Monday, June 27, 2011

Dreaming of a dream

 As you all know from my first post I am a college student working on a degree in game design. But that's as far as I have ever went. I have given you little info on why I want to make video games in general and ultimately a MMORPG.

 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

Combat system direction part 2 "Magic"

 This part of the combat system will be about magic in Selethra which I spell as magi(I know what this word means it was meant to be pronounced mag-E sooo I'm still working on how to spell it out). Magi is split into server schools each specializing in a style of spell some examples are the decay school focuses on damage over time spells and enfeeblement spells. The annihilation school focuses on raw damage spells and pretty much works with the name it destroys things. The illusion school focuses more on spells that confuse the foe or take your attention away from the caster kind of a trickster style of magi. There are more schools than that, but I will bring them up in later posts to save time. I chose schools for silencing spells to be used more strategically so instead of an over all you can't cast spells debuff you will lock the player out of a school of magi. So with out delay lets dig into magi or magic(darn me for being lazy and not figuring out how to word its name!)

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

Combat system direction Part1

 Hello as the title suggest this post will be split up into multiple parts, because there is a lot to cover as far as the battle system goes. I named it "direction" due to a battle system really can't be created and hammered out until the game goes into production and lets face it I'm one guy I can't make a MMORPG all by myself. I am how ever assuming the role of lead designer of the game and will share with you the direction I want the combat system to go. As in my past few posts it will be broken into bolded topics for each area I discus so you can skim through and look at parts that catch your eye.

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.

2: Auto-attack
 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 community forms that have helped me and given me encouragement. Part 2 will be about magic YAY MAGIC!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Some clean up on thoughts

Last few posts have been vague and not well explained and some good people of the Community forums have brought this to my attention. My grammar and format has been sloppy and a few of my presented ideas and thoughts where not well explained. So with this post I am going to shed more light on the key areas that where brought up.

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.

Two-Handed axes
Equip bonus
Physical damage +3%, Attack power +5%, Critical hit chance +2%
Attribute modifiers
Strength: 150%
Vitality: 25%
Dexterity: 15%
Weapon power preview not all of them :P
Ground splitter: Dig your blade into the rock and strike at all the foes in front of you up to a maximum of three foes kicking up dirt and hitting at an angle dealing 25% additional damage and another 40% of the damage dealt in earth damage.
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 and I will toss you an answer asap.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Character progresstion I.E. leveling up

Last time I posted I gave you an idea of the world the game will take place in I'm now going to share the ideas behind leveling up. There will be three levels your character can raise class level, character level, weapon level. Each will have a defined purpose and will let you add a little more to your own unique play style.
Class level
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).
Character level
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.
Weapon level
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

A world in the makeing.

Well I have done my introduction post so lets get down to the game world of my MMORPG. The world is named Selethra, I like it and alot of my friends think its a good name as well rolls off your tounge easy and is catchy. Though at first the glance it seems to be a normal planet Selethra has multiple deeper layers known as the realms. The outter most and the area most of the races call home is the earthen realm. This realm resembles your normal world there are forests,deserts,oceans, and tundras all over it, and it is the most inhabited realm. But as you look closer the earthen realm is mirriored by other realms. The most common realm known to the people of Selethra is the dream realm. Hazy and misty looking the dream realm is an exact copy of the earthen realm but dangers of the mind and dream world reside here. creatures created by the minds of Selethra roam freely here and do not favor out siders. But a land where your mind is powerful comes with benefits. You can use your thoughts to help fight off the creatures that live within the dream realm. I would like to go into detail about all of the realms but there are many and it would make this post waaay to long. Other known realms are the Chaos realm, the shattered realm, the elemental planes, and hundreads of unexplored realms. It is not known what caused the planet to form these realms even the Felardre the eldest race of Selethra know very little about what happened. All that is known is Selethra was once a single world, but due to some event it was split into the many realms. There is an elite team of Felardre known as the realm gaurdians that roam the realms over seeing them but they are not known to the common people of Selethra. With that small insight to the composure of the world I want to share the Technalogical progresstion of Selethra. Mid-evil armor and weapons are still the choice of the people, but advanced technology is present just not commonly used. Some of the races see technology as taboo and shouldn't be used while others use it to aid their people. Common ground has been found over the years and technology co-exsists with the people and it is a persons choice to use it or not. I chosse this because i feel haveing technology present will allow for some fun creature and weapon designs (LAZER SWORDS!!!!!!) haha well it's an idea. With that said I am going to end this post I wanted to get a general idea out about how the game world will feel and be presented and in later posts will go more in depth about specicfic areas of Selehtra. I hope you enjoyed this and I leave you now with some story I wrote about a major presence on Selethra.

The Realm Guardians

          Realm guardians are an elite force of Selethra that patrols the different realms. They bare no resemblance to the races of Selethra, and move freely and unseen threw out the planet and its realms. Normally one would have to gain access to a different realm from an authority figure or a realm specialist. But sometimes there are those who use magi to break these laws and have nothing but foul deeds on their minds. Some attempt to corrupt a realm others try to destroy them. It is the realm guardian’s job to protect the realms and maintain the laws of the realms and realm travel. No one knows how they came to be or how to become a realm guardian but their power is undeniable. They have the ability to bend the fabrics that hold the realms together and conjure powerful magi that bares no element. On top of their power to wield such power they have super-human strength and stamina. Few have seen the realm guardians they are only described as humanoid figures that dawn a long dark green cloak with a strange symbol on the back. And they seem to carry rune inscribed weapons with them each differing. This is the base of a theory showing that each realm guardian has a favorite weapon. It is also said that they have the power to shift from realm to realm at will and with mind blowing speeds. With this being said citizens wonder why they are not seen in the earthen realm of Selethra more often. Because of the rare appearances the realm guardians are usually bought as rumors or tales to keep citizens to obey the laws of the realms.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

MMO's today

(WARNING WALL OF TEXT POST)   Hello nice to meet you reader. I am a student at a community college studying video game development and design. Ultimately I some day wish to achieve my dream of creating my own company and launching a MMORPG. I have been in school now for a few years and now have decided to create a blog to share the ideas of my dream. Now from reading the intro or when I tell most people about my dream I usually get "that's a stupid idea everyone wants to make a MMORPG now and days." I agree alot with this comment and don't take it to heart. The idea of another MMORPG just sounds stupid with games like WoW,Rift, and FFXI out there and they have done alot. I have played them all and really have no favorite each one has its own unique gameplay and are fun in their own rights. But as I have played MMO's I see alot that could be better. Where some are built for hardcore others built for casual. You then can break them down even further to story based, PvP, content, ect. one thing I wish to achieve in my design idea is a MMORPG that's takes all of these qualities and combines them to make a great game that is just plain fun. That is another flaw that I feel development teams neglect is the fun rateing. It's no mystery that game developers always use ideas from previous games and other games and put their own spin to it. I'm not saying "I have the best ideas ever and will crush the other games." that's not my goal. As I write this blog I want you to know I do not want to create games for money, but I want to create them for the sake of giving people something to sit down and enjoy. So over the course of this blog I will share my ideas for my MMORPG with you and hope to get feedback on how fun it sounds and if I'm on the right track with my ideas. I started creating the idea and concept of the game back when I was 18 and I am now 24 so a lot of thought has been put into this game, but non the less I accept criticism and welcome it. Tomorrow I will post about the game world and the basic out lay of how the game will look/feel. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.