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The Ultimate CRPG by Glasnev and Bouravtsov
Editorial - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Sun 11 May 2003, 16:57:46Tags: Burut Creative Team
There are many points of view to the question of what the computer RPG really is. It is quite hard to give the full, exhaustive definition to this genre, and it is not needed, really - the games exist to play and to bring enjoyment.
Moreover, such tendency of last years as mixing the genres has always given some exceptions from the definitions of computer role playing games to the most keen classifier. Besides, some gaming elements, without which good CRPG can't exist, can be defined. Our point of view is that it is, firstly, a worked out and debugged role system, freedom of player's actions, and the convenience of controls, a clear and natural interface. Those are the moments we'd like to dwell on.
We think all of you heard such abbreviations as AD&D, GURPS, SPECIAL and so on. These role systems are similar in one way - they are created for modeling of the gaming character's (or characters') personality development during the gaming process.
The change of some set of characteristics allows to change the inclination of the character, the development of skills gives new gaming possibilities. All this helps the player to "play" the part which he has destined to his character, exactly as he wants. However, the progress is not staying in one place; and, with the passage from pen, paper and dice in the table RPGs to the models of gaming world and gamers' interacting in it with the help of powerful abilities of the computers, role systems must more and more precisely reflect real abilities of development of the human being, while staying quite understandable for the user.
The role system of the near future is the system that will not confuse the player with plenty of figures and tables, and at the same time will allow him to create quite every character, play quite every role in the imaginary world. A lot of attention must be paid to the mentality of the character, his ideology, turn of mind, habits - all that is called Personality in real world. This part of human being is probably more important that his physical component, but, in spite of this, the stress in present-day role systems is laid exactly at body physics, as most easy, understandable and clear for representation and perception.
The role system must take the part of the personality's development, and give the advantage not only to modify physically, but to rear the nature of player's reflection in the gaming world. It is needed also to bring the most important part to the game - the chance. It would be interesting if your character would sometimes gain abilities which you were not even able to think of.
We already spoke about the necessity of giving the freedom to the player at the level of character's development, especially his mentality and nature. The other determinant factor is gaming freedom. It includes the difference of methods of solving problems that player faces, easy movement around the gaming world, many non-plot, optional quests and just communicating creatures, overall variety and originality of the gaming world.
The time of easy, "mail" tasks had passed - "go kill that one", "bring this thing". One, or better some alternative ways always must exist, when the player can choose regarding to the part he plays with his character. Of course, these ways must award the player in different ways and affect his relations with other characters. Easy moving around the gaming world must not be limited by plot ideally. Even such clumsy limitation as the presence of superstrong monsters in the place where the player should not go too soon, makes better impression than just denied access.
The limiting (and at the same time desperately needed) factor is the plot. It is the base for every role game. The most important for the storyline is the balance - not giving the player any chance to relax and forget why he is playing the game, it is important at the same time to help him to get rid of completing the storyline tasks, explore the world, do abstract things. It is important to make the game passable independently from somebody's death, not making it connected with definite order of passing through locations, etc.
Many non-plot tasks, their common way can diversify the gaming process a lot, too - if the storyline tasks are connected with something essentially important, strategic, the non-plot tasks must reflect common, everyday life of the people - a lot of details, people's stories and fates, optional domestic things, logic of the relations - all this can give the game that reality which it tries to achieve so irrepressibly.
Thanks to Dmitry Glasnev and Sergey Bouravtsov for taking the time from working on Golden Land to write this up.