RMMV Mecha Engineer

Discussion in 'Game Ideas and Prototypes' started by Internetomancer, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. Internetomancer

    Internetomancer Veteran Veteran

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    Summary
    You are an engineer who builds and programs robot(s)... to save the world from monsters.


    Features
    Automation!
    - You will be able to program your robots to fight without any input.
    - You will be able to program them to go places, buy items, and use items and skills.
    - You may be able to program them to do everything else-- trade goods, go on quests, loot chests, upgrade gear, find bosses, etc.

    Setting, Art, Music, etc.?
    I'm using basic fantasy assets for now.
    Because I think robot monsters are boring, and post-apocalyptic settings are depressing.
    On the other hand, I will replace the actors with cool looking mechas eventually.

    Screenshot
    screen2.png

    Questions!
    Question 1: Should the automation be required, or optional?
    Eg. is it possible to fight yourself? Or do you HAVE to let the robot fight.
    Eg. Is it possible to walk around town and collect quests? Or do you HAVE to "tell" the robot to do so.

    Question 2: Multiple robots (ie PCs) or just one big complicated robot?

    Question 3: When programming your robot, should you have to type out the code? Or do you select it in a menu?
    On the one hand, typing will allow for more depth and complexity, and it will make you feel super cool.
    On the other hand, it can be annoying to type code, and you can't do it with a controller.

    Question 4: Any requests for stories/ideas?

    Gameplay Plans
    - Reaching parity with Yanfly's AI (rebuilding a lot of this though it is already a very wonderful plug-in).
    - Multiple conditions (and/or/not).
    - Aggregate conditions (sum, max, min, average).
    - Assumed conditions (don't use poison if already poisoned)
    - Pathfinding towards towns, events, vehicles
    - The ability to teach your robot how to walk places?
    - The ability to scan monsters and use that information?
    - An in-game console for output from your code.
    - In-game windows of variable lists and other help.
    - In-game debugger tools.

    Worldbuilding plans
    - Decide heroes.
    - Decide villains.
    - Make beautiful scenes.
    - Puzzle quests built around the automation?
    - Roguelike option??
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
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  2. Chillastrophic

    Chillastrophic Music Addict Member

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    This is a REALLY cool idea. I hope to see it play out in the long run.
    Good luck to you, Internetomancer!
    Also, the automation should be completely optional in my opinion. That as a forced feature would remove a lot from the game.
     
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  3. Failivrin

    Failivrin Final Frontiersman Veteran

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    Ever play Legend of Mana? The golem lab and fantasy setting could be inspirational. The interface for programming golems was also pretty cool although it came with a bit of a learning curve.
     
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  4. barnzie8

    barnzie8 Veteran Veteran

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    Q1. Depends on how you want to do it? Do you want a sim where your in your lab building a.i and sending them out. Pokémon style where you explore and talk while your mechs do the fighting. SMT stlye where you fight along side your mechs?
    Q2. Multiple mechs would be my answer. But this also has no set answer. It all depends on your goal?
    Q3. Could you combine it? Have all the options but instead use some menus?
    Q4. Nope.
     
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  5. Internetomancer

    Internetomancer Veteran Veteran

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    HI! I've been working unreasonably hard on this, dangerously putting aside school/work/children! Which I guess is how all good projects start.
    So, I found an interesting subgenre of games--
    https://www.kongregate.com/idle-games
    Apparently someone fed-up with how grindy everquest was went ahead and made an RPG that plays itself as a dumb joke.
    Only this joke became weirdly popular and cloned a lot because, the fact is, it's fascinating to watch a grind. That's why people grind.

    Anyway, Re: Q1, that leads me to lean towards the first option. I want it to be an idle-game, that's wrapped in a programming game.

    Which I guess means that story and characters are going to take a back-seat! Hopefully not too far back though.

    If it goes poorly, I'll try the pokemon version, where the player will walk around and the mechs will do the fighting.
    I definitely don't want to have a PC in combat, because I think that would be the worst of both worlds. Thanks for your clarity there.




    Re: Q2-- I started working with multiple mechs. Each with its own equipment and fighting script. In other words, a typical RPG: healer-wizard-tank-thief. I think? This will make for more interesting AI-scripting. If not I'll switch back.


    Q3:
    For now I have a coding console (RS's keyboard input script)
    https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?threads/keyboard-input-dialog.66908/
    And I wrote an interpreter that expands on Yanfly's amazing Core AI. But who knows if it will be useful/fun/annoying? Only playtesting will tell. If I end up dumping it, then I'll try modifying --Astfgl's menu-driven actor-combat AI...
    https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?threads/actor-ai.78648/


    Thanks! For now I've implemented a way to turn off automation.
    In the long run, I want the player to WANT to automate. I suppose one way to do that is to LET them grind, and see what it feels like.

    Certainly, one of the advantages of RPG Maker is that it already does a lot of nice things, and I don't want to throw that away for nothing.

    Maybe I'll let the player control the bot under certain circumstances? Like for test battles? NPC interaction. And some exploring maybe?

    I just watched a youtube. Interesting!
    I definitely don't want that interface. I want the hardware to be easy to attach. And I want the AI Logic to be as straightforward as possible, but also to allow the player as much control as possible. In other words, like a real programming language-- it will have a learning curve because it needs to.

    All that said, I like the idea of using GOLEMS. When someone says "golem" I tend to think D&D or Diablo II or Judaism... not dwarf/gnome made automata. I'll think about it!




    In any case, the AI combat IS functional! And the non-combat IS also functional! So the game can already sort of play itself!

    Your little guys will go off to the cave, fight some monsters, get hurt. Heal. Come home when they're low on potions. Buy potions. And go off to the cave again.

    It took a long time to get all that into play. Now I need to do a lot more testing, add a lot more world, and make it a lot more user friendly... and we'll have a demo.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
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  6. RepG

    RepG Villager Member

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    Great idea on this one
     
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  7. Internetomancer

    Internetomancer Veteran Veteran

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    Some updates:

    I have a working prototype, but not much more... and it's still too buggy to share.

    1) If I start the game, the party will automatically go off the nearby cave, open chests, fight monsters, gain experience, use potions, and when they run out they come home.

    2) You can edit the player AI scripts inside or outside of battle, using RS Keyboard-Input plugin, and I've added some help UI (using ORANGE UI plugins) but it's not enough info, and it's all quite buggy.
    The more I play with keyboard-inputs, the more I think it's not worth it...so at this point forward, I'm going to make a conscious effort to not develop it too much, figuring eventually I'll remove it.

    3) I added the old Enemy Book scene, and along with an enemy Swapper script, I made a little arena where you can pick what enemy you want to fight.
    Unfortunately, the Enemy Book conflicts with Enemy Levels and Enemy Classes, which I was hoping to use to balance my game.
    I fretted over that yesterday and today-- and realized eventually that it was going to be a huge time sink, and decided to not waste more time on it!

    I'm working on enemies now. Just trying to add them in bulk. So far the coolest pictures I've found come from this guy.
    http://cyanyurikago.web.fc2.com/
    Most of them look like creatures from a Japanese version of hell.
    Including them will throw off any reasonable story, and clash with the base game art, but I don't care. They look good.

    Having lots of enemies means I really want to use something besides the basic database. Because when things go wrong it's going to be excruciating to fix. Maybe I'll try to build it out in Excel????? Or just use notes???? We'll see!

    4) General game structure:
    Ultimately, I'm leaning towards bot programming being mandatory.
    You program your bot, then watch your bot go into a dungeon or tower, and opens chests-- (actually downloads blueprints from computers).
    When it comes back (if it comes back) you can upgrade it with new gear/skills.
    There's going to be no exp and (maybe no gold???)-- meaning that you won't be able to use the AI to grind really.
     
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  8. Internetomancer

    Internetomancer Veteran Veteran

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    New questions:
    (1)
    Is this a game of robot building??
    Eg. Guns, lasers, hard drives, power generators, battery packs..

    Or is it fantasy with robot stooges?
    Eg. Swords, magic?

    Obviously RPG maker lends itself to fantasy, and I find fantasy more compelling, but robots are more appropriate and more versatile..... I think?



    (2)
    How to frame progress??

    Either a typical MMO exponential growth curve? In which the player upgrades the bot, and then sits back and watches grind happen.
    Good gaming is rewarded by the player being able to grind faster...

    Or is progress fixed? No experience. No gold. All progress has to be found in treasure boxes. This way there is basically no grind.
    Good gaming is necessary to get anywhere...
     
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  9. Sofinho

    Sofinho Villager Member

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    Are the two mutually exclusive? Your initial post suggested the player would be building robots in order to fight fantasy monsters.

    I think the most interesting thing about your idea was the building/upgrading/programming part. It would be as shame to throw this out. Perhaps you could imagine a scenario where a mech-engineer has crash landed on a backwards planet with a medieval-type culture. Perhaps the monsters are the genetic experiments of an extinct precursor race, and "magic" is merely the remnant artefacts of that extinct civilisation.

    If you wanted to keep it entirely magic/fantasy based without the sci-fi elements, why not make it about golems? @Failivrin alluded to this in their post. Sorcerers build and animate golems (or, indeed, undead monsters) in order to do battle with one another.

    In terms of progress, I don't know. I'd be tempted to go with fixed, especially if following the first scenario. As monsters are defeated, the battle mech is able to recover more spare parts and precursor artefacts, that can be used to upgrade the mech. In the second scenario, defeating other sorcerers in battle (or golem duels) enables the sorcerer to loot their tower, gaining magical power/ resources in the process. There could be a grinding element involved, by sending the golem out on side quests, but the number of rival sorcerers would be fixed.

    Just my thoughts. Good luck!
     
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  10. Internetomancer

    Internetomancer Veteran Veteran

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    Thank you much for your thoughts Sofhi. I'm definitely going to stay focused on the programming part, one way or another.

    I'm glad you like the fixed progress idea. I think it's a good solution to the grind, but we'll see.

    I have a few stories floating in my head now.
    1)
    A great evil (eg. the Devil himself) has contaminated the land. Monsters are attacking. When heroes go to stop the evil, they become it. The world needs a savior that is free of sin. That savior turns out to be robots. (Cue the JRPG-Bible/Dante/Milton quotes.)

    2)
    Post-apocalypse. The world is waiting for the prophesied four warriors of light to save everybody. They never come.
    Meanwhile our unassuming engineer is building robots for some non-military purpose. Like trade or something. Increasing the power of the robots is the primary quest. The world saving quest only occurs to us halfway through the game.



    I hadn't thought about making the golems fight other golems. I guess that makes a lot of sense from a pokemon point of view. And certainly makes more sense for boss-fights then big dragons or whatever. I will think about that...

    Step 1 I think is giving some monsters a few skills and traits, so that there's actually a challenge at all.





    This week, I've entered the "what was I thinking using RPG Maker" phase....Also known as: plugin h-ll.

    Switched to YEP Standard Turn Battles, because I need the actors to act immediately. Of course it broke my code.
    Switched to YEP status menu to display AI.
    Spent hours and hours trying to get around all the command-windows I don't want... finally came up with a janky solution. But really-- for a simple turn based system, there are SO MANY FUNCTIONS interacting across SO MANY FILES!!!

    Similarly, it's been really hard to trace plugin conflicts. I have maybe 40 plugins running and I've had to turn half of them off for various reasons. Nowadays, if something even smells like it could be causing trouble I turn it off.

    Also my own code is a giant mess and a waste of time. So pretty depressing.

    On the bright side, I think (I hope) I can start on game design FINALLY.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
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  11. Internetomancer

    Internetomancer Veteran Veteran

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    Combat system time...

    I've been playing too much "slay the spire" lately and it's made me desire SIMPLE mechanics...


    Few PCs!
    No more than 3. Maybe just 1.

    No TP!

    Just MP. Might experiment with using an MP-recovery system that functions like TP.

    Simple stats

    No agility. No luck. No evasion. No hit.
    No exp? No gold?
    Maybe replace Defense and M-defense with resistances.
    Maybe make "Attack" and "M-attack" entirely weapon based instead of character based.

    Simple Elements
    The player should be able to take advantage of weaknesses without being a big PITA.
    No more than 4 elements. No 'absorb'. No 'immune'. Maybe no resistance even? I'm not sure.
    Also considering a simplified pokemon system, eg. enemy is strong to X <=> weak to Y.

    No Items???


    This might be going overboard but I'm not a fan of stats that are not both necessary and immediately recognizable.
     
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  12. Sofinho

    Sofinho Villager Member

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    Have you done any more work on this?
     
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  13. chengsta

    chengsta Villager Member

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    Man, this sounds like my dream game. It's like armored core mixed with Dungeon Village. I loved dungeon village so much, it's a shame that nothing else like it exists. making a town and watching your npc heroes go off and kill stuff is so awesome.
     
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