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There is standard advice for game development to start off emulating simple games you know and build up from there. Which makes me wonder. What are good examples of action games or action RPGs that are very simple to begin with to try and emulate? What is necessary and what is superfluous?

Please link to the game's site (or Wikipedia page if it's defunct) if you can, and only one game per answer please.

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I honestly don't think people mean an action RPG when they say 'sinple game'. –  Kaj Sep 10 '10 at 23:00
    
I wasn't trying to imply they did, I was just trying to apply that advice to specifically an attempt to make a game of those types and trying to come up with what would be examples of a simple game of that type. –  lathomas64 Sep 11 '10 at 15:20
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There aren't really simple games of the action RPG type, as they pretty much need all aspects of a game in place. My advise would be take any you like and break it down in the seperate components needed, and build them one by one, starting with the ones that give you the most bang for your buck so you'll see progress. Otherwise you'll be mulling away on support systems and lose interest before you got anything satisfying. –  Kaj Sep 12 '10 at 17:54
    
Define action game, action RPG? Is it like Zelda (action RPG) or like Castlevania Symphony of the Night (action game with RPG elements)? Either way it involves lots of inter related systems in terms of design or programming it will not be an easy task. –  Wight Sep 13 '10 at 2:14

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If your heart is absolutely set on making an action-RPG, the simplest one I can think of is the original arcade version of Gauntlet. Overhead 2d view, simple mazes, a limited selection of stat-boost and single-use items, and less than ten enemy types. It's also fairly modular, so you can at least start with a single level and movement, then add walls, then add a monster type, and so on, adding one new feature at a time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gauntlet_%28arcade_game%29

But as others have said, the point of "emulate something you know" is to build your programming skills, which means you want to keep it to very simple projects and not necessarily games that you like, so much as games that will teach you how to program.

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There's 'Adventure' for the Atari 2600, which might be even easier, although I am not sure how satisfying it would be. I fondly remember playing it :o) –  Kaj Sep 13 '10 at 18:52

Things that I consider important when choosing a game to remake:

  1. Make a game that you have enjoyed playing in the past and are intimately familiar with. You want to know the design like the back of your hand so that you can focus on implimentation.

  2. Make something with a menu, high-scores, levels, and other things 'beyond the gameplay'.

  3. Make something with a distinct hero-character that the player controls (i.e. not cursor based), as this tends to avoid many GUI-related side tracks.

  4. Pick a game for which you've previously imagined 'more modes' or other additional features, so that when you finish it you can immediately build upon it (if you choose).

The first point is really the thing. Asking for specific games is a bit over the top, anything here will get the job done really.

Edit: I had a list of games, focusing on advice instead....

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I recommend Pac-Man:

  • Pac-Man has aged well. It's still a lot of fun to play, even in its basest form.
  • Everyone knows the game, and its core is simple and content-light.
  • It's renderable with whatever graphics you have or know, from full-blown 3D with shaders on the ghosts, down to a turn-based text mode game akin to robots.
  • It has AI, but you can make the AI as simple or complicated as you want.
  • It has multiple levels, which lets you play with data serialization and a level editor if you want.
  • It has a lot of scriptable elements, if you want to learn how to embed a scripting language.
  • The design permits a lot of piecemeal extensions (new powerups, random levels, moving walls, ...).

I do not recommend an action RPG. Good action RPGs are probably some of the hardest games to make; they need quick control response, good AI and animation, and tons of content.

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I wouldn't call it an action or rpg game, but making a Tetris clone seems to be a common recommendation. Here is a good article on beginning game programming (I've linked to the section that recommends Tetris and why).

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Tetris is simple, an action or rpg game is not. –  The Communist Duck Sep 11 '10 at 11:31
    
@The Communist Duck: He specifically asked for "simple" games (albeit, simple action/rpg games). Tetris is simple, but it does contain most of the elements needed for all games (except a story line etc.). Any game, no matter how simple requires quite a bit of effort to truly finish. Doing that last 10% to finish off a game is an important part of the process. So start simple... –  Jason Down Sep 11 '10 at 13:05
    
ditto to what the duck said. Was looking for example specifically with action/action rpg. I.E. games in the union of simple games and (action game or action rpg) –  lathomas64 Sep 11 '10 at 15:37
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Well I'd say Tetris is just as much of an "action" game as Pac-man (minus the AI and a much better simple game to start with), but whatever. To each his own. Good luck either way. –  Jason Down Sep 12 '10 at 4:34

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