(Working Title) Time Hunters The concept for this game is to serve as a 'spiritual successor' to one of my favorite games of all time, Time Stalkers. Along the way, it will probably draw from other old favorites such as Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Calibur and Disgaea. It's very unlikely I will use the title Time Hunters, but that was my five-second attempt at ripping off of the progenitor's name. SECTION A: GAMEPLAY MECHANICS SECTION A-1: SOURCE GAME'S MECHANICS Spoiler Time Stalkers employs a very "rogue-lite" system. It's probably not the originator of this formula, but the character progression is detached from leveling up. When you exit a dungeon, you're returned to character level 1. The thing is, if you reach certain milestones, your character will permanently improve their base stats and possibly unlock new abilities. Characters also have a very limited inventory size, generally only being able to carry ~4-8 items TOTAL. Your inventory size increases as you level up, but you can probably only bring one weapon, one piece of armor, a healing item, and food with you into the dungeon--and you can't pick any new items up until you level up! In Time Stalkers, weapons and armor (and things like boots and rings, too) generally have stat requirements for being used, so if you want to bring a badass sword with you into a dungeon, you might not be able to use it until you're level 5 or higher due to its criteria. What's cool about that, though, is any character can technically use any piece of gear if you're determine to make it work. Random generation was a part of Time Stalkers that I would really like to bring into my game. Every time you enter a dungeon, it's randomized. Each floor is random, and there are even a variety of bosses for each dungeon. In addition to that, every time you leave a dungeon, there's a talking rabbit who generates new quests for you. They ask you to go to a random dungeon to complete a random objective (not even necessarily possible/guranteed to appear!) for a random reward. The rewards can sometimes just be items or gold, OR THEY CAN BE ABILITIES FOR YOUR CHARACTER. This opens up a Disgaea-esque grindfest (if you want), where you can literally turn the designated figther/tank into a dedicated healer or something like that. Also somewhat Disgaea-esque grindfest, for large sums of money, you can have Legendary items upgraded in one of two ways. You could Strengthen them, adding a +1 (or 2, or 3, or...) and giving them a flat numeric increase to the stats they normally raise, but you ALSO increase the requirements for using the item. You could also Improve them, lowering the stats required to use an item. Remember when I said you might not be able to use your badass sword right away? This is how you fix that. You could also move qualities from one Legendary item to another, which may affect the stats of them, the skills they impart, or other properties. In spite of the name, the items aren't unique (and are obtained randomly), so you could get more than one of them. Battles in Time Stalkers take place between two teams of 1-3 characters, each team has a 2*2 grid to form on. Attacks have range, which is not represented well by the game, but it's measured in spaces on the two 2*2 grids, so ranged weapons like bows are not able to hit the space immediately in front of them. (Meaning you normally want your archers in the back row, since you don't need to shoot your own front row.) Time Stalkers is based on 3D assets and a 3D game world, so it's actually possible to engage with more than one group of enemies at once, they surround your formation and face their 2*2 grids to yours, sometimes leaving your archers/wizards/healers flanked and vulnerable. There are several main characters in Time Stalkers, and none of them get developed much. You can still play as any of them, but you only get to play as one at a time. The rest of your party is made up of the enemies you encounter in the game, you're able to capture them a-la Pokemon, and they follow a progression that's similar to what the main characters do--albeit more simple. SECTION A-2: HOW I'D MODERNIZE THOSE MECHANICS Spoiler I would really like to maintain Time Stalker's "return to level 1" formula. However, I want to expand a lot upon the game's character progression. Each main character has a very linear progression based on getting cooler versions of their previous title's name (I.e. Scrapper -> Bully -> Fighter) and awarding pre-determined improvements. The only real way to break out of this in the game is by using the randomly generated quests. I think adding some sort of per-character "Achievements List" would be a good way of unlocking upgrades. For example, "Reach level 10" gives a small permanent stat boost, "Cast 100 spells in one dungeon crawl" unlocks the Reduced SP Usage skill... Can any of the RPG Maker games handle this kind of character progression? I like upgrading items, just like I like upgrading characters. I think Disgaea goes too deep with its Item World, but I would like to expand more upon how the original Time Stalkers improved weapons. Can any of the RPG Maker games track individual items and permanent stat changes? The random dungeons in Time Stalkers are pretty bland. They're mostly corridors, boxy open rooms, and occasionally a room that heals you. Besides that, it's enemies, items, hidden traps and items, and the entrance and exit. And then eventually a floor with nothing but a boss. Here's a point where I'd take a page out of Disgaea's Item World playbook--I'd like to add random events or characters or rooms and the occasional "non-combat floor event." Can any of the RPG Maker games handle random dungeon floor generation? Can that kind of system sustain randomly adding non-combat floors or other quirks? The 2*2 of Time Stalkers makes the range system kind of clunky and usually a non-factor. I'd really like to increase the team grid size to 3*3 and resemble Ogre Battle (64) more. I'm taking for granted that the RPG Maker games technically can support a battle system like this--has anyone already developed a system anything like what this sounds like? I'm conflicted about the whole main character situation of Time Stalkers. I definitely would like to try to keep the "pocket monster" angle of capturing and fighting with the help of monsters if at all possible. Has that been done in any modern RPG Maker? SECTION B: CHARACTERS Spoiler Frankly, the main characters of Time Stalkers are pretty weak. The "hero" is a guy with spiky blue hair and is literally called Sword. The game does a pretty bad job of developing the characters, and honestly that adds to the charm in a way. It's a no-nonsense grindfest with a predictable and fairly bland story. When I originally envisioned this idea many moons ago, I had the idea to let the player just create their own main character (and even supporting characters), which could potentially affect the starting state of the game. Basically, at this stage of the concept, individual characters aren't too important. SECTION C: STORYLINE/PLOT Spoiler The story of Time Stalkers was very basic. We start with Sword begrudgingly running some errand for some lady. A big guy with big armor and a big axe ambushes Sword, and after a few exchanges Axe Guy gets disarmed. Axe Guy flees into a clock tower and Sword gives chase. Sword finds a mysterious book and a bright light knocks him unconscious. When Sword comes to, things are strange. The door to the room he came from disappears and there’s only one way to go. We get taught how to navigate dungeons, then we roast the Big Axe Guy in a fight. Sword exits the clock tower and finds himself in a new world. The world of Time Stalkers is pretty interesting, we’ll cover that in the next section. Not long after exiting the clock tower, Sword very rudely starts asking “Old Man” about what’s going on. Old Man is very suspicious and insists that Sword is a hero, and that Sword must address him as “Master.” Sword’s given a house to stay in when he’s not busy saving the world, and is asked to investigate a volcano that has appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Basically, the story exists to introduce the main characters, the dungeons as they get unlocked, and reveal the bad guy. The bar is honestly set fairly low for me if I wanted to do better. How do I intend to do better? Well, I would like to do most of my story telling through the development of the world. I don’t intend to diverge too far from the “This isn’t normal, what’s going on?” template of Time Stalkers, but hopefully I can make the bad guy a little less obvious and the pacing and development a little more interesting. Time Stalkers combines a lot of different worlds and types of fiction, and it’s an interesting premise to me. But, they don’t really play off of it besides the odd scene where new characters freak out about how different the world they’re in is. No one ever freaks out over the fact that there’s a retired bounty hunter talking rabbit with an eye patch, and they seem to need to come to terms with the candyland world he lives in. No one ever second guesses that there’s this space-church where you can literally bring monsters back from the dead. That’s definitely an aspect of the fiction that should get more attention. SECTION D: SETTING AND/OR WORLD DEVELOPMENT Spoiler Time Stalkers takes place in a "crossover" world, where people and places are pulled from different realities (or fictions?!), so you've got this medieval town center with a fountain and an item shop that's staffed by bear people that's connected to a futuristic airship platform with a space-church and a lab, that's connected to a Sonic the hedgehog-looking candyland Island... there's a volcano with cavemen, there's this weird pyramid tomb place, there's... downtown Chicago?... I look at this premise, and I love it. Not only is it an excuse to pit robots with laser guns against clerics and wizards and all other sorts of shenanigans, but it's also potentially an excuse to use clashing art styles. I'm intending to have at least four drastically different worlds for main characters/archetypes (and dungeons) to come from. I want there to be laser guns and laser swords, and bows and arrows and swords and shields, and forest people, and some weird alien characters. Take the weird juxtapositions and run with them. IMAGE INSPIRATION Spoiler I don't have any development done, and I am not much of an artist, but I'll try to share some images and talk about my inspiration a little more. Here, the robot in the red square (a captured monster) is choosing a target for its attack. Stone is the only bad guy, but we could also hit our allies since they're in range. Time Stalkers lists your chance to hit and predicted (as far as I can tell, guaranteed) damage. I think the information it gives is a little too definite, and also it seems like anything other than 99% misses way more than it should. (But that could just be confirmation bias.) In Ogre Battle 64, you're given a 3*3 grid to arrange your units. Their actions are determined by the row you place them in (front, middle, back), in the SNES game there were only two rows, and the middle row is usually not worth utilizing in 64 because it wasn't balanced very well. Also, in Ogre Battle, your units automatically carry out their commands X number of times per battle--I don't like the automated battle idea, but I like the idea of having more spaces to make range (and movement) more influential on the game's strategy. In Time Stalkers, you issue a command to each of your characters, and then the turn unfolds with the fastest characters acting first. Allies and Enemies act in the same phase, just according to who is fastest. This means, if you're faster than a bad guy, you can use the "Move" command to avoid an attack. It doesn't normally make sense to do this, though, since it uses your turn and if you've got two allies in a 2*2 grid, it's possible you have to trade places with them and cause them to get hurt. A 3*3 grid would make this mechanic more interesting, and having range be more significant (and granular) could make it more effective. Maybe you're using a spear, so you move out of a sword user's reach so now the fight is unfair in your favor! Thanks! Sorry if I'm not far along enough with the idea to be sharing here. I wanted to communicate the concept of my idea to hopefully help me fish for the right RPG Maker engine and plugins, if any of them seem like a good fit.