Improving Realms by taking a minor cue or two from Darklands

For Wizard Kings (and higher) to discuss the Realm Editor and the creation of realms.
User avatar
TΛPETRVE
Posts: 1046
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:24 am
Location: Suevia

Improving Realms by taking a minor cue or two from Darklands

Post by TΛPETRVE » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:36 am

While Chaos Reborn obviously neither is, nor aims to be a full-fledged, complex RPG experience, I think its interface lends well enough to a stronger emphasis on narration in Realms mode. A game that came to mind is the 1992 Microprose monstrosity Darklands, which - similar to Chaos Reborn - delivers a very streamlined presentation that is split up into an abstract overworld map, a combat screen, and purely text-based narration in the vein of a choose-your-own-adventure book. While Darklands is a stat-heavy and very complex sandbox RPG, the storytelling over text pages with multiple choice-interaction is on the surface very much just a more elaborate version of how Chaos Reborn handles its encounters. Add on top the time-based progression in both games that enforces player agency and urgency (with the difference that in Chaos Reborn you have an ultimate goal, whereas Darklands is more of a "life simulator" that ends only with the - hopefully - natural death of your character), and I feel like a few tweaks to the Realm creation process could potentially open up the game to a world of depth, without demanding much of a change to the basic gameplay mechanics.

Allowing Realm creators to:
  • chain together events for entire quest lines
  • have time-based events that show up and/or vanish after a specific amount of days passed in a realm
  • make events appear based on player reputation or law/chaos kudos, and also
  • allow those values to somewhat influence the outcome of a choice-based encounter, thus giving them more gravitas beyond just the recruiting mechanic
  • make mercenaries actual individuals that can have different stats from standard summons, and may be potentially further involved in world events, so that keeping them alive in battle is actually viable
  • assign specific score bonuses (or subtractions) to events, so that there are more ways to score in a Realm than just engaging in combat with Wizard Lords/Kings.
  • add further winning or game-ending conditions that go beyond "defeat Wizard King and begone"
  • grant titles onto players based on said conditions, to reward different approaches to a realm
...would go a long way to ensure Realms could be immensely varied, depending on what their creator has in mind. More thoughts to come.

As for how to realise that whole endeavour in a user-friendly way, I suggest giving creators a Twine-like flowchart to work with, so they can map out and connect events without losing track.

For reference, here a quick summary of what Darklands is like.
But the problem is, indeed, it zlots at Vlurxtrznbnaxl.

User avatar
krayzkrok
Posts: 766
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 am
Location: Darwin, Australia

Re: Improving Realms by taking a minor cue or two from Darkl

Post by krayzkrok » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:09 am

I like a lot of these suggestions, and many of them probably wouldn't take too much work to implement. I like consequence in choices, so that future events can check what kudos / reputation you've acquired to date. If you're always choosing "chaotic" outcomes, for example, then a future encounter where some elves invite you for tea and biscuits should become unavailable. Having a range or min/max threshold for encounters could achieve a lot without much dev work. Time-based events too, you have x days to reach a certain point.

I still think that defeating the wizard in the palace should be the final goal (although an easier way of using a different name for the final wizard would be useful, for storyline reasons). I'm also not sure that having tools like a flowchart is the best use of dev resources when there are alternative tools already (including free ones). I use Word and Excel at the moment to keep track of text and events.

User avatar
krayzkrok
Posts: 766
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 am
Location: Darwin, Australia

Re: Improving Realms by taking a minor cue or two from Darkl

Post by krayzkrok » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:24 am

Another feature that would be cool is have encounters actually influence map state. So for example it could cause a "bridge" of land to appear granting access to an island, or it could control access to settlements (eg. allow you to recruit dragons at a settlement on an inaccessible island, which you'd then have to use to defeat a Lord without the aid of your wizard who couldn't reach it).

User avatar
TΛPETRVE
Posts: 1046
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:24 am
Location: Suevia

Re: Improving Realms by taking a minor cue or two from Darkl

Post by TΛPETRVE » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:31 am

Even with Word and Excel, you still need to work all those entries into the actual realm, and chain them accordingly. When you have events that are connected to each other in various ways, you definitely need a flowchart. The world map itself is pretty much a flowchart already, in how it lets you connect travel points, rumors and events, et cetera. I see no reason to deviate from that formula.

As for the defeat of the Wizard King being the ultimate goal, I do agree, and I also think that it shouldn't be possible to delay the ban spell forever, so that a player will never be able to explore 100% of the available realm events in a single go. However, I also think that not defeating the Wizard King shouldn't be an automatic fail state that invalidates all and any progress made (maybe unless you are kicked from a realm after death or through the ban spell). I'd say that the creation of sub-goals that are still validated when formally abandoning a realm without actually fulfilling the main goal would go a long way to make realm exploration less of a waste of time.

Also, events changing the topography of the map is definitely desirable.
But the problem is, indeed, it zlots at Vlurxtrznbnaxl.

anjovi
Posts: 1515
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:34 am

Re: Improving Realms by taking a minor cue or two from Darkl

Post by anjovi » Tue Nov 03, 2015 5:06 am

I love the idea of having individualized mercs.

I think adding a capability to create a character and have them recruit-able via. town or encounter would add that right x com flavor to the mix. Adding scripting features for such a thing would be mighty nice! Though it would make those non LOS kills from across the map all the more infuriating. lol!

I like the ideas in general, that involve allowing more tools for the creators to tweak with encounters, and allowing the scripting of our own game mechanics (like the bits that unlock land tiles on a condition or all the things that can be done with the chained together events) though i think the associating scores to events sort of deviates from the simple nature of the cast breach and kill king formula...though as the score isn't really linked to anything other then the realm itself i couldn't see why not.

I could see people making simulations in this game if they had enough encounter tools..lol! The binary on/off events feature that triggers based on certain conditions could allow someone to do all sorts of crazy things.

User avatar
Farious
Posts: 1211
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:36 am
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Improving Realms by taking a minor cue or two from Darkl

Post by Farious » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:08 am

TΛPETRVE wrote:Even with Word and Excel, you still need to work all those entries into the actual realm, and chain them accordingly. When you have events that are connected to each other in various ways, you definitely need a flowchart. The world map itself is pretty much a flowchart already, in how it lets you connect travel points, rumors and events, et cetera. I see no reason to deviate from that formula.
I sorta tried to do that in my realm, and having an encounter revealed on the map after the player selects a particular choice on the parent encounter might be an idea also? :?

User avatar
TΛPETRVE
Posts: 1046
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:24 am
Location: Suevia

Re: Improving Realms by taking a minor cue or two from Darkl

Post by TΛPETRVE » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:37 pm

Precisely. So far, encounters can only be revealed via rumours, and they cannot be deactivated completely (i.e. you always trigger them by crossing the tile, no matter if they are revealed or not). Being able to stack and trigger individual events on a tile based on various conditions should be a must.

Also, a realm journal and -inventory would be nice, that logs quests and quest items in the player's possession.
But the problem is, indeed, it zlots at Vlurxtrznbnaxl.

User avatar
Tess
GOD
Posts: 2217
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:23 pm
Location: Truro

Re: Improving Realms by taking a minor cue or two from Darkl

Post by Tess » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:41 pm

anjovi wrote:I love the idea of having individualized mercs.
Yes indeed. In my second realm I have a dwarf, Carandorf, who essentially accompanies you as a merc through the story. But of course in the battles he can die so that rather ruins the continuity of the thing when the story carries on as if he's still alive...

User avatar
TΛPETRVE
Posts: 1046
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:24 am
Location: Suevia

Re: Improving Realms by taking a minor cue or two from Darkl

Post by TΛPETRVE » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:47 pm

Yeah, that would be precisely the purpose, and also make the dynamics around reputation, party size, etc. much more interesting.
But the problem is, indeed, it zlots at Vlurxtrznbnaxl.

User avatar
TΛPETRVE
Posts: 1046
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:24 am
Location: Suevia

Re: Improving Realms by taking a minor cue or two from Darkl

Post by TΛPETRVE » Mon Nov 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Boompah-Loompah. Still pushing the concept of more a complex event/narrative system.
But the problem is, indeed, it zlots at Vlurxtrznbnaxl.

Locked