Greg Dulli: Well, asshole, I'm the guy with the microphone.
There you go.† That
might be slightly brasher than my usual tone.†
But this is my column and the direction and subjects I cover are at my
discretion and rpg.net.† Binary is not
about designing a CRPG.† That is already
covered here (and quite well I might add).††
Why would you want two columns that discuss the same things in
I honestly appreciate constructive, thoughtful commentary,
criticism and ideas.† I encourage that.
It is critical to the writing process, a concept many semi-professional writers
or pundits do not understand.† Doing any
sort of creative endeavor requires thick skin, but that is not an invitation
for critics to be ill mannered either.
I was warned that people at rpg.net might not think computer
role playing games are "real" role playing games.† It is a compelling debate, on the
surface.† When you examine it deeply
enough it reeks or elitism and short sightedness.
Argument 1: You are
playing by yourself!† You need a group
I think the greatest thing about RPGs is the interaction
between players and a GM in a group.† I
have been fortunate enough to play in several five plus year campaigns and the
depth of plot and character development were satisfying and enjoyable beyond
and CRPG I have ever played.
That is compelling reason to move from behind the keyboard
and go roll dice.
On the other hand I have played in numerous gaming groups
where: I just didnít like my fellow players, hated the system or did not like
the GM.† I am not a big fan of people
wasting my time, thus I tend to part ways quickly.† I would rather spend a few hours playing a CRPG than spending
time trying to role-play with people I can not stand. I have never ditched an
RPG campaign to play a CRPG (thatís what a save game function is for!).
As a married, professional in the IT field I can be really
busy or away from home.† Thus my chances
for gaming are reduced to a discouraging levels sometimes.† CRPGs extend role playing to people who
might not have the time, opportunity or inclination to play RPGs.† Also CRPGs can be played anytime, be it for
an hour or two after work or a lazy Sunday afternoon when the wife is out
eating dim-sum with her friends.† RPGs
do not usually offer that sort of opportunity.
Argument 2: RPGs are
I would have to ask a person to qualify that.† What about the thousands of man hours put
into a CRPG, surely even the harshest critics could see the value of that.† For licensed CRPGs, such as the multitude
of D&D games, you then add all the work that was put into their base RPG
design and settings and suddenly people have put a great deal more work into
it.† RPGs are not superior.† Neither are CRPGs.† They are still different, but ultimately
complement each other.
Pen and paper games allow a GM to convey their world or
campaign to (usually) a small audience.†
It is an intimate setting, giving you a peek into a world few go.† It can be a unique world or a canned setting,
but ultimately the game is successful due to the people involved with it.† RPGs also allow for a great variety of
engines and settings that might be difficult to translate to a computer.† That does not even count on there being
resources and a broad interest to do such a thing (as much as I would like to
see a Rolemaster CRPG, that is just not going to happen...).
CRPGs allow a publisher to convey a game and setting to a
large group of people.† It is not often
an intimate setting like some RPGs, but can be.† For example in Baldur's Gate II, I was playing through it
at the same time two of my buddies were.†
We all played different characters. Everyone used a different party
mix.† All three of us had satisfying
results at the end based on what our individual goals were.† This sort of flexibility is tells us where
CRPGs are going in the coming years.†
They are not there yet, but it will happen sooner than later.
When technology and a supporting market enable CRPGs to be
as flexible and individually creative as traditional RPGs, what will the
difference be?† Maybe playing with you
friends, but who says that they will not play CRPGs.† This might imply that gaming groups, virtual or otherwise, might
become more diversified as social and physical borders become less influential.† Many people I know play Everquest, which is
little more than a hack and slash RPG with thousands of you closest
friends.† A few had never even had an
interest in role-playing games, computer or otherwise, but enjoy the simple
roleplaying and combat of that game.† A
couple decided to try RPGs since they got tired of the shallowness of massive
CRPGs are an evolving style of gaming.† It would be simple and elitist to dismiss
them as inferior.† CRPGs are going down
a road that RPGs have already traveled down.†
It would be foolish to think that all the innovative RPGs now
"just happened." RPGs have been evolving since the mid-1970's, where
as CRPGs started in the mid-1980's.† Of
course the perception is going to be the RPGs are superior.† RPGs had a head start, they are also less
reliant on things like processors, bandwidth, graphics, etc.† CRPGs require technology that really has
advanced and only become widely accessible to people in the last decade.† People have had access to books for a very
Ultimately there will be a thinning line between RPGs and
CRPGs.† Some of that does depend on
advanced CRPGs being a marketable idea.†
The technology is getting tantalizingly close to reality.† Even when CRPGs become truly robust and
flexible they will not likely supplant RPGs.†
CRPGs cater to a broader audience, but they could lead people into
RPGs where that might not have happened a few years ago.† All the bells and whistles aside I think it
will be safe to assume that CRPGs might not have the intimacy of an RPG.† The anonymity of the Internet has oft proven
to be a trump card for good manners and thoughtfulness.