Any volunteer game designers available?

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  • I'm working on a RPG in the western style turn-based fantasy genre. It is a large endeavor and as I'm about to start working on combat I began having doubts about my combat system. Looking for someone that can go in-depth into the design of my game with an eye toward balancing variety, fun, and developmental limitations.

    Mostly I want someone I can bounce ideas off of and get a second opinion about some things. I try asking my friends, but they generally have very little practical understanding of game design. So far they have suggested things like making it more like D&D so it is more familiar to people, or having tons of unique powers (I'm a one-man shop at the moment). I'm looking for someone that can understand what makes this game unique, and can comment on whether this approach is good in terms of feasibility and marketing.

    If you're interested, tell me a bit about yourself in a reply here or in a PM.

  • Was hoping to share my design docs with someone for some one-on-one discussion, but I'll post some here in hopes of getting feedback.

    It's a strategy RPG with combat taking place through turns on a hex board that you use to position your characters. It is being built from the ground up with mobile devices and desktops in mind. The target audience is fans of old school turn based games, and those looking for deeper asynchronous games on their mobile devices. Although it is single player, I'm trying to keep it modular enough to possibly integrate co-op or maybe even a persistent open world if the game is successful enough and I can raise funds for that kind of development. Personally I think just completing a single player version for myself to play would be an accomplishment, but also see ways multiplayer would make it more fun.

    Perhaps most ambitiously (and which I'm still not sure I'll be able to work into a browser based game) is that I want to include simulation elements into the over world. If a village of orcs and a village of elves live near each other, chopping down trees from the same forest, eventually they will have a confrontation. What happens at that point will vary. Quests are not pre-determined or linear, but will reflect the actual needs of the characters at that point in time. If you speak to an elf that wants the skin of an animal, he will reward you if you bring it to him. On the other hand, if he runs into another character who trades it to him, he will no longer reward you if he has all he needs. Likewise, if someone's family member is captured and you don't immediately go try to rescue them, they may be rescued (or eaten) by the time you do arrive. Or the person who sent you on the quest to begin with might have their entire village wiped out by an orc raid.

    There will be several ways to progress in the game. During character creation you select a race and class both of which are permanent. The tutorial will give you a basic starter weapon which will allow you to execute an ability (or two). Later you will be able to train in a second class and use a second weapon. Abilities are gained through items. There will be six armor slots, three for each of a character's two classes. Right now the armor is set to always provide the same base abilities for that class. Better weapons will also grant an additional ability for a total of eight abilities per character. To specialize a particular class, the player will be able to kill monsters for certain weapons that grant different abilities. The best weapons from the rarest monsters will also give a bonus to an attribute.

    There are five attributes that go from zero to seven: Strength, Quickness, Perception, Charisma, Spirit. Each attribute has two classes associated with it, and that use it to determine damage and the duration of its injuries.

    Strength has Melee and Shield classes;

    Quickness: Dagger and Range;

    Perception: Spellbook and Augment;

    Charisma: Instrument and Emblem;

    Spirit: Ritual and Prayer.

    Instead of powers causing explicit affects like most games (softness, prone, dazed, degen, fear) with some monsters immune or having a chance to save, these effects are caused by injuring the respective attribute. If a monster has 2 Quickness and you Hamstring him decreasing Quickness by 2, he will now be Prone and unable to move. However, if facing a particularly agile monster with 4 Quickness, he would still have 2 Quickness and able to move, but not as far. Most monsters and characters will have attributes in the 2-4 range. The primary difference in the races is the attributes. The dwarf-like race has 3 Str, 2 Qui, 2 Per, 3 Chr, 3 Spi while the elf race has 2 Str, 3 Qui, 3 Per, 3 Chr, 2 Spi. Even just changing these attributes by one influences how much damage they take per hit, how far they can move, how far they can see, the duration of buffs, etc. I'm considering a racial ability, but it would be an out-of-combat ability, like harvesting stone faster (opens up dungeons) or taming treants to join the party as weak fighters.

    I tried to design the attributes so that stronger monsters, like a dragon, will use the same system but will simply have very high attributes along with a unique ability or two for flavor.

    This is a party based game, so as players gather items for their character, they can gain influence and ask additional characters to join their party. Then they can train them in secondary classes and gain items for them too. The party limit is 4 characters.

    On a more macro level, players will be able to gather resources (right now I'm looking at 4 resources: wood, stone, leather, crystal) and use it to build buildings, either expanding existing villages or settling new ones. How exactly NPCs come to be hasn't been ironed out yet. Or they can wage war on enemies as tearing down structures gives you some of the resources that were used to create it.

    As a sort of fun addition, which I would not mention very strongly as a feature but allow players to discover it, if the player gains enough influence with a race, they can become recognized as the leader and give somewhat broad directives to influence the simulation states of that race. Things like: explore, war, grow, spread. If I am able to make the simulation and influence aspects work at all, I think this addition wouldn't be very hard to implement and would be incredibly fun.

    Lately I've been thinking a lot about turn based games I liked and I've been playing way too much Card Hunter. I'm worried that my combat is too simplistic because of the limited number of abilities per class. Right now I have mapped out 3 base abilities per class and then 3 weapons to pick from. I had hoped the multiclassing and party aspects would appeal to the tinkering/theorycrafting types of players (which I am). Even one of my favorite games, Guild Wars, restricted you to 8 skills at a time, but you had hundreds you could select from and you played in a party. GW2 got away from that some, and it just didn't have the same appeal to me. On the other hand, most of these games have many abilities that are only slightly different from each other. One might do 20% cripple with a range of 8 while another does 25% cripple with a range of 6. Things like that.

    Thoughts? Is there enough information there to get an idea of the game?

  • Well I do like to write games and do game theory. My opinion is that this is a very large game project.

    Mechanically I believe the theory you have to the stat and workign is sound, but you might want to play test a version of the game before implementation.

  • Hey jayderyu, thanks for the reply.

    I guess I should be more concerned about the size of the project as it is than the variety of combat options.

  • Hutto - yes, the design can actually work. And it IS doable on Construct 2, but it's extremely complex.

    We're talking about hundreds of variables, if statements, etc.

    This is not a project you will complete in less than six months, and this is only mentioning just the "code". You need to add art, sfx, music and other stuff on top of it.

    And for what you mention at the beginning, you don't need a GD, you need sensible QA.

    Doable? Yes. Alone? Think about a couple years in the making. One year and a half if you're taking this as a daily job.

    Oh, and add another year for Multiplayer. I don't think all that might be actually doable on Construct 2, though.

  • I love building RPGs! I was an RM user way before C2. But these guys are right, it's tough. I have been refining my engine for about a year part-time, just to make sure text is easy to input, combat can achieve all the things I want, inventory works, and most importantly, it's all incredibly easy to develop from.

    But if you really want to make one, the best idea is to make half a dozen small games that all use features you would like to see in your final project (levelling up, text systems, missions, etc.). Your first attempts will not be adequate, and this is not a good thing if you're going to spend a year(s) using those systems!

  • notnsane Yeah, I get that it is huge. I've spent approximately 250 hours so far and I would guess I'm only 10-15% of the way through. That part doesn't bother me, unless the end product turns out to be a terrible game. Then I just had a really costly lesson in what not to do in a video game. I'd like to avoid that.

    Tobye That's a very good idea, and probably better than the approach I'm doing. I am planning to do it in iterations. I have a basic working character creation screen but only have all the content for one race/class. Then I started on combat, implementing the grid, movement, and character info for a one-character party. Next is creating the abilities (sounds/animations/effects) for one class. And so on like that. Then later I can come back to each part, tweak the functionality and flesh it out as I add the rest of the content.

    Part of the reason I'm doing it this way is I don't want to get too bogged down in any one part. This is a huge project, and I could easily spend way, way too much time trying to polish and perfect one part at the expense of other systems. I want to try to bring it along at the same time, then go back and improve what needs the most love after I have all the major pieces working (e.g. moved into alpha). I do like your idea though, as breaking it apart into a bunch of smaller games at first may help keep me from losing motivation. I may still do this.

  • If I may suggest, break your project into bite sized pieces that can be completed in a week or two. Too many projects, even small ones, go by the way side as other things come up and interests shift. The developer and you too I imagine need to see progress.

    Also, what's in it for the developer? If you really want to complete this project, maybe you had better set a budget and pay something. Just a thought.

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  • - Yeah, that's what I have been doing. Rather than making the complete account/character creation process, I made a basic selection screen that only shows all the info for a few races and one class. That way I get to actually see some pieces functional as I go along, and can imagine how the rest would work. What's in it for the developer? I am the developer... the only help I've asked for is this game design thread because I don't want to invest a lot of time to make a bad game.

    I've paid some for video game development in the past but haven't had any luck getting good work cheaply. I might have too high of expectations though, being a programmer myself.

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