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Action RPG

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Dragon Warrior

(graphics rules)

time to set down some more rules. these are going to govorn graphics.

as i've already stated, i'm aiming at a gmb style graphics engine: real low. that means i'll have a 10x16 x 9x16 = 160x144 sized output. this is either 10x9 tiles (16x16) or 20x18 tiles (8x8). lessons learned from games i've played tell me that the average sprite size should be 16x16. larger monsters can be 32x32, but they usually left that size to bosses.

games also tend to group maps into the 16x16 grid, but often you'll see exceptions where its obvious they're doing an 8x8 but aesthetically its 16x16. its easier to make a 16x16 stamp to use over and over than to do it manually, tile by tile.

there isn't any transparency unless you make a sprite blink on and off really fast - but its cheap and it doesn't really work that well. its best to just avoid that altogether.

(typical run of the game)

lets take a good look at what you can do, right from the beginning of the game, so we can set a similar pace in this one.

- new game -

at the start of a new game, we're in the throne room. there's three chests (120G, torch, key), and people tell you: about the princess' capture, how keys work, go to brecconary and buy weapons and armor, and about getting hp back at inns.

- tantagel 1f -

going downstairs, we come to the main floor of tantagel. we are told: talk to king to save, about a town that was wiped out, and to fight monsters to gain exp and levels. several doors bar access to half the castle. we can talk to the old guy that restores MP but its useless when we don't have any spells to cast.

- brecconary -

setting foot outside, we see brecconary and enter it. a woman tells you to talk to the armorer over the counter, teaching us about that. the armorer has: Bamboo Pole, Club, Copper Sword, Cloth Armor, Leather Armor, and Leather Shield. townsfolk tell us: crossing bridges and moving further leads to stronger monsters, poison bogs are bad, walk under roofing to go inside, about charlock castle being just south of tantagel, garin's harp in his grave, that you can buy keys in a town, that you can have a curse lifted there, where garinham is relative to brecconary, need loto seal as proof of bloodline. a girl follows you around town - probably a test for later games & multichar parties.

um, i bought a club and the cloth armor. equipping the club changes the player sprite so you can see that its equipped. from what the player has learned so far, we probably want to travel northwest to garinham to check it out. we can't get there at level 1, we get beat up before we hit it, so we have to spend some time levelling up and making some cash for the better weapons and armor at the shop.

- first grind -

getting to level 2 was quick - our health doesn't change to reflect that though. thats something we'll have to change: when your maxHP changes, your current HP will be factored so that you'll still have roughly the same %HP you had before the change. you're going to lose hp enough as it is, they shouldn't penalize you for levelling up.

i tended to stick to the forest and hill areas to find monsters, they don't seem to show as often in the open field - thats a good thing to keep in mind when i get to figuring out when monsters will attack.

- noticing desert cave -

at level 3, after sleeping at the inn (or tantagel's heal/mp-wiz recovery ^_^) and purchasing some better equipment, we should be good to head to garinham. on the way there, we might pass by the desert cave, and if we go in, its dark and scary, so we'll just keep looking for garinham first.

- garinham -

at garinham, we find our weapon shop sells: Club, Copper Sword, Iron Axe, Leather Armor, Chain Mail, and Iron Shield. the item shop sells: herb, torch, dragon scale. townsfolk tell you: about desert cave, princess was taken east, how town named after garin. half the town is behind a door, so we don't have much else to do here. its odd that noone tells you about kol or that you need to use a torch (and that it goes out eventually). gonna need to give that info out before you set foot in the cave in our version.

now we can wander around and explore the land some more, level up and buy better equipment, or go to the cave. exploring the land only takes us to bridges, and near bridges are stronger monsters. south of garinham is pretty dangerous, we should probably teach the player that staying near town while grinding is probably a good idea until the monsters near the town are easy to kill. i suppose we could leave that up to the player to discover..

(player death)

.. leading me to another topic i haven't yet thought about. what happens when you die? they half your gold and restore your hp/mp, placing you in front of the king for a scripted event of him scolding you. i've actually used this tactic as a way of getting back to save when i spent all my money. i don't think you get anything special for running the game without dying, i could give it a shot sometime, i guess. not important though.

i really don't like the idea of having the king (of all people) revive you. why would he do that for you and none of his other servants? is he out in the field among the bushes, waiting for you to die so he can steal half your gold and then revive you? in later games, clerics would revive your downed members, but you had to drag their sorry asses to the church to get them raised from the dead.

in the ff games, if you died, you'd get booted to the splash screen and you'd be forced to load your last savegame. thats pretty gay. in zelda:la, if you died, you'd go to the continue/quit screen and if you continued, you'd be put at the last door you passed through, and resets the area you were in. doesn't seem 'great'.

without the intervention of the gods, there's just no reasonable way for your dead corpse to suddenly appear in front of the king. perhaps if there was a cleric or something, in the throne room (for the death event), that performed the ceremony.. half your gold would go to the cleric for services rendered, perhaps.. or the shiny coins were stolen by the monster that killed you, or your moneybag was struck during the battle. whatever, i guess. its the resurrection and corpse translocation that's bugging me. i'll have to think about this more.
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