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Potion Making Adventure Game. Viable Game Type?


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#21 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 495

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:14 PM


For instance, you want to make a potion that helps you see in the dark but before you can do this you have to get a certain ingredient then ground the ingredient with a mortar and pestle.

I think this sentence really captures something that could be fun. You're hitting on a potential metroidvania idea here.
Say, for example, to earn the "next ingredient" you need to go through a dark area of the dungeon, then you figure out you need to stack up on ingredients to make a potion to see in the dark.
But then you see that a part of the dungeon has collapsed underwater, so you know you need a water-breathing potion, which puts you off-course searching for the components to make that potion.
It would be an interaction between a longer-term goal, broken down into obstacles which in turn lead you back to reading your manual and uncovering information (what ingredients, how to use them, where to find them) and immediate goals (finding the ingredients in the dungeon).

I think such a game would be appealing, especially if you challenge the player once in a while. They see the obvious dark, thus they'll make the easy assumption that they need a dark vision potion (which is ok) or they could've done their job of studying the manual and uncover a pass-through-wall potion or flying potion that allows them to simply avoid this obstacle in a clever and simpler way. You could find hidden areas using more complex potions that aren't necessarily required for the basic walkthrough, but it could expand on finding rare ingredients and make even more impressive potions.

That said, that would shift the focus of the game towards completing the walkthrough rather than making more potions and this could sidetrack you from your objective.


Interesting thought, I like the idea that the environment can be as much as an obstacle as the creatures inhabiting it. In this kind of sense the player would have to either stack up random ingredients or make lots of back and forth journeys to get the right potions to complete these obstacles. I don't know if this would be challenging or tedious though. I'm going to try and keep the walkthrough to a basic level so the player feels free pretty much do whatever he or she likes.

I'm not sure that linear things like quests would work in this kind of game but it's one of these things that I'm going to think about. I'm also not sure how one would beat the game or reach a final objective. Maybe it would be to create all possible potions but that would be suggesting that there would be a finite number of them. I like the idea of have millions of combinations of ingredients that combine certain effects but I also like the idea of having pre-determined potions because they would all be unique. I think that I would probably go for the more unique potions and have a finite amount of them because it would make brewing them more interesting. "Oh you put a little too much of this so now the whole potion is ruined!".
I don't the idea of the game telling you that you have ruined a potion. I would rather the player find out the hard way in the middle of a danger zone ;)

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#22 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 495

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:21 PM

I also think this is a good idea. Actually, I've been working on my own variation of this though I haven't yet gotten into how potions would be created exactly (been looking at world generation first). The idea I had wasn't just potions actually, it was more a general aim of discovering any sort of magic so potions would be a subset of what you could discover. And, although I'm thinking ingredient gathering and the need to put together equipment would probably be included, I'm not planning on including any kind of focus on brewing, preparation time, or preparation technique.

I hope I don't come across as trying to copy what you're trying to go for. But it's been bugging me that I might end up giving that impression. I was going to start mentioning the project in my journal this week but you beat me to it.


Ahh don't worry about it, I'm not one of those people. *cough* Winklevoss Twins *cough*. Although, I don't actually know if Mark Zuckerburg stole their idea or not because I just watched the movie.
I've always wanted to do magic in a game but I probably couldn't think of a unique way of doing it due to me constantly playing games like Skyrim. I actually got the idea of potion making from Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince and I was kind of inspired to play a full alchemy character in Skyrim. I felt that the potion making wasn't that in depth and was too easy to do.
I think I'm going to have some element of magic in the game but not spells or anything; more like transformation and bewitchment. I'm also VERY tempted to include mythical gods and folklore creatures into the game as carriers of legendary ingredients but that's just my obsession with those kind of things.

#23 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 495

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:24 PM

Do some research into what systems games that have had alchemy in them before have used. I think Oblivion had a pretty decent one.
You definetely need more ways to make potions than just a mortar and pestle. I think that would become tedious and boring pretty quick.


One of the reasons I'm making this is because I felt that alchemy was lacking in games like Oblivion. The potion making was so straight forward but actually in chemistry it is incredibly precise and lots of things can go wrong.
I was using a mortar and pestle as an example of the one of the kinds of equipment in the game you could use, there will be quite a lot more.

#24 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 495

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:27 PM

I just want to come in and say, I really like this idea Posted Image. Please post update of this game if you have any.

Thanks, I appreciate it! I'm writing up a game development document where I'm going to write the main concept along with many ideas I had for the game. I will copy and paste it into the main post.
In the short future I'll most probably start with imagining the kind of world this game would be set in along with how the game could be structured (programming wise). When I start actually developing the game I'll most likely do youtube developer diaries which will show each version of the engine and development of the game.

#25 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 495

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:47 PM

Some random ideas, not necessarily to do with alchemy or potions specifically:

1. Ahuizotls - Okay, the ahuizotl is a mythical creature from Aztec folklore. It is a doglike creature with slick shiny skin and a human-like hand at the end of its tail. Its commonly found around rivers or watery areas where it uses its hand to drag people below the water to drown them. Oh, and it steals their eyes and fingernails. It doesn't eat their flesh, just drowns them and steals their eyes and nails. Its also known for being able to imitate the sound of a baby crying, it cries like a lost child, people come to investigate, then it drowns them and steals their eyes.

I bring this up because I had heard about this creature shortly before playing Skyrim and I noticed that the player in Skyrim goes around eating alot of wierd stuff for alchemy. I figure an alchemy themed game could make use of a weird monster that steals human eyes and fingernails. Maybe it turns out that to make a specific potion you need the eyes and nails of a human... or the creatures harvest humans for those ingredients. Finding a potion that does the same thing without human parts could put an end to 'human poaching'.


2. Alchemy fairies - Bit of a stretch, but I know in alot of stories you'll have magical creatures that do things like paint the rainbows or tend to the creatures and plants of the forest. Could be that there is a specific type of fairy or magical creature that makes potions. The protagonist could start out with a fairy like this who helps them out at the beginning. The process of "automating" the potion making process could just be a case of creating a recipe and then recruiting more fairies to help with the mixing and such (have one fairy grind the powder, another boil the broth, another mix the results, etc).

Could well be that these fairies go around gathering all sorts of weird things for their potions, and some of those potions are used for things like giving leopards their spots or turning rocks into rubies (or coal). Things that no human would expect the potions to do or perhaps even care for. However. those same potions or ingredients can do useful things. Or could just as well be that the fairies can tell if something is 'magical' or not but they don't know exactly in what way. So fairies grab everything from rat whiskers to fire opals to orphan tears and collect them in the hope of figuring out what to do with them. The player then can use them to make potions (to help themselves) and the fairies help him collect more ingredients or make potions.

Could even provide a motivation of sorts. The fairies know of some cave with moss they use for growing healthy eagle feathers (or whatever) but monsters have taken over and they need help getting the moss. Failure means that the eagles won't be able to fly as fast and far this year. The player could easily say "Oh yeah, what do I care if a bunch of birds have problems." until they realize that "Wait a sec... this moss has something to do with feathers... and flight! Can I use this to make a flying potion or will it just grow hair or something weird like that?".


3. Song and poetry - I dunno about you, but nothing says "magic" like a bit of rhyming. Could very well be that in this world many potion recipes are not written down but handed down through word of mouth and they use rhymes or possibly riddles or stories to remember them. The player could get rare recipes or hints about ingredients through old songs. (Just letting you know, if you need any help making nonsensical rhymes or random weeds or whatnot then feel free to message me and I'll be glad to help with that).


4. Elements, vitamins, toxins and magic - A sort of basic idea on how some potions might work.

Elements are trace minerals that the body can use to help itself. For example, modern table salt contains iodine in addition to the sodium chloride. Iodine Deficiency is a condition where a person doesn't get enough iodine in their diet and it can result in mental retardation. Its usually found in inland areas because iodine can be found in seafood naturally and you can't really grow iodine foods in areas that don't have it naturally in the soil. Basically, elements are tied to rocks, water, and the environment and become part of whatever grows there.

Vitamins (and proteins as well) are parts of an animal or plants chemistry that the body uses upon eating the thing. Eating citrus fruit gives vitamin C, eating organ meats give various proteins and whatever. Probably has little to do with proper alchemy, but there could be something about extracting specific vitamins and such for making potions or things. Maybe using "vitamin potions" involves taking them regularly and as a result boosting your natural stats.

Toxins are compounds that plants and animals make specifically to alter some other creature, usually to kill them somehow. Toxins can do thing like slow or speed up heart-rate, cause hallucinations, or do other things. Alchemy that involves these things tends to isolate the toxin and perhaps break it down into its components get a specific dosage. The difference between a poison and a medicine is basically the dosage. A medicine that lowers blood pressure can become deadly if overused.

Magic of course really depends on how you use magic in the setting, but I'm sure from a traditional sense the effects should be tied to whatever it came from. Say, the hooves of a mighty boar could yield a magical effect that roots a person to the ground (or alternately increase their strength). Invisible creatures would have inviibility magic in their skins and so on. The trick to making a magic potion could well involve somehow breaking down whatever tissue the magic is bonded to, and trying to transfer the magic over to the person drinking it. Specifically, move the magic from one part of the origional life form (from a trees bark, or a birds feathers) into the recipient (a persons skin or maybe their hands). Doing that could require mixing in various elements, vitamins, or toxins that target the part of the recipient.

So... if you want a potion of strength, you might have to take the hoof shavings of a minotaur, boil them into a paste, then mix it in with milk or something that you know will go into the bones and muscles. The "strength magic" was originally bound to the minotaur hooves, then it was transferred to the milk, and the mild once drunk was reduced to its vitamins and sent into the bones and muscles by the body. If you were to mix minotaur hooves with say... carrots or something then the strength magic would presumably go into your eyeballs and that wouldn't really help anyone.


Other recipes might involve infusing invisibility magic into a salve so it can be easily spread on the skin (where it will be most useful) or maybe the invisibility magic gets mixed with fish oil and consumed with the logic that the vitamins will get sent to the skin naturally and become a more lasting effect.


Soo... alchemy could have several steps.

Find something with a magical effect in it. This could be a mineral (evercold ice), vitamin (glowfruit juice), protein (rocktroll skin), or a toxin (nightmare viper venom).

Break said ingredient down to isolate the desired magical effect without destroying it or letting unwanted effects remain.

Mix it with another compound to bind the magic to, preferably one that can be easily absorbed into the body and specifically the part you want it to go to.

Extract the desired compound from the mixture and distil it into a potion.

More complex potions might require adding magical enhancers that complement the desired magical effect. Or you may need a specific process to break down the original ingredient. For example, a dragons stomach lining has a magical effect that renders it completely immune to fire damage. Even if you can get a sample of that lining, you could only break it down using acids or other reactive compounds since boiling water would have no effect on it. Similarly, a potion of invincibility would require a starting ingredient that was itself invincible... so you could never grind up the ingredient to make a potion of it. You could however get something invulnerable to everything but heat and melt it down... and another invulnerable to all but acid and try mixing them together.


I absolutely love the idea of having mythical creatures in this game. I've always been interested in folklore beasts and ancient greek creatures. I imagine that, in this game, some of the creatures would be incredibly rare to come across (a Minotaur for example), which would be either defending or have an incredibly powerful ingredient to make some incredibly powerful potions. Other mythical creatures would not just be incredibly rare but also would not be seen again after death. I'm thinking incredibly ancient beasts of a dark nature, like the gods from the necronomicon.

I like the idea of some beings tending to nature and having some kind of nice fairy-type thing helping you out in the beginning. Although, I think it would feel too nice to have many of them. I have the urge to make this game have both a nice pretty side but also a dark necromantic side. I'm still trying to think of ways that automation would work but I'm not even sure that automation would be needed if I made the potion making fun enough.
Actually, come to think of it, I like the idea of little creatures helping you out in a way. Not doing things for you but still providing information to you, even if it is very basic. I'm not sure about fairies though, they seem too nice for me. I now have the urge to make these little creatures funny. How about little midget forest goblins? I should really try and get an idea of what the ambience of the world should be before I make any rash decisions on adding funny or cute or extremely dark things into the world.

I was thinking that potion recipes would be hidden in folklore but your idea is much more interesting. Little poems on what kind of things have effects on the body. Reminds me of what people used to say about carrots helping you see in the dark. Really good idea, thanks!

I still have yet to think about the different kinds of potions you could have but you have provided a good starting point. I also don't know whether to have potions that are just a mixture of effects from ingredients or potions that are all unique but are still relevant to the ingredients put in them.
You have literally captured what I'm trying to go for. Some really great ideas that you have provided.
I'll be sure to write some of this kind of stuff down in the document!
Sorry I didn't reply fully, it's late at night, but really, thanks for all the amazing ideas!

#26 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2070

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:08 PM

Ahh don't worry about it,

Thanks. I know that given one idea two different people are likely to come up with two very different results but still I wanted to state the obvious similarities if only to put my own concerns to the side.

I'm also not sure how one would beat the game or reach a final objective.

Personally, I'm leaning towards a battle with some big bad at the end with the option to continue in the overall sandbox mode. With the state of the world I have in mind and the tenancy for spells to be purposed for battle, it seems the direction to go.

For you, I'm not sure an end battle is necessarily the way to go only because I don't think of potions playing a prominent part of battle. Which, I think, suggests perhaps an aim towards either being tasked with discovering one of a variety of specific potions or a perhaps more economic or business related goal. Or perhaps some combination of the two having certain achievements openly available to peruse at any time culminating in a number of progressive ranks. I hate that word 'achievement' but when they're actually set as a specified and challenging tasks it does seem to be an appropriate mechanism to drive the player.

#27 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 495

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:57 PM

Ahh don't worry about it,

Thanks. I know that given one idea two different people are likely to come up with two very different results but still I wanted to state the obvious similarities if only to put my own concerns to the side.

I'm also not sure how one would beat the game or reach a final objective.

Personally, I'm leaning towards a battle with some big bad at the end with the option to continue in the overall sandbox mode. With the state of the world I have in mind and the tenancy for spells to be purposed for battle, it seems the direction to go.

For you, I'm not sure an end battle is necessarily the way to go only because I don't think of potions playing a prominent part of battle. Which, I think, suggests perhaps an aim towards either being tasked with discovering one of a variety of specific potions or a perhaps more economic or business related goal. Or perhaps some combination of the two having certain achievements openly available to peruse at any time culminating in a number of progressive ranks. I hate that word 'achievement' but when they're actually set as a specified and challenging tasks it does seem to be an appropriate mechanism to drive the player.

Yeah I'm trying to think of when the moment will be when the player finally decides that he/she is finished with the game. Sure the game might not be able to be finished but there is a point in every game where you just say "Done!". I'm not sure about a big boss battle. I'll have to think of a way that will fit into the game.

#28 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 495

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:58 PM

For people that are interested.
I have made a document which has the concept written and a some ideas for the game. I'll add it to the main post.

#29 cronocr   Members   -  Reputation: 755

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:14 PM

I love this concept, and I want to add something similar to a system I'm creating. I'm making enhanced versions of the Elder Scrolls mini-games, like lockpicking. I was planning to visit the problem on how to enhance Alchemy, and this thread will help me a lot too. So I don't want to just consume ideas, but also want to contribute with some that haven't been mentioned:

  • If you have to extract properties from ingredients, you could produce your own vitriol (alchemic acid).
  • You could produce substances that speed-up reactions: catalysts.
  • You can also create additives that multiply the effect of potions.
  • You could have an online market to exchange ingredients, apparatus, recipes, acids, catalysts, acids, etc.

Edited by cronocr, 07 November 2012 - 06:15 PM.

 

 


#30 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 495

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 11:30 AM

I love this concept, and I want to add something similar to a system I'm creating. I'm making enhanced versions of the Elder Scrolls mini-games, like lockpicking. I was planning to visit the problem on how to enhance Alchemy, and this thread will help me a lot too. So I don't want to just consume ideas, but also want to contribute with some that haven't been mentioned:

  • If you have to extract properties from ingredients, you could produce your own vitriol (alchemic acid).
  • You could produce substances that speed-up reactions: catalysts.
  • You can also create additives that multiply the effect of potions.
  • You could have an online market to exchange ingredients, apparatus, recipes, acids, catalysts, acids, etc.

Really interesting ideas there!
I don't think an online market would really fit with this game though. I'm going for the cliché medieval fantasy setting.
Thanks for the feedback.

#31 Randel   Members   -  Reputation: 326

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 11:56 PM

Just read your document and it mentioned necromancy. I'm reminded of the film Re-animator based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. Basically, its described as being like Frankenstein except the reanimation process is performed by injecting the body with a glowing reanimation fluid. Improper dosage or complications can result in the body getting up screaming, have their eyes and skin melt, and then die again shortly afterwards. I understand a villain in the story made a sort of army of zombies by lobotomizing the corpse before reanimating them and controlling them through hypnosis or something.

Funny thing is, I first heard about this on a forum devoted to Bioshock after posting a quick dead-parrot sketch involving the pet shop owner re-animating the bird with plasmids (due to it being in Rapture and all).




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