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    boredy
  Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:20 pm
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Hello all!
I need some more help with my research project assignment so if I could take a moment of your time to help me out it would be GREATLY appreciated.

I've designed a survey targeted at RPG (Role-Playing Game) developers to help me gain a sense of scope about how certain developers design their games, and why they have chosen a certain style of art, sounds or story to use in their game. The overall purpose is to get some advice from developers such as yourself about how to approach certain aspects of an RPG, so I can make my own in the future.

For all of you non-RPG developers out there, I would still appreciate your input in this survey if you were theoretically going to design and make an RPG game, because I can still use that information a lot.

Please answer these questions as best as you can:

    1. What primary programming language (or game development program) do you use? If you were to learn any language other than your primary programming language, which would it be and why?

    2. Which programming language(s) do you believe to be the best for designing an RPG (Role-Playing Game)?

    3. What considerations do you make/ what steps do you follow when designing the script (story/ plot) of an RPG?

    4. What considerations do you make when designing or choosing which art and visual effects to use in an RPG?

    5. What considerations do you make when composing and/ or choosing sounds and music to use in an RPG game?

Please take into consideration that replying to this post entitles me to possible use of your information (with credit) in my research project.

Thanks in advance for your help!


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    Amy
  Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:26 pm
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1. Ruby is my language of choice, simply because it's the one I've used most. If I was to learn properly another language, it would probably be some scripting language within a hefty game engine. Other than that I don't feel my C++ is where it should be, and the main reason I'd want to learn that fully is simply it's ubiquity.

2. I'm not sure there is a best, but simply because it allows you time to work on other aspects and not worry about the background, I'd probably say Ruby with Gosu.

3. I have been following CoyoteCraft's advice, to create a start and an end, and fill in from there. I add small plot points and then fill in again, and so on, until I've got a complete script. Also, the script is always pretty loose, as I know that when it comes to implement it I will be sidetracked or come up with things I hadn't thought of as I'm mapping and such.

4. Ease of editing in future. Pretty graphics are nice, but if I can't make personal edits to them quickly with a few pixel changes, and have it still match and look nice, then I don't have enough to make a game with.

5. Sound is somewhere I've always been lacking to be honest. I like to think if I was a composer I'd use hooks all the way through so that the battle music had hints of the title music, the map music was clearly a happy clappy version of the field drama music, etc.


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    Xilef
  Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:56 pm
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Location: UK
1. I personally use C++ with a scripting language of choice attached. If I wanted to learn a language other than my primary I'd go for...Hmm...Python? And that's only so I can check out Pygame, I know all the popular languages quite well and I use them all for different things :)

2. Any language that supports data objects, if you can't create structures of data then organising your enemy, party, battle data will become a mess of memory management, you'll end up with games that are as buggy as the original Pokemon games or the SNES FF games.
I'm not saying the object-oriented approach is best (Inheritance and such could add to complexity of an RPG), but having data structures is pretty much key. Almost all languages have support for organised data structures (Javascript is probably the worst of the popular languages when it comes to data structures).

3. I stick to the philosophy of don't bullshit, don't make a movie and plot comes second to game-play. Jump straight into the action, if you had a build-up before the action then make that your back-story, it must start with sucking the player right into what is going on. Also, physically writing the script is very hard, I'm still trying to figure out a good format for the complete script. It's also taken me 10 years to write this script.
Start by writing the beginning and the end, that makes things easier and is the best advice by far for writing the story.

4. If you're looking at coding, 3D models are way easier to handle than sprites, but getting the ball rolling with 3D models is harder. Prototype designs, get ideas and collect reference art.
So I started with the RPG Maker look, moved onto hand-drawn backgrounds with sprites, briefly went to sprites on a 3D background and now I have a full-3D engine, from there I experimented with camera angles and shaders and I've now got a look that is just fantastic, I'm really happy with some of the tests I've done with my shaders and camera angles, but it was an iterative process.

5. I don't do composing or sound effects, but all the scenes written for my game was inspired by music, the end of my game was written with the soundtrack to FFV's ending played and the final battle was written with FFIX's final battle music playing. I also find that music is good for defining a character's personality, so each of my characters were written with specific pieces of music in mind, not that they'll end up with those style of tracks as themes, but scenes where they are involved heavily are written after I hear a piece of music I really like.
Sound design is incredibly critical too, it's under appreciated in this industry, one of my scenes became so much cooler the moment I added a "warp" sound effect at a key moment, it just made the scene seem like the player themselves carried out the action, I can't explain it until I get everything working so I can show it, but sound effects, while they aren't the source of inspiration as music is, if used correctly it can really enhance a scene.


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    Nuri Yuri
  Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:36 am
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Location: France
We can consider Pokémon Games as RPG and... I'm doing a Pokémon game so I'll take time to answer :3

  1. I use the Ruby (RGSS) with RPG-Maker, I add some C++ code to make the RGSS better (Socket management etc...).
    If I was to learn an other language than my primary programming language it would be the language used by the other Game Developping solution because I should think this other solution is better than the actual.
  2. Monsters and Actors have statistics so Oriented Object Programming language like Ruby is the best to design an RPG. Just to see how your structures are made and to access to your object variables easily.
  3. I consider the kind of story I want to show in my RPG, after that, I search an introduction and the development, if the development should have a conclusion (like in Pokémon Black and White) I think about how to conclude the story, otherwise, I look at all the alternative ends (it's the harder but it's fun :3).
  4. First, I don't try to do like the last Final Fantasy, it's not the goal. I develop my game with the minimum and I note somewhere what effect I'd like to add in a scene. When the scenario is well developed in the game, I start to think about how to add the complex visual effects. If my game is a 2D Game, I don't try to add 3D effect (even if they are easier to add).
    I think the game should be visually inert for the first step of development. (A lot of maker fall in the trap of making effect at the very beginning...)
  5. It's too difficult to find the good music... I search something that is in harmony with the scene and the type of RPG...

I hope it helped you a little (some things have already been said ^^')

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    ZenVirZan
  Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:29 am
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Location: land of the snags 'n tracky-dacks
I don't think I'd be of much help, but I'll contribute anyway:

1. I primarily use Ruby. I've been meaning to learn a language that lends itself to more engines/editors, but I haven't found time to. If I could choose any language to know, I'd choose Java for the cross-platform abilities. If you take taking ease of learning into account, I'd probably pick Python, because I think it is a little more versatile than Ruby and has a similar syntax. You could go C++ like the big dogs, but this language isn't required as much as it once was.

2. The best language to use depends what you're looking to do. And RPG generally needs lots of content, and that is best done using a pre-made editor. Whatever language your editor of choice uses is most likely the best bet to use. You also need to keep in mind that there will be a lot of object-specific data going around, so an object-oriented language would be ideal. I'd personally use an RPG Maker (I tend to favour XP, but I have no experience with Ace) with Ruby (RGSS) because it is versatile enough to achieve pretty-much any 2D RPG goal.

3. I've never come up with a story or plot myself - My games are less plot and story driven and more gameplay and multiplayer-oriented. I'd imagine a design document would be the most important asset in coming up with this sort of thing - Have a dream, or come up with an idea somehow (I'm clueless as far as this goes), and proceed to spill your guts onto the page. Then sift through and make order of things. Once you have a general idea of what you want to do, modify elements and refine them to make everything tie together as well as possible. It is very important to make sure ideas generated on the fly fit before adding them into the game - Integrate the new ideas into your document before you add them to the game, or else your game will become very sloppy very quickly.

4. As far as art and visual effects go, I generally don't make it past place-holder graphics - I have a very hard time sticking to one project. Back when I used RPG Maker, I used the RTP Graphics with extra characters in the RTP Style gathered from around the Internet. For my current project, the only graphics I didn't make myself are the animation sheets from Final Fantasy I -> V, and the skill icons.
Depending on your budget, you could have your own art made, but I have no idea how this process works and is completely foreign to me.
Your visuals will define much of the game's mood and is what the player will think of when remembering your game, which is why it is important to be unique. How you make it unique is up to you (I can't exactly tell you, or it wouldn't be unique, would it?) If you are using the RTP, find a way to make it memorable, even if it is to only use custom main characters.
It's a good idea to have all art match, and be of harmonisable quality (a level of quality where it can suit your game's idea).

5. I enjoy writing music, but I am very inspiration based, and I find it impossible to write on demand, especially to a specified theme. Whatever I make is what I make, and rarely that is useful for games. I don't think sound effects are as difficult as graphics to source, because you can buy the sound effects you need (and music for that matter) without requiring a commission (although, a commission would be best for music, in the same way as for graphics). Much alike graphics, the music sets the atmosphere for the game, so there should be game-wide theme going on. Severe genre changes, instrument changes and quality changes can be jarring, so be sure to pick a style that can be sourced (or have one clearly in mind for commissions) which also compliments your game.

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