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MOD Idea: Diablo like ARPG based on 0 A.D.?


poVoq
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RTS and ARPGs are if you look beyond the outer shell actually quite similar, basically you zoom in a bit more, change the controls and add a loot, inventroy and character skills system.

So I thought it would be a cool idea to use 0 A.D. as a base for a ARPG like Diablo. Besides the mentioned changes to the code, one would have to have higher quality character models and some simple changes to the AI I guess. Most of the enviromental art of 0 A.D. is good enough to even stand up to a closer zoom, so that would give us a great start. Not sure if caves are possible too with the 0 A.D. engine, but otherwise an outdoor RPG would be sufficient I guess ;)

Sadly I am no programmer, but if we would find a team to work on this, I would for sure contribute to the 3D art department.

Additionally to that, there could be a cool new cooperative game-play type where you can team up with a few friend and play against an RTS like A.I. to defend your home town or such. I don't think something like that has been done before in ARPGs, so that would be cool to try out.

We could also stay true to the 0 A.D. roots and try to make a ARPG without magic in a somewhat accurate historical setting. Obviously not totally realistic, but also a nice change to all the Diablo clones ;)

So what do you think? Anyone interested in taking up the task of coding this as a mod?

Edited by poVoq
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I've been thinking about something similar - I really enjoyed Diablo II way back when, and it would be good to have a good ARPG in the Free games fold. I think the engine could easily handle it, though you are right that it isn't designed for the classic dungeon crawl. But as long as any passages doesn't have to be too narrow, it should be fine. (Also, no overhangs or bridges without significant changes.)

The first step would be some kind of design document or an outline thereof. I am sure WFG would be gracious enough to allow such a thing to be posted and discussed on this forum. Potentially, some art assets could even be contributed back upstream.

Edited by zoot
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Wow! :eek: This is an amazing suggestion!

(My username actually came from a monster type in the Baldur's Gate games - it's a type of giant mushroom from the DnD universe ;). The BG games two of my most favourite video games from the late 90s, hands down!)

The 0ad engine is probably perfect for that style of game. There'd need to be major changes to the simulation code (definitely not as simple as replacing the AI scripts), and indoor scenes could be done with only a few hacky modifications here and there. It's totally doable from a technical perspective, imho, and because most code would be reused, 0ad would also benefit hugely from the added development.

Anyway, if there are other people who are seriously interested in this, count me in!

(Just imagine, it could even be done semi-professionally if it went the Kickstarter route and all that)

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Cool to see some interest!

I guess a lot of the additionally needed artwork could be (at first) gotten from other projects, for example SummoningWars (http://sumwars.org/), which is sadly more or less in development deep-freeze due to engine limitations and the lead developer stepping down. For 2D icons etc FLARE ( http://flarerpg.org/ ) might be a good source too (or OpenGameArg.org in general). And one could have a look at World-Forge or such (or collaborate with them) to get some good and suitable player-models and animations (albeit that I can somewhat decently do myself).

The next step would be now to find someone who is willing to implement the basics of camera, controls, gui etc in the 0 A.D. engine as a prototype using 0 A.D. assets. Once we have a working protoype, finding more contributors will probably not be much of a deal.

I already made a post about this at my "home-base": http://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=3326 and also over at the SumWars forum.

Perferrably the coder who does the prototype should be someone from this community though who knows the in and outs of the engine already.

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Well, for now there isn't so much to be designed, or? Just have a look at the gameplay mechanics of your std. Diablo type game and implement the basics similary.

But I am sure we could come up with a more detailed design document collaboratively in this topic, no? Maybe you could elaborate further what you have in mind?

It's great that you think you might be willing to to it though, big step forward for this :)

Edit: for now a "hero" implementation like in Warcraft3 would probably the easiest to start... that way 0 A.D. would benefit too and in case this doesn't really get of the ground, it would still not be a wasted effort. And once you have individual unit based inventory and skill advancement, that could be further extended to more RPG like features or could even be the base for another MOBA type mod.

Edited by poVoq
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I mean something like this. Something that shows the existence of a coherent vision that is worth pursuing. Specifically, I'd be interested to know about backstory, setting, storyline, gameplay/goals and needed art assets. Without at least a rough concept of these, we'll end up like Sumwars and the majority of other free software games: :mega_shok:

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Heh, personally I don't think these kind of top down development style approaches work well with open-source, and collaborative games (SumWars IMHO seems to have failed for other reasons)... I am more of a fan of itterative and interest driven development, e.g. do small steps and let people work on what they want to do.

Besides these kind of design documents would probably change every half year when new people join, while the core gameplay mechanics that would need to be implemented wouldn't really benefit from it.

But since it is fun to speculate about such things (IHMO making such, most of the time overabitious, game design documents is the only thing that come out of many hobbyist projects), we can start making one here.

How about as a back-story we take Alexander the Great's conquest of central asia in order to stray not too far from the 0 A.D. base. The player characters could be new recruits of the wast army, or some tag-alongs looking for fame and fortune, and you could have a diverse style of different enemies, weapons and armors from all the different cultures along the way (they got all the way to the western border of the indian subcontinent). For "magic" we could use some of the (back then amazing) chinese technology like rockets and so on (sorry not a history expert, don't kill me if that was later ;) ), and include different strange animals as companions or steeds.

Basically we should try to use as much as possible from the base of 0 A.D. so that both projects benefit and development will pick up quickly.

As standard character classes there would be obviously the typical fighter... a macedonian army guy? An archer... some (central asian?) hunter tagging along the army to sell his hunt etc.? And a greek philosopher and scientist who travelled to china and came back with a lot of "magic"? Additionally there could be a celtic guy specialized in domesticated animals, or big axes or such ;) etc. Basically the back-story would fall to the person doing the models for that, just keeping in mind that one should be a close range figher, one a archer and one some sort of specialist with many tricks.

Cooperative game-play mode could be to defend a small scout base against an enemy attack, maybe even with some simple placement of defense structures included, and waves of enemies attacking. Alternatively one could also use the RTS A.I. somehow for controling the enemies. Story driven gameplay (preferrably also possible to play cooperativly) could be the conquest and some sort of scouting missions, or straying from the main army to get some treasures your heard off, or having to desert your soon to be massacered platoon, etc. but that could be implemented much later. Important would be to keep it mission based, and not one monolithic story, so that "outsiders" can contribute missions, and the game becomes playable quickly. Missions should also have replayability in mind, e.g. that is why I find that collaborative against RTS A.I. idea worth persuing.

Ok that's my quick idea, nothing mandatory ;)

Edited by poVoq
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Heh, personally I don't think these kind of top down development style approaches work well with open-source, and collaborative games (SumWars IMHO seems to have failed for other reasons)... I am more of a fan of itterative and interest driven development, e.g. do small steps and let people work on what they want to do.

I certainly won't stand in the way of you or anyone else implementing these changes just for the heck of it. I just can't imagine myself doing it.

Besides these kind of design documents would probably change every half year when new people join, while the core gameplay mechanics that would need to be implemented wouldn't really benefit from it.

Is there anything wrong in living documents? The main point would be to have an informal 'contract' between the various developers involved at a given time.

IHMO making such, most of the time overabitious, game design documents is the only thing that come out of many hobbyist projects

If those projects didn't even have the cohension to produce a realistic design document, perhaps it's for the better that they didn't begin producing any code?

How about as a back-story we take Alexander the Great's conquest of central asia in order to stray not too far from the 0 A.D. base. The player characters could be new recruits of the wast army, or some tag-alongs looking for fame and fortune, and you could have a diverse style of different enemies, weapons and armors from all the different cultures along the way (they got all the way to the western border of the indian subcontinent). For "magic" we could use some of the (back then amazing) chinese technology like rockets and so on (sorry not a history expert, don't kill me if that was later ;) ), and include different strange animals as companions or steeds.

Basically we should try to use as much as possible from the base of 0 A.D. so that both projects benefit and development will pick up quickly.

As standard character classes there would be obviously the typical fighter... a macedonian army guy? An archer... some (central asian?) hunter tagging along the army to sell his hunt etc.? And a greek philosopher and scientist who travelled to china and came back with a lot of "magic"? Additionally there could be a celtic guy specialized in domesticated animals, or big axes or such ;) etc. Basically the back-story would fall to the person doing the models for that, just keeping in mind that one should be a close range figher, one a archer and one some sort of specialist with many tricks.

Cooperative game-play mode could be to defend a small scout base against an enemy attack, maybe even with some simple placement of defense structures included, and waves of enemies attacking. Alternatively one could also use the RTS A.I. somehow for controling the enemies. Story driven gameplay (preferrably also possible to play cooperativly) could be the conquest and some sort of scouting missions, or straying from the main army to get some treasures your heard off, or having to desert your soon to be massacered platoon, etc. but that could be implemented much later. Important would be to keep it mission based, and not one monolithic story, so that "outsiders" can contribute missions, and the game becomes playable quickly. Missions should also have replayability in mind, e.g. that is why I find that collaborative against RTS A.I. idea worth persuing.

Ok that's my quick idea, nothing mandatory ;)

I personally wouldn't mind dark fantasy staple 'supernatural' elements like spells and demons. It would, IMO, be invigorating to work on something completely orthogonal to the historistic constraints of 0 A.D. I agree that it should be easy for third-parties to add new 'quests' or 'missions', but I would definitely like a collected 'main' storyline too. There should be plenty of skilled writers on the web who would be capable of writing such a storyline - but someone would have engage those people, and that is not my area of expertise/motivation.

Bottom-line: for a project like this succeed, it takes a certain amount of drive to get the right combination of talent together. If it was easy, video games wouldn't be a multibillion dollar industry.

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How about a game that that combines 0ad and an ARPG? The game could set in a world based of 0ad, and have characters based on the civilizations of 0ad, yet still have the feel of a RPG.

A persian-like cavalryman, a greek-like hoplite, an iberian-like guerilla, a celtic swordsman, a mauryan-like archer travel around the world together seeking riches and fame. The war torn world the characters live in is a diverse world containing elements of dusty dry plateaus(Iberia), a lush jungle(Maurya Samrajyam), high mountains(Greece) etc. The characters roam that world defeating enemies and earning gold. The gold they earn is used to buy better weapons(i.e the Iberian upgrades his sword from regular to Toledo steel) and learn new techniques(i.e the Persian cavalryman learns archery on horseback).

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For me, what fails in almost all RPGs - without being Sci-Fi, because I like MassEffect(not sure if that's RPG, but anywats), StarTrek:Online and hopefully, when I get to play, I'll like StarWars:TheOldRepublic -, is the supernatural elements :P

If you guys can come up with something realistic, no magic, monsters, and all, count me in.

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A persian-like cavalryman, a greek-like hoplite, an iberian-like guerilla, a celtic swordsman, a mauryan-like archer travel around the world together seeking riches and fame. The war torn world the characters live in is a diverse world containing elements of dusty dry plateaus(Iberia), a lush jungle(Maurya Samrajyam), high mountains(Greece) etc. The characters roam that world defeating enemies and earning gold. The gold they earn is used to buy better weapons(i.e the Iberian upgrades his sword from regular to Toledo steel) and learn new techniques(i.e the Persian cavalryman learns archery on horseback).

It's not a bad idea, I admit, but there would still have to be some semblance of a story or we might as well strip the "RP" part from the ARPG moniker.

What I liked in the Diablo series was the "chosen one" theme - this sense that the whole world was about to succumb to dark powers and you were the only one able to prevent that from happening. Not saying that we need to duplicate that plot, but some kind of plot would be good.

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It's not a bad idea, I admit, but there would still have to be some semblance of a story or we might as well strip the "RP" part from the ARPG moniker.

I agree, how about this idea:

Phillipos has known nothing but war, he was born in an army camp, and raised in the battlefield. Everything he knows has been taught to him be an elderly persian cavalryman called Ustana. Since the death of Alexander 16 years earlier the empire has crumbled, stationed in a frontier garrison in the dense jungles of Punjab, violence and death is the way of life. One day the unthinkable happens, he and Ustana get separated from the rest of the patrol furing a scouting expedition, lost in the jungle and facing an aproaching death Ustana makes a suprising confession - Phillipos is not the young lad's real name, its Alexandros. Alexandros IV.

Edited by Adi12
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I agree, how about this idea:

Phillipos has known nothing but war, he was born in an army camp, and raised in the battlefield. Everything he knows has been taught to him be an elderly persian cavalryman called Ustana. Since the death of Alexander 16 years earlier the empire has crumbled, stationed in a frontier garrison in the dense jungles of Punjab, violence and death is the way of life. One day the unthinkable happens, he and Ustana get separated from the rest of the patrol furing a scouting expedition, lost in the jungle and facing an aproaching death Ustana makes a suprising confession - Phillipos is not the young lad's real name, its Alexandros. Alexandros IV.

Not bad, but where does the player come into the picture? (Given that you'll have several players in a multiplayer game and they can't all be Alexandros IV :) )

In Diablo they used a "lone hero" plot device - you're a band of free-living adventurers / bounty hunters who become entangled in a war between Heaven and Hell. That way, the story would work no matter how many players you were (max 4) or which character classes you picked.

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Or you can discover you are a forgotten nobble, trying to earn your value, and your lands back, with victories in the battlefield. You build alliances, you siege cities, you slave villagers and, most important, you play with other nobbles to help each other pursue the same quest, and when you get there, you can betray everyone in a Free-for-all style or you can fight them off and hold your own nobility for yourself.

Of course there should be seveeal NPCs, with AI to help you out, kinda like ST:O away team, and the Bridge Officers.

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Or you can discover you are a forgotten nobble, trying to earn your value, and your lands back, with victories in the battlefield. You build alliances, you siege cities, you slave villagers and, most important, you play with other nobbles to help each other pursue the same quest, and when you get there, you can betray everyone in a Free-for-all style or you can fight them off and hold your own nobility for yourself.

Of course there should be seveeal NPCs, with AI to help you out, kinda like ST:O away team, and the Bridge Officers.

Are there any historical examples of this or would it be purely fictional? If it would be purely fictional, how fictional would we allow it to be (if supernatural elements are out of the question)?

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The historical examples, if they exists, were probably purely fictional also, e.g. a way of the victor to justify their rule :P

Somehow I am not a big fan of the whole "noble" theme... and it gets difficult to make a nice cooperative game-play compatible story out of it.

Anyways...I think it would be possible to make a ARPG without anything supernatural, and still create a pretty fun game. All this discussion is moot though, unless we find a coder willing to implement the core gameplay mechanics first.

Edited by poVoq
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Somehow I am not a big fan of the whole "noble" theme... and it gets difficult to make a nice cooperative game-play compatible story out of it.

Yeah, it seems kinds of elitarian, which doesn't speak to me either.

Anyways...I think it would be possible to make a ARPG without anything supernatural, and still create a pretty fun game.

Sadly, thinking that it is possible is unlikely to get us far.

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Exactly, that is why a design document doesn't help us :P

It would need to be implemented step by step, and if we realize along the way that it isn't fun without any supernatural element, we can easily add it.

Has anyone thought about implementing a hero system in 0 A.D. already? I think that would be a good first step to base a ARPG on.

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Haven't played them, but I imagine something like that would be another nice step towards an ARPG mod, and would also be a nice addition to the base 0 A.D. game...

Interested in trying to implement something like that wraitii? You seem to have a good grasp of the A.I. code already, thus working on a RPG compatiple version of Marilyn could be part of such a project?

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Has anyone thought about implementing a hero system in 0 A.D. already? I think that would be a good first step to base a ARPG on.

Yes, it has been suggested repeatedly over the years. No one has bothered implementing it because it is not supported by the design document.

I'll be counting the days until someone decides to do it just for fun :P

Edited by zoot
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The power of game design documents is that they help focus development, and make sure that the idea is well established. The second part is probably the most important imho, the exact features that goes into a game may change (and probably should, some when you implement them and realize they are no fun, some when you realize they take too much work and would halt the development too much), but if the idea changes too much it's going to be a problem (developers may leave because the game is no longer what they joined for, you may alienate fans who had started following the development because of the original idea, and you may have trouble attracting new fans/players if you get a reputation for being shifty etc =) ).

Has anyone thought about implementing a hero system in 0 A.D. already?

Not sure what you mean by a hero system? I mean that could range from what we already have (albeit in a limited form so far as we don't have any "powers"), to Rise and Fall style, to something even more RPGy.

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