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anyone want to help make a sci-fi RPG?


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I've been kicking around a concept for a really cool (in my opinion) sci-fi RPG setting and I've always struggled to try and find a good outlet for it. At first I started building a pen & paper RPG out of it, but then got quickly discouraged by all the crap in the print industry. I then thought about making it an OGL module for 3.5 or another open source system but I never really got motivated into doing anything with it, so all the notes and stuff have just been sitting on my shelf.


I started playing Exit Fate, a (so far) pretty awesome RPG a guy made on RPG maker and that started making me think about how readily this idea would translate into an old-school JRPG-style with the twist of it being science fiction as opposed to fantasy. Additional bonus in that the back story and tech descriptions I've already created for the tabletop RPG could just be converted into "computer logs" to help explain why in the future people still wield swords (thank you Dune :D).


The MAJOR obstacle for me would be getting a good tile set. I'd ideally love to rip off the tiles from a game like Chrono Trigger that had awesome futuristic tiles but barring that I'd need someone with some sprite artistic talent to mod out aliens and futuristic space armor etc. And while I've got a great start on the setting, timelines, and overall story arc, plenty of room for new ideas and fresh perspectives.


Anyway, drop me a PM or respond if you're genuinely interested in learning more. I'd be looking at an artistic commitment of 6-12 months, and hopefully finish "coding" within 24, but although I have good scope control and an ending already planned, who knows how these things can explode when you start adding side quests and twists to the plot line etc.

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I've been trying this for a while now. I have 2 semi-complete card games that I made and several RPG games I've worked on (video game and tabletop types).


I have a hella short attention span, so I tend to wander off without doing anything useful (or spend ages building a system for playing MP3's over my command console RPG that currently has nothing more than an intro... prioritize, I must... :p)


My stuff is generally super hero or medieval sort of stuff, but Sci-Fi is good too. I am a very deft Game Maker programmer, but I have 0 sprite drawing ability (and anything beyond 3D is out of my grasp).


I DO have a good friend who's studying graphics and such at Drexel and I can see what he can do. He, however, can't do sprites either... Just 3D stuff... :p

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Wow, thanks for the positive response.



@mjd, have you worked with RPG maker before? I can utalize their default engine if I have to, but it would be nice to tweak the engine to create a more customized experience...


@Jaysin: I'm willing to open up art direction to anyone who can actually draw, but I can provide good direction. There would be three main tile sets to be used:


1. Would be a moderately futuristic setting. Think 5th Element or Blade Runner where there is flying cars and super skyscrapers but there's still "modern" problems like garbage, crime, grime etc. This would be used in the prologue (before aliens attack), in surviving human outposts, and in any flashback sequence.


2. Destroyed Future Setting. This would be the main overland map set. I envision this as being similar to Chrono Trigger's "future" time period (after Lavos has destroyed the world). Here's some pics:







3. Hyper-advanced futuristic setting. This would be super-sci-fi to the extreme to represent the alien cities and technology. In my mind, the aliens are best described artistically as Zerg in Protoss Armor. So lots of purple palettes, disgusting, genetically modified warriors in power armor being directed by shadowy, frail, hyper-intelligent aliens (but no alien brains...they just look silly :D).


Here are some other inspiration sources:


Highest "tier" of aliens: - completely alien, i.e. the Leaders






Medium "tier" of aliens: - evolved from lizards or powerful mammals (bears, boars etc.) i.e. the warriors





Lowest "tier" of aliens: - evolved from insects, plants, i.e. the workers





Allied "aliens" - evolved from predatory cats (I'm thinking Lion).



(These might need a bit more help with as they would start out medieval but later on convert to a fusion of medieval and sci-fi. So metal swords become power swords later on, regular metal helmets get sci-fi HUD visors later on etc. but that's definitely "optional")



There will be additional settings, but the default package should support things like forests, castles etc.



@Swanton: I'm trying to take a different direction and keep the heavy dialogue and narratives to as minimum as possible. To quote shakespear "Brevity is the soul of wit."


If I can demonstrate the plot more though actions and events rather then dialogue heavy exposisitions COMBINED with some optional form of back story delivery system that would be great.


Ideally, I'd like to mod the RPG Maker to include a Monster Database with more then just the usual stats but also with details about said monster. Bonus if it would be unlockable after defeating X #.


Ideally I'd like to mod the RPG Maker to include a backstory journal thingy to go over the timeline and the whole "what has happened before" and a tech log that goes into details about the various weapons, items, and technologies.


Failing that, then I'd set up computers in the main HQ to act as a library, so the player could get info on the backstory of the setting.


Ideally, I'd like learning about the aliens to be a completely player-driven side quest. So while in an enemy base, one of the side paths through the "dungeon" would lead to a computer archive that the player could download and translate back at the base which would contain info about some piece of alien technology or society or structure. Bonus if I could mod that to also translate into additional combat benfits like Bioshock's research system so it would reward players for exploring the setting, but then again I'm hoping the setting would be interesting enough that the players would want to discover it on their own.


Anyway, dialogue still needs to be written and it would be great to have someone else look it over. I know all the details but it's very easy to forget to explain something or assume the players know something else and end up with an incomprehensible mess.

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The other thing I don't have any good ideas for is what the game mechanic "hook" would be.


I've got the setting "hooks" but if you strip out the setting and story, why would anyone want to play the game?


I can proceed forward with the default RPG maker combat system (which is pretty much every early FF game) but it would be nice to have some kind of twist.


For the pen & paper RPG I had designed both a degrading/ablative cover system as well as a combat momentum meter.


Basically, because it's sci-fi the majority of combat is done via ranged attacks. So I thought up a system where the players would take cover and damage from enemy attacks would be split between cover and characters. As the cover gets damage, the amount of damage it absorbs falls, so eventually the cover is completely blasted away and the player has to scramble to find new cover.



For example: PC takes cover behind a concerte block. The block starts out providing great cover (50%) due to it's size and density, but because it is brittle, it has heavy cover decay (100%). So a ranged attack deals 10 pts of damage. 5pts goes to the cover (50%), 5pts goes to the PC. Because the cover has heavy decay, those 5pts directly subtract from it's cover % so the next attack, it would only absorb 45% (50% - 5) and so on. Eventually the cover would be worthless and the player would have to find more.



An idea I had for converting that to a video game would be that there would be a 6 character party but there would be 12 "positions" on the map. Some would be out in the open, some would have cover. You could move your characters one square in addition to them performing their "FIGHT/MAGIC/ITEM" choice. Thus you could shuffle your characters around, positioning the weaker mages/clerics behind heavier cover, using your tanks to draw fire by moving them out in the open etc.


It could be implemented in a similar style as King's Quest or Heroes of Might & Magic where you have a map grid and move around. This would ONLY be a player thing as I am not prepared to write complex monster movement AI.



Another idea would be that different cover provides different benefits. So Cover A might be the best protection but it slows your character down to the point where the enemy gets two turns to your single action. Meanwhile, Cover B might provide very little cover but it increases your accuracy letting you hit more. You could select your cover option from the list of actions, so your single action for a turn could be FIGHT/MAGIC/ITEM/SWITCH COVER.


Bonus points if I could specify different covers for different maps, so some maps might only feature light cover while other maps might have no cover options.




As for the combat momentum meter, basically the idea was that based upon damage dealt and damage taken, there would be a "winning side" and a "losing side" in combat. In the simplist of examples, if Side A is dishing out tons more damage and receiving tons less, then Side A is "winning" and the meter moves towards Side B (to show that Side A is pushing it farther). At certain predetermined points, it would trigger benefits/penalties for the Winning Side and Losing Side.


Now, there's several ways to expand upon that idea as well:


1. Winning/Losing benefits/penalties are always static. This would be the simplist but least interesting. e.g. Winning side gets +1 Speed, -1 Defense, Losing Side gets +1 Defense, -1 Speed. So the winning side would go faster but take more damage while the losing side would slow down but take less damage.



2. Winning/Losing benefits specific to characters/monsters. This would still be simple because it's static benefits but would give the player more tactical and strategic opportunities and allow better character customization.


e.g. A Durable Boss would get Stronger (+ATTACK, +DEFENSE, +SPEED when it's losing).


A Hot-Headed Beserker Character would get Stronger (+ATTACK) but more vulnerable (-DEFENSE) when winning, and might get weaker (-ATTACK) but faster (+SPEED) when losing.


A Defensive Character would get hardier (+DEFENSE) but weaker (-ATTACK) when losing, but faster (+SPEED) but more vulnerable (-DEFENSE) when winniing.


OR perhaps certain characters receive ONLY benefit/penalty from certain situtions.


The Beserker might get +ATTACk when winning and -ATTACK when losing, so although he's great in an "easy" fight against a tough monster he makes the battle even harder by losing steam. He'd be great for stomping through mooks but not great in an extended boss fight.


OR perhaps the defensive character is much better in a losing situation, gaining +DEFENSE when losing so the more the group is getting hammered, the tougher he gets, but when the group is winning, he's not that great (-ATTACK) so he'd be great for a boss fight but not so much for regular battles.


This would also let you balance SUPER AWESOME characters and JOKE characters. You could have a very weak character that gets super strong (i.e. ++++ATTACK) when winning/losing/both? meanwhile a Super Powerful Character might start great but lose abilities no matter which way the fight swings.


This would have the player make strategic decisions about who to bring along to which fight, or who to rely on more in the beginning versus the end.


3. Finally, the most complicated system would be (in my opinion) for random benefits/penalties to exist on a meter within each fight, and get replaced as they are triggered. This would cause the player to make tactical decisions on the fly.


For example, let's say there are 5 positions on the meter:

1 (player is losing bad) | 2 (player is losing) | 3 (neutral) | 4 (player is winning) | 5 (Player is curb stomping).


For the start of a battle, the bonuses could be:


1 - +5 Player Defense

2 - -2 Monster Attack

3 - Nothing

4 - -5 Player Speed

5 - +2 Monster Attack


This would be an interesting battle because if the player tries to hard in the beginning, it will slow down his characters and eventually boost the monster's attack. However, if he goes easy on the monsters in the beginning then monsters become weaker and eventually his characters get huge defense boost.

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There are quite a bit of tile sets that I can use and as I'm digging into it I'm not too worried about #1 and #2. #3 thought is going to be trickier. Maybe it's just a palatte swap from "metal grey" to "alien purple" but /meh.



The BIGGEST obstacle in my opinion is monster and player sprites. I can utalize some of the existing ones for other games like wolves and bats and stuff for low level mobs but eventually, the players are going to be fighting aliens. They are going to be infiltrating alien bases so I need "alien" towns folk that can run around.


Ideally there'd be a large variety of aliens to help provide a variety of opponents, depth to the scenery, and because some aliens could join the party, having more varieties of aliens results in cooler character variety.


I found these sites:




that has a lot of resources on it.



Actually, that alone could be a huge help is if people could just go out and find stuff on these sites that fit the criteria of RPG Maker so that I don't have to spend coding & planning time digging through hundreds of forum posts.



Also, art course for pixels. Very interesting and helpful if you ever want to get into pixel art:




Keep in mind I'd like this to be "legit" so if it's not your own stuff and it's not labled "feel free to use this however you want" make sure to note that author approval has not been received.


I don't want to get to the end a couple years later and get some big backlash because 1/2 the graphics are ripped without people's knowledge :D



In the meantime I think I'll just proceed using the default tile set and images and monsters, make it clear that these are just graphical placeholders so that Mummy is really a Zarn Trooper or something, it's just being used because it's the appropriate level of difficulty. So you'll go to a bookshelf instead of a computer, the doors are wooden instead of metal...it'll make for a good prototype, testing, and proof of concept to hopefully drum up additional support.



So, go forth and pillage. Here's things to look for:

Aliens and non-fantasy humanoids. No elves/dwarves/orcs etc.

Modern & Futuristic tile sets: Cars, Computers, sheet metal surfaces, roads etc. If you can find post-apocalypse stuff that would be great as well. And if you could find the future Chrono Trigger tile sets that would make a great start as well, if nothing else as a "basis" for how the game's real tiles will look ;)

Modern/Future Weapon Icons. We've got guns, not bows & arrows. Grenades, not "magic spells" etc. although I might be able to just make those myself because they're so tiny.

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Yes. Yes it is :D


If you're really, truly serious about helping create the artwork about my awesome, incredible, totally spectacular* RPG, shoot me a PM with your e-mail.



I can then point you towards my google doc collection with all the materials for the game (so far).



I've found that games take frigging forever to make (go figure ;)) and event scripting is a pain as you have to keep trying it over and over again and figuring out "hey, why did the game freeze?" or "hey, why isn't that NPC disappearing like he's supposed to" or "wait, why did he just disappear when he's not supposed to"


So I'm grinding out an intro level but if you could work on the graphics in parallel to game development that would be awesome!




(*in my mind at least :D)

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