Battle Royale: The RPG (Designed by Mat Tschirgi)

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Now that I finally have a high-speed Internet connection, I can start slapping some of the little video games I designed while in college.

Battle Royale: RPG Screenshot: RPG Maker 2003 lets one create retro RPGs fairly easily; it's a shame the program is not released in the USA for the PC.Battle Royale: RPG Screenshot: RPG Maker 2003 lets one create retro RPGs fairly easily; it's a shame the program is not released in the USA for the PC.

The first, and arguably the best, was a group effort known as Battle Royale: The RPG, based on the controversial Japanese novel and live-action film. We developed the demo using a hacked version of RPG Maker 2003 , an excellent Japanese Windows program that lets one create a RPG in the mold of the Japanese SNES variety (Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV, etc) fairly easily.

Here is the link to the zipped installation files for the game. Simply unzip them in a temporary directory, click on Setup to install, and you can start playing the RPG relatively quickly. This is PC only.

Download: Battle Royale: The RPG (~15 MB, PC Only)

What follows is a Post-Mortem of the project that I wrote back when I was in college. I hope those who enjoy game design or RPGs in general find it useful:

Battle Royale: The RPG Post-Mortem
What Went Right

By getting our team of people (4 total: I was the Programmer/Designer/Co-Writer, Nate was the Lead Writer & Assistant Texture Artist, Patrick was the Producer, and Will was lead Portrait & Texture Artist) settled on an idea quickly, we were able to get a head start on working on the game.

Since all of the team members had lives outside of school, we had to schedule meetings on AIM and make private chat rooms; this worked really well, although we only had to do it early on.

When we had the game out for people to play on the demo day, they seemed to really enjoy it.

All of the team members managed to get work done on time. At times we were rushing to get things done (our board with concept artwork was being worked on 30 minutes before the demo day began), but we managed to get a real nice set-up with the Battle Royale movie going on a monitor behind the laptop that the demo was loaded on.

After testing our game in front of our class, I managed to write and design an introductory cut-scene that functioned as a partial tutorial on how to plan the game. This made things much easier for game players that were not old-school RPG fans.

I uploaded four different builds of the game online on my web-site, which allowed the team to play through the demo as I was programming/designing it. This was very useful because I got some outside perspectives on parts that were confusing about the design, dialogue, etc.

What Went Wrong

Initially, my duties were just to be the Programmer of the group. For various reasons, I also became the Designer and managed to heavily rewrite a lot of the script. I realized I was going to be the Designer because I had to lay out all of the areas of the game using lots of the default graphics that came with RPG Maker 2003. That wasn't a problem.

I felt bad about heavily rewriting the script, although I notified Nate that I was going to do this and initially there wasn't a problem. I thought I could improve the dialogue by adding humor to it and making the "choices" in the dialogue trees more dynamic so they could affect events later in the game. I probably added too much humor, which Nate wisely advised me to tone down in the final version; the humor isn't toned down as much as I would have liked to do in the revision, but we were pressed for time.

I must have been really annoying to our Producer, Patrick, who was patient enough to listen to me sending him endless Instant Messages throughout the process. I guess that's what a Producer was supposed to do, but he helped support me by telling me I was doing a good job, even when I was convinced things weren't going so well (working 40-50 hours on a project while you have 2 other classes tends to drain you of energy and common sense).

I should have sent a revised version of the script (although I changed the dialogue all in-engine) to Will, our lead artist. He created some artwork that wasn't necessary because of changes in the script. My revisions in the script involved me taking the locations from Nate's script and completely rewriting all of the dialogue, with a few exceptions. If I had written out a revised script in screenplay format and given it out to all the members of the team, we could have avoided some problems.

When the guest speaker from Acclaim came and saw our demo, he was confused by the opening cut-scene, saying he didn't get the game. This might have been a sign that RPGs are still pretty niche; ironically, earlier that day he pointed out that RPG sales only count for 10 % of all American console game sales. He wanted to see flowcharts of the dialogue trees, which we didn't have, although he seemed to like our presentation overall from an aesthetic standpoint.

Conclusion

Battle Royale: The RPG turned out very well, all things considered. It is certainly representative of a genre of game I would be very interesting in designing: the console RPG.

Working on a team environment was certainly interesting. If I had been more clear with changes in the script, things would have flowed along a bit more smoothly. This demo was a learning experience.

-- Post comments on the game below, if you so desire!

Comments

Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I definitely will be checking this out Mat

I am on my mac right now, but as soon as I open AA with a windows system I'll be sure to check it out asap.

-= Mark Vergeer - Armchair Arcade editor =-

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Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Come on guys, check out Mat's game and give some feedback!

I tried the game on my PC and it's running smoothly and has a true RPG feel. I figure the used graphics are still very much in their concept state. Nice job all in all, don't thank many of us would be able to pull off something something like this.

Perhaps it would be a cool idea if the AA staff created a game - arcade or otherwise.... We've two Mat(t)'s who actually created a game in our staff so why not?

-= Mark Vergeer - Armchair Arcade editor =-

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Bill Loguidice
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Hey, BASIC games count too! :-)

What, my 2K game from 2004 doesn't count, Mark? ;-) : http://www.ifwiki.org/index.php/1st_Annual_1_to_2K_Classic_Text_Adventur...

But, seriously, I have a great deal of respect for the two Mat(t)'s efforts. Perhaps when we nail down regular issue releases sometime soon, a collaborative effort, as you suggest, might be fun...

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Making Games

I've been talking to a lot of other programmers and a few computer scientists lately on the subject. One of them insists that it's foolhardy to rush in with C++ for a project, arguing that it's much more efficient to use a "scripting language" like Python (I seem to remember David talking a lot about this one). He also pointed out a text-centric programming language called Unicon.

As usual, the best way to start a project like this would be to make a detailed project plan and worry about implementation later.

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Well, I finally got a chance

Well, I finally got a chance to play Mat's game. Good work! I can definitely see the SNES influence here. It reminds me a lot of the early Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest style games. It's even got misspellings (congradulations). ;-)

I think my favorite part was the satire about the controls and interface. I think with a game like this you need a fair amount of humor. I mean, trying to be serious with a game like this often just leads to comedy anyway..."Oh, save the princess!!"

Did you get a chance to see this movie about the hoax game design project? It's really hilarious, and I think you'd appreciate it!

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Anonymous (not verified)
not work

I have tried to download this game but it is a lost link. is there anywhere else it can be downloaded

Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Mat could you help us out?

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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