Author Topic: Game Design question regarding movement in text RPG  (Read 7834 times)

Rya.Reisender

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Game Design question regarding movement in text RPG
« on: December 21, 2011, 06:52:08 PM »
(copying my post from another forum, posting in off-topic section because it's NOT a roguelike, I ask here because I think roguelike players might be most familiar with movement in text based environments)

The situation is the following:
 
I made an RPG that is played text based. Basically you get a descriptions of what is happening and then you can choose actions. In movement mode it tells you the directions (north/east/south/west). Now you can enter n/e/s/w and press enter to move into that direction or a number (1, 2, 3, ...) and then enter to do one of the listed actions. I originally planned that every single "map tile" is unique, so I designed the game originally quite narrow (basically every step a battle and every two steps a scene).
 
When I first released a demo of it, many people suggested to get a minimap and they also wanted to use u/d/l/r (up, down, left, right) for walking into directions because some keep mixing up east and west. So I did.
 
However after I did there were bothered about every step a combat and asked me to make the design so that the regions are much larger but that there is only a battle every few steps. I didn't want to re-design the original regions, but I found that they got a point, because the exploration feeling gets better like that. So for later regions I did that partly. But if there isn't a combat every tile it has the weird affect that you walk around a lot which basically mean: "n + enter + n + enter + e + enter + ..." I think you get what I mean.
 
So I'm not trying to implement an optional "direct" mode, where you press the arrow keys in order to move directly (without pressing enter). You can also press NESW/UDLR and the number for actions directly in this mode. For arrow keys it's pretty clear, they are not used anyway. But now it occured to me that some people might want to use WASD instead so they can play the game one-handed (when I developed coffeebreak roguelikes it was quite important for the players to be able to play with one hand optionally).
 
The problem now is that WASD would be conflicting to NESW/UDLR. So I wonder which one I should take. Should it be NESW/UDLR in confirm mode and WASD in direct mode? I think that's pretty confusing. I'm already used to NESW so much and I really don't want to change confirm mode...
 
So my question is: Do you think movement with WASD is required or would arrow keys / NESW / UDLR suffice?
 

Basically the options I see are:
 
1.
 Confirm Mode - NESW/UDLR
 Direct Mode - NESW/UDLR/Arrow Keys
 
2.
 Confirm Mode - NESW/UDLR
 Direct Mode - WASD/Arrow Keys
 
3.
 Confirm Mode - WASD
 Direct Mode - WASD/Arrow Keys

Fenrir

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Re: Game Design question regarding movement in text RPG
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 07:54:22 PM »
If every command is triggered by a single key, why do you need the confirm mode?

lulero

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Re: Game Design question regarding movement in text RPG
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 08:02:29 PM »
Hi,

It's a single player MUD or sort of? Those and roguelikes are from the same "era" but are quite different. Anyway, if you limit yourself to four directions it feels strange not to have a minimap and wasd/arrow keys. That being said it's a bit sad since you can do so much more in a text based RPG, like "hidden" exits, mazes with twisted directions (loops), overlapping rooms and the like.

If you didn't already, I'd give MUDs a go for inspiration.

Do you have a link to your game?

corremn

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Re: Game Design question regarding movement in text RPG
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2011, 12:16:03 AM »
I guess it depends on how prominent is the minimap, if you are navigating by that most of the time then wsad + arrow keys would be best.  That also depends on whether you are pressing the keys constantly or if you press a key then read some text or battle or whatever then nsew would be just as good. The arrow/WSAD keys are usually used for fast paced games, NSEW would work better for slow ones.

So this is like a IF but is purely combat based?  Or is it more like Monster Den with descriptions?
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Legend

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Re: Game Design question regarding movement in text RPG
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2011, 05:35:41 AM »
You should try posting on some Interactive fiction forums. You would definitely get help there.

As a fan of interactive fiction, I'm used to using. n,s,w,e or north, south, east, west, and up/down as needed.

Are you programming it from scratch, or using Inform or Tads?

Personally, I don't really see the need to use wasd. I've never played an interactive fiction that used it. I know the original Wizardry games did. You might also check out Zyll to get some ideas since it sounds similar to your game. 
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 05:39:27 AM by Legend »

Rya.Reisender

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Re: Game Design question regarding movement in text RPG
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2011, 08:38:15 AM »
Thanks for all the replies. I knew I could count on you (larger communities didn't reply with anything useful).

If every command is triggered by a single key, why do you need the confirm mode?
To prevent the player from accidentaly pressing the wrong key. If he needs to press enter and he presses 3 instead of 2, he still has the chance to remove the 3 again and press 2 and then enter to correct his mistake.

Many decisions are quite important and can not be undone anymore.

It's a single player MUD or sort of? Those and roguelikes are from the same "era" but are quite different. Anyway, if you limit yourself to four directions it feels strange not to have a minimap and wasd/arrow keys. That being said it's a bit sad since you can do so much more in a text based RPG, like "hidden" exits, mazes with twisted directions (loops), overlapping rooms and the like.

If you didn't already, I'd give MUDs a go for inspiration.
Not making full use of the game idea is not a concern for me. I'm pretty confident it's the best text-based game ever made (at least going by my personal taste). In fact MUDs inspired me to do it, but it's quite different. I played MUDs but I was really annoyed that they require you to learn a list of commands and thus are hard to get into and I thought to myself "Wouldn't it be much cooler if all possible actions where onscreen like '1.Do that 2.Do this' and you just have to enter a single character instead of typing in long phrases?"

But that's also why I absolutely can not use MUDs as inspiration for the controls.

Quote
Do you have a link to your game?
Right now I don't really want to release it. It's because I don't want players to be able to create save states before I'm not finished with the overall balancing. I guess I could make a screenshot of it, though.

I guess it depends on how prominent is the minimap, if you are navigating by that most of the time then wsad + arrow keys would be best.  That also depends on whether you are pressing the keys constantly or if you press a key then read some text or battle or whatever then nsew would be just as good. The arrow/WSAD keys are usually used for fast paced games, NSEW would work better for slow ones.
The minimap is only 3x3 size (1x1 = size of a normal room), but I still found that ever since I added it, I'm using mainly it instead of the direction descriptions. That's basically what got me to think that I need to add a mode where you can move without confirming.

As I said, for arrow keys it's clear. I just wonder if WASD is needed additionally...

Quote
So this is like a IF but is purely combat based?  Or is it more like Monster Den with descriptions?
Think of it as a text-JRPG. It plays like a JRPG and has a story like a JRPG, but instead of graphics, it describes everything what happens.

You should try posting on some Interactive fiction forums. You would definitely get help there.

As a fan of interactive fiction, I'm used to using. n,s,w,e or north, south, east, west, and up/down as needed.

Are you programming it from scratch, or using Inform or Tads?

Personally, I don't really see the need to use wasd. I've never played an interactive fiction that used it. I know the original Wizardry games did. You might also check out Zyll to get some ideas since it sounds similar to your game.
Ah, so "interactive fiction" is how the genre is called? I always was looking for "text RPG" on google but the only things I found was Pen&Paper stuff that is played online in a browser. Do you know any good community for this genre?

I'm programming it from scratch.

Legend

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Re: Game Design question regarding movement in text RPG
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2011, 09:55:17 AM »
Here's a couple IF links

http://ifcomp.org/ IF Competition page

http://ifwiki.org/index.php/Main_Page  IF Wiki

http://emshort.wordpress.com/how-to-play/ Emily Short's page. She does quite a few articles on IF and game design in General

http://www.intfiction.org/forum/ The IF Community Forums

Look up he games Zyll and Eamon. They seem very similar to what you are trying to do with making an rpg/adventure using a text interface, but not going so far as to be a complete full work of Interactive Fiction. You might look up Advanced Xoru too.

The Interactive Fiction community is much like the Roguelike community. Small, good natured, and thriving on a small scale to bring people wonderful games.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 09:56:57 AM by Legend »

Rya.Reisender

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Re: Game Design question regarding movement in text RPG
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2011, 11:03:13 AM »
Thanks for the links. I think I'll stay in this community here for now, though. But I'll remember the IF community, I think I might find some players over there later on.

I looked at bit at the games and most of them are far more "story-only" than what I'm doing. Zyll seems to gets closest to what I'm working on, just without all the JRPG-elements (like leveling), because it offers a real control interface which is not just "Enter Command >".

I think I'll go NESW/UDLR in confirm mode and NESW/UDLR/ArrowKeys in direct mode. If people really want to just press into the direction they want to go instead of thinking which letter resembles the direction, then they can still use arrow keys after all.
Or maybe I invest some more time and just allow 3 modes: Confirm, Direct and Direct-WASD

Think it's pretty clear for me now. It was actually a relieve to hear that IF games also use NESW rather than WASD.


Edit: By the way, the "stuff" that is connecting rooms, how would you call it? I usually called it "floor", but my friend from New Zealand said "corridor" would be a more common word. Anyone knows more about it?
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 04:35:59 PM by Rya.Reisender »

Legend

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Re: Game Design question regarding movement in text RPG
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2011, 05:11:42 PM »
Quote
Edit: By the way, the "stuff" that is connecting rooms, how would you call it? I usually called it "floor", but my friend from New Zealand said "corridor" would be a more common word. Anyone knows more about it?

If you mean "Stuff" that connects each room to each other, then yes, I would also say corridor. Kinda depends on context though. In a Dungeon, Corridor is the most fitting. In a Mansion, Hall or Hallway.  From one town to the next, it would be road or path.     

Rya.Reisender

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Re: Game Design question regarding movement in text RPG
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2011, 07:14:40 PM »
What about military buildings?

Here's the promised screenshot: