P&C RPGs - Chapter 2, "Power Up"

P&C RPGs - Chapter 2, "Power Up"

A Chapter by dw817
"

Today we are going to go more into detail about gaining levels, what gains levels in players, and a very unique idea by a particular PS1 game.

"

PRESS CTRL = (EQUALS) TO INCREASE THE PAGE SIZE AND CTRL 0 (ZERO) TO RESET THE PAGE SIZE

   PROSE & COMMS   
 


Want to read this in a different language ?
Change the TO field to your own country and after going
HERE




PROSE & COMMS OF RPGS
Chapter 2: "Power Up"

Some details, ideas, and musings I've had experiencing effective RPGs and RPG Makers

© March Written by David Wicker
Please do not reprint without permission


Last week we covered the origin of computer RPGs and a simple way of creating arrays and tables in programming to determine the maximum number of hit points for a player based on their level.

Today we are going to go more into detail about gaining levels, what gains levels in players, and a very unique idea by a particular PS1 game.



For now though, let's look at conventional means of gaining a level.

First off, you need to understand what this means.

It means that your player (one or more) has gained experience points, usually through battling and defeating monsters. At first gaining levels is pretty easy, but the higher the level of the player is, the more difficult it is to "reach" that next level.

Gaining levels can mean many different things in different RPGs.

Some RPGs benefit the player by not only increasing their stats such as strength, agility, magical ability, defense, etc. but also with items, usually not very valuable ones to start, and later in the epoch of the game, priceless and invaluable for the player.



Some RPGs also upon the player gaining a level, return that particular player their maximum hit point level and maximum magic level. Dragon Warrior for the NES does this. This is an especially good thing for beginning players as you don't have to have any healing potions or herbs nor do you need a CURE spell to recover your hits.

Merely get into combat either on the outside map or in a dungeon and each time you gain a level, you can exit the area, save your game, and re-enter - until it's clear you need some additional help as you need quite a bit more experience points to gain than your hit points will suffer.

Some RPGs when you gain a level automatically give you a magical spell that will help you. Usually the first spell you learn will be a HEALING spell that you can cast and recover your player's hit points.



Sometime later it could be a spell to hinder your enemies, either through direct damage, putting them to sleep, confusing them, and in very high levels, the ability to summon other monsters to attack them in your stead. Dragon Warrior for the NES also does this.



Gaining a level is a welcome relief to players, to let them know they have accomplished the "next level" of their player and if they are an exceptionally high level, this is a good time to take a break and save the game, either from an INN, being on the OUTSIDE map, or even using a Save Spot.

As a programmer, whether or not you are writing a completely custom RPG or a more complex RPG Maker, you need to decide what is the best way for the player to be able to save their game.

[1] Save anywhere on any map, just not in direct combat (Final Fantasy Mystic Quest)
[2] Save option becomes available when the player is on the tile SAVE SPOT, (FF3 and S2)
[3] Save only or in addition to being outside (most RPGs)
[4] Save only or in addition to being in an INN or CHURCH (Beyond The Beyond)

Experience points, if they are well done promise rapid level growth for the beginning player and in higher levels, the player must face greater challenges like fighting and defeating harder and more difficult monsters.

A badly designed RPG would force a player to "grind." That is, to re-enter low level areas and defeat them over and over and over again merely to gain the next level. Now grinding is not all bad, but it is tedious and is a cheating way of extending the gameplay of a particular RPG.

In fact if you've played any number of RPGs, you may be more familiar with the combat than the actual game itself, and this is not too surprising as "Random encounters" occur quite often, some games being vicious enough to do it when the player only walks a few steps from where they were.



Legend Of Dragoon is a good example of bad random encounters and badly designed combat animation. The player need only walk a few steps in a hostile map and enter combat. To make it worse, the animation to enter the combat is a good 5-seconds of fizzling the screen + another 5-seconds to show the critters up close in the field before the player can EVEN make a move !

A good method to "Random Encounters" is to at least let the player walk 10-steps or so and then maybe initialize a random attack by monsters say 1-10 steps after that. Don't make the animation to enter combat very long. In S2, for instance, it's about 1-2 seconds.

You could also use a timer. Maybe no more than 1 random encounter per minute of actual mapping and exploring a dungeon, and no more than 1-second to flash the map with animation to show the player has entered combat.

. . .

Okay, we've covered ways a player can gain a level, let's look now at what the player GETS in gaining a level.

While we already know that the player's strength, defense, dexterity, and other attributes can increase in gaining a level, it is also not uncommon for the "monster" to drop a treasure. Could be a single healing potion, could be something greater, depending upon what level the monster is.

Now I promised to show you one particular PS1 RPG that handles experience points very differently than any other, and the name of that game is called, "Saga Frontier" (the first game as there are two).



Saga Frontier has indeed taken its own path of "experience" and for two very important items of interest.

[1] Every time you are victorious in a monster encounter, you automatically RIGHT THEN get some gain for that player. Added strength, dexterity, luck, magical ability, etc. Could be small, could be big, depends upon the difficulty of defeating that level creature.

There are =NO= experience points at all in Saga Frontier. Surviving and completing the combat gets you your bonuses right there.

[2] All players hit points are reset to maximum outside of battle. This is an interesting method in that it encourages the player to PUSH themselves right to the very edge in each combat. As long as your player survives, you get the goods and have the advantage of all your hit points returned to each player directly after combat.



No need to quaff 10+ healing potions or cast multiple healing spells or what have you to get back to normal maximum hits as most RPGs, including Final Fantasy 7 would have you do. And really, can one backpack carry 99 of everything ? This will be covered in a later chapter called, "The Burden Of Responsibility."

. . .

I wanted to pause here for a second to reflect on what is NOT a RPG that you gain experience points in.



Legend Of Zelda being one. You gain only a chance of a "heart" or an item when you defeat a monster or attacker in this action adventure game. The player starts with a few hearts and loses half-a-heart when hit by the attacker. The player must use a potion or find a Fairy Spring to recover back to maximum hearts.

So to make the player stronger, they must search the outside map, dungeons, castles, and what have you to FIND an extra heart icon which increases the maximum number you can have. This is the ONLY way to strengthen your player.

So there really is no grinding as mentioned at all. You could stay in one part of the game and defeat literally hundreds of attackers and at best you might gain a single RUPEE (money) for defeating that particular attacker, or gain even a normal heart, which is worthless if you are already at your maximum number.

. . .



Up to now we've been referring to RPGs where there can be one or more players. Next week we'll cover "Who's On First" which goes in detail about the differences in player classes, their weapon types, their abilities, and combat where there is more than one player involved.

It will also cover the order in which their commands are received, the importance of this in actual gameplay, the variations available to this method of combat in varying RPGs, and why it's useful to keep track of and have multiple players when progressing through an RPG.






Return back HOME




You are Earth Visitor #  




© 2019 dw817


My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




Featured Review

If the goal of this is to teach people to play, my take on it is that the article so simplistic that those it might be aimed at won't read it. A rank beginner, playing their first game of this kind, will learn more about playing by booting up the game and having at it, using the tutorial the game comes with, or just fumbling around and learning by having fun playing.

Your mileage may differ.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

dw817

1 Year Ago

No. The ultimate goal is to teach OTHERS to write their own RPG on the computer or, as I did years a.. read more
Spamalot

1 Year Ago

As someone who spent over forty years doing everything from logic design to programming, to managing.. read more
dw817

1 Year Ago

Not being a gamer may give you a biased look at this particular writing. This is for people who enjo.. read more



Reviews

If the goal of this is to teach people to play, my take on it is that the article so simplistic that those it might be aimed at won't read it. A rank beginner, playing their first game of this kind, will learn more about playing by booting up the game and having at it, using the tutorial the game comes with, or just fumbling around and learning by having fun playing.

Your mileage may differ.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

dw817

1 Year Ago

No. The ultimate goal is to teach OTHERS to write their own RPG on the computer or, as I did years a.. read more
Spamalot

1 Year Ago

As someone who spent over forty years doing everything from logic design to programming, to managing.. read more
dw817

1 Year Ago

Not being a gamer may give you a biased look at this particular writing. This is for people who enjo.. read more

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe




Author

dw817
dw817

Fort Worth, TX



About
more..

Writing