"Required Reading"

As a relatively young guy (both in age and RPG experience), I've noticed that a lot of folks here seem really knowledgeable about game mechanics and other aspects of RPGs. Some of it probably has to do with the fact that development- and idea-oriented forums like these attract people who are interested in game design, haha. But in general it seems like you guys and girls have a pretty good gaming "pedigree", so to speak. Gavan's mentioned some of his inspirations for Voxel Quest, and I've heard a few other game names tossed around here or there. We've got a couple of years before the planned release of Voxel Quest--what games would you recommend I try out before then, both to appreciate the RPG more and to explore different types of game mechanics? And explain why they're noteworthy or why you keep coming back to them. Thanks!
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  • For me, it would definitely be Ultima 7. It's an old RPG with semi turn based combat. Players head out alone or in a party with NPC friends and explore the open world. There's a main quest to follow, with no hand holding. Progressing through the quests requires reading, thinking, and exploring (or using the map).
    How you play the game or what you specialize in is up to you. Though choices are limited to a specific set of combat skills. There are no crafting skills, while there is crafting in the game. A popular example is how you can observe an NPC baking bread, then do it yourself.
  • Katorone said:

    For me, it would definitely be Ultima 7. It's an old RPG with semi turn based combat. Players head out alone or in a party with NPC friends and explore the open world. There's a main quest to follow, with no hand holding. Progressing through the quests requires reading, thinking, and exploring (or using the map).

    And just $6 on GoG? I'm sold! Thanks for the suggestion, I'll definitely take a look at it.
  • Enjoy yourself! There's also Exult, which rebuilds U7 with a new engine.
    It's not a finished project though, so mileage may vary.
  • edited October 2014
    You might also try Dwarf Fortress. It's free, too. Be forewarned, though - it's an acquired taste, not for everyone, and it has an incredibly steep learning curve. There are a number of utilities out there that can make your experience easier. You could also skip Dwarf Mode altogether and just go Adventure Mode (which is more along the lines of what VQ will resemble anyway). If you don't want to, just read Boatmurdered, if you have the time. It's a Let's Play based in a much older version of DF (old enough that the game is 2d instead of 3d), but it's funny as heck and almost required reading in DF communities.

    Ultima 7 would definitely be a good call, as Gavan has cited that and Dwarf Fortress as his primary inspirations for VQ's gameplay.

    If you like science fiction, go check out Mass Effect. It's a newer game than Ultima 7, but if space games are your favorite, it's one of the best RPGs out there.

    edit: This:

    I've noticed that a lot of folks here seem really knowledgeable about game mechanics and other aspects of RPGs. Some of it probably has to do with the fact that development- and idea-oriented forums like these attract people who are interested in game design, haha. But in general it seems like you guys and girls have a pretty good gaming "pedigree", so to speak.

    Is probably due to the fact that the majority of us are, interestingly enough, from the same place: the Limit Theory forums. :P The development of that game has attracted a decent number of gamers of the more intelligent variety... and far less of the "OMG u SUX N00b" type.

  • I'm gonna second the Dwarf Fortress suggestion, especially adventure mode, since that's actually already doing a lot of what VQ is trying to accomplish, ie a proceduraly generated world in which large numbers of simulated people act, and the player is simply another guy in the world.
  • Talvieno said:

    You might also try Dwarf Fortress. It's free, too. Be forewarned, though - it's an acquired taste, not for everyone, and it has an incredibly steep learning curve. There are a number of utilities out there that can make your experience easier. You could also skip Dwarf Mode altogether and just go Adventure Mode (which is more along the lines of what VQ will resemble anyway). If you don't want to, just read Boatmurdered, if you have the time. It's a Let's Play based in a much older version of DF (old enough that the game is 2d instead of 3d), but it's funny as heck and almost required reading in DF communities.

    I've heard about DF and while it seems really cool, the steep learning curve does concern me a little bit. How steep are we talking about? Will I need to skip school for a week to figure out how to move my character around and fight things, or will I just die a lot? Because if my FTL experience has taught me anything, I'm totally fine with dying. :)
  • "skip school for a week to figure out how to move my character around and fight things"
    Let me put it this way:
    the tutorial has a tutorial. The learning curve exists both in how you learn to interact with the game, and in how to be successful at playing it. If you can get past that learning curve I am told the game is worth it, but be prepared to climb a learning cliff.
  • Cliff is a good word... overhang is good too. The game is most definitely worth it by my standards, but keep in mind that Japa and I are avid players that have both made a number of mods and utilities. (Japa's are cooler. He's gotten actual news coverage on RockPaperShotgun, holy carp, lol.)

    However, keep in mind that when people say this, they're talking about Dwarf Mode. In Adventure mode, you're still going to have to contend with a large array of key commands, and learning to read ASCII. As to the ASCII, it gets easier. It may be hard as heck at first, but when you learn to read it, you'll see what they're supposed to describe, much the way you're reading this right now and hearing the words in your head, or the same way as you see a face and go, "That's a face!"

    And keep in mind that the community loves to help. Just... avoid the lower boards. :D

    And here's a tutorial, in case you decide it interests you. http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/DF2014:Adventure_mode_quick_start
  • That looks pretty fun actually. I think I'll go through these suggestions in increasing order of learning curve difficulty: I'll start with Mass Effect/Ultima and then try my hand at DF.
  • edited October 2014
    There has been a wonderful profusion of computer roleplaying games. Some are optimized for shooty-action; some for exploring rulesets; some for conversation and personal interaction. The best examples of all of those are worth playing.

    Some not-too-old CRPGs that I could suggest, in no particular order, are:

    System Shock 2 (now finally available on GOG!) -- highly immersive action-horror-RPG
    Deus Ex -- arguably still the best action-RPG ever
    Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Director's Cut) -- a solid modern action-RPG that's a fair sequel
    Baldur's Gate 2 -- classic party-based RPG with well-drawn characters ("Go for the eyes, Boo!")
    Planescape: Torment -- regarded as one of the best "conversation-rich" RPGs ever
    Fallout 1/2 -- isometric turn-based action-RPGs in a richly-detailed post-apocalyptic world
    Fallout 3/Fallout New Vegas -- first-person real-time action-RPGs in a richly-detailed post-apocalyptic world
    The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind -- a vast, weird, and internally plausible open-world fantasy RPG
    The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion/Skyrim -- big open-world fantasy RPGs that boast an astonishing number of great mods
    The Witcher -- fantasy RPG in a highly detailed world with a memorable protagonist

    Opinions will vary on these, but I think I'm being fair in saying those are mostly about personal taste, not quality. All of these are generally considered solid games. Playing them will insure that you're speaking the same language as the old grognards who keep talking about how RPGs "should" be. ;)

    Note: I didn't list any Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs (MMORPGs).
  • How heretical is it for me to play DF with the Stonesense 3D visualization? The ASCII is great, of course, but DF in 3D looks pretty freaking cool...
  • edited October 2014
    It's not heretical at all. Half the player base uses it from time to time. :P
  • DF was an interesting experience for me, basically lots of weekends getting killed and then doing it again just for the same ends, but a different means, I loved it
  • @Flatfingers‌ - Planescape: Torment is actually what I'm aiming for in the upcoming LTFC. image
  • You'll never go too far wrong being inspired by the best.
  • How heretical is it for me to play DF with the Stonesense 3D visualization? The ASCII is great, of course, but DF in 3D looks pretty freaking cool...

    As one of the stonesense developers, not at all :P
  • Haha sweet! If there was ever divine approval, this would be it.
  • DF was a large source of inspiration for me, not because it gave me new ideas, but because it validated some ideas I already had (and showed that there was a passionate community around it). To be perfectly honest, I never got into playing DF, but I read about it constantly (so I guess you could say I play it vicariously). I just did not have the time to invest in learning everything in DF. I read about DF from almost (literally) day 1 when it was released.

    If you have the time to learn DF, I would say definitely go for it. If you don't have that kind of time, here are some quick games I recommend:

    - Desktop Dungeons (a rogue-lite in which you clear one map that fills the screen). It has its problems but is still a blast to play. The old version is pretty good (and free), as is the new (which is not free).
    - If you want an intro to CCGs, I recommend Hearthstone. It is also free.
    - If you have an iPhone or iPad, I heavily recommend Hoplite - another rogue-lite with dead simple mechanics but is a good time killer for train rides, waiting in the airport, etc.
    - Another iOS game: Orions 1 + 2. The CCG that got me into CCGs - it has a small but fanatical group of fans. Best CCG I have yet played in spite of its many flaws. Not easy to learn or get into.
    - If you are into platformers or metroidvania-ish games, I heavily recommend Spelunky. Spelunky is a lesson in near-perfect game design. It combines roguelike play with metroidvania mechanics. I was bored to death the first few times I played it. Once you find out the secrets, make it past level 4, and see some emergent surprises in action you will be hooked.


    Some less quick games:
    - As mentioned, Fallout 1/2 and Ultima 6/7 are up there with my favorite games of all time.
    - Star Control 2 is a great game that is not really related to RPGs, it just has an excellent storyline, music, and space exploration. It is free since it became open sourced.
    - Heroes of Might and Magic 2 - it is not the best in the series, but I find the visuals easier on the eyes then 3. 4+ Are departures from the traditional gameplay, sort of.
    - Many others I wont list...you've seen my image. :)
  • My all-time personal favorites in CRPG are:
    - Fallout 1 & 2, both timeless classics and they aged well.
    - The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, in my opinion the most immersive TES experience out there. With graphics mods it is still very enjoyable nowadays (modding is easy, no worries). I like that it has way less hand-holding than Oblivion or Skyrim (good games in their own right, nontheless).
    - Knights of the old republic; if you're into Star Wars this is an absolute must-play experience. In my opinion also the best Bioware game ever.
    - Deus Ex, the original. Never to be reached again by any sequel.

    If you own Dungeon Siege (not really worthy to be added to above list), there are two fantastic total conversion of Ultima 5 and 6 available, which are definitely worth playing. I especially enjoyed the Ultima 5 TC ( Link ).
  • edited November 2014
    Please try STALKER: Call of Pripyat -- I've been playing games since C64 days and it is the only single player game that I've played all the way through and want to go back and play through again.

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/41700/

    Please do not try any of the earlier STALKER games the UI is unbearable.
  • Two questions on these games:

    1. Has anyone gotten stonesense (for Dwarf Fortress) to work on a mac? I'd love to try it out but can't get it to work.

    2. Is the free version of Star Control 2 *really* the same as the original? I remember playing a loong time ago, but I remember multiplayer battles, and looking at the free version videos, I only see a campaign mode.
  • You can try the Mac Newby pack. I've never tried it, but it might work.
  • tyler said:

    Two questions on these games:

    1. Has anyone gotten stonesense (for Dwarf Fortress) to work on a mac? I'd love to try it out but can't get it to work.

    2. Is the free version of Star Control 2 *really* the same as the original? I remember playing a loong time ago, but I remember multiplayer battles, and looking at the free version videos, I only see a campaign mode.

    Think the old Super Melee mode is in there, not sure. Its mostly similar, if you ignore the new sound packs.
  • Don't know where to start on this topic..
    I've played a whole bunch of CRPGs, and most of them have something to recommend them.

    These are the ones which top my list (in no particular order)
    - System Shock (I prefer the original DOS-based one to System Shock 2)
    - Wizardry Series
    - Ultima Series
    - Deus Ex (The first)
    - S.T.A.L.K.E.R Series
    - Planescape: Torment
    - Elderscroll Series
    The list goes on and on..
  • Just as a bit of conversation, do the STALKER games count as RPGs, in either the "role-playing" or "roll-playing" senses?

    There is progression of a sort: you can find better weapons and armor as you get further in the game. Does that qualify STALKER as an RPG?

    Or is something more needed for a game to be reasonably considered an RPG, such as the ability for the player to define particular skills (and maybe, though not necessarily, numeric levels for those skills) for the character they're playing?

    This isn't a knock on the three single-player STALKER games, all of which I played and enjoyed. It's more about answering the question that was asked in the initial post in this thread. Does STALKER count?
  • Finding new weapons and armor is not sufficient to be a RPG. Most shooters let you find new weapons as you progress. Ratchet and clank lets you get new tools, weapons, and armor, and even level up your health with xp, but doesn't count as a RPG. The exact boundaries of the genre can be ill-defined, but simply having "RPG elements" is typically not sufficient. Oftentimes those elements are simply common game elements, like increaseing health or finding better weapons.
  • I would agree that STALKER doesn't quite qualify as an RPG, though undoubtedly good games, from what I've heard. If they did, things like Doom could be considered RPGs as well.

    I would say, more specifically, that to be an RPG, a game must allow you to increase certain members of a range of attributes through the gradual increase of arbitrary numerical values as you accumulate accomplishments - which is to say, let you level skills up as you gain more experience. There may be more to it than that, of course, but, just my quick thoughts.
  • I don't think numerical values are important. If you were gaining skills from a skill tree it would easily count.
  • Hmm... True enough, but in that case Bioshock would count as an RPG, as you're increasing certain attributes (how good you are with your weapons, more or less) as you go along - rather than using an experience system, it just has you increase your ability with weapons at certain points. By "arbitrary numerical values" I really meant anything in line with an experience system, but was being intentionally vague so as to cover as much as possible.
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