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Role Playing (Games)

How D&D Shaped the Modern Videogame 128

Posted by Zonk
from the roll-to-save-vs-awesome dept.
PC Gamer UK, via the CVG site, has a feature up on the influence Dungeons and Dragons had on the development of videogaming. The role D&D has had in inspiring gamers is fairly well known; Masters of Doom chronicles the inspiration the Johns' campaign had on the creation of Doom and Quake. The article discusses more recent confluences of the tabletop game and videogame development, such as Obsidian's use of pen-and-paper to develop the early areas of Neverwinter Nights 2. Ideas for the late, lamented, Fallout 3 were sparked by a number of tabletop roleplaying moments from developer campaigns.
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How D&D Shaped the Modern Videogame

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  • HP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:17PM (#17955458) Homepage
    Two words: Hit Points. Every game has them and as kids we learned the concept from D&D.
    • Re:HP (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lymond01 (314120) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:23PM (#17955610)
      And now that we have computers that can easily represent and display physical damage in terms of gameplay and character efficiency...we still use hit points.

      At times I wish game designers would FORGET about hit points.
      • Re:HP (Score:5, Funny)

        by creimer (824291) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:32PM (#17955804) Homepage
        I don't think "miss points" would work out that well. You don't want the monsters to chant, "Loser! Loser! Loser!"
      • Re:HP (Score:5, Interesting)

        by p0tat03 (985078) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:42PM (#17955960)

        We have forgotten about hit points. Play games like Gears of War or Call of Duty, where death is based on the rate at which you're taking damage, as opposed to depleting an existing HP supply.

        Call of Duty: Get shot, it's ok. Get shot too much in too little time, your screen starts turning red. Keep getting shot, die.

        • Re:HP (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Daredevil (109528) on Friday February 09, 2007 @07:03PM (#17957152)
          CoD absolutely had HPs. Just because they added some temporary damage as well doesn't mean it's suddenly a new concept. If I recall correctly, when you got hit you took some permanent damage and some temporary damage that slowly returned. Temporary damage wouldn't kill you, but if you got hit again while your temporary damage had you below zero you would die.

          It even had a bar that clearly represented a hidden numerical value (Hit points) and you died when it was empty (zero).

          Not sure if this link will work, but here is a screenshot (off GameSpot) showing the hit points in action:

          http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2003/pc/callo fduty/1029/call_screen006.jpg [com.com]
          • by p0tat03 (985078)

            My mistake, I meant to say Call of Duty 2. COD1 had a very very traditional health system, except it had a bar and didn't show you the actual number.

        • Re:HP (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Kuciwalker (891651) on Friday February 09, 2007 @07:29PM (#17957428)
          And people say Halo isn't innovative... as far as I know, this type of health system was invented in Halo 2. IMO it's infinitely superior to hit points.
          • Perhaps in a popular FPS. But a lot of games had the regenerative shield idea(ie.Starcraft protoss) . which is just a addition to the idea of "X hits will kill you" HP. Still a good idea. It removed the attrition factor making skilled players able to streak a lot more.
          • by Fjornir (516960)
            I can point at games on the C64 and at pen and paper gamed in the '90s (when I was into P&P gaming -- other folks can probably point at older ones) that had this mechanic. This is not a Halo invention even if Halo implemented it well.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dyslexicbunny (940925)

          Call of Duty: Get shot, it's ok. Get shot too much in too little time, your screen starts turning red. Keep getting shot, die.

          I agree completely. I run in blindly and kill as many people as possible and when I go red, I hide until I "heal." This makes the game way too easy when combined with the number of checkpoints in every level. Why both playing seriously? Honestly, I wished for something more after beating the game.

          It feels like the game is more suited for a casual gamer than serious players that want more realism. I forsee this trend to continue since although design for both is not impossible, adding features and progr

        • That's still hit points, you just can't see the numbers. It's a regenerating supply.
        • by Arceliar (895609)
          Two words: Fast Healing
      • by pregister (443318)
        Most players like numbers. I tried moving from hit points and stat points and foo points on a Mud for years, players always hated it. Theres a good number of players who like min/maxing, like crunching the numbers, etc.
        • by lymond01 (314120)
          On a text-based mud, I can understand it. There's no real-time (using the term loosely) feedback as there is in an MMORPG.

          And sure, a number system is easy to follow in any game. We use it every day to drive to work, check the time, see how much we spent, etc. But if you're in a fight? After taking a punch to the gut, do you find yourself saying, "Wow...that was a 10 pointer!" No...you say "Ow." and you might go woozy or you might get emotional or some part of your body might not work right. And you m
          • Re:HP (Score:4, Informative)

            by Feanturi (99866) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:30PM (#17956744)
            you say "Ow." and you might go woozy or you might get emotional or some part of your body might not work right

            Call of Cthulhu the PC game handles this very well. While you do have a form of hitpoints on your character sheet (an EKG), your real indicators of your state are the blurred vision that gets worse with additional damage, blood spatter in your view, vision slowly going white from blood-loss, controls that stop working quite correctly, labored breathing, and the slow shuffle of walking on a broken leg with that horrible little crunching noise with each step. Insanity-inducing events or locations pull in some of these elements as well, such as the vision problems, breathing, and loss of movement control. All in all, the game is downright heart-pounding at various points throughout.
            • by Petrushka (815171)
              That does sound fun. Hope it comes out for PC someday. Tee-hee, this discussion does remind me of occasions in Deus Ex when I'd suddenly find myself moving only much closer to the ground than normal, very slowly and with a dragging motion, and eventually realise that it was because my legs had stopped working.
              • by Petrushka (815171)
                Whoops, it is of course out for PC, it's just that my usual game store doesn't have it in its catalogue at the moment. Ho-hum ...
      • by 91degrees (207121)
        I totally agree.

        I remember trying to convince my friends of the complete lack of need for using stats in a game, and how it would be better if they were a lot more obscure. But people just didn't seem to understand. For some reason, I couldn't get across to them that just because something is represented numerically internally, it doesn't have to be explicitely known.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Sigma 7 (266129)

          I remember trying to convince my friends of the complete lack of need for using stats in a game, and how it would be better if they were a lot more obscure. But people just didn't seem to understand.

          Most people familiar with Table-top RPGs consider a lack of numbers to be equivalant to arbitrary - in the same way that some consequences of a Choose-your-own-adventure book are just as arbitrary.

          People are comfortable with numbers because it gives them a comfort that their Infinitly-powerful character won't b

      • Re:HP (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Nasarius (593729) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:08PM (#17956416)
        Well, it's an abstraction. I've talked to someone who has extensive real-world experience with sword/knife combat and the injuries that result, and he sketched out a system (in the context of a true medieval RPG) where each limb would have its own status: broken, different levels of bleeding, etc. All of which would have an effect on gameplay; for example, if your arm was damaged, you couldn't fight as well. Like MechWarrior 2, but for people.

        It's an interesting idea, and likely something I will be implementing for various reasons, but does it really add enjoyment for the player? Probably not. Just get rid of the absurd situation where a character is nearly dead and can still fight at full capacity, and the traditional global HP isn't a bad abstraction.
        • Re:HP (Score:5, Informative)

          by Qzukk (229616) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:34PM (#17956786) Journal
          and he sketched out a system (in the context of a true medieval RPG) where each limb would have its own status: broken, different levels of bleeding, etc.

          Phantasie III on the C64 (I think there was a PC version as well, amongst others) had that kind of a system. In addition to hit points, your limbs, chest, and head could be "injured" "broken" or "gone", with obvious implications for losing your head or body. It led to interesting battles, where I'd have characters with two broken arms continuing to fight because they still had most of their hitpoints and I needed to conserve the appropriate level of potion (IIRC, Potion 3 would heal 60hp and either 2 broken limbs or one lost limb). As far as actual gameplay went, it didn't really add or detract anything significant, it just made it different.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            Some games in the Resident Evil series had the "get-hurt-and-watch-your-leg-drag-behind-you." Though it is still a HP based game, it was neat to have a game directly affect gameplay based on damage.
          • by Alsee (515537)
            It led to interesting battles, where I'd have characters with two broken arms continuing to fight

            What are you going to do? Bleed on me? [youtube.com]

            -
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by XxtraLarGe (551297)
            Deus Ex also had such a system. The body parts were each arm, leg, trunk & head. If your arms were injured, you'd be less effective with melee weapons, and finally you couldn't even wield a weapon. If your legs were seriously injured, you could only crawl. Take too much head damage, you're dead no matter what.
          • Phantasie III on the C64 ... had that kind of a system. In addition to hit points, your limbs, chest, and head could be "injured" "broken" or "gone", with obvious implications for losing your head or body.

            Your description of this game was thought-provoking. It's interesting you report it didn't "add or detract anything significant" from the gameplay. I don't wish to look down on it, but my thoughts were: it's a like an "ad absurdum" for role playing games in general. If the initial idea was to immerse you

            • by Qzukk (229616)
              by keeping tabs of the hitpoints of the limbs?!

              It seems that I glossed over my explanation a bit much. Each limb didn't have its own hitpoints, instead they simply became damaged when struck by a critical hit or something. If they were injured, then they would become broken, if they were broken, they'd be lost. They were also somewhat separate from healing, meaning that if you lost a limb, you could drink enough low level potions to refill your HP to max, but your limb would still be missing, leading to
              • Thanks for filling in this info. I think it doesn't invalidate my thoughts by much, is it? I mean, the situations you mention (getting killed without injuring a single limb) seem in themselves a bit absurd. It was this kind of absurdity that was the catalyst of my thinking about the entire topic of representing imaginative worlds with a bunch of statistics. As I said, I get immersed in these representations as much as anyone, but at times I just feel it starts to fall apart.
        • by Aladrin (926209)
          DragonRealms, a MUD, has this type of system. The 'effect on gameplay' is a bit weak, but it does prevent you from holding something with a hand that isn't there, etc. Damage and healing is all per-bodypart, as well as having internal and external damage.

          Does it add enjoyment? I'd say yes. It's probably one of the reasons that it is so popular. (It's a lot more interesting when different armor actually has an effect, and aiming at body parts matters as well.)

        • by pfafrich (647460)
          RuneQuest [wikipedia.org] had a system of hit location. It tended to make combat more risky.
        • Fallout has a system like that, at least to some extent. Another game that comes to mind is Silent Storm, where you can lose accuracy from arm shots and action points from leg shots. You can also suffer from bleeding, blindess, deafness and unconsciousness.
      • by skymt (968075)
        See Lugaru [wolfire.com] for an excellent example of what you're talking about. In Lugaru, as you take hits, your model starts looking more beat-up, animations change, and if you're close to death (or just got a nasty knock on the head) your vision blurs.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Thangodin (177516)
        Hit points allows for gradual damage, allowing you to change strategy, withdraw, etc. Limb damage takes you out of the fight, instant kills make for an unplayable game, and auto-recovery unless you take a lot of damage quickly is just too unrealistic--particularly when the damage is done by bullets. What the hit point system does is give you reaction time.

        In any case, the hit point system did not reflect actual damage, but exhaustion, bruising, blood loss from superficial wounds, disorientation, etc. The fi
      • by mshurpik (198339)
        Plenty of designers hate hit points; HP alone is probably the #1 reason why so many alternative RPG systems were created.

        As for computers, there are plenty of games with location damage, weapon loss, equipment malfunction, critical hits, headshots, limb loss, spreading damage, armor and structure points, reduced movement, mental and physical exhaustion...need I go on?
      • At times I wish game designers would FORGET about hit points.

        Way back in the day there was a minigame asteroids like game called "lunatic fringe." Instead of hit points, your ship had various features, like thrust, maneuvering jets, lasers, and a few more. You could repair them over time if you had enough spare parts. When you took damage, one or more of these features was degraded. Take a hit from an alien craft and suddenly your ability to turn would behave sporadically, or you would accelerate more sl

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lemmy Caution (8378)
      Even more important to MMORPGs and other comparable games: experience points and levels. Apotheosis as a numbers game.
    • This is... *roll* ...indeed true.
    • by DimGeo (694000)
      Even Star Trek ships have HPs... Hull integrity %, Shield strength %, etc...
  • Imagine that.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lithdren (605362) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:20PM (#17955528)
    A Game built around Math, paper, and your imagination inspired the development of other games.

    I've been a long time player of D&D type games, and I personally think they should be done in school. They helped me in school early on learning Math, giving me a solid foundation to build on. Story writing being the DM of such a game gets developed quite well if you're sucessfull anyway.

    But the most important part is it spurs your imagination into high gear. Something that alot of people, old and young, are lacking more and more. Its nerdy as hell, but its fun to pretend to be that strong warrior loping the head of an orc off.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ToxikFetus (925966)
      They helped me in school early on learning Math, giving me a solid foundation to build on.

      Solid foundation? I swear you need a freaking PhD in Mathematics to figure out what the hell THAC0 means!

      Nerd: My armor class just went negative, w00t!
      Bystander: Huh?
      • AC -10 award (Score:3, Informative)

        by tepples (727027)

        Nerd: My armor class just went negative, w00t!
        Bystander: Huh?
        "AC -10" means you're playing GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64 and camping the body armor.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Lithdren (605362)
        Yeah, Thac0 is rather complicated.

        For those of you who dont know, Thac0 is the number your character must roll in a 20 sided dice to hit an Armor Class (AC) of 0.

        If your AC is 5, and my Thaco is 15, I need to roll a 10 or better (15-5). If your AC is -5, I need to roll a 20 (15-(-5)). 20 always hits, 1 always misses.

        Personally, yeah, i'd consider that a good foundation. :P
        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          gee my head just exploded trying to understand that. you have to SUBTRACT AND COMPARE WTF bullshit i'm going to play something else.
          • by Petrushka (815171)

            I haven't played PNP D&D since the Basic days; all my contact since then has been via video games. But I actually really miss the numerical oddities of AD&D (2nd edition, I presume; I'm not sure if editions 1 or 2.5 have been used in video games). I also miss the less linear saving throw tables and the esoteric issues over multi-classing. I just kinda feel that because video games already simplify things enormously, the added simplification of using version 3/3.5 rules takes some of the fun away ...

            • by Lehk228 (705449)
              it wouldn't be HARD but it would be obnoxious for the devs, since they are making and testing two games at once
        • by Vacuous (652107)
          thac0 is easy as pie to figure out.

          Take your character's thac0, subtract target's AC, that is the number you need to roll to hit (Note, 20 always hits)

          So for example, someone has a thac0 of 20 and attacks something with an AC of 6. 20-6=14
          or someone with a thac0 of 9 attacks something with an AC of -3, 9 - -3 = 12

          It'd be freaking 2nd grade math if it wasn't fior the negatives (which isn't exactly a difficult concept)
          • by Vacuous (652107)
            For my next lesson, we'll learn about varios modifiers to hit due to varions situations and weather and such.

            First, since the grass is wet ans slippery, making dodgeing hard, you suhbtract -1 from thac0, then you have to calculate if the sun is in their eyes, the formula for this is pi * the speed of an african swallow divided by the half life of bannaium, a radioactive metal often found on the planet blargh. After that you add George Bush's IQ to the total number of cheeto stains on your DM's shirt and div
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:20PM (#17955532)
    What if TSR had patented "hit points?" Or, "the idea that one hit doesn't kill the player"?

    Could you teach computer to run a D&D campaign?
    You'd probably have a better shot with English, first. But for Christ's sake, who among us DIDN'T write a dice simulator or treasure generator before hitting the teenage years?
    • What if TSR had patented "hit points?" Or, "the idea that one hit doesn't kill the player"?

      They would have licensed it, managed it badly, and the patent would have been hocked to a bank to keep them afloat a bit longer into the 90s. At worst, WotC might not have bought them.
    • I thought I'd need something to top off my senior year, so I went ahead and wrote a dice roller for my TI89. I hope you feel happy now!

      (Although I'll have to look into the mechanics of that treasure generator.... I've never actually been invited to any D&D sessions... :P )
    • by heptapod (243146)
      Everyone else would use a stat like "body" like the HERO System.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jimmy_B (129296)

      What if TSR had patented "hit points?" Or, "the idea that one hit doesn't kill the player"?

      Fortunately, such things are not patentable. They would have if they could, and in fact, they pissed a lot of people off by trying to enforce a trademark on hit points. (They asked people to use "hits to kill" instead, which never caught on). They also sent takedown notices to various fan sites for fan-created but D&D-related content, and claimed copyright over some things that they'd obviously copied from mytholo

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What if TSR had patented "hit points?" Or, "the idea that one hit doesn't kill the player"?

      Ah, and what if Jack Vance [wikipedia.org] had patented the idea that wizards can memorize a certain number of spells, and then forget each spell immediately after it is cast?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:24PM (#17955630)
    CAST MAGIC MISSLE!!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chmcginn (201645)
      at the darkness?
      • by Sigma 7 (266129)

        at the darkness?


        The 1st edition D&D had the magic missles follow your character until you decide to release them (duration was 1 turn). I don't know why they did it that way, as most people preferred it to fire all those projectiles at once.
      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by Nimey (114278)
        ...of your ass.
      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        WHERE'S THE MOUNTAIN DEW!?!?!
        • "HEY GRHAM, ROLL THE DICE TO SEE IF I'M GETTING DRUNK!" - sorry couldn't resist. - To the Lameness filter: It's called quoting,
  • Emergent Gameplay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:36PM (#17955856)
    What D&D still rules at is emergent gameplay- IE, setting the gigantic boss villain on fire by collapsing the house on her, etc. Rather than focusing on simple "dice mechanics," game devs should be putting their money towards physics engines and other things that will let players PLAY with the world.

    What's funny is a lot of devs get it backwards trying to emulate the simplicity of D&D: D&D uses simple mechanics because players have to do all the work themselves. Computers are happy to calculate THAC0 a hundred times a minute if it makes for better gameplay.
    • Though I agree that the emergent factor was good with the old style of game play, I believe the fact that they did use math and mechanics, (i.e. will for mental attacks, agility for movement, constitution for hit point, etc) played a large role in video game development. Old style games didn't really calculate what was going on in the world by measurable forces, but rather were "just what's happing" and scoring issues. The fact the D&D had a algorithms and mathematical problems attached to almost every

    • "What D&D still rules at is emergent gameplay- IE, setting the gigantic boss villain on fire by collapsing the house on her, etc. Rather than focusing on simple "dice mechanics," game devs should be putting their money towards physics engines and other things that will let players PLAY with the world."

      The problem with these scenarios is that it takes the fun out of the interaction, while collapsing a house on a boss villain to set her on file *is cool*. In a video game it's not anything we haven't seen
      • by despik (691728)

        The problem with these scenarios is that it takes the fun out of the interaction, while collapsing a house on a boss villain to set her on file *is cool*. In a video game it's not anything we haven't seen before. It's ho'hum and old hat.

        I don't think I have played a single computer game that would let me interact with the environment in a completely unconstrained manner. I believe you're talking about scripted sequences -- actions provided by the game developers to give the player an illusion of freedom.

    • by Splab (574204)
      It isn't just a question of what would be cool and not. Having real world physics in a game is extremely hard to do real time, but it is coming, just look at the new crytek engine.
  • In fact, from just the club I co-founded at SFU, The GoT, I think half of us went on to become game designers.

    Many of us were computer scientists, so making the jump into video games was pretty easy back then.
  • by Morris Thorpe (762715) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:07PM (#17956396)
    How D&D Shaped the Modern Videogame

    How D&D shaped the modern videogamer: like a pear.
  • "Obsidian's use of pen-and-paper to develop the early areas of Neverwinter Nights 2." Wouldn't that be considered an amazingly obvious first step, seeing how the game is based in D&D?
  • by crossmr (957846) on Friday February 09, 2007 @07:48PM (#17957618) Journal
    called how the modern video game raped D&D and abused its children. Early D&D games were great. lately they've been rotten.
  • Full Sail (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:08PM (#17958286)
    All you need to know about this: There is a class at Full Sail, the world's top video game design school, called Rules of the Game. It talks about how all games - from card games to D&D to video games, are all based on the same principles. Best game design class I've ever had.

    The instructor? Dave Arneson, co-creator, Dungeons and Dragons.
  • WOW (Score:3, Informative)

    by mshurpik (198339) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @04:19AM (#17961048)
    The fact that I played pen-and-paper D&D (and Ultima for PC) as a kid explains why I can't get anywhere near a game of World of Warcraft. I actually had a 19-year-old try to explain to me that in WOW, mage armor is weak and thiefs are stealthy. I was like...this is new to you?

    Not only is WOW a carbon copy of the "generic D&D-based RPG", but it owes its success, apparently, to the fact that most of its users are unfamiliar with the source material. What WOW adds to D&D, is the group dynamics of a 30-member campaign party, and if you want to see how that works, the South Park WOW episode is pretty accurate. (In short, the illusion of teamwork gradually gives way to a system that is pretty mechanical.)
    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      Oddly enough, WoW has made me a much better D&D tactitian. It also emulates much of the D&D ethos better than many of the D&D branded games - it's all about accumulation, while it's occasionally fun to zerg through mobs a much lower level than you it's boring to do it all the time, parties run smoother when everyone understands how to play their class, protect the healer.

    • by fishdan (569872) *
      Play Dungeon Siege: What ever skills you practice, you become proficient in. Armor, etc is limited by your strength. Primarily spell casting characters usually don't wear plate mail because they don't have the strength to be wearing 80 pounds of plate mail while swinging a 30 pound sword. But if you were one of those behemouths, nothing would prevent you from focusing on becoming a mage, learning spells, etc. I avoided DS for a long time for no good reason, but I've found it to be one of the best singl
  • As a teenager, playing D&D did not help with my social interaction skills, but it DID, however, help me develop creativity (figuring out how to open the chest without the goblins hearing), wittiness (the dark elf waves his sword at you as he taunts you...how do you respond?), and math skills (1d8+1 S, 2d8+3 M-L, you do max damage, how much is that?). There's so much benefit that can come from these tabletop RPG's that many people simply don't "get". I lived in the "Bible Belt" and in a small community
    • by geekoid (135745)
      "y (figuring out how to open the chest without the goblins hearing)"

      Kill the goblins first.

      "The dark elf waves his sword at you as he taunts you...how do you respond?"

      Kill the Dark elf.

      "1d8+1 S, 2d8+3 M-L, you do max damage, how much is that?"
      Basic adition isn't what I would call math skills for a teenagers.

      It's just DnD, and it didn't teach you anything you wouldn't have learned not playing DnD.(inless the world is over run by goblins and dark ekves, in which you and me would be KING baby!)

      It's a game, don
  • by ductonius (705942) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @08:00PM (#17967554) Homepage
    Like others in this thread I wish video games would forget about D&D for a while. Just a little bit. Not permanently, just enough to let other ideas have their time in the light.

    There's a reason why I'm hesitant to buy any medieval-looking RPG nowadays. It's because I know, absolutely know that when I start up the game the first thing I'm going to have to do is choose to play a fighter guy, a magic guy, a stealth guy and or a ranged attack guy. Why in God's name, during the age of computers, do we still have to pick classes?. There is no need for this abstraction. Anything you can do with classes you can do with simple attributes or skills. Furthermore, many things that are done with classes make no sense ("I'm sorry, you can't wear that shirt, you're a mage, mages only wear the purest right-spun Italian cotton"). Role playing games work well with out them. Fallout1/2 and Deus Ex. Both great RPGs. A huge variety in play, enabled by simple attributes and skills. No fucking classes. Game designers: Please stop using classes, at least for a bit.

    Also, why do most games have ludicrously low numbers of hit points? Most games out there (including Fallout and Deus Ex, I might add) I only allow the player one, maybe two hundred hit points. There is an almost infinite difference between a bullet to the brain and pricking your finger. Again, with computers a character could have 100,000 hit points instead of 100 and it wouldn't cause any disruption in game play. All it would do is allow the game to represent a greater variety in levels of damage. The same attack by an enemy could do a wide variety of damage depending on where it hit. Eg. arrow to the cranium vs. arrow stopped by chain mail (yes, that would hurt). Low hit points work well when they need to be tracked by hand and the calculations that go into them are fairly simple, but when a computer can do them automatically faster than you can blink, low hit points do not make sense.

    D&D is fun. That's why it's popular, it's just also possible for things other than D&D to be fun too, and I'd like to see more of that.
    • by grumbel (592662)
      Gothic2 solved the whole class problem pretty nicely by moving the choice into the game. After around 1/3 of the game you had to join one of multiple guilds which in turn would fix you to there class, at that point in the game you however already had a pretty good idea of what to expect so the choice wasn't a hard one. The annoying part with many other games is that they force you to pick a class and skillset at the very beginning of the game, at a point where you have absolutly no idea what to expect from
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by theghost (156240)
      We have classes because it is easier to balance 12 classes with a finite set of skills for each class than it is to balance every possible combination of 100 different skills. The less time you spend balancing the more time you can spend creating content for those things to be balanced against, and content is king.
  • It's striking to me that the discussion so far (correct me if I missed something) ignores what I thought was the more important bit of the article. I quote (emphasis mine):

    The central idea remains constant: videogames began with two-player games, experienced through the proxy of a machine. Two or more humans matching their abilities, with victory and failure adjudicated by hard rules, has remained true, from chess to Pong to Battlefield.

    There's another way of looking at videogames: how the vast majorit

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