This note contains random brainstorming.
Do not think a characters as "Joe, character with good healing skill and average herbalism skill". Think him as "Joe, adept of Scarlet Order".
Avoid showing dialog lines as speech choices, show what you are trying to accomplish.
Always have dialog choices numbered from 1 - 9 and allow players to use number keys to answer.
Death gives a break to the player, want to keep intensive or lax?
Game highjacks microphone audio.
Always make it clear when you have speech choices available because of the abilities of the character. Icon or text good indicators. Still consider hiding options that character does not fulfill.
What are you looking at? 1. You? 2. Nothing... 3. Your ugly face. (Taunt 5) [4. Rather old goblin. (Intelligence 7)] -> not shown as does not have Int.
Consider showing different languages in specific colors. Show as fully or partially in English if player understands it.
When stealing from a merchant, first you see a progress bar, some animation and hear speech, walking and other voices. Than it either succeeds or fails. There can be a glass window on the inventory that has items that cannot be stolen.
Character attributes cause game altering effects:
- Perception -> show enemy health.
- Lore -> show additional information about magic spells.
- Insight -> you hear and see things that other's cannot.
Have specific race or class hear extra sounds in dialog and otherwise in-game. Also consider showing extra text on surfaces.
Shadowrun has concept of lifestyle. Paid every month. Creature comfort. Quality of food, clothes and home. Affects some encounters.
Classes can get their damage potential from different sources:
- Warrior from experience.
- Mage from attributes.
- Rogue from gear.
- Priest from number of believers
Always consider context when designing encounters and events. Design them from enemy races point of view. How the race could fight?
If monsters are immune to fire make their AI try to set the building on fire as they cannot hurt from it. When entering an open area, there is ambush with ranged enemies on trees. When going up a hill, enemies hurl down logs to kill you. Enemies have taken hostages and you need to avoid hitting them. Kobold caverns, kobolds lock door behind you and start a fire inside. Walls have holes where they can shoot arrows and you need to run.
Try adapting to player style.
Players like to summon monsters? Make summoning monsters also do something else e.g. solve a quest. Do players search the rooms? Make them find something.
Make enemy aggro mechanic interesting.
If monster is intelligent, target priests and wizards. If monster is dumb, target the fighter.
If player places a bag of holding in a bag of holding, show a short animation of the earth collapsing into a black hole and restart the game.
Priest should have a spell "Command", allowing a single one word verb to be executed by target. Sleep, Run, Flee, Undress, Drink, Panic, Help, Dance, Sing, Vomit, Surrender, Fall, Trip, Autodefenestrate. Unintelligent enemies need to roll a language check.
Comedy should be brief and you should not force it.
Consider tuning gaming experience to playable character skill set. If player has not taken any hacking skills, try to reduce generating hacking related events. Throw one or two in there just to keep the illusion of choice or if a side kick can do the hacking. Make scenarios according to his strengths. If he is a good shooter, introduce a scene where he is stripped of guns or that he is given an inferior gun against a minigun or enemy with bullet proof vest. Let his use his expertise.
If you are creating own slang or dialect to a game, do not invent words but use words that people understand but sound weird. e.g. "chant" for news or "jiggly" for local rice pudding. Then they are easy to remember.
// Bird race words: break = face peck = to hit vorgken = dipshit guthash = retard // Dwarven swear words: anvil-dropping pixie sissy troll-barf puke-for-brains oathbreaker fossil goblin-fiend rust-bucket cave-in elf-kissing pointy-eared beardless clanless dainty moth-eaten tall
Repeat your lore elements for consistency. Repeat things that players have already seen e.g. architecture style, naming conventions, use of clothes, races, creatures and locations. Game lore seems more intact.
Extrapolate your lore elements for believability. If you just repeat everything all the time, it seems unreal and boring. You need to make sure the usage is different in different contexts, with a twist. If you have lightsabers, introduce really rare light maces.
Include scenarios without fighting. Most should be optional. Haunted house. Financial management. Duel of Wits but with special interface. Negotiation to make NPC to do your bidding. Puzzles.
If you have a big villain in the game, keep contact with the big bad minimal and interact through minions. You should give players options to outsmart the big villain. Players must feel they are progressing in defeating the villain.
Many games are combining genres.
Bioshock has pipes minigame. Mixing Action and Puzzle genres. Does it re-enforce the core of the game? Think about mixing genres that have a flaw. Old JRPGs are good in delivering the story but the combat is often boring. Many modern JRPGs have puzzle mechanics as the combat.
MegaTraveller 1: The Zhodani Conspiracy (1990) Strength Dexterity Endurance Intelligence Education Social St. Tables Personal Development Special Skills Education Advanced Education Space Space Tech Technical Inborn Interpersonal
Consider giving experience and items from a MMORPG dungeon after the dungeon. Will prevent players from abandoning the party after first boss.
Out of Ideas?
- JRGP Cliches: List of basic clichés present in JRPG games.
- Abulafia: Collection of random generators e.g. for plots, characters, places.