RMMV TP-based battle system with possible "Trinity" mechanic?

HiddenAlchemist

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I've been making some good strides in planning and constructing my game project over last few months. But I'm beginning to wonder now if my project really has got that "hook" -- be exciting and stand out from most RM games.

This is the concept I currently have:
In this game, all skills use TP and there is no MP. Each character has two types of skills -- regular skills and what I'll tentatively call "Specials" for now.​
Regular skills use TP, but they do not drain TP (so that it can be built up for Specials). However, they also cannot be used outside of battle either. The idea is that TP represents a character's stress or adrenaline level, hence why these skills can only be used in high-stress environments such as battles. And by resting at an inn, while it will recover HP and statuses, it will also reduce TP back to 0. (As a plus, this could be one way of making recovery items more valuable.)​
Specials are the powerful skills that actually drain TP when used. There are four 'levels' of Specials (the latter levels have to be unlocked first overtime) and each use a quarter of the TP bar based on their strength level. I.e. level 1 uses up 25 TP, level 2 uses 50 TP, level 3 uses 75 TP, and level 4 uses up all 100 TP. Naturally these skills would be significantly stronger and/or more useful than the regular skills.​

Now I can't lie about my inspirations: This is more or less taken from the Wild ARMs series (particularly from the second), a franchise I'm very much in love with and would like to make a fan's spiritual 'successor' of sorts. Half of this was also to challenge me as a RM dev. I've been taking pains to try and vary this with a couple improvements from the inspiration, and I have been in the process of making a short game as a prototype to test this all (nowhere near finished yet to post).

However, even though I've taken pains with this, I still wonder if it's got that "hook" it needs to not bore anyone. I'm wondering if I need to take a step further and change up the mechanics or add another element to it.

One thing I've considered is a "Trinity Skill". There's only three main party members, and I was thinking that if all three of them reaches a TP level (like if all three reaches 25 TP or 50), they could use a Tri-Attack or something that would produce an even stronger effect while draining all of their TP at once. This would be completely new and nothing from the inspiration. It'd give players the strategic choice of whether they want to reserve their TP for the individual Specials, or aim for a Trinity Skill with all three characters. But then I'm also wondering if this would over-complicate things by adding that. That age old saying of "too many cooks in the kitchen".

Basically I just need some feedback, lol. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.
 

alice_gristle

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Your mechanic sounds okay to me, sweetie! I love the tri-attack concept, I'm all for when the team sets aside their squabbles, decides to combine their powers, and THERE'S SWEET GATTAI ACTION AND THE ENEMY GOES BOOM! :kaoluv: :wub:wub Umm, sorry! :kaoswt2: I mean, I'd play yo game!

Aaand, I wouldn't worry about yo hook or anything. Or, I would, but I wouldn't rest my hook on jus' this mechanic. If ya putting yo heart into the game, and you got a good story to tell or yo sentences be sweet, and yo graphics nice, and you have a hot gattai mechanic, I mean, you got a good game right honey? Wouldn't that be yo hook? A coupla jabs to set the customer up and you got a knockout! :kaoluv:
 

JohnDoeNews

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Interresting. But I don't understand this line: "Regular skills use TP, but they do not drain TP"

If they don't drain TP, then how do they use TP? (I am not correcting you. Just wondering how it works.)

(Ps... Love your avatar. Is that your own art? Looks amazing!)
 

Zerothedarklord

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Interresting. But I don't understand this line: "Regular skills use TP, but they do not drain TP"

If they don't drain TP, then how do they use TP? (I am not correcting you. Just wondering how it works.)

(Ps... Love your avatar. Is that your own art? Looks amazing!)
sounds like it was more intended to say that they require TP to be at or above a certain threshold in order to use.
 

HiddenAlchemist

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sounds like it was more intended to say that they require TP to be at or above a certain threshold in order to use.
Yes, this is exactly what I meant. It uses a custom skill cost notetag to achieve that.

So if a skill requires 15 TP to use, then you still need at least 15 TP. But using the skill won't take away 15 points from the bar.

Edit: and no, the icon isn't my own art (I intend to replace it someday), but it is an illustration from Wild Arms.
 

JohnDoeNews

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Yes, this is exactly what I meant. It uses a custom skill cost notetag to achieve that.

So if a skill requires 15 TP to use, then you still need at least 15 TP. But using the skill won't take away 15 points from the bar.

Edit: and no, the icon isn't my own art (I intend to replace it someday), but it is an illustration from Wild Arms.
Oh okay, sounds interesting. :)

And well, like the avatar anyway. Just would have been cool if you could create art like that. (I mean... If that was your art, then imagine how your game would look!! Hahaha!)
 

HiddenAlchemist

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I mean I can draw like that. :p Just that my icon is not my own art.

Anyway. It doesn't sound like anyone minds this idea? I am more concerned though how the balancing may or may not be negatively affected by adding a trinity skill mechanic. Maybe I should just focus on making the prototype so it's easier to show people.
 

JohnDoeNews

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I mean I can draw like that. :p Just that my icon is not my own art.

Anyway. It doesn't sound like anyone minds this idea? I am more concerned though how the balancing may or may not be negatively affected by adding a trinity skill mechanic. Maybe I should just focus on making the prototype so it's easier to show people.
Well, if the 3 actors are always supposed to work together, then trinity skills can be great. Use it in the big skills, the main finishers. Maybe make them only available if all 3 players have full TP and draining it completely?

If I understood it right, the actors can't do much when out of TP, right? So if they can do a huge skill like that, the player best make sure it kills the enemy, or else they have a problem.

That would be a nice way to balance it, I guess.
 

AphoticAmaranth

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One way you could balance it would be if enemies could interrupt or cancel the skill, for instance by stunning one of the members. That way, the player would also need to consider enemy attack patterns and turn order, and there's a risk/reward for using trinity.
 

HiddenAlchemist

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At this point of my dev know-how, I don't think I could make enemy AI that could cancel skills like that. Plus it may seem really unfair to players given that trinity skills wouldn't be that common to set up.

I've been talking about this some more with a friend of mine who is informed about game balancing. They've said my initial concept sounds like it is already balanced and interesting enough without trinity skills. And that adding another element would complicate it. And honestly I'm inclined to agree. I was already feeling really uncertain about the addition of trinity skills when I made this.

Unless I rework the execution of trinity skills, I don't want it where they make individual Specials pointless using.
 

MarxMayhem

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You can set the flag for Trinity Attacks as states, and like any state, increase the TGR parameter of the bearer to "encourage enemies attacking that is activating the Trinity Attack", although if all 3 members have this state applied, then it's really just a matter of surviving.

Alternatively, you can make certain attacks remove the "Trinity Attack" state so that they would fail if removed prematurely (so basically the Cagnizzo Tsunami Tips and Tricks by Yanfly).

I like the idea of your Trinity Attack skills and I encourage you to keep it, even if sparingly. Options are always good for players if it can give them a degined style of play.
 

HiddenAlchemist

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I don't think my opening was as clear about the concern I have, so let me try and re-explain:

Characters can use individual Special skills, which use up a set amount of TP, with stronger skills using more TP. The idea is to conserve your TP so you can use these skills.

With trinity skills, it's the same idea but all three characters would have to reach the same threshold. I.e. if a trinity skill requires 25 TP, all three characters must have at least 25 TP. But these skills will also, naturally, deplete TP.

My concern is thus: why even bother using the individual Special skills when you can just have all three characters conserve TP until they can use a trinity skill?

This is what I mean by how introducing such a mechanic can greatly shift the balancing and that has to be taken into consideration. I think that could potentially be remedied by adjusting game's difficulty and thus encourage usage of the individual Specials. But point is, it's still something that has to be given careful, deliberate attention.

Perhaps a trinity skill that can only be used when all three have 100 TP might be better, as opposed to having different tiers like the Special skills, would help a bit?

I know it looks like I'm pushibg back against the feedback I asked for, but this is a complicated thing to get right. Maybe I should've stayed with the initial concept.
 

Sethorion

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I'm not familiar with hooks in games, but the hook in a novel it needs to happen on the first page (preferably in the first paragraph).

Where does the game equivalent or a 'hook' happen? If your approach to hooking them is your combat system, how do you plan on that being the first thing they see, that inspires them to buy/download? If I can understand that better, I may be able to offer some advice from an author/marketing standpoint.
 

MarxMayhem

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My concern is thus: why even bother using the individual Special skills when you can just have all three characters conserve TP until they can use a trinity skill?
You, as the game developer, have to tell us, the players, why we should care about the difference of one kind of skill to another. Any answer we might come up with for this question may not make sense until it's put into practice, and only practical application can give you concrete answers.
But point is, it's still something that has to be given careful, deliberate attention.
I am in agreement with you on this statement. However I also think that you are giving this more thought than you need.

As I understand it, this is still in the planning phase. Any responses to this will only be hypotheses, and you have the right to doubt hypotheses, but you can only have concrete answers through actually applying it. Make a mockup system and test it yourself, or to closed beta testers if you still doubt your conclusions. I'm the believer of adding as many things to an idea as possible, then removing the unnecessary or bloating ones later. If it turns out that the Specials or even the Trinity Attacks are a bust, go ahead and remove it, but only at that point where it is shown in practice to be a bad idea.
 

HiddenAlchemist

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I am already in the process of slowly building a prototype demo, so I guess that will be the real test. I've spent the last month carefully considering which skills to create in order to facilitate the system I have here. It was only just recently I began wondering if it still wasn't enough and thought I should consult here. But it looks like now I should continue making that prototype.

I'm not familiar with hooks in games, but the hook in a novel it needs to happen on the first page (preferably in the first paragraph).

Where does the game equivalent or a 'hook' happen? If your approach to hooking them is your combat system, how do you plan on that being the first thing they see, that inspires them to buy/download? If I can understand that better, I may be able to offer some advice from an author/marketing standpoint.
For a video game, wherein the audience interacts with a virtual world and takes control of something (like a rpg hero), the "hook" is often the gameplay and how fun and intuitive it is. I do believe there can be hooks in writing and visuals within a video game, so there are some intersections there between games and books or movies. But if a video game is a total slough to play through, then even the best writing or prettiest graphics wouldn't make up for it.

This sort of thing has been talked to at length in certain topics, like "RM Game: The Stigma, and How to Avoid It" and "Advice You Disagree With", which I'm really not keen to bring into this thread. But with all things considered, what does make for a good hook will vary between people. What some people hate playing may be beloved by others.

In hindsight, this kind of makes this thread look really silly and I may have gotten my own anxieties ahead of me. I think I should step back a bit now and continue working on what I already have.
 

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