What interesting skills have you used or seen?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Snayff, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Snayff

    Snayff Veteran Veteran

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    Hello all!


    I have recently started with RPG maker and the possibilities, whilst daunting, seem pretty limitless! I cannot art or compose but I have a reasonable grounding with stats and programming so I think the best place to start is with the skills. Having read around there seem some good starters for learning how to make the most of the damage formula box but I can't find much about the breadth of skills that people have created. Which brings me here!


    What skills have you RPG maker folk created or used that really impressed you? What innovative interpretations of the norm have you seen? What move was surprisingly fun to use? Was there something particularly special about the mechanic, the way it was created or a thematic note that really piqued your interest?


    If you have any thoughts I would love to hear them! 


    Snayff
     
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  2. KoldBlood

    KoldBlood Innovation from Limitation Veteran

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    Let's see, skills that I've created for my game that I think are the coolest are:


    Soul Breaker:


    Does half the damage of a normal attack but lowers the target's magical defense for 5 turns. Seals their magic for 3 turns if you land a critical strike.


    This skill is interesting because my main physical damage dealer is the one who learns it. Using it essentially does nothing for himself, however, the lowered magic defense it causes to enemies greatly increases the damage output of magical attacks from his Mage and Healer which I feel adds a nice synergy and sense of teamwork between the party members.


    Shield Guard:


    Use your shield to block 90% of incoming damage and prevent status effects.


    A handy but highly situational skill the healer learns, it can allow her to survive a power attack or block a detrimental state but it only lasts one turn so use it wisely.


    Lucky Day:


    Halves the cost of all skills for 10 turns.


    This is one of my special "Crest Skills" that are only available by equipping special crest items to characters. These skills are like "trump-cards" and provide powerful bonuses, effects, or even attacks. The above mentioned skill essentially doubles the amount of times the affected character can use their skills. Very handy for boss fights.


    Obviously I have more but I'll let some other people post for awhile.
     
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  3. S17R

    S17R Villager Member

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    Let's see, I haven't played too many RPG Maker games, so I'll post the ones I've thought about...a lot of these are ideas more than fully designed skills, but whatever:


    Laceration:


    Release a ball of colorful energy to an enemy. The damage increases according to the amount of Overload gauge the user has charged. 


    By now I haven't got the exact formula written down, but the concept is  clear. In my game, the Overload gauge is essentially a Limit Break system with some added features, like a bar divided in various segments to perform different skills aside from the standard "Limit Break".


    Black Flame:


    Summons a fire pillar under the target that inflicts Fire damage. The damage is doubled if the target is affected by a negative state.


    Has synergy with abilities like Power Break, or Mind Break. Maybe the states that trigger the effect are limited, I don't know. Looking at it right now, it may be a little broken xD.


    Ashes:


    Inflicts huge Fire damage to all burned enemies. Does not work if targets are not burned.


    Inspired by the Arcanist class of Bravely Default, this is a boss skill. It has synergy with another of its skills, Flame Tide, an AoE fire ability that can cause burns.
     
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  4. Snayff

    Snayff Veteran Veteran

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    @KoldBlood the idea of synergy is always interesting to me. Having things work in balance with one another can be so exciting to watch! However, do you ever find it a problem from a  thematic point of view?


    90% reduction! That sounds huge, what about that stood out for you?


    Playing with resources is always tricky to me, as it is playing with something that is (often) so finely tuned. Sounds like a great chance to feel powerful.


    @S17R Don't worry about staying with RPG maker examples buddy, anything that comes to mind to illustrate would be great! 


    For laceration would it consume the Overload, or merely be based on it?


    Out of interest, if the two skills (Ashes and Flame Tide) work so well together, what stops them being used constantly, to the exclusion of everything else?
     
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  5. S17R

    S17R Villager Member

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    @SnayffLaceration will probably just base its damage on the Overload bar and not consume it. If the skill worked that way...then I guess it wouldn't be too different from a Limit Break that just consumes the Overload gauge. The Overload bar will take the place of the standard TP gauge, so it shouldn't be a problem to write the formulas.


    As for the Ashes/Flame Tide combo, the idea would be to heal the burn state after Flame Tide to completely avoid Ashes (by that point in the game the party should have acquired the skills or items to heal burns long ago). The boss fight where this happens would be at the mid/endgame, so by now all mechanics related to it are just a work in progress. I hope that I can use Yanfly's Battle AI Core Plugin to design a certain pattern for the combo that doesn't make the whole thing entirely predictable and/or overpowered, and to avoid spamming as you say. Maybe the boss can use Flame Tide since the beginning of the fight and after reducing his health to X% it starts using Ashes according to certain conditions or a certain number of turns.
     
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  6. KoldBlood

    KoldBlood Innovation from Limitation Veteran

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    I'm trying to make it so that each party member has ways to assist other party members, whether it be general as in the healer's ability to buff the stats of the others or directly like the swordsman's Soul Breaker technique. I'm trying to capture feeling that they are a team and working together using their signature skills to overcome their enemies. Granted that's probably best shown through a real-time action battle system and professional voice overs, I'm trying my best to make it happen in a turn based system.


    I chose 90% damage reduction for Shield Guard because everyone's standard guard without a shield reduces damage by 50%, i tried 75% initially but it just never felt justified because it uses some (not a lot) SP to activate. I ended up picking 90% because of several reasons:


       1: The skill in of itself is very situational, you don't use the normal guard very often, so I assumed this skill will be treated the same way.


       2: The player is spending some of their SP (which they could use to do damage, heal, buff, etc.). 


       3: The player is also sacrificing the character's turn. This is the healer so I felt the reward should be high for choosing not to heal for a turn.


    The addition of blocking status effects was an extra effect I felt would cause the skill to be used slightly more often as some enemies have "tell tale signs" that show they are about to use a status effect or power attack thus giving the player the chance to use the skill to avoid the attack if they wish. She's also the only character with a shield so I wanted to make it special in some way.


    Lucky Day is just one example of several skills that create this kind of "power trip" effect for the player. Actually, in my next post I think I will cover more of the Crest Skills and the mechanics behind them because I think they fit more into the theme of "Interesting Skills" that you've set.
     
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  7. Snayff

    Snayff Veteran Veteran

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    @S17R Ah, I understand. That makes more sense, I didn't realise it was to be used by the enemy! 


    @KoldBlood For what you are describing (while off topic slightly) have you thought about using a"follow up" script which allows you to have one character use a move in response to another character using a different move? Maybe that will support the feeling you are trying to convey. 


    I look forward to hearing more about them! :)
     
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  8. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I'm not sure if this fits or helps, but I'll provide an actual example after this first one if you want something specific.


    I created a skill for my Necromancer which essentially inflicts the state "Zombie" on an enemy.  In and of itself, that's not very interesting.  However, what Zombie does... is very interesting.  And chaotic.  And hilarious to watch a player try to deal with.


    "Zombie" in my game turns anyone affected by it into an uncontrollable berserker.  They attack anyone in combat (either side).  Their Attack score doubles, their defense halves, and each time they land a hit on someone... they inflict the Zombie state on them as well.  It does not take long to watch an entire battlefield devolve into sheer madness under these very simple commands for the skill, and it's funny to watch unprepared players try to deal with it the first time out.


    My other skill, which probably fits better, is a simple Level 4 Fire spell (upgraded properly).  It does an insane amount of damage, but it has a 1% chance of inflicting the state "Immolation" which acts as nothing more than flavor text.  When it inflicts the state, the text reads "(Name) was immolated!".  The state then drops the enemy (or player) HP to 0, which results in the enemy or ally dying immediately.  I've run a few playtests with this skill to mixed results.  Some players thought it was pretty awesome that this text would pop up and instantly kill enemies... some found it fairly needless and wondered why I didn't just have them die instantly without a message.  I just personally prefer the "flavor text" of it, and so left it in.
     
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  9. ash55

    ash55 Veteran Veteran

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    I like to have passives that add a bit of risk/reward thought to existing skills. So for example I have 2 heal skills, a big Heal and a small Regen that drains your battery. I made it so Regen has no Battery cost to use if you're low on health. So every time you're on the brink of death, you have to decide whether to go with the big heal in order to get back in the fight quickly but drain your resources, or to go with the free, small heal instead (which heals over a longer time). You could keep using Regen and remain on the brink of death for a while too if the enemy hits hard, so that adds quite a bit of tension to the fights.
     
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  10. Snayff

    Snayff Veteran Veteran

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    @Tai_MT It's just a general discussion buddy, it all adds ! :D  


    OK, that sounds like a hilarious thing to watch, and a interesting implementation of the more common "berserk" state. But how do you keep that feeling balanced? Is there a risk with the player feeling like they have lost their power and autonomy if all of their decision making is taken away from them?


    My 2c, the flavour text absolutely makes that insta kill. On topic, is it the insta kill mechanic that makes you see it as being innovative or unique, or something else?


    @ash55 Assuming "Battery" is an MP replacement? How does that work? Forgive my ignorance, but if there is a simiarity to MP then wouldnt the  dilemma in question hinge on perfectly balancing the battery? What I mean by that is that if they have a lot of battery then they never need to make that choice as they can always go for the big heal. 


    @KoldBlood so how did you implement your power trip? And what about those other Crest skills? ;)
     
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  11. KoldBlood

    KoldBlood Innovation from Limitation Veteran

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    Wall of Text Warning


    First, touching on the "follow up" script real quick, yes the thought had crossed my mind at one point but I ultimately decided against it for a couple of reasons. The first being that I had finally got the battle system stable (I'm using quite a few scripts already and had to do some crazy script editing to make everything work seamlessly together) and the second being that I wanted the players themselves to make the smart decisions during battle that cause this synergy. Personally, I feel like if the game automatically follows up with an appropriate skill then it's kind of "playing itself" for the player. I want players to be able to look at all of the options I've provided and come up with cool strategies and combos on their own. This is why I try to make the returns for different strategies significantly increase the more complex the player gets with their strategies as that also equates to lost turns and/or SP for the player. Such as, if the player is willing the spend a turn and some SP they can setup a character to be more likely to land a critical hit on the next turn. This ties into the fact that critical hits for some skills will cause extra states to enemies


    Anyway, back on to the topic at hand, I'd like to talk about my Crest Skills because I feel they are the most unique of the skills in my game.


    For some context I'll give a quick summary on how Crests themselves work:


    Crests:


    Crest in the game world are ancient powerful artifacts that humans have figured out how to harness the power of both for practical (heat, power, water,etc.) and tactical (combat) purposes. Each character has a "crest bracelet" and by equipping Crests to that bracelet you can allow them to use powers of Crests in battle. The first bracelets your characters get only have a single crest slot but later in the game I'm planning for up to at least three slots. Each Crest provides some slight passive bonuses but their real power comes from the one or two special skills that they possess. It should be noted that battle Crests cannot be bought, they must be found in hidden dungeons throughout the game. They are also unique with only one copy of each Crest available so who you give the Crest too is just as important as what the Crest itself does.


    Crest Skill Mechanics:


    This is where things get interesting, each Crest Skill provides the Character who has it equipped with one or two unique skills that can only be used by the Character using that Crest. These skills are purposely designed to be more powerful than normal skills and are overpowered by nature, they are meant to tip the scales in the players favor. This might sound game breaking at first but here's the twist; even though a Character can have several of these skills available for use at a time only a couple can be used at once within a short period of time through the use of a re-purposed TP system (renamed CP). Each character has a total of 100 CP which is carried over from battle to battle, if they use some CP, it will slowly recharge at a rate of 2pts per turn. If the player kills an enemy it will charge their CP by 5.


    With these mechanics in place, each Crest Skill is assigned a cost of CP between 1 - 100, depending on what the skill does it may cost a little CP or all of your CP. The catch here is that to use the most powerful skills you need full CP, you can use moderately powerful skills only a couple of times, and lesser powered skills several times. Since CP charges slowly during battle and faster from killed enemies these skills can be used in normal battles without fear of not having access to them again for extreme periods of time but they are also not able to be abused in boss battles. These numbers my still need some tweaking but so far they've worked well.


    Finally, on to some of the skills. Sorry for the long post but I feel these skills don't seem as interesting without some knowledge of the mechanics behind them and some context.


    The first Crest you get is "Blademaster". Blademaster allows the character who has it to use two unique skills:


    Multi-Strike:


    CP Cost: 75


    Applies the Multi-Strike state for a few turns which causes the character's basic attack to hit three times in a row with perfect critical hits. This is handy when you have a sword with an element that enemies are weak to or if you just want to wail on a particular enemy (i.e. a Boss) and pairs well with the healer's ability to buff your attack damage.


    Blade Dance:


    CP Cost: 100


    The character attacks every enemy with a 4x hitting attack with perfect critical hits. This move pretty much wipes out a normal enemy troop in one sweep and badly damages a boss type enemy. Very useful for escaping a sticky situation or just quickly ending a single normal encounter. The downfall is that your weapon's element type is ignored for this attack so you are relying purely on physical power for this one.


    Well, this post has rambled on long enough for now, don't want to write a book. Anyway, now that I've covered the background mechanics I will cover more skills/skill ideas in my next post.
     
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  12. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    What keeps it balanced is that by the time the player gets access to "Zombie" (or the enemies do), you've got several items and pieces of equipment that can make you immune or resistant.  There is also a single party member immune to all status ailments, so if she's around, she can never be a zombie.  Basically, by the time you get access to all of this possible hilarity...  You should have means of either stopping it or preventing it from affecting your party.  During playtests, I gave the players a bunch of different options for equipment and nullification.  Very few took the "you cannot turn into a zombie" equipment and then proceeded to cast "zombie" on enemies to see what it did.  Lesson learned.  There are also consumable items that remove the state as well...  But...  The skill is more to be used strategically (like most of my skills).


    As for the fire skill that can result in instant-death...  For me, what makes it unique and interesting is just that it has a 1% chance to instantly kill an enemy that isn't resistant to the state "Immolation".  I don't advertise this effect in game, anywhere, and it is a surprise to most players when it happens.  They're used to hitting the 800+ damage the spell does (I work with low stats... 800 is like 80x starting magic spell damage) and continuing the fight.  When they hit a powerful enemy with it and suddenly get the message " _____ was immolated!", they go "huh?".  For me, that's what is unique and interesting about it.


    I've got a bunch of "non standard" abilities in my game that do more than just damage or status effects...  But, those are just some of my favorite.
     
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  13. ash55

    ash55 Veteran Veteran

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    @Snayff Sensible issue raised. You don't get like 999 units of Battery though. You get 7, and that's your maximum. The Regen skill costs 3 Battery I believe. It also costs 1 Battery to summon a Droid, and your Droid drains your Battery by 1 each turn. That adds up pretty quick. Another important skill is a Barrier bubble that cuts damage in half, and that costs 4 Battery. So there's a lot of ebb and flow to the Battery, it can be challenging to keep it up in a difficult fight, especially when the boss makes your methods to recharge Battery a pain...

    The only way to recharge battery is to use a skill that drains your health by 100 (out of 200) and that gives you a Battery Regen buff, or you can use your melee to build up battery (though that's your weakest attack). Some enemies will lay Caltrops on the field which cause damage to you when you get close for a melee.

    I definitely think there is still room for improvement of course. To go into more detail on the OP's question, I get a lot of inspiration from interesting passives from MMOs and similar games. They usually have cool talent trees that really switch up the resource system in interesting ways.
     


    I have videos of my battle system in my thread (link in signature) if I'm being very poor at explaining it btw.
     
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  14. maxdiba

    maxdiba Warper Member

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    Some skills in my game, need some comments and ideas pls xD


    Class: Ranger


    ranged class with 80% hit rate(kinda low ) and base 10% crit rate 


    Skill1: Death Mark   


    Marking a target, both of ur and ur allies basic attack deal 50% more dmg. (Ranger's skill also get benefit from it)


    Skill2: Fire 3 shots that hit random enemies.(pretty good against single target )  could crit


    Skill3::Single shot with high speed and high dmg, which also push the enemy backwards    crit as well


    Skill4: Enter a state for 5 turns, which gives u 100% crit rate and ur basic attack could apply skill1 to targets. Also ur crit deal 50% more dmg


    Skill5: Damage all enemies, deal dmg 5 times. also crit


    Skill6: Shoot a bullet that blinds the enemy, lower their hit rate


    The point is, this guy's hit rate is pretty low. Sometimes its rly annoying that u miss all ur shots.


    Also is there any idea for skill6 since i found it a bit.... useless. It just doesnt fit.
     
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  15. Snayff

    Snayff Veteran Veteran

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    Firstly, thanks to everyone for adding to the discussion. Some really interesting reads and some challengin ideas. (I certainly hope my comments and questions dont seem undermining...) 


    @KoldBlood i always find the idea of spending a turn to do more on the next turn an interesting proposition. I am usually the minmax style player so I like to reduce each turn to as simple a calculation as posisble (as a player) and I can't think of a time when I have taken the offer to defer a turn. Statistically it rarely makes sense. Though of course, i could just be bad at math. :p
    Thank you for taking the time to explain all of that. I completely agree that the context is often important to why something is innovative - a lightbulb is common place... but it certainly wasnt in 1802!
    You have clearly put a lot fo thought in to it buddy, there seems to be several stages or layers in your mind and I expect that comes through in the game, too. 
    For blade dance it certainly seems strong, is there a chance the move boils down to "do large damage to everyone" though, particularly if it takes away part of the weapons identity?


    @Tai_MT I really like the idea of something that can spread uncontrollably in combat, I expect it imparts a sense of urgency to the proceedings. Apologies, I am not sure I understand what you mean when you say, "Very few took the "you cannot turn into a zombie" equipment and then proceeded to cast "zombie" on enemies to see what it did". I would have thought that if you are immune you would want to use the Zombie skill?
    Uniqueness through surprise... not something I have thought about before. But you know what? The few times game have surprised me with something completely out fo the blue, first time I sawcombos in Agarest for example, it felt pretty awesome. 


    @ash55 That sounds awesome, and makes much more sense. Also, I don't know that you explained it poorly at all! 
    In my own experience I find healing to be an unintuitive experience for the most part, excepting action games where a last second, and limited use, heal can be really thrilling. However, the choice between two is a lot more engaging. 


    @ ALL some great call outs so far. Anyone else want to weigh in? To expand on my original question, have any of you seen a skill or mechanic that really promoted player interaction or agency?
     


    edit:


    @maxdiba Sorry buddy, thats not really the point of this thread. In fact, thats probably the opposite! There are a few threads around to get feedback on your ideas, or of course you can start your own thread!
     
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  16. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    What I mean is that when I offered the "anti-zombie" equipment, very few players took it.  Those players that didn't take it usually proceeded to cast "Zombie" on a group of enemies... without realizing that it could come back to turn their whole party into zombies.  I did have a few players equip the anti-zombie equipment and then cast zombie.  They were a bit amused at how quickly it spread as well.


    Basically, so few RPGs allow something like "Zombie" to be so communicable among party and enemies alike, that most players never consider that it might be passed on to others on the battlefield.


    It really is quite funny to watch the ensuing chaos.  "What?!  It spreads?!  Holy crap!  That's not cool!"
     
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  17. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    Not awesome skill mechanic with complex explanation. Just ...


    Head shot


    Do extra damage to enemy that has head. Less damage to enemy that has no head. i.e, effective to humans, creatures, but not for plants, slimes :p


    Target marking


    Shot enemy and put aimed state to the enemy. Deal more damage using ANY gun attack from the actor who put the state including normal attack and skill. The state removed after the target attacked or the actor who put the state incapacitated (this requires script workaround)
     
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  18. KoldBlood

    KoldBlood Innovation from Limitation Veteran

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    @Tai_MT That zombie state sounds like a cool mechanic. I've never been much of a fan of "Charm" type states but that's because they always seem solely targeted for the player's party. Zombie however sounds much fairer and also opens up some cool strategic options for smart players via the Anti-Zombie equipment! Good stuff!


    @Snayff I don't think you come off undermining. Asking questions and sharing information/experiences is how we improve. I don't know about the others but I'm enjoying the feedback on my own skills and getting to see some of the cool things others have made like Tai_MT's "Zombie".


     You actually have a pretty spot on analogy of Blade Dance, the point of the is skill purely a physical DPS drop at it's most basic level. As the name suggests, it does require a sword/dagger/axe using character to perform so this can limit it's usefulness in terms of who will benefit most from the Crest but it wouldn't be very effective in the hands of a low strength Mage-type character anyway. The Blademaster Crest symbolizes just that; a master of the blade which is why both skills cause the character to hit with 100% accuracy and they always land a critical strike. It's mainly an attack based Crest whereas other Crests might provide protection, give you an advantage with an elemental attack, give the character an extra turn, raise all dead allies with 100% HP, etc. I'm still relatively early in development so I've only designed a couple of Crest Skills so far but I've still got a lot to work with in terms of uses and abilities. Each of the first Crests in the game come with a party member so those initial Crests are somewhat personalized for that character (hence Blademaster for the swordsman lead character), however, they can be unequipped and given to a different character if that's what you want to do.


    Also, I definitely see what you're saying about the importance of turns to the player. In fact, I myself am VERY picky about using my turns for anything other than attacking with the strongest attack or healing with the strongest all healing skill. I'm also horrible about "item hording" even the simplest potion no matter how common. That's why I designed some of the skills the way I did and give such big pay offs for using those "outside-the-box" strategies. I'm not fooling myself though; I know most players will more than likely only use these kinds of combos in boss battles (like most RPG's) but they are there for normal encounters nonetheless, if the player wishes to utilize them. I'm trying to use my own stubborn tendencies to test these concepts, to see if I would use something or not, but you're always bias toward your own creation so I won't truly know how my systems are working until I get the new demo in some tester's hands.


    Changing up the pace (cuz I know I never stop talking about my game :p ):


    One of my favorite skills from an RPG I've played would be Yuri Lowell's "Savage Wolf Fury" Mystic Arte from the game Tales of Vesperia (which may or may not be where I got the inspiration for Blade Dance). It's basically a DPS drop too but MAN; the first time I used it I felt like a total badass!  BD
     
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  19. Snayff

    Snayff Veteran Veteran

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    @Tai_MT I get you, thank you for clarifying. With your comment on the XP thread giving context I expect there is more depth to the Zombie situation than I thought. 


    @TheoAllen the headshot sounds pretty quirky. How would you implement that without a script?


    @KoldBlood phew, good to hear. So easy to misconstrue in the written medium!


    I dont blame you being keen to talk about your game, you are clearly passionate about it. I think there is definitely merit in having thematic design choices, and promoting innovation and uniqueness through that. Similarly, having moves that work for only bosses or certain types of enemies can be great, though my preference would be having those moves only accessible through additional work, a side quest of similar, otherwise the player choice is very narrow; this moves is super useful in this situation so why use anything else?


    Isnt one of the biggest challenges with such things recognising our own bias? ;)  I have read a fair amount on game design but know I will forget all of that and fall straight in to the "I love it then it must be great" trap. :p  


    I havent ever played the tales games, though they sound interesting. Mate, any time a move makes me feel badass I know the game will always hold a little place in my heart.
     
    #19
  20. stupid enough to like FF13

    stupid enough to like FF13 Veteran Veteran

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    In most RPGs, instant-death spells are (usually) too inaccurate to ever bother using and useless against bosses anyway or (rarely) so effective you can spam them to wipe encounters easily. So I decided to make a "death" spell that wouldn't be terrible or overpowered.


    The magic (ha) behind it all stems from an if/then/else statement in the damage formula box. If the random number comes up a hit (the hit percentage is based on a static number times the KO state rate, and it can be modified by the user's magic stat if I wish), then it proceeds to the damage formula; otherwise it results in zero damage (no effect). If it hits, it does non-elemental damage equal to half of the target's current HP plus a random value up to their max HP, all multiplied by an element rate I call "Gloom". (If you get the reference, a cookie for you. X3)


    The beauty of this is that it lets me have a "death" spell that doesn't do nothing most of the time and doesn't just insta-kill most enemies most of the time. I can also give enemies separate resistance to the spell hitting at all and the amount of damage they can take—so it can have a normal hit rate but do only 1/12th damage to a boss, or I have an enemy that is unlikely to be hit but is guaranteed to die if the spell does hit. And an unintentional bonus factor is that it also makes death more likely if the character has lower HP.
     
    #20

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