Development Diary #11: Builders and Spenders.

Hello again, and welcome back to the 10th (!) development diary. Today we’re going to have a little chat about how God Powers correspond to the “second to second” game play decisions.

God Powers

Each time the player casts a spell from a school of spells (there’s five of them), a percentage of the god power bar is filled up. Let’s say for example you cast the Holy field spell, the High Lord’s correspondent rune would will up 20%. If and when a God Power bar hits 100%, a literal God Power is unleashed; in the case of the High Lord your melee attacks gives you health each time you hit an enemy based on the damage you performed.

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Each of these bars fills up each time a spell that is not a “Spender” ability is cast.

Now, that’s all good and well, but there has to be some kind of reasoning behind using spells tactically. Which is why we’re going to introduce the concept of Builders and Spenders.

Builders and Spenders

Like in most MMORPGs or RPGs in general, there’s a concept of “Do Ability1 X amount of  times until you can do Ability2” – and in Tamarrion it’s not a whole lot different, we’re just experimenting with a little twist on the concept.

Most spells generate GP (God Power). Some spells and abilities generate more (and often have a longer cooldown), and some less. God Power is also drained if not used over time, meaning that you’ll be losing x% amount of god power when it is not being consumed or used. Also, hitting 100% god power means you unleash the ultimate god power (UGP) and all of your GP percentage is reset to 0 (and you can not generate GP while under a UGP). This creates an incentive for the player to build, spend and hoard GP as efficiently as possible.

Let’s look at an example, as we so often do (note: names are just examples):

Builders:

Holy Field: Generates 20% GP. Cooldown: 5s.

High lords Blade: Generates 5% GP. Cooldown 2s.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Since the GP decays over time, the player has to learn and time their GP spenders accordingly.

Spender:

Heavenly call: For each (rounded up) % of Holy GP, heal the player for 0.025 * (Devotion Power) and damage the surrounding enemies for 0.5 x (Devotion Power + Physical Power). Cooldown: 0s.

Notice how the Spender does not have any cooldown, and is thus only connected (and able to be used) when there’s GP in the corresponding gods favor. The numbers are just made up on the spot, but they’re indicative to how the spell would work. In short, the more GP you’ve built, the stronger the Spender – but the player has to be vary of using up all of your GP, in case you really really need that strong UGP buff.

That’s all for this week, I’ll be back talking about more design decisions in two weeks.

//Oskar “Perkulatorn” Lidh Frykmark, Lead Designer

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Art Time! #18 – Spell Effects

Greetings!

For this week’s Art Time! I, Mossicus, will give you some insight into the different components of spell effects in Tamarrion.

To start off, this is the FX Playground, the birth place of almost all effects in Tamarrion.  It is a colorful place, often filled with lights and explosions. The scene exists for the sole purpose of testing new effects, lighting conditions, and shaders.

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While there are many interesting particle systems, shaders, and similar effects to look at, today I will focus on the Holy Field spell. The Holy Field spell is used to place a circle of holy power on the ground, healing the player and hurting enemies standing in it.

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When creating an effect for a spell, I try to follow the three steps I’ve set for myself: shape, characteristic, and detail.

  • Shape should be the broad silhouette of the spell, the area of effect.
  • Characteristic is often controlled by the school of magic the spell uses, such as using the High Lord’s rune in a holy spell or ravens in a spell cast by Nihteana.
  • Detail is the cream on top, the minor particle systems that are added last to add a bit more flare to the effect.

The Holy Field spell specifically consists of five different components, all of which are particle systems. At first it was considered using a spherical mesh and depth data in the shader, allowing for more dynamic placing of the glow effect. But this was quickly scratched as a better looking effect was created through a simple particle system.

These are the different particle systems of the Holy Field spell:

  • A ring of power containing writing in magical runes is used to show the area of effect for the spell.
  • Rays of light extend upwards from the ring of power to further display the effective field of the spell.
  • The High Lord’s rune is set in the middle of the effect to easily declare the school of the spell.
  • Smaller versions of the High Lord’s runes are used to again declare the school of the spell. (This is used consistently throughout all Tamarrion’s spells.)
  • And finally, large soft particles are created towards the center of the effect to create a pleasant glow.

The color of the effect is then changed based on if there is an enemy or if the player is standing in it, switching between damage and heal mode.

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That was a quick look at the thought process I use when creating a spell effect, and a breakdown of the Holy Field spell. Perhaps in the future I will explain my process more in depth, we will have to wait and see. For now I thank you for your time.

Have a good one!

 

 

Development Diary #10: Level Design!

Welcome back to another installation of development diary. Today we’re talking a bit about the level design and the reasoning, how and why around the levels in Tamarrion.

Level Design

Originally, the game was not supposed to feature “segwaying” between boss-locations in the level, neither were there any plans of creating trash monsters that roamed the halls and locations of Tamarrion. This utopian idea of the ultimate “raid instance” where there was no waiting between bosses did not bode well for the overall pacing of the game.

So, we expanded our levels, redesigned and did a complete rethinking of how our levels would look, feel and play. Since Tamarrion is all about mastering mechanics, the space between Boss A and Boss B provides ample room for mechanical improvement, and for us as designers to introduce new mechanics to the player. This gives the player a feel and understanding of upcoming mechanical situations, as well as room for improvement in both play-style and skill; as well as some breathing room between said bosses.

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Environmental/Mechanic Features between two bosses in Tamarrion (Credits: Måns Löf)

The picture above illustrates a hallway between two bosses in Tamarrion. There are several things to take into account when creating space in video games, especially when the game focuses heavily on a specific features – in our case Boss fights.

  • How do we introduce boss mechanics before the boss?
  • How do we generate proper pacing between two boss fights?
  • What kind of situational challenges can we create?
  • Does said challenges fit the physical room?

“Environmental Hazards”

One of the first things we introduced when we introduced larger space between bosses, was the idea of having, what we call, environmental hazards. That is, non-boss monster mechanical challenges (think platformer games) that fits the pacing of the physical 3D space.

In the example above, there are several different environmental hazards, that couples with others. Let’s have a look:

  • Zombies – A mindless zombie that pops out where you least expects you to. They’re placed in such a way as to obstruct view and distract you from other mechanics that might be lurking around a corner.
  • Fire Trap – Literal Fire spewing out of the wall in patterns.
  • Cave in – A mechanic from the upcoming boss – making the roof cave in and dropping stones all around the player.
  • Desecration – The hands of the dead rises from the ground, slowing the player down. Coupled with Zombies and Cave ins, they can become a serious issue.
  • “Ray of Death” – Another important mechanic from the upcoming boss, which creates a gauntlet event that the player has to overcome, whilst battling all other Environmental Hazards.

This is just one small area of the game; which hopefully will be enjoyable for the player to explore, defeat and overcome.

That’s it for todays Development Diary. Have a great week!

//Perkulatorn – Lead Designer

Art Time #17 Art Stream!

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It is art time again, and this week we thought that instead of showing you pictures of what we have been up to, we would let you in on the art development of Tamarrion! We have streamed a few times before and have long thought about doing official art streams so that you can follow along and see the process, and we thought that it was time to give it a go.

So join tomorrow (Tuesday 6 Sept) at 13.00 CEST at https://www.twitch.tv/cobrabird1 for some behind the scenes fun with Cobrabird and Mossicus!

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Cobrabird