Simplify your design process by establishing what you have

  • Craze
  • 08/25/2009 03:43 AM
Shamelessly swiped from D&D 4e in my current project are keywords, single words or short phrases that are used to easily describe exactly what the hell something is. They go in descriptions to tell what an object/power is and to connect it to other objects/powers/functions. A common example are elemental attributes - Fire/Water/Blunt/etc. Another common term is Field item, and the counterpart Battle item. A simple enough concept, to be sure, but a concept that can be taken to streamline development extremely well. In this post I'll explain why by using my project as an example.

First off, here is a list of almost all of my keywords. They are sorted into categories of similar keywords.
Statistics Health Points (HP), Energy (EN), Brawn, Dexterity, Mind, Wisdom, Tenacity, Skill, Focus, Weapon, Channel, Essence Points (EP)
Weapon Types Claw, Blade, Ranged, Spear, Massive, Implement
Off-hand Equipment Types Rogue, Mystic, Guard, Attack
Armor Types Cloth, Light, Chain, Plate
Essence Types* Spells, Buffs, Debuffs, Recoveries, Weaponskills, Off-hand skills, Armorskills, Synergies
Creature Types Undead, Mages, Demons, Beasts
Other Critical, Weakness, Resistance, x-based, damage, healing, to one, to all, for the user, for one, for one, to x random, with a/an x, with a/n x weapon, with off-hand x equipment, with x armor, passive, transfer, chance of being targeted, +x buff, in/decrease, in/decreasing, incoming, outgoing, physical/magical critical and evasion chance, enter a stance, enter a rage, action speed, life capacity, regenerate, degenerate, accuracy, seal x's magic, put x to sleep, paralyze x, charm x into fighting for you, cure x, unconscious

*This category is invisible - I use it for developmental and organizational purposes only.

These keywords are used to patch together descriptions that are standardized and consistent. Here are some examples of object/power descriptions that make perfect sense:

Def+ Buff Decrease incoming damage for one.
Domination Debuff Charm an enemy into fighting for you.
Fire Spell Mind-based Fire damage to all.
Chain Armorskill Enter a stance with chain armor, decreasing incoming magical damage.
Implement Weaponskill Passive +5 Focus buff with an implement.
Blade Weaponskill Brawn/Wisdom-based damage with a blade to one that deals extra damage to mages.
Mystic Off-hand skill Transfer Energy to one with off-hand mystic equipment.
Warpriest Synergy Passive +2 Brawn/+3 Wisdom buff with an implement and plate armor.

Now, how does this work off of the paper? With some script edits to some popular scripts, you can make this work perfectly in RMVX and most likely (although I haven't tried) RMXP. Not only does it make your games easier to understand, you (the developer) don't have to do as much work figuring out how to make hammers different from spears. Just choose a few keywords to focus on for each and run with it! Maybe hammers smash the Undead type while spears allow you to channgel your magical energy into Focus and equipping them grants you absorption effects?

When you know what you can do, it makes it easier to decide what you're going to do.


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An interesting overlooked article. I don't think I'm experienced enough to build a language out of that many keywords, but I can at least start by standardizing how I refer to certain elements of gameplay, right?

Cheers, craze
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