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Andruil

Spellweaving for sci-fi / weapons

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I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with what Age of Conan claimed they were going to do with magic. What I'm refering to is what the original vision for magic was, not the abomination that it is currently (for those of you playing). Considering how bad combos are in AoC I don't know that spellweaving would have been all that great. Ok so I'm going to give my own rendition of spellweaving rather than try to discuss what a company failed to create. To sum up spellweaving: As I see it I would be taking several basic spells and using them to mix and merge together to form more powerful spells. So 1 basic fire might be a fireball. 5 fires and 3 earths mixed together might be a meteor. 4 fires and 2 winds might be a firestorm. Certain types might not be able to mix normally such as fire and ice. At the same time it might be that fire, ice, and air make a frozen flame. Basically the sky is the limit for the developer. I can see alot of potential with spellweaving but where I'm falling short is figuring out how to do something similar with futuristic / sci-fi weapons. One possibility I can think of is to provide different types of ammo which can be combined. So if I take a laser and add in a projectile bullet I get an armor or shield peircing laser. Or if I took a projectile bullet and added a sonic bullet the bullet would strike and do internal damage (avoid armor essentailly). So what I'm looking for is how to do a weapons version of spellweaving. I'm not looking for an age of conan style combos. Button clicking for the sake of button clicking = boring imo. The problem with these combos is that they aren't true combos. I have to say that I'm using X combo and then click the right combination of buttons for it to work. Another possibility is to step aside from the ammo and go with the skills that a player uses. So do combos in the sense of weaving skills together. So I could chain a knockdown with a slam which would cause the slam to do extra damage due to the character being knocked down. I guess it might be a bit like guild wars with their conditions and certain skills working or doing extra stuff based on a particular condition being there. Or perhaps by chaining a knockdown with a slam you get a different set of effects from the individual skills entirely. So chaining a knockdown followed by slam might lead to one effect but a knockdown slam kick might be something entirely else. Comments, suggestions, critiques are greatly appreciated.

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You can make it be about Engineering/Tinkering, mixing and matching various machine components together to create combos of effects on a weapon. For this you can break down the weapon components into categories; for instance, one category may be Ammunition (delivery type such as explosive? armor piercing? energy-based?), another the Firing Mechanism (delivery method), yet another the Targeting Mechanism (laser sights? scopes? automatic targeting?) etc. You can also have additional components such as Silencers for stealthy attacks, or an underneath Grenade Launcher to give an assault weapon the option of launching grenades. Or Capacitators to dictate how many bullets you can shoot in a given time. Or Coolant Systems (counters overheating), Tripod Attachments (to increase accuracy at the cost of mobility), Computers, Bayonets (for ammo-less close-combat thrust), Chainsaw Bayonets, etc etc. Possibilities for the end result's combination can become endless.

Give a certain amount of time (which can be determined by what quality of tools you are using) to put the components together especially when you are out on the field, which allow you to be able to to put combinations together relatively right-on-the-spot, although not as flexible and quickly as magic spells. It would also require you to study what enemies are ahead of you or are involved in your mission and plan accordingly. Example: attaching a Silencer on your pistol for a stealth mission, or a laser sight, or a tripod on your machine gun for a hold-your-position mission. You could also say that major adjustments such as tweaking the firing mechanism of your weapon can only be done in cities, which especially work well if your game is to be mission (quest) oriented.

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How far in the future are you? Are you absolutely limited to guns, or can you go Star Trekkie with pseudo-scientific "field emitters?"

If you can, you can do a very similar system, change the effect names (Thermal for fire, Cryo for ice, etc.) and make it a beam that the "field gun" emits.

You could either mix the effects simultaneously but I think stringing them together would be more interesting, especially if some effects take more time. If, for instance, a shot gives you the ability to levitate or freeze, and then you can crush-- but crush takes a long time, you have a strategy of trying to make it so that the enemy doesn't go anywhere.

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Original post by Wavinator
How far in the future are you? Are you absolutely limited to guns, or can you go Star Trekkie with pseudo-scientific "field emitters?"

If you can, you can do a very similar system, change the effect names (Thermal for fire, Cryo for ice, etc.) and make it a beam that the "field gun" emits.

You could either mix the effects simultaneously but I think stringing them together would be more interesting, especially if some effects take more time. If, for instance, a shot gives you the ability to levitate or freeze, and then you can crush-- but crush takes a long time, you have a strategy of trying to make it so that the enemy doesn't go anywhere.


I'm looking at probably star trek level of tech.

So stringing them together eh? That could be interesting. So I'm hearing that basically certain types of attacks can use / exploit the effects from other attacks. So perhaps a flamethrower heats up an enemy which means that a laser gun does more damage.


I'm not entirely familiar with the concept of field emitters. What exactly is it that they do?

Also for the weapons themselves I'm not restricted to anything. I was even considering adding a melee component for those who like things up close and personal. So pretty much the sky is the limit.

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You could use different objects with different properties. I find that the best way of treating these is to have ratios that determine what the object itself is, while granting a bonus to doubles or triples of these ratios. In a fantasy RPG, this could be something like:

#1 Fire = Fireball
#2 Fire = Fireball + 1
#3 Fire = Fireball + 2

#1 Fire : 1 Earth = Meteor
#2 Fire : 2 Earth = Meteor + 1

#3 Fire : 2 Light = Solar Ray

This can easily be transferred into sci-fi by using objects that impart certain properties to an object. For example:

Optical Lense = 3 Magnification
Bulb = 2 Light
Metal Scraps = 2 Support

#4 Light : 3 Magnification : 2 Support = Laser Pistol (Handheld - Light)
#8 Light : 6 Magnification : 4 Support = Laser Rifle (Handheld - Medium)
#12 Light : 9 Magnification : 6 Support = Laser Cannon (Placement/Handheld - Heavy)
#16 Light : 12 Magnification : 8 Support = Laser Placement (Placement/Ship)
#20 Light : 16 Magnification : 10 Support = Laser Defense Turret (Ship/Station)

If you gave each material a weight as well, then the opportunity to expand by using lighter or more material-efficient materials becomes available. There could even be a choice between low-weight and low-cost materials as a mechanic. With a limit to how much weight each unit type could carry, (okay, now I'm getting into RTS territory), it could become a question of balancing power with manouverability. Do you have a large force of grunts with low-quality, high weight laser pistols, or an elite fighting squad with lightweight laser rifles, at a far higher cost? It gives all kinds of possibilities for evolution in materials, as well. In the early game, you may be able to mine only iron from asteroids (2 support, 1kg per unit, and low cost), but later on you may be extracting aluminium (5 support, 200g per unit, high-cost). It offers all kinds of interesting strategy, like sabotaging technology, and rewards the people who like to build a large base, as well as the tank-rushers. Sure, you can charge in, but by the time you get there, they may have laser weapons that completely destroy your low-tech ballistics.

It's this kind of choice and scope for different strategies that make playing with this sort of system unique. With enough balancing from the designers, you should never meet someone with a strategy identical to one you've seen before - only similar. It could lead to a very in-depth and complex (and fun) way of playing.

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Original post by Andruil
So I'm hearing that basically certain types of attacks can use / exploit the effects from other attacks. So perhaps a flamethrower heats up an enemy which means that a laser gun does more damage.


Yep, and you could create enemies that are better defeated if the player discovers specific sequences.

Quote:

I'm not entirely familiar with the concept of field emitters. What exactly is it that they do?


They're pure balonium (as Larry Nevin says), meaning that anytime Star Trek wanted an effect somewhere (time slow, cold, heat, barrier, paralysis, etc.) they explained it with the baloney excuse of an energy field generated in that spot.

Quote:

I was even considering adding a melee component for those who like things up close and personal. So pretty much the sky is the limit.


Ha, then no reason you couldn't have an "energy bayonet" if you wanted.

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Original post by Wavinator
Quote:
Original post by Andruil
So I'm hearing that basically certain types of attacks can use / exploit the effects from other attacks. So perhaps a flamethrower heats up an enemy which means that a laser gun does more damage.


Yep, and you could create enemies that are better defeated if the player discovers specific sequences.


Sounds like a good idea. I'll have to play around with this some more.


Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Quote:

I'm not entirely familiar with the concept of field emitters. What exactly is it that they do?



They're pure balonium (as Larry Nevin says), meaning that anytime Star Trek wanted an effect somewhere (time slow, cold, heat, barrier, paralysis, etc.) they explained it with the baloney excuse of an energy field generated in that spot.


Aha. I tend to prefer a reasonable explanation for things. I don't have to have it but if given a choice an reasonable explanation > baloney.

Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Quote:

I was even considering adding a melee component for those who like things up close and personal. So pretty much the sky is the limit.


Ha, then no reason you couldn't have an "energy bayonet" if you wanted.


I actually hadn't thought of that. Sounds interesting.



So I had a bit of an epiphany when I read Delphinus' post. The way you put the magic and weapons into those terms made me think. Why does my weapon have to be a single weapon? After all with magic you have one source of magic but it has many forms. With weapons we usually have a single weapon at any given time. So if we have a rifle it is only a rifle. If we have a pistol it is only a pistol. What if I merged the concepts from magic into weapons? Lets see if I can successfully paint this image on the first try.

Like I said before most games have weapons that are very specific. So a rifle is only a rifle, a sword is only a sword, a cannon is only a cannon, etc. What if my weapons were composed of nanobots and could change shape / function at will? So now similar to what Delphinus was saying by mixing certain... skills (for a lack of a better word) I can create any weapon / almost any weapon. Perhaps the bigger the weapon the longer it takes to transform. This would provide the first phase of weapon spellweaving. In a way it would be like the type of magic (i.e. long range, aoe, armor penetrating, etc). Then a similar thing could be done with ammo. So each weapon comes with a default ammo that requires nothing to use. Its just your standard attack. Then on top of that you can enhance bullets by adding more power. So for a rifle I might weave an armor peircing bullet or a phosphorus bullet. Each weapon could have its own unique set of things that it can have spellcrafted. So a cannon might have an AoE shell but a pistol would not be able to have that same effect.

Another thing could be that you have to collect and absorb the weapon in order to be able to weapon-weave it.

Edit: Adding a quick example. So a cannon might have a default shot of a single shell (think a typical tank). I could add in a AP component to it or I could weave APx2 and AOEx2. This would give me a tank shotgun shell.

Also I just realized that if the only reason for weaving weapons was to change weapons it would be alot like combos are in Age of Conan. Button mashing for the sake of button mashing. So what I think could be interesting would be to have the weapon switch have a standard button but by weaving them you can get extra abilities or modifications to the weapon.

So take a rifle. Standard laser rifle has 10 accuracy, 15 damage and 20 range. Now lets weave the weapon. By adding in 6 magnification my weapon just gained 10 range but it now costs 10 more energy per shot and overheats slightly faster. If I add in 4 Light instead of magnification my weapon does 25 damage but overheats significantly faster and takes 5 more energy per shot.


So basically it would be a mixture of pros and cons. This way its not just the easy choice of weave weapon X with +damage or +range. It could also provide for weaving the same weapon you are carrying multiple times in battle based on things like is the enemy running away.

Edit2: Bah I fail. I got so excited I forgot to say thank you Delphinus. Your idea is very much in line with what I'm looking for. And thank you everyone else who is also contributing to this idea.

[Edited by - Andruil on August 13, 2008 8:18:30 AM]

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Haha, I'm glad I could be of help. To be honest, I've been mulling that idea over for a while now. The requirements to use work much better for an RPG (where play tends to be focussed much more on one or only a few characters) than RTSs (where you command vast armies). Really, though, I think that that system can be added into many different types of games. RPGs? Have a requirement or 'energy' cost that changes depending on certain elements of the weapon. RTSs? Have a limit for each type of unit (I used weight, but it could equally be energy etc.) can use. Platformers? Decrease speed or jump height depending on weapon characteristics. FPSs? Change speed and jump height again. What we need to see more of in games is the possibility for the player to use their own playing style, rather than a 'best' strategy. This is even more important in multiplayer games. Did base-rushing win World War One? No, it just killed many people a day.

Anyhow, I'm glad my suggestion helped. Also, you fail for not thanking me (even though you did in your edit). ;)

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Original post by Delphinus
Haha, I'm glad I could be of help. To be honest, I've been mulling that idea over for a while now. The requirements to use work much better for an RPG (where play tends to be focussed much more on one or only a few characters) than RTSs (where you command vast armies). Really, though, I think that that system can be added into many different types of games. RPGs? Have a requirement or 'energy' cost that changes depending on certain elements of the weapon. RTSs? Have a limit for each type of unit (I used weight, but it could equally be energy etc.) can use. Platformers? Decrease speed or jump height depending on weapon characteristics. FPSs? Change speed and jump height again. What we need to see more of in games is the possibility for the player to use their own playing style, rather than a 'best' strategy. This is even more important in multiplayer games. Did base-rushing win World War One? No, it just killed many people a day.

Anyhow, I'm glad my suggestion helped. Also, you fail for not thanking me (even though you did in your edit). ;)


I hadn't even thought of taking this outside of the RPG realm.... I'm going to have to think of that quite a bit more. I have my own ideas for how to improve an RTS (tactics / formations mostly) but this could enhance it even more... /wanders off to ponder some more.


One of my friends who I've been discussing this with has pointed out that I could even apply this to offensive and defensive abilities. It really can add depth to alot of different areas.

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