FUNDAMENTALS OF GAME DESIGN, SECOND EDITION

User Interface

Подпись:image196CRPGs usually permit a much greater range of possible actions for the player than games of other genres. Consequently, there is a corresponding increase in the com­plexity of the interface. Most PC titles offer an interface in which the player uses the mouse to click icons—though some still offer a keyboard-only interface—while console titles tend to duplicate the functionality of a mouse using analog controllers.

VISIBLE VERSUS HIDDEN MECHANICS

The first computerized games based on the Dungeons & Dragons system displayed actual die rolls on the screen so that the player could be confident that the games were following the real D&D rules. That was over 20 years ago, and nowadays the
player does not need to be reminded that she is playing a computer game based on D&D rules. Of course, she should have access to the basic information such as attri­butes and skills, but exposing the inner mechanics of the game system in this way harms her immersion. One of the great benefits of computer gaming is that the player does not need to know how the software implements the rules.

Some players who are primarily focused on character advancement want to see all the numeric data, as opposed to the story-chasers who find that all the numeric data spoil the fantasy. Both types of player like CRPGs, but for different reasons, and you should not try to serve both groups. Players who like to see the mechanics of the game in operation need a very different user interface from those who prefer that the mechanics remain hidden.

REPETITIVE TASKS

Another legacy of the roots of CRPG in tabletop RPGs arises from the turn-based nature of the original games. Consider a character who has a 10 percent chance of picking a lock; the player may repeatedly click the Pick Lock button until he suc­ceeds. This is dull and unnecessary, especially on a computer.

A better method is to display a progress bar. The speed with which the task pro­gresses depends on the character's skill in that area—that is, it progresses quickly for a character with a high skill level, slowly for one with a low skill level, or not at all if the task is beyond the character's ability entirely.

This approach also allows the player to interrupt the task if it is taking too long. The progress bar could flash red if there is a chance of being interrupted, for exam­ple, if an enemy is within range of the player's character and stands a chance of detecting the activity. Give the character a small amount of time—based on her dexterity and intelligence—to stop before being caught, or no chance of avoiding capture if the character's combined dexterity and intelligence is too low. This approach aids immersion and heightens the tension and immediacy of the game.

Summary

Role-playing games, either on tabletop or on computers, allow players to immerse themselves in complex worlds with manifold gameplay options. With several game - play modes, including communication, exploration, combat, and inventory, building CRPGs can be enormous undertakings requiring intense design and a lot of content. But the satisfaction of playing an avatar with great powers makes it very rewarding to make such games. You need to be concerned with creating a memorable world with a wondrous environment and giving the avatars the challenges to allow them to increase experience points and level up—if your design includes that—while unraveling the story by journeying through the world.

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