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The History behind the Development of RPGs like D20 Steampunk Fantasy

Apr 8th 2015 at 2:14 AM

Many of us might have played a Role Playing Game at some point in their lives, whether as kids, teenagers or maybe beyond. A role playing game, such as the D20 Steampunk Fantasy, is where each participant assumes one definite role within the game and play together in a common virtual environment. So, let us find their history and the reason behind why a lot of people continue to spend hours playing them on their personal computers.

History behind RPGs

RPGs are not new and have been in existence for over a quarter of a century. While it can be difficult to imagine their presence in a time where computer graphics were not as developed as they are these days, the earliest computer based RPG can be traced back as far as 1975. This game was a development from a university mainframe text-based RPG on PDP-10 and computers than ran on UNIX. It began with Dungeon and other graphical RPGs based on PLATO machines, pedit5 and dnd, all of which were games that were inspired by role-playing games.

There are some other influences that shaped future RPGs as well, such as text adventures. Multiple-User Dungeons (MUDs) and roguelike games. Orthanc, avathar (avatar), oubliette, dungeons of degorath, baradur, emprise, bnd, sorcery, moria and dndworld are some of the games that followed the pedit5 and dungeons and dragons. All of these were quite popular at the time and were based on the PLATO machines. During the 70’s, the PLATO systems possessed great speed, high graphics and a nationwide connectivity through terminals that allowed a large number of players to connect with each other. There were a few other games as well that were based on other platforms, such as Akalabeth that released in 1980, and Wizardy.

First Generation RPGs for PCs

The first generation of RPGs that ran on personal computers allowed only a single player. Their popularity grew a lot during the 90s. One major reason being this immense popularity of RPGs at that time was Diablo that came in 1996. It introduced RPG environment with action game elements and also included a new feature, the multiplayer mode through the internet. This allowed at maximum of 4 players to play together by entering the same world to battle against monsters, trade in-game items with each other or even challenge each other to duels or death matches. This was followed by the arrival of Massive Multiplayer Online RPGs (MMORPG) that further enhanced the game environment. MMORPGs offered huge worlds that supported open-ended gameplay along with thousands of interactive characters for users to choose from. These characters could be run by both human players or by computers. The year 1997 saw the arrival of console based RPGs. This was possible due the involvement of gaming enthusiasts who began programming their own versions of RPG for PCs.

Modern RPGs like D20 Steampunk Fantasy

Even today there are quite a few role-playing games out there such as the D20 Steampunk Fantasy. While the many people, mostly the young generation of today were introduced to their first computer games on laptops and playstations, the history of the modern day RPGs is fascinating as it reveals how simple PC RPGs of the 70s transformed into the now-present first-person shooter and real time strategy games.

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