How would you do a Legend of Mana 'Land Make' system?

TimmyTheNerd

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I've been playing a lot of Legend of Mana lately, my favorite JRPG on the PS1. In it, it has a system they call the 'Land Make' system. As you play through the games, you get artifacts. You can then place these artifacts on the World Map and they become new Towns, Dungeons or Fields. This allows a lot of replay-ability and gives the world a very open world vibe since, after placing the first two Artifacts, the order you get your artifacts is determined by the order you do your quests.

For an idea of what I'm talking about, 0:40 to 0:48 of this video.

This video also kinda shows what I'm talking about.

NOTE: Posted this originally under game mechanics, moved here after a suggestion from Shaz.
 

MushroomCake28

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I would say you probably need a plugin (maybe possible with A LOT of events, but I'm not sure how you would do that).
 

Rhaeami

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That's one of my favorites too. What's interesting about the land system is that it's almost entirely flavor fluff - the player only actually gets control of two sliding scales. 1, the difficulty of enemy encounters, and 2, the elemental levels in an area. Everything else is controlled exactly the same as in any other quest-based RPG.

Now, the actual purpose of the system is to let the player go about the game's quests in a non-linear fashion without feeling overwhelmed, by locking them not just behind questgivers, but entire regions of the map that are given out as literal reward items. The scaling difficulty is less a feature and more a requirement for the system, allowing any quest in the game to scale to the player's pace.

Breaking down like that, I think a system like this would demand that the designer make as many parts of their game world adjustable variables as possible - what enemies are present, what rewards you get, what quests occur, maybe even what the game maps look like - and then having your equivalent of "land placement" affect those variables in interesting ways.

How it appears to the player is actually less important design-wise because you can make it look any way you want. In Legend of Mana, behind it all, the game is really only tracking an X & Y position on a grid, and then calculating two simple variables based on nearby land or the position of your house. :kaohi:


Ah, but if you just mean "how do I replicate this", then try making a grid of events that change appearance based on where you "place" a land and store info in a corresponding variable when you place something there. Then you can read those variables, even when you're on a different screen, to calculate what should be what in a given map. Example, I place "caverns" on event 7, it changes to look like caverns, and sets the "caverns" variable to 7. Then you can get elemental levels by reading what's stored in events 6 and 8, or the difficulty curve by counting how far "7" is from your home point.
 

TimmyTheNerd

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I was thinking of taking it and modifying it a bit more.

The fluff reason for the world being barren is more or less the same as Legend of Mana's. Something happened that caused the world to shatter, with the only remaining piece being the player's home. The map would be a bit more like your typical JRPG overworld, only with 'fog clouds' or 'craters' where the various dungeons, towns and areas would be. So you play through the game, gathering artifacts (depending on the quest you do, of course. I want to keep the non-linear element) and with each artifact in your inventory, an area is unlocked. So unlike Legend of Mana, you don't get to place the location. However, there is still no one way to unlock things.
 

Rhaeami

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Well, that's even simpler then. Just pretend the artifacts are keys, and the barren landscape is a "locked door". Everything else is just getting creative with the variables you use. :kaopride:
 

TimmyTheNerd

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Now I just need to find a way to make it a Tactical RPG and I'll have my dream game set.
 

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