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Default Lands of Adventure: An Old-School Style CRPG

April 22nd, 2013, 01:29
I like the direction this is going in, thanks for keeping us updated!
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April 24th, 2013, 22:00
Here's another update for you, then. This time around, I wanted to give folks a glance at the character overlay that is part of the game. I wanted it to be similar to the "Might & Magic" style, where your characters are located at the bottom of the screen where you can see them and click on them easily. If you've got any feedback, I'd love to hear it.

Here's a screenshot:
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April 24th, 2013, 22:27
Compare start of the thread - massive incline.

One thing I might suggest is that in 90's RPGs such as Wizardry there was a lot of paging out to set your spells, the power of your spells etc. More modern games want to do all that without resorting to lots of screens, which take you out of the game. Might be an idea to look at M&M legacy (provisional) interface which has a skill bar, for instance. Also Grimoire has a reasonably nice system that retains your last round attacks, although I feel that it is still a bit cumbersome.

One thing that isn't clear is how the transition to combat occurs in your system within the new graphics environment - it appears that the combat screen is a separate mode that you change to when an encounter begins.

Like the idea of camping - it's reminiscent of Realms of Arkania and it would be good to see some of the camping ideas that they had there to make travelling a lot more interesting than it is in other games.

Don't see why you need save/load etc on the bottom bar, which wastes usable screen space, would be better on an escape menu with keyboard short cuts (f5=quick save etc).
Last edited by Roq; April 24th, 2013 at 22:39.
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April 24th, 2013, 22:59
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
One thing I might suggest is that in 90's RPGs such as Wizardry there was a lot of paging out to set your spells, the power of your spells etc. More modern games want to do all that without resorting to lots of screens, which take you out of the game. Might be an idea to look at M&M legacy (provisional) interface which has a skill bar, for instance. Also Grimoire has a reasonably nice system that retains your last round attacks, although I feel that it is still a bit cumbersome.
I think you've lost me here. Can you give me an example to clarify what you're trying to say?

Originally Posted by Roq View Post
One thing that isn't clear is how the transition to combat occurs in your system within the new graphics environment - it appears that the combat screen is a separate mode that you change to when an encounter begins.
That is correct. It will be similar to games like "Pool of Radiance," where combat occurs on a different screen. And that's mainly because many of the things present during combat aren't present during other parts of the game, so keeping them separated is important if I want the combat to be tactical in any way.

Sure, I could have gone with the Might & Magic or Wizardry version of combat where you see your enemy and most everything happens in text with a few flashes to the screen. But, I personally don't care for that, and I feel that I should be building the kind of game that I would want to play. If I do that, I can't go wrong.

Originally Posted by Roq View Post
Like the idea of camping - it's reminiscent of Realms of Arkania and it would be good to see some of the camping ideas that they had there to make travelling a lot more interesting than it is in other games.
Originally, I wanted this game to be completely old school (including the graphics). Even though I have updated the graphics, I still want a definitive old school gameplay element. Those old games had options for camping and resting, where you were on pins and needles because you didn't know if you'd be attacked while you were sleeping and trying to recover your precious life and mana.

So, it's definitely important in this game. The only safe place to rest will be in an inn. Out in the wilderness, anything goes.

Originally Posted by Roq View Post
Don't see why you need save/load etc on the bottom bar, which wastes usable screen space, would be better on an escape menu with keyboard short cuts (f5=quick save etc).
You're probably not wrong. I just didn't know what else to stick in the corner. I had space to fill. It's still a work in progress, and feedback like this helps.

So, thanks for the feedback.
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April 24th, 2013, 23:52
Agree with you about old school mechanics and also the camping in ROA just made the world seem so much larger and a more real environment. Loved the idea of winter clothes, diseases etc. but I suppose would be easy to overdo all that .

What I mean about the interface is that old games tend to have a lot of screen overlays. For instance, when you cast a spell, a new screen (Dialog box) pops up where you have to select the element, the spell you wish to cast and the power level. What I think is better is to have a quickbar (or whatever) on the main screen action area, then when you flip through your characters to set their attacks the quick bar changes to show the skills available for each character. If you look at, for instance, the recent Wasteland 2 and M&M legacy videos you should see what I'm trying to get at. So what I'm suggesting is trying to handle your whole combat and adventuring interfaces without popping up subsidiary windows. That requires maximal use of screen real estate to avoid making the main screen look cluttered. In the projects I design (trading systems), I would never be able to use additional screens, since then the traders wouldn't be able to see RT market feeds; everything critical has to be accessible without obscuring the main screen (obviously you do need some screens for inventory etc.). Maybe that is less important with turn based games, but still good for immersion & ease of use, I think. Old mechanics are good, but old interfaces aren't.

Not criticizing having a separate combat screen, seems like a valid way of doing it if you can get more depth that way for the combat style you want.
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April 25th, 2013, 02:36
Okay, I think I understand what you're saying. I'll have to give some thought to that as I proceed. Personally, in a turn-based game, it never bothered me if other screens or windows popped open to ask me what spells I want to cast…but I can see where that would be a problem in real-time combat (which is usually where you find quickbars). But, I think there's a compromise to be made.

While I'm here, I'll also show an update to the Character overlay that I made, which I think fits the game better. Better font, better layout. At least, that's my opinion.

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April 25th, 2013, 08:17
Looking great - I love the new overlay design! This is really shaping up nicely.
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April 30th, 2013, 15:28
Originally Posted by ProphetSword View Post
Okay, I think I understand what you're saying. I'll have to give some thought to that as I proceed. Personally, in a turn-based game, it never bothered me if other screens or windows popped open to ask me what spells I want to cast…but I can see where that would be a problem in real-time combat (which is usually where you find quickbars). But, I think there's a compromise to be made.

While I'm here, I'll also show an update to the Character overlay that I made, which I think fits the game better. Better font, better layout. At least, that's my opinion.

WRT to the UI, I think the tools in vanilla Unity are pretty dismal compared with what's available in the toolkits I use professionally. However, I've heard some good things about the NGUI plug in and have been meaning to take a look at it: http://www.tasharen.com/?page_id=140. It's available in the asset store and what's nice is that you can get a free eval.
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June 2nd, 2013, 15:24
I have been updating the game quite a bit over the last month. In addition to being able to pick from twelve different classes for each of your four characters:



Players will also be able to decide their attributes. I have gone away from using a randomly determined set of attributes to allowing for a "point-buy" system:




In addition, each character now has a whole host of skills that they can choose to utilize so that they can specialize in certain areas of development:



And, finally, they can pick from a group of perks that will further enchance their skills and abilities:


<< This picture isn't showing up. I don't know why. But you can see it at my blog, located at: http://landsadventure.blogspot.com/ >>

Overall, I'm pretty excited about the development and where it's going. I'd love to hear any kind of feedback or thoughts anyone might have.
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June 2nd, 2013, 16:39
Screens look good. I like the clean neat approach, it looks better than many other Indie games already.

Think you are right to go with a point buy system especially with so many different classes, as that will probably make it easier to balance the classes too.

One suggestion: I think it's better to split the points for combat and non combat skills so that they are allocated separately. Generally people don't want to nerf their combat abilities by putting points into skills that are only relevant in different situations out of combat.

Perhaps you might consider giving different numbers of bonus points for each category of non combat skill and making it so that different classes get different bonuses in each category. For instance a "scout" might be better at locks/detection etc. and get more bonus point in that category. One way of doing this might be to relate bonus points to attributes so that high intelligence would give a character more bonus points for knowledge skills etc.
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June 2nd, 2013, 17:44
One thing you may want to look into is a profession system like wizardry used. For instance you start as a warrior then can change classes to whatever.

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June 2nd, 2013, 20:18
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
One suggestion: I think it's better to split the points for combat and non combat skills so that they are allocated separately. Generally people don't want to nerf their combat abilities by putting points into skills that are only relevant in different situations out of combat.

Perhaps you might consider giving different numbers of bonus points for each category of non combat skill and making it so that different classes get different bonuses in each category. For instance a "scout" might be better at locks/detection etc. and get more bonus point in that category. One way of doing this might be to relate bonus points to attributes so that high intelligence would give a character more bonus points for knowledge skills etc.
What isn't obvious from the screenshots is that all classes start with points in some skills already (for example, a Scout might already have points in Bows, Bluff and Disable Traps) before they buy any skills.

Also not obvious is that skills cost more and more for each point you put into them, and can only go so high. That might lead to people branching into other skill sets.

Even still, I will give it some thought.
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June 2nd, 2013, 22:47
Looking good - I always enjoy an intricate character-building system in these types of games.
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June 6th, 2013, 23:53
One thing I really want to do is create an open-world game that allows you to go in any direction and follow as many different kinds of quests that you want. Naturally, some areas would be harder than others.

I'm thinking that an open-world game with multiple ways to approach quests would be an interesting mix with a Gold-Box style combat engine, since most of those games were pretty linear (not all of them, but the ones that weren't had very small worlds to explore).

We'll see what happens as the game develops. But I'd love to hear any suggestions.
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June 14th, 2013, 17:07
This is looking pretty interesting… An open world gold box style game is appealing to me in theory, but it all depends on how interesting the quests are. I'm not interested in a million generic fetch quests or "go here and slay this monster" quests. I like quests that have a story behind them and affect the world at large. If I save a town from a dragon, the people should react to it. On the other hand, if I fail or turn down a quest, there should be consequences beyond not getting the gold or experience. I'd rather see a game with a smaller number of quests that are complex, well thought out, and unique than an endless grindfest. That was my issue with Skyrim- sure the world is huge, but for the most part it's SO boring.

Regarding the"Magic Identification" (aka Lore in D&D), I'm wondering how you plan to implement it. While the idea that a person who studies magical lore will be better able to identify legendary magic items certainly make sense, it doesn't really make sense the way this skill is often implemented; for example, in NWN 1 & 2, if you fail the lore check for a magic item, you simply cannot use / equip it until you either pay a merchant to identify it, or increase your lore skill. Usually this is a minor inconvenience; merchants charge ~100GP to identify an item or you can buy a lore potion / scroll to identify the items, so ultimately the lore skill isn't worth spending points on.

Moreover, f I found an unidentified weapon or armor with magic properties, why can't I use it in combat to see what it can do? Sure there's a risk it may be cursed but in a RPG I should have the option to take that risk. (Baldur's Gate lets you do this, which I think is one detail which made the game so fun). Which approach do plan to take regarding "magic identification"?

I'm also not sure how I feel about the logic behind Resistance skills being skills. It seems that a resistance to poison or disease would be determined by one's constitution (and magical spells or properties that raise it) but how could one raise it with experience? I suppose it could be the "acquired poison immunity" trope a la Princess Bride, but in reality this doesn't work for all poisons. (I know I'm talking about "reality" in a fantasy game, but when something isn't explained by magic, there should still be a logic or rationality to it). Arguably it works for resist disease (you could knowledge about strengthening your immune system). I'd prefer having some sort of alchemy skill that makes you able to brew healing potions or recognizing medicinal plants but I'm not entirely convinced that Resistance should be a skill you can upgrade with practice or research. Just my opinion though and I may be over-thinking this.
Last edited by daveyd; June 14th, 2013 at 17:39.
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June 23rd, 2013, 17:09
Originally Posted by daveyd View Post
This is looking pretty interesting… An open world gold box style game is appealing to me in theory, but it all depends on how interesting the quests are. I'm not interested in a million generic fetch quests or "go here and slay this monster" quests. I like quests that have a story behind them and affect the world at large. If I save a town from a dragon, the people should react to it. On the other hand, if I fail or turn down a quest, there should be consequences beyond not getting the gold or experience. I'd rather see a game with a smaller number of quests that are complex, well thought out, and unique than an endless grindfest. That was my issue with Skyrim- sure the world is huge, but for the most part it's SO boring.
Perhaps "open-world" was a bad term. My original intention was that there would be multiple large-scale stories and a lot of small-scale stories that a player could follow. There wouldn't necessarily be one main quest, but instead be many long-term stories.

There probably would be some side-quests here and there (totally optional), that might involve some of the things that you mention. It's hard not to create an RPG that doesn't have some elements of a fetch-quest or kill-the-monster quest in it somewhere.

Regarding the"Magic Identification" (aka Lore in D&D), I'm wondering how you plan to implement it. While the idea that a person who studies magical lore will be better able to identify legendary magic items certainly make sense, it doesn't really make sense the way this skill is often implemented; for example, in NWN 1 & 2, if you fail the lore check for a magic item, you simply cannot use / equip it until you either pay a merchant to identify it, or increase your lore skill. Usually this is a minor inconvenience; merchants charge ~100GP to identify an item or you can buy a lore potion / scroll to identify the items, so ultimately the lore skill isn't worth spending points on.
First, I will say that everything I post pictures about is a work in progress, and may change. Some of the screens I've already posted here have already changed (the UI is now totally different and the combat screens have undergone several evolutions). This is because building the game sometimes presents obstacles I have to work around as a one-man crew, or presents me with opportunities that allow me to do things better than originally anticipated.

In regards to magical identification, my original idea was that it would be like old-school D&D, where you could use some items without identifying them (armor, for example), but you're not sure if it's better than something else until you identify what it's doing.

Shops won't identify items. You have to identify them yourself, so the skill is definitely going to be useful.

I'm also not sure how I feel about the logic behind Resistance skills being skills. It seems that a resistance to poison or disease would be determined by one's constitution (and magical spells or properties that raise it) but how could one raise it with experience? I suppose it could be the "acquired poison immunity" trope a la Princess Bride, but in reality this doesn't work for all poisons. (I know I'm talking about "reality" in a fantasy game, but when something isn't explained by magic, there should still be a logic or rationality to it). Arguably it works for resist disease (you could knowledge about strengthening your immune system). I'd prefer having some sort of alchemy skill that makes you able to brew healing potions or recognizing medicinal plants but I'm not entirely convinced that Resistance should be a skill you can upgrade with practice or research. Just my opinion though and I may be over-thinking this.
Actually, I agree with you on this, and have gone back and forth about it several times. I put them in because even though they aren't technically "skills," they are something that a character can develop if they want to focus on those things. I'm not sure that using the word "Skills" was the right choice.

I look at those particular items like "saving throws" in D&D. Why does a character get better at saving against poison just because they go up in level? Why does a spell have a lesser effect? In this case, I just made it so that a player can focus on it or spend the points in something else (like being better with their weapon or diplomacy).

However, I am considering removing them. And, this is precisely why I need feedback like the kind you've provided. The game can only be made better if people smack me upside the head and say: "Hey, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense;" because when you're busy building code and working out systems, you don't always see those little things.

So, thanks for that.
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June 23rd, 2013, 20:18
Are you still planning a kickstarter for this? You'd have my gold immediately. Looks great.
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June 24th, 2013, 01:45
I am still considering it. The Kickstarter would mostly fund some better artwork (the UI needs artwork for sure, since I'm just laying down the basics). And, being as I am using Unity, I think it would also pay for Unity Pro, which costs $1,500.

But when I do it, I don't want to ask for too much (maybe around $10,000 to cover all the bases); because, this isn't meant to be a commercial-quality product. It's the work of one guy. It's not my first game, nor my first RPG. I know I can build a good game…but it's not going to be the next Dragon Age or the next Baldur's Gate.
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July 10th, 2013, 22:07
I really like the progress so far. When I see your new updates, it reminds me a lot of Betrayal at Krondor, only with much more customization. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress. And I think using Unity was a great choice. And since it's Unity, any plans to release this on iOS/Android ?

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July 21st, 2013, 08:38
I was just reading your blog. Sounds like you're starting over, due to feature creep. Good idea. Please keep us posted, on your progress.
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