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Topic III: TRPGs: Where Are They Going?

J_Sensei: So, the last topic we have on the agenda is this:

J_Sensei: NIS is known as the King of TRPGs

J_Sensei: Where is the genre going?

J_Sensei: Because when I first played them, I started with Final Fantasy Tactics

J_Sensei: which became kind of the measuring stick for a TRPG

Limdallion: It looks like Konami jumped on the bandwagon with that Suikoden TRPG

ZeroSlash: It seems to becoming some what more widely accepted here in America

Diamond_: I feel nowhere to go but up as it doesn't have a large history and there is tons of room for innovation.

J_Sensei: but, NIS is challenging that.

Toran: I personally loved the movement...sphere from Phantom Brave. It took awhile but eventually I warmed up to it.

BorgmanJayce: I started with Shining Force myself...

Dracos: Limdallion: If you are saying Konami is jumping on the bandwagon, you haven't been paying attention to Suikoden for the last ten years.

XeroZohar: Many cut their teeth on FFTactics, if they weren't already on the Ogre mailing list.

Dracos: Diamond: large history?

* Dracos was playing tactical RPGs in the eighties >_>

Lord_Klaxor: One thing that I hope will eventually make it into TRPG's is more storyline for your custom characters. Eventually I think they will evolve to a point where depending on how you use them in battle, the game could generate some little storyline segments for them.

Lord_Klaxor: granted it wouldn't be very complex at first

Dracos: Tactical games, in many ways, are the forefathers of the RPG.

J_Sensei: What about two player?

Diamond_: I really meant there's not a ton of them that always come out versus other genres.

Dracos: Eh.

Lord_Klaxor: like if a character is used a lot on the front lines more then others, the game will assign that character an aggressive personality

Dracos: There's pretty plentiful amounts.

J_Sensei: Should these games have more than one player support?

Lord_Klaxor: I think that would be great.

Lord_Klaxor: Ah yes a TRPG which a 2 player co-op option

Limdallion: Could there be an online TRPG?

Diamond_: That would rule!!!

Lord_Klaxor: that would also be a lot of fun. It'd let you split your forces to achieve the same goal

ZeroSlash: There was a two player mode on the TRPG "Kartia: Word of fate". It was a bit limited but it was nice pitting your wits against others

BorgmanJayce: But would the idea of an online TRPG work...

Toran: Well Front Misson Online seems to be skirting the Online TRPG genre

Diamond_: Online gamers would snatch that up in two seconds.

Dracos: Eh

Limdallion: I don't see why not. You build armies, move to areas, fight other armies, fight other players

Lord_Grifter: The real trick about multiplayer support, unless you go online, is how do you out-tactic them when the other player can see you setting up everything?

ZeroSlash: I heard that Front Mission Online was going to be a bit more real time though

Dracos: Multiplayer tactical games work significantly better than multiplayer RPGs.

J_Sensei: But wouldn't it be no different than the computer?

J_Sensei: it can see you moving too.

Dracos: Grifter: The same way that Blizzard has been doing it since Warcraft =)

BorgmanJayce: What about Nobunaga's Ambition Online in Japan... Isn't that a

Dracos: Japan: The computer isn't that intelligent.

Dracos: compared to a player.

J_Sensei: Well yes, but it can 'see' you setting things up also.

J_Sensei: even if it's not that bright.

Dracos: it's really not the same thing.

Dracos: Taking an AI I'm more familiar with. A player in an FPS can see the field and discern strategies from it.

XeroZohar: An algorithm is no substitute for a brain.

Lord_Grifter: I was mostly referring to turn based trpgs on a console

Dracos: To the AI, it is just a collection of points and a small visible radius when they go into attack mode.

Dracos: Grifter: Ah, you mean right next to each other.

Dracos: I would suggest Chess as the obvious answer.

J_Sensei: So, how do you set up a multiplayer that's co-op?

Dracos: It has not lacked for strategy for hundreds of years, despite the fact that both players can see precisely what is being done.

Dracos: The issue with versus in an 'rpg' setup

Dracos: is that it becomes difficult to balance.

Dracos: It is more than being able to analyze what the other person is doing.

Dracos: It is closer to "Hey this guy spent five hundred hours in item world" =)

Lord_Klaxor: I suppose the main reason that you don't see 2 player trpgs is the wait times you'd have between turns

Lord_Klaxor: not very exciting unless your really into it.

Limdallion: Yeah, I can see that getting old

Dracos: No. It is the balance issue.

Limdallion: Ever play chess with someone who takes forever to make a move?

Dracos: What you're suggesting is why old style tactical games fell out of favor

J_Sensei: What about head-to-head 2 player?

XeroZohar: It's hard to make single-player mechanics work in a multiplayer sense.

Dracos: in favor of fast paced blizzard type tact-strat games.

Lord_Klaxor: You'd still be dealing with the wait times

XeroZohar: er, context

Diamond_: well, if you could have a large army of characters in your repertoire I'm sure level differences could be balanced out between ones strongest characters and the others weakest

Dracos: Diamond: It would be an absolute nightmare.

ZeroSlash: It would almost be impossible to balance because when it comes down to it, it depends on how much time has been spent making your characters and weapons

Dracos: I would feel the greatest sorrow for whatever designers got settled with the duty of trying to make that math work.

J_Sensei: I played a game online that just had generic characters with no levels. You picked your placement before you started and one person was randomly chosen to go first.

Lord_Klaxor: The game would have to assign points to how strong a character is and each side would get a certain amount of points to use.

Diamond_: or you could have a random character thing that the comp. decides on so it's even

Dracos: Yeah, that is a tactical game.

J_Sensei: Then the two sides had to battle it out with totally balanced sides to see who wins.

Dracos: If you have character growth in the manner of a standard RPG or TRPG

Dracos: It isn't as easy to balance.

Diamond_: Yeah, that's why it's difficult for me to answer that problem.

Toran: If you have equal standing with your opponent, the game will be much more fun, and much more "tactical"

Lord_Klaxor: character growth would work in co-op. But head to head I’m sure they would lock the levels at a certain point due to the balance issues that your talking about.

Limdallion: Has anyone played Mage Knight or Warhammer 40K?

J_Sensei: What about if you have a game where people join together to fight a common foe. Kind of like a mixture of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and a standard TRPG?

Dracos: Cooperative has much more opportunity.

Dracos: But

Limdallion: Because how that works is that each side has a number of points to spend on creating their army. You could balance it by having high level characters cost more points.

Toran: That could be fun, having one player strike the enemy while another flanks them

Dracos: at the same time the issue becomes how do you make it work.

Dracos: Cooperative is much easier than competitive.

Dracos: But keeping it moving quickly isn't a simple challenge.

XeroZohar: Yeah, RPG and RTS/TBS are hard to mix in a multiplayer setting.

ZeroSlash: Yeah, cooperative play throws the balancing issues out the window when your helping each other

Lord_Grifter: Plus, you would probably have to wait for your allies to make their moves before you could make yours

Alethea: heh

Dracos: Cooperative exchanges the balancing issue of player vs player

Dracos: to the balancing issue of 'is there one person playing or four?'

Dracos: and the time and speed issue

Dracos: so that you're keeping those players active.

Dracos: It is easy to do with each player controlling one character and only one character

Lord_Klaxor: one way they could make the wait times better would be if the game let both players move at the same time and select their actions. Then you'd do a Disgaea style "execute" to do all the actions for both players. (assuming you’re doing co-op)

Diamond_: if you limit the number that can be on one team it shouldn't be too much of a hassle waiting for others to make their moves

Dracos: but in that case that doesn't feel like a tactical rpg type.

J_Sensei: That could be done

J_Sensei: The upcoming consoles will have multiple controller support

J_Sensei: Everyone gets one character?

Diamond_: or two or three...

Dracos: That misses the point, J.

Dracos: The beauty of tactical RPGs is that you are leading squads.

Dracos: not one, not two, but ten or twenty.

J_Sensei: well, ok, make it two or three

Dracos: Disgaea you'd be pulling out ten people and sending them against a squad of ten to twenty.

Alethea: ok

Limdallion: I don't know, it feels like having cooperative multiplayer in TRPGs sort of defeats the idea of them being tactical. Wouldn't it just be easier to control both armies to create tactics with than argue with your friend about what they should do?

Dracos: Yes, but not as interesting tactically.

J_Sensei: Yeah, but that's kind of real life

Dracos: but

Dracos: again

Diamond_: well in real historic wars I'd think there were plenty of arguments over tactics

Dracos: It misses the "RPG" part of TRPG.

Toran: Well Co-op would certainly work when the goal to do one than one thing at once.

Dracos: It is easy

Dracos: and has been done for many years

J_Sensei: In war, you have one commander

Dracos: To make a tactical multiplayer game, both competitive or cooperative.

J_Sensei: BUT he sits off in the distance

Dracos: It is harder to make a good one, but it gets done.

J_Sensei: The people in the front call the shots independently of the commander in most cases

Dracos: When you start adding in RPG elements though

Dracos: and making it an RPG and not a tactical game.

Limdallion: Maybe there could be some innovative gameplay features, like a teamwork attack bonus

Dracos: it becomes much much harder to make it fun and balanced.

Dracos: Limdallion: FM4 did that.

Dracos: But take my word for it and don't check it out =).

Limdallion: Will do

Toran: I wish I had someone to tell me that...

XeroZohar: *thinks

J_Sensei: It looks like this topic is almost finished.

J_Sensei: Closing thoughts?

Lord_Klaxor: I just bought Atelier today, and I can't wait to play it ^^

Martyr: I just robbed Lord_Klaxor today, can't wait to use the money to go buy Atelier.

madhtr: I will be buying it as soon as I have money again ^^

Limdallion: You can make just about any game genre go online and be fun, but sometimes you need to invent some new gameplay mechanics. I wonder about a Tetris online.

ZeroSlash: I'll get Atelier next week when I get paid

XeroZohar: It's been done.

Diamond_: Mascots and music are good, but just one brick in building quality games.

Dracos: I am still waiting for the Atelier to arrive at my doorstep.

Dracos: Cursed being to cheap to pay for one day shipping.

Dracos: =D

XeroZohar: Love what you do and you'll make it good. :)

Diamond_: Yeah, I gotta get Atelier too, now I have money thanks to my graduation.

Toran: There's no formula to make a great game, but quality, and appeal certainly help, so does....A horse wiener O.o

Lord_Grifter: I hope you all will enjoy Atelier Iris when you get the chance to play it

J_Sensei: I plan to buy it also.

Toran: Definitely.

J_Sensei: But it'll be a bit before I can play it

Limdallion: Graphics certainly help sell a game to some people, but they also raise production costs. It is more economical to sell a game based on gameplay and story rather than expensive graphics.

ZeroSlash: Make it fun so that anyone can enjoy it your sure to get noticed

Lord_Klaxor: Thanks a lot for spending some time with us Steven

Martyr: Indeed

J_Sensei: Indeed.

BorgmanJayce: I'll buy it as soon as I can afford it

Diamond_: Thank you for supplying us with incredible games.

Lord_Grifter: You're welcome

Limdallion: Absolutely, keep up the good work

Martyr: Thanks a ton for giving up your time tonight.

* XeroZohar: expresses thanks, too.

Limdallion: NIS games are known for their awesome localization

J_Sensei: I want to thank you once again on behalf of RPGamer and myself

Lord_Grifter: Thank you all for having me

BorgmanJayce: Same here, thanks for talking to us and telling us about what goes into the localization of a game

Lord_Grifter: I had a really great time

. ZeroSlash: Thanks for you time here d00d

Martyr: Heh "d00d"

* XeroZohar: explodes

J_Sensei: So, this concludes the Roundtable discussion. Thank you all for coming.

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