Game Mechanics Design for Terraria like game

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by Simon Gust, Dec 13, 2018.

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  1. Simon Gust

    Simon Gust Member

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    Hello fellow designers

    I have picked up the design of my project (desolation of the heron) (title not set) again after a long pause.
    And I now know in what direction I want to go with this.

    For those who don't know, my project is a Terraria ripoff but it has nuts goners, so it's legal.
    https://forum.yoyogames.com/index.php?threads/desolation-of-the-heron.53662/

    A sorta semi-rpg is what I had in mind.
    What do you think of this?


    Main Mechanics:
    Code:
    - the player can choose between several races at the start. Each race comes with different stats and boni.
    - the player manages stats such as health, energy, shield, attack power and defense.
    - the player can defeat enemies to obtain exp and finally level up to gain points to be spent.
    
    - Each race has 2 passive boni
    - There is a global skill and attributes tree that can be speced into with points gained from level ups.
    - Each race also has their own skill tree as well.
    
    Notes:
    Code:
    - health does not regenerate naturally.
    - energy and shields slowly regenerate.
    
    - the racial bonuses are supposed to be very powerful and balanced so that the player is troubled to decide which race to pick.
    - the skill tree bonuses are supposed to never be useless so that each skill is being considered by the player to spec into.
    
    - global perks include bonuses to base stats like health, energy, shield, attack and armor.
    - So that the player cannot spec certain powerful perks immedeatly, each perk has a level requirement.
    
    - the player can get extra stats (i.e. more hp, more sp, defense etc.) from destroying upgrade crystals.
      They are hidden in the underground.
    
    - there are weapons that range from swords to rocket launchers.
    - there is armor and other accessories to be equipped.
    - there are several biomes to be explored and "completed".
    

    Are these mechanics interesting?
    Has there been something like this before?

    Does it sound appealing?


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Races:
    Code:
    - Humans are boring and get no stat boni.
      They have better drop rates
      They get 2 extra "accessory" slots
      Their appearance is human-like.
    
    - Pedestrials have a 40% health bonus to start with (14 instead of 10).
      33% better vision in the dark, enemies are always visible
      They get the a slow natural health regen (0.20 / sec) from the start.
      Their appearance is rat-like.
    
    - The Heavenborn get an 100% energy bonus to start with (4 instead of 2).
      Every Attack that used energy is doubled.
      Their wings allow them temporary flight.
      Their appearance is bird-like.
    
    - The Preubii start with a shield that has a capacity of 2.
      <open passive slot>
      They can use tools and weapons 40% faster than any other race.
      Their appearance is robot- / android-like.
    
    - The Thorrent start with additional attack power (1 instead of 0).
      They deal 40% more damage below 33% health
      They are completely immune to fire and lava damage.
      Their appearance is demon-like.
    
    - Hythralls start with additional defense (1 instead of 0).
      Every ranged attack of theirs pierce through all enemies and penetrate 1 defense as well.
      They are excellent swimmers and can breathe underwater.
      Their appearance is reptilian- / amphibian-like.
    

    Now, does this sound balanced?
    Are there some abilities that sound too op or awful?
    Can the player exploit these?

    What would you pick if you had the choice?


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Biomes:
    Code:
    - Start in the forest biome
    - The player can explore cave systems to find treasure
    - The worlds should feature both a tundra and a dessert biome(s)
    - A crystal biome resides above the clouds, it should prepare the player for the next biome.
    - The Toxism marks the evil of the world, it destroys nature and spreads fast.
    - The jungle biome bodes a challenge for the player, it contains great treasure.
    - There is an ancient temple in the desert to be explored, it is filled with traps and powerful foes.
    
    I wanted it so that the player has to visit each biome multiple times but I do not want it to be like a quest system where the player is ordered to "go there do that, then give me this from there, then defeat that in there".
    It needs more spice, at the same time I do not want to copy from Terraria or Starbound.
    It's hard for me, I've played almost 2000 hours in Terraria and every second thought that comes up is already a copy from that game. Same with the toxism, it's like the corruption, but maybe I can get more out of this.


    Ideas and suggestions are welcome!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
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  2. Bingdom

    Bingdom Googledom

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    I think the best advice I can get you is to write out a complete document that describes every aspect of your game. I see that you've generated some core design features, which is a good start.

    As you develop your document, you will gain a greater understanding of your game. With this, you may find features that can help differentiate the game from its similarities with other games.

    This document can include;
    • The expected weapons for/from each race. It doesn't have to be specific, but specific enough to give you a general direction that mixes naturally for the host. A bit of background helps.
    • Since you want to focus on the game having a good story, it should focus on; NPCs, fauna, procedural artefacts (buildings, cultural heritage), etc for biomes. Give biomes culture. At least a story on how/why it forms the world the player currently resides in.
    • Write a sustainable combat system. This one is very important. You need to really negotiate with yourself as to why each perk exists. Is this perk too similar to other perks? Is this complicating the game too much? Is this going to make it more difficult to manage/balance other perks in the long run? Note: When I say perk, I'm actually referring to anything that affects the player's fighting capabilities (shield, armour, stat bonuses, etc). A system like this requires a lot of iterations and testing to get right. I'm not expecting what's written down to be the same after you've developed prototypes.
    • And other core elements you may pick up as you go along.
    Tip: Don't be afraid to include some concept drawings.

    With this, you've developed a cohesive game idea from the start. Then it's up to you on how this is executed (which is of course, based on your experience as a game developer).

    It's better to get feedback from the people playing your game, rather than feedback from your ideas (as anyone can come up with ideas). That way, you can learn the faults in your execution.

    I hope this helps! :)
     
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  3. Simon Gust

    Simon Gust Member

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    Thank you for the help first of all!

    I am definetly writing a document, I do that for all games. How would you go without it.

    I can sense where you are coming from with that, and I don't know if I like that.
    Have you played Starbound by chance? It has this. The problem is just, when I played / watched starbound, it was boring af.

    The planets in starbound, even though full with life, feel lifeless to me. I don't want that.
    What is true however is that I am not going to figure it out without playing the game.


    yes, but not just fighting. I want these to be for much more, so that there isn't just a single perk-tree.
    Maybe a perk tree just for building / terraforming?
     
  4. Bingdom

    Bingdom Googledom

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    While the game may or may not demonstrate a lot of life (it's been a while since I've last played/seen it), it did present a lot of faults that took the appeal away from me. The janky controls is the start of it.

    The idea applies to progression. Take me using combat as an example.

    I'm getting confused about the general direction of the game. In your thread you present the game as an adventure game. Here you say you're going for a rpg approach. Now you're discussing sandbox features. If the game is supposed to be part of all of these genres, then unfortunately it appears you may be going for a very niche market (but who knows, it could be a birth of a revolution :)).

    Edit: Sorry about my last paragraph. It seems like I'm anaylsing your game too hard.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  5. Simon Gust

    Simon Gust Member

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    I could write A book about what I don't like about starbound and I've only played it for 90 minutes.

    Both Terraria and Starbound are action-adventure games. Mine just has an RPG element in it, nothing wrong with that right?

    400 Hours of my Terraria experience I have played with a mod called N-Terraria, it makes the game a full on RPG with races you can pick, stats you can level up and scaling all over the place, and it works very well. I play the heck out of it still to this day. I think I can do the same not as a mod, but as a whole game.
     
  6. Bingdom

    Bingdom Googledom

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    That is a mod that pertains to a specific community within a popular game. Essentially, it's a parody. It's not the same.

    I have yet to see a game widely successful that fits in all those genres mentioned. Hence I labelled it as "Niche". But hey, I would be happy to be proven otherwise.

    Games that are based off mods have become successful. If I remember correctly, PUBG and TF2 were based off a modded game.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  7. Simon Gust

    Simon Gust Member

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    Ok, a day has passed and I've been thinking about this. Maybe you are right with the genre mixing.
    Maybe a little bit less RPG and more sandbox. But how can I fix this?

    The main RPG aspect of the things presented is the skill tree level system.
    I do still want to retain the functionallity of getting certain upgrades along the way.
    Starbound does it similar with those big canisters around the world, that either instantly kill you or give you some ability or whatever
    (correct me if I'm wrong).

    I think I could do the same (except with the killing part).
    Like life crystals in Terraria, I could hide some "perk crystals" in biomes that give the player bonuses that aren't just health or attack boosts, also some characteristic stats like mining range. They do not benefit the player in terms of survivability but they're still very nice to have.

    This would mean that essential perks / abilities, like the whole shield system, would just be given to the player after a certain point.
    So that the player does not have to rely on luck to get them.
     
  8. Yal

    Yal Member GMC Elder

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    Having special upgrade crystals hidden around the world means the player grows by exploring. Having upgrades come from EXP you obtain from fighting monsters or other sources means you just randomly get levelups sometimes.. so it's not as effective at guiding the player towards exploring. (If you ONLY get EXP from combat, you make your players fight monsters more, but usually explory games hand out EXP for things like finding new landmarks and completing quests). Be mindful of what you want your players to do the most, and hand out upgrades for doing that. (Bonus points if the upgrades you can unlock lets you do exploration and stuff more effectively, too, not just fight monsters more effectively!)

    You could be interested in this video which touches on this idea:
     
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  9. YanBG

    YanBG Member

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    All sounds good! I can't decide on the RPG vs Sandbox.

    Is it singleplayer? I wouldn't worry about luck if you don't play vs humans, random factor can be a good thing. Also you should add more than 1 town/place to get the ability but it requires more coding.
     
  10. Simon Gust

    Simon Gust Member

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    Of course! Most of my worries are from experiences from games similar, Terraria, Starbound and the like.
    I remember being so frustrated trying to find certain items I really liked. Countless hours of farming. But then again, farming is the aspect of these sandbox games isn't it.

    Maybe instead of reducing farming I can just make farming worth the players time more. But how?
     
  11. YanBG

    YanBG Member

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    Tbh i'd leave that after the game is coded, like late alpha or early beta? You need players/testers input to fine tune it. I get that you are also the main designer but you can go only so far with the thinking process.
     
  12. Yal

    Yal Member GMC Elder

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    • Resources obtained from farming are always valuable and has some purpose (e.g. every monster you kill drops money, money can be used to buy any item you've unlocked, cutting grind for materials etc)
    • Playing well increases drop rates, encouraging players to play in a more fun way than just farming for resources
    • Offer a more expensive way to do things that are more likely to give the results you want (e.g. reforge where you get to select effects from a list at a higher price than random rerolls), so players that have vast amounts of resources can cut to the chase.
     
  13. Simon Gust

    Simon Gust Member

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    Ok, next problem:
    I want the player to have a display for health, shield and energy.

    Health:
    - how much your player withstands before dying.
    - does not naturally regenerate (except for one race), can beplenished in some way though
    - we are working with small numbers, e.g. the player starts with 10 hp, think of a game like paper mario

    same issue for these later
    Shield:
    - effective additional health that is taken away before the actual health.
    - shield points are given by equipping armor, other gear or natural means (e.g. copper armor gives you 2 shield points)
    - shield points replenish constantly at a slow rate, they are not spongy.

    Energy:
    - fuel for powerful energy based attacks, mana if you will.
    - replenishes at a medium rate

    I had determined a nice mechanic for each of these *stats*.

    But now I don't know how I bring them to the screen.
    How do I want the user to perceive the depth of health for example.

    I've made several different concepts but I don't know which one fits the best, looks the coolest, is the most meaningful.

    I have to put the concepts on imgur because posting images on the forum is broken
    ->

    https://imgur.com/XEaqxjq

    Version 1 - minecraft style, rowing hearts
    Version 2 - Paper Mario / Spelunky style, symbol + number of health
    Version 3 - Healthbar without seams
    Version 4 - Healthbar with seams
    Version 5 - Mario 64, Mario Sunshine style, round bar with seams
    Version 6 - Kingdom Hearts style, rounded bar without seams

    Which one fits best.
     
  14. NeZvers

    NeZvers Member

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    I don’t see anything wrong with terraria-like and rpg. Since day one I played terraria it felt like rpg elements would synergy beautifully with it.
     
  15. YanBG

    YanBG Member

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    Depends how much time you want to spend on making detailed graphics for the health bar.
     
  16. Simon Gust

    Simon Gust Member

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    I think so too, and originally I got the idea from playing a Terraria mod named N Terraria. It's not 100% RPG, there isn't leveling for example.

    It's not about the graphics, it's about the perception.
    I am working with very low numbers.
    Quite the opposite of your standard RPG where your player has 26520 hp, does 1349 damage and has 455 defense, if you know what I mean.
    I want it more controlled, rationed, have single points of health be visibly important.

    Which healthbar type does it the best? And which one is the prettiest doing so?
     
  17. YanBG

    YanBG Member

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    They are pretty similar. Does the health go down by 1 each time? 1st seems like what you talk about but in RPGs the player can level up, so you'll have to add more hearts.
     
  18. Simon Gust

    Simon Gust Member

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    The player cannot level up, there is no leveling in this, nor experience.
    The only way to get more health is to pick a different race or by finding an upgrade crystals scattered around the world. The green crystal, can give you either max health or health regen (for now).
    Basically, you start with 10 max hp, you have no health regen, the enemies found in the first area do like 1 to 3 damage. So it's not even that much RPG, just more than Terraria.
     
  19. EvanSki

    EvanSki Dedicated link provider

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    ps. I think health bars 1,3,4 fit well with your project
     
  20. Gustavo_0

    Gustavo_0 Member

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    Please don't implement power creep. I loved Terraria but that made me feel bored. Power creep is when the numbers of stats and attack just gets higher and higher but the actualy gameplay doesn't change, you don't learn much, Which, is some ways developed interest in other areas of design, but please avoid that, and avoid too much grinding or creeping. For example, when battling an enemy, make in such a way that you need to learn their patterns and be good no matter what's your gear. Of course really later on just blowing weak creatures is fun, but try to take that in mind. Also I didn't reat all the thread so sorry, I'm just kinda rushing and wanted to say something. Good luck none the less
     
  21. Simon Gust

    Simon Gust Member

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    Agreed. I enjoyed pre-hardmode much more. I guess thats the price for when you add 2000 items, 300 enemies and other repetitive content in a blind rage. It is however important that I do have some sort of forced progression. Yes having skill is great, but I also don't want the player to be able to skip to the endgame. (That is why enemies have defense and your minimal damage inflicted can be 0). I do like grinding a bit and would say that being almost forced to mine ores in the underground opens up more of the game. I am sure to make it worth your time.
     
  22. Simon Gust

    Simon Gust Member

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    I've been able to craft a HUD, regarding health, shield and energy.

    upload_2019-4-20_15-12-4.png

    Health right now is just a simple red bar, including a number displaying current and max health. It extends depending on how much max health you have.
    Shield is right below and slightly beneath the health bar. It is not a bar and more lined symbols. The more Shield, the longer the lined symbols.
    Energy is now in the center of the screen but also just a simple bar. It does not extend the more max energy you have.

    Ignore the inventory on the right, it's not finished.
     

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