Still working on the game

Posted: May 11, 2012 in Game Design
Tags: , , , ,

As I mentioned in the last post I have been working on a game in game maker. The combat is similar to any turn based jrpg, with the main difference being that in this game you the characters can advance left and right across the battlefield and every character has a range they can attack. In general you have your tough melee characters go in front to take the brunt of the enemy attack, and the characters with magic or ranged weapons take potshots form the safety of the back rows.

Now the first problem I thought of with this battle system is that each side will advance toward each other and once they are within attacking range the battles will basically be the same as any other jrpg. Nobody will bother moving once they are able to attack the enemy. To deal with this problem I have come up with some ideas to encourage movement as much as possible.

First off, one of the player controlled characters has the ability to place mines. When a enemy enters that row at a later time, they will take massive damage. This is an ability that encourages the player to retreat rather than advance.

Another character has two related abilities, knockback and pull. Knockback, in addition to doing a little bit of damage, will move enemy unit back one row, if there is space for it to move there. If you are taking massive amounts of damage fighting several tough melee enemies at once, knocking one of them out of range while still doing some damage can make the situation more manageable. Pull does the opposite it takes an enemy from 2 rows away and pulls them closer, if the row is not full. This can be useful if there is some wizard dealing massive damage from out of range, and you can pull him close and deal with him on your terms.

Another thing I added to make battles more interesting is that certain rows will offer defense bonuses. This will work well with another ability one of the characters has, which is teleport. Using that the character can teleport to any row in the battle that is not full or occupied by an enemy. Since players and enemies cannot occupy the same row, if it looks like enemies will reach a row with a defense bonus before you, you can have the character teleport there and hold the row until everyone else arrives. Now this could be risky, because the character who can teleport is a spellcaster which mean he can’t take as many hits as some of the stronger characters. The magnitude of the defense bonus and the enemies being faced in this situation will determine whether this is a good strategy to use or not.

In addition to those there are the usual jrpg battle options, several types of healing spells, and attack magic. The more costly magic spells not only do more damage but will have greater range. There are also items to do things like restore HP and MP. And if none of those options are needed at the time, a character can always wait.

The combat system is basically done. I may need to add more abilities, or adjust the the ones I already have to cost a different amount or do different amount of damage, but most of the abilities I wanted are in the game and seem to be functional. I will need to do some serious testing to make sure all this works properly but so far the battle system works exactly as it is supposed to. A more serious problem is getting the user interface to not be absolutely horrible. And of course I’ll need all sorts of stuff that exists in the game outside of the battle, like shops and equipment and stuff like that. Basically I’ve worked on nothing in this game except for the battle system.

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Comments
  1. JPH says:

    Glad to see you’ve picked up that idea! This sounds like exactly the sort of direction I had in mind but couldn’t be arsed to go through with. I’d love to play your game when you’ve got a playable build.

    • maxff says:

      Thanks for the interest. As for releasing a playable build, well stretching the definition of playable, its kind of playable now. You can enter commands and do pretty much everything I’ve mentioned here, and so far it all appears to be functional, but I’ll still test a bit just make sure.

      The reason I probably won’t release anything for a few weeks at least is because of several things. Right now there is only one battle, and one type of enemy, which is actually pretty lame. And possibly most serious is that the user interface is really bad. It was just enough so that I could test out the battle system. Now I probably won’t get the UI perfect by the first release, but I’m going to clean it up a little bit.

      So expect something playable to be released in 2-3 weeks.

  2. A suggestion: you could take a break and create your assets (graphics, sound). I’ve found it takes a load off.

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