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Cornelis

Magi: Introduction, concept and recommended engine

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Cornelis    108
Introduction
 
Hello GameDev I have been skulking around for a month now, but I finally decided to join a day ago. My name is Cornelis, I own a small indie company and we have been working on a MMORPG concept called Aperi. This post is not about the MMO though, no need to worry, but it does deserve a mention since it is relevant. Aperi is very conceptual and will have allot of features new to the MMO genre. But the problem stopping most MMO's is funding, and we didn't want to take out a loan since the game very conceptual, making it hard to be a success. So what was decided is we are going to split the game up into smaller games, gathering feedback and funds before aiming for the full game. The first game we are going to work on is called "Magi". 
 
Below I will be telling you about the concept and aim of the game, then ask you a questions relevant to game concept and ideas.  
 
 
Magi Imperium
 
About
 
Considering advice given by users I have changed the name Magi to Imperium - Latin for Control. Magi as suggested by other users was rather plain and did not capture the true aim and impact the game is meant to have. The game will consist of players each using a specific element and set of skills with that element to combat one another. Imperium aims to be First-Person, PVP - Arena game. It will have a very strong focus on ability mechanics since the concept we want to test in this game is dynamic ability combat. 
 
Dynamic Ability Combat
 
Lean away from your PC for one second, exhale, and try and imagine what the following scenario would be like: You are a powerful mage, controlling water to whim. Your opponent is a master of earth. As you two stare in a deadlock you decide to make the first move and draw water from the river pulling it to your side. The water statically swirls around you for a moment before you hurl it towards the earth mage. He retaliates by lifting up a rock from the ground and hurling it towards  you. The two elements meet in the middle, but his was more sturdy, smashing through your projectile and continuing on it's intended course. You simply dodge out of the way, but this time you use the river water close to him to directly attack him. It's a hit being his blind spot, but he is not near defeated. He raises a wall from the ground and pushes it towards you. You evade it by stepping into the river, using the water to surf on the surface. While surfing you keep throwing water spears which just disperses against his newly erected wall. You try to get to his open side but he just moves his walls of rock to where he you go. With you on the offensive you decide to draw on allot of water. He lowers a wall to see why the barrage has stopped and sees you just as you command a torrent of water towards him. Quickly he springs up a wall with the time he could muster, but it's no match for your torrent which smashes through it and onto him.
 
So the segment above was just meant to demonstrate a little of how combat is going to be like, smashing through abilities, using elements from the environment and all being real time instead of traditional 1,2,3,4.... or QWER key bindings. We are aiming for the abilities to feel more fluent and truly interactive. To give you an idea to what degree we want to take this and a little of the look and feel is to have a look at our Silver Mage class - For one of his abilities he will be controlling a ball of silver. He will be able to throw his ball at the enemy and have it returned, but whilst mid air he can freeze it, have it change direction and flatten it into a shield by using a combination or mouse and keyboard. 
 
A little bit more about the implementation of the abilities. We are using physical objects for this and just coating it with a animation. The abilities will have physics, collision, durability and all  the properties a player will have. I think one of the amazing parts of this will be clashing two abilities into each other and having the weaker one being destroyed  while the stronger one keeps hurling towards the target. We also want fast creation and destruction of objects in game that do have special behaviour depending on what it is. For example puddles and pools will be used for the water mage. These puddles will be a collection of hexagons that have some "flow" physics cause them to drift to lower levels of the map. So this will be computationally expensive overall and suited for a arena game. But to improve on it I want to pick the optimal gaming engine.
 
 
Questions
 
Although the snippet above does not fully describe the idea I do hope it gave all of you reading this some insight and maybe a bit of excitement to what it might become, but for that it needs to be made in a proper gaming engine as said above. This leads me to the first question:
 
Question 1: The Game Engine
 
The plan was to move away from Unity and possibly invest in Unreal Engine 4 or the Cry Engine 3, but honestly lost on which one to use. I am leaning more towards the Unreal engine at the moment but would like some feedback from GameDev first, preferable from people who have used either one before. Or if there is another engine you would recommend please do so.
 
The aim of the game:
 
  • Dynamic/interactive environment 
  • Small Arena
  • Graphics not too important at first
  • Animation
 
Question 2: The Game Concept
 
I would love some feedback and ideas on how to go about getting the best optimization and getting  "Interactive, Fluent, engaging" Abilities and game play. I am unsure if other games have tried this but would like to try some if there is.
 
I sincerely apologize to for this question, as I have not actually post the game concept on this page. The intendant purpose of the this post was to find out more information on gaming Engines 
 
Thank you for your time
 
Regrards Cornelis
Edited by Cornelis

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GoCatGoGames    1653

The name "Magi" makes me think of Christmas, "We Three Kings", and myrrh.  I understand that most designers pick a name straight away and hold on to it like a lifeline, but I would really consider choosing a more exciting, evocative, or just plain interesting name.

 

As to your question "Which Engine for a first-person-perspective game?" I'd give my normal advice -- it doesn't matter.  Unreal 4 is great.  So is Cry Engine.  So is Unity.  If you have experience with one, keep using it.  Make a prototype today, right now, without delay.  Worry less about your tools and focus on making games with them.

 

And, since it needs said, you posted no game design information.  Just vague ideas about puddles and leaning to and fro in wonder at this amazing idea.

 

The concept?  I'll keep my mouth shut.

 

Looking forward to the downvotes!

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Thaumaturge    3823

As to the gameplay, it's difficult to comment without a more fully-developed version (whether described or--better yet--prototyped) to look at, but the concept sounds interesting. It might be a good idea to look at Chaos Reborn (if you haven't already) for comparison and potential ideas--while the core gameplay is different (they have a traditional list of spells rather than your element-manipulation system), it's also an arena-based magic-focussed player-vs-player game.

 

As GoCatGo suggests, I very much recommend getting a prototype made and posted somewhere for feedback (if you haven't already done so); it needn't be complete: the first prototype might only implement a single, relatively simple element, with a second being introduced once the elemental control is working nicely.

 

As to the choice of engine: To start with, if I may ask, why are you considering moving away from Unity?

 

(I'm tempted to suggest the engine that I use: Panda3D. It lacks the pipeline and tools of the others, but is free (and there's no "pro version" that requires a paid licence or royalties) and open-source. It does use some third-party elements that might muddy that a little, I think, but at least some can be excluded (for example, it includes fmod, which isn't free, but one can opt to use openAL instead).)

 

Finally, a minor point: "Magi" is the plural of "magus"; "mages" is the plural of "mage".

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Gian-Reto    7068

As others said before me:

 

From your words I conclude you are using Unity at the moment, and you list pretty basic and modest requirements for the engine (any 3D Engine can do that, with good performance). Yet you want to drop Unity for Unreal or CryEngine. Why?

 

Is there a reason why you don't want to use Unity anymore? Is it the "greener grass on the other side" concept? Did you hear too much hype about Unreal and CryEngine?

 

Don't get me wrong, I am sure UE4 is a fine and powerful engine that might be just as easy to learn as Unity with the help of the community (don't know, didn't try it yet). On CryEngine I have to say I was less than amazed when I downloaded it a year ago, gave the sample project a spin (buggy as hell, at least back then), and had a peek into the editor. Most probably also a fine engine as soon as you get to grips with the editor, as sample projects of engines more often then not, are kinda halfbaked efforts.

Still I was not convinced enough to jump over.

 

 

As has been said, more important than finding the perfect engine is to start prototyping. In a perfect world (where you have unlimited money and time), you will build your prototype, tweak it until it is fun or throw it away and start over. And then, when your Prototype shows that you are on to a "goldmine", you throw it away and start over.... you take the design you perfected in the prototype and write new, production ready code for that. So its easy to switch engine between the prototype and the production version.

Now we all know how the real world works...

 

Even then... any half-competent 3D Engine will do what you want. The only reason to pick UE4 or CryEngine over Unity or any other are some highend features that you most probably are not even able to use because of technical or time constraints... and you certainly will not need to get things bootstrapped.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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Orymus3    18821


move away from Unity

 

Is there a specific reason to do so? I'm not implying Unity is 'God allmighty' but I'd be interested to see the reasoning behind this. Especially with how animations work now in Unity that is...

 


I would love some feedback and ideas on how to go about getting the best optimization and getting  "Interactive, Fluent, engaging" Abilities and game play. I am unsure if other games have tried this but would like to try some if there is.

 

I think the key prominent and most interesting feature in your concept is the ability to manipulate spells mid-air and modify their properties. For example, being tossed an icicle and thawing it into harmless water sounds like an amazing prospect. I hope you manage to make it intuitive enough for the mouse input and real-time enough so that the player feels more like a mage (mouse gestures, might I suggest?)

 

Also, gratz on taking it one step at a time. That's the way to go and a good way to be realistic about the whole plan.

 

Best of luck.

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Tom Sloper    16040

Question 1: The Game Engine
 
The plan was to move away from Unity and possibly invest in Unreal Engine 4 or the Cry Engine 3, but honestly lost on which one to use. I am leaning more towards the Unreal engine at the moment but would like some feedback from GameDev first, preferable from people who have used either one before. Or if there is another engine you would recommend please do so.


That question does not belong in the Game Design forum. It's a technical question, and will get you a better answer if you ask it in the For Beginners forum. This forum is for game design questions.

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Adam Moore    326

Questions 1 & 2 are pretty closely related actually:

 

With this prototype, I recommend picking your engine based off of which language your programmers are most proficient in. This strikes me as a tech-driven project (and as Tom Sloper mentioned, may get better answers in For Beginners).

 

However, I don't think you shouldn't be choosing your engine this early in the development. You need to nail down some of your design choices before you select your engine, or you may find your project limited by your choice of engine.

 

So now for the design feedback, which is probably the most important question to answer at this stage of development. This game has already been designed for you! It's called Rock Paper Scissors...or in this case Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.

 

400px-Rock_Paper_Scissors_Lizard_Spock_e

 

You can use this structure to balance the elements so no one element dominates play so players have to continuously change up their strategy. What can make this more interesting is using your magic to affect the environment, such as throwing lightning at a puddle of water your enemy is standing in, or freezing the ground to make it slippery.

 

What you need to nail down is:

  • What elements can the player control? (5, 7, or 9 elements should be good. 3 may be too few to keep things interesting, and any more than 9 is too many to keep track of in a fast-paced game)
  • How do these elements interact? (do elements only tie with the same element? Do fire and water cause steam to fog up the arena?)
  • How can these elements affect the environment? (can the ground be made slick? Can walls be created?)

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Thaumaturge    3823

@Adam: I get the impression that mages in this game are intended to control only one element, and have multiple abilities with that element, rather than controlling a suite of elements: note the mention of a "Silver Mage" controlling a chunk of elemental silver in various forms, and the description of play depicting each mage using a single element in multiple ways. It's still more or less rock-paper-scissors, but with a different (possibly procedurally-defined) set of interactions for each pair of elements facing each other.

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