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Delphinus

Spectral Logic

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Ok, here's the picture. I have a project for graphic design in my school which I have two years (well, more like one-and-a-half now) to complete. We're expected to put in forty hours of work in total. Seems low? Seemed low to me too. The thing is, I really want to excel in this course, mostly to keep up my reputation as a good student (I get A or A* grades in all my 'important' subjects, so I'm certainly in the top ten percent of my year group - my lowest ever grade was a C or B, which is still enough to count as a 'pass' - not that I'm boasting or anything, sorry if I come across as arrogant). What we need to produce is one 3D and one 2D outcome for our projects based around a central theme. I naturally chose a game, since Game Design is one of my big interests. For my 2D section, I'm producing an instruction leaflet and box art for the mock game, and for my 3D outcome, I'm modelling the level in 3D using real-life materials such as wood, metal, plastic etc. (I still don't get why digital 3D models aren't allowed... probably because they can be stolen). I'd like to attempt to impress my teacher (and more to the point, challenge myself)- so not only do I want to produce the above outcomes, I'd also like to produce a detailed design brief for review. I'm well aware that this is not actually necessary, but at the least, it will help me get a team together when I try to actually produce the game (a goal for college or university). I have most of the gameplay mapped out in my head, it's just getting it down on paper that takes... a while. I don't really get much spare time for a few reasons, so I think it will take me significantly longer than the 3 months I've read as the 'normal' period to write and refine the design documentation. So, onto the game itself: Spectral Logic Spectral Logic is an sci-fi RPG set in the future, and built around the philosophy of JRPG design. Among other things, it features a highly innovative in-game skill-modifying system, an easy-to-use skill system offering huge amounts of customisation, and an epic storyline (yes, ignore the pretty obvious advertisement). What I'll be dealing with today is the skill system. The skill system consists of six skills, each with six possible levels. These are described below. Weapon: This unlocks new attacks available using only the weapon (for example, the Laser Claymore used by the main character could unlock a downward slamming attack). These are not automatically learnt, but must be bought or found in the form of computer chips which plug into the character's cyber-armor. These chips may have a Weapon level requirement as well as a standard level requirement. It also opens new slots on the weapon (the better the character can work their weapon, the more ways they can find to insert chips). While the weapon begins with two open slots, it gains another per Weapon Level, meaning the weapon can have up to eight available slots. New weapons cannot be bought for characters - rather, new chips are installed to increase the weapon's power. Black-hat: This is your bog-standard 'black magic' skill. It allows the player to use Black-hat chips up to their Black-hat level. These function in exactly the same way as any other chip, but must be plugged into the character's armor (See Biotech). The chips also tranfer their component parts into custom skill creation if usable (see Programming). White-hat: Like Black-hat, except it functions like a 'white magic' skill. Biotech: This enables more open slots for computer chips - starting from four, these go up by two per Biotech level. The computer chips installed here effect both Black and White-hat skill availabilities, and also can also effect base stat growth. The best way to think of chips is as Materia from FFVII. Skill: This skill enables base skills which have unique effects for each character, and are gained at certain levels. These skills do not require computer chips, but they may require Energy (the equivalent of Mana). Programming: This is the risky one. It gives an additional 0.1% increase in all stats gained at each level up. At 1 Programming, they would increase by an additional 0.1%, at 2 Programming 0.2%, and so on. As well as this it allows access to some special chips and (here comes the risky part!) allows access to custom skill creation. At Programming 1, this is a simple visual editor allowing editing of things such as AOE, Activation, Effect, etc. Energy costs would vary for custom skills depending on their component parts. At Programming 3, the Visual Editor remains, but it now allows access to the innards of the skills - instead of a firebolt barrage, you could now have one firebolt, one icebolt, and one lightbolt. At Programming 5, it gets really in-depth. You can still access the Visual Editor, but there is now a simplified scripting engine on offer to compose skills with, allowing while loops, if loops, and other basic scripting components. This will allow the patient player to make skills with exactly the look, sound effects, and timing he wants.
After that huge wall of text, I have some questions: 1: Is it even worth writing a design document for a school project? 2: Are my ideas good? 3: Do you think I'm likely to be able to carry out the 3D, 2D, and Design Document outcomes considering my time available? 4: Any suggestions or tips?

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1: Is it even worth writing a design document for a school project?

Since you won't actually make a game( unrelated to it being a school project ) and don't have to give your teacher a design document, it seems like an overkill. Just detail the art related areas and write general concepts about everything else, just to be sure there will be consistency.


2: Are my ideas good?

I'm not good at giving feedback about this. Sci-fi games with many stats aren't my cup of tea.


3: Do you think I'm likely to be able to carry out the 3D, 2D, and Design Document outcomes considering my time available?

Depends on the length of the game. That means, think of a game short enough to have enough time.


4: Any suggestions or tips?

Not really, sorry.

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If the document isn't *necessary* for anything, isn't its worth just how much you enjoy writing it? You'll have to decide that, not us. :)

I like some of your ideas, though. Plugging chips into your armor to enhance abilities -- cool. (Can you remove them from the armor, or are they permanent?) I also really like your black-hat/white-hat idea -- nice way to add depth to the system while staying within the themes you've selected.

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The first word that crosses my mind is Cyberpunk.
I'm a big fan of this genre so this game certainly tastes good to me, so far.
I think parts of what a typical design document exists of could be useful to you. With no doubt I'm pointing towards the description of each and every level, but there could be more. Your description of the characters or the protagonist's background could affect the design of the box. If the world in Spectral Logic is not set on earth, but finds it's roots in there (in other words, like with Freelancer, you can see for every culture where it came from back in the earth-days), then the protagonist's background could influence the way the player see's the game. For example, if the protagnost is from a russian bloodline then you can imagine his culture does not involve the colour blue, eagles and swords. The colours brown and red would be more suited, but also cliche but that's another story.

Perhaps I'm drifting a bit, parts of a design document are possibly essential to maintain consistency. Others are just plain garbage for this project, such as system requirements & the game's rules.

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