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Development Info Tim Cain at Reboot Develop 2017 - Building a Better RPG: Seven Mistakes to Avoid

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Arcanum: of Steamworks and Magick Obscura; Fallout; Obsidian Entertainment; Temple of Elemental Evil; Tim Cain

    Chris Avellone and Tim Cain are in Croatia this weekend for the annual Reboot Develop conference, which has apparently become a popular game developer getaway. Unlike last year's conference, this year some of the events are being streamed live on Twitch. The two panels that Chris and Tim participated on Thursday and yesterday, which were about Fallout and worldbuilding respectively, were not livestreamed. But Tim's talk today, which was titled "Building a Better RPG: Seven Mistakes to Avoid", was.


    Tim begins the talk with a short overview of his career, leading up to his current mystery project at Obsidian, which he says is a new IP which Fallout fans will enjoy, and which has a lot of "Fallout and Arcanum style and humor". And that sets the tone for the rest of the talk, which in my opinion isn't so much about particular RPG development mistakes as it is a treatise about various aspects of RPG design. It's likely that many of these design philosophies will find their way into Tim's game, so I'll go over them in detail:
    • Mistake #1 - Steep Learning Curves: Tim thinks character creation in Fallout, Arcanum and other RPGs was too complex. He's experimenting with creating a completely numberless character system that uses geometric shapes to visualize attributes.
    • Mistake #2 - Letting Math Trump Psychology: Revealing the influence of the years he spent developing Wildstar, Tim wants to develop mechanics that are psychologically satisfying and addictive, even at the expense of mathematical elegance. For example, he says the player's first attack against an enemy should always hit even if his overall hit percentage is the same regardless, and that rather than allow players to increase their critical hit chance, they should only be allowed to increase their critical hit damage.
    • Mistake #3 - Conflating Player Skill With Character Skill: This one will be familiar if you've watched some of Josh Sawyer's talks. Aiming and hitting in an action-RPG should not be determined by character stats. On the other hand, things like the impact of recoil can be affected by stats, as well as the aforementioned critical hit damage.
    • Mistake #4 - Misunderstanding Randomness: Here Tim lays out his frustration with the sorts of people who can't believe they could miss a 95% chance-to-hit attack three times in a row. His conclusion is that when people talk about "randomness", they often mean selecting a token rather than rolling a dice (ie, events can't repeat themselves).
    • Mistake #5 - Forcing Linearity: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Tim says games are not movies, using Fallout's Tandi rescue scenario with its multiple solutions as an example of the sort of non-linearity he prizes.
    • Mistake #6 - Being Non-Reactive: Tim seems particularly interested in the sort of reactivity where characters in the world have different dispositions based on your character's background, clothing and attributes, as seen in Arcanum. He also loves having different end slides based on the player's choices in the game, using Temple of Elemental Evil's evil ending as an example.
    • Mistake #7 - Telling Horrible Stories: Tim uses this to emphasize again that games are not movies. Not every character in a game has to be important or advance the plot. Tropes likes the Chosen One protagonist and amnesiac protagonist are tiresome and should be discarded.
    The talk concludes with a Q&A session, where Tim reveals a bit about how publisher meddling caused a large portion of Temple of Elemental Evil (and in particular its second town, Nulb) to be cut. He also expresses his approval of not granting experience points for combat to make alternate playstyles more attractive, as seen in Pillars of Eternity. In summary, I think it's clear that Tim and Leonard's game will very much be a streamlined, "newschool" sort of RPG. Those who want a more classical experience from Obsidian will have to look towards Pillars of Eternity II.
     
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  2. FeelTheRads Arcane Patron

    FeelTheRads
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    Well, there it goes then. Fuck you and fuck numberless geometric shapes.

    Oh well, still have a big backlog of old RPGs I never played. No loss.
     
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  3. Marten Broadcloak Learned

    Marten Broadcloak
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    The more we hear about Tim and Leonard's secret RPG project, the more it looks like it's going to be in third-person or even first-person view - not isometric. We already suspected that because of Feargus saying it would be like Mass Effect, and because we know it will be cross-platform, but today Tim also talked about how he wants to handle the "reticle" and how it's a big deal. Damn.
     
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  4. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    Some people tried hiding the numbers in the 90s to make RPGs more "accessible," it didn't work and is just annoying.

    :hmmm:

    Where's your messiah now, Codex?
     
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  5. TZ3K Arcane

    TZ3K
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    This presentation scared the shit outta me.
    Show Spoiler

    Simplifying Fallout 4.

    :prosper:
     
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  6. Trodat Erudite Patron

    Trodat
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    Well, that is disappointing. But good to know now in advance rather than 6 months before release.

    Let's wait and see about Cyberpunk 2077 and its "real rpg" system. :negative:
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
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  7. Kalin Arcane Zionist Agent

    Kalin
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    He is dead to me.
     
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  8. Junmarko Ravioli di canguro Patron

    Junmarko
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    Forgiven.
     
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  9. CryptRat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Developer

    CryptRat
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    :retarded:
     
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  10. Black Angel Magister

    Black Angel
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    Fucking hell. This, and thinking he made a mistake with implementing time limit in Fallout 1.....

    Dumbfucks, ruining gaming and cRPGs since the 2000s :argh:
     
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  11. Trodat Erudite Patron

    Trodat
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    First MCA, then Tim Cain. Where is your god now? :smug:
     
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  12. Haplo Arbiter Patron

    Haplo
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    Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    :badnews:
     
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  13. Visbhume Prophet

    Visbhume
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    I'm all for it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Beastro Arcane

    Beastro
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    Ugh... those first three.

    The last three are just the typical stuff we know he and others in Obsidian love, I just wish they'd do more of it in adult ways and not like what we saw in PoE, which has set the trend of their games where #5 is over trivial fluff and not where it matters, same with #6 while #7 they try to do, but it doesn't really sink home how terrible it is, Waidwen's Legacy and the Duke's reaction to it being a good case of that (And given what PoE gave, the main plot should have focused around just what we got in the game's first act, which would be a nice case focusing a game on one small, sad and terrible veil taking place instead of a variation of "save the world" we got from PoE's main plot).

    The randomness thing I think comes from what people "feel" is good randomness and want from randomness those not being what literal randomness is.

    I'm reminded of how people feel patterns in Xcom and other games not being truly random, but when tested they are. People need to try an find a system that works with pleasing the human reaction of "correct" randomness that counter acts confirmation bias.

    In his example it isn't that someone misses 3 times in a row with 95% hit chance, it's that often it feels like it constantly keeps happening that to a human being doesn't feel like "true" 95% when it actually is when you run the numbers.

    If they did it in the spirit of Neo Scavenger that could work. It's one game that is far better because the numbers are hidden.
     
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  15. Longshanks Augur

    Longshanks
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    Nothing much to argue with here if we're talking Action RPG, and it seems we are. Stats are inherently weakened so they should not have the prominence they do in a classical RPG. More Deus Ex, less Arcanum. Disappointing that this is the genre they're going with, but there are good Action RPGs maybe this will be one of them.
     
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  16. Raziel Educated

    Raziel
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    Wait a minute......isn't Tim Cain the Chosen One? What happened? Geometric shapes??

    :despair:
     
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  17. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Many action-RPGs are better without stats at all, though. If you watch the talk, it doesn't sound so much like he wants to "hide" numbers but take them away and replace them with something more discrete/binary. The geometric shape system he talks about (he uses triangles in his example) divides character attributes into "Great", "Good", "OK" and "Yucky", not a whole spectrum of behind-the-scenes numbers.

    (EDIT: Actually, not sure about this.)

    He also mentions perks during the talk, but says he doesn't like when you have an overwhelming selection of them to choose from all at once.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
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  18. Kalin Arcane Zionist Agent

    Kalin
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    To whom is Fallout 1 overwhelming? How retarded do you have to be not to get some simple stats and skills? I guess such a faggot would die if he tried to play Underrail, instant mind blown! Better put warning labels on non-accessible games for these dorito manboons, millions of lives are at risk!
     
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  19. Maxie Magister

    Maxie
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    it's not a real game unless you can compare builds and make fun of your fellow Christian's shit stat optimisation

    also ditch reactivity it's not worth its salt
     
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  20. Somberlain Arcane Zionist Agent

    Somberlain
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    Maybe they are just tired of their worshiping on Codex so they are trying to commit a grognard suicide to finally get rid of all the asslickers here.


    :timcain:
     
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  21. Darkzone Arcane

    Darkzone
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    ...There are no saints in heaven. There are no saints on earth. There are no ghosts in heaven. There are no ghosts on earth. There are no gods in heaven. There are no gods on earth....
     
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  22. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    The numbers are there behind the scenes (you can't program with shapes), you just can't see what it is. :argh:

    I guess it doesn't really matter if the numbers only go from 1-5 but it does with larger amounts.
     
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  23. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    Fuck, all the old developers got brain rot
     
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  24. Latelistener Cipher

    Latelistener
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    It is not the numbers, but rather the game's logic that is hard to figure out. Even if you know all of the information about stats, and understand what they do, there is a chance that a part of them is practically useless. I'd say they should spent time making sure that all skills are necessary, rather than simplifying the character creation window. And Bloodlines already has the auto level up option for retards.
     
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  25. Darkzone Arcane

    Darkzone
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    I'm asking myself which drugs is Tim taking, because shapes are represented by numbers in an computer and etc. Or is he suddenly into the platonic solids in 3d space, which are also studied and represented in numbers in an computer.
     
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