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Author Topic: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games  (Read 30588 times)

Offline LindaS

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Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« on: September 24, 2009, 10:29:11 PM »
Dave wrote on Twitter today:

Quote
Who likes isometric RPGs? We want to make one.

This is really interesting. It seems like isometric RPGs are heating up recently, because there seem to be several in development right now.

I really like this genre, but I'm just curious. Dave, are you thinking of a straight RPG, or some sort of cross-over between RPG and Adventure Games? At any rate, whether a straight RPG or some sort of cross-over, count me as a thumbs up!  ;D

Offline DaveGilbert

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2009, 08:40:17 AM »
Woo!  Someone reads my twitter feed. :)

This is something I've been kicking around in my head for quite a while.  I actually was in the midst of making one (albeit, not very well!) in 2006 when I got inspired to make the Shivah instead. 

There's been a huge resurgance lately of old school japanese style RPGs (Aveyond and Eternal Eden, to name a few), but not much love has been given to the old school western style RPGs like Baldur's Gate.  There's Spiderweb Software and Basillisk Games, but there need to be more! :)  I still have a big soft spot for Fallout and Planescape Torment and even Knights of the Old Republic! 

Alas, games like that are hard to make and they are above my meager abilities (and budget!).  Fortunately, my lovely fiancee Janet is a whizbang programmer and loves isometric RPGs too, so  once we finish our current projects (Puzzle Bots and a new game for PlayFirst), I'll get back to Blackwell and she'll work on an isometric RPG engine.  And if it's user-friendly enough, we can license it out to others!  There are no friendly isometric RPG engines out there. 

Of course it's just a "cool idea" at this stage, and it will be several months before we can even begin to think about it seriously.  But I'm always thinking "what's next?" and this is very high on my list.

Sonic626

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2009, 08:51:02 AM »
I really miss isometric RPGs (I've lost so many hours to Planescape: Torment!). It's almost a bit sad that advances in technology have moved the pendulum so far in the 3D space; Bioware used to be king in this area, but the only thing I've seen from them in the past few years that looks remotely close is Dragon Age. Unfortunately, the looming specter of EA taints this project a little for me, and I think there's a huge opportunity for a friendly NWN-esque engine that would allow for a great story and community expansion.

Consider me intrigued.

-Jeff

Offline edmundo

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2009, 09:20:29 AM »
Dave let me remind you that isometric is a visual point of view and not particularly a gameplay style. But I understand what you're talking about though. ;)

I'm actually curious to see what your ideas are, so yo've got my blessing to go for it when you get a chance! One Japanese-style RPG (yeah I know, not western style but hey... it's an RPG nevertheless) that I've been playing recently is Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time on the Nintendo DS. You should check it out if you get a chance because while it keeps some of the traditional formula it also has some really fun things like the combat system, platforming elements (it's Mario!), and a very wacky Mario-style plot to it so it's not like the repetitive fantasy genre.

And you're so popular on Twitter that even your tweets get forum threads. That's pretty hardcore!
« Last Edit: September 25, 2009, 09:22:27 AM by edmundo »

Sonic626

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2009, 09:34:33 AM »
I couldn't get enough of Partners in Time, and Bowser's Inside Story looks to be a great follow up. The mechanics were incredibly unique for an RPG, but what I loved the most was the quality of the writing. It maintained a great story and was one of the funniest RPGs I've ever played. Who could forget the mustard of doom?

-Jeff

StacyDavidson

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2009, 01:40:56 PM »
Yeah, I've been having a very similar conversation with my friend Geoff Howland about creating a more Ultima-style RPG.  We really like the style of the pre-JRPGs that people seem to have forgotten about.  Ultima IV changed the way people thought about games altogether, and V had one of the first really well thought out stories.  And it still works, even today.

Have you looked at XNA?  It's C# (managed code), so it's clean and super fast to iterate, and there's a free iso RPG starter kit with a lot of the basics already setup.  Plus XNA and Visual Studio C# Express are totally free to download and free for publishing on the PC, and if you get an X-Box membership ($100/year or something?) you can publish to the X-Box Live as well.

I also hear good things about Unity.  Not free, but you can deploy to Windows, Mac, X-Box, Wii, and they have the coolest iPhone editor around.  It actually sends the screen taps and accelerometer data to the editor, and sends the game screen to the iPhone, so you can test on a real iPhone straight from Unity.  That's better than developing in Apple's Xcode.  (sorry, geeking out).

Torque also has a very Diablo-style started kit.  It's called the "Adventure Game Starter Kit" for some reason, but it's clearly a Diablo-style RPG engine.

-s


Offline LindaS

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2009, 05:11:55 PM »
Dave, I *think* I know what you mean by "isometric RPG", but honestly, I thought you meant a "Diablo-style game", which had me confused, because that would be completely different than what you've done before. However, mentioning Planescape: Torment and Baldur's Gate gives me a much better idea where you're coming from.

That being said, let me mention a few games coming out that you will probably NOT want to compete against. The first is Torchlight. The background of this game is this-A few years ago, several of the developers of D1 and D2 broke away from Blizzard and formed their own company called Flagship. Unfortunately, Flagship went down in flames because their first offering Hellgate:London was widely panned. However, they had a second offering in the works, Mythos, that was in beta, that was widely anticipated.

The Mythos team went on to form Runic Games, and they are the ones developing Torchlight. Recently, it got rave reviews at PAX (see the Torchlight press page here). I am utterly certain that it will be a sleeper hit after it goes live next month.

In addition, there will several isometric online offerings within the next few years. Mythos (mentioned above) is being developed by a Korean company. Torchlight will be produced as an MMO. And of course there is the 800-lb gorilla, D3, which will be coming out sometime in the next few years.

All of this is to say that there will be a number of very big games that are isometric in style, both single-player and online, in play in the next few years.

With all that being said, I agree with you that there is a definite lack of isometric games that are primarily story driven. All of the offerings that I mentioned are definitely action RPGs. I never played Fallout, but I did play Planescape: Torment, and consider it one of the best games I ever played. I can't think of a single isometric game since then that had the in-depth story that P:T had. I could definitely see a real market for games that you could probably label "adventure RPGs", even though so many "action RPGs" are coming out in the next few years. By "adventure RPG" I mean an isometric RPG that is primarily driven by a compelling story in which your choices have an active impact on gameplay. I do agree with Dave that there has been a huge lack of those games in recent years.

StacyDavidson

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2009, 05:23:30 AM »
LindaS:

Interesting prospect.  You have large distributors educating the market and priming it for isometric RPGs, but then you have a niche that remains untapped: story-driven RPGs (and I agree, Diablo clones are almost exclusively action-based.  They're all just Gauntlet as far as I'm concerned.)

-s



Offline DaveGilbert

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2009, 01:02:51 PM »
Wow! Torchlight looks awesome.  I know what you mean, LindaS, about not wanting to compete against it.  Being a lil indie means we have to be realistic about what we can do.  Whatever Janet and I end up doing (and it's still up in the air), we know it won't be as pretty and as slick as something like Torchlight, but it will definitely feed the niche of people who miss large story-driven RPGs like Planescape. 

I'm glad people are supportive of this idea!  Once we have a better idea of what we're doing, we'll be sure to let you know!

-Dave

Offline jgilberg

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2009, 08:10:44 PM »
Dave-
You should still really play Ultima 7. It really balanced story with combat well, I think.
And Torchlight does look awesome! I am surprised that I missed it at PAX, but I think that it was overshadowed by Diablo.

~Julie

Offline LindaS

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2009, 01:42:23 AM »
Dave, I'm absolutely agreed about Torchlight. If you ever decide to post on the official boards of Torchlight, I'm Needlehawk over there (and on other gaming forums).

Now I'm really excited about what you might come up with. I hadn't thought about Planescape: Torment for a long time, but it would be GREAT to have something with a really compelling story again. And an RPG engine that could be licensed out sounds great. Keep us updated!

Offline jgilberg

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2009, 02:18:16 AM »
You may want to chat with Ryan about this...You completely peaked his interest, since he loves all things isometric, and really enjoyed Planescape.

When I mentioned it to him, he thought that the Torque 2D engine might be a good fit for you.

~Julie

Offline DaveGilbert

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2009, 07:29:34 AM »
I've heard iffy things about Torque.  While it does a decent job, it totally chokes on older computers.  I know Amanda Finch, who made Aveyond and later a game called Grimm's Hatchery in Torque, lost a ton of sales because a chunk of the customers couldn't run it.  It's a common complaint.

I've spoken to Janet about this, and she is eager for the challenge of making one that is easily portable, can run on older computers, and can be licensed out.  It's also a good thing for future employers to know about, should she go that route.  Maybe we'll use a third party engine, but in the meantime we're working on our current projects and thinking about it.

Offline sierramindy

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2009, 06:36:59 PM »
Aw shucks! I can't join y'all as I totally do not like RPG/Action type of games. Way back I tried some early Quest for Glory (Sierra) adventures and didn't even finish them. Then in June of this year, I tried to play Aveyond:Lord of the Twilight because the graphics were so great and so was Mel, but the fighting in the mine did me in. Left that scene and tried to go elsewhere in the game, but now the fighting seemed to be everywhere and getting harder. So, very reluctantly, I quit. The adventure part of the game was a pure joy however and I have fond memories of Mel. If only it had been straight adventure, but those are the breaks. I hope you get to do whatever you want with the isometric (huh?) RPG stuff, Dave, but sorry, count me out!
Just putting in my 25 cents worth, inflation you know.

Offline LindaS

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Re: Per Twitter-Isometric RPG games
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2009, 01:46:14 AM »
sierramindy, have you ever had a chance to play Planescape:Torment? Because I don't think that Dave is contemplating that kind of Action RPG at all. The kind of RPGs that I think that Dave is talking about rely way more heavily on story than on combat. (Not that there is no combat, but just that those kind of games are not constant fighting like the new Aveyonds seem to be.)

Of course, I don't want to put words in Dave's mouth, but that's sure how I envisioned it once he mentioned Planescape:Torment.