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RPG: Equipment 'puzzle' ideas


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#1 Benholio   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 08:20 AM

I've been trying to flesh out an idea that adds a puzzle element to equipping items for an RPG. For an example, see the catalyst system in Darkspore:

Posted Image

The catalysts were little gems that you picked up that would give stat bonuses. You placed them into a grid, and if you matched an entire row of the same color/type then they all got a bonus to their effect.

Now, in Darkspore, these were temporary items that only lasted for a part of a game session.

The idea I am working on involves equipping gems into some template to craft jewelry. Maybe the gems would have different shapes, and you have to fill the box tetris-style? Maybe the gems are in a grid and you have to match some aspect of them in a line? (Color, shape, etc)

The goal would be to make item choices more interesting than just picking the item with the best stats. Players may have to choose whether to use a weaker gem in order to better 'solve the puzzle' and get the puzzle bonus, etc.

Does anyone have any ideas besides gem-tetris and match-a-line?

Thanks in advance for any feedback!

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#2 eugene2k   Members   -  Reputation: 237

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 09:58 AM

How about thinking of gems in terms of logic gates? Having four types of gems that correspond to logic gates which you can connect differently to get different results.

#3 lrh9   Members   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 10:05 AM

When I read this topic, I immediately thought of Final Fantasy 7's materia system. It's an old game available for PC and Playstation 1. Might be worth checking out. Well... Final Fantasy 7 is worth checking out regardless of what you are doing.

#4 Benholio   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 10:31 AM

How about thinking of gems in terms of logic gates? Having four types of gems that correspond to logic gates which you can connect differently to get different results.


Interesting. I'll have to explore this idea, thanks!

When I read this topic, I immediately thought of Final Fantasy 7's materia system. It's an old game available for PC and Playstation 1. Might be worth checking out. Well... Final Fantasy 7 is worth checking out regardless of what you are doing.


Good one! It has been quite a while since I dusted off FF7. This will be good brush-up material.

#5 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17251

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 04:27 PM

I think -- given this isn't the main focus of the game -- that a simpler system should probably be preferred to anything overly complex. As well as avoiding having to teach the player a more complex task to use the items it will be easier to see at a glance what they've done, and what they could possibly change to create a different effect.

Treating the gems as logic gates for example is pretty cool, and would certainly lead to some interesting possibilities; but it also means that anyone who doesn't already understand logic gates has to learn them, forever play at a disadvantage, or will just never really understand your inventory system. Logic gates aren't too complicated, but a lot of people won't understand them without some help, and some people may not catch on at all.


I'd stick with a simpler idea such as one of your originals where you match lines of items or fill a space tetris style; anything used in a simple casual game that doesn't take long to learn should be appropriate.


Sorry for not really contributing any new ideas as such, but I hope the input is helpful! Posted Image

#6 Benholio   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:26 AM

Thanks, and the input is very helpful! Your take on complexity rings very true. It is a constant struggle to come up with something interesting with some depth and keeping it simple.

#7 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2266

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:45 AM

Ever played the puzzle game tangrams? Essentially you have set piece you have to form into a particular shape. I could see that idea working with the idea you suggested.

What if you get gems and gem boxes. Each box has a different shape associated with it if you fill the box with gems in correct shape those gems and box vanish you get all those bonuses permanently add to your character.

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#8 Benholio   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 09:26 AM

Thanks, that is a good take on the 'gem tetris' idea. Maybe when you filled the 'box' it would become permanently attached to the ring/item/jewelry piece and that is how you craft new items.

#9 lmbarns   Members   -  Reputation: 459

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:29 PM

Reminds me a little of darkfall online's "enchanting" system.

In it, using the enchanting skill/tool, you have 3 slots for ingredients and 1 slot for a catalyst and 1 slot for the item to be enchanted. Then they have a dozen categories of enchanting ingredients with 5 levels to each type, and 3 types of catalysts. The hardest monsters in the game can skin for a lvl 5 ingredient. Different enchanting "recipe's" use different combinations of ingredients/catalyst type.

Then, say the recipe for adding damage to a weapon is 5 eyes, 5 tooth, 5 claw and 1 nith catalyst. If you use all level 5 ingredients, you will add 30% to the weapons base damage, but level 5 ingredients were really hard to get, so maybe you don't have 5 of each type. You can use any level of those same ingredients, but it will drop the effect of the enchant based on the average of all the ingredient levels. So level 1 ingredients across the board might be 5% damage increase, a combo of 1, 3, 5 would give a 10% increase.

I'm doing something kinda similar but just giving each "ingredient" a different value, then finding the sum of the values and activating a different "mod" based on that number. But there's more than 1 combination of ingredients that can activate the same mod, at the same time there's tons of combinations possible.

#10 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4582

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:45 PM

You might want to glance at the mining system for A Tale In the Desert. You get a pool of objects which have two different properties, shape and color. From these you select combinations of 3 or more that are either all the same or all different in each of the two attributes. The more interations you can make out of the whole pool the higher your base score. Each object can be used a set number of times; using it the max number gives a bonus but removes it from the pool.
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#11 Benholio   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 09:30 AM

Thanks guys, checking out Darkfall Online and ATITD!

#12 PropheticEdge   Members   -  Reputation: 150

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 06:12 PM

Thanks guys, checking out Darkfall Online and ATITD!


ATITD is a goldmine for unorthadox, complex crafting systems and I heartily second its recommendation.

I'll temper jbadam's point with my own take on doing something strange with equipment augmentation.

A system like this, an upgrade system, crafting system, whatever, should exist to reinforce you game's core mechanics. Some games make really elegant combat their big thing, and really hone on in that aspect of the design. In order to keep it pure, things like crafting are left simple such that they support the combat.

I don't think there's anything wrong with making a crafting system with deeper mechanics. In fact, I think it could be rather interesting. Just be sure that it jives with your design's overall sense of purpose. If it ends up being a confusing or clunky mechanic, it will hurt things.

Onto the difficulty issue (some players may or may not get it), I'll suggest you take a look at this article.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6531/darwinian_difficulty_how_throwing_.php

I really like the points in it. I'd puzzled over WHY people liked Demon Souls so much 'till my puzzler was sore, or perhaps more specifically, how such a difficult game was made with it also being highly enjoyable. I think your augmentation system, if it is a deep mechanic that people will have to learn , might benefit from a Darwinian curve. Meaning, don't let the player get by without understanding how the augmentation system works. Make it a requirement for progress at the very start of the game, and force them to learn it. Facilitate the learning, though, and make sure the system is fair and transparent to the user, but don't let them progress past level 1/the tutorial without really understanding how the system works.

This way you can really bring that mechanic into the fold for your game and make it significant. It will make it easier to balance since you can assume the player is using the mechanic efficiently, so you don't have to worry about players that are kind of muddling through the game without knowledge of the augmentation system. If you let players do that, you run the risk of them hitting a point where they can't progress due to the game suddenly demanding that they know what they're doing with the augmentation system. It's harder for them to learn at this point (because they think they've been doing the right thing all along), and will get them very frustrated.




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