 2. Make save points!!! "Arrrrghghh! I fought a monster when I shouldn't have and now I have so start so far away! Damnit!" Maybe that last save was 30min ago. You don't want to play through all that crud again do you? No. Please make save points and rescue the player from doing the same thing over and over again.
I hope that many future games are going to be huge. There are a lot of demos out there that I hope become full games, and last a while. Please, don't let them get boring and tedious! You need to grip and hook the player through out the game to make him/her keep playing. Suspense is where it's at baby! If the first half of the game is spent wandering aimlessly, and THEN you realize that a huge dirty sock is about to obliterate the earth, you might not have an audience at that point anymore. Why? Because they were sick of walking around aimlessly :P. People need to think that there advancing, you know, getting somewhere. Give the player purpose; induce rage, excitement, comedy, but most of all..suspense. Bring the player into some aspect of the game in the beginning. Introduce an idea, character, or goal that will show up sometime later in the game. This will make the player wonder about the future, sorta like a cliffhanger. You've all read the Harry Potter books (I know I have. NO! I'm not a lamer :P. There good books! READ THEM!). Ever notice how the book leaves you craving for more, how you NEED to advance through the book. That's what your RPG needs. Don't forget that and...READ HARRY POTTER BOOKS! >:F
======= Setting ========
The setting in your RPG determines a lot, more than you might
think. The setting can intrigue the character or bore them. I hope you choose
the intrigue part. Having your battle between good and evil on an interesting
battlefield does much better than a battle in nowhere in particular.
Avoid clichés ( for the Setting :o, clichés can come in handy. Read on ). Most games it seems take place in the medieval time period. This isn't exactly bad, because I quite enjoy that period :P. But it might not catch the players eye because there are millions of games that take place in the same era. Know what I mean? Have a game, instead of taking place in the medieval era, take place in the future, or prehistoric bc. Hell, I'd rather enjoy one taking place in modern times. Earthbound anybody? A game that takes place in a different era might get notice more than the others.
Guess what? It helps to make cites and towns interesting. Some games have 3 towns that are exactly the same as the others. Again, that can make the game a bit boring. Be creative with your towns. I have this one idea about a town, that strangely enough, was inspired by...Gym class :o. In gym we were going over heart rates, and I got the idea that people could be afraid that if there heart rate goes over the Max, it would explode. Then my mind drifted onto RPGs. What if a town was formed my insane gym teachers that told everybody that if they moved, their heart rate would go over its Max and explode! You would walk into town like normal, and nobody would be moving. Just standing they're mumbling about how they can't move or they would die. Strange, but original :P.
Use a full range of places. This means having everything in your world. Have deserts, mountains, plains, forests, cities, islands, caves, and anything else that exists in our world. Just don't over do it. Don't make 15 mountain ranges or a continent that's a whole desert. Most places are more diverse than you would think. Try it out sometime. Check out Lunar's overworld map...
Have a history. Make it seem that this world or kingdom wasn't just created. These places should have traditions, history, and old famous war heroes. Living in a world with no history would seem kind of strange wouldn't it? You should check out Chrono Trigger. They had a whole lot of history. Most of the history you actually played in. You can be realistic.
It helps to name EVERYTHING! Well, don't go overboard and make Donald's Rose patch, but name places where you actually spend time in. How would you feel if you went to a place with no name? "Yeah, I was just at this cave. It didn't have a name, but people live there and stuff." Hrm, now that you think about it, not naming something could be interesting...But it doesn't hurt to name stuff. So do it.
One last thing before I go on to another topic.... Take some damn pride in your world. Listen, your GOD here. Make it interesting. Take pride in what you create, because it will make the whole world seem even better.
======= Theme ========
heheh...I'm getting pretty deep here, don't ya think? No? Well, fuck off :P
I don't care, your reading this. A theme is an underlying idea underneath the
game. I hate to say this ( not really, but :D), not a lot of games have theme.
This is because, needless to say, none of us are novelists or authors in our
spare time ( right? ). If you are, I'd love to see your RPG. But most of us
are not, so lets continue. Most of our games are just stuff happening to a bunch
of characters. But, here are a few tips to make it more appealing.
Revolve conflict around an idea. If the good guys are trying to free the whales, while the bad guys are trying to kill them, perhaps your story will have an animal rights theme or maybe something involving animal sex, but...if the battle is being fought for one specific thing, you'll be able to talk about it much more often than if they are fighting for several things. Have the battle be for one idea and you'll be well on your way. Get to the point, have a center point, a purpose to your game.
Get some philosophy in there. I wish people would do this in their games. But most people don't think about these things. Most games are about saving a damsel in distress or the world blowing up so they don't have time to talk about anything educated. Phylomortis (1&2) used some philosophy, but people got confused and had to look at a dictionary only to find out some of the words weren't real :D. If your characters stop and think about why the monsters are attacking the townsfolk, maybe you'll find a basis to include your theme about "everything is about survival or making money."
Don't do more than you can handle. Don't discuss something you aren't prepared to discuss in depth. If you don't really know what you're talking about, we can't expect to get anything informative from you later on. If you are a devout Christian, you might not be able to give a realistic look on atheism ( talk to CodeMason about atheism :o ( most of you don't know him , so just forget that statement ). If you know psychology best, have your game center around hatred or love. Have your theme based about something you know. It's plain and simple.
Plan on your theme. Don't stop in the middle of a villain blowing up your main character's village and have him think "Maybe Dark Evil Mage is just trying to channel his anger for the death of his sister..." No. Your main character better be yelling at the top of his lungs at Dark Evil Mage to die. Be realistic, ever watch Brimstone? This shows a good example of this. This cop's wife was raped, and he found the rapist and killed him. He felt good doing that. I bet most of you would. Make sure you have your whole theme figured out.
Anyway, getting a true theme is tough, I know. Maybe your game is just for fun. Maybe you don't want to think: "By golly, life is very important, eh?", while playing your game. Of course, maybe you do. But I hope you will deepen your story and your game by following these tips. Change your game from being a bloodbath to being a game that makes you think or do both. Have the bloodbath happen for a reason.
======== Plot ===========
Would FF3 be as popular an RPG had the conflict in the story
been the fact that a girl named Terra decided to kill the Empire for no apparent
reason? Maybe, if they included some nude pics of sexy people, but you know
that isn't going to happen ( MAKE IT HAPPEN! PLEASE! :D ). Otherwise, the plot
is the thing that holds the game together and pulls players into the game. Make
your story interesting, please! We don't need to play a game about a dude called
Hyper_Matt who saves the world or something, because nobody cares. Sure, graphics
and music help, but they don't as much weight as an intriguing story. Here are
some 'tips' if you will, on how to make a good and decent plot.
Don't jump into the game really quickly. The beginning doesn't need to be a blur. This does NOT mean that your plot should be boring. BORING SUCKS! GET THAT THROUGH YOUR HEAD! A quote from Katalyst: "Go eat pie f00." I'm just saying that some RPG's created with give you every detail of the conflict and story before you even start. If you know everything before you play, what's the point of playing? There's no suspense or mystery. Stories are never clear, so you may be tempted to make a beginning with everything in it. But that's what the game is for. Things need to happen along the way. Make the beginning vague, so people will be entertained and suprised during the rest of the game. It will make it much easier for the player to understand what's going on.
Don't make the whole game about one single person, like there a god and deserve everything. Don't be selfish and let other people into the plot. If you don't, it's a sign of a simple story. Don't give people the knowledge of knowing everything. Because most people don't know everything, but most people should know where to find out 'everything'.
Foreshadow! Oh god, this could make your game awesome! It's a sign of a well thought out story, because your not just making it up as you go. If you don't know, foreshadowing is sorta like hinting something in the beginning, which might happen in the future. Remember when you first played Chrono Trigger? When you woke up, your mom was talking about that bell. How when you hear the bell, it means something's good is going to happen or whatever. Guess what? Something good did happen in the end. It just gives you a little secret heads up.
Mmmmm....plot twists. Most of you have experienced this in a game, movie, or a book. It's a great thing to add, to recapture the players' interest. A story that rolls along and allows you to predict everything at once makes it too dull. Add more conflict and suprise the player. But don't make the plot twist unrealistic. Your best friend turns out to be your mother who wished upon a falling roll of toilet paper. That's just silly...hold on. My friends here...WHAT?! Eww... :D.
Back to suspense here. Foreshadowing and plot twists really bring out suspense. A movie, RPG, or a book is really good if it can keep you wondering what will happen next ( more Harry Potter! Must read Harry Potter! Need to know what's going to happen! ). You should leave people wondering if the person who killed your father is a goldfish or is he just weird. Leave your player hanging on the edge of his/her seat. Again, be realistic.
Also, make sure to BALANCE the story. Excess in foreshadowing and you'll have the player guessing everything everyone does. Excess in plot twists and the story will become too confusing. Add some flavor to your plot with these things and your story will catch the player and leave them hungering for more.
====== Characters ======
Characters are probably the second most important aspect of
the game ( first being story/plot ). Characters mean a lot. They can make your
player feel the game is worthwhile or make the player dislike the game. Would
you like a game where the characters did things 'just for the heck of it'? Probably
not, there needs to be a reason for their actions.
We often believe that cliché characters are worthless. That having a wise old wizard or having a compassionate young girl in your party makes the game less interesting. That can happen, but only if you use the clichés incorrectly. Having a cliche character allows you to settle a character into a role of the story quickly and gets almost the same effect as having an off-the-wall character. You can make a great character, despite there clichés. You just need to know how to use them. Chrono Trigger had nothing but clichés. You have the young, brave hero. There is the princess who wants to see the real world. There is an evil villain who wants to take over the world. The human, who was turned into a frog, er...Some of you say that Chrono Trigger established these clichés. You may think at the time these certain clichés didn't exist. You may be right, but remember this: Lots of RPGs came out before CT, books and movies use these exact clichés. Again, use clichés correctly, and you will be fine.
Of course, you might be wondering how we establish a character in a story. Obviously, if your character is complex, this can be difficult. The easiest way is through actions. If your character refused to kill the magic donut race, despite the kings' orders, that would show you that he/she is bursting with morals and compassion. But, if you character has no problem committing genocide and wiping out the magical race of donuts ( ever wonder why there are no more magical donuts? ), that would show you that your character may have a cold heart or that he is loyal to the king. It's easy to tell what the character is like then, with actions.
Another thing I have to emphasize on creating characters is avoiding Mr. Super Goodie Man. The main character is going to have good qualities, but he shouldn't be perfect. Again, if your character is totally flawless, nobody's going to like him much. Have your character trip into a swamp and make mistakes. You can make him/her a good character overall, but make him have a lame sense of humor or a hatred of spiders. Something like that. Also, your villains are not perfect. It would be wise to add something like how it's not only the hero's doing that foiled the plan, the villain could of make a mistake that in the end, fucked himself.
Connect with your characters. Make them realistic! You could base your character around somebody you know or somebody you've heard of. How many people know a sniveling, cowardly rat that is mocking when on top, but angry when on bottom? I've met a few like that on IRC, and in real life. You can relate to a person like that, because you are or you know somebody like that.
Make your characters actions realistic and ones that conform to there personality. Don't make your character an honorable general who then sells out his friends to save his own life. Plot twists are awesome, but only if they make sense. Stay true to the characters you created.
-------- Characters Continued -----------
main characters/hero's don't need to get along! I would advise you to have a
bit of conflict between characters. I'm not saying you should have a scene of
Day's of our Lives where Gary finds out that Jonathan killed Gabriel's sister,
but Gabriel had an affair with Billy, so Gary isn't sure if he wants to warn
any of them about Jane's plot to overthrow the mission. That's just stupid :P.
Get real, that's just hard to understand and confusing. Your heroes are united
to accomplish a common goal. But if Gary hates Jane because she was the former
leader of the Mallard Alliance, that's okay. Have a bit of conflict. If you
have ever watched Gundam: Wing, you should know what I am talking about.
Don't go back on your character. Realism is needed! If Joey killed your family, then you will NEVER be friends ( most likely ). They might be acquaintances, even allies, but you can't do something so unbelievable. Never leave your character. Just keep that in mind when your making a game where you kill your best friends family and his friends, and your best friend hates what you've done, but still goes over to your house and spends the night and have fun like nothing happened. Unless you're a sick weirdo, that will NEVER happen :P.
Make your characters proud and maybe prejudice. Warriors, who've sworn off magic as evil, probably won't be to nice to mages. A less personal conflict, more historical conflict. It works, though. Have your characters stick up for what they are and puts down what they aren't. It's human nature and if your characters not human still stick by this.
Humor and love are things that really make the character believable. Everybody has experienced one or the other ( hopefully ). Great way to interact. A light-hearted way to relief dislike, like, or neutrality. Put some jokes in the game, be it about nothing at all, or about one of your characters. Watch Comedy-Central, guess what that's about? I haven't seen much love in our RPG's yet. Love should be tried in an RPG soon. But love is complicated, so only have things happen in love that you have experience in, else you might not do it well enough to be believable. If you've never been dumped (hmm... yeah right), don't have a breakup in the game. Why? Because you have no clue what you're talking about, so stfu.
====== Games =======
The RPG Making community is growing. All things grow or simply
die. The more RPG Making people we have, the more RPGs we make. That can be
a bad thing though. The more games we have, the better the games get due to
competition, right? You wish...
Sadly, the statement is not true. In fact, out of all the RPGs out there, few of them are decent. It's true. I believe people are simply not putting time into their games as much as the 'old days...' Newbies waltz in here ( like usual ) and they put a game out for us to try. That's GREAT! More games, more fun. But half of the things they're releasing aren't games. They aren't anything. The games are just garbage. Quality is what I'm speaking for. The following is for anybody, newbie and oldbie alike, with some common sense.
Get to know your program. I've played games and talked to people who are making games, which have no good clue on what to do! Get some experience. Everybody's first game usually sucks. Why? They have no experience. This is something new that you haven't delt with before. Get experience and then make your game. We don't need more shitty games.
Please don't steal. In the future, I might steal graphics, music, ECT. I know is very unoriginal and just lazy. Some of you might complain that you CAN'T make graphics or music. You CAN make them, they might suck, but you can. If they do suck, try getting somebody to help you. Ripping something great out of others' games will not rub off the magic onto your game, it can't be justified by anything else you do well on your own, and it just isn't right to take someone that isn't yours. People do it though; I will probably do it. But lets all feel guilty for doing it! I mean that!
It helps to study other people's games. Don's Adventures, that sample game you get when you download Rm2k is there for a reason. You play it, open it, and examine it. That's what it's for! Play other peoples' games. Learn what makes them great. Is it the story, the graphics, the music, or the gameplay? Whatever games look great to you, find out what you like about that certain game and try your best to recreate. You can learn a lot without bugging a single person or trampling over their property ( take note of that sentence before you join #rm2k asking basic questions ).
Make your games big! Heh, I've played a few games where you fight your way through a two-room castle and laugh, knowing you've won! Wow. A thirty-second game. What will it be when a second version is released? A whole minute, maybe? Use your dungeons, towns...USE YOUR MAPS to every possible and realistic thing you can think of. Use them for every last drop you can. The maps aren't as limiting as you might think.
Consider the people playing your game...do NOT write a futuristic science-fiction game without expecting to EXPLAIN something once in a while. This doesn't work:
<Man> So, um.... how does this thing
<Scientist> Very advanced, you see... it uses MAGICK HAR HAR HAR!
<Man> I understand!
I don't know... it doesn't satisfy the science-fiction audience.
Same with everything else. Some of the worst games are those created for a genre that the person has no clue on.
One last thing...it helps to play and test your game before you release it. Get other peoples opinions of it. Change the bad things and improve on it overall. Your game isn't perfect, and nomatter what you do, it NEVER will be perfect.
Just try and improve on it as much as you can.
Thank you for reading this er...'short' tutorial. I hope you people will take some of these ideas to heart and implement them into your RPGs. If you do nothing, you usually get nothing. Work hard and bring out the clowns..er.....RPGs! And remember:
'COME UP WITH SOMETHING ORIGINAL YOU SLACK HOES'
By: xION ( email@example.com )
(C) 2001 Obsolete [ www.obsolete1.cjb.net/
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2001
( All of those shitty pix were added by Don Miguel ^_^ )