Sunday, November 1, 2015

VR RPG Cutting Room and Map Check

So far, things are still somewhat on schedule for the RPG. They're not progressing quite as quickly as I was hoping, but they're still progressing. We're at the end of the first month of development, so a recap of sorts is in order, along with some choices to make.

This month has mostly been a test of artistic development than anything else. I spent some time using my drawing assets, something I haven't done in quite a while. Unfortunately, this lack of practice showed itself and the speed of my output hasn't quite been as "great" as I'd been hoping. The drawings for the monsters surprised me actually as they took far less time than I'd been expecting and were actually quite a bit of fun to do. The main character kind of hit me a bit harder than I was hoping though, with the face and more than anything, the body proportions making development a tricky business. Thankfully, despite nearing the end of development period for this step, we're actually close to being done. While the model is still in need of touching up and I haven't done the hair or clothes yet, plans are in motion and I have a full week long vacation from my dayjob to put into both, so they should be approaching completion before next week. No, what really has me worried is the matter of the gameplay mechanics that's going to be coming up next.

I've mentioned this many times, but the main purpose of this game is to test out the control system I developed. This consists of 2 main pillars, locomotion and interaction. Locomotion can be subdivided into 3 areas in planar movement, flight movement, and height management. The interaction side can be divided between sword play, spellcasting, and UI navigation. While there are plans set for most of these, the spellcasting system and flight movement systems are proving problematic to work in with any sense of design reason into the game. The sword play is elegant and has been refined in my mind to a shine, with only the sword arts being a bit nebulous. Even that is nearing an engaging conclusion though, so it leaves the magic and flight systems in jeopardy. The magic system I have in mind is more than versatile enough for combat use in this game and, like the sword play system, has also been in the works for years now. The problem comes in that the magic system is DRAMATICALLY more versatile and capable than the sword play system from a combat perspective. If I include magic in the incarnation I have in mind right now, it would overwhelm the sword play to the point of worthlessness. A first order optimal strategy so ludicrous it would make you forget there was another option to begin with. So what do I have in mind?

At this point, it's really coming down to hitting the "cut" button on the magic system all together and saving it for another project I have in mind for next year. It would be disappointing to me, truly it would, but I'm not trying to spend all the time in the world working on a system that isn't going to work well with everything else in the final project. At this point, I'm thinking of replacing the ranged magic system a much less problematic enchantment system where in by your spells would instead be a set of modifiers to your base abilities that use SP. As an example, rather than having a fireball spell, you would instead have a spell to heat up your blade to deal more damage against cold enemies or cast a spell to use your man to walk on walls. These kinds of spells would act as continuous mana drains while they're in effect, but wouldn't take away control from the user like sword arts do. Some abilities would even scale up as you gain more SP to use. Initially, a vertical force spell may seem useless as it costs too much mana, but it could later be used to perform a double jump and later still to just plain fly, being enabled mainly by the increasing SP and the improving efficiency with which to use it,

Apart from these larger changes, some of the more obvious decisions to made have been so. The male character model at this point is just plain old getting the axe. I just plain have no inspiration for it at this stage and time isn't really allowing for it either, so I've determined at this stage that it's just plain old in my best interest to just drop it and focus on what I've already got going, which is the female character model. I'm also starting to work out some choices in regards to the game's level design as a whole, though that's still way too far away from being put into place to really expand upon much here so I'll just leave it at: think of a game made of just one giant Zelda Temple and Hyrule Field (N64).

Looking at the map, I should start working on the controls mechanism next week. This should mostly consist of working out a way to expand on what I developed in the prototype from a controls perspective, whilst also integrating it into the controls mechanism itself. Looking at the mechanism, the main question is of smoothing out the analogue inputs from the controllers and blending between the animations, adding in a physics interaction step in between here and there to keep things engaging. While this should be easy on paper, I doubt things will be quite so smooth and I'm just biding my time till this beast of a work load comes up. At the very least at the end of this stage, I'll actually be able to play my game so that should be fun.

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