Ah, you must have missed this earlier in the thread then:Advent, Zork, et al. all post-date the release of D&D which means there's now no way of knowing how much influence D&D had on their design.
CYOA might have been around earlier in some form.
I personally think that's pretty plausible.A lot of people are noting that without DnD we would not have gotten a lot of the early computer rpgs that were so foundational to that medium, but I think there's another source that might have led to a similar idea: Choose-your-own-adventure books. Choose Your Own Adventure - Wikipedia
The first book in the genre was written in 1970 (and came out in 1976), so it's likely to have happened without DnD (there's no mention of rpg's in the origin story). And this genre has the same big advantage as turn-based rpgs had in early video game development: it's very easy to code.
(Also, they would have taken off in Japan for much the same reason: it takes a lot less memory to store text as kanji than it does using the Latin alphabet, for the same amount of words.)
If a well-written one had appeared early in the systems, a lot of imitators would have followed, since even a very novice coder could expect to finish a product. And as people iterated on the idea, it probably wouldn't be long before people make the decision trees a little more complex - they might randomize certain outcomes, add inventory which changes available choices, and so on (cf the Lone Wolf series of gamebooks). They might even switch to minigames as deciders if you succeed or fail at a task.
And, of course, visuals. Pictures (at least) for every 'page', maybe animations as tech improves.
This could lead to something very similar to the crpgs we got in the 80's, (but a bit more story-game-focused) with further progress from there. The biggest differences would be: it's unlikely that turn-based combat would be the go-to for resolving conflicts with other characters, and the focus on progression (ie leveling up) would be a lot softer, making that concept a lot less pervasive than it is real video games. But someone would have realized people like it when their character gets stronger, so that would have come eventually.
Absolutely agreed that nothing would stop wargames from making the leap to computer games (strategy and RTS), just like they did in our history. And it seems pretty plausible that there'd eventually be fantasy versions. (Assuming by "its own Warcraft" you don't literally mean Warcraft, but "a fantasy wargame".) If nothing else we surely see the LOTR wargames we got after the movies in the 2000s.In D&D absence:
- Wargames would get more digitized into TBS and RTS games. Warcraft will likely not be a thing but the AU will have its own Warcraft from another dev. Possible a major LOTR or Historic RTS in the 90s. If RTSes survive to 2021, I see a major ASOIAF RTS with hero units based of major characters.
(I will reiterate my skepticism about ASOIAF/GOT, though. GRRM was into RPGs and had mainly been a SF/horror writer - including on the RPG-based Wild Cards universe - before he got into fantasy fiction. It's not impossible, but it also strikes me as in doubt.)
I was ready to cast doubt on LARPs existing, but according to Wikipedia it doesn't really depend on D&D for its origins. (I bet it's called something else, though, since the term "role-playing game" wouldn't have likely been widely used by the late 1970s/early 1980s, when LARP was catching on.) On the other hand, it sounds like D&D's influence was important to popularizing them, so they're probably much more niche than in our timeline (which is saying something). Also, I'm not sure LARPs in our history ever influenced video games, so it also seems less likely in this timeline.
- LARP would continue and be more mythical with no D&D influence. It too might hit computers and online and develop classes based on whatever is popular in the 80s and 90s.