Class Class: Role-Playing Game Design

Learn the fundamental design elements of a role-playing game, with an emphasis on the steps a creator should take before starting to code. 


Class DescriptionEver since their origins in pen and paper, RPGs have been gaming’s primary vehicle to tell grand stories. The genre focuses on a few key elements to engross players in a save-the-world-scope narrative. Critical to the RPG’s success is the connection between the player and their character, a bond often formed by allowing the player to customize or otherwise shape the development of their hero. This class will survey six important factors to flesh out before beginning to actually develop an RPG: narrative and questing, character progression, the “single complicated mechanic,” the “mini-game,” battle, and balance. Students will also engage in discussion about certain tropes important to the genre, and how to both implement them successfully and change them to create their own unique game. After discussing these concepts, students will be able to structure their own RPG game design going forward. 


About the Instructor

Dean Razavi is a game designer and developer in New York City, who has made it a habit of pushing game-making tools to their limit. His first foray into the world of creating RPGs was through the Starcraft I trigger editor, and later through Inform, GameMaker, and recently RPG Maker. Dean released a 20-hour RPG as part of his wedding invitation, and relatedly, has a very patient husband. 

Currently, Dean is working on Vidar in RPG Maker VX Ace, focusing on stripping down the RPG to its core elements of narrative and character development. The game features randomly chosen but still cohesive storylines, as well as random puzzle elements. He also runs an RPG Maker VX Ace tutorial blog called The Iron Shoe and works on a project to open-source a version of RPG Maker’s underlying scripting language in java, in order to run games created in the program on Mac and Linux. 

You can reach him on Twitter and read about him on Kotaku.

Past Events

'16 Bit Awards
'16 Bit Awards - NYC, December 2016
'16 Bit Awards
'16 Bit Awards - NYC, December 2016
Summer Expo
Summer Expo - NYC, July 2016