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October 21, 2014, 07:09:31 AM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreative (Moderator: John Sandoval)Open RPG game ruleset?
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Author Topic: Open RPG game ruleset?  (Read 3692 times)
Muz
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« on: May 14, 2012, 07:36:49 PM »

So, looking for a RPG system to base my games on. Doesn't even have to be RPG, but usually people make these rules for roleplaying.

I don't really like spending too much time on rules, but I take balance and realism quite seriously. I'd also like the rules to be fairly consistent among all my games, so I don't have to spend time rewriting it for other games. Like, the same set of rules used for combat in a RPG should also be able to scale to a RTS.

For example, let's say I make some RPG about gladiators. No charisma skill needed, a lot of the focus is on fine details like armor and weapons and hitting people. Then I make Gladiator Game 2, where you play as a freed gladiator in a larger world. Same character imported, but adding things like charisma and magic. Then I go for a Gladiator Game 3, where Gladiator Guy becomes King, and it's more of a warcraft-like strategy game, importing the same character.

Some things I'm looking for
- Cross genre: Able to add or remove and customize rules as needed, not too specific.
- Suitable for computers. I find that most roleplaying systems try their best to minimize dice rolling, which limits them in precision.
- Realism over abstraction. I don't really like the HP system, so it should allow for one-hit kills. Should also allow battlefield style combat, but not a hard requirement.
- Scope can be changed relatively easily. Like I can add a lot of details or remove a lot of details and it won't break things. For example, I can have stats that detail on strength and physical movement for one character, but then simplify it to basic 'physical' later. Systems like AD&D can't do this.
- 'Open source', so no guilt or legalese in using or selling them, and no need for tons of citations.
- Possible to obscure stats and not just show numbers.
- Allows player full transparency about how the game engine works, but is complex and balanced enough not to be powergamed. I don't really hide these things; people tend to figure them out anyway, and it just stresses out the ones who aren't spending 3 months on analyzing the game engine to find formulas.

Was thinking of building one myself, but if there's a good existing system out there, I'd happily take/modify that instead.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2012, 06:54:09 AM by Muz » Logged
Archibald
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2012, 01:04:00 AM »

D20 is the most popular one (free licence).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D20_System

And GURPS tries to minimize calculations and rolls, whereas I think with computer games, you could do a lot better.
Yes, that's unavoidable, all pen&paper system implementations will be inferior since these weren't designed with unlimited computing power in mind.
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2012, 11:32:54 PM »

GURPS seems almost like what I'm looking for, but I'd like something that's not really attached to a company, which I could guiltlessly use and modify. And GURPS tries to minimize calculations and rolls, whereas I think with computer games, you could do a lot better.
I've looked for something similar, eventually I created my own (simple) system.

The issue with PnP is, that much of the balance comes from a human game master. As player, you always have the chance to discuss about certain rule interpretation, whereas a computer game (=computer master) is fix in its interpretation.

Even with the unlimited power of computers, the rules are still for the human player. If the player is unable to understand, atleast the core concept, of your rule set, he will not have much fun at all when playing your game.

From my own experiences, I woulnd not start with a hugh rule set, instead start small, test it, then expand.

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alastair
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 02:45:59 AM »

The FATE RPG system is pretty good, only tried it once though.
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Muz
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2012, 01:10:05 PM »

I modified the OP because it wasn't very clear earlier Smiley

I tried D20, it's sort of like the Internet Explorer of RPG rulesets. Not very balanced (like there's no reason to pick certain weapons or classes). The actual d20 concept itself puts random numbers all over the place, meaning that you're much more likely to lose with an advantage, compared to bell curve systems like GURPS.

Doesn't have to be PnP. In fact, I'd rather have a system that's not PnP based, but rather one intended for use with computers.

FUDGE/FATE was actually one of the ones I looked at earlier, but yeah, I like recommendations, instead of reading through 100+ pages of rules and not knowing if there's any exploits I missed out on. Smiley
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JWK5
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2012, 02:42:03 PM »

I don't really like spending too much time on rules, but I take balance and realism quite seriously. I'd also like the rules to be fairly consistent among all my games, so I don't have to spend time rewriting it for other games. Like, the same set of rules used for combat in a RPG should also be able to scale to a RTS.
Sure, you could scale the rules used in an RPG to an RTS but the real problem is you'd be better off creating rules tailored to an RTS (i.e. that are designed specifically to take advantage of whatever RTS conventions you are making use of). That is not to say you couldn't, or shouldn't, make a set of rules that span many genres just that in doing so you tend to lose some specialization for flexibility's sake.


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For example, let's say I make some RPG about gladiators. No charisma skill needed, a lot of the focus is on fine details like armor and weapons and hitting people.
In that instance, I'd use 'charisma' for working the crowd (perhaps gaining bonuses when the crowd is in your favor), taunting or distracting the opponent, bluffing (for example, making your HP appear higher than they actually are), etc. Just a thought.

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Then I make Gladiator Game 2, where you play as a freed gladiator in a larger world. Same character imported, but adding things like charisma and magic. Then I go for a Gladiator Game 3, where Gladiator Guy becomes King, and it's more of a warcraft-like strategy game, importing the same character.
You are jumping the gun a bit there. D&D started off as one little game concept and only grew into the expansive collection of settings and styles it is today incrementally. Start off with just creating rules for one game specifically and after you finish that game then see how you can expand on the idea if you want. Don't worry about what you might be able to do with it in the future, create something that works well for what you want to do right now.

Quote
Was thinking of building one myself, but if there's a good existing system out there, I'd happily take/modify that instead.
I'd recommend creating one yourself. It is not as complicated as you might think, especially if it is meant to be rules for a game (where the computer is taking care of the randomness and book keeping). The first step is just figuring out what kind of game you are trying to make.

Let's use the Gladiator idea you mentioned earlier as an example. If you were to make such a game some things to consider would be how "realistic" are you looking to make it? Where does it mostly take place (inside the arena or outside)? Do armor and weapons degrade over time and use? Does the environment factor into the combat (and if so what types of environment will be featured)? How much can a character carry and what determines this? Is damage specific or broad in scope (for example, affects individual limbs)? Etc. All these things will affect what kind of rules you need and how many rules you need.

The better idea you have of what you want to make the easier it will be to create rules that will suit that idea, and upon completing that idea the easier it will be to expand those rules. In any case, I could create RPG rules in my sleep so if you give me an idea of what game specifically (or at least initially) you are trying to make maybe I can give you a hand with that.
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Muz
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2012, 06:17:11 PM »

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In that instance, I'd use 'charisma' for working the crowd (perhaps gaining bonuses when the crowd is in your favor), taunting or distracting the opponent, bluffing (for example, making your HP appear higher than they actually are), etc. Just a thought.

Was just an example Tongue But I mean in a game focused around combat, it's a dump stat, and would be better off removed to avoid overwhelming players with unneeded choices.

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D&D started off as one little game concept and only grew into the expansive collection of settings and styles it is today incrementally. Start off with just creating rules for one game specifically and after you finish that game then see how you can expand on the idea if you want. Don't worry about what you might be able to do with it in the future, create something that works well for what you want to do right now.

That is the problem. You can't make a renaissance era game feel right, much less a steampunk game using D&D rules, because they're design for sword and sorcery games. You can tweak it a hell lot, but it just doesn't quite fit in.

Something designed to apply over multiple very different types of games would probably be able to pull it off much better because it's been design that way. Something with say, replaceable parts to mix and match. I get that you can't really scale these things easily, and I'd be fine with sacrificing fine detail for flexibility.

I'm looking for something more like GURPS, more generic. (still reading through FUDGE to see if it's suitable)


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I'd recommend creating one yourself. It is not as complicated as you might think, especially if it is meant to be rules for a game (where the computer is taking care of the randomness and book keeping). The first step is just figuring out what kind of game you are trying to make.

Basically, realism. As in one shot can kill. But great heroes find ways to avoid getting shot or stabbed in the heart, by dodging, intelligence, getting tougher, etc.

What I'm looking for is a set of rules that the player only needs to learn once. Like with attributes like HP or strength, they can judge its value across different games, know that 80 strength is average, 40 is mediocre, etc.

Things like encumbrance rules, attributes, and hit points are more genre-agnostic, so I'd like a ruleset that covers stuff like that. Things like damage, character creation, and experience gain would likely have to be tweaked.
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JWK5
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2012, 11:26:06 PM »

That still doesn't say anything about the gameplay, just the numbers used to resolve it. Is it going to be in real time? Is it turn-based (on a grid like FF Tactics or menu-based like FF6)? Pseudo-turn-based (a la NWN and KOTOR)? Etc.

This is very important because pacing and balance can vary greatly between genres and conventions, for example turns in a turn-based game tend to happen over a longer period of (real) time than in an action game so that "50% chance to hit" is probably going to be more aggravating than in an action game where you firing off several hits in the same time frame.

I highly recommend you start with the game first, then start developing the algorithmic rules (or explain your game idea a little better if you want help with it here).
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Muz
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 07:16:55 AM »

Gameplay is a little hard to describe without walls of text Tongue

I've outlined what I think is the philosophical objectives of the gameplay in the OP. Everything else is open to suggestion. It has to be fairly believable, which is why I'm quite against things like the HP system.

Whether it's turn based or real time is flexible, as long as it's believable. I have a tendency to overcomplicate things as I've got more programming/design experience with simulations than games Tongue

I'm thinking microturns, like 1000 turns per minute. Like a sword swing from average guy might take 600 turns, a swing from an experienced soldier might be 400 turns. Turn based mode might have the game fast forward through turns where you don't make decisions. Real time mode would just run through those turns at the rate of 1 ms per turn.

Preferably a tile/grid battlefield style combat, though if simple FF turn based would be more dramatic, I'm open to that.


Dwarf Fortress or Ultima Ratio Regum probably comes in closest to gameplay as to what I'm going for. Like a game that can be a city builder, a roguelike, a strategy game, a simulation.

I get that it's not easy, which is why I'm building it up in separate small parts over a few years, but I plan to add them up and join them together in the long run.
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baconman
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2012, 08:00:51 AM »

Your "microturns" sounds just like animation frames in an action/real-time game. Perhaps action-adventure would be a better direction to aim for with a system like that.

If you're going for an RPG system with brain meters, you can just have it so that different actions/tactics only drain part of the brain meter instead of the entirety of it... maybe some extreme techniques burn you a little past your "normal range," and during that time if you're hit, you take extra damage/effects.
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Muz
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2012, 02:51:17 AM »

Wouldn't call it action if the player doesn't really control anything Tongue And it would pause whenever it's the player's turn. But yeah, the system is meant to be hybrid.

Anyway, I'll probably get started with making a custom ruleset partially based off GURPS/FUDGE once I've managed enough money to live.
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nitefox1337
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2013, 03:29:44 PM »

Hey. I guess what you want is this:

www.coresysx.com

It's so realistic that even combats are in real time.

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Muz
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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2013, 07:05:15 PM »

Awesome find, thanks!

Er.. where's the download button? Tongue
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nitefox1337
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2013, 04:27:21 AM »

There are no downloads. You just use the website itself. All the core rules are available in the 2nd menu in bold. Dunno if there will be any .pdf though.
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BorisTheBrave
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« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2013, 11:40:43 PM »

I thought it sounded interesting, but it is written in such high and mighty tones I cannot stand it.

It's not realtime, it's basically just simultaneous turns. That's much marketing hype.



In terms of realtime vs turn based, I don't think it is important. I'm thinking of how Baldur's Gate and others converted the D20 rules without much fuss.

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Muz
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2013, 08:02:40 PM »

Baldur's Gate is actually a very poor example of game rulesets. The game would've fared better without it... many non D&Der gamers would complain of the slow level gain, the boring items, the dice rolling at the start of the game being a major influence on the game. By BG2, magic became a puzzle mini game in itself, having to choose between spells that actually do stuff, spells that protect against spells, spells that beat protection against spells. The rules detracted from the story-based nature of the game. But the game was aimed at AD&D players so they had no other choice than to do it right.
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BorisTheBrave
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2013, 01:11:00 AM »

Ok, but the conversion process from turn based to real time worked well, was my point.
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nitefox1337
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« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2013, 04:13:10 AM »

I thought it sounded interesting, but it is written in such high and mighty tones I cannot stand it.

It's not realtime, it's basically just simultaneous turns. That's much marketing hype.



In terms of realtime vs turn based, I don't think it is important. I'm thinking of how Baldur's Gate and others converted the D20 rules without much fuss.



Just tell them, I'm sure these guys could use some feedback.

ps: using this system for a few months now. my guess is that the real time stands for the cancels and continuous acts.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 04:25:13 AM by nitefox1337 » Logged
Chromanoid
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2013, 09:23:39 AM »

I like the motivation behind the CoresysX system, but what I really would like to see is a more abstract set of rules. A set of rules that is not based on classic RPGs and their content, but on math/probabilities/game theory and exciting game mechanics. A ruleset that does not contain any specific abilities (like dexerity), but a tested/proven set of abstract components you can use to compose your very own rulebook.
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Erric
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« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2013, 10:06:51 AM »

I would recommend just to inspire in RPGs and build your own system then. Most table top RPGs have systems rooted in fiction which might be an issue for videogame.

Here is quite decent study of RPG design patterns: http://folk.uio.no/gahegsvo/rpg/resources/design/RPG_Design_Patterns_9_26_05.pdf

Might be useful to other game designers too.
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