Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
templewulf

Meaningful Magic, or Leveraging Synergies

This topic is 4482 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

So, after a long arduous period of not doing much, I finally got back into gamedev-ing and am now at the point where I should start implementing game logic. As you might infer from this thread, my game can be summed up as a card-based wizard RPG. The mechanics are similar to Tactics RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics, or the Ogre series. Each battle is a fairly complex ordeal, and each unit has its own turn speed, rather than whole sides taking turns at once. Spells must be paid for with mana of the four classical elements, and creatures can be summoned to fight for you. My problem is that I want to know from other people who play similar games (Magic: the Gathering, YuGiOh, PokeCardBattleDuelMaster-whatever), what would make a good spell? And by good spell, I don't mean "ultimate super death attack", I mean spells that combo well with other spells and with the mechanics of the game. For instance, in M:tG, you can use the spell "Persecute" to remove cards from an opponent's hand, and the artifact "The Rack" does damage to them each turn if they don't have enough cards in hand. Can any of you Leverage the SynergiesTM?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Have you played Metal Gear Acid (either version)? There are quite a few cards in them that have effects based on the card mechanics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by SiCrane
Have you played Metal Gear Acid (either version)? There are quite a few cards in them that have effects based on the card mechanics.

I have not, as I lack the appropriate hardware, but I've heard it's quite good. That is, I heard that from the people who weren't whining about it being a turn-based Metal Gear.

From the wikipedia description, I don't understand how you could create useful card combinations, but I'm sure they cooked something up.

I'm already planning on using stamina to determine when each character moves, which sounds similar to MGA's COST mechanic, but I wasn't thinking of assigning variable stamina costs to each spell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well... hrm... I used to play M:TG religiously, but I won't counsel you to pick up any cards (or even closely related ideas) from Wizards, because they're kinda nazis about that stuff or so I've heard.

Counterspells and the like were always favorites of mine though, because if you can just shut the other player down, you don't even really need much of an offense. I've been talking about a magic system like this for a long, long time, that is, something that I always compared to the book Magic: The Gathering - Arena. Where players have tokens for spells, little packets of "mana" (read samples of the source from which it derives [i.e. dirt, water, grass, leave, etc...]) and the like and then hurl spells at one another in an all-out duel sort of fashion.

Since you're going for a cut-n-dry card game turned video, I would suggest getting some 3x5 notecards, making your actual "spells" on them, giving them all the usefulness you think they should have and then playing some games with friends to see exactly which spells are good to use, which ones can be disregarded and perhaps, which cards work best with which. It never hurts to get the mechanics down in ink and paper before turning them into bytes afterall.

Anyway, I know it's sorta brief and probably didn't help much, but that's my two cents, something to chew on,

Vopisk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The example you cited, "Persecute" plus "The Rack" in M:tG is an example of emergent gameplay; many examples of emergent gameplay arise through the interaction of various game mechanics, rather that being preplanned by the designer. (Though given that "The Rack" significantly predates "Persecute", they may have had that interaction in mind.)

If you want to have some kind of emergent gameplay, the best way is to have various gameplay mechanics that can potentially interact in interesting ways, for example:

Abilities that have an effect determined by some condition (such as the number of cards in your hand) and other abilities that change those conditions.

Abilities that change the behavior of other abilities. (For example, in M:tG, and spell that grants "Forestwalk", and an abilty that converts another land into a "Forest".)

Abilities that produce things, and other abilities that consume things. (M:tG example again: the "Ebon Praetor" required a sacrifice every turn; if this sacrifice was a specific type of creature, it gained a permanent and cumulative power boost. A certain enchantment produced one token creature of the apropriate type every turn.)

Abilities that actually change base game mechanics. (M:tG's Enchant World spells.)

Abilities that cause other abilities to be performed under certain conditions. (For example, linking "Final Attack" and "Phoenix" materia in Final Fantasy 7. With "Final Attack" equipped, the character would use the linked materia if they died; "Phoenix" would revive all dead characters.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

List of spells because they are silly:

'It was him...'
Effect: Unit talks to a unit within speaking distance and has tries to convince them to attack another unit.

'Leave me ALONE!'
Effect:If the unit is compleatly surrounded by enemy units and unable to move, they emit a burst of non-elemental damage to all adjasant units, with the possibility of knocking them back.

Summon Anvil
Effect:When summoned, the anvil falls from the sky and deals physical damage to a targeted unit. It takes several turns for the anvil to appear and the targeted unit is clearly marked. The targeted unit may move but the anvil will follow it.

Summon inanimate object
Effect: creates a bulky object on one square. The object has hitpoints and if attacked then it is destroyed. Useful for blocking some squares.

Dice
Effect: Rolls some dice to determine the damage delt. example damage= 2d6 x 10.

Load Dice
Effect: If on the next turn the unit uses a spell that uses dice, coins or other such objects to determine the effect. The player can tip the odds in their favor, increacing the chance of a favorable outcome.

White Elephant
Effect: unit selects one other unit (either friendy or foe) and then gives them one item from their inventory, if it is an eequipable item the target must wear it even if it means replacing an item they have equiped.

Summon Evil Twin
Effect: Targets one unit and summons a shadowy monster that looks vaugely similar to them. This monster has similar abilities to the one duplicates and will only target that one.

Play Dead
Effect: The next time the unit is attacked with enough damage to go into critical health, they drop onto the ground and their HP reads 0. However, they actually have some HP hidden away and still get turns. during their turns, you can either have them stay 'dead' or have them get up and take their turn as normal. If they get hit by anything that causes damage they stop playing dead.

Hurt Self
Effect: The caster uses up 1/4th of their available MP and receives nonelemental damage. This spell is very easy to learn, in fact it may very well be one of the first spells any magic user ever casts.

Magic Shortcircuit
Effect: Creates a pulse that covers a certain area around the caster. Anyone within the area immediatly attemps to cast 'Hurt Self'. People who can't cast magic are unaffected.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the replies, everyone.

@Vopisk:
Playtesting is always the best way to sort these things out, but using physical cards won't help, as the system I have in place determines turns by stamina, and each wizard/creature has their own rate of stamina regeneration (agility). It's a good suggestion, but I don't think I can quite use it for this.

@Anthony Serrano:
I know what you mean about emergent effects, but I would guess that the designers of M:tG did attempt to create it. That's why they only play with the most recent blocks so WotC doesn't have to balance every new set against 14 years worth of cards.

You've made a pretty good summary of the situation, which is helpful, but I was hoping somebody (i.e. you) might have some good suggestions about what types of effects they'd like to see in a wizardly battle.

@The Shadow Nose:
Some of those are a bit more cartoony than I had in mind, but the mechanics aren't half bad! I was already thinking of the "inanimate object", but I'm not far enough into scripting the battlefield movement to implement it yet.


Currently, I've got elemental resistances, 3 types of counterspells, forced forgetfulness (discard), forced drawing (for self or others), direct damage, damage over time, and movement modifiers (flight, firewalk, swim)

Does anyone else know of any clever spell scenarios that would be fun to see? Especially emergent spells would be appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not sure you couldn't still use physical cards to playtest the effects of using one spell against or in conjunction with another. You'll still be able to find the glaring holes in game balance issues and the like with this method before investing a large amount of time into implementing something that perhaps needs to be taken right back out again. Also, with my suggestion of 3x5 cards you can quickly scrawl notes on them about how a particular spell should be changed in this way or that before ever putting in the code, I find it easier to write the proper function/script in the first place rather than implement something I'm going to have to constantly go back and rework.

However, I do understand what you're attemping to accomplish with your stamina regeneration, but I don't think that this is necessarily a prohibiting factor in testing it old-school style if you will, if it works as a turn based card game and you know the spells are pretty close to balanced and work well with themselves and others, it's just a mattering having to fine-tune the stamina regeneration in order to maintain balance.

To touch on some other points, you ask for emergent combos and the like, but without game mechanics it's hard to say, will you have trample and if so, will you also have phasing? There are 14 years worth of cards out there and a lot of different magical "abilities" that have been introduced over the years, created by whole teams of individuals who sit around and ponder nothing but how to make a fun trading card game.

Some ideas that I would certainly find interesting would be things like artifacts and enchantments though, perhaps in the mode of allowing a player an inventory like you would normally find in an RPG-style game. Allow them to wear special equipment that gives them some bonus to X stat or spell (Cloak of the Elves drops forest casting costs by 1? Dwarven Mithril Boots allow the character to summon forth little 1/1 Dwarf token creatures at X rater per turn or some such). Also things like the glasses of Ezra or other "wearable" artifacts could have their own bonuses/abilities.

Other than those, I think primarily you're going to have to look towards original and interesting character summons and try to do something other than the run of the mill "direct damage" spells like we've all seen rehashed time and time again in ever magic system ever put into text, video or other type of game.

Anyway, more of my comments, hope something in here was helpful,

Vopisk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Personnally, I think that, if you're going for a semi-RPG-style Card Game, you should have levels in different magic abilities, such as Direct damage spells, summoning spells, enchanting spells and so on and so forth. These levels could determine WHICH of the effects of a card would come out (provided you have a list of effects depending on the levels.)

As for playtesting, if you're a tabletop PnP RPGer, you might have heard of a game called FengShui, which does have a "tick", and allows for different lengths of turns. I use such a thing in my own card game. ALthough I'll admit it doesn't have much to do with magic. It is a duelling card game. Proper blade duelling. PLUS it requires you to have a pre-drawn-out board, which comes with a character deck. But to hell...

As for the different effects of leveraging, as you dubbed it, you need to predefine what the different abilities will be, in order to balance them. You can decide you'll have a summoning ability, and that there will be spells to modify the summoned creature (enchant), spells to destroy other spells (disenchant, or dispell, or counter) and maybe objects giving special abilities, like in YuGiOh!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Vopisk
To touch on some other points, you ask for emergent combos and the like, but without game mechanics it's hard to say, will you have trample and if so, will you also have phasing? There are 14 years worth of cards out there and a lot of different magical "abilities" that have been introduced over the years, created by whole teams of individuals who sit around and ponder nothing but how to make a fun trading card game.
Hmm...I suppose I did ask a pretty broad question. Really, I wanted to know what kinds of mechanics people want to see, what are a bad idea and what I could try that non-electronic games couldn't. Most abilities in M:tG are a complete waste (what does horsemanship even do?), but I'm going to lift a couple like trample and kicker.

Quote:
Original post by Vopisk
Some ideas that I would certainly find interesting would be things like artifacts and enchantments though, perhaps in the mode of allowing a player an inventory like you would normally find in an RPG-style game. Allow them to wear special equipment that gives them some bonus to X stat or spell (Cloak of the Elves drops forest casting costs by 1? Dwarven Mithril Boots allow the character to summon forth little 1/1 Dwarf token creatures at X rater per turn or some such). Also things like the glasses of Ezra or other "wearable" artifacts could have their own bonuses/abilities.
Equipment will be part of the equation, but the amount you can carry or have actively equipped before getting into battle is determined by strength. Since you have to devote a wizard's stat points to it, I don't suspect people will go overboard with items. Any other items/equipment will have to be summoned in-battle.

Quote:
Original post by Vopisk
Other than those, I think primarily you're going to have to look towards original and interesting character summons and try to do something other than the run of the mill "direct damage" spells like we've all seen rehashed time and time again in ever magic system ever put into text, video or other type of game.
That's exactly what I'm talking about! I'm sure if I could cast magic spells, I'd have something more useful than 8 different kinds of damage spells. I'm also considering having a double-use for spells on the field as well as in battle, but given that I haven't even finished the battle system, I'm a long way from that.

Quote:
Original post by Fournicolas
Personnally, I think that, if you're going for a semi-RPG-style Card Game, you should have levels in different magic abilities, such as Direct damage spells, summoning spells, enchanting spells and so on and so forth. These levels could determine WHICH of the effects of a card would come out (provided you have a list of effects depending on the levels.)
I'm trying to avoid levels as much as possible. Eventually, I want to add competitive network play, and levels would make 2-player battles a little unfair. I am, however, going to add an optional cost to many spells that will enhance what the spell can do (a kicker, in M:tG parlance).

I've never played Feng Shui, but it looks like something I would enjoy. I don't know how you'd keep track of everyone's stamina in PnP, which is one of the reasons I made this electronic.

Quote:
Original post by Fournicolas
As for the different effects of leveraging, as you dubbed it, you need to predefine what the different abilities will be, in order to balance them. You can decide you'll have a summoning ability, and that there will be spells to modify the summoned creature (enchant), spells to destroy other spells (disenchant, or dispell, or counter) and maybe objects giving special abilities, like in YuGiOh!
Maybe I should have gone into more detail about how my game works.

Well, this is already a long post, so I don't think I'll go into too much about how my game works, because you've already given me a lot to think about. Once I get some art assets, I think I'll put the game up. Until then, continue with the suggestions!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!