Skills, animations, and getting burned out

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Ah, skills. Special abilities. Limit breaks. Techniques. We call them different things, but they are always what our little heroes use to bash in the skulls of whatever evil doers threaten the world. But let's talk about these foe smashing powers. How do you go about integrating them into your game? Do your characters learn then narutslly as they level, based on what class they are, or what weapons they have equipped? Perhaps they acquire them through story events? And how do you MAKE your skills? To me, that's the most tedious process of any project. My current game has eight characters and each of them have eight unique skills. That's a total of sixty four skills I have to create frame by frame.. Don you make your own skills? Do you use stock skill animations? Just how skillful are you?
 

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Not using stock animations would take a horrible amount of time, probably enough to merit hiring a separate person to make them in the editor. I've never been an animations person though, and I find the interface quite unintuitive which certainly doesn't help!

How characters obtain these skills can depend quite a bit on how you wish for your game to be set up. For free-roaming games like Fallout, this can tend to mean that allowing the player to use a variety of skills at any given point is a wise idea but linear games would benefit more from a similarly linear accumulation.
 
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Making skills is one of the easiest parts to me. Start off with the basic magic spells—healing, attack magic, status spells, the usual, making two or three tiers for most spell lines. Figuring out character-specific skills takes a bit more time, but not much—I think of what the character's forte is, then have special attacks playing off their specialty. Garland, the heavy-hitter of the party? You can bet he, Garland, will knock you (all) down. X3

For learning? Depends on the project. One current project has the characters learn spells from magic shops, and certain equipment allows them to "invoke" special spells, either a normal spell at reduced cost or a unique and potent ability. And another project goes mostly off of levelling, with a few abilities obtained via plot.

I use the stock animations for most of what I do, though sometimes I have to tweak them or make something up. A third-tier thunder spell? I'll just repurpose Thunder All 2, make it single-target. Need a second single-target wind spell? Heal5 + Wind1 = fancier-looking single-target wind attack! Elemental guard spells? I can recolour Powerup 3 for those.
 

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