Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The biggest challenge I have had as far as class design and concepts is the uniqueness of each class. Every time I seem to be happy with a class a MMO comes out that really comes close to one of my classes designs and I then either scrap the class or modify it. Since you will be playing a single class you like for most of the game there really needs to be uniqueness between the classes so you don't feel you are just playing a clone of another class. My biggest gripe with this seems to be World of Warcraft, WoW is a great game and I love it but sometimes other classes seem to just blend in with others. The biggest comparison I make is mage and warlock. Both are spell casters and they do differ in their own right (warlock gets powerful dots, debuffs, and pets while mage relies more on just raw damage spells.) but when it comes to game play each class just sits back and slings spells at the target.
That is something I really want to avoid is classes that may differ in their spell/ability access, but when it comes to game play differ very little. So with my caster classes I have been trying to give them each different play styles, one that can inflict raw damage but also has utility abilities to add on how they position them selves and another that uses spells that my alter the foe in ways that they can really change the pace of battle and control fights. In a nut shell they both can deal damage but have to utilize different aspects of their class to do this instead of class A, and B just standing back and spamming a spell waiting for a proct. I really want spell casters to be able to show their uniqueness in combat and in doing so making them more involved with battles rather than just being a casters that just have either dots, or more raw damage spells. Classes need to be fun since they are what a player will be spending all their time learning and perfecting. The same can be said about tanking but I don't want this post to drag on for ever so in a later post I will touch on the other aspects of game play (tanking/healing/melee damage dealing). Thanks for reading and thank you for the feedback.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Some movement is built for general use while others are more meant for accessing areas that you may not have been able to access before. Some of them are traditional MMO game standards while others are a little more unique. Sneak is a little vague, it is not a stealth more than a movement mode that will lower the range in which a foe will attack you. Together hide and sneak will help less experienced players avoid un-wanted combat and hide will allow for an ambush attack (a battle mechanic that I will post in a later injection.).
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Jonathan Rampheart's final words before he gave the crown to his son and left his kingdom.
Selethra a planet full of mystery, the many races that call it home search for answers that make up the planet and it's many realms. Even the most eldest of races have no knowledge of what caused the planet to shatter and form what the natives call the realms. The only hint to what happened is an ancient glyph that only reads "purple mist, purple sky, it fell from the heavens..." the rest of the glyph has seemingly been destroyed. Scientists and philosophers around Selethra have came up with many theories to what this could have meant. Some speculate that it is a warning while others think it may be an incantation for a spell that caused the shattering, but one thing they all point to is that what happened was on a catastrophic level. Despite the lack of knowledge for their planets mysterious mutation the races strive to live in peace.
The earthen realm is thought to be the most outer realm on Selethra it is the most stable realm and has signs of the earliest habitation being the race known as the Felardre. The earthen realm has vast forests that extend for hundreds of miles, rivers that flow over grand waterfalls, and oceans that seemingly go on for ever. As adventurers and merchants cross through the forests the magnificent trees sparkle with dew and baby leaflings can be seen hanging from the branches blending into the tree. To the east of the Kelarish mountains lies the Jin'Thala forest where the pixies call home. Pixies are the smallest race on Selethra and are magically advanced. A key feature is that male pixies have two horns on their heads and females have antenna. Though they are native to the elemental plane the pixies where forced to the earthen realm due to a war that broke out.
West to the pixies home Jin'Thala lies the Kelarish mountains. A vast mountain range with great canyons and mountain tops that touch the heavens. Here is where the race known as the durashire live or more commonly known as the durahan. The durahan live a tribal life style and have no want to harm the other races. They live peaceful lives and help the people of Selethra, but to travelers who have not meet them are alarmed by their appearance. From a distance they look like floating armor but if you look closer you can see a mist like skin that acts as their limbs. When not armored there faces resemble a tribal mask with glowing eyes. If you travel north through the caverns of the Kelarish mountains and over the vast Gishalt plains you can catch a glimpse of the sun setting on a grand kingdom.....
Friday, July 8, 2011
The lead designer name is also misleading, the lead designer trades creativity for authority. They are tasked with the sole purpose of keeping the game on track and making sure the design does not walk to far from the games core ideas. This is a role that veteran game designers take on after they have been developing games for many many years. So as far as my MMORPG goes I am a game designer for it, but also currently many other roles since I do not have a company or team, and working on it by myself. Though that was a little off track I wanted to give you a reason why I refer to myself as a designer and not a lead designer.
By book definition I am a player-centric game designer. Player-centric game design is a philosophy of design in which the designer envisions a representative player of a game the designer wants to create. The designer then undertakes two key obligations to that player
- The duty to entertain
- The duty to empathize
I love it so much I often find myself writing down ideas or drawing small concept sketches on my notes while I sit threw lectures. But don't take it as me telling ya not to keep up with you studies! Haha I work hard on my school work don't get me wrong but the ideas flow so much if I don't get them down I lose all of my focus and drift off to a day dreaming state. Now I can rattle on and on about me personally, that's not the goal of this blog I hope as I share my ideas with you my design style will show and speak for itself.
For the course of the blog I am going to keep it more informal but will have frequent sections called idea injections where I will post pretty much ideas for the game that are either brewing or have been written down. These little info chunks will be meant for pure feedback and not really have a lot of text following them. I agree with the feedback I have gotten as to where the blog needs to be more formal, but the key goal is to get ideas out to you and get your thoughts on them.
Well with all of the info about me posted lets get to know more about the world of Selethra! Not in this post but the next post I am going to start painting a picture of the massive game world to you. As you learn more about the game world the more I can show you game play mechanics and ideas with less fuzziness to how they will appear. So sit back and get ready because we are going full throttle into the game world from here on out.
Monday, July 4, 2011
About this time I was thinking why a MMORPG? Why did I have this drive to create one of the hardest styles of games? Every night I would stare at my screen wondering what could I do that would surpass World of warcraft and Final fantasy 11, what is special about this planet named Selethra that a random dream named? Yes I have developed classes that each have their own unique style, but that was only one piece to the puzzle. On one hand I have about 6 classes so far being created and on the other a empty world that only had a name. My mind was riddled this questions I could not answer. Still the motivation was not clear why a MMORPG I asked myself this so many times that my brain could explode. Then as the game went on a small break I was sitting in class listening to class mates talk about MMORPGs and their ideas where just world of warcraft with small differences. "You hit the max level and grind dungeons." "Raid bosses that blow up chunks of the arena." as I listened a answer finally hit me. Fun, I want to make a MMORPG that was fun, a game where people would come home and smile as they logged in. A game where you never got left out of the loop if you where not the most skilled player. A game that did not sacrifice enjoyable cut scenes and deep storyline quests for game play that only revolved around dungeons. I don't have money on the mind I just want to make a game that is fun and brings smiles to players faces.
And this is where I stand, some 4 years and the tiny document that was just a fun idea is now a folder with over 14 class ideas, story lines, combat ideas, race ideas, and the key design goal "Fun". The list goes on and on and grows even as I type this. A dream that was once a unclear motive manifested into a game concept that I feel has the potential to become one of the great MMORPGs of it's time. Selethra a world created within a dream and a dream that someday will not be something that comes while I sleep.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Well it started a long time ago back when I was able to pick up a controller I always found myself fascinated with video games. I would play them for long periods of times, but I would catch myself really looking too deep into them. I was more than a young boy who wanted to play them I would sit up at night and ask my parents and brother how they where made always being answered with a shrug. Once I was able to play on the family computer I would find myself drawing board games and little critters and send them to toy companies. Now as you may know they where sent back (gimme a break I was 10 and had no idea how they came to be.). As I grew older I found free platforms of game creations my main focus was the RPG maker. I would spend months on a game then get excited when I watched my friends play them. The more I created on RPG maker the more I felt trapped by the limited creativeness it allowed. This was just the starting step of my journey.
I was around 18 years old when something smacked me, I can recall it like it was yesterday. I was playing final fantasy 11 walking around on my warrior in the dunes and I saw a summoner call out ifrit. I thought to myself wouldn't it be cool if that taru could combine himself with ifrit and take on his characteristics? I wrote this down and thought nothing of it. The idea stayed in a word document for about 2 months. At this time I was starting to play world of warcraft and was having a good time. I was amazed by the druid class and it's shape shifting abilities. But ultimately I found my self thinking of other shape shifts it could perform. Finally the word document was opened again and was soon filled with over 75 abilities and spells. I got on Final fantasy 11 and started pitching my ideas to friends as was excited to see that this class sounded fun to a lot of my friends. Spirit fuser was born and I found my self opening up a side project next to my other game scripts I have written.
I hit a hard point in my life and found my self jobless and getting no where. I would fall asleep dreaming of this world but in this dream that would return night after night I could never touch it. I would see a group of people in a conference room talking about this nameless game. Eventually I got my self together and found a college that offered a degree in game design I was filled with excitement. As I learned more I found this side project filling up more and more with ideas and even crappy concept doodles I would make in classes that bored me. Once again the dream returned and I found my self in that same room with the same people, then out of no where one of the people muttered the word Selethra. I woke up and wrote down this word as best as I could spell it. What was to become of this word and what did it trigger?
Sunday, June 19, 2011
1: Elemental combat
There are 9 elements of magi in Selethra; Fire, Water, Air, Cold, Earth, Poison, Thunder, Dark, and Holy. Each have a strong point and a weakness and damage characteristics. Also there are 4 advanced elements if magi; Magma, Steam, Storm, Mud. These spells have a much bigger use and can be focused on hitting foes that have multiple weaknesses in elements, but only a few classes can use these elements of spells one in particular that was the first I came up with(cliffhanger!). All the elements exist to add strategy to the game where some cold spells have the ability to freeze foes or chill them lowering attack speed and a mud spells can create a pool of mud on the ground to catch foes and hold them in place(class spell hint shhh!).
So what do the elements serve other than having battle characteristics? Most MMORPG's use a foes weak element to decrees a foes chance to resist a magical attack. Like offline RPGs hitting a foe with it's weak element will increase the damage of the spell, since I plan on melee users getting the ability to hit a foe multiple times as they level up I feel magi casters should have a way of increasing their damage as well other than the spell just getting more powerful.(fun with math sentence) Mathematically to keep class balance in check after a foe gets hit with it's weak element over and over it will grow a resistance to keep casters from getting cornered into using one spell and out damaging melee fighters with ease, I have tinkered with a few algorithms and the rate roughly hits 10% resistance gain per spell per caster, so one caster can't build up the foes resistance quickly lowering the damage of other casters(the resistance boost will also wear off over time). The advanced elements can utilize this damage bonus even more since the elemental properties are double sided, but to keep balance if you use a magma spell(fire/earth) and the foe is strong to earth you will lose a good amount of damage on the spell. There are a lot of elements to consider that will make for some trial and error when finding a foes weak point, and the flexibility of elements makes it so casters who can't hit a weakness or not specialized in the element can still do good damage. So if something is strong to fire, air, and water but you only have say earth spells or abilities you won't lose damage and will be able to fight effectively.
2: Trigger effect weapons for spells!
Weapons such as staffs and wands will have trigger effects on them for casters, see my previous post on trigger effects if your not sure what they are. Trigger effects will be presented in the manner of a energy burst that can be used as a delayed "bomb" style of effect. So after a spell is cast you have 1-2 seconds after the spell hits to trigger the weapon to deal more damage of the element the trigger effect describes. For healers trigger effects will be presented as a magi energy(the mana or MP of the game) restore effect or may cause the spell to give you a stat boost or healing over time effect. Damage over time spells will work more closely to healing spells, but only be trigger able once per application if the spell and you can chose what tick of damage it will go off of, the same will go for healing over time spells as well.
3: Multi-Fold spells?
This was a fun idea I came up with while working on the second caster of the game, the ability to cast spells that hit multiple times(if your not familiar with Final fantasy 11 lingo fold stands for multiple meaning a 2 fold ability or spell hits 2 times.) These spells will have multiple chances to do damage after they are casted but also means one or two of the hits can be resisted adding up to the spells total damage. This in my eyes will be a cool way to utilize elements the foe may resist more than others while the spell keeps decent damage and serve as some cool eye candy animation wise.
4: Non-elemental magi
When you think of non-elemental magic(magic that doesn't have a particular element attached to it) I'm sure bahamut's big old Lazar beam attack comes to mind. Even though because it would be a horrible idea steal to use bahamut there will be no dragons with Lazar beams, but there will be big spells and abilities that are non-elemental. Pretty much spells of this type damage will be based on a total of all magi resistances and pack a punch, sadly will have bigger cool downs. This was needed because a few classes have abilities that strike at a foes magi resistances rather than physical defense. So on top of some spells being non-elemental there has to be a mechanic that can convert your resistances mathematically to a total defence rate for these abilities and spells to work.
5: Healing spells
Finally we get into healing spells the role some love and a lot hate. A RPG would not be complete with out spells that replenish hit points and give stat bonuses. In general healing spells are strait forward coming in two types direct healing and healing over time spells. I want to make healing a funner task than just standing still and casting spells and this is a part of the game that is work in progress for now as it stands there is just the basic healing style. What makes this hard is while playing MMORPGs melee, tanks, and damage dealing casters will speak out in groups about whats not fun about their role, on the other hand healers are usually quiet(I must play on servers with quiet healers). So if you are a healer and have some ideas on what would make healing funner make sure to comment or PM me.
Closing thoughts on magic
Magic is a huge part of almost all video games and defiantly needs to be fun to work with and use. The big chain of elements that appear in Selethra will allow for many spell and ability combinations while keeping it fresh. I'm not trying to bash WoW but I hate playing as a caster and only utilizing one element of magic when so much more can be used to add variety to the classes. So variety is what i want in my game and with variety comes more rotations to utilize then the same old spell over and over again. As I mentioned in the last paragraph while I play video games and MMORPGs I am listening closely to what players like and dislike(while dieing to a boss mechanic for not paying attention to the battle XD) and I want to bring tons of fun to my game and for being one guy it's a tough task. The next post will be about elements of combat and finally a overview of my entire vision for the combat system. Thanks for reading!
Saturday, June 18, 2011
1: Battle speed
The speed of battle in a MMORPG is one of the first things brought up and planned when a game starts production since it is the core of the game play. I like fast battles but I don't like battles that are over ran by a mountain of abilities, that is a trend a lot of MMORPG developers go with and it really just makes your weapon a tool for ability damage modification. Since weapons will play a big role in character development I'm not thinking of slowing the battle speed down rather increase the use of basic attacks and lower the rate at which abilities can be used. As most of you know abilities are controlled by that little annoyance called the cool down and global cool down. These two functions allow developers to control the pace of battles and increase and decrease a classes power if there is a balance issue with ease. Players often regard them as annoying rather than thinking about the purpose they truly serve and I hope this post helps you understand that point.
I plan on working with global cool downs a lot to help aid in making basic attacks more usable, but not putting a damper on the fun abilities bring. The idea for a longer global cool down will allow more time for your basic attack to perform. If this where the way the battle system would go that would mean basic attacks would need more fun features added on to them.
Auto-attack is the ability that allows your character to attack with there currently equipped weapons with out you having to manually give the command to attack. This is a pretty standard feature of any MMORPG and even though I like FFXIV it showed why it was adopted into the MMORPG. To make it more fun I have thought of making the amount of attacks you perform increase as your weapon level increases. This was a fun feature in older RPGs mainly Final fantasy 1(who didn't love a black belt performing a 40 hit attack!) 40 hits would be pretty insane and cool but no was feasible in a MMORPG. So smaller weapons might reach 6 to 7 attacks and bigger weapons reach 3 to 4 attacks at max level. I like the feeling of your weapon being more than a stat stick and that's why I feel fun features added onto the auto attack system would be fun. proct and enchanted abilities will be present and they are pretty self explanatory so the next part will be about another idea I have for the combat system.
3: Trigger abilities
Trigger abilities where the first battle system idea i came up with back when i was about 19 years old so this is something I really like. They are not very complex but require player skill to use over just a random chance to work. The trigger ability was inspired to me by the basic shape of old civil war rifles blades and the gun blade in FF8. There will be two styles of these abilities one that has to be used while in the middle of a basic attack or right after a ability or spell is used(your not left out casters :D).
They will do small amounts of damage but can be used fairly often an easy example would be a double barreled shot gun and to use the second barrel you would have to trigger it when you go to attack and fire a second bullet. To make these style of abilities usable the UI will require an attack bar that fills up based on your attack speed and shows when your about to perform a basic attack.
Well sadly that about covers it for melee based fighting as I said there is a lot of work to be done and as far as a combat system goes I can only pitch ideas rather than give you a strong foundation of whats it will be like. I would like to thank everyone who has given me feedback and the people at the zam.com community forms that have helped me and given me encouragement. Part 2 will be about magic YAY MAGIC!
Friday, June 17, 2011
1: MMO's today
When I posted my introduction I criticized on MMO's but had nothing to justify why and I will do so in this paragraph. What I was trying to say was MMO's feel stale like a bunch of mimes just mimicking each other. Though game worlds differ and classes differ not much game play wise is different. You attack perform a rotation and just repeat. I feel there should be more utility to classes where they do have their primary form of damage/tanking/healing they should also have mechanics unique to their class that differs them from the others. This I feel can come from the use of the style of ability and spell. For instance I have two magic casters that can deal damage in my class ideas folder, but one can create line of sight spells and draw in spells such as the spell boulder: creates a boulder that allows the caster and their allies to hide behind to break the line of sight of the foe. While the other caster utilizes familiars(D&D inspiration) to alter the way they fight or aid others. Now these two spells are not holy crap amazing, but what they do is gives the two classes their own defined way of fighting rather than one being a class that uses damage over time spells and one uses direct damage spells.
The next point would be a area I am very passionate about and that's boss battles. Bosses in MMO's today are so predictable that once they are figured out they are no challenge. I recognize that not everyone is perfect and they can still be difficult even if beaten, but to keep encounters fresh I feel when a boss is engaged they should have 2-3 sets of AI they chose from as in one way the boss is aggressive and another it is defensive. Bosses should be tough but be extremely fun not something that becomes the same old dodge this avoid this AoE strategy over and over again. Yes people will get all the strategies down but at least they will have the sensation of what is he going to throw at us this time.
Finally I made a horrible choice in words by saying I want to make a MMO that is not grindy. A very intelligent zam forum poster brought to my attention that EVERY new MMO dev says this. This is true I should of said try to not make it as grindy, but in all reality RPGs will always have some grind to them you level up, craft gear, do dungeons to get gear, and do quests for currency and exp. I feel quests should have more variety to them and that they should have more rewards than a box that says "pick your reward and here is some exp and cash." Cut scenes are one thing a lot of games lack now and days and yes you will get exp and cash, but you should get some sort of closure to the quest than just a text box that explains it. I would love my quests to have cut scenes and cut scenes that have quick time events. I feel it would be very fun after you beat a said quest objective or boss and at the last moment they attack causing you to react in time to stop there finally attempt. There is more on this I want to touch on but I will discuss more when I get into the games general game play.
2: The game world
This will be shorter because the game world or Selethra as I have named it is still in the works. The idea of the post on the game world was to give you a general idea of how the world will work and be presented. I will have more info and story out about it as I continue to post, but to get a more clear idea of Selethra I want to state it will be a world full of conflict as far as the different realms go. Each realm will have it's own story and look while they are shrouded with the mystery "How where the realms formed and why where they formed." There will be no factions as far as the races go. I chose this because I feel the way your character handles things and the way they act should be up to you. Say you like city A but dislike city B there will be a notoriety gauge for each city and if you perform good actions for city A you will be liked and then you can chose to attack players with high influence with city B or aid in quests from NPCs that causes city B to dislike you and being so you will be attacked by the guards. This idea is still in the works and needs to be fine tuned so it doesn't throw the games balance out of wack. On a Final note the Realm Guardians will play a huge role in the game world so pay attention to posts and hints on them there going to be a cool feature in the game but that's for a later post ;)
3: leveling up
Class levels are strait forward if you have played a RPG you know what it effects so no need to justify that. Character level is the most premature of the ideas and is still in the works. What this will do is allow you to gain traits based more on your race than class. These traits will be minor and have less impact but still have a use. A good thing would be giving you an example ha ha. Small race one will have a few traits to chose from and so will big race one lets say they are both level 5 character wise and have access to 2 traits. The small race will have the choice between A evasion boosting trait or a movement speed increase trait due to their small size. The big race will have a choice between a physical damage increase trait or a defence increasing trait because big guys are generally tougher and can take a beating. To take the grind out of the character level and class level difference if you hit max class level you will hit the max character level. The only difference will be there are less character levels to gain so they will SEEM like they are moving slower but will move at the same pace.
OK finally the weapon levels. Weapon levels are very inspired by Legends of Mana and are a funner alternative to skilling up. the point in weapon levels is to make a weapon feel like a class of its own and not just a choice of what weapon has higher stats. Each weapon also has its own equip bonus that helps further this idea here is a copy and paste out of my weapon concept foulder to give you an idea.
Whoo big ol' gap but I hope this helps you the reader in seeing what I want to do with the three levels of progression.
4: Thank you
Thank you to the members of the zam community and the people here who PMed me about the flaws in my first few posts. I hope this helped you understand more about my vision and if you feel your question was not answered email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will toss you an answer asap.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
This of course will be the primary level of your character class levels will raise your attributes, give you more skills and spells, and increase your over all combat capabilities. Exp for class level will be earned by winning battles, completing quests, and participating in pvp. Raising this level will also grant you augment slots (will be discussed in a later post but for now see them as a talent tree system).
Your character level will have a lesser effect on your over all combat but will award you with minor traits linked to your race. Some spells and abilities will also use your character level as a damage modifier to give it a more defined purpose. You will be given Exp in the same manor as your class level but at a lesser rate since your character level will be capped at a lower level for example if the max level is 70 your character level would cap at 30. The traits this level allows will be smaller things that are linked to your race and some traits will add a attribute bonus based on your races attribute growth rank.
This as its suggest is the level you have in your weapon. Weapon levels will determine how well your character can use a weapon. Also gaining levels in a weapon will unlock unique abilities to that weapon called weapon powers. You will also gain several combat stances as you level up a weapon. Though quests and pvp won't award weapon exp the rate at which it is gained will not alter based on the level of the weapon. Example being your the max level and you just maxed out your sword but your great sword level is still level one, you will be able to go out and fight monsters of high levels and still gain a high amount of exp for that weapon. Weapon levels will be capped at the same level as your class level.
Leveling is not something I feel should be a burden in a game online or offline you won't be handed the max level on a gold plate, but leveling will be a fun and rewarding experience and I capitalize on the word "FUN". I don't want leveling to be grindy but I don't want it to be toooo easy so a good balance will be needed and is still in the works. Well I hope you enjoyed this segment next post will be about the combat system.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011