ARPG framework brain dump

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ARPG framework brain dump

Post by Brother Laz on Sun May 12, 2013 12:07 am

I just want to leave this ARPG framework here so it has a public date stamp and I can link to it when needed. No, I have no concrete plans, but lots of vague plans. I still have 50 years left to live and make games. Razz


Lore

2064: a ship is launched to colonise Mars. On board are a few thousand scientists, politicians, farmers and others. When the expedition approaches Mars and the background radio noise from the sun diminishes, they detect a message in the cosmic background radiation, hidden there by a "previous generation". The "living cosmos" as it calls the universe was created by a sufficiently-advanced-indistinguishable-from-magical species, the Creators, in a precursor universe during their war with the "Adversary" with the correct conditions to enable the emergence of life much like themselves, which was then expected to join up with the Creators to defeat the Adversary together; a few billion years in our universe is only a short time in the universe of the Creators.

The message seems to be a siren call, and the crew and colonists start building a portal to the parent universe in accordance with the instructions in the message with an almost religious zeal (seeing as the Creators pretty much had intelligent life ordered to spec, they may or may not have included a backdoor and encoded the right subliminal signal to ensure obedience). Mission Control gets concerned with the lack of meaningful scientific updates and the colonists destroy the radio in response.

The portal is finished and opened, but instead of the cities of the Creators, what is on the other end is the forces of the Adversary, which promptly pour into the ship. The colonists react differently to this event: some believe it is a test of faith, others think the Creators have been destroyed and they were maybe fools after all. The immediate problem is of course the demons on the ship.

To fight them, the crew use manufactured weapons and also magic, a series of backdoors in the laws of nature (the "Code") helpfully provided by the Creators when they crafted the universe in case they would have to take the fight to this universe. The backdoors are biometrically protected: only those who physically resemble the Creators can use them. The demons seem to have their own backdoors though (a virus?) and the ideal physical form as imagined by the Creators and described in the message does not quite resemble mankind. Np, for those who are committed to this path, the surgery bay can be used to acquire the necessary pointy ears and such.

While the colonists have been hiding from the demons, the demons set the ship on a return course to Earth. They must defeat the demons, take back control before Earth gets it, and only then figure out what happened and how to proceed.


So, it's insane zealot technomages vs demons on a spaceship. Cuz. (Spaceship interiors are easier to make than nature. I'm thinking ahead)


Gameplay

Levels consist of a safezone at the start and finish and a dungeon in between. Enemies do not directly drop items (they drop essentially Code hooks representing the magical effects of an item) but you get a reward at the safezone at the end of a dungeon.

The reward scales with clear speed and score; score is a multiplier that starts high, but goes down when you use attacks or abilities. Being frugal results in a higher score and therefore yields better rewards. It is supposed to represent something like resource conservation. This enables easy balancing: a peashooter could deal 10 damage and cost 1 score, a nuke could deal 200 damage in an AoE and cost 100 score. The nuke becomes score efficient if at least 5 enemies are in the AoE, but due to the faster kill speed it would probably be better at 3 or 4 enemies. But against a single target, the peashooter is better.

Of course it shouldn't be called score. Ammo?


Classes (12)

Most characters have some sort of shields that can easily be recharged, overlaying health. Health is only damaged when shields are depleted, but health damage is permanent until you reach the next safezone and reduces combat effectiveness.


Wraith
Female psionic sniper, has a spirit that can be sent to spy on enemies or mark targets for attacks.

Hit points
Cloak shield
Functions like a regular shield, but also grants invisibility at full shield: break line of sight with all enemies in the area to gain stealth mode and several new abilities.
Overlays Health.

Resource
Mental constructs
Can pick up power-ups on the field which are only visible for the Wraith and grant temporary weapon upgrades, shield boosters, health etc.


Magineer
Male technomage, wielding a staff and a beam cannon. Has a techmaturgical servitor drone that can be elaborately configured in a safezone ("when below 25% hit points, stun my attacker").

Hit points
Sector shield
A circle consisting of 4 sectors that separately protect the front/back/left/right. Each sector recharges independently, but when one is breached, the entire shield gives out.
Overlays Health.

Resource
Power bank
In a safezone, you can bring up a power bar, consisting of 25 slots, representing total power capacity. You can assign spells to one or more slots. On the field, each spell has a bar above it, representing its own power meter, functioning as mana bars for each spell independently; the more slots you assign to a spell, the faster this bar recharges.


Zelator
Male techpriest wearing white robes, dual wielding khopesh. Think a crusader-Egyptian-dervish warrior.

Hit points
Dispersion shield
A circle consisting of 16 sectors represents the shield, each blue when the shield is untouched and gradually turning red when damage is sustained. Hits against the shield create stress at the impact point, which gradually disperses across the circumference. When stress at any point gets too high, the shield breaks.
Overlays Health.

Resource
Exotic matter
Combat abilities consume no resource. Utility abilities (barriers, teleport, etc) are powered by a mana bar that does not replenish during a level and is only recharged at safezones, so it will run out; however they gradually go down in cost after not using utility abilities for a certain amount of time.


Akhet
Female battle cleric of the sun (as a direct representation of the nuclear reactions that run the universe), wielding a sekhem and a rocket launcher.

Hit points
Ankh shield
A weak shield that is easily broken, but has a very short delay before it starts regenerating.
Overlays Lifeblood, which is similar to Health except it continues to take damage once shields are down.

Resource
Miracles
In a safezone, you get X number of spell points, which you can use to buy single shot spells. You can buy the same one multiple times. There are not enough points to go an entire map without using auto attacks, but careful use gets you there most of the way.


Tempest
Agile blademaster with a naginata and lightning magic.

Hit points
Equilibrium shield
This shield is only partially filled; however, when the class deals damage to opponents, he gradually gains shield strength, especially when performing melee combos. Not hitting opponents for a short time depletes the shield.
Overlays Health.

Resource
Flux
The class can only use a few combat abilities at the start of a fight, but hitting opponents (especially with combos) fills up a meter that enables additional abilities at each quarter segment.


Sphinx
Blacksteel cyborg that can transform between lion and eagle form. While in lion form, the mouse controls a turret on its back, while WASD control movement (so the character cannot strafe). In eagle form, the character cannot move backwards.

Hit points
Reconstructive armor
Takes more damage than a shield, but cannot be regenerated on the field. Instead, you need to spend heat to restore armor strength, which takes a few seconds.
Does not have Health.

Resource
Heat
Spells are largely guns and electronic devices, which can be selected in the "spell" list and dragged into several hardpoints. In eagle form, each gun has its own heat bar, which rapidly heats up when the gun is fired, and takes a while to cool down. In lion form, there is one heat bar for all guns, but it cools down much faster after a few seconds of not firing.


Sagittar
Male archer with somewhat elfish complexion, wearing white clothes and armor and a laser bow.

Hit points
Adaptive shield
A circle represents the shield. Hits against the shield create stress around the impact point, causing the shield to move shield strength from the opposite side towards the damaged side to replenish it. The shield breaks when too much stress is sustained. The net result is a shield that can sustain tons of damage hitting from roughly the same direction, but leaves the character vulnerable to hits from the other direction.
Overlays Health.

Resource
Mana rifts
The class uses mana to cast special arrows and other effects, but it does not replenish. There are randomly placed anomalies that are only visible to the Sagittar class and replenish a portion of mana when walking through them.


Interdictor
Male cyborg assassin built from black silver and glowing neons, wielding two laser blades. Can project runes on walls that inflict status effects on opponents looking at them.

Hit points
Hard light barrier
A square shield consisting of 4 segments, each of which takes damage separately. It regenerates like a shield, but at a fairly slow pace and after a long delay. When a segment is breached, the shield reconfigures to eliminate the damaged segment, turning into a triangular shield with 3 segments, then 2 segments and finally 1 segment covering the entire character. The shield only reverts to its full layout in a safezone.
Does not have Health.

Resource
Dispersion sinks
Each ability has its own mana bar, but using an ability depletes not just its own mana but also to a degree the mana of abilities next to it in the ability bar. The amount of depletion depends on the distance between the ability used and the other ability. Mana recharges over time.


Avatar
Female hologram sorceress, wielding a focus and wand.

Hit points
Integrity
Does not regenerate. Instead, when the class reaches 0 hit points (or presses a button), the hologram shatters and gradually reconstructs itself at a designated nearby spot. During this time, it is vulnerable and can be destroyed easily, so this should only be attempted behind cover.
Does not have Health.

Resource
None
Abilities are not governed by a separate resource, but using an ability drains some integrity.


Gothi
Male runepriest, wielding a heavy steel sceptre that doubles as a hammer for melee combat. Is actually an animated statue made out of artificial iron from the ship's reactor.

Hit points
Ironskin
Takes more damage than a shield, but cannot be regenerated on the field. Instead, there are randomly placed shrines which are only visible to the Gothi class and which provide a partial restore. Attrition damage aside, the armor can be shattered leading to death if sufficient damage is taken in a short timespan (represented by a stress bar).
Does not have Health.

Resource
Chaos battery
In a safezone, you get 40 points to allocate between your spells as you see fit (at least 6 spells). There are 3 spell slots, each seeded with a random spell. Press the hotkey to cast the spell and drop a random new spell into the slot after a short cooldown. The points you spend are used to influence randomness by weighing each spell. It will not drop the same spell into multiple slots.


Einherja
Female warrior in gold armor wielding a spear and kite shield, superficially low tech. Can attack an enemy's individual body parts.

Health
Predictive shield
Functions like a regular shield, but takes more damage when hit while attacking. The class can use a small amount of shield strength to block incoming hits and avoid taking worse damage.
Overlays Health.

Resource
Switch capacitors
In a safezone, the player can configure each of his abilites to be "positive" or "negative" and by how much (within limits based on the ability itself). There is a bar that starts out at neutral; using abilities pushes the bar to one end or the other, and when it hits the end stop, abilities that push it further in that direction cannot be used. However, the class gains a damage bonus at high negative polarity and a survivability bonus at high positive polarity.


Wyrd
Female banshee. Can fly. Does not directly attack, but fights by summoning ghosts with unique abilities in a safezone and controlling them using an RTS interface. Ghosts cannot be replaced on the field. These were the first to enter the portal, and the abyss looked back into them; it took some magic to retrieve them from the grip of the Adversary, and it shows.

Hit points
None
This class cannot directly be attacked, but when all ghosts are dead, the wyrd dies as well. Ghosts have independent shields.

Resource
None
The class has no resource, but each ghost has an independent mana bar.


Elements

Attacks deal damage and may also inflict a cumulative status effect that gradually wears off over time.

When hit by an elemental attack, a small elemental icon appears above the target's (or your) hit point bar, that gradually fills up as the target takes more damage from this element. When left alone, the icon gradually depletes again. This could be represented by a rotating icon, like the common representation of cooldowns. If you deal enough concentrated damage to fill up the icon entirely, the status effect is applied.

Attacks may fill up the icon faster or slower. This is a stat attached to each DD spell and weapon. Some may deal low damage and exist mostly to apply the status effect as fast as possible.


Kinetic
Status effect: Shatter
Amplifies the damage the target takes.

Heat
Status effect: Meltdown
Target takes damage over time equal to a % of its missing hit points.

Cryo
Status effect: Freeze
Reduces the movement speed of the target.

Electrical
Status effect: Pulse
Target takes damage over time equal to a % of its current hit points.

Phase
Status effect: Fade
Reduces the damage output of the target.

Code
Status effect: Leech
Damage dealt to the target restores the attacker's hit points.

Antimatter
Status effect: Annihilation
Destroys the target.


Items

You don't find items with a complete model and stats as a full package. Instead, for performing well you gain a (mostly) random selection of modifiers (think runes), each giving a certain bonus and having a certain weight (they're not magical affixes; they're techmaturgy at best, technology at worst). You can then configure your own item slots by equipping your choice of modifiers, up to the weight limit for each slot. Higher level modifiers have a better power/weight ratio. Perhaps it should be possible to intentionally downtune numerical modifiers in exchange for a lower weight, so you're not stuck staring at +10 damage for 50 weight while you only have 45 weight remaining and would be perfectly happy with +9 damage, a situation that could lead to forced low level grinding.

Item models are separate from stats, and are also given out randomly. This also enables items to be different between classes, so there is no vendor trash ("cool gun but I don't use guns...").

There are two kinds of item slots: stat slots and utility slots. Stat slots make your character stronger, utility slots give "oskills".

Slots do not necessarily have to follow the standard MMO convention. Gloves are pretty meaningless when everyone has shields and laser guns, and aren't really a "cool" slot. More interesting slots would be things like ioun drones (think orbiting satellites in a 2D space shooter) or shoulder cannons for the heavier classes.


Last edited by Brother Laz on Sun May 12, 2013 11:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: ARPG framework brain dump

Post by Roflknife on Sun May 12, 2013 1:43 am

Sounds like Doom and Borderlands had a lovechild. But i definitely like the idea at being open to be able to make a world with both fantasy elements and technology. (I liked the idea of Vizjun a lot)

Also dont make the same mistake as POE where RNG dominates everything from early game to endgame. Thats bullshit. RNG should be shoved into endgame since it reduces a sense of accomplishment and progress. Luck based item grinding should be at the end because its a massive time sink and uncertain.

Also i dont mean introduce homogenous +1, +2, +3 stats like Diablo 3.
What i want is a early-earlyendgame crafting system, like the unique recipe or runewords in MXL
Right now POE only has rare rerolling through the entire game


Last edited by Roflknife on Mon May 13, 2013 10:12 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: ARPG framework brain dump

Post by iwansquall on Sun May 12, 2013 2:58 am

I got vibe from Hellgate London pretty much from reading all of it.

I dunno about "score" system because ARPG are pretty much same class like Hack&Slash game and discouraging Skill spamming a bit counter-intuitive.
Well unless you want make it more tactical like Dark Souls, then you need the "stamina bar" which prevent you from using your attack too much.


I really wish that ARPG that focused on crafting rather RNG for loot drop.
RNG should be there, but it should be only crafting material + gold drop.

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Re: ARPG framework brain dump

Post by Roflknife on Sun May 12, 2013 5:52 am

@iwansquall wrote:I got vibe from Hellgate London pretty much from reading all of it.

I dunno about "score" system because ARPG are pretty much same class like Hack&Slash game and discouraging Skill spamming a bit counter-intuitive.
Well unless you want make it more tactical like Dark Souls, then you need the "stamina bar" which prevent you from using your attack too much.


I really wish that ARPG that focused on crafting rather RNG for loot drop.
RNG should be there, but it should be only crafting material + gold drop.
Agree with everything you said
But i think RNG should be in end-endgame as well to help pros waste time getting those few more stats

Also the number of classes makes it appear like due to time constaints each class will only have 1 build.
I'm guessing since ARPGs are all about freedom, or even the ILLUSION of freedom it will make far more sense to have 4 starting classes, and each will diverge into 3 from the list of 12 you put up. Not only will this triple the number of choices avalible, it will allow longer progression with the same amount of developer work since the splitting of the builds will happen at a later level

Otherwise people will start screaming DIABLO 3 CLONE CRAP NO CHOICE NO MEANINGFUL CHOICE LAME BORING

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Re: ARPG framework brain dump

Post by Roflknife on Sun May 12, 2013 8:23 am

Also if this game wants any hope at lasting a long time it needs a balanced, fun pvp system
imo Diablo 2 lasted so long only because of its PVP
despite everyone using enigma it still required quite a lot of knowledge AND skill to do well in it.

Even with 100 hammerdins running around everywhere i still think its the most succesful pvp in an ARPG since forever

The Valhalla style drop in random-slaughter pubs in Diablo 2 worked, but i always thought a MOBA style would be more meaningful and fun.
The only problem is trying to put together the clashing ideas of these genres in that:
1) in ARPGs players usually die in a few hits compared to a MOBA, making the pvp more of if you twitch your finger first/lower ping you win. (Think invisible rocket launcher mode in Halo 1)
2)Fun PVM (screenwide AOE!) spells become silly in PVP because you randomly spam offscreen and win. MXL definitely had this problem
3) How will team pvp appeal to normal players if elite players have better gear and stomp everyone in pvp? Yet if you remove this distinction then leveling/grinding for better gear becomes pointless

3 is definitely the biggest problem facing pvp in an ARPG imo

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Re: ARPG framework brain dump

Post by Wazuzu on Sun May 12, 2013 10:32 am

3: look Ragnarok Online.
Most equips are rather similar, with minor distinct bonuses. What really matters there is stat multiplicity, where only x10 str matters for the point of attack dmg, etc. And some characters don't pick best gear, because if they will end up with 144 str - 4 points of str (and that's a lot, if you're talkin bout similar equips) go to waste. And if you could find equips with 4 str points less (not the best, but rather one of them bests), but with other bonuses (status immunity, for example), you will end up with better results. And difference between having best gear from having low-tier disposable gear is usually not that much. This is especially noticable with extended classes, who can't wear most of endgame high tier gear. I once got a winning streak as Gunslinger (extended class) in PVP Arena.

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Re: ARPG framework brain dump

Post by Brother Laz on Sun May 12, 2013 11:02 pm

Updated the OP with a snippet about items.

@iwansquall wrote:I dunno about "score" system because ARPG are pretty much same class like Hack&Slash game and discouraging Skill spamming a bit counter-intuitive.

It doesn't discourage skill spamming, it rewards using skills effectively. The monsters together have X health/shield, so you need attacks that deal a total of X damage to kill them. The challenge is to do it with the highest possible score.

You know those 2D scrolling space shooters? When you use the bomb to clear the screen, you don't get score points for the ships it kills. This discourages bomb use at all, so how about instead making it cost a flat amount of score points when used and not nerfing score gain? Then you'd be rewarded for letting 200 enemies on the screen before pressing the bomb button by getting a combokill bonus that outweighs the bomb penalty, which makes it challenging and makes bombs something to use instead of avoid. Same idea here; big spells are costly when used against undeserving targets, but against large swarms it is better to go nova on them.

@Roflknife wrote:
@iwansquall wrote:I really wish that ARPG that focused on crafting rather RNG for loot drop.
RNG should be there, but it should be only crafting material + gold drop.
Agree with everything you said
But i think RNG should be in end-endgame as well to help pros waste time getting those few more stats

@Roflknife wrote:I'm guessing since ARPGs are all about freedom, or even the ILLUSION of freedom it will make far more sense to have 4 starting classes, and each will diverge into 3 from the list of 12 you put up. Not only will this triple the number of choices avalible, it will allow longer progression with the same amount of developer work since the splitting of the builds will happen at a later level

But then they would forcibly have the same mechanics, defeating the point of having separate classes.

......

@Roflknife wrote:Also if this game wants any hope at lasting a long time it needs a balanced, fun pvp system

The ARPG format is the worst possible format for PvP. It's like 1V1 League of Legends except with a ton of senseless grinding. The reason why PvP is popular in ARPGs is because there is nothing else to do. But I believe if the game itself is challenging then it can survive without tacked on PvP. See: Nethack.

@Roflknife wrote:Also dont make the same mistake as POE where RNG dominates everything from early game to endgame. Thats bullshit. RNG should be shoved into endgame since it reduces a sense of accomplishment and progress. Luck based item grinding should be at the end because its a massive time sink and uncertain.

Avoided that. Smile See above.

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Re: ARPG framework brain dump

Post by iwansquall on Mon May 13, 2013 5:12 am

I dunno about skill effectiveness.

1. Damage usually from min/max your gear, which designed to dish highest DPS for most of the time.
2. Bomb example shump (2d shooter) game sound like good example, but what the difference between it and diablo3's killing streak concept. On some other game have "overkill" mechanic which player deal higher damage than mobs max hp (Dark Souls give extra souls which equal to exp/gold in d2)

Furthermore, there are big mobs hp variant depending on difficulty which something it more about sustainability rather than killing speed.
So how do reward player that "choose higher difficulty" with "effective skill mechanic"?
(It almost same reason on how people gearing up properly to farm in specific MP in diablo3 or farming medianXL, people care about loot-per-time for most of the time)


Personally i think that score mechanic are fairly close to "resource management" in diablo 3.
But in the end,it is all down to "Single target killer skill" vs "Mass AoE Nova spell" which plague-ing medianXL right now.


Unless you can explain to me better Sad


EDITED

Forgot about another things.
Skill cooldown, that differentiate between big and small skill.
Some mechanic that playing around with it would be nice (LoL have tons of those)

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Re: ARPG framework brain dump

Post by Arc_Razer on Mon May 13, 2013 3:22 pm

Wow only read about half, sounds good (and also a bit like system shock)

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Re: ARPG framework brain dump

Post by Roflknife on Mon May 13, 2013 3:27 pm

The item system is something that hasnt done before ( i think) and i like the idea of basically making your own gear. Kinda like Honourifics?'

However what will you replace unique items with? Im talking about WOW moments when you find OP gear for the next few levels/hours
Will there be present special mods/items made by certain combinations of those stats?
Freedoms great and all that but sometimes too much can be a bad thing. I never like Diablo 2's jewel system where jewels could spawn rare as well. It was functionally impossible to min max your character with the 'best' jewels and therefore some people (i definitely did) avoided that system. Even 3 months of solid farming for a Kaoms is OK, but an unattainable but possible goal kinda destroys motivation.

Also how will you prevent it from becoming boring +1 +2 +3 stat game? Hitting a Wall



I still think this game needs PVP to be successful even if ARPGs are terrible for pvp. You've done something quite new and gamechanging with the 12 class system and items, i dont see you couldnt shape the game to work with PVP as well.



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