Project: Alter Ego - An introduction.

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SinisterPride 101 Jan 20, 2013 at 08:27 physics rpg gameplay

This is my first (I’m hoping) of many post on a project I’ve dubbed Alter Ego (A.E. for short) (working title). It is in reference and reverence to the original name (if I’m not mistaken) given to Fableby Sir Peter Molyneux, Ego.

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The concept is to offer the chance at an “alter-ego” in a medieval themed fantasy world which is driven primarily by four key gameplay mechanics/features as well as my ideas on a sort of crafting/profession system that gives access to making just about anything within the game.

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Within this post I’ll be covering my thoughts and concepts on a fighting system which is one of the four key features.

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The first of these four features/mechanics is what I’ve dubbed the “Free Form Combat (FFC for short) System” (working title). In its simplest form the control scheme wouldn’t be anything new or all too innovative. It would be akin to The Elder Scrolls series with minor changes. This form is aimed to be more user friendly in hopes of keeping casual gamers interested and hopefully appeal to a larger demographic. In its most advance form the system would utilizes both joysticks to emulate full fledge control of the arms. When stationary, the system will in theory perform coinciding footwork by matching the upper bodies movement in a predictive anatomically correct fashion. The system should also have an “unhinged” function to allow control of one arm giving the other joystick control over movement. The arm which isn’t being controlled will generally remain in its last position. This will be helpful/useful to keep a shield in a good overall defended spot or a bow at a level position while you fire with the other hand. Each form comes with its rewards and penalties to compensate for the effort advanced users would put forth as well as balance the ease of simpler input. Each type of combat will have a button to initialize that sort of combat. I haven’t fine tuned any specifics but an example would be left bumper on the 360 controller initializing/drawing your melee weapon, right bumper prepares the controls for ranged combat and both together would initialize the casting system. Initializing unhinged/shorthand mechanics should have a universal button within each form of combat for advanced users.

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Side note: Two-handed weapons.

A wielder of a two-handed weapon is required to have both hands on his/her weapon. That would mean both joysticks moving in unison to mimic a motion. During the “unhinged” function the back arm (hand held furthest from the hilt) would still be in motion. This would allow for short clubbing/chopping motions to be performed while moving.

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Side note: Ranged combat/Archery.

Similar to a two-handed weapon wielder, an archer would have to use both hands for his/her weapon to function. One arm would hold the bow and perform the aiming function while the other hand reaches for arrows and draws the bow. The reach/draw method would be interchangeable (left or right stick pertaining to left hand or right hand) according to preference. However, the motion will generally remain the same. As of now, my proposed method involves pulling down (the draw hand reaches back for an arrow), semi circle upward (to the left or right depending on what arm you’re using) to set the arrow, down again to pull back on the draw string, lastly a quick release of the stick to fire or a slow readjustment to cancel the shot. For throwing knives/spears and such an adapted version focusing on the reach/draw method used for arrows can be implemented. As for the unhinged version I figured keeping the bow hand at a level position or the the last chosen position when aiming should do. A thought on how arrows are drawn came to mind while working out what motion could be used on the joystick to simulate it. The position of the quiver (top to bottom by default or left to right on your lower back later on) could be used as an “advanced technique” to quicken/smoothen the reaching process by pulling off to the side to draw, setting the arrow (effectively turning a semi-circle motion to a quarter circle) and then the pull back/release.

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Casting system within FFC: Weaving.

The casting system in FFC was partially inspired by a mechanic/function in Fable 2. As it has been established, each arm is controlled by one of the joysticks. This would allow free, fluid, fully controlled movement of the arms which enables all spell cast in A.E.’s FFC system. I’ve named this aspect Weaving. While a shorthand/unhinged version will exist, Weavingis designed to force the user to be stationary in order to utilize their full strength by using both arms. The complexity and vulnerability of the mechanic is meant to act as a means to account for the enormous potential damage weavers can cause. My thoughts on the spells themselves are still changing and evolving. As of now, I have a considerable system based on the elements. It is largely inspired by Avatar (The last Air-Bender) and heavily influenced by my martial arts training. Gathering is the first step in any successful weave. The basis of the system revolves around the types of motions carried out while gathering. Sharp/quick motions can be used to enable fire. Smooth ebb and flow motions can be uses for water. Rigid/linear motions can be used for earth. Finally, a combination of fast and/or slow, often circular, motions can be used for wind. During the gathering process the weaver builds up energy within, which is triggered by simply initializing weaving. When more experienced, the weaver can use his/her energy to attract then mold elemental forces around him/her with said motions. The second step is unleashing said energy in whatever form was intended. This step was in part inspired by Fable 2s’ casting choices within each spell that allowed you to AOE or focus a target. Here is where most skills/”spells” would be discovered. This is also where the customizable/situational aspect of weaving occurs. The gathered energy can be released in multiple ways, offset by a motion carried out after confirming a desired gather. At this point the energy can be used on yourself for varying benefits. This is how all simple spells first learned will be carried out. When no elemental knowledge is known it will simply work as Chi to empower your actions. After gaining elemental knowledge and a bit more mastery, the energy can be used on a weapon to imbue it with varying effects. Generally spells will be unleashed in a simple burst and later on as projectiles by thrusting both hands in a given direction. However, the manner in which the unleashing occurs can lead to a diverse range of outcomes as the weaver becomes more experienced. Channeling is one of the outcomes of not thrusting both hands outward. Keeping a hand stationary while thrusting out another will cause a steady stream of energy to be channeled. This would allow for effects like a flamethrower or a constant gust of wind to occur. Another of these varied outcomes is brought about by thrusting both hands downward causing an AOE around the weaver. The last of these methods that I’ve developed so far involves dropping one hand and thrusting another. Doing this would in effect cause things like a flame wall or earth barrier to form. Essentially each step is a skill which I intend to be discovered. In other words each elemental gather as well as gathering itself is considered a skill.

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Side note: Check/balances for hybrids.

An efficiency/potency penalty for armor/equipment not suited for the current action/skill will also be applied. For example, skills requiring more mobility (like the ones of rogues/archers) in their execution won’t be as accurate or as quick with bulky cumbersome armor. Just the same loose thinner clothes/robes would reduce your accuracy and cause you to be less surefooted due to them not being tight and form fitting. Other disciplines gain similar penalties. Skills encompassing heavy weapons and melee weapons in general will be slower and less accurate in loose/cloth armor to simulate how loose clothing could entangle or generally hinder the swinging of a weapon. Lighter yet tighter armor such as leather will gain a damage reduction to simulate loss of the extra weight and force behind wearing heavy armor. When it came to casting/weaving the process was a little more confusing to limit. So far I’ve come up with two things I could limit. Wearing heavy armor would block you off from feeling a lot of the world around you causing gathering to be more of a challenge, happening significantly slower. Your ability to hold/concentrate energy due to not being in direct contact with it will affect the potency of your unleashed spells. With lighter/leather armor the potency penalty would be applied but, having a better sense of your surroundings in comparison to the shell effect in heavy armor, wouldn’t cause the gathering penalty.

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I would like to thank any of you reading this ahead of time for taking your time to read what I’ve written as well as for any feedback that may come along with it which is much appreciated.

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Alfred L. aka SinisterPride
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