Today, on the Iron Tower (Age Of Decadence) forums, Gareth Fouche (Scars Of War) has up a post on CRPG design, touching four major points.

The overall theme is that overused, overhyped buzzword, “immersion”. Hardly anyone seems able to talk about their games these days without it. Gareth’s post points up where/how so many games tend to fail in creating that “immersive” experience.

Perhaps not surprising, regular readers here will find much that is familiar. For instance, story, and especially how everything waits for “The Hero” to come along and get things moving.

He also discusses characters, that is, NPCs, and how they ought to be more than just mechanisms in the game. And, yes, he has a few (more than a few) unkind words about cut-scenes. Hmm, yes, Gareth must be a regular reader ;)

The fourth point – actually first on his list – is setting. His thesis here is that “less is more”. When designers start throwing in everything they can think of, especially in terms of monsters, the game experience becomes diluted.

We’ve all seen that in many dungeon crawlers, where tunnels, caves, and whatnot are teeming with any number of disparate creatures. Of course, they exist just to be killed, but often their appearance in that setting makes little or no sense.

Anyway, the post is a good read, so go check it out.

Creating An “Immersive CRPG” on the Iron Tower forums