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choffstein

Magic without the spells...

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I am working on a new game design where the player uses the elements to perform spells. But not in the typical "Your player has cast 'Fireball'" way. In the sense that you literally manipulate the element. What I mean is something like this: You are in a room surrounded by enemies, and in the room is a small pond. As the player, you "click" on the pond and begin to drag. Your player immediately begins casting, and begins to control the water, and as long as you hold your mouse down, the water will trail and follow the mouse. As soon as you let go, you no longer control the water and it falls to the ground. Now, I thought this could have some awesome abilities: real time control over spells and manipulation of in game items. Say someone shoots a fireball across the room at you -- one quick flick of the wrist and you summon water from your water jug to create a water wall infront of you by just holding your mouse infront of your character. Now, the issue is this: spells generally come in different strengths and sizes. I don't want to use the generic "player cast fireball" kind of thing...I want the player to drag the fire around the room with their mouse, erupting damage. But how do I keep this interesting? I figure that there would be some sort of level up system based on kills using an element, so the control over that element would grow, so you become more powerful with it. I don't want to drop the scheme of the manipulation of elements, but I wonder if there is another method I could use in conjunction to make it more interesting. I mean, when I am controlling fire...what if I want a very concentrated ball, or a large spray to hit the entire room. How could I differentiate if the player is just clicking and holding? Do you think I should have generic "designs" that the player can hit the 'F' keys to choose from? For example, to create a centralized fireball, I would hit F1 for the "centralized" style, and then start manipulating the fire? Any thoughts? I think it really has some potential for reali time attack and defense as long as I can figure it out. I figure fellow game players can help me come up with the most comfortable scheme. <3 visage

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Seems like a very interesting idea. You mention that the players ability grows based on kills. Wouldn't it be better if the player gets better when he uses the element, since he propably wants to use the elements for defence and other this.

As for control, perhaps use the mouse movements to control? If the player clicks on water and then quickly drags the mouse towards his enemies, a powerful ball of water shots towards the enemies. If he instead clicks on the water, and just moves the mouse in front of the player, a wall of water springs up to protect the player.

Anyway, hope you decide to do something with this idea, I would love to play a game with this kind of magic.

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Seeing as two people just recommended the exact same thing...maybe thats the way to do it...however, the idea is that you shouldn't have to differentiate between "wall of water infront of the player" and "ball of water at the enemy", because by just moving the water infront of the player, you are essentially creating your own wall (this is 2d overhead I am talking about).

My concern was more with the shape and style of the current manipulation. I am thinking that the f1 through f12 will be the best way, where f1 is something simple like "concentrated mass", f2 is "spray", f3 is "shroud", all the way up to f12, which is "wall" or something like that, and as you use an element more and more, these unlock.

Do you like this system? I think the issue with the mouse based system is it would not be as fast as I would like. My thinking with the f1 through f12 system is that as the style becomes more powerful (wall is more powerful than spray, for example), it would require more of the element, which may not be available at the time. For example, if you can only carry 10 gallons on you in your magic container, and a wall would require 15 gallons, than you can't cast it.

Thoughts?

Thanks for the responses!

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Cool idea. If you wanted to create a ball of water / fire / whatever, you could have the player move the mouse in small circles around the source ( pond, torch, whatever ) dragging in more of the element and then throw it. This way you could set it up to allow higher level players to make bigger or stronger balls. If a novice tried it, it could just fall apart in their face. You could use the left mouse button to specify a projectile and the right mouse button to specify a more defensive option, like a wall.


If you haven't already seen it, check out this show called "Airbender: The Last Avatar" I think its on Nickelodeon. The magic users in the show do something similar to what you are describing here. It could make for some good research / inspiration.


It sounds like a great idea. You could even have it set up so you could combine elements, like water and air to make an ice wall, or something.


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My thought was that if you move the mouse slowly towards the enemies you can send a spray of water, and if you move the mouse fast the water gets more concentrated. But when I think about it I realise that you can't spray water very fast. I mean, since you have to move the mouse slowly, it will take more time to spray water than shot water balls. But this depends of course how fast paced the game will be.

However, if you mean that F1-F12 will control how dense the water is, I think that's a good idea. F1 will make the water scatter and produce a spray, and F12 will make the water really dense and produce hard balls of water. But if you meant that the keys will do different things, I think that would be too hard to use. If you for example meant that F1 creates a spray, F2 creates a ball, etc, it feels like it would be hard to memorize what the keys do.

Too bad that you can't measure how hard a mouse button is pressed, that would have made it easier [smile]. But I don't really know how to solve this, just trying to share some ideas.

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Especially if combat is going to be a big part of the game, I would suggest a system where you select an element (like water) and click where you want it to be an the spell automaticlly moves the closest source of the element to the location at what ever speed the spell can move it at.

A fire ball would work the same way where you click in front of you but quickly moving the mouse away from your character and releasing the mouse button will "throw" the fire. But becarful if you are under ground and extinquish the last torch for this spell, everone will be left in the dark.

Of course objects in the way of the closest source of water like a wall would dramaticly affect how fast the water would arrive at its intended destination. So in the case of a pond being 10 feet to your right but with a wall in the way and a pond 20 feet to your left, you could still do the drag from pond idea.

Even if you have an instentanous creation of elemnt effect (create water, fire, etc) still make the power of creating it and/or how long till it actually appears based on how close/near the nearest item of that element is. I.e. creating fire next to a fire place should be easy, but in the middle of an ocean it should be a bit harder.

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I think a better example of a gesture system would be Arx Fatalis, since that actually uses it for a freehand magic system of its own. Mouse wheel isn't a bad way either.

My particular approach would be the combination of elements. For example, you mentioned a jug the player could summon water out of to manipulate. What if the player wanted the water to be thicker? Well the player could pick up some dirt (say from the floor) and combine it with the water in the jug to make mud which is thicker, and then use it to create a wall. This is essentially a basic form of alchemy combined with telekenesis. At this point, all you'd have to do is think of the possible spell combinations the player could make out of the objects and elements available in the room.

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First, I want to state something: this game will be one of dexterity.

The best controls as I see them:
Control character with point-and-click system (right button)

Aquiring a source element to use in your spells:
- once you want to use an element left click on it (without moving mouse too much); show player he currently manipulate the element - let's say fire from a candle. Posibilities - icon or effects over/round him, some icon in interface, some manifestation from element source (so can easily recognize his source of power)

Casting a spell:
- draw "spell rune" on the ground keeping left button pressed. On release analyze shape, size and orientation to determine spell type. Shape perfection will have an impact on spell efficacy (more dmg, duration etc).

Example:
- drawing a narrow angle with apex at your character position will generate a fire blast filling the angle. If wider it will do less damage (keep the same total damage).
- draw a echilateral triangle and you will cast some armor (make templates)
- draw a echilateral triangle on a target and you will cast ignite on it
- use your imagination :)

Another topic to consider is the nature of source element. For example manipulating fire from a candle will generate weaker spells than manipulating fire from a fire camp or a vulcano. Of course your character specialization or certain skills may improve over this, you may have spells that generate element.

This is an easy to learn system, each player plays at his own dexterity level. Items can affect the above variables. Beware to balace spells so even low dexterity people can cast the general ones (specials are for those who improve).

Let's see where this analyse goes...

Best wishes,
Cod.

PS: people like templates ;)

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