Modular RPG Era

Discussion of all aspects of multiplayer development: unit balancing, map development, server development, and so forth.

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Ken_Oh
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Modular RPG Era

Post by Ken_Oh »

I've shortened this initial post so it's not so overwhelming. Just look at the pretty pictures and read the short notes.

The initial intent of this was to balance out units with each other in an MP RPG. The problem I saw with those simply using mainline units is there's a huge disparity between many of them. Consider if your friend chooses a Fire Drake and you choose a Trapper. You are going to be at a significant disadvantage in terms of survivability.

While thinking up what a full set of hero units would look like, I decided that it would be better to let players customize their character, rather than having to choose from a list.

The era is intended to mirror Wesnoth's mainline units, but do it in a stat/skill-based, class-less way. Everything should be intuitive if you keep that in mind. Don't expect your character to actually be able to use skirmisher while wearing iron plate armor. Similarly, you can't firststrike with a dagger.

Here's what the era looks like. What your character wears and wields not only effects his in-game stats, but also his appearance.
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There are attributes and skills, rather than having your character choose a class.
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Some skills are based on your character's alignment. For humans, this is as close as you come to having a "class."
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Weapon skills can be purchased when you increase attributes. Costs are based on the difficulties. For example, it's easier to put more force into an axe swing than to swing multiple times. On the other hand, it's easier to slice with a dagger multiple times than to do more damage with one swing.
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Apart from the beginning character set-up, the era has the potential for shops that can add better equipment to your character.
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The era allows you to switch your equipment around as you please.
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The "modular" part of the era means that it can be tailored to fit a variety of settings. It's currently only tailored to Bob the Mighty's Fall of Trent scenario, but it could have another era file that has a different configuration. The character could start out stronger/weaker; they could start out with different race/alignment options; they start out with different item options. Or, the items could be completely different, like a 1-piece armor system rather than the current 3-piece system. A lot can change without having to alter the settings I currently have for Fall of Trent.
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Last edited by Ken_Oh on January 11th, 2008, 7:21 pm, edited 30 times in total.
eyu100
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Post by eyu100 »

bumping this
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Ken_Oh
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Post by Ken_Oh »

Thanks. I was waiting for things to get a little more complete to try to draw more attention to it. I think I am making progress pretty rapidly. Figuring out how to give characters a variable amount of different weapons at once was the hardest part yet, so it's been easy since then.
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Post by appleide »

Ken Oh: I have read this three times today and each time I discover something I haven't read before..... Your post is quite long, it would be nice if you would bold the most important parts?? It seems a very neat idea atm IMO. :)
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Post by Ken_Oh »

That's the thing. It's all details.

The only general concepts are I'm making a MP RPG stat-based system that simulates Wesnoth mainline and I hope to make it modular so specific aspects can be inserted or taken out at the designer's discretion.
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appleide
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Post by appleide »

Ken Oh wrote:Some planned abilities:

Dual Wield: A unit with Dual Wield will be able to have 2 melee weapons ready at once, like a Knight does.

Triple Wield: A unit with Triple Wield will be able to have 3 melee weapons ready at once, like a Drake Gladiator.

Shield: Using a shield gives extra resistance and a Shield Bash attack, but units cannot use a ranged weapon (maybe) or a use Dual/Triple Wield.

Target: Not listed above, but small blades are going to be able to trade 2 attacks for double damage anytime. This is what an Orcish Assassin has that gives its dagger 10-1.

Horsemanship: Mounts won't work like regular Wesnoth, where a unit is tied to its horse. Instead, characters will be able to mount and dismount at any time (perhaps at the cost of an attack). Riding will have its pros and cons, but there will be a Horsemanship skill that allows riders to take advantage of things like +80% polearm damage and the Charge weapon special.

Modules I envision:

Designers are going to want to use one of the 2 following
Equipment through Shops- For a Fencer to level up to a Duelist, it needs a Heavy Crossbow. How is he going to get it in a dark dungeon? Shops should take care of this.

Equipment through TP- Somehow that Fencer was actually carrying that Heavy Crossbow all along but only decides to start using it at level 2. This module will give players the option to buy equipment with Talent Points. This is how Wesnoth really works.

Inventory module- This will give more options for picking up, using and trading items through an inventory. It may be a good idea to just include this in the core.

Expanded Races modules- They could include the different races or eras or whatever. Also might want to be part of core.

Recruitment module- This will let a character summon some fodder, probably something at a max of 2 per character level. It may require a few things, like a village for a normal character or some dead enemies for a necromantic character.

Special skills/spells/etc. module- Probably a bunch of right-click on command things that unit can learn to do.
Try this.
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Ken_Oh
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Post by Ken_Oh »

OK, I've added a lot of Jetryl's icons from http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/jetryl/Items/ to menus and such. They are great, but few. If anyone knows of any more icons, please direct me to them.

Now, to make human side of things playable, I just need to complete abilities/weapon specials, add magic and balance everything. I'm shooting for 2 different versions: one that has its own random encounters and shops and one that makes all the features part of an era, so it can be tacked onto an already existing RPG. I think I'll tailor it to work with The Fall of Trent, simply because it has the most simple settings (no shops, no new weapons, etc.).

My goal now is to get the above in a form that's playable done as soon as I can.

I've added rewards from AMLAing and from going to the next "level" (levels in the Wesnoth sense). Note that I'm not in love with any of the current settings, especially as they make your character a bunch stronger than it should be.
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Post by Bob_The_Mighty »

Those icons are superb. I am looking forward to seeing this. I am pleased you're gonna tailor it to Fall of Trent, however, I don't know if you are aware that there is a 'stone circle' later in the game which allows players to boost stats in a minor way. Maybe that isn't a problem.

I have often found it tricky to set decent shop prices in general. I would probably modify the shops in my other maps to fit in with your prices, if it works well. It would also mean balancing how much gold players get from chests, quests, etc. I would like to see the value of gold standardised, as far as possible, across games.
My current projects:
MP pirate campaign: The Altaz Mariners
RPG sequel: Return to Trent
MP stealth campaign: Den of Thieves
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Post by Ken_Oh »

Yeah, I'm aware of the sacred circle. I'm honestly not sure how those kinds of modifications work, so I'll have to play around with it when I'm ready. I was hoping I could have something that catches those kinds of modifications but I'm not sure how possible that is.

Setting prices is definitely tricky. When my friends and I used to play AD&D, we were really rather conscious of the worth of a gold piece, a gold coin being something that peasants may never even see during their lifetime. That's why I wanted to make a Bowman cost 15 gold when you break down his individual parts.

I was hoping to make "basic armor," like what Spearman, Bowman, etc. all have, cost 1 gold, but I decided to make the armor system more interesting by adding the usual piece of armor for each part of the body. This may mean that my concept of a Bowman really equaling 15 gold will go out the window. I guess there's worse things that could happen.

EDIT: One thing that I was hoping some people on the forums could give me ideas about...how can I determine alignment for humans? Non-humans have their alignment set as a trait of the race, but there seems to be some choice, completely outside of anything in gameplay, that determines alignment.

So it seems:
-using white magic = lawful
-using fireball, but not magic missle = neutral
-using teleport = neutral
-using dark magic = chaotic
-using backstab = chaotic

But this doesn't account for Thugs, Footpads, Poachers and their upper levels. Also, there's no neutral alignments for anyone other than magi.

In a real sense, lawful and chaotic don't equate to good and evil but it's how you go about doing the good and evil. A chaotic but good person will break the law to save lives while a person could get government sanction to destroy a whole village, and thus be both lawful and evil. I think Descent into Darkness exemplifies good intentions but in a non-law abiding way, but it's a difficult line to balance. That's why someone who backstabs can still be good, but it's such a shady way of fighting that I think they have to be chaotic.

My questions are:
-What alignment should humans start with?
-Should a human be able to choose to change alignment, like through a menu? (given, this would probably use experience points or some sort of character points)
-Or should actions be the only determinant? For example, learning dark magic is going to make you chaotic, but can you recover from that if you wanted to make your character lawful again? Maybe knowing backstab won't always make you chaotic, but using it will certainly point your character in that direction.

-Maybe humans should start as chaotic in the character creation, and they have to buy their way to good graces within society. That way some lawful NPCs might react unfriendly towards Thugs and Thieves, but then Thug NPCs would react unfavorably towards a Paladin.

The problem with this is what to do with non-humans. Xenophobia is probably going to be pretty prevalent for a lot of NPC, so that will matter more than human alignment, except for maybe Dwarves, who have that Knalgan Alliance and might favor outlaws. I guess there should be a friendly/non-friendly scale simply based on race and then put the alignment on top of that, if it matters. I guess then there could be a hidden alignment for the other races, simply based on your standing within the race.

Heh, pretty complicated, eh?
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Post by Ken_Oh »

With slow and steady progress, I've put the new version up. It includes a few more weapons, some with attribute prereqs (which only disallow usage but only give you penalties if they aren't met) and I've added most of the human abilities.

As there are no classes, I made a short question that determines your alignment (kind of like Ultima IV) and your alignment determines what abilities or weapon specials you will have access to.

Code: Select all

Any                Requires
  Dual Wield         Skill 4
  Triple Wield       Skill 8, Dual Wield
  Skirmisher         Skill 4, Evade level 2, *(other)
  Firststrike        Skill 3, applies to spear

Lawful
  Leadership
    Level 1          Mind 4, unit level 1
    Level 2          Mind 8, unit level 2
    Level 3          Mind 12, unit level 3
    Level 4          Mind 16, unit level 4

Chaotic
  Backstab           Skill 4, applies to dagger

Not Lawful
  Marksman           Skill 8, applies to bow

*having a non-skirmisher weapon equipped, or any armor that 
   restricts Evade, negates Skirmisher
Any weapon special (Backstab, Firststrike, Throwable) only works if it is equipped as your primary melee weapon.

I just have Target, Heals, Cures, Illuminates and Plague (ala. Necromancer) left to do, but since the last 3 are tied to magic, I'll wait until I figure the magic thing out first. Note that I'll probably also make some weapon gift requirements for the weapon specials.

Again, I'm not married to any values of any sort, so don't worry about that for now. On a really happy note, the change in the attack animation system is going to make dealing with sprites a ton easier. Frankensteining everything will probably be the last thing I do.

Also, I scraped around and found one more icon. I hope there's more out there somewhere.
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Post by Shadow »

ImageImageImageImage

Some new and old stuff. I would prefer if you could use the newer bag. Thanks in advance. A small list what icons you need might be helpful too. Perhaps I have still something lieing around.
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Post by Blarumyrran »

if you want pick-up-able weapons laying on ground, here are some i made a month ago for blublaze's rpg project (which seems dead at the moment).

consists of loyalist sword&spear, crystal sword&spear, goblin torch.

dunno if you find any use for them :/

EDIT: forgot the zip :P
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Post by Ken_Oh »

Wayfarer: Thanks. Will do on the bag, but what is that second icon supposed to be? I recognize that it's some sort of spirit figure, but I don't understand where it would fit (though, I think I know where I'll use it).

Syn: Appreciated. Everything so far as been internal to the characters, with shops and menus, but a collection of map items will definitely be needed later.
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Post by Shadow »

Ken Oh wrote:Wayfarer: Thanks. Will do on the bag, but what is that second icon supposed to be? I recognize that it's some sort of spirit figure, but I don't understand where it would fit (though, I think I know where I'll use it).

...
Well I don't know it myself I just liked the result. Anyways no problem.
... all romantics meet the same fate someday
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Post by Ken_Oh »

Sorry, I forgot to add my wish list: Armors, armors, armors! I'm currently using greaves for shoes and leather leggings and a metal helmet to represent a leather cap. I haven't even touched putting forearm armor, but I don't know anything other than the "category" icon that is up on Jetryl's server.

Other than that, I'm going to want something to represent attributes when you add to them: One for strength, one for dexterity and another for brains. Also, I'm going to want one for the extra hit points and one for evade, though I may just make my own out of sprites.
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