Traditionally, roguelikes have been about random generated environments, turn-based game play, tactical combat, character progression and inventory management. A few modern incarnations have had some form of questing system, but not to the level as described in my previous post.
In order to facilitate a meaningful gaming experience I need to find a way to engage the player with the game world. I want the player to feel like he belongs in the world and the he can make a difference to his character’s life and the lives of the other characters within the game world.
As a first implementation, I propose to centre the action around a single village. Each character in the village will have a specific role and purpose. I don’t want any meaningless elements within the game world. Everything should be built according to a plan and a purpose.
The player character will be a member of the village. I want the player to feel like he is a part of the village and has some purpose in the village. I don’t think the player will take a primary role within the village, such as the role of the innkeeper, smith or butcher, but will have some kind of supporting role within the village.
I can achieve the above mentioned supporting role through various means. An obvious way would be to make the player a child of one of the villagers. The player will start his journey by assisting his parents with their particular tasks and then gradually branch out to do greater things.
Another possibility is for the player’s livelihood to be threatened by some external force, causing the player to seek refuge at the village and requiring the player to take steps to get back on his feet. For example, the player could have his farm destroyed by a band of Orcs and would then need to take refuge at the village Inn. From there he has various options available to him. For example, he could assist the villagers with their tasks or leave the village to find the Orcs. It becomes the player’s decision and his decisions will change his experience.
The outcome of the player’s actions would, hopefully, have a lasting impact on the lives of the villagers, the overall future of the village and possibly the player himself.