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Brokenimage

MP design issues--Feedback requested!

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Hi there! I'm currently working on a console-style superhero RPG, and I have a character with...unique abilities. He is able to draw heat out of the air to freeze it and to create ice-type effects, and is also able to use the stored heat energy to heat the air back up and set things on fire/create fire effects. Here's my question. I have two ideas for how to utilize this in-game, using this character's MP. First, He has a positive/negative MP system. Positive represents stored heat energy, and negative represents the lack thereof. Ice-type attacks give this character MP(he is storing heat energy/MP), while heat attacks take it away(he is using it). If he gets too far to one extreme--e.g., he has a maximum of +100MP, and, when he gets +95MP, he can't use a spell that costs +10MP--represents either too much heat energy stored, or not enough. The problem I see with this is it might be too confusing, and, the character has basically, an infinite supply of MP. Second idea: This would work something like the Judge Points in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, where, when the character filled certain requirements (like killing an enemy), he would recieve a "Judge Point", which could be used later for Summons or strong combination attacks. Besides regular MP, the character has additional "Fire Points" or FP, representing, again, stored heat energy. Ice attacks, which are comparatively weak, use only MP, but also grant small amounts FP. The (comparatively strong) Fire attacks use both MP and FP. The character would not have a huge capacity for FP, maybe 20-30, enough for 4-5 fire-based attacks. Of course, I could just forget the whole thing, and go with the standard Console RPG MP system... What do you guys think? I would appreciate feedback, and also additional ideas...

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I really like the environmental link. Stick with it.

It seems to me that it would be a matter of enemy and environment. If your enemies benefit from like environments (an ice monster on a glacier is strong, for instance), and your powers are derived from those environments, you could use a "core temperature" system.

Your avatar can draw heat from hot sources, cooling them to heat himself. You extinguish a match, for instance, by absorbing those BTUs into your body. The match goes out, you get a ittle warmer. If you want to melt an ice cube, you channel heat from yourself into it. It melts, you cool a little. So if you want to cool lava so you can run across, you actually have to take that heat into yourself. Then you can release it ro melt an ice wall or clear your driveway in the winter.

So if you're fighting Frosty the Snowman at the North Pole, you need to either find a heat source (the forge in Santa's workshop, for instance) and heat yourself up (cooling the forge in the process), and then go blast Frosty with a fire wave. If you're fighting a Balrog in a volcano, you'll have to find something cold (maybe slowly charge by melting a few rocks) in order to snuff his fire sword. This would make it extremely easy to defeat a foolish Salamander who wandered into an icy cave, since there's a ton of cold aroung to redirect, but would make your powers useless against demons in Hell (provided you're in the hot part of Hell).

You could even throw in a little calorimetry, so that walking across a tundra will slowly sap your fire power, and sitting by a camp fire will slowly recharge it, whether you want to or not.

This could lead to a real economy of superpowers, which I think would be terrific.

You could even throw in "caps" to spice it up a bit. At 90% you have lots of great fire powers available to you, but if you hit 100% you turn into a fire spirit and transcend the mortal plane, which makes you "die". Same thing with cold. At 10% you can do some serious chilling, but at 0% your soul freezes, and you vaporize into a flurry of snowflakes and a destructive pulse of frigid air.

So you can freeze or burn to death, making it that much more important to watch where you go and what you do.

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First off, I've never really liked an MP system.

You don't do anything to limit a fighter from swinging his sword, so why should you limit a magician from casting thier spells. Unfortunately thats what practically every game does. So your idea of infinate MP appeals to me. Stick with it.

I do like the dual-natured version of your character, I only see one problem, and that is your system relies completely on the adding and subtraction of heat. From what it looks like to me that you have an unlimited amount of cold spells to cast, and each time you cast, you get more power to cast fire spells. If your intention is to make fire spells more powerful than cold spells then this system works fine. However if your looking for a more balanced system I think you're a little one-sided.

I'd like to see something similar to a combination of idea's one and two.

First off Keep the infinate Mp idea especially in a superhero game, running out of super-powers is just plain dumb in my book.

Work it this way.

Give the player the ability to cast "spells", either hot or cold, as much as they want. Casting fire spells will net them bonus Cold Points (CP) and casting heat spells will net them bonus Heat Points (HP) now you can do this one of two ways depending on how you choose to look at it.

1. Cap the number of bonus Points (HP and CP) at a certain number say 10. Your player can then choose to go all heat (10 HP) all cold (10 CP) or try for some other version of balance (5/5) This leaves alot of customization open to the player on play-style.

2. Have a maximum number of HP and a Maximum number of CP and let them have no affect on each other. This reduces the amount of managing the player has to do. They can just focus on building up what they need for thier next battle, and not worry about what the other stack has in it.

Whichever method you use, the following then applies. Now that the player has built up some HP or CP, the next time they cast a hot or cold spell, they can toss in some bonus points to juice up the spell. Like you said, the truly powerful spells might just require BOTH.

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First off, I've never really liked an MP system.

You don't do anything to limit a fighter from swinging his sword, so why should you limit a magician from casting thier spells. Unfortunately thats what practically every game does. So your idea of infinate MP appeals to me. Stick with it.

I do like the dual-natured version of your character, I only see one problem, and that is your system relies completely on the adding and subtraction of heat. From what it looks like to me that you have an unlimited amount of cold spells to cast, and each time you cast, you get more power to cast fire spells. If your intention is to make fire spells more powerful than cold spells then this system works fine. However if your looking for a more balanced system I think you're a little one-sided.

I'd like to see something similar to a combination of idea's one and two.

First off Keep the infinate Mp idea especially in a superhero game, running out of super-powers is just plain dumb in my book.

Work it this way.

Give the player the ability to cast "spells", either hot or cold, as much as they want. Casting fire spells will net them bonus Cold Points (CP) and casting heat spells will net them bonus Heat Points (HP) now you can do this one of two ways depending on how you choose to look at it.

1. Cap the number of bonus Points (HP and CP) at a certain number say 10. Your player can then choose to go all heat (10 HP) all cold (10 CP) or try for some other version of balance (5/5) This leaves alot of customization open to the player on play-style.

2. Have a maximum number of HP and a Maximum number of CP and let them have no affect on each other. This reduces the amount of managing the player has to do. They can just focus on building up what they need for thier next battle, and not worry about what the other stack has in it.

Whichever method you use, the following then applies. Now that the player has built up some HP or CP, the next time they cast a hot or cold spell, they can toss in some bonus points to juice up the spell. Like you said, the truly powerful spells might just require BOTH.

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(Wow...did Robert just triple--post? :S)

@Robert: I like your ideas, but the only problem with the CP/HP system is, how would it work?
I mean, you can create ice by removing heat and create fire by adding it. But, with the CP/HP system, how would you create fire? by pulling coldness out of the air? doesn't work. (cursed high-school chemistry class!!)
'Course, that doean't really matter. Reality has very little sway on what happens in video games, especially one where people can fly, turn invisible, and spontaneously combust at will.
As far as MP in general, I think it works well with a superhero setting. As far as special abilitied go, it represents how much more energy the character has--i.e., it takes energy to, for example, chuck fireballs, and the player can only do it for so long. But that's my opinion.

@Iron Chef: That's another interesting idea, but this game is a console-style RPG--kinda like Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy. Console styles typically have an oversimplified battle system, compared to other games, so that's why I'm asking about an MP system. Your idea, though, would be great for an action-oriented RPG, like The Legend of Zelda. Your post kina reminded me of Luigi's Mansion for the GCN...

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Sorry about the triple posts. When your making posts from the middle of the ocean on 28k connections it gets a little wierd...

As for how it works....well never let science get in the way of a good superhero.

Your superhero is capable of storing heat in two different places, the HP represent the area where he can store heat gathered from the air. CP represents an area where he's sacrificed a seperate heat store...


I guess.

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Even if you go with a straight-up number for it, l and abstract the calorimetry stuff, I think it can be made to work without a lot of system balancing. You just have to be willing to design levels and scenarios with the system in mind.

Make it a 100-point scale (or a percent system that can be beefed up by levelling, or whatever), and have it divided into four sections: The bottom 25% is "Ice" mode, 25%-50% is "Cold" mode, 50%-75% is "Hot" mode and the top quarter is "Fire"' mode. Ice spells move you up, Fire spells move you down. Your "mode" when casting affects the power of the spell.

This way, if you use a lot of fire spells, you get colder and colder until your fire spells are very weak indeed. If you cast ice magic, you'll heat up until your ice magic is nearly useless.

Let the player carry around "recharge" items, like Brimstone or Icicles or something, so he can artificially re-adjust his MP quickly.

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hot-damn! I really like this "cool" idea!
(drum roll)

no, really, its really good. And with Iron Chef Carnage's addition it makes it even better.

my jillion cents:
-stick with the positive-negative MP, its intuitive (at least for those who know that cold = lack of heat)
-keep I.C.C.'s death caps. they prevent grinding for uber-strength and they make you mind your heat level.
-keep I.C.C.'s elemental puzzles. Even if you're aiming to console-style rpg, there are plenty of those with environmental puzzles. Zelda, Boktai, Golden Sun to name a few. (I'm sure there are more from other than nintendo [grin])
-keep I.C.C.'s elemental enemies. More on that below.

One thing I didn't see mentioned. If a Balrog lungs at you with fiery attacks... why not just absorb the heat in those attacks? since you can manipulate heat and all? here's my suggestion (which may or may not be useful).
Balrog forces you to absorb heat. If you absorb too much you'll die, and discharging your heat on the balrog will make it more powerful. You'll need to be very cool ([grin]) when you face it, and have some spare icicles on your pockets.

the idea is to drain enemies to room temperature. You could also do with environmental traps for enemies, say, freeze a bit of the lava river solid to divert it's flow and push the enemy away? dunno, stuff like that [grin]

anyways, had to chime in. I like it. I suggest you change the thread title to "hot-cold MP design issues--Feedback requested!"

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XP
I think I forgot to mention that I'm a novice game designer, and this is going to be my first real game.

That said, I like your ideas.

Here's what I'm thinking, using all the various suggestions...

The Hero has regular MP, just like everyone else, but also has a secondary MP variable that the player does not see. This second variable is how "hot" the Hero is. The Hero's approximate "temperature" is shown by an icon below his portrait in the menu. There are several different "temperatures": Normal, Cool, Cold, Very Cold, Frozen, Warm, Hot, Very Hot, and On Fire (Warm= +1-+50, Hot=+51-+90 Very Hot= +91-+99%, On Fire = +100. The scale is the same for cold, but all %s are negative "Normal"=0%). Ice attacks increase the "temperature" (absorbing heat), and Fire attacks decrease it (expending heat).

Your temperature affects how much damage fire and ice attacks do: i.e., when "Cool", Ice does +25% damage, while Fire does -25%--this reflects the fact that the Hero wants to regulate his temperature: i.e., when cold, it is easier for him to use ice attacks, because those will increase his "temperature" (by absorbing heat) and bring him closer to "normal" status. Also, when Frozen or On Fire, the Hero is unable to use attacks of the oposite element: when "On Fire", he is getting close to exceeding his heat capacity, and cannot use any ice attacks to absorb additional heat.

When the Hero is Very Hot/Cold, Frozen, or On Fire, he begins
to take damage(like the "Caps" that Robert(?) mentioned). At this point, the Hero's temperature is too far out of whack and starts affecting him. Obviously, the damage penalties for Frozen and On Fire are more severe than those for Very Hot/Cold. This will also prevent (Hopefully) the players from trying to Munchkin their way through a boss: they can't bring the Hero to Frozen or On Fire and destroy the boss with just a few, uber-powerful heat/cold spells.

Certain environments change the character's "temperature" slightly: sewers, generally cold and icky, will decrease the "temperature" by one point every minute or so, while hot beaches will increase it by the same rate. Also, certain items, which will only become availiable after the Hero joins the party, will affect the Hero's heat slightly--items like Hot Soup or Popsicle. Additionally, sleeping brings the Hero's "temperature" closer to normal.

-------

Is that kind a what you guys were thinking?

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