The Forum RPG is released for play testing

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Started by Legend, Jan 05, 2016, 07:37 PM

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Jan 05, 2016, 07:37 PM Last Edit: Feb 28, 2016, 03:54 PM by Legend
I think so!
Bots and Forum Script can handle most of the work needed. So not only will it be easy to add the RPG, you guys can actually help build it too!

In order for the Forum RPG to be successful, I believe it needs to follow these four guidelines:
  • Increase/promote regular forum activity
  • Be playable when no one else is online
  • Fully optional with no drawbacks to non playing members
  • Actually be fun

I'm not exactly sure what Fish and other members were thinking when we talked about a Forum RPG, it's not like these things are easy to find on google, but here's what I've come up with. This general idea goes great with the guidelines and is very simple to make/expand on. Introducing...!

Forum RPG: Setting Pending

It's a full scale RPG with quests, cities, travel, NPCs, turn based combat, squad building, loot, etc. Regular forum activities like posting are vital to gameplay, but they are not part of gameplay itself.

Map is pretty similar in style to Pokemon overworld. There are the cities in red, and then there are multiple 1D paths connecting them. This is the full game world: there is no detail equivalent like this. We want to keep this easy to make lol.

Traveling between cities is basically automated; just select the path and you'll walk till you get there. Based off the path length, path difficulty, your stats, etc., you'll need to make X amount of posts to reach your destination. Game loop is click on RPG tab, click on destination, go back to posting, receive notification once you arrive.

So under your name in regular threads, it'll show your status. "In City: city_name", "Traveling", or "Hiding".

To implement the map and travel system:
Backend would be pretty simple, but I'd have to do most the work. Make a table for map locations. Location name, location type (city, path, other), stats. Then the table for rpg players would include location_id, distance_along_path, path direction. Then a forum bot would be triggered by every post, and update member stats.

Front end would first need the base RPG tab set up. Making the map show up with all player locations would be pretty simple, and clicking on destinations would be pretty simple as well. Honestly, making the artwork for the map would be the hardest part. Either Neverdies or one of you would have to do it.

Difficulty rating: 3/10

Combat would be turn based, again a lot like Pokemon. It's fully traditional and the details can be set up however we want. I kinda like the idea of modeling it after South Park's combat, but really it doesn't matter at this stage.

To implement combat:
Back end wouldn't really need anything, just stats like health and stuff. Really trivial.

Front end would be a huge pain! On the technical level we'd need to set something up in Javascript that can receive live updates either from internal AI or another player. Probably could find some good resources online, but that's not much. Then we'd need art for every character and every item, and even simple animations. It's flat out building an RPG with this one.

Or front end could be very simple, and we just upgrade it over time. Still not easy.

Difficulty rating: 8-10/10

Entering combat is luckily much nicer! If both players are in the same city, either can initiate combat. Defender has say 15 minutes to accept the battle or attempt to flee by traveling away. A random number generator decides if the flee is successful. If not, the defender starts the battle with a small handicap. If the defender is offline or does not do anything, then their AI teammates will battle for them. Losing a battle while offline puts the player into 'Hiding', so they cannot be attacked again until they return to the forum.

While traveling, entering combat is a bit different. First the attacker selects the player as a target, and must themselves travel and cache up to them on the path. Upon catching up, the attacker goes into 'stalking' mode. After the defender makes their next post to travel, they are redirected into the combat screen and forced into the fight.

Combat with NPCs works the same way, while wild animals will only attack while you're traveling.

I think there should be an extra sparring mode, allowing a player to fight any other player they want regardless of location. This would be asynchronous with matches lasting weeks, depending on how slow players are to take their turns. Multiple battles could be stacked and each one has separate health stats.

To implement entering combat:
Back end would be pretty simple and uses the already set up travel system. NPCs and wild animals would use the bot system. Sparing would require a separate table so that the stats of each battle could stay in memory.

Front end would simply need an attack button shown on the map.

Difficulty rating: 2/10

Every RPG needs shops, and our forum already has one! However this should be thought of as the global shop and bank, always accessible and iron clad. Cities need their own shops and banks too. These buildings would only be accessible while in that city.

City shops would be geared towards specific item types, say a clothes shop mostly selling clothes. These shops might have different items than the global shop, and they might have different prices than the global shop. Some city shops should be able to buy your items as well. This sets up trading as a valuable venture. IE buy stone in RiverField, travel to SunnyVille, sell for a profit, repeat. Other city stores could charge for more than just money, IE allowing a blacksmith to require iron and $10 to make a sword.

City banks offer alternatives to the global bank. They may have different interest and deposit rules, and may also allow items to be stored. However, these banks are risky. They can be stolen from just like user wallets, or they could be burnt to the ground and lose everything.

Difficulty: Already set up! Probably needs some tweaks though: not sure if I fully finished some aspects of the code back in June.

Also like to have per shop/city stats, such as friendliness. Kill a shop keeper and they probably won't want you back. Buy a lot of things, they might start giving you discounts.

Forum activity should also affect stats. Any activity while in a city should increase friendliness with that city. Receiving likes could refill your magic meter. Posting wall comments could increase your charisma.

AI companions would be great to have also. Maybe set it up to have 4 max at anytime. You'd be able to set their loadouts, swap gear, etc. Would also be able to set up Bots for them. IE leave Jack back at the city with $1,000, and tell him to buy horse armor when it comes in stock. This feels like a good balance of AI since there are too many cities for bots to be everywhere, and sending companions on tasks leaves the player weakened. Plus AI companions themselves are vulnerable, and could be attacked while you're not there to fight with them.

To implement companions:
Back end would be setting up a 'player' table for the RPG. It'd include all players, all NPCs, and all companions. Would mesh nicely with existing elements.

Front end already exists with the bot system. Not the most player friendly, but I doubt lots of people will be wanting to bother with it in the first place.

Difficulty rating: 1/10

Quests and talking are one of the harder cookies to crack. Major NPCs should IMO be full on members like the Machine, just without posting in regular threads. Their profiles would be customized to their character and respond to comments using the bot system. Might even hand out quest invites? Could also send and receive PMs going with the game.

Other NPCs would only exist within the forum RPG sections. Talking to them would be initiated exactly like battling, except of course by selecting 'Talk' vs 'Fight'. Major NPCs could also be talked to in this manner, opening up different dialogue.

Would probably be simplest to have dialogue use the JavaScript combat system, just replacing attacks with text tree options.

To implement quests and talking (assuming combat already set up):
Back end quests would need two tables; one detailing every existing quest and another with details on all active quests. Wouldn't be too bad. Setting up major NPC interactions by bots would be easy, but setting up minor talking would require a column in the player,NPC,companion table with a serialized array of possibilities, or else the RPG id of another NPC to copy from.

Front end would need a table to show the user's active quests.

Difficulty rating: 5/10

Make no mistake, this is a ton of work and won't be finished anytime soon. However if people like the outline, then one by one we can start adding these features to the existing shop and over time grow it into the Forum RPG we want. So please give me your feedback! Also would be nice to figure out a setting.