Sign in to follow this  
bardbarienne

Alternative Health Methods

Recommended Posts

As you push gently on the mossy wooden door, the smell of strange concoctions and pickled animal parts assault your... whoops, wrong opener. Important details: In this semi-turnbased game, there is only one playable character. She was human, but, after an accidental transformation, ended up half-plant. Over the course of the game, she has to reconcile her leafy green side, which "takes over" her human bits very, very slowly. At no point in the game is she fully one or the other, but initially she's very human and at endgame is approximately half-and-half. The plant side of her makes her resilient, but slower. My policy (at least here) is that the game mechanics should fit the story and the characters, not the other way around. Originally I was considering a regular health bar, where the player dies once the bar was depleted, but it didn't fit the character. Since she's a balance of two halves, I'm seeing if it would work to have a health bar that you have to balance in the middle - if she gets too human, she dies; if she gets too green, she dies. Here's how it works:
0     human      50      plant     100
|--------------*--|------------------|
Every time she has a human experience, like getting hit (bleeding, bruising), eating, or talking, take away points. A light hit might be -5, a full-course meal might be -25. Every time she has a "plant" experience, like planting something, having a plant reach another growth stage, or (I really don't want to program this one) standing still for extended periods of time, add points. Since plant experiences happen less often, they have higher point values: planting something new might be +15, while a growth stage might be +10. Her current position on the scale is marked by the asterix, so she's at about 45 right now. If you're wondering how she heals, first you must know that successful hits (from enemies) cut her - she plants seeds in the cuts, which doesn't necessarily heal her, it just adds points. However, she does have a maximum number of open wounds, so in a sense it does heal her. The challenge in a traditional RPG is to keep your health bar as high as possible. The challenge here is to keep it perfectly balanced at 50. Perfect balance awards you bonuses (double attack, extra items, another turn), while getting too low or too high has penalties - if you were at 10, for example, which is far too human for this character, you would be extremely weak. Most of your punch-kick moves would be available to you, but your plant-based abilties would be limited or blocked, and your natural defense would be next to nothing. At 95, your defense would be very high, but you would be unable to move except for a couple very limited plant-based moves. Should you hit either 0 or 100, you're dead. Questions: -What potential issues do you see with this system? -Other than health bars, what other forms of health tracking have you seen? Did they work? Disclaimer: I have no intentions of making money off of this game, so I don't give a hoot about the market or what sells in the game industry. Give me your opinions based on you, not "them."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Neat concept. Question for you - if she is not trying to be either, but both, since she has been changed, how would this work into some sort of ultimate goal for your game?

Would it be useful to have your plan/human hybrid take more plant like qualities when it took damage, IE your human part gets replaced by leafy green bits. And maybe healing on a grander scale would absorb the plant parts and return human bits -

you could have different level goals come to think of it, not turn entirely human, and have specific goals in the level that need to be achieved before you reach a certain stage of transformaton. Or via versa.

Would make a solid platformer or puzzle orientated first person style game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by larvantholos
Neat concept. Question for you - if she is not trying to be either, but both, since she has been changed, how would this work into some sort of ultimate goal for your game?

It's sort of an Okami-esque "restore your homeland" game, but the similarity ends there. Her island/continent has cut, destroyed, or paved over all its sources of plants or trees, and over time has rendered the ground mostly devoid of nutrients. It's her job to bring back the green, and due to the screwed up nature of the terrain, it has to be slow - in my head, I refer to her as a plant incubator. She would much prefer to be human, but after her accident, her body is partially dependent on plants and root systems, so if she denies that half, she dies.

Quote:
Would it be useful to have your plan/human hybrid take more plant like qualities when it took damage, IE your human part gets replaced by leafy green bits. And maybe healing on a grander scale would absorb the plant parts and return human bits -

That sort of appearance change (sproutin' flowers) is ability-driven, and doesn't come until later in the game. I would love to do that, though - maybe her skin turns green when it's too high, and a crackly gray-brown in spots when it's too low. It would mean a ton of sprites, though.

Quote:
you could have different level goals come to think of it, not turn entirely human, and have specific goals in the level that need to be achieved before you reach a certain stage of transformaton. Or via versa.

Ooh, neat! I've been approaching this from a semi-turnbased RPG perspective, I hadn't given much thought to puzzle (or even level design, for that matter). Even the idea of not being too plant or human to perform certain actions within a level (even as simple as opening doors) is a great idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like the concept of being able to get different abilities based on how human or how plant you become. Maybe make this a bit easier by 'collecting' chlorophyll, nutrients, water, or sunlight to sustain the plant side. Too little and it turns dry and brown (you become more human), too much and the plant side flourishes.

Should be fairly simple to incorporate whether you choose a platformer, RPG, puzzle, or hybrid (had too).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You could have the environment be very toxic for "baseline" humans, which might explain why're a lot weaker, why you instantly die at 100% human(assuming you did something that drains your plantness but isn't damaging) and give a few motives to your character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It would be cool if instead of balancing the two halves, you have to complete your mission before you get fully turned into a plant (tree?). When you start out, you're 100% human, and so take a lot of damage (and thus change into a tree faster). But the further along the tree scale go, the slower and slower you start to change (because you get more resilient against enemy attacks).

If/when you get to 100% tree, you can no longer move, and the game ends. You don't "die" per se, you just kind of... turn into a tree.

It probably wouldn't suit a very long game very well, but I think it would be pretty fun for a small art game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What someone mentioned before makes a lot of sense, especially in the context of the story you mentioned.

In a world without plants (like earth used to be), there's a whole lot of Carbon Dioxide, and not a whole lot of oxygen. If you're human, you can't breathe, so you need to maintain "plant-ness" in order to breathe the CO2. On the other hand, if you turn full plant, you're stuck, game over. You're just a plant now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
It probably wouldn't suit a very long game very well, but I think it would be pretty fun for a small art game.

While your idea doesn't necessarily suit my game, because it does have a longer story, I do like it - I might try making it first and including it as a minigame.

Quote:
In a world without plants (like earth used to be), there's a whole lot of Carbon Dioxide, and not a whole lot of oxygen. If you're human, you can't breathe, so you need to maintain "plant-ness" in order to breathe the CO2. On the other hand, if you turn full plant, you're stuck, game over. You're just a plant now.

Call me crazy, but I hadn't thought about the CO2 issue at all. Thanks for bringing that up, it'll add another wrinkle to things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shortly after an event that kills all plants, there is still plenty oxygen in the atmosphere. That and who is really going to care about that when they are immersed in a game?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by bardbarienne
Quote:
It probably wouldn't suit a very long game very well, but I think it would be pretty fun for a small art game.

While your idea doesn't necessarily suit my game, because it does have a longer story, I do like it - I might try making it first and including it as a minigame.


I'm glad you like my idea =)

But when I said "long game" I meant how long it takes to play the game, not the length of the story. If it is an art game, it will probably have a lot of story, without a lot of repetition of the game elements just to artificially draw out the length of the game (i.e. Call of Juarez 2).

I think it would be really fun for 2 or 3 hours, but any longer than that, and you'll be stuck at 99% plant for half the game, and people will start to wonder "why is the game not ending", because you're moving soooo slow, and hardly taking any damage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this