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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    I'll second the mention of Alter Echo as an old PS2 game with plenty of shapeshifting.

    There's also a Werewolf: The Apocalypse game coming out soonish - Earthblood - that will hopefully have decent shapeshifting.
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by Tome View Post
    I'll second the mention of Alter Echo as an old PS2 game with plenty of shapeshifting.

    There's also a Werewolf: The Apocalypse game coming out soonish - Earthblood - that will hopefully have decent shapeshifting.
    It's out, and it doesn't. You've got human mode for sneaking and climbing, wolf mode for sneaking more and crawling through ventilation ducts*, and big bad wolf thing for tearing dudes into confetti in some pretty OK but pretty easy third person combat.

    Divinity 2 is arguably kinda built around shapeshifting, since you spend a considerable portion of the game in dragon form. You can't attack aerial targets from the ground, or ground targets as a dragon, so it's not so much a combat tool as it is an entire semi-separate game layer plus very convenient way of moving around quickly. Also you can turn enemies into ladybugs, which is certainly one way to solve the problem.

    *Honestly I'd be happy if I never played another ventilation duct based game again.
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Divinity 2 is arguably kinda built around shapeshifting, since you spend a considerable portion of the game in dragon form. You can't attack aerial targets from the ground, or ground targets as a dragon, so it's not so much a combat tool as it is an entire semi-separate game layer plus very convenient way of moving around quickly. Also you can turn enemies into ladybugs, which is certainly one way to solve the problem.
    Hm, maybe my memory is a bit rusty but I'm rather certain that you CAN attack ground targets as a dragon - it is just that it is not convinient or even possible to take on the dragon form in every environment which forces you to go mano-a-mano with enemies on the ground.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by Zombimode View Post
    Hm, maybe my memory is a bit rusty but I'm rather certain that you CAN attack ground targets as a dragon - it is just that it is not convinient or even possible to take on the dragon form in every environment which forces you to go mano-a-mano with enemies on the ground.
    Nope, the game has enemies you can attack from the air, and enemies you can attack from the ground, and pretty much no overlap. Some of the air targets are things like AA towers on the ground, but that's as close as it gets.

    Which is a little weird, but kinda works to emphasize the power of the dragon form without trivializing every single outdoors encounter. So on the ground you fight dudes, and in the air you blow up giant flying nightmares, and destroy chunks of buildings you can then land on and run around in.
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Maybe Zombimode is thinking of Divinity: Dragon Commander? Pretty sure you could attack ground targets from the air in that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    It's mostly a balance issue. There's not much reason to play a specialist when another character can do anything as well. You have to make the all-rounders slightly worse at each role in order to balance it, but that makes it unfun to play.
    I like the way WoW is currently approaching this. The baseline competency of hybrid classes is not the differentiator - a balance druid and a fire mage are capable of similar damage output for example, despite one being a "pure" class and the other being a "hybrid." Where they differ is in utility, with the mage being able to do things like Time Warp the party for boss fights, hard crowd control with polymorph, immune certain mechanics with ice block, providing scaling food and drink for the healer to use between big pulls etc. Meanwhile the balance druid can off-heal, raise fallen allies during combat, off-tank by summoning treants, soft cc melee mobs with entangling roots, stealth past monsters to enable death run skips etc. They bring different abilities to the table, but because they have similar damage ceilings when played well, the group never feels like their hamstringing baseline effectiveness by choosing one over the other, and groups have more freedom in tailoring their composition to playstyle strengths and weaknesses.

    With all that said, that only works when the class damage is truly balanced, which is too often not the case, though tuning does take place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Maybe Zombimode is thinking of Divinity: Dragon Commander? Pretty sure you could attack ground targets from the air in that.
    Nah, that's actually the only Divinity game that I haven't played.

    I guess warty goblin is right and my memory is just faulty

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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by tome View Post
    there's also a werewolf: The apocalypse game coming out soonish - earthblood - that will hopefully have decent shapeshifting.
    I have some bad news. Well, not about the shapeshifting. Just everything else.
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Maybe Zombimode is thinking of Divinity: Dragon Commander? Pretty sure you could attack ground targets from the air in that.
    I thought this, too, until I looked it up. No, Divinity II: Ego Draconis also has you play as a dragon.

    The naming scheme of this series annoys me greatly, as a side note. It's why I looked it up in the first place. Any time someone says "Divinity II" it's a crapshoot as to whether they're talking about Divinity II (the one called that), Beyond Divinity (the ACTUAL second game), or Divinity Original Sin II (which many people now refer to as Divinity II even though it's IIRC the 6th mainline game).

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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    I thought this, too, until I looked it up. No, Divinity II: Ego Draconis also has you play as a dragon.

    The naming scheme of this series annoys me greatly, as a side note. It's why I looked it up in the first place. Any time someone says "Divinity II" it's a crapshoot as to whether they're talking about Divinity II (the one called that), Beyond Divinity (the ACTUAL second game), or Divinity Original Sin II (which many people now refer to as Divinity II even though it's IIRC the 6th mainline game).
    I should really have specified Ego Draconis; you are quite right that the naming scheme is strange and somewhat annoying.

    On the other hand the series' complete disregard for anything resembling deep lore or hard continuity is great. I mean I think there's some sort of actual timeline from game to game, but there's absolutely no reason to care what it is. Not only does this free up the games to just let you run around their weirdly grim yet tongue in cheek fantasy worlds doing stuff, but it also liberates everybody involved from needing to care about 50,000,000 years of made up history involving orcs, unlocked one painfully dry codex entry at a time.
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    On the other hand the series' complete disregard for anything resembling deep lore or hard continuity is great. I mean I think there's some sort of actual timeline from game to game, but there's absolutely no reason to care what it is. Not only does this free up the games to just let you run around their weirdly grim yet tongue in cheek fantasy worlds doing stuff, but it also liberates everybody involved from needing to care about 50,000,000 years of made up history involving orcs, unlocked one painfully dry codex entry at a time.
    That everyone who is truly interested in such things learns by going through the inevitable wiki made about the series in a much more efficient, cohesive and easier fashion.

    as for rpgs where shapeshifting is worthwhile.....mmmmm..... any example I can think of has already been mentioned. generally for shapeshifting to work to its full potential, the game must be built around it. you have to program mechanics for all the forms you can take, and then come up with places where those mechanics are useful. though considering how good procedural generation has gotten, maybe we can have a shapeshifter metroidvania rogue-lite/like based on shapeshifting someday?
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    I can think of one I played only the demo for. Kameo on one of the Xbox platforms. You had to swap forms depending on what you needed. Human you could climb and maneuver the plant could shoot at range and the big guy could shift rocks and crack enemy skulls.
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    That everyone who is truly interested in such things learns by going through the inevitable wiki made about the series in a much more efficient, cohesive and easier fashion.

    as for rpgs where shapeshifting is worthwhile.....mmmmm..... any example I can think of has already been mentioned. generally for shapeshifting to work to its full potential, the game must be built around it. you have to program mechanics for all the forms you can take, and then come up with places where those mechanics are useful. though considering how good procedural generation has gotten, maybe we can have a shapeshifter metroidvania rogue-lite/like based on shapeshifting someday?
    Procedural generation and Metroidvania don't go terribly well together.

    The engagement from Metroidvania is all about pushing back boundaries at the edges of the world and applying new tools to old problems as you expand your character's capabilities. It works much more strongly in the context of a fixed world. Procedural generation interferes because it means you can't curate the return to an old problem with a new tool that makes solving it much easier than it was the first time. (The room outside the Space Pirate base in Metroid Prime is a classic example, you experience the room in IIRC three different contexts with different powersets as you return to it repeatedly and it becomes progressively easier to traverse).

    The only one I can think of that tried it is Sundered and that had to lean heavily on combat as you moved around the world, it never really recontextualises old environments in a satisfying way. (And it still had to fix a lot of rooms, it just fills in the corridors between them with procedural blocks full of combat).

    If you want a metroidvania style game with shapeshifting, Shantae does that in some of the games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    Procedural generation and Metroidvania don't go terribly well together.

    The engagement from Metroidvania is all about pushing back boundaries at the edges of the world and applying new tools to old problems as you expand your character's capabilities. It works much more strongly in the context of a fixed world. Procedural generation interferes because it means you can't curate the return to an old problem with a new tool that makes solving it much easier than it was the first time. (The room outside the Space Pirate base in Metroid Prime is a classic example, you experience the room in IIRC three different contexts with different powersets as you return to it repeatedly and it becomes progressively easier to traverse).

    The only one I can think of that tried it is Sundered and that had to lean heavily on combat as you moved around the world, it never really recontextualises old environments in a satisfying way. (And it still had to fix a lot of rooms, it just fills in the corridors between them with procedural blocks full of combat).

    If you want a metroidvania style game with shapeshifting, Shantae does that in some of the games.
    There are indie games already that disagree with you because they are basically side-scrolling metroidvanias that offer power-ups and randomized areas like a rogue-like. can't name them but they are there. perhaps I'm simply misapplying the metroidvania term, but whatever.

    Yes, Shantae has already been mentioned in this thread and I have played those. which is why I didn't bother mentioning it myself.
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    There are indie games already that disagree with you because they are basically side-scrolling metroidvanias that offer power-ups and randomized areas like a rogue-like. can't name them but they are there. perhaps I'm simply misapplying the metroidvania term, but whatever.
    Possibly.

    Remember that what makes a Metroidvania a Metroidvania is that it has a sprawling environment which the player is expected to cross many parts of multiple times and which the edges of gradually unlock as the capabilities of the character increase. Metroidvania games are about a series of cunningly disguised locked doors and keys to open them, often in the form of new ways the character can move.

    Procedural generation actively fights against the core engagement of Metroidvanias, which is learning and becoming familiar with the game environment and gradually applying new tools to that environment to both expand its edges (unlocking new areas with new moves) and change the context of the core (using new tools to bypass old challenges faster than before). If the game's environment isn't consistent then you don't get to feel the changed context from having the double jump that lets you bypass that whole ball maze, for instance, or the grapple beam that swings right over a formerly tricky bit of platforming.

    I'm not saying there aren't any, but there aren't any I know of that are recognised as good at being Metroidvanias. (Sundered, the one I pointed out, isn't terribly good at feeling like your moveset applies to the procedural bits, it's hard to procedurally generate the sort of movement ability puzzles that good Metroidvanias thrive on, which is why it fills them with combat spam).

    There are games that use similar presentation to Metroidvanias like Rogue Legacy or Dead Cells, but they aren't really Metroidvanias because they are more linear progressions where you tend to start the game with the entire movement ability set of the character and only your ability to approach combat changes.

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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    The thing is, you can build those kinds of puzzles procedurally... it's just that it's kinda hard, and no one has really sat down and made that the dedicated focus of their project.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    The thing is, you can build those kinds of puzzles procedurally... it's just that it's kinda hard, and no one has really sat down and made that the dedicated focus of their project.
    Procedural generation + puzzles based on "cleverly disguised locked doors" ≈ The Logic in Zelda randomizers and similar places.

    I'm sure it's possible to build something like that from the ground up (instead of as a modification for an existing game) and/or amp up the procgen to include the terrain. I don't know of any existing examples, though.
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Spelunky is a cool, if rare, example of procedurally generated map and movement based challenges. The procedures in the game theoretically make it so that there is always one undivided way from a level's start to its end, but the combination of time limit, random hazards and moving enemies often make it so that you have to craft your own path through the map.

    Further into the game, you have more bombs/ropes/items in your inventory to bypass those challenges any way you like it, so it sort of has an open-ended twist on the metroidvania mechanic (but not quite).

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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by enderlord99 View Post
    Procedural generation + puzzles based on "cleverly disguised locked doors" ≈ The Logic in Zelda randomizers and similar places.

    I'm sure it's possible to build something like that from the ground up (instead of as a modification for an existing game) and/or amp up the procgen to include the terrain. I don't know of any existing examples, though.
    I've seen some papers and theory about it, but most actual attempts that I've seen to implement those ideas as a game have been mediocre at best. I think part of that is that purposefully-designed games have a higher "density" of design to them. For example, most good Metroidvania areas "loop" — new abilities don't just open new areas, they also build more connections within the areas you've already visited. Most procedural generation techniques I've seen don't really do that — granted, the current state of the art for procgen seems to be focused more on making short "runs" for roguelite games.

    I think that, for procgen techniques to really come into their own, someone needs to apply procedural generation to a completely different genre. I'm talking something like a procgen dating sim or the like, where the developers are forced to innovate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post

    I think that, for procgen techniques to really come into their own, someone needs to apply procedural generation to a completely different genre. I'm talking something like a procgen dating sim or the like, where the developers are forced to innovate.
    For something completely different I keep thinking I have to check out ARK Survival Evolved introduced procedurally generated gameworlds. It's FPS RPG-like exploration/survival game. And MMO if one feels like. The interesting part to me here is I remember the designer made actual gamemap had plenty of defects they had to keep sort out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    For something completely different I keep thinking I have to check out ARK Survival Evolved introduced procedurally generated gameworlds. It's FPS RPG-like exploration/survival game. And MMO if one feels like. The interesting part to me here is I remember the designer made actual gamemap had plenty of defects they had to keep sort out.
    I don't think that's "completely different" — using procgen to make gameworlds is the traditional way to use that tech.
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    Yeah, I seem to remember Bethesda, for example, talking about that pretty early. As far back as Oblivion, probably? Where a lot of the landscape between cities was procedurally generated and features placed after that. Meaning terrain shape, rocks, trees and so on. Then they put in ruins and villages and so on later.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Yeah, I seem to remember Bethesda, for example, talking about that pretty early. As far back as Oblivion, probably? Where a lot of the landscape between cities was procedurally generated and features placed after that. Meaning terrain shape, rocks, trees and so on. Then they put in ruins and villages and so on later.
    I would not call that procedurally generated though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Yeah, I seem to remember Bethesda, for example, talking about that pretty early. As far back as Oblivion, probably? Where a lot of the landscape between cities was procedurally generated and features placed after that. Meaning terrain shape, rocks, trees and so on. Then they put in ruins and villages and so on later.
    Well, and it shows if you compare it to "handcrafted" gameworlds like in the Gothic/Risen games.

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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    I mean, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the first example of a procedurally generated world was back in 1984. Even if you wanted to be ultra specific and only look at 3D games that involve you running around and fighting things... there was this little game back in 2011 called Minecraft. I'm going to bet you've heard of it?

    In all seriousness, though, "generate a 3D world and fill it with stuff" is something that's only impressive by degree at this point. I'm only familiar with a few projects (Dwarf Fortress and Ultima Ratio Regum come to mind) where the creator tried to procgen a history for their world, and a few proof-of-concept adventure games with procgen puzzles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    I mean, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the first example of a procedurally generated world was back in 1984. Even if you wanted to be ultra specific and only look at 3D games that involve you running around and fighting things... there was this little game back in 2011 called Minecraft. I'm going to bet you've heard of it?
    Most of the random dungeons in Daggerfall were put together from a random assortment of parts... adventure long enough, and you'd see the different pieces put together in all sorts of ways. Don't know if that's "procedurally generated", but it was hella frustrating (until I made a config change that limited it to far fewer cells per dungeon)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Most of the random dungeons in Daggerfall were put together from a random assortment of parts... adventure long enough, and you'd see the different pieces put together in all sorts of ways. Don't know if that's "procedurally generated", but it was hella frustrating (until I made a config change that limited it to far fewer cells per dungeon)
    Quite a few of my Daggerfall characters would have been lost in dungeons forever if not for the exploit that teleports you to the exit instantly.
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Quite a few of my Daggerfall characters would have been lost in dungeons forever if not for the exploit that teleports you to the exit instantly.
    The recall spell?
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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    The recall spell?
    IIRC the anchor point for that spell gets deleted when you teleport back to it, though, so you have to remember to use it on entering every dungeon--and it's a pretty mana-heavy spell.

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    Default Re: RPG's where shapeshifting is worthwhile

    My picks in oreder of good shifting from worst to best would be:

    Dragon Age 1 - a bit of a tentative one, shapeshift mage could be pretty cool, but not all that great

    Warframe - okay, not really, but if you're looking for inspiration on how to do it... Equinox and Titania shift, and you can jump into archwing and necramech in some maps, not a bad way to think about how to make shapeshifters work

    Dungeons of Dreadmor - I mean, it's not visually impressive, but nothing is in this game, you can go full Werediggle if you want

    Dishonored - it's technically mind control, but it does have the scouting aspect of turning into a rat, plus you can shapeshift into a guard Metamorphmagus style, so I'm counting it

    Baldur's Gate 2 - sure, druid shifting was awful, but werewolf and Shapechange worked pretty well

    Gothic series - from one to three, shapeshifting can be disgustingly powerful if you manage to snag a shadowbeast scroll, not that much utility in it, but it was unmatched in combat early game

    Jade Empire - my top pick, the forms you shapeshifted into had an entire fighting style based around them and you could switch mid-fight
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

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