This page is intended as a place to discuss and brainstorm general gameplay ideas. It may be suitable at some point to make a category of Gameplay related articles.
The terrain of the game is the game. It is all-encompassing and stretches in every direction. Towns, towers, dungeons, caves, battles, and other areas traditionally separated from the world map are no longer separated. The map is flat and is not divided into 'rooms' like Interactive Fiction or many Adventure RPGs.
While the map is intended to be two-dimensional, there will be a notion of depth, allowing for bridges over rivers, multi-floor buildings, climbing trees and ladders and stairs, and swimming under water.
An Enemy is an AI represented by a human, machine, monster, etc. used to provide combat to a party of Playable Characters. The AI of Enemies will evolve as the game progresses. Similar to Go, the Gamer will have to learn the AIs presented in order to effectively combat them.
Near the beginning of the game, AIs will be simple: Rats using Physical Attacks, Rabbits running away, and Ice Golems having embarrassingly predictable weaknesses. As the Gamer starts learning the Forms, he will quickly learn how to easily beat these very simple AIs.
Dungeons and unexplored areas of the world map will introduce opportunities to develop the AIs of Enemies. More complicated strategies will be needed: the ability to conspire against playable characters, self healing, and effective offensive and defensive status magic to name a few.
Enemy AIs should be able to respond to a Gamer acting predictably with repetitious strategies. Conversely, the AIs should have weaknesses that can be found while the Gamer discovers different aspects of the Forms. This should help satisfy Asgard's Philosophies of Non-Repetition and Reward the Gamer.
The Final Boss of the game should represent a large skill set of these AIs. Optional, and extremely difficult Bosses should represent a very complete skill set of these AIs.
A Battle is a fight between Playable Characters and/or Enemies. Battle can be initiated in a number of ways:
- Straying into an Enemy's Zone of Attack.
- Enemy(s) stray into a Playable Character's Zone of Attack.
- Enemy(s) plot an attack.
- A Playable Character sets off a trap.
The player must pause the battle to set commands for each fighter. When the pause ends, fighters will continue to follow their assigned commands until the commands are changed with another pause.
When a fighter is commanded to execute a physical, non-magic attack (swords, bows, etc.) on an enemy, he can either be set for auto-attack or manual-attack. With manual-attack, the player can control whether the fighter thrusts, swings, hacks, parries, special attacks, etc. The style of manual-attack to be used can be controled by a keystroke at the time of attack. Auto-attack will use some sort of simple AI.
Magic attacks will endure some amount of wait time depending on the spell before the attack is carried out. During this wait, the fighter is more vulnerable to enemy attacks; that is, his defense will be down a few points.
Terrain Elements such as bushes, trees, and walls can be used defensively. Should help add some elements of Strategy to Battles.
Running away should always be allowed, even in Boss fights. Since the map is continuous, the Gamer should expect a good chase. A combination of status magics, sneaking by way of Terrain Elements, and Gamer dexterity should make running away both fun and challenging.
Dea Ex Machina
The dea ex machina is the computer-controlled AI that corresponds in the Story to The Lady, disrupting the party with nearly-impossible battles that she also saves them from, beginning from very insignificant battles and progressing to battles that are more significant to the story itself. One excellent facet of this notion is that unexpected/unpredictably challenging situations will build the human player's adrenaline levels, rendering the game incredibly more fun. Additionally, the dea ex machina will fill the following roles:
- The Chase - the playable party will be chased by impossible circumstances into an area which will reveal new places, hard-to-find plot line areas, or character enhancement situations. Failure to gracefully retreat may or may not be lethal.
- Trap and Rescue - the playable party will be trapped in an impossible battle with no chance of escape. The Lady will reveal herself either discreetly or non-discreetly, given the number of appearances she has made thus far, and aid the party to victory.
- Physical Challenge - the playable party is pitted against particularly challenging enemy AI's that the dea ex machina has determined that the playable party can handle. The Lady will not intercede to help as the player is intended to win by learning new skills and trying new ideas. Failure to innovate will probably result in death.
- Intentional Summon - At some point in the game, the dea ex machina may be available for intentional summoning. Both to help win battles, bring challenging situations for skill improvement, and reveal new plot locations. The thought train for this idea needs to be explored further. What better way for a supernatural entity to help you than to help you see more in the world than you thought before?
Since the map is continuous and since dungeons are a part of the map is important to explicitly define them. Attributes of dungeons:
- Is a semi-linear labyrinth of rooms,
- Usually contains Monsters, Puzzles, and Treasures,
- Is utterly explorable before the End of Game,
- May contain a Boss Monster,
- Is either required or available as a side-quest,
- Serves as a device to progress the plot.
In order to satisfy Asgard's Philosophy of Non-Repetition, we should work to limit the number of battles in each dungeon to a nice low number.
Quests will be much more dynamic than in other RPGs. That being said, they will not be totally randomized, nor will they be disinteresting, mundane or redundant tasks for the player to fulfill. Rather, each quest to be accomplished will make itself relevant to the player as the approach it by revealing storyline elements that make sense for revelation, skills that would be useful for the player to know (considering how the player is playing the game), and should suggest one or more "next direction(s)" that the player should ponder. After some consideration, these are some quest types that make sense:
- Gathering/Scattering Materials - such as forging, plant growing, drink making etc.
- Ignorance Curing (or Information Gathering)
- Long Term Mutation - through careful interaction with NPCs or other interactable elements.
- Skillset Enhancement
- Dea Ex Machina - quests driven by the Lady's AI.
- Go Kill a Monster
- Key and Lock - Doors that need keys, sometimes with duality in other map areas.
- Storyline Quests - which include the quests surrounding the Laucopids.
- Path to the End - a conclusion quest.
- Tutorial - mainly at the beginning of the game.