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Re: What would a great made-for-mobile RPG look like?

by marurun Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:43 pm

I would assert that there are ways to break things down into more bite-sized pieces without making them necessarily more shallow.
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Re: What would a great made-for-mobile RPG look like?

by TSTR Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:36 pm

Right, it's a matter of making the player feel a similar sense of accomplishment in a shorter time frame. In fact, if being "mobile" is the intent, I'd wager that a player would feel more rapidly fulfilled with an achievement or completion in a shorter play session than one that takes a longer session, or multiples.

Purely from a time perspective, take an example of say, a boss battle. If the player can beat said boss in one 20-minute session rather than three, the player's satisfaction in doing so comes more rapidly. That, in turn, fuels the propensity to keep playing for more of those satisfactory experiences, rather than increasing the player's time invested to achieve a single one.

Now, imagine stringing a game together with a bunch of those shorter sessions to form a longer, more in-depth game. Then you get the best of both worlds (for this scenario).

Or, I could just be talking out of my ass here.
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Re: What would a great made-for-mobile RPG look like?

by PresidentLeever Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:15 am

Bite-sized and in-depth sound like opposites of the scale to me but if you have a good existing example then alright.

Don't think I've seen a 1h+ boss battle in an RPG, or even 30min+ though. But let's say a full sub quest or equivalent worth of play, yeah I can see your point.
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Re: What would a great made-for-mobile RPG look like?

by marurun Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:00 am

I think the problem is that you're equating depth with continual commitment. An RPG could have strong characters and a strong plot and still just string them together in more brief moments. The question is how to make the gameplay distill without becoming inane or not engrossing.
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Re: What would a great made-for-mobile RPG look like?

by TSTR Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:31 am

Yep, just because something requires little time investment doesn't mean that it can't be a deeply rewarding experience.

For a completely left-field example, check out Napalm Death's "You Suffer" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybGOT4d2Hs8
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Re: What would a great made-for-mobile RPG look like?

by PresidentLeever Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:26 am

Well you can watch a regular length movie in 15-20 minute bursts but I don't see how it could ever be preferable to watching it in one go or at least in longer shifts and with as little outside distraction as possible. That sort of fragmentation of storytelling is actually a big problem to me with a lot of RPGs looking at them as stories. Then again this is me looking at RPGs as the 30h+ experiences that they usually are and you can of course tell a good story in much less time and with a decent level of interaction as newer adventure games show.

But I thought we were mainly talking gameplay (including interactive narrative) here and the player creating their adventure through it, and I don't see the games staying as deep in this sense without demanding more time to make meaningful progress. Again I don't buy the idea that short burst gameplay is a criteria for a great mobile RPG. Didn't have a problem playing for up to an hour at a time on any gameboy, don't with a phone and the quicksave+journal idea lets me abort and continue smoothly anyway.

But if you're happy with an FF level RPG and want the shorter bursts, which is fine, it's just a question of scaling the stats, encounter rate etc to keep a decent flow going. If you look at a typical FF, it always repeats initially rewarding enemy encounters to absurd levels, and has a bunch of unimportant NPC interaction and wandering around, so you just have to cut some of that fat.
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Re: What would a great made-for-mobile RPG look like?

by marurun Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:43 am

PresidentLeever wrote:Then again this is me looking at RPGs as the 30h+ experiences that they usually are and you can of course tell a good story in much less time and with a decent level of interaction as newer adventure games show.


I guess the question is, in those 30h+ RPGs, what's taking up most of that time? Is any of it filler or is it all on-point?

PresidentLeever wrote:But I thought we were mainly talking gameplay (including interactive narrative) here and the player creating their adventure through it, and I don't see the games staying as deep in this sense without demanding more time to make meaningful progress. Again I don't buy the idea that short burst gameplay is a criteria for a great mobile RPG. Didn't have a problem playing for up to an hour at a time on any gameboy, don't with a phone and the quicksave+journal idea lets me abort and continue smoothly anyway.


I know people can and often do spend a lot of time devoted to a game on their phones, but a lot of people aren't willing or able to do that, and the question is whether an RPG crafted to the phone environment and those other usage patterns can be made. The most successful mobile games are not those which demand an hour+ of attention time (they're also usually freemium, but let's ignore that for now). I'm not entirely sure that I buy that short-burst gameplay will make a great mobile RPG, but I'm optimistic it can. That's why I wanted to chat about the topic in this thread. I'm trying not to dismiss the thought before examining it more closely.

I agree that a good quicksave system and journal would be key, regardless of what mechanical approach is taken to maps, towns, battles, whatever. I think in addition to a journal there would need to be a quest tracking system, which means quests would need to be enumerated (ala Elder Scrolls).

PresidentLeever wrote:But if you're happy with an FF level RPG and want the shorter bursts, which is fine, it's just a question of scaling the stats, encounter rate etc to keep a decent flow going. If you look at a typical FF, it always repeats initially rewarding enemy encounters to absurd levels, and has a bunch of unimportant NPC interaction and wandering around, so you just have to cut some of that fat.


I think this would help a lot. And lots of games suffer from this issue. Look at one more recent (for this forum) RPG, Skies of Arcadia. Way too many encounters. It became repetitive. I think Earthbound's method of addressing lower-level encounters could be very helpful for a mobile RPG.
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Re: What would a great made-for-mobile RPG look like?

by PresidentLeever Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:35 pm

Cool, well I can see where you're coming from though at the end of the day I'm not that interested in what the mainstream/casual audience wants.

Quest tracker sounds good for this format (or they could let you make notes in-game, more immersive perhaps), and I always liked how EB handled enemy encounters. Pretty ahead of its time.
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