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 passible abilities and several active.
    - 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 regen at the start but a level up perk allows it later into the game (except one race that has it from the start).
    - energy and shields slowly regen.
    - shields also have to be unlocked well into the game (except one race that has it from the start).
    
    - 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.
    
    - 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 and better shop rates.
      Their appearance is human-like.
    
    - Pedestrials have a 40% health bonus to start with (14 instead of 10).
      They can see better in the dark. (might change that)
      They always see the outlines of hidden living beings on the screen.
      They get the a slow natural health regen from the start.
      Their appearance is rat-like.
    
    - The Heavenborn get an 66% energy bonus to start with (5 instead of 3).
      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 ability>.
      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).
      <open passible ability>.
      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 up to 2 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: Dec 13, 2018
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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.
     

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