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Game Mechanics Part 15

  • LMPGames
  • 08/09/2023 05:54 PM
  • 498 views
Game Mechanics Part 15

After a bit of a delay, it is time for part 15 of our on-going blog series. We are definitely nearly at the end, I think we just have two or three more to go. Today we're going to be talking about the Character Skill and Magic Upgrade systems as well as talking about how tools are going to work.


____________________

Repetition is key

We talked about the World Systems a while ago and then brushed up against this system while discussing the item crafting system last week. This is technically an extension system of the World Systems mechanic. It plays several important aspects in the gamification of those minigames.

First and foremost, character skills are a means of giving you a goal to achieve. It isn’t enough that you can make stuff, for example, you also need additional incentive to spend the time doing it. In terms of crafting, there is a multitude of systems that make it worthwhile to craft items.

The crafting level plays a part in those systems. For other skills, this is also true by varying degrees. In most cases, your skill levels will impact the success rate depending on the difficulty of the task, the rewards you get from completing the task, unlock more advanced versions of tasks, or give you additional bonuses for completing the task.

In the case of crafting, your crafting level has a tangible impact on item crafting. It can cause you to use more items than you would otherwise need to, it locks off certain types of items from being crafted, it can impact bonuses on your crafted items, and acts as a gate on the manual inclusion of those bonuses.

In all, there will be six-character skills, one for each world system:

Crafting
Mining
Fishing
Agriculture/Farming
Foraging
Excavation

Crafting has been covered extensively so we’re going to skip that one. Let’s go over the rest of these, we’ll also be digging deeper into the world systems themselves here as well.


Mining Skill
The Mining skill will determine the number and class of resources you are able to acquire through mining. Mining is undertaken at specific points; these points will be indicated with a floating icon indicator.

When you interact with these spots a check will be conducted. Generally, if the mining level of the lead character is up to 2 levels off of the required level, you can still mine a mining point, you will just receive less from doing so and any specific material types only minable at the required level will not be given to you.

You will also need to have the tool required to mine that point. For example, to mine a rock mining point, all you need is the hammer tool, but if you are trying to mine a metal point, you need the pickaxe. If you do not have the required tool, you will not be able to mine that point.

If your skill level exceeds the required level for the mining point, even by one level, you will get bonus materials. In some cases, mining certain spots with more advanced tools may yield different returns. In these situations, some kind of indicator will be present on the tool selection menu. Oh, let’s talk about that as well; that will be our third mechanic topic.

For the most part, mining is just a means to get stuff for item crafting. The exception is Magicrystals. We talked about this a few times before, but Magicrystals will play an integral part in upgrading some of the systems in the game. Right now, they are used for improving the Amulet of Iskandour, the secret detection item, and, probably, adding in more spell loadout slots.

Magicrystals are formed in locations where the ambient concentration of magic is high, and they take many years to grow from their seed crystals. Once they do start growing, though, they grow quickly, and they can be harvested in such a way that they are able to regrow after a time.

To harvest Magicrystals you’ll need to have five levels in Mining and have the specialized tool needed to harvest the crystals without destroying them. You CAN harvest them without the tool but each crystal you harvest in this manner will never regrow. This allows you to get the crystals a bit earlier, but for a tremendous downside. Magicrystals will probably be a component for some of the more exotic craftable items, so keep that in mind as well.

Magicrystals won’t exactly be rare, but they will only be found in specific locations; they won’t be found as quest rewards or in chests. You may also not be able to harvest them right away; the crystals must be of a certain size first, so you may have to wait until the story progresses some time before certain Magicrystals can be collected.

Here is a list of the tools that can be used for mining:

Hammer
Pickaxe
Mythril Pickaxe
Composite Pickaxe
Magicite Extractor

The quality of the materials mined will determine the amount of skill exp you receive. The more advanced the material, the more exp. As such the exp given for an item will be configured per mineable item. Generally, though, it will break down something like this:

Tier 1 Materials – 100 exp
Tier 2 Materials – 200 exp
Tier 3 Materials – 400 exp
Tier 4+ Materials – 500 exp

Example of these materials are:

Tier 1
Rock
Granite
Basalt
Limestone
Iron

Tier 2
Marble
Aluminum
Tin

Tier 3
Silver
Gold
Cobalt
Obsidian

Tier 4
Magicrystals
Mythril
Platinum


Fishing
As with other games with fishing minigames, you will require a rod and some bait. Depending on the rod and the bait used, different qualities of fish can be acquired. Once you have obtained a rod, fishing tournaments will be unlocked. There will be several on each continent and will have some interesting, and unique, rewards.

If a cooking system is implemented that allows cooking of food that can impart status buffs, fish will be used as ingredients in that system. For now, fish are intended to be caught and sold for gold when you are not partaking in a tournament.

Depending on the size and quality of the fish, you will get skill points. Each fish will have a size range that it will fall in. If the size of the fish you catch is in the bottom 30%, you will get 10% less exp. If the fish is in the middle 30%, you will get the configured exp. If the fish is in the top 30%, you will get 10% more exp. If the fish is in the top 10%, you will get 30% more exp.

What this means is that if we have configured a Bass for a pond to have a size range of 1lbs to 10lbs and the EXP for catching is 20, the following will be true:

For a Bass sized 1 – 3lbs you will get 18 Exp
For a Bass sized 3.1 – 6lbs you will get 20 Exp
For a Bass sized 6.1 – 9lbs you will get 22 Exp
For a Bass sized 9.1 – 10lbs you will get 26 Exp

Each fishable area would have it’s own config for the fish and sizes so these can scale based on where the fishing area is located. Some dungeons may have fishing areas as well. I am not sure how these areas will be identified yet.


Farming
The Farming skill will control how many items you can harvest from a crop tile. Only specific tiles can be used and will have a floating indicator icon to identify them. Generally, you will be able to grow food stock, though some rarer things may also be grown. You can also grow plants and fungus as well.

Farming technically encompasses two skills, Faming and Harvesting. The act of reaching the final growth cycle gives Farming exp while harvesting the thing you grew will give you Harvesting exp.

It is possible to create farmable tiles, but the item required to do so is very expensive and can only be bought and then can only be used in specific locations. These locations may also require you to complete some kind of quest, think of these as locations you can unlock for helping a town, ala Skyrim with the homes you can earn. As such, these will likely be tied to side quest related things.

To farm, all you need to do is bring some water to the farming tile every so often. Each time you water the tile, a growth cycle will execute. Once you reach the fourth cycle, you will get Farming exp and will be able to harvest the grown item given that you have the right harvesting tool.

There will be no tools needed for farming, just a farming spot and a Farming Kit (purchasable for 65,000 gold) if the tile is not farmable yet. There will be farmable tiles for you to use without needing the kit; there will be a few around your house in Cleria and some scattered around the game world.

The Codex will keep track of the ones you find, set up, and keep track of their state and if they are ready to be watered again.

As with mining, the quality of what you grow determines the exp you get. Examples below.

Tier 1 Material – 50 exp
Tier 2 Material – 125 exp
Tier 3 Material – 250 exp
Tier 4 Material – 400 exp
Tier 5+ Material – 650 exp


Tier 1 Materials
Helmsleaf
Acacia Berries
Lennet (flower used to make Mental Potions)
Various sellable items

Tier 2 Materials
Climbing Vine
Valca
Eitar

Tier 3 Materials
Ghlot Pods
Mistshadow

Tier 4 Materials
Calstori Flower
Vertism

Tier 5 Materials
Jhalla
Roanleaf
Mystile


Foraging
Foraging will be the act of collecting things that have been grown on a farming tile or that you find out in the world. Certain items may require specific tools for collecting. As with Farming, the exp you will get for foraging will be based on the tier of the material collected.

You will have the option to collect three different amounts of resources from foraging spots:

A few – 1-2 items, the spot will regenerate the fastest
Several – 3-5 items depending on tier, the spot will take a while to regenerate
Many – 4 to 8 items depending on tier, this spot will regenerate after a long period of time.

I am not sure how the time will be tracked, but I am thinking it will be done via the timer plugin I am using for the Lantern. I can set up multiple timers with it. The only question I have is does that have any impact on performance and do the timer still run while away from the maps they were triggered in (I would assume so, but it is something I need to test).

Tier 1 Material – 20 exp
Tier 2 Material – 60 exp
Tier 3 Material – 140 exp
Tier 4 Material – 300 exp
Tier 5+ Material – 480 exp


Excavation
At specific points, you will be able to excavate a tile. In many cases you will have the chance to find items. What you find will be entirely random, you might find something really trash or hit that one in a thousand chance and get a good item.
I am still thinking about how best to implement this system. Currently this is where I am headed in my thinking.

Several factors determine the chance of finding an item. Items will be the most common, accessories will be the next least common, then armor, followed by weapons which will be the least common.

Next the item tier will play a factor. Any items capable of being found by excavating need to be configured with a tier or rarity; this might be able to leverage the crafting system as well for this. The rarer or higher the tier of the item, the less likely it is to show up.

In certain areas where quest items need to be excavated, I need a way to allow those to be found more easily. If you must dig for a quest item, you should be able to find it quite easily compared to something of moderate rarity. Same goes for stealing.
I also think the location you are excavating should play a part as well. If you are in a high-level dungeon, that should influence rarer items to be excavated more often.
Contemplating if excavation points should be single shots or if they can be re-excavated after a time. Leaning towards single time digs.

Some secret areas will be found via this mechanic as well.

Not sure if there will be a tool set or if you will just need a shovel and that is it. Leaning towards just the shovel or having the shovel break after 10-20 digs and making you need to get another one. Possibly some dig spots could allow you to dig multiple times depending on your excavation level, kind of like the Mr. Digg mechanics from Last Remnant.

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Push it to the limits!

Those who have been following the project for a while and watch my streams of the game’s development know that I had been working on a plugin for Magic Crafting for the game/public release. This system allows you to pre-configure spell combinations using elements are crafting materials. Once you know the theory of a spell, you can then take the elements required and creat that spell.

The crafted spell takes on some traits from the selected base spells as well as a portion of their base damage, which gets added to the base damage of the crafted spell. There are item catalysts as well that can be used to enhance various aspects of the spell.

For example, you can increase the number of hits, make a spell cast faster, increase the damage, add elements, even upgrade the spell from a single target to multiple targets.

There’s just one problem. I won’t work for my game anymore. Decisions about how the classes are structured, changes to the Magic Schools plugin, and general gameplay design decisions for the Legend of Emilar mean that Magic Crafting is out. It would be much too complex and complicated to implement into the game now.

But I really want to keep the positive aspects of the system I designed for that plugin because I feel that allow you to modify your spells allows you to further differentiate your characters from each other. For example, Character G might have Sola Ard, so might Character H. But Character H also has an upgrade to Sola Ard that makes it hit enemies three times and increases the chance of inflicting Burn. Character G’s version of the spell doesn’t have those attributes but does 35% more damage and can be cast 15% faster.

Where as without the system you would look at these two characters as the same and just pick who you liked for a battle with a boss weak to fire, now you have to choose “do I take the higher damage and faster casting time, or do I take the higher chance of Burn which does more damage to this boss too along with multiple hits?”.

These are the kinds of scenarios I want to for you into while playing the game. I don’t want you asking “which character do I like more?” I want you asking “which character is better for this fight based on the way I have built them?”.

Enter the Magic Upgrade system. A much simplified version of the Magic Crafting plugin that keeps the upgrade aspects but does not create new magic spells in the game’s data. How it is going to work is that every mage will use the database data for the main information on the spells they use. Then, on that character’s data, I will create and store the upgrades to their specific spells and those changes will be added onto the normal spell data when used.


How does this system work?
Like with the original plugin, this system will act like a crafting system, just without the actual crafting. You will select up to three catalyst items which will apply various effects. Based on the catalysts used, you will need to pay some gold for the upgrade.

The more powerful the effects, the more gold and the rarer the catalyst item required will be. Some effects will only be possible using crafted catalyst items (effects like adding absorb, changing the hit type , and larger boost values).

At higher levels, catalyst items will start adding multiple effects; some good and some bad as a balance. For example, Amplifier Σ will add 10% more damage to your spell but also increase the MP cost by 2.5%.


Types of Effects
The following the list of effects you can add to spells so far. More may be added as the game development continues.

Damage Up
Defense Down
Shield Penetration (if the enemy has a Ward Shield , this effect will cause more damage to it)
Shield Nullification (bypasses Ward Shields entirely)
Hit% Up
Increase Casts
Add Element Damage Type
Remove Element Type (in case you add an element that negatively impacts damage due to bad synergy)
Magnify Element
Amplify Element
Reflect Element
Absorb Element
Increase Element Resistance
Decrease Element Resistance
Change Targeting
Decrease MP Cost
Decrease TP Cost
Change Hit Type
Increase Casting Speed
Decrease Casting Speed (slower, but will make spells much more powerful at higher levels of the effect)
Add Status Effect
Remove Status Effect
Increase Cooldown Time
Decrease Cooldown Time


Are there any limitations?
Very few. That means you need to be careful of what effects you’re adding. If you add Reflect to an offensive spell, you’re going to be casting reflect on the enemy, for example. Some effects allow you to undo certain upgrades, but that doesn’t apply to everything. For now, you can only do this for element damage types and status effects.

In addition to that, removing an unwanted or accidental effect still adds onto the upgrade counter. For example, say we add on an ice damage element to a fire spell, let’s say Bast Ard. This negatively impacts the damage because there is a negative synergy between the two elements.

Bast Ard is now Bast Ard +1 because we upgraded it. We want to remove the ice element we added, so we use the catalyst item required to do so. Bast Ard goes up one upgrade level to +2.

Why do we care? Because each spell has a max upgrade level. This section is titled “Push it to the limits” for a reason and this is it. Each spell can only be upgraded a certain number of times and as spell strength increases, that number gets lower. This is not a hard and fast rule, but in general the upgrade limit breaks out like this:

Standard Classes
Low power – Mid power spells: 15 upgrades
Mid power – High power spells: 10 upgrades

Compound Classes
Low power spells: 10 upgrades
Mid power spells: 8 upgrades
High power spells: 6 upgrades

Grand Classes
Low power spells: 4 upgrades
Mid power spells: 3 upgrades
High power spells: 2 upgrades

Once you reach the upgrade level that spell is restricted to, you cannot add another upgrade to it.

Unless you do this specific thing.

There will be an exceedingly rare item that can remove an upgrade level from a spell without removing the effect added. It doesn’t mean it makes the upgrade permanent though, you can still remove something you don’t want. It just allows you to have an extra upgrade level.

The catch is that you must use this item in an upgrade before your spell reaches its max upgrade level and as mentioned, this item is rare and hard to find. I don’t know exactly how you will get it yet but I am leaning one of three directions:

1. This item is only obtainable from winning super boss fights. This gives you a bit more incentive to take on the super bosses.

2. It will be the most difficult item to craft and require a massive amount of resources and time to make.

3. Obtainable from very specific quests.

If I go with option 3, there will be at most 5 of these items obtainable in the game.

If I go with option 1, there could be up to 12. If I go with option 2, there will be an unlimited number available, but the limit will then be the time you want to put into making them.

I am leaning towards 1 or 3.

_________________


There is, almost, always more than one way to skin a cat

The final topic we’ll talk about in this post is how tools will work. At various points in the game, you may come across obstacles that you can remove using tools. I think we discussed the topic of Obstacles a while back, but if we didn’t then we’re going to cover it now. If we did, then it’s a needed refresher because I can’t remember what blog it was in.

Obstacles are an exploration mechanic in the vein of Legend of Zelda and Pokemon. These are objects that can be removed once you have the proper tool for the job. Interacting with these obstacles will bring up a tool selection menu. From here you can pick the tool you want to use to deal with the stuff blocking your path.

Obstacles will normally take the form of fallen tree logs, rocks, plants, and other things that prevent you from proceeding. Most of the time they will be obvious, they will be blocking a chest or some area of the map you can’t get to any other way. Sometimes, though, they will be vaguer. Not all instances of an object that can be an obstacle will be one.

There will also be some instances where you have more than one tool that can get the job done. In these cases, all of the applicable tools you have access to will be shown in the Tool Selection menu; it is up to you to decide which to use and when. Be aware, though, that some times there may be consequences to the tools you choose to use.

There will be indicators used within the selection menu. Usually these will be used to tell you when using a tool will consume an item or destroy a tool (such as when a shovel wears out), other times the indicator will be used to indicate if a more advanced tool can be used on the spot you are interacting with.



That’s it for this mechanics blog. I think we probably have two or three left until we are done. We have a few related systems to talk about along with the Advanced Weapon Plugin. I hope you are ready for a wall of text; I am not looking forward to typing it.

Posts

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I was wondering where this post was!

Skills/World Systems:
Most of this sounds interesting, but how will the timed-reset for gathering work? Will there be things to forage that are not part of farms? If so, how often will shows respawn and how often will we find them?

I like that if we want to we can harvest Magicrystals early, but sacrifice getting more of them from that spot. It does mean if someone were to just yoink them all early, they wouldn't be able to get anymore but that is just a common sense thing as long as they are told the first time that they are destroying that spot.

Something feels off with mining, not sure what. Maybe the different tools are needed for different levels of materials or that certain spots produce certain materials and you can't harvest without the higher quality tool?

I really dunno, something just smells funny there.

Fishing sounds kind of cool; almost FF15-esqe. And a cooking system could be cool, but I don't think it is really needed. I hated cooking in Breath of the Wild, such a random and dumb mechanic to stop you from exploring the open world; what is the point of an open world if you're going to be stopped from going where you want? Usually against cooking systems due to the way they are normally implemented though your idea sounds more reasonable than most.

Digging the Magic Upgrade system a lot. I def can believe that Magic Crafting was getting to be too much to deal with. You were having issues just integrating it with the Magic Schools plugin.

Would be interested to learn more about how you are actually tracking the upgrades per character. You said the data would be stored on the character, but what does that actually mean? Does that mean you're storing specific values or like the entire skill data with the updates from the upgrades?

I also like that there will be a limit to the number of times you can upgrade a spell and that the number is based on class type. Does that mean that spells already upgraded to their highest level on, say, a compound class can be further upgraded when that character becomes a grand class?

Also like that there will be an item to give you another upgrade on a skill.

I have seen some of the tool selection menu from your stream dev. Looks like you are going even further with that which is cool. I liked the way you implemented the basic one.

I await your wall of text so I can write my own from all of my questions.
author=TrashCanEnthusiast
Skills/World Systems:
Most of this sounds interesting, but how will the timed-reset for gathering work? Will there be things to forage that are not part of farms? If so, how often will shows respawn and how often will we find them?

I am thinking that the time it will take will be a configuration option on each foragiable (is that even a word) good. So while Helmsleaf might take 10 to 20 minutes to respawn, a much higher class good might take an hour.

Just examples, timing will have to be balanced.

Yes, there will be things to forage that are not grown on a farm tile. Part of my problem is going to be giving collectable materials a unique sprite tile to work with so you don't see something like a common RTP plant used for Helmsleaf in one place and not in another.

Respawn was covered above, as for occurrence in the wild, that will be largely a balancing question. I would say for the common base materials, those would be plentiful, tier 1's you would see often, tier 2 you might find occasionally, tier 3 would be more uncommon, tier 4 would be rare, and tier 5 would be very rare.

What that translates to inside of a map, I don't have any answer for you yet on that.

author=TrashCanEnthusiast
Something feels off with mining, not sure what. Maybe the different tools are needed for different levels of materials or that certain spots produce certain materials and you can't harvest without the higher quality tool?

I really dunno, something just smells funny there.

Hmm, I will think on this for a bit as well, but let me know if you think of anything specific.


author=TrashCanEnthusiast
Fishing sounds kind of cool; almost FF15-esqe. And a cooking system could be cool, but I don't think it is really needed. I hated cooking in Breath of the Wild, such a random and dumb mechanic to stop you from exploring the open world; what is the point of an open world if you're going to be stopped from going where you want? Usually against cooking systems due to the way they are normally implemented though your idea sounds more reasonable than most.

I am considering it, but I probably won't. We already have a ton of mechanics; at some point you have to balance them against each other and determine if you really need them. I don't think I really need a cooking mechanic for the game, even though there a many systems associated with cooking already in the game.


author=TrashCanEnthusiast
Would be interested to learn more about how you are actually tracking the upgrades per character. You said the data would be stored on the character, but what does that actually mean? Does that mean you're storing specific values or like the entire skill data with the updates from the upgrades?

To be honest, I don't really know at present. I have two plans for the restructuring of the plugin and you brought them both up. I can store the updated skill data on the character, or just the specific values.

I don't know which would be easier to work with yet; I will have to do some proof of concept testing.


author=TrashCanEnthusiast
I also like that there will be a limit to the number of times you can upgrade a spell and that the number is based on class type. Does that mean that spells already upgraded to their highest level on, say, a compound class can be further upgraded when that character becomes a grand class?

Exactly, and the number of upgrades only increases. If you have three open upgrade slots and then move back down to a lower class, those slots are still there for you to use. They don't get removed.
Those are all fair responses. I have been thinking about what I believe is bugging me on mining and am still coming up blank. My brain isn't built for picking apart ultra granular crap like that kind of game mechanic, I just know something is bugging the hell out of me lmao

author=LMPGames
author=TrashCanEnthusiast
I also like that there will be a limit to the number of times you can upgrade a spell and that the number is based on class type. Does that mean that spells already upgraded to their highest level on, say, a compound class can be further upgraded when that character becomes a grand class?

Exactly, and the number of upgrades only increases. If you have three open upgrade slots and then move back down to a lower class, those slots are still there for you to use. They don't get removed.

I read this question entirely wrong. Let me clean up this response.

So, the listed upgrade limits apply to spells you learn as those classes. So a Wizard learning one of its strongest spells is going to have 10 upgrades to that spell. When that Wizard character changes to a Compound class, the number of upgrades doesn't increase. It stays at 10.

Any new skills learned as the Compound class get either 10, 8, or 6 upgrades. Spells learned by previous classes do not have more upgrades added to them unless you use one of the special items.

If you go back down to a previous class, the upgrades left don't change and you can upgrade any spells you know, even if they were learned as a more advanced class.

If you class change to a non-magic using class, then you won't be able to upgrade your known spells; it can only be done from a magic-using class.

Hope that clears up my answer a bit.
author=LMPGames
author=LMPGames
author=TrashCanEnthusiast
I also like that there will be a limit to the number of times you can upgrade a spell and that the number is based on class type. Does that mean that spells already upgraded to their highest level on, say, a compound class can be further upgraded when that character becomes a grand class?


Exactly, and the number of upgrades only increases. If you have three open upgrade slots and then move back down to a lower class, those slots are still there for you to use. They don't get removed.
I read this question entirely wrong. Let me clean up this response.

So, the listed upgrade limits apply to spells you learn as those classes. So a Wizard learning one of its strongest spells is going to have 10 upgrades to that spell. When that Wizard character changes to a Compound class, the number of upgrades doesn't increase. It stays at 10.

Any new skills learned as the Compound class get either 10, 8, or 6 upgrades. Spells learned by previous classes do not have more upgrades added to them unless you use one of the special items.

If you go back down to a previous class, the upgrades left don't change and you can upgrade any spells you know, even if they were learned as a more advanced class.

If you class change to a non-magic using class, then you won't be able to upgrade your known spells; it can only be done from a magic-using class.

Hope that clears up my answer a bit.


Ah, that makes more sense. Cool stuff.
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