What’s open world RPG(Role Play Games)? A endless virtual world where players are free to explore?
That maybe true to some extent. However, when it come to creating a good fun game, it is not that easy. Endless world would probably mean endless boredom. Since the IT development resource is not limitless right now to any gaming company even to Nintendo, reduplicate element design&development are necessary. Core art of creating a open world RPG lies on the combination of those reduplicate element.
Rule one: Making use of rules exiting in the real world. Trying not to create the new game role.
I still remember the skeuomorphic design, which Steve Jobs brought to us with his iPhone, helped people to understand what those icon mean at first. When people have to learn something so new that lots element coming together in their brain, keuomorphic design can reveal the rule to users much more vivid than flat design. Because not all the people are experienced player but experienced liver in the real world.
For example, when you are in Zelda’s world, the fire rule of the real world does actually work. You can use it to bake a apple, ignite a branch, make a bonfire, melt the ice, etc. Here is the rule of result equation:
F(action, trigger, extent) = Fire(touch, combustible, lasting for 1 s) = Bonfire
So if the designer define those element, like branch, as combustible stuff, the numbers of rule can be enormous. However, basically the designers do not need to pay much effort to teach users, because those rules come from the whole wide real world. All they need is to disintegrate those rules of nature.
Thinking it differently does not only mean thinking outside the box, but also mean observing the world with a open mind and apply findings to practice.
Rule two: Gravity + Triangle = Freedom illusion = Feeling of control
In open world RPG, there is not absolute but relative freedom to not let players lose in a big maze. The core point lies on the feeling of control. As designers, they would like to see all the funny stuffs would be discovered by players. The best way is make things happen in coincidence but not by force.
So the designers of Zelda succeed to combine the “gravity”, the attraction to players as they said in CEDEC 2017, with the “Triangle”, the obstruction like mountain and monster club, to make the play route much more diverse. When standing at the top of mountain, the leading role who the player control will have a spectacular sightseeing with lots of options revealing. Players can pick up the most attractive route to go. However, on the way to the destination, this player will be distracted by some obstacles and find something more fascinating by change. This players probably change his or her mind, since in the open world, there is full of possibilities. Here we have the heat map to show the contract before and after the changes as follows:
I don’t want to explain the how the designer make use of the Triangle theory to reveal the attraction to players bit by bit. It sounds somehow like “you can find the love around corner”.
You can find it at 4gamer. Here is the picture where you can find how to make the open world much more possibilities.
Here is a tips: Use attractions as hints for give players choices while they can both see and record those the options they find. It is much essential for player with the ability of marking the concerns in the map. Such a record function release the burden of players memory.