Freeform Friday

Cheapsk8 Games:
Mechanics.

In my last entry I actually was going to get int othe nitty gritty of game mechanics and stuff, but I got massivly sidetracked by trying to figure out how the hardware would look and function, plus a brief overview of the tail end of CheapSk8's history. While I'm sure that method decreases ledgibility, but I will end up cleaning material up for anyone interested. Just trying to get rough concepts out before the next shiny thing comes along.

Right, on to game mechanics I want to try keeping in mind.

General: I know Achivements are somewhat out of place in material that's supposed to be from the early ninties, but it's a concept i like and I want to see incorperated. NO PRESS X TO NOT DIE SEQUENCES! Try to keep things at least somewhat logically lain out and, for the love of Bob go over any written dialog so we don't get engrish and or 'bimmy' errors. In keeping with the idea that CheapSk8 released all their stuff on a virtual machine after their hardware division went blewy I might want to see if something like that is actually possible for if I want to turn this into a real playable game. Flash seems most appropriate, but i really would like to have a way to naitivly use a controller without having ot have some kind of key mapper or something.

Beat 'Em Up: I want each character to play differently and have three characters to start with and have an additional three or five unlockable through different means. Not sure really what to say other than I like Streets of Rage's method of making each person play generally alike in the punching and msacking bits, but have enough differences in jump atttacks, weapon use, and grapples to make each play differently. No clue if that's done with most other beat 'em ups since my only other real experiance there is double dragon and there it's two guys that play alike. Ditto for river city ransom (though in the gba remake after you get to access the debug mode lots of options open up for customization.)

There really doesn't need to be a story to hold things up. OK a little bit at the begining to give just enough justification for why this band of vigilanties are having to crack skulls in when it's supposed to fall to police or national governments. Don't want to get too heavy on the between level cutscenes, since too much talking makes for boring game when the objective is to beat the life out of lots of doods. Still, a few hints here and there of actual story and a little explaination on where you're going between levels would be nice, but only a little bit. Really i'd just want to make like an 80's action movie and focus on people beating other people up. And it must have Ninjas... and Robots, but not Ninja Robots since that winds up being lame.

Castleroid: Considering I want RPG elements to show up I'll cover those in the RPG section. However This sort of game would focus on exploration in addition to monster slaying (you could even kill off all the monsters in a specific area if you can figure out how, though there will be a few areas where you can't stop respawning.) Secret switches, background elements being interacted with to get different stuff to happen (most of these being obvious, but others not so much depending on if it's something needed to advance the story or a hidden trick.) Puzzles will be fairly simple for the most part, though I want at least one where you have to do bits and pieces throughout the game and if you didn't then that area would be inaccessable. Nothing game shattering, but something that would allow for oddball stuff.

The interesting thing about castleroid style games is that, from what I've seen, they rely on bits of all sorts of other genre to prop themselves up. Action obviously, but you get bits of platformer with the different jump puzzles, rpg elements depending on which game you're playing, and I've always considered exploration to be a key element here.

RPG: I'm at something of a disadvantage here. I like True20 as a tabletop system. For me it seems to provide a good starting point since it keeps things simple (though there area few things in the core book that could use clarification, such as the magic section.) Trouble is it depends heavily on the physical tabletop enviroment and some elements such as the lack of HP/MP and the use of conviction just won't readily translate. I suppose the core idea could be impliminted along with a few of the fan made rules for HP/MP and finding ways of making a way for conviction to work. However By the time all the little 'fixes' are put in I'd end up with some sort of bastard hybrid of true20, D20 modern, and house rules and something about that just screams inelegent. There has to be something out on the market that can better fit what I would want. Of course True20 has a distinct advantage in not requiring any royalties or useage fees so long as a few legalities are observed (which mostly amounts to sticking the open games license and copyright infromation somewhere.) Not sure how that would apply to what i have in mind, but it might be a good idea to find out.

So. Why True20? Let's see. You generally only have one twenty sided die to worry about and at it's heart all the math boils down to checking your role vs an opposing role or static number. I suppose that would help cut down on the math the game would have to do for things. Additionally there are only three character classes that have a fair amount of overlap and no silly restrictions on what one can and can't learn. Oh and there are already existing rules for invinting stuff, an affinity/friend-enemy/attitude mechanicism, has rulings for everything from undead vampires to Godzilla and other movie monsters, which would come in super handy.

However True20 also lacks a true xp system so something would have to be kludged together. That or completely do away with levels and go with a levelless system where you buy your upgrades (which makes sense in a way really if you think about it. People work up t ogettingbetter instead of *bing!* You got Muscles!) Another minus is many of the skills and spells would have to be used creativly, or thrown out due to not being able to work their effects in. Though on reflection that isn't so bad since that happens for tabletop games anyhow.

I'd have to dig my books out and see if I couldn't find some way of making things work, assuming I could get past the legalities and a better system doesn't present itself. Mutaints and Masterminds also seems likea promising starting point because it already deals with a point based system rather than levels, but I'm unfamiliar with it and I don't know about the legalities of use in a potentially for profit situation.

I'm probably overcomplicating things. All I really need are values and effects for weapons vs how much health a monster has. How much damage that monster ca ndish out, how much the player can take, and throw seplls out as appropriate. Simple enough. No need to use an oil drill when all I need is a hole dug in the back yard right?

Still. just for the sake of clarification let's go over the potential damage elements that will be appearing.

Elemental:
Fire
Water
Stone/Earth
Lightning
Ice

Physical:
Weapons: Swords, Knives, Crossbows, Guns. That sort of thing.
Unarmed: Two fisted brawling and monk-fu goes here. :)
Energy: BFG? No. Really. I plan on some stuff that goes into stupidly overpowered territory.

Magical:
Order: Think ritual magic. Bindings, summonings, Stuff used in cutscenes
Chaos: Raw wild and random on the fly stuff. Transformations, outright distruction, or just stuff that can be done in an instant but is unpredictable.
Life: Astaral travle, healing and other White Magic,

Why so many different effects? Laying out all possibilities for the game's premise rather than confining myself to what would show up in the demo footage. Note the lack of poison and instaint death. Both always seem to be more effective against you than against enemies that you really want to use them on. Also no dark/light good/evil holy/unholy... whatever setup. The 'magic' of this world is actually psychic talent both from within the person and as a result of interactions between them and the planet itself, but that situation is one i havne't fully decided on.

I don't want traditional classes. Instead i want players to be able to lear nany skillset (so long as prerequisites are met) for the cost of gold and possibly earned skill points or something. Sure it invites Twinking, but still... allows for a greater amount of variety and playstyle.

Chargen
You've got your standard male/female options On the first playthrough you can only play as human, but on New Game+ there would be a couple more options (and a few new characters that can be met along the way and others that were strictly NPCs being fully playable.) Choice of Primary Occupation (helps to dictate starting skillset, advanced mode would let you have a greater amount of control withi nthe starting confines.) preferred weapon, and depending on if any points are left the ability to buy a familliar or companion (could be a good idea, but others would be obtainable in game. Still, the one you'd get at startup would be unique in that its skillset grows along with yours rather than being static.)

Not sure how in-depth the appearance changer should be. Maybe pick a portrait and make a few changes to your sprite. I dunno.

Relegion
Ooooo dear this is a toughie. Not sure how to handle it and at first I probably won't other than noting a specific building in the starting area that's a shrine of some sort. My ideas are complicated and i'm not sure how best to express them in game, but it involves a planetary intelligance that has since splintered into a dozen possibly more beings each, compared to even the magically adept, extraordinarily powerful and able to do things that are simply impossible. However their influince stops after you get a good enough distaince from the planet. Not sure if it extends far enough to influince it's moon, or if there will have to be a sidequest to reawaken the moon itself to act as something of an amplifier or... Sorry just too many ideas bouncing around. Hard to focus.

Still, want to keep it relatively low-key. No overt relegious wars. The only Godlike being walking in mortal shape is something of a warlord-daemon prince turned librarian (in the area around this massive library's complex he olds nearly absolute power over the ver yfabric of reality. Outside? Powerful, but within the capacity of mortal magic to kill.) Only reason I'm thinking of including him is both because the character and the location haven't been used in years in anything i"ve noodled with, and having \some massive location where The Trueth of history and the way thigns are is... appealing.

Cutscenes
Even keeping it to still imagry this would be difficult, especially since I'm unsure how to get the ball rolling. After all world ending apocylipse is boring, or at least something too facepalmy to start things with. Kidnapped princess/daughter/other I'd rather not try. Lost pet/child/whatever seems interestingas a start. Would also give an excuse for periodic upgrades and stuff in that if we started with somebody coming to 'you' wit ha 'help me find' thing.... main character is part of an agency of some sort, and would give an excuse for all these quests/missions/jobs that I'd otherwise wonder why people are askinga randomish stranger to do for them.
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