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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:57 am 
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What is more lazy: The designer to expect the player to imagine and assume the role of the hero (actual roleplay), or of the player to watch a bunch of characters do their thing based a mix of scripts and on the player acting as a non-visible commander/god? :P From this point of perspective, something like FF 6 is not much of a role playing game, (excepting the few narrative choices there are) - it is an interactive movie laced with cultural artifacts that are reminiscent of classic role playing settings and mechanics.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:55 am 
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Does Breath of Fire count as side view, its isometric... but still mostly opposite sides.

Lunar series is side view.

Tales series now that is really side view ;)

The side view gives the advantage that you can move the players to the middle and be attacked from both sides, or "from behind" were as a front view doesn't really let you do it any other way.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:19 am 
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Breath of Fire would be isometric like Mario RPG, although I fail to see why it's so different from side-view.
I think games like Tales of Phantasia, Star Ocean and Indindo (not sure about Lunar) wouldn't really count in this case though, because they use a kind of grid-based system where position is important. In FF the side-view is mostly cosmetic and about everything in it could be done in a first-person view as well. Although pincer attacks and double damage from behind that was introduced in later FFs might not be so easy to recreate in a satisfying way in first-person.


The first-person view in early RPGs like Akalabeth was probably partly done because they thought it would be natural to see the world from your character's eyes, like you imagine doing in a tabletop RPG (the world map naturally is in top-down-view though, as that is the most practical and simple). And partly because it simplifies programming not having to draw the hero butts. And since you are supposed to create your character yourself in RPGs, the game would need a hero butt editor in that case.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:23 am 
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FrankenGraphics wrote:
What is more lazy: The designer to expect the player to imagine and assume the role of the hero (actual roleplay), or of the player to watch a bunch of characters do their thing based a mix of scripts and on the player acting as a non-visible commander/god? :P From this point of perspective, something like FF 6 is not much of a role playing game, (excepting the few narrative choices there are) - it is an interactive movie laced with cultural artifacts that are reminiscent of classic role playing settings and mechanics.


I think you just escalated the discussion, there... I also feel that it's been debated in and out over and over again throughout the past decades, but since I'm totally hot on Dragon Quest these days, I'll indulge...


Honestly, I think the core concept of a genuine "role playing game" in the sense of a computer game, is a bit of an illusion. A true role playing game is a social aspect, and the only computer games that have come close to truly replicating that experience are games with a multiplayer focus that allow players to approach eachother assuming roles. (or in very few cases, such as Neverwinter Nights, actually allowing a player to take the role of a dungeon master). Computer games are about presenting a world to the player, not about requesting the player to make up their own world.

The objective of a computer RPG was never to replicate the actual "role" playing aspect of a real life pen and paper RPG, but rather the gameplay, as well as the sense of adventure, and the experience of exploration opening up to you through investment in the game's world and mechanics. When Dragon Quest first came out, the mere aspect of a game that you could return to and delve further into over many hours was enough to set it apart from the typical arcade-like short sessions of action gameplay, you'd see on home consoles, and that was enough to classify it as an RPG.
The idea of creating a role for yourself and making up your own story I'd say is something people have been trying to apply to the computer RPG genre later on, and mostly on the western end of the RPG scale, and in my opinion it has rarely been succesful, if ever. As recent as the later Bethesda games you'd see them going on about how you can play these games however you like, but I never felt that it was a way to carve out my own character, as much as it was simply a question of discovering paths already laid out by the developer.

But going back to the early NES/Famicom RPGs, namely Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, I think what each of them did were very apt for the ways each of the series would go. Even in the later Dragon Quest games (especially evident with DQIX), the focus on this series has been on the world unfolding in front of you. The overarching "plot" is rarely important, but the many towns and castles had a lot of different things going on, and whereever you went, you'd find new interesting things and little stories to discover. Although most of the games had specific characters with their own backstory, they aren't as important as they'd eventually turn out to be in the Final Fantasy games - most notably from IV and onward, but the series started flirting with this already in the second game. In that sense I think it makes perfect sense for the FF games to show your characters performing their actions during battles, and the stories, especially in your example of Final Fantasy VI, one of the finest stories ever told in a video game, the characters and their dialogue was what both progressed the story and drew you into the world.

This NEVER happens in a Dragon Quest game. Every story told in the games comes from talking to people in the towns, and these are also the people that will progress the plot if there even is one apart from "go find the dragon and kill it". The main character is always a silent protagonist, and an "insert your own name here" blank slate. But I never felt this was done specifically to encourage the player to use his/her own imagination and make up a role for their position in the game world. Rather, I feel the intention is simply that they want you to feel like you are the one stepping into this world and experiencing it from your own perspective.
I guess you could say that's almost the same thing, but I think two important factors here is that #1: No one is asking you to "use your imagination", the game still has a lot of clear cut stories laid out for you, and #2: This is how almost every other video game works, or at least how they worked back then. It was only natural to make the protagonist into an avatar for the player, and NOT specifically an "RPG" element.

Giving the characters a voice, and relying on them to relay the story such as FF6 expertly does, does not make it any more or less of an RPG, it is simply the way it chose to do it. And as much as I love the Dragon Quest games, I don't think it's fair to say that playing FF6 is lazier, just because it's doing such a great job at telling a story.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:34 am 
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While i'd love to have that discussion, i'm on the move and will only add this for now:

I think you might've misinterpreted me. I'm not saying ff 6 was lazily designed (rather, it's very ambitious). I was saying calling the omission of heroes/inclusion hero butts might not always be as lazy as it seems at face value/retrospective from afar.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:41 am 
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I think I understood you well enough. I'm not defending whether FF6 itself is "lazy", but rather debating whether any computer game can realististically ask the player to use his own imagination in a medium based entirely around delivering sounds and graphics as feedback to the player.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:25 am 
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Ok, got a minute on the tram...

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with any of that. A tabletop rpg/storytelling game-simulating game (phew, long description) would need to pass the turing test, just like an accurate conversation simulator. But i do, on the other hand, firmly belive that a distinction is often missing when this subject is discussed. The difference between Storytelling/pen and paper rpgs on the one hand, and just roleplay.

If you've ever read/played a fighting fantasy/lone wolf/other interactive novel, you'd likely call that experience roleplay. Roleplay here simply means assuming a role and playing to find out what happens. These games are super crude, but their narratives are great at easing you into a role/a heroic fantasy. Fighting fantasy books even begin, in a rudimentary way, with role creation, whereas in lone wolf, you're lone wolf (but you still get to assign things like history, skills, and gender). This, and how the narrativwe is weitten and how choices are presented, are three solid corner stone.

Roleplaying is nort even limited to games. You can trace its roots back to both various forms of interactive theater (for example, there's a form of theater where the audience is encouraged to protest on the couse of action, but once you've protested, you must enter the stage, replace the actor, assume the role, and play to find out what happens next), and military scenario simulations. There's even a psychology theory on spontaneous roletaking in the military.

So, can a crpg simulate the p&p-rpg experience? hardly; if we're strict. But can it encourage roleplay? Most definitely.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:31 am 
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Pokun wrote:
I think games like Tales of Phantasia, Star Ocean and Indindo (not sure about Lunar) wouldn't really count in this case though, because they use a kind of grid-based system where position is important.

I don't know about the other 2 you mentioned, but Tales of Phantasia is more of an A-RPG although it still uses the classic random encounter system, and Star Ocean is menu driven, position is important, but neither of those games uses a gird-based system - Fire Emblem does.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:24 am 
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Lunar is strictly turn-based and has light positional elements.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:24 pm 
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Oops I didn't mean to include Tales in that. But yeah Tales of Phantasia would be excluded from this criteria because it has action-based battles.

Grid-based was maybe not the correct term, I meant a battle system where position is an element to consider. Not that it has a visible grid. RPGs like Live-a-Live, Lunar and Indindo all requires you to move closer to an enemy before you can attack with melee weapons for example (although in Lunar the actual movement doesn't seem to be controllable). Chrono Trigger seems to have positions, but it's more of a cosmetic thing.
FF II and later has back row and front row position, but other than that (and facing in FF VI) position isn't really part of the battle system, besides maybe party member order.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:48 pm 
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Not being able to follow up with this thread due to the lengthy replies, but:
Pokun wrote:
...the game would need a hero butt editor in that case.


Now that is innovation! Someone should have done this, if it's not yet done.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:50 am 
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Taken out of context, it's funny. lol


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