I am trying to flesh out a new project. My previous games have all been MMORPGs - in fact, the one I am working on was meant to be an MMORPG. Having set up the system and got it working, I realise that all this time I've never actually been making a game, I've just been faffing around with online systems. And that's all well and good, but if there's nothing to do then what's the point?
So I suppose this will be my first real foray into game making in a decade, since in that time all I've been doing is trying to set up my MMO.
Open World RPG
I have not chosen a name yet. My previous game was called Afar and that will still be the name of the world, but I need a new title.
Wytches and Wyverns is the working title I've settled on; I needed something just so that I could work on graphics and branding. It may or may not be the final title of the game, that doesn't matter,
The basic premise is that this is an open world game, similar to a typical MMO. A Western-RPG.
The main game will have a lot to do, but this will then be supplemented by expansion packs. I don't think you'll typically have to pay for those packs, it's just a way of always adding to the world.
Standalone or MMO?
I don't think the game itself will be an MMORPG as such, but there will be the option to add MMO elements to it at a later date; you could quite happily play the game self contained on a device without Internet however. So perhaps you could launch the in-game forums, but if you don't want to you don't need an Internet connection.
Fully Interactive World
I will be using QABS and QSprite to create this game. I will be using this to give me full control over the player and give them interaction with much of the world. Most objects will be messable. So you see a crate and you can do something with it. Harvest materials from the world around you, and so on. There will be spells you can use on enemies, but you can also use them on the world itself, perhaps filling a well, burning a cart of hay, or unblocking a path with magic.
Magic and the Dynamic Class system
Classes are going to be dynamic in this game and are not something the player chooses themselves. Basically you choose a roster of eight skills to take into battle with you. Based on these skills you are then given a class that describes you.
Why is a class important? It gets you access to guilds and secret locations, special equipment unique to that class, small stat boosts, and different conversations.
I have not fully worked out this idea but as a basic version let's say we have:
Spell: FIREBALL. Dark Magic = 2, Fire Magic = 3, Dragon Tamer = 1
Spell: NECROMANCY. Dark Magic = 4
Spell: DRAGONBREATH. Fire Magic = 2, Dragon Tamer = 3
Spell: HEAL. Dark Magic = -1, Dragon Tamer = 2
I've contrived that so that I could make some daft situations just for emphasis. But let's say you chose the skills:
Fireball, Necromancy, Dragonbreath: DM=6, FM=5, DT=4 -> you are a NECROMANCER.
Fireball, Dragonbreath: DM=4, FM=5, DT=4 -> you are a FIRE ELEMENTALIST.
Fireball, Dragonbreath, Heal: DM=4, FM=5, DT=6 -> you are a DRAGON TAMER.
It will be a little more complicated than that and those aren't real examples, and obviously this will be over eight spells (you will have to take eight spells with you).
Graphics will be a mix of Pioneer Valley Games and Celianna.
Here are a few examples, although these are just very quick maps with little thought to them just to demonstrate the idea and probably won't be used in game, certainly not as-is. It does demonstrate how quickly I will be able to create maps for this though as each represents maybe an hour of work.
You can imagine the interactions you'd have above.
Animations will be a key feature. For example, this very quickly made one (needs more work).
An example of a keep:
Again that's not a very well thought out map, I just wanted to demonstrate Celianna's castle tiles. The building in the middle makes little sense, I just needed a centrepiece.
Here's an example of a connector map, because I need to learn how to map nothing.
I firmly believe that until you can map emptiness you can't map detail. I'm not quite there yet but I think I'm getting there.
Some more house examples:
Here is a quick map made using PVGames' cliffs. It's my first attempt at that style of cliff mapping and I am a little hungover, so I am not sure how well it has turned out:
And a rough example of how interiors will work.
You walk up to a door and the house cuts away like in The Sims.
This example is a bit small, I will be making future houses a lot larger. But the interiors, relative to other games, will be compact.
Further examples but these were made for RTP scale.
I will be using the full PV Games sprite sheets to enable eight directional, eight frame pixel based movement. This will be coupled with running, sitting and other animations. I still need go through them all and see what I've got.
Hopefully I will also be implementing a kind of faux-3D world, with climbing and jumping between "platforms" and some idea of height to the world.
The HUDs in my game have always been complicated affairs so I have tried to be more frugal this time around. This will be the extent of the HUD.
The player will have their own HP bar above their sprite, decluttering the actual view frame.
Those are skill icons, and I made these a while back, they're available in a thread here.
The point of the skill icons is to be reasonably descriptive of what the skill does (so some fire, water, etc) while also being memorable. If you hover over your icon you will get a description anyway however.
Casting Spells - No MP
There will be no standard attack in this game, or defend option. Everything is broken down into skills.
As such there will also be no MP.
Different skills will instead have different recharge times. So a basic attack equivalent might recharge in a second, while a vast summoning spell might take a full few minutes to recharge!
You won't be able to change your build outside of safe spots - hotels, inns, that kind of thing. They'll be the equivalent of going to an inn in a Final Fantasy game, and I've designed it that way to make going to a town a more important moment, otherwise the whole world just blends into nothing.
Storyline and How to Not Make a Boring Game
The bulk of the game is going to be made up of quests, MMO style. However these quests won't be obvious, they'll be started and finished through general conversation and actions. I want there to be a lot of such quests available and the best will link together to create campaigns.
So as a quick example, your player becoming a knight. Starts with them trying to get into a special bar and realising it's the Knight's regular haunt. They get chatting to a drunkard outside and find out how they became a knight. Through various journeys and adventures the player eventually becomes a Knight, all to enter this one pub.
That's just a quick example and there will be more complex storylines of course. I haven't got that far yet.
Some quests will have others you can do instead of them in the chain. So for example, to start one main quest you might need to "be a good person". That could have been helping a cat out of a tree or helping someone fix their cart.
To start another you might need to have done some epic journey at some point, and there could be dozens of examples of that in your history.
I'm not sure what form these quests will take ultimately, and this is one of the things I still need to flesh out. Especially, how to create a world that feels expansive while still being within limits.
A World of Little Details
I've mentioned that the world will be interactive as much as possible but there are other elements I'd like to employ.
I have been working with RPG Maker for 14 years now and have learned a lot over the years. The following are all doable and things I would like to achieve:
- Sound effects and world object sounds
- Footstep sounds that match sprite animations
- On-map battle music where the music gradually gets more up tempo depending on your situation
- Mirrors, water effects and other reflections
- Footsteps in snow, sand and other key locations
- Splashes and raindrop effects in water and puddles
- Little critters
Trading Card Game
I have big plans for this game if I ever finish it. One of those plans is a trading card game. I know a company that will do it, in a print-on-demand form, and they will produce both deck boxes and randomised booster packs. The cost would be roughly the same as a typical MTG equivalent set.
Each card would have a code on the bottom that would allow you to unlock the card inside the game, and also a unique item based on that card. I know it's not secure and I know people will just build a list and put it on the Internet; it's just a gimmick really and an easter egg for people buying the TCG.
If I ever manage to get a license for using RPG Maker graphics outside of RPG Maker (but alongside an RPG Maker project) this is what the cards will look like:
However if that doesn't happen I will source resources externally. I'd rather go with the above though.
I'm not going to put too much thought into that at the moment!
Alongside this will be other extragamery things such as user guides and other merchandise.
I am trying to build up a strong brand and to go with that I need a solid game title. At the moment I have settled for Wytches & Wyverns but this is subject to change and is very generic. But that doesn't mean I can't work on the brand itself, and I have come up with graphics I can easily change the name for.
Thanks for your Input
I hope to build up a conversation and work out how all of the above is going to play out together. Let's see what we come up with?