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*Turn Based CCG, Strategy/Tactics Hybrid
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The BASIC strategy of the game is to defeat the opponent deity. This is taking the deity down to ZERO health.
The deity is on the battlefield at the top right and left corners. Your deity cannot attack normally and doesn't have "stats" like other characters. However, the deity does have a turn and can cast spells/relics at that time.
In order to win the game you need to play spells, immortals, relics, or creatures in an attempt to defeat the other deity.
Spells can do a variety of things from damage to creatures and the deity to killing creatures, to almost anything really.
Examples of spells are Cyclone (50 damage per round to all creatures/players...upkeep cost), Safeguard (Target creature takes no damage...player takes double damage...upkeep), and Apathy (creature cannot take any action...pay 1/2 mana cost to escape).
Relics are summoned and given to Immortals. Creatures cannot use Relics. Relics must then be activated by the Immortal and then they can be used to their full potential.
Examples of Relics include Sun Spear (+60 attack, +40 damage, minor heal ability, bonus damage to evil creatures, and can be thrown once per combat for damage to multiple creatures), Earth Monument (Pay health gain mana), and Animal Ring (can summon an animal each turn if activated...wolf, tiger, etc).
Creatures are extremely varied. Immortals are the rpg like characters and start off at level 1...and are fairly weak.
The use of Creatures and Immortals in a rune deck (brigade) is very important strategically. How many creatures should you have and how many immortals? This is something the player will need to figure when making a rune deck.
One thing I would like to say that directly affects this choice right now is the "Limit" on how many Immortals/Creatures you can play at a time. I did not want players to just use Immortals or just creatures. It is meant to be a balancing act...like the rest of the game.
So, basically the rule for placing Creatures is that you can have up to TWO creatures more than Immortals. So, if you have 0 Immortals you can only play 2 Creatures before you MUST play another Immortal.
For example, if you have 1 Immortal on the field you can have up to 4 creatures (this is the max). If you have 0 Immortals you can have 2 creatures and if you have 2 Immortals you can have up to 6 creatures.
For Immortals you can have only 1 Creature (+1 extra to start the battle). So if you have 1 Creature you can have 2 Immortals (because of the +1 bonus, 2 creatures and you can have up to 3 Immortals, and 3 creatures can have 4 Immortals.
This may sound a bit complicated but there is a graphical representation on the battlefield that shows you if Immortals/Creatures are allowed.
And lastly about the Fountain. The Fountain is a strategy implementation added to counter the strategy of simply placing one character in the front line to block all enemies and use primarily back line troops to win the battle.
Here is a picture of the fountain.
You can see #'s in the flags by the fountain. These #'s represent the total mana amounts of the characters in the front line (basically the total strength of your front line army).
The stronger front line army gets +10 mana per round. This is meant to be another possible way of winning the battle. +10 mana won't necessarily win you the battle but it will help. It may need to be lessened with further testing.
So I've finished Morale & Sphere Affinity...at least until I get to the point where I plan on adding some animation affects. So now I'm working on Message Boxes and their layout.
Most info in the game is passed to the player in Message Boxes that look like scrolls. Here is a sample.
I have already worked on this part of the game before but it needs some tweaking.
I'm thinking I want to change some of the text shown to be more "character specific" when displaying character info. I do a lot of "tutorial-ish" displaying of info, which is ok sometimes. But other times I need to relate the info more to the character (like when putting the mouseover on character class and describing the specific class indicated).
I also need to adjust the placing of the message boxes so they appear in a desirable location specific to the mouseover (when it is a mouseover being shown).
And lastly I need to adjust the size of the message boxes so that it is smaller/larger depending on the amount of info shown.
Ok, I have the Affinity/Morale starting at 0 and being 0% chance for good/bad affects. I think this makes more sense. Here is how it is displayed currently.
This display is still somewhat temporary but this is the general idea. Any ideas how it can be displayed better or if either affinity/morale need work are welcome.
In a typical collectible card game you (like magic the gathering) you block one creature card with another creature card. Its a 1 vs 1 blocking type of thing. If you don't have as many creatures out as the other player then they are going to be able to damage you (the player).
In Immortal Kingdoms there are a couple different types of blocking. And I'm hoping its not "too" confusing for the average player.
First off, a little explanation of battlefield positioning. Here is a picture of the battlefield again.
The five vertical positions near the middle of the battlefield are the "Front Line Attackers". This is important because these five defend the back seven.
If you have ANY creature in one of these five locations then that one creature can prevent MELEE attacks to any creature in the back 7 (the back 7 allies also cannot attack in melee but may do so with magic and ranged attacks).
So, the main thing here is that one creature can defend all back line creatures. I will go more into the strategy of this later and why I implemented capturing the fountain as a counter to only using one creature up front all the time.
Anyway, that should be pretty simple. The next form of blocking is less so. Just like most CCG's you can't simply just attack the other player. Like I said before in Magic the Gathering you have to block 1 vs 1 or the player gets attacked. In Immortal Kingdoms attacking the other player is different.
Even though range units and magic users can attack back line enemy units at enemy point they cannot simply attack the other player at any point. Instead, they must be "UnBlocked".
Take a look at the battlefield image above. Notice the small "Blocked" text boxes in the top right and left hand corners. These tell the player if that player can be attacked or not. This text box is just a place holder graphic however, as it will be a larger image later represented by a Opened/UnOpened Castle Gate when it is finished.
You are "blocked" from any type of attack (melee, ranged, spell) by the other army if you have 2 or less creatures/immortals than that army. With the exception if they have 0 creatures/immortals on the battlefield (you can always attack another player if they have no army on the field).
For example, if you are attacking and have 2 creatures and the enemy has 1 then you are Blocked (only 1 more creature).
If you are attacking with 3 compared to 1 you are Blocked (only 2 more creatures).
If you are attacking with 4 to 1 you are un-blocked (3 more).
The reason for this ratio is complicated strategy/game play wise. I want to allow for the use of powerful/interesting creatures but at the same time make it still very possible to use a smaller army/rush strategy viable.
And because the strategy aspect of the game is still up in the air in terms of balance and how everything plays out I can't be sure what strategies will prevail just yet.
So, my main question is "Is blocking too complicated for the average player" as it is now? Keep in mind it being blocked will be visually represented so you will always know if you are blocked or not but if people don't read the rules it they may not immediately know WHY.
I finished up Sphere Affinity for now and I'm moving on to Morale. Morale is linked to sphere affinity and the negative implications for using more than one spell sphere.
I "borrowed" my concept of morale from Heroes of Might and Magic. Basically how it works is for every sphere of creature currently in battle there is a 5% greater chance that each creature may miss a turn because of low morale. There is also a chance to gain an extra turn because of high morale.
When you first summon a creature there is a 5% chance to gain an extra turn because of high morale (105 morale score). Now if you summon any other creatures from the same sphere they will also have a 5% chance each turn to gain another turn. It doesn't matter how many creatures of the same sphere are on the field...just how many spheres are in play.
Now, if you have two spheres on the battlefield (like Fire and Life) then your morale score goes down to 100 (there is only 1 morale score for the entire army). At 100 your there is no chance for good or bad morale.
If you summon a third sphere it will go down to 95 and now there will be a 5% chance to lose a turn because of poor morale. And it continues to go up or down by 5 depending on how many spheres of creatures you have in play.
One other factor in this is characters summoning creatures. Remember, characters can summon creatures and rune summon creatures. Creatures summoned by other creatures or immortals also play into morale. This means a wizard summoning a Wall of Stone would be brining in an earth creature that may add to the # of spheres in play.
And one final note. Immortals do not have spell spheres. They, unlike creatures are unaffected by sphere affinity and they do not lower morale when summoned. This is important when taking into account the overall concept/integration of morale and sphere affinity and its positive/negative affects of using various rune spheres.
Most Collectible Card Games like Magic the Gathering don't have random roles (from my limited experience). They are kind of designed for hard core strategy players and a random role may not be wanted by this type of player.
So, as I mentioned in the "Rune Spells vs Character Spells" journal entry there are random rolls in Immortal Kingdoms...at the character level.
For example, when you attempt to avoid a magic affect you must roll a random saving throw to avoid it. Or when you attack with a weapon the weapon does a random amount of damage (although strength bonus is static) and the attack roll to hit your opponent is not automatic (a roll must be made).
There are numerous examples of this random type of play. So, I'm a little curious as to how this might be received, keeping in mind that the rune spells do "static" damage but much of the game has random rolls.
My reasoning for random rolls is because I want "fun" to be important. I like the idea of an element of surprise and not focusing entirely on a sure thing.
My ideal is that Immortal Kingdoms will be seen as an in depth strategy experience but also be very fun in battle and enjoyable when building your Rune Brigade before the battle ever takes place.
There are four different kinds of runes (cards). These are Immortals, Creatures, Spells, or Relics. I'm going to talk about Rune Spells and compare them to Character Spells to kind of illustrate the power difference between runes and characters.
With a Rune you can summon a creature or immortal. Because of this it stands to reason that Rune Spells are more powerful than the spells cast by the creatures/immortals that are themselves summoned with runes. This is generally true but not always.
Many of the more powerful character spells can do just as much damage as a rune spell. Inferno is an 8th level spell that does hundreds of health worth of damage to many enemies. The Tremor Rune Spell does a similar type of thing...although the #'s are not exact. Character spells can also bring creatures back to life from the dead and kill...just like Rune Spells.
The biggest differences are just how the two work and their limitations (or lack of). I'll list these below.
1) No random damage. Everything is a set amount.
2) No random enemies/allies hit. Its a set amount.
3) No Magic Save. You can't avoid any rune spell with a Magic Save. If a Rune Spell says it kills a creature, it kills a creature.
4) Sphere immunities, magic protection, and other character defenses will not stop a rune spell. The only way to defend against a rune spell is with a defense directly from another rune spell or relic. For example, the spell immunity creature ability will protect from any character spell but won't do any good vs a rune spell.
1) Random damage. There are rolls for damage/healing on all character spells.
2) Many spells are random for enemies targeted (like 1d4 or something).
3) Many spells allow you to have a saving throw to avoid a spell altogether or to lessen damage.
4) There are many defenses to avoid spells.
Another thing to point out is the differing uses of Rune Creatures and Character Spells that summon creatures.
When you play a Rune Creature it stays in combat until killed. But creatures can also be summoned by other characters. Its a big part of the game. However, these creatures remain in combat for only 1d4+1 rounds.
I get some new art every month. I'm supposed to be getting different stuff from 2 different artists but one of them is about 2 months behind. I cut him some slack though because he's real busy and does a great job. We kind of have an agreement that he "catches up" when he's less busy. This artist does the creature runes, all the interface stuff, and various other things.
My second artist is on time every month. He is working on all the spell/discipline icon stuff. He is also doing inventory items.
Here is a sample from this month. I think I will show the images and go into a little of what it is.
Leader: This is the creature ability of the War Master. It is active to start and grants attack bonuses to all allies.
Life Drain: This discipline allows evil immortals the ability to heal themselves with each melee attack. It must be activated.
Spirt Shackles: This spell holds characters (cannot attack) and drains them of life each round.
Nature Protection 1-3: This discipline gives 1/4, 1/2, and complete protection from the nature sphere (not runes but abilities used by creatures/immortals). There are similar protection disciplines for all spheres.
Here are a couple new inventory items: The schimitar and magic ring:
In Magic the Gathering you play land cards. IN a game called Poxnora you have "Factions" which you build decks with. In Immortal Kingdoms you have spell spheres and sphere affinity.
There are 12 spell spheres. These are Energy, Summoning, Mind, Meta, Illusion, Nature, Life, Death, Fire, Water, Earth, and Air.
So, when building a rune deck (or Brigade) I wanted the players to have freedom to choose the various runes they liked but to also kind of "encourage" themes (like Magic the GAthering has red decks, blue decks, etc).
Like other games the different spheres have certain types of runes (red has a lot of damage spells, life has healing, etc). So I wanted to kind of restrict players and make them want to play more theme decks then circus decks (a little of everything with no cohesive style or theme) but without having them feel "restricted".
So I came up with Sphere Affinity. With Sphere Affinity you have an affinity SCORE with each spell sphere. This starts at 100. 100 Fire Affinity, 100 Energy Affinity, etc.
Each time you play a rune from that sphere your affinity goes up in that sphere and down in all 11 other spheres. It goes down by 5% of the cost of the mana cost of the rune.
For example, if you played a 100 mana cost fire rune it would increase your fire affinity by 5 (from 100 to 105). It would decrease all other sphere affinities to 95.
So what does affinity do? Well, every time you play a rune there is a chance the cost of the rune will be either 10% more or 10% less. The chances of this are based on a percentage check of your sphere affinity being either over or under 100.
Take the example above. If your fire affinity is now 105 then you are 5 OVER 100 for your fire affinity. So you now have a 5% chance that the mana cost of your next fire rune played will cost 10% less.
Now if you are at 95 Air Affinity (for example) then there is a 5% chance that your next air rune played will cost 10% more.
My hope is that this will be something you need to be aware of but still give players that opportunity to build the Rune Brigades they want. Also, there are bonuses and loses so it will make players consider the strategic implications of using all one deck and having the chance to get additional mana or trying to go with a deck with a lot of variety and taking a chance of paying more mana.
I didn't want anything to severe basically. There are also runes that will increase sphere affinity.
I am currently working on implementing this into the game so any problems anybody sees with this would help. Or any ideas to make it better.
Mana is used to play runes (cards). There is only one type of mana...a kind of "general" mana I suppose.
Each player starts off with 15 mana. Mana is then gained at a rate of 20 per round multiplied by the round # (20 x Round #).
For example, the first round you have 15 mana and the second you would have 35. But by the 3rd round it would be 75 (+40 from round 2), and by the 4th round it would be 135 (+60).
Of course this is still in the initial stages and may be changed for balance reasons as further testing is done.
Here is an image showing how mana is displayed and how it shows the mana increase from one round to the next.
Immortal Kingdoms is a turn based game. The game is broken up into "rounds".
The first round is called Round 1. The round begins with the "Summoning Phase". During the Summoning Phase your deity is able to place any Creatures or Immortals in your deck. The only thing stopping you from placing a Creature/Immortal is if you do not have enough mana to summon it.
Here is a screenshot that shows the battlefield with with your rune brigade (deck). The rune brigade is currently stationed inside the castle. You can scroll through your list of runes inside the castle using the scroll arrows. You can view 3 runes to start the 1st round and then 2 more are turned over after that.
Note: This is placeholder art and later the "Castle" will look more like an actual castle. Notice also how your deity is currently highlighted (blue in this case) when you are currently in the summoning phase.
Once you have finished summoning any creatures you end your turn. In a multiplayer game you wait until the other player is finished and then play begins (you actually place summoned units simotaneously). And then both players see the battlefield with the newly summoned creatures and/or immortals.
After this initiative is calculated and the creature or immortal with the lowest initiative plays their turn.
Now is the time to go into primary and secondary turns. Remember, there are two rounds. There is the main round and the 1/2 round. In this example we are in the main round (Round 1). After all creatures/immortals have played their turn we will go on to the 1/2 round (Round 1.5).
I explain this because this character must now decide to use a primary or secondary attack in this first part of the round. A primary attack is a melee or ranged attack or a spell. A secondary attack is a potion, discipline, creature ability, or magic item.
The reasons to use a primary or secondary attack to start the round are many and vary depending on strategy and creature/immortal currently taking a turn. You might want to start off with your strongest attack (likely a spell or physical attack) to do the most damage right away. Or you may want to use a discipline/potion to boost your abilities so that in the 1/2 part of the round your strongest attack will actually be more powerful.
Anyway, more on that some other time with specific examples. The main thing here is that you can only use one primary attack per round. If you use your primary attack right away then the second part of the round (1/2 round) you must use a secondary attack. However, if you don't want to use a primary attack at all you can use two secondary attacks in a round if you wish (if you feel this will help you in the battle somehow).
Alright, so once all of the creatures and immortals have played their 1st turn we go back to the castle once again. But this time the runes are not played simotaneously. Instead, the player/deity with more mana plays first. This is because in this 1/2 round part of the round only spells/relics may be played. Not creatures or immortals.
So, the deity then plays all the spells or relics he wishes to play and ends his turn. Then he ends and the other deity plays. Here is a screenshot of this. The only difference between this castle and the other is the "C" instead of the "S" right now. But later the runes will be greyed out if they can't be played at the current time.
And once both deities have played the initiative begins again (from the beginning). After this round is over we begin again with round 2 and we continue from there.
After each round new mana is gained as well. Mana will be discussed in greater detail later.
Got a couple of the games I like to play for XMax. I don't usually buy stuff for myself much and I haven't played any games much lately so I'm excited to try these out.
I got Disgaea for the ps2 and Heroes of Might and Magic 5.
Disgae: Hour of Darkness
I also got a $100 gift card to Best Buy and I went to check on games and computer stuff but I realized there was nothing I wanted and let my wife get stuff.
I just don't like the new games these days. I like turn based stuff and the more "3D" the less I like it. Slow paced thinking games for me. And it has to be fantasy. Still a lot of old stuff I want to get though.
I knew I wanted an extensive system of classes. Variety is a big theme of the game and what I like in most games. Choice and building your characters is fun to me.
And (almost by accident), it makes it difficult for players to capitalize on one winning strategy for putting a rune brigade on the field that is sure to win. What i mean by this is that it "should" be hard to copy another player's rune army because of the customization level in the game (classes being a big part of that).
Only Immortal Runes have classes (creatures are just creatures). Immortals start at level 1 and can be either a spellcaster or fighter.
If you choose to be a spellcaster when you get to level 3 you can choose to then become a magician, witch, or priest. A fighter at level 3 can become a warrior, scout, or rogue. This is where things first start to diversify.
Classes continue to branch out after this. For example, a Magician at level 7 can become an elementalist, wizard, or warlock. A warlock at level 12 becomes a channeler or geometer. At level 18 the channeler becomes a conjurer and level 25 that conjurer becomes an astral mage. All class progression basically works like this, depending on the choices you make.
Here is a visual look Archmage class (spellcaster, magician, wizard, evoker, invoker, and archmage.
You can various abilities when you gain a new class. This can be anything from a discipline, to a weapon skill, to something unique. For example, the Magician gets the educated discipline, the wizard gets the shield discipline, etc.
Spellcasters also get a new spell. The Magician gets Summon Shield, the Wizard gets Whirlwind, etc.
One idea I came up with for Immortal Kingdoms is accumulating classes. I'm not sure I have seen this in other games but it may be found elsewhere.
Accumulating classes means that when you acquire a new class (levels 3, 7 , 12, 18, and 25) you also start a new class. Its kind of like multi classing in Dungeons and Dragons but on a mass scale (everyone does it and you get several classes).
So, if you start as a fighter and gain level 3 and choose to be a warrior you also get to start over at 1st level with a 2nd class.
For example, the Immortal above might choose to start over as a spellcaster. He would then become a level 3 Warrior and level 1 spellcaster combo. And he would gain the abilities of a warrior and level 1 spellcaster.
So when a character reaches level 25 he would have 6 classes...and have all the abilities of those classes.
The only restriction to the classes you can choose is alignment. Some classes have alignment restrictions. Like Bishops have to be good, Pirates chaotic, and Assasin's evil. When selecting new classes you will be given a list of the classes available to your alignment (as well as when you advance a level).
The one negative to all these new classes is that you also get the lower ability scores of these lower level classes.
What does this mean? Well, when you gain a level you get increased stats (strength, defense, etc) based on your class. So, the higher the class level the more you increase in your stats. But this is also class dependent (warriors get more attack, defense while a wizard gets more intelligence, wisdom, etc).
How does this work exactly? You average the classes stat rolls.
For example, if you are a level 7 wizard you get 5d4+6 intelligence per level. But since you this Immortal is also a Magician that gets 4d4+4 per level and a spellcaster that gets 2d4+4 per level you have to average it all out.
So you might get 16 as a wizard, 12 as a magician, and 8 as a spellcaster. This totals 36. Divide that by 3 = 12. So you would get 12 intelligence for that level (say when you advance from level 7 to 8).
Anyway, the basic idea is that you are both helped and hindered by the new class. But even with this minor set back the Immortals will become more powerful than creatures at higher levels because of their versatility and many unique powers. Note: Creatures also will have higher health point totals than Immortals.
You don't have to actually know all this but it is important to understand the basic concept.
You can have up to 10 Rune Brigades in your "Rune Army". Your rune army is basically your collection of decks that you can use to battle other players online.
The Rune Manager is where you modify add, subtract, and exchange runes between your "Castle" and your various brigades. Your castle is where your entire collection of cards is stored.
Here is basically what the Rune Manager currently looks like. You manage your runes in the lobby...where you can also chat, connect to games, etc.
This is far from a finished product. I didn't get any professional help with this one and I'm not an artist so I will be making some artistic changes later.
Where you see the picture of the runes I will remove completely and have a Rune Card off to the left of the scroll...but I don't currently have the card art for that. Then I plan on making the whole thing bigger...as far as text, etc.
Any input on style here would be cool if you have any ideas.
In the Rune Army Manager you can add new brigades and name them, remove brigades, or make a brigade the active one (which is the one you will fight with if you start a battle in the lobby).
Besides the 10 brigades you can create you also have 5 "Sample Brigades" that you can use when you first join Immortal Kingdoms. You can use these at any time before you ever spend money on the game...and can do so for free forever if you wish.
Right now you can have 30 runes in a brigade. In a brigade you can have Immortals, Creatures, Relics, and Spells. Usually you'll want a mix.
I realize this is a bit confusing.
The image above of the Rune Army Manager shows what you see when you first bring up the Rune Manager...your active Brigade. You can scroll through to see all 30 runes in this brigade.
I'll show some other shots of the Rune Manager to kind of give an idea of what else you can see by clicking on stuff.
When you click on Creatures you get this:
This shows all creatures in the active brigade...or whatever brigade you are currently viewing.
Here is the Immortal button clicked.
And Spells (Relics is basically the same):
I don't currently have any rune spell graphics...this is just place holder art.
And when you bring up Sample Group 1:
Not a real sample brigade...just something I threw together. But it kind of gives you an idea of a "Theme" that a sample army may have. All sample brigades will be the same for all players.
I just wanted to say if people are reading this journal and if they plan on coming back at some point and reading it again.
It takes time and money for this journal so I don't want to do it if its of no interest.
So, if you are reading it could you put a comment saying "Yes" and second "Yes" if you plan on coming back at some point to read it again. Keep in mind later I will be showing where I'm currently at and wanting more actual feedback help on topics like balance, random vs not, animation and what kind, and a bunch of other stuff.
Thanks, appreciate it.
This is what you use to view all rune creatures currently in play. When you aren't in battle you can also view all of your various rune armies (decks) using this scroll list.
Here you can view the inventory in your back pack, equip items, and transfer items to your chest if you want.
When a creature or immortal is able to advance a level this level up button will be highlighted.
You then have to decide if you wish the particular creature to level up or stay where he is at. This Archangel for example starts at level 20. It takes a lot of experience to get to level 21. But even after all this experience do you want to advance a level?
The reason to advance the angel is because it will become more powerful (more health & better stats). However, the mana cost will also increase. (note: mana cost is the amount required to summon the creature rune into play...the archangel costs 690 mana).
So its a balancing act if you think its worth it to advance the creature or not. It depends on your rune army (the other runes you have in your deck).
Unlike creatures, immortals always start at level one. However, they gain a lot more powers/abilities as they advance levels and can become the most powerful characters in the game if they advance enough levels. But to start almost all creatures are more powerful than immortals.
The lower the initiative the sooner the creature plays its turn. Initiative starts at 100 and can go up or down based on speed, size, and certain spell affects and powers.
The Magic Save is very similar to the saving throw used in Dungeons and Dragons. Some spells/powers require that you "save" to avoid certain affects or to take less damage. The higher the better chance to avoid the affect.
You only use the Magic Save VS other creatures/immortals. When you play deity spells there is NO SAVE...as they are a much more powerful type of spell. More on that later though...
A note on health:
I decided to use large #'s in the hundreds/thousands for health to allow for more flexibility. This allowed me to have small amounts of damage like 5 or large amounts like 500 or more be part of the game.
This is where anything that has happened to the creature goes. Its also if the creature has a power that affects himself or others is shown.
I'll just go over the examples of the Angel to get a general feel.
Holy Avenger: More damage to evil/undead creatures
Demon Slayer: x2 damage to demons
Law STrike 3: bonus damage on all melee attack to chaotic creatures (there is also of course a law strike 1 & 2...3 being the highest).
Evil Protection: Defense against evil creatures
Stun Attack: Chances to stun opponents with all melee attacks
Flying: Can attack all back line opponents and deity (under certain circumstances)
Leadership 3: Grants Willpower to all allies
Leadership 1: Those status affects in yellow mean the power has come from another positive source (another creature has leadership 1). Status affects in red are negative
I don't have the actual graphics yet for the runes/cards but I do have the character screen where you view all the creature/immortal info. Here's the screen showing an archangel creature. I'll kind of say what some of the stuff means below.
There are still some things I need to work on here but most of it is done.
Primary Ability Scores:
Even though this is at its most basic level a card game it has a lot of rpg kind of character stuff.
There are 13 ability scores. They all relate directly to battle and although it may seem like a lot to keep track of its not overly complicated. You can view each one with a mouseover affect.
attack = melee damage and chance to hit
Strength = melee damage
dexterity = range damage and chance to hit
precision = range damage
defense = chance to avoid melee attack
agility = chance to avoid range attack
toughness = damage subtracted from all attacks
willpower = chance to avoid some spells
constitution = adds health
speed = increases initiative
intelligence = spell damage
wisdom = mana amount
intuition = mana gained each round
perception = decreases chances of opponents to avoid spells
charisma = increases army morale
These stats go up when you increase levels based on your character class (more on classes later). So its more about selecting classes then really crunching #'s...although with the class system it does allow you to really maximize how you want your stats to go. There is randomness as well.
The reason for this journal is primarily to get my thoughts out and to get feedback/ideas on some of my plans down the road with the game. But right now I'm kind of going into what I have already done.
So, in order for people to see where I'm at right now I'm going to go into how far along I am into the game and then I'll go back to giving the specifics of what I've got done to this point.
I hope to be able to start a beta period in 1 year and have a long beta testing phase. We'll see.
1) All Basic Game Concepts
-All the strategy, how I am handling the runes, battles, online play, etc.
2) Numbers, Stats, Rules
-I have all the ability scores done for the characters (how stuff like strength, etc work), how attack/spell calculations are done, how all the rules of the game work. Not only that but its all been implemented for the most part.
-All the melee/ranged attack is basically done except for animation/sound. All the calculations, results, experience calculations, factoring in ongoing effects (blindness, being knocked out, taking damage each round for special affects, etc), and taking into account special defenses like magic resistance or defensive protections is done.
4) Spell/Disciplines/Potions/Creature Abilities/Magic Item Abilities
-All done except for animation/sound. This is several hundred affects & calculations.
5) Immortal Classes
-I have counted them but there are near 100 different classes. All the stats/abilities for these are done.
6) Deity Spells/Relics/Creatures
-These are the runes/cards. All the specs for this stuff is done but I have only about 10% of the spells done for the spells/relics and about 80% of the creatures. I still need artwork for a lot of these as well.
7) Character Screen/Battlefield/Lobby/Spellbook/Marketplace/Rune Manager
-I have the graphics and the code for all this stuff.
8) Online Play
-I have some of the code for multiplayer battle and storing info on the server (and chatting/joining games). However, I need to go back and make it better, plus I have made a lot of changes to game play and need to update online play.
Anyway, that's the basics of what is done.
Some of the things I have yet to do or are working on include:
1) Online Play
-I need to do a lot of work here. Buffering is needed and just need to fix things already done. This is what I look forward to doing least.
-still need a lot of pictures, interface stuff, etc.
-The next biggest thing besides Online Play. I have an idea of what I want to do here but have done nothing yet. Ideas are very welcome here but I'll go more into this later.
-I have nothing yet except a few sounds I liked on the net.
5) Deity Spells/Relics/Creatures
-Have to do a lot of these still
-Balance will be extremely complicated in this game. I plan on having a long beta period but I will want to do a ton of testing even before that.
7) Bugs/Error Handling
-Very buggy and just a lot of fixes needed
8) General Fixes
-A lot of general stuff like text, appearance, making the code better, or whatever.
-No website yet, although I own ImmortalKingdoms.com
10) Single Player
-Got nothing and still debating what (if anything) I should do
11) Leveling Up
-Don't have the leveling up stuff done yet...with choosing skills and all that.
That's the basics of what's going on.
Any good solider needs equipment. I knew I wanted to have an extensive use of items (magical and otherwise) right from the beginning. And although the game has undergone many changes equipment is still a major part.
The only equipment used in the game is strictly battle related (since the game is all about battle). There is a vast array of weapons (various sword types, axes, maces, bows, and even primitive guns (muskets, pistols, etc). I even have three types of cannons.
Then you have armor, shields, rings, potions, scrolls, helmets/hats, gloves/gauntlets, and boots/sandals.
Magical items can be basic magical (like leather armor) with a defensive bonus or be a unique magical item (Tracker's Leather). I have an extensive list of magical items and hope to add more later after the game is up and running.
I haven't gotten too much of the equipment completed but here is a small sample.
(broad sword, magic broad sword, leather, magic leather, buckler shield, rapier sword.
Notice how I just have the regular and magic versions slightly altered but basically the same. I use the magic version of the item for all magical items of that type. For example, the magic image of the broad sword can be a broad sword +5, +10, etc.
Items can be purchased or won in battle.
After each battle vs another player you gain gold and treasure. You can then keep these items or sell them. And of course buy more equipment with gold.
ONly Immortals can use items (Immortals again are like rpg characters that level up, have classes, etc). When you give items to this characters it will increase there mana cost (mana cost is how much it costs to summon an immortal to the battle) based on the usefullness of the item.
Anyway, this is a big part of the game...determining how much you should equip your Immortals to maximize their cost/power potential in the game. What balance is best? But that's another subject.
In the marketplace you can purchase regular and magical equipment. I haven't worked it completely yet exactly what magical equipment will be available at what time but I'm thinking I will change it on the server from time to time. Its a pretty complex balancing issue.
Anyway, so here is the marketplace. You visit the marketplace inside the lobby. This is still a work in progress and the items aren't even in the right place right now. Just testing.
You click on the items above to bring up the item type you want (like potions). Then you get the regular equipment up top and the more luxurious or magical ones below.
You can scroll through all your armies while here in the marketplace and view all your characters as well.
Here is a screenshot of the chest where you keep all inventory items not currently being held by an immortal. All items must either be in the chest or with an immortal in one of your rune armies (more on rune armies later).
Immortals have disciplines and creatures have creature abilities. The main difference being creatures start with all the creature abilities they will ever get.
Immortals can never have creature abilities, although creatures can have disciplines (although they don't "gain" disciplines...they start with them.
Note: All characters summoned in the game are either creatures or immortals. The two types together have a large influence on strategic game play. More on that later.
Back to creature abilities. Creature Abilities include breath weapons for dragons, web attacks for spiders, and a whole range of different abilities specific to each creature.
Here are some samples (poison stinger/flying/earth expansion/fire breath.
Creature Abilities are used like spells as well.
Spells are not enough. I wanted powers and abilities to choose from for all characters and not just spell casters.
I got my inspiration for a large variety of skills primarily from dungeons and dragons and from games like Heroes of Might and Magic and Age of Wonders.
In Age of Wonders you can select from a variety of different skills whenever you level up. In Heroes of Might and Magic you can have different degrees of a skill (like Basic Leadership, Advanced Leadership, and Expert Leadership). I incorporated both these ideas into my game.
So I came up with a couple hundred different skills. Stuff like Archery 1, 2, and 3 that increase your ranged attack ability, to things like Healing Touch 1 & 2, to Regeneration, to Death strike 1-3 (death damage inflicted with melee attacks, to damage attacks like Flame Blade & Tidal Wave, to Berserk abilities, to Spell Mastery (two spells per round), to artifacts that may be summoned, etc.
Again, getting ahead of myself. Besides these "skills" I also implemented "Weapon Skills" as a concept. This means that when you advance a level each character can add a given # of points to a variety of weapons.
This increases the # of attacks and damage with that weapon. It also can gain you additional attacks after enough points are spent. It also grants you a skill title to that weapon such as proficient, specialized, and master.
So this meant I already had "Skills" so I changed the name of the other skill to "Disciplines".
Here are some samples of disciplines, including some progression.
Disciplines can either be active or inactive. Active disciplines give the benefit once the character enters battle. Like Archery 1-3 for example. You gain the additional attack/damage once the character is summoned.
Inactive disciplines must be activated. This is done much like a spell. You click on the spell book image of the particular discipline and bring the power into the game. This can be something like a damage power (fire flash for example) or when summoning an artifact, or something beneficial like healing or an ability increase.
Only Immortals may have disciplines. Immortals are kind of like rpg character classes (like knights, warriors, priests, etc...which I will go into more later). Creatures cannot have disciplines, although they can and do have "Creature Abilities".
Disciplines are each worth a certain amount of points. The better the discipline the more it costs. Immortals start the game with 6 points and gain 4 per level. Selecting disciplines is often based on your character class and what kind of character you are looking to create. The # of disciplines allows for a vast array of different character types with unique powers and abilities.
I don't know when exactly I kind of thought to myself, "I think people will pay to play this game if I make some changes"? I suppose I always thought people would like it, even if the graphics/interface weren't pretty to look at. But that of course was pretty naive.
But at some point I did decide to find an artist. The first thing I wanted to do was get some creature/character images drawn (well, maybe this was the only thing I planned on doing at first).
To find a fantasy artist I found a couple fantasy art websites where people post there art (Epligoue.net and another I forgot). And I found a guy that I liked an asked for a quote. This is how it got started for me.
Anyway, so he did a bunch of my creatures/characters. Here are a couple samples.
I'm content with this for awhile until I start working on the online aspect of the game. And when it came time to design a lobby I went away from the usual clipart and decided to ask the same artist to do the lobby for me. I don't think I had yet to decided to abandon all my old clip art at this point but I had the money so I wanted it too look good.
So I designed a prototype and had my artist do it for me. I came up with the idea of a kind of Castle Theme. I had named my game "Immortal Kingdoms" and a bit of a medieval castle theme seemed appropriate. I hadn't worked out exactly how this would transpire to the rest of the game...but it was a start.
So I did my first prototype. It went pretty well. I got a full page background and some images sent separately. I missed some things that I would later need to get done but I didn't make any big mistakes. Later I would learn to look ahead more for things like buttons, scroll arrows, and other things when getting some kind of interface done.
Here is a screenshot of the base lobby. In the lobby you can chat, start a game, visit the marketplace, manage your runes/army, and view your inventory. The right and left scrolls are for players in the lobby and games started. The center area displays whatever area is currently viewed...from marketplace, to chat room, to rune management.
I'll go more into the specifics of the lobby and gameplay later.
The final step into really deciding upon making the game a professional one was going from a text game to a graphical one. The biggest obstacle to this was all the spells/powers. To make it graphical I would need images for these and it would cost.
I first asked my first artist for a quote but then I started looking around to see if I could find something cheaper (I needed 500+ 93x80 images). So I looked around and even found a place called conceptart.org. And you can put a request in for people to send you email bids on your project. This helped a lot and gave me some valuable experience into finding the right artist for the job.
Now this doesn't mean I didn't like my first artist. He's great and I'm still using him for my User interface stuff and the creature/character images but I needed a cheaper price (without losing much quality) for the spells/powers.
And I found someone perfect. He does a great job and is quite a bit cheaper. So I realized I can actually afford...although I have to do all my art in chunks. Lucky for me I'm learning to program and its taking me forever to make this game or I could never afford it. :)
The new artist is reliable, a great communicator, and quick. We initially did a contract (unlike my first artist who wasn't worried about it) but now that we have worked together for awhile we don't use on. I have him do 25 images a month.
Here are some samples.
Well, and that's how it happened. After this I started using both artists somewhat consistently on various aspects of the project. And I officially realized I would try to make the game professional.
Only problem now is will I make any of this money spent back. I may not. Its still my first game after all. I could be spending money I will never get back.
But I look at it like this. I enjoy the experience. I love to see the visuals bring my game to life. Its entertainment for me. And it may very well pay off. I'm confident in my game play but I just haven't gotten enough feedback yet...and of course it isn't finished.
One thing I wanted from the beginning was a variety of spells & powers to customize your individual characters with. Keep in mind the game did not start out as a collectible card game and my main inspirations were rpg & tactics games (fantasy/ogre tactics). So, the first thing I did was make the individual characters (your army) very customizable. Lots of classes, spells, items, etc.
So I'm going to talk about character customization and such here first...before the cards/runes themselves (which was a later invention).
I started with about a 100 spells ranging from things like damage spells, to ability score boosts, to healing, to summoning, etc. I got most of my motivation/ideas for these spells from fantasy games I had played (heroes, age of wonders, etc) and dungeons and dragons. I would basically take a spell name, alter the name if necessary (not too specific), and then make the spell applicable to my game somehow.
Early spells include Frost, Resist Magic, Silence, Boulder, Venom, Rock Shards, Sun Dragon, Summon Demon, Dominate, etc.
Later I felt I needed more variety and found inspiration from collectible card games (Magic the Gathering primarily) to create about another 100 spells. I decided to add a lot more summoning spells and introduced "avatars" into summoning. New spells include Dark Ritual, Panic, Shield Wall, Mental Library, Anaria Re, Icy Prison, etc.
Do other people borrow there spells/power ideas from other games? Things like names of spells and basic concepts? Keep in mind I changed everything but I still got the initial idea and possibly the name straight from a specific source.
I originally decided to use a kind of spell scroll for characters to view and cast spells from. I used a bit of clip art for this. I decided spells would simply be text. Here is a look.
This brings me to my choice to change the game from more of an amateur project to a professional one. But I get ahead of myself. That will be the next subject. For now here is a picture of the new spellbook (not quite complete and an old screenshot) to see how it has progressed.