Archive for the ‘Games Design 2’ Category

This book is phenomenally useful. Offering ways to create characters, their enemies, their friends, even the world around them through lists, tips and tricks and examples. This book offers everything that a budding designer needs.

David Perry really knows his stuff and even though this wasn’t on the list of recommended reading, I bought a copy anyway and can safely say that I am not regretting the decision one bit. I have learnt more about how to create characters, using the lists within the book to create stronger characters and how to write about them, as well as giving them contrasting traits between the main characters and their counterparts, along with dynamic enemies and monsters for them to work with and combat.

It offers a lot in terms of information for starter designers and is worth the buy, for it will come in useful for many years to come.

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Ok so I recently finished reading this. It was interesting if not a little disappointing. I definitely learnt plenty about creating strong characters, picking up such things as location, archetypes and personality traits that could all work towards the creation of an unforgettable character, one that would stick in the minds of players for years to come.

However, I also came to the conclusion that while it is full of useful information, the writer was also trying to stroke her ego. I know that in books such as this, scenarios are often needed in order to bring context to the explanation, but more than once it just seemed like the author wanted to highlight a part of her own very successful career, instead of just giving an example scenario that the reader could use to learn something useful and I found this frustrating after a while, because writers and designers read this book in order to learn how they can create stronger characters for their projects, instead of reading the highlights of someones career.

I did find this book useful overall, learning some new things about character design and creation, which is what I started reading the book for in the first place, but I feel that the author could have done to keep the examples to something generic instead of using her own work as examples. I know each writer has their own particular way of putting information across but still, it was a little too much and felt a little egotistical.

Quest Types

Posted: May 20, 2013 in Games Design 2
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Main Story – These quests are tied in with the main storyline of the game. No matter how many side quests and other events the player participates in, these quests shall be available and will eventually have to be completed in order to progress through the game. The way the quest is completed shall also work towards which ending the player experiences.

Side Quests – These quests are optional and can be passed by. However, if the player passes by these quests and pushes on with the main story, they may find that they will have missed out on some powerful items or bonus information or even potential allies that could prove useful later in the game. The player will have to balance their needs throughout the game, deciding whether they want to help a group of people that could potentially be their allies or whether they want to push on with the main story of the game and get to the end as quickly as possible. Side quests also offer bonus experience so it may be worth the player taking these quests so that they gain more of an insight into the history of the worlds and their peoples.

Time Based Quests – Throughout the game there shall be optional quests, similar to side quests that the player can take for bonus experience, the potential for extra items or a piece of information, but these quests are time based, so once the player undertakes it, they shall have either a matter of hours or days depending on where they are and what the quest entails.

Combat Challenges – These are simply chances for the player to gain a little bit of extra experience. They are infrequent and can easily pass by unless the player is actively looking for them. The player has a set amount of time in each of these challenges and all they have to do is defeat as many enemies as they can. Once the time is up, the challenge is over and the players kill score shall be tallied up and experience shall be awarded accordingly.

Secret Quests – These are the quests that the player must find with only a small amount of assistance from sources, they could be riddles that the player has to work out, they could be clues and stories from a local populace, but ultimately, the player must spend time working everything out in order to find these secret quests. Every time the player completes one of these quests, of which there are few, they will acquire either a new weapon or new set of armour or maybe even information that they need for something else, like a main quest, however, these quests are not mandatory to find and complete, and the information they offer may just give an insight into something extra for the player, but they do not have to be sought out.

Melee

Melee weapons are not all that different on the Human World. There are still the usual swords and staffs and knives, but the designs are very different. Instead of long swords and broad swords there are katana and short swords and instead of crude daggers there are switchblades. In addition to these melee weapons, there are also the likes of piping, crow bars, baseball bats and other items of destruction and pain that can be acquired as the characters travel and battle their way around and through the cities of the Human World as they try to save it. Weapons can be stockpiled in the characters home so that the player does not have to continuously buy new weapons, but there is a space limit, so choosing the appropriate weapons of each type is the key to maintaining a healthy and varied armoury. Certain weapons cannot be enchanted or enhanced.

A short list of available melee weapons (To be expanded):

  • Katana
  • Baseball bat
  • Lead pipe
  • Machete
  • Switch blade
  • Short sword
  • Crow bar
  • Shovel

Like with everything else, weapons eventually show signs of wear and tear, if a weapon is used repeatedly over a period of time then they shall become damaged and eventually they will have to be discarded. Taking them to the relevant shop means that they can be repaired; illegally acquired weapons will wear out quicker than shop bought counterparts and cannot be taken to the relevant weapon shop to be repaired, on account of them being illegally acquired.


 

Ranged

As the times have changed so have the weapons. Gone are the days of the crossbow and bow and arrow. Humans evolved and developed new and improved ways of committing murder on a large scale. These first came in the form of crude weapons that could launch metal ball bearings long distances at high speeds, changing shape and becoming the guns that we know and fear today. Some of these weapons can be enhanced with magick so that they deal additional damage or travel faster or are more effective at longer ranges, but none of these enhancements can be permanent. Some weapons cannot be enhanced or enchanted.

Guns – Guns come in many forms, normally as either rifles or pistols. They can be used by anyone, so all of the characters are able to hold them and use them, but depending on their class, some characters will be better and more efficient with firearms than others. For example a ranger class character is used to firing a bow and arrow or a crossbow, so they have a fine aim, meaning they could use a gun much better than a melee character that normally swings a sword around and has next to no aim at all. Rifles have the options of several upgrades, meaning they can deal more damage and ignore armour if they are upgraded with hollow point bullets or the character can gain increased aim if the weapon is upgraded to have a targeting sight attached to it. Guns can be upgraded, but they cannot be enchanted or enhanced.

Electronic Bow – The bow and arrow have survived the ravages of time, evolving as technology has evolved, becoming more potent and accurate. The invention of the electronic bow pushed it to the peak of perfection. The bow maintains its standard shape and size, but microchips within the curvature of the bow fuel a small targeting screen, giving the user the information they need such as wind speed and direction so that they can alter their position to account for the changes they need. Electronic upgrades can be applied at the correct store, making the bow more potent and have more options. The player needs to find the perfect balance with the bow, otherwise they could find that they have a high damage bow that can only fire short distances, or they will have a long distance bow that deals minor damage even when it hits a vital part of a body. Bows cannot be enchanted.


 

Arcane

Spells – Over the years spells have matured and changed in nature. While the spells within the realm of Dunkora are aggressive and openly destructive, because of the environment around them, mages within the Human World have to be careful to avoid collateral damage and destruction around them, so the spells have become much more focused and can be fired at enemies with a lot more precision than the spells of Dunkora, which had the chance of “splashing” onto other people and the immediate area, causing damage.

Enchantments – Enchantments have survived the times along with magick and so the mages within the group can enchant certain weapons while they are in the Human World. Once they are placed upon a weapon they cannot be undone, they imbue the weapon with a property such as being able to deal fire damage or they are more likely to cause a grievous wound when they hit. Some weapons cannot be enchanted.

Augmentations – Augmentations are similar to enchantments, however, they require a physical component in order to work, so certain items cannot be augmented because they may not have a slot on them for the augmentation gem to be placed into. Augmentations do not grant magickal properties to the weapon they are attached too; instead they may cause the weapon to fire from a longer range, deal more generic damage or cause a grievous wound to the enemy when they are hit. Augmentations can be removed, but once that augmentation is removed from the weapon it can then no longer be placed upon that weapon, so it is wise to make sure which augmentations you place on a weapon instead of wanting to change them all the time. Some weapons cannot be augmented. A maximum of two augmentations may be placed upon weapons.

Item Types

Posted: May 20, 2013 in Games Design 2
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Melee:

Melee weapons are the usual assortment of Axes, Swords and Shields, Spears and Staffs. They can be enchanted so that they deal greater damage or can apply some elemental damage to an enemy such as burning if the weapon is enchanted with fire.

Swords come in various shapes, some a normal long swords, others are bigger and broader and will require both hands to wield, meaning the user will be more susceptible to wounds as they shall not be capable of using a shield with the great weapon.

Staffs come in all shapes and sizes and with a variety of blades and gems on the ends. If the character is a melee fighter then they can equip staffs that have blades on the end and if they are mages then they will likely be inclined to take a staff with a gem on the end so that they can channel their energies through it. Staffs can also be enchanted to deal extra damage or to enhance the magickal properties of abilities.

Knives are also a weapon class, preferred by assassins and rogues for their stealthy applications as they are better used within the tight confines of a room than a sword and they allow the character to sneak up on their prey undetected. They cannot be enchanted, but they can be sharpened, making it easier for the user to deal a critical hit on their enemies and causing grievous wounds, meaning an opponent will bleed and lose life slowly for a period of time.

Axes are another weapon type and can only be used by characters that are high in strength as the axes of Dunkora tend to be big lumber some things used for cleaving a wide variety of things in half with the least bit of effort.  They can be sharpened but they cannot be enchanted, however the sheer brute force of the axe means that the wielder can deal a decent amount of damage, often ignoring heavy armour in the process.

 

 

Ranged:

Ranged weapons are used primarily by rangers, obviously. Unfortunately within Dunkora there aren’t many types of ranged weapons, mostly just Bows and Crossbows.

Bows

These are standard wooden bows used to fire arrows great distances into enemy armies, they can be both precision and hit and hope weapons dependant on the hands that holds the weapon. Rangers can use these to great effect, hitting the soft spots in enemy armour and causing a great many wounds from range. If the ranger runs out of arrows then they shall either use the bow as a club or they will discard it and fight hand to hand.

Crossbows

These are a technological step forward from the simple Bow, being able to shoot arrows greater distances and can deal more damage to an opponent. They can also be used to shoot an enemy close range without being troublesome. Some prefer the Bow over the Crossbow but then it does come down to personal preference. Rangers can use these weapons as well as Bows and often carry one of each, just to be on the safe side.

Ranged weapons cannot be enchanted or enhanced in any way beyond their natural properties.

 

 

Arcane:

Arcane weapons are complicated and only mages really use them because they understand the mystical properties of these items.

Enchantments – enchantments are used to enhance a weapon, they can be applied through the use of spells and gems, giving the weapon a new property that cannot be removed once applied. Fire and Ice enchantments are not uncommon and are used to great effect, setting fire and freezing opponents with each strike. Mages are able to complete these enchantments once they have learned the proper skills. They can also upgrade the enchantment to a degree, making the weapon that little bit more potent. Certain armours can also be enchanted to offer more protection to the wearer. A weapon can only have one enchantment.

Arcane Staff – The mage of the group will often have to carry a staff with them so that they can channel their energies and direct spells at their enemies. They can cast spells without a staff but it can be dangerous for the mage as well as the opponent.  The staff cannot be enchanted, but more powerful staffs can be bought and equipped, offering the mage a degree of power with a certain type of magick depending on the staff equipped. The staff is also tough enough to act as a melee weapon should the mage come under attack by warriors. The staff is not particularly damaging and will often do next to nothing against seasoned fighters, but the mage feels better for being able to beat people with a staff all the same.

Spells – Of course a mage would not be a mage if they did not know a tonne of spells that they can throw around. There are spells that freeze, cause damage and deal with troublesome enemies are the norm on Dunkora and are becoming an increasingly common thing in the Human World as well. However there are spells that also heal and repair, bringing new life to those affected instead of taking it away. Indeed a mage has to know when to use their healing abilities and when they are going to have to call upon their destructive magicks, it is often hard for a mage to control themselves and many turn rogue and use their powers to ravage lands until they are finally stopped at great cost.

Scrolls – Scrolls can be found in chests or shops, they often have nothing of worth on them, either someone’s diary of how they became trapped and frightened with a cave or some exert from a long lost book that can provide some back story to the game or a character. Other times they will offer some form of wisdom or a new spell that the player can use to teach the character a new ability or spell to use. Once a scroll has been used, it cannot be used again. New instances of the scroll shall have to be found or purchased and used on different characters if applicable.

Temporary Buffs – A mage is capable of offering themselves and comrades a temporary buff in terms of armour or strength while in battle. The effect only lasts a few seconds at a time, but the effect is a benefit all the same and can often swing a battle from a loss into a victory. No more than two buffs can be applied to a character at any time. Temporary buffs come in the form of an ability that will have a cool down time after use.

Wands – Wands are a small item that can be used in place of a staff if the player so chooses too. It offers no enhancements to magick at all but it is less cumbersome than a staff and allows the mage to use a sword as well if they are a battle mage.

These are the mid dungeon bosses that you face, gaining information, experience and items from them when you defeat them, better equipping you to battle the final bosses.

 

Dark Elf General:

Masters of all forms of warfare, these guys are pretty damn mean, even by the standards of the Dark Elves. They bring out fear like a dragon breathes fire; they are just the worst form of Elf to come across if you are tied up in a dungeon. They command absolute respect and are not above killing their own kind to achieve victory. If they think that their troops are about to break ranks and retreat, they will grab the nearest elf and make an example of them, spurning on the rest of the army before horrible things happen to them. Using magicks that are the darkest kind, spells that should have never seen the light of day, they can bring about horrible mutations and debilitating pain to their enemies at the snap of their fingers. They are second in their disciplines only to The Dark Lady herself and they have no morals at all. There are probably a couple of these guys, the rest dying as the High Elves and Elementals started fighting back and slowly thwarting the taking of major holds that could have helped shorten the Dark Elf campaign by years. The Dark Lady does not forgive and only the successful may take their place in her council.

This opponent is used to the ways of magick and will work to counter spells that are thrown at them, therefore it is advisable to throw multiple spells at once from several magick casters if possible, or mix up the combat by having the melee characters engage while the magick casters throw spells in a constant stream. They will wise up to the fight styles after a while, so it is good to keep mixing it up and changing the play style to keep them from becoming resistant to your tactics. They carry some pretty sweet armour and weapons, so of course it is always good to pick their body once you have beaten them.

Warp Spawn Demon:

This creature is just the epitome of terror. This is the result of experiments by the Dark Elves into splicing genes and putting them into one host. This is of course the ultimate abomination in the eyes of every race in the realm and should not exist, and yet here it is defending The Dark Lady and ready to rip your head off before you can so much as yell in surprise or horror at the sight of this otherworldly thing. This thing offers one hell of a fight, you have to find its weak points and move around dodging its attacks so that you can get into position and take it down through these weak points. Seriously, good luck. It can fly, it can use magick, it is a powerhouse in melee, so yeah this is going to prove to be a challenge, hence why it is the defender of The Dark Lady towards the end of the game when the player is gearing their characters up for the end game and they feel that they need the challenge.

 

 

Wraith King:

The Wraith King is said to be just a legend, because no one has ever seen this mythical figure and lived to tell the tale. It is said that he was once a warrior of great renowned, but when the Elven Magick struck his corpse on the battlefield, he returned to unlife with a somewhat bitter resentment, he had hoped that when he died on the battlefield he would be able to rest in peace. Alas this is not so, so he pledged his allegiance to the Dark Elf cause, hoping that they would be able to deliver on their promise of releasing him from his ethereal bonds so that he could rest once again.

He isn’t particularly pleased with the way the Dark Elves conduct their wars, with little honour and a lot of brutality, but he sees that it is necessary, and since he is without honour in his unlife, he does not care for their ways, he protects the one known his leader and will lay down his soul for them.

He is the most ferocious and calculating fighter, a warrior without peer, and it will take a lot of endurance, smarts and luck to take down this troublesome soldier of the old times. He is very resistant to melee attacks, magick is somewhat unknown to him, so magickal attacks are the best way to wear him down and break his concentration before leaping in to strike that final blow.

Marauder Warmonger:

The Warmonger is the leader of the Marauders and is absolutely without mercy towards his victims and soldiers alike. He does not believe in softness, as it is something that can hold back an arm at a vital moment and will often result in death. He is a bandit of a thousand raids, working his way up through the ranks until he took the top position by force, as is the marauder way. The only person he answers too is Serena herself, even though he is loath to let a woman boss him around, he is happy to work for her, raiding and pillaging everything he sets his sights on.

He is an all-round fighter, with no special resistance to anything, but he is tough, capable of shrugging off many wounds. It will take an especially fatal blow to fell this lethal man, and his opponents better make sure that he is dead for they may turn their backs on what they think is a corpse only to find that they have a knife between their shoulders before they can take another step.

Dragonkin General:

The Dragonkin General was assigned to Richard Flak for support in case he should ever come under threat. This unit also relays all commands from the Hybrid when it comes to sending Dragonkin out into the battlefield, giving them orders and organizing their movements.

When in battle, he will take to his dragon form, providing a bigger challenge due to his size and natural defences in the form of his scales. As a dragon he will have high magickal resistance and a small amount of resistance towards melee attacks, meaning an endurance fight will always be on the table when fighting this mighty foe.

Dark Elf Berserker:

Dark Elf Berserkers are brutish creatures that have been enhanced through the use of magick. The side effect being that they fly into murderous rages at the most minor of things and cannot stop unless they run out of things to smash and enemies to fight. They carry many scars on their bodies from long and bloody battles; they carry these scars like trophies to show that they have been in ferocious and bloody battles and bested the greatest of warriors in combat. They are heavily resistant to melee weapons and have minor resistance to magickal attacks, so picking your battles carefully and staying out of their attack range is advised, otherwise you could find that you may not have a body for much longer once they get a hold on you. There aren’t many of them as many who undergo the Berserker procedure lack the mind set and drive to survive it, but the few that have been unleashed onto the battlefield are mighty foes and not one that should be taken lightly.

Dragonkin Warriors:

Dragonkin Warriors are the adults of the clans, they have trained for years and are masters of their disciplines, whether that be ground or aerial combat with a mixture of weapons, they can fight and they can fight very well. Fortunately not many of them have been sent out into the battlefield because they are prone to challenge one another if there are two or more of them in the area, therefore they are thinly spread, so they aren’t a regular occurrence, normally you will fall victim to them more and more as you get closer to the Dark Pass Mountains. Even though they have been thrown in with the Dark Elf war effort, they don’t venture too far from their homeland, choosing the ravage the land around their home instead of travelling out with war groups and waging large scale battles for terrain. Unlike the hatchlings, they prefer to hide their dragon wings, but they do wear their scales instead of hiding them behind human skin, giving them a reptilian appearance that can scare even the most formidable of soldiers when you see these fearless fighters coming forth.

They are also more inclined to use their dragon forms if they are outnumbered, if they feel that the fight is not in their favour, they will really let rip and shape shift into their full dragon form, soon turning the fight into a feast of flesh and blood, with a side order of mutilation and terror. They enjoy fighting and if you come across one outside of the Dark Pass Mountains cordon, then you should count yourself lucky as their reinforcements are likely a long way off and you have a slight chance of survival and maybe even a chance at victory.

 

 

War Wraith:

War Wraiths are a bigger deal than normal Wraiths and are much harder to come across; which is probably a good thing. They are almost as strong as a small boss, there are very few of them and they have survived so many battles against warriors and mages that they have built up a heavy resistance to both, so it is pretty much going to be an endurance race against one of these. They are highly resistant to magick and highly resistant to melee attacks, so making sure you carry plenty of healing items and abilities will help when fighting these guys. Combo attacking them and stacking abilities against them will help break through their resistance, but you have to be quick because if they catch on before you can break through and really hammer them, they could spirit away and return at a later date with either backup in the form of a couple of normal wraiths, or they may come back wiser than before and will work to counter your attacks and it will be much harder to kill them the second time around, so it is good to mix up your fight styles to keep them from working out your strategy. These guys did not get to be War Wraiths by brute force and survivability alone.

Empowered Warp Spawn:

The Empowered Warp Spawn are the beefed up versions of their brethren the Warp Spawn. These guys are bigger, badder and meaner, they have endured many battles and been patched up with more dark magicks by the Dark Elves, meaning they have been bloated beyond the realms of normal mutation. These beings are monsters in every sense of the word. Having been let loose to roam the land because they are too dangerous to keep in the holds, these creatures have been given armour and a weapon and sent forth to just terrify and kill everything that they come across in the realm of Dunkora. Mindless would be too kind a word to use for these guys, they are like Hulks, they are pure rage incarnate, rampaging and destroying everything in their path and not giving a damn about who they kill or how they kill them. The best thing to do when coming across one of these guys is to just freeze it and beat it to death before it can take a swing at that ping pong ball that you call a head. Also do not let them gather momentum, otherwise they will trample all over you and the battle will be over before it can begin. Fortunately due to the amount of noise they make once they spot a target you will be able to spot them a mile off and act accordingly.

Marauder Captain:

Marauder Captains are the camp leaders, they will take out bands of marauders and set up camps near locations that they want to raid for loot and slaves to sell off to the highest bidder. These guys have worked their way up through the ranks and have proven that they are capable of handling any situation when they are out in the field. They are in charge of everything when they are in camp and have to make all of the decisions, if they succeed then they are praised, if they fail and return to the head camp without anything to show for their efforts, then it is likely that they shall not be a Captain, or alive, for much longer. They are pretty brutal in a fight, with tougher armour and better quality weapons along with improved reflexes honed through battles and fights and can prove to be quite the challenge for travellers and soldiers. They are pretty straight forward and aggressive so staying at range and using magick to slow the Captain or maybe turn him into a pin cushion with arrows if you are the range character of the group. Their armour does very little against enchanted weapons too, so mixing up the fight style helps against these guys and keep the fights interesting instead of just straight beating them down into the grave.