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First Person Casters?

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I'm working on prototyping possible casting mechanics for a first-person wizardry game, and I'm wondering what other games of this subgenre are out there that I may have missed, and any particularly good (or particularly bad) examples people have seen.

Off the top of my head I can think of:

The Heretic/Hexen games
The Elder Scrolls series
Dark Messiah of Might & Magic
technically, the Jedi Knight games

Most of these seem to treat spellcasting as FPS guns with mana for ammo (Heretic being basically a reskinned DOOM clone). Has anyone come across games that let you be a wizard that feels like a wizard, rather than a fantasy marine with a fireball launcher? Of the above, Elder Scrolls comes closest, but even there it's "select spell, press button to cast."

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What are you looking for besides "Select Spell, Shoot projectile" and off shoots your spell in first person?

It sounds like you just want something more subtle and ambient, which makes me think of Battle for Wesnoth more than anything. Instead of shooting projectiles, imagine you gesture for the spell, and suddenly the ground begins to shake. You've just caused an earthquake. Maybe the spells add some elemental effect to your equipment or weapons. Set the combustible materials near you on the ground aflame, which causes other things to burn, and explosive materials will explode. Have a similar spell for electrocution.

Also, Force Push from JK was always pretty darn cool. [smile]

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The issues with spellcasting is how to determine what has the most realistic feel. I've shot plenty of guns, so I can tell when a fps has that sense of realism which can capture me. I've never shot lightning from my fingertips, though i've tried often... The games you listed have the simple, select spell and cast because its simple. People will grab it fast and play it like an fps because that is what they know. I personally would love a new take on a spell caster game, but cannot give any advice on an intuitive idea that would be accepted.

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Going with what Benjamin said about gesturing for a spell, I always liked the mechanics of Black and White for spells. If you didn't play it, you used mouse movements to make a "gesture" and that would be linked to some spell. While that wasn't first person I would think something similar could be adapted to first person and still be easily picked up by the player. Also as far as general frame of reference like the other person mentioned with his reference to guns I would think most people have pictured a wizard moving their hands and arms around to make a spell so they should still be able to bring that knowledge into the game.

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You might try Arx Fatalis. It's first person and uses gesture-based magic a bit like Black & White. You chain multiple gestures together for each spell (each gesture is... like an 'ingredient' for the spell).

Pros: It's interesting, and you can discover new spells by experimenting.

Cons: You hold a key to shift the mouse into magic-gesture mode, and this makes it VERY hard to do anything else at the same time (like avoid enemies in close combat). Spells can be very complicated to input, so it would be nice if either a) spells were more powerful so that gesture input didn't take up 90% of mage combat, or b) time slowed down to let you enter in the gestures.

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actually i believe the void (indie game on steam) had a similar cast mechanic where you draw symbols.

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99% of spell casting is being able to see the caster go through their exaggerated casting motions, and chanting. It doesn't lend itself well to the first person view because you miss out on all of that.

So maybe you can just have some great hand animations. Keep the hands up front like a gun, and then have them go through the motions of each spell. Like lighting might have the hands move in a figure 8 while they start to glow, and then the right hand points at the target just as it's about to come shooting out.

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watch some episodes of naruto characters fighting for ideas on small close in front of the body hand motions during casting spells.

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I've run into similar issues that Nypyren mentioned with gesture based spells, and they definitely don't lend themselves well to fast-paced action.

My current idea centers around charging runes, or combinations of runes, and then releasing that charge to cast. The feel should be more like archery in the Elder Scrolls games than spellcasting - Charge & Fire, and longer charges make more powerful spells.

I'm hoping to convey the "You're a Wizard, Larry" feeling through the runes & combinations - rather than give the player a list of spells they learn and can cast, each with their own basic effect. Additional spells can be cast by charging 2 or more runes at a time, combining their effects. For example, 2 basic runes are a force bolt/magic missile/basic magical projectile, and Fire, which on it's own produces a close range burst of fire. Combined they cast a long-range fire projectile. Alternately, Slow + Shield could trap your opponent in a stasis bubble. Some basic combinations would be taught to the player during the tutorial, but many more would be left to them to figure out and experiment with as they learned new Runes.

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Quote:
Original post by Benjamin Heath
What are you looking for besides "Select Spell, Shoot projectile" and off shoots your spell in first person?

It sounds like you just want something more subtle and ambient, which makes me think of Battle for Wesnoth more than anything. Instead of shooting projectiles, imagine you gesture for the spell, and suddenly the ground begins to shake. You've just caused an earthquake. Maybe the spells add some elemental effect to your equipment or weapons. Set the combustible materials near you on the ground aflame, which causes other things to burn, and explosive materials will explode. Have a similar spell for electrocution.

Also, Force Push from JK was always pretty darn cool. [smile]


Subtle and Ambient? Quite the opposite. I want a wizard to feel like a wizard, tossing unsafe amounts of raw energy shaped by their will. I'm trying to find something that feels more involved than "click on the bad guy" without slowing down the action too much. Some slowdown is acceptable, I'd like wizard duels to be more about strategy, spell choice, and trickery than twitchy head-zots.


Quote:
Original post by Nypyren
You might try Arx Fatalis. It's first person and uses gesture-based magic a bit like Black & White. You chain multiple gestures together for each spell (each gesture is... like an 'ingredient' for the spell).


This sounds interesting, and in a similar vein to what I'm after. As you say, gesture interfaces can interfere with doing anything else, so I'm trying to steer away from that.

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