Montag, 9. Juni 2008

Game Design Document II

After a long time of silence due to being packed with work from other directions .. besides enjoying the sun .. here's another stream of thought on the game design.

Battle tactics

The tactical options in a sci-fi RPG underly different constraints than those set in the classical pseudo-medieval fantasy world. Basically three different classes in a group battle are of importance. The tank, the artillery and the supporter.

The tank is usually used to stop the other groups tanks, which have equally good hit points and armor while they deal large amounts of close range damage.

The artillery - the typical Fireball blasting Mages - deal damage over the distance and either give your tanks the edge or take out the other teams artillery and supporters.

Apart from the usual "heal the tanks" kind of spells the supporters make the battles most interesting by supplying new tactical options.

The usual battle procedure

Of course these roles aren't set in stone, but the usual battle procedure is to move your tanks forward as fast as possible and build a defense line. The artillery then has the task to take out the most dangerous enemies while trying to not die by stray enemy tanks or enmy artillery.
The supporters will disable, confuse or slow enemies and at the same time try to - well - support the tanks by healing and buffing.

Translation to the future

The key problem for translating this simple but fun design to a sci-fi scenario is that in a direct translation there are no believable close range weapons and spells.

Thus the battles would consist of groups of artillery performing a shoot-out and the team with the higher firepower will win. That's boring. Since any advanced enough technology will resemble magic it should be possible to overcome this in a believable fashion, while not trying to just rename the priest to a psionic (or whatever) and the tank to some laser sword
wielding super-human.

Ansatz for fun battle tactics in IZ

For iteration-zero I plan to indroduce basically three classes of weapons, one that has a decreasing damage with distance - but a large per shot damage - this would be plasma guns. The damage is is distributed over
a set of smaller bullets, plasma pellets or whatever. Opposite to this are ray guns, which do the damage in a single shot and additionally a continued shot may add a damage multiplier in the next shot at the same target. Both plasma guns and ray guns will use up all remaining movement points for the current round, thus making hit and run techniques not feasable.

The third class is just the average set of hand guns - future versions of modern projectile weapons doing less damage than above futuristic weapons.

Apart from personal armor, which offers limited protection, personal shields are available, which use a constant amount of
energy if active. These shields will damage the user continuously and slow him down (less movement points). On the other hand, they will substract a constant amount from the damage dealt by energy weapons.

As an added option equipment called shader is available, which works as a personal cloaking device. For each effectivity there
is a distance above which the user is not detectable, a distance where he might be detected with some probability. Those radii will depend on the perception attribute of course - and to let the player choose the risk for himself hovering over en enemy will display these radii so that the choice of risk is on the player.


The above analysis and description of gameplay is incomplete of course and highly dependant on the actual balancing used
in the game settings itself. However I think the Ansatz is promising.


asmanian hat gesagt…

The idea sounds really cool. I havent yet read the document 1 though. Will the game be in 2d top-down or 3d mmorpg-style but still turn-based?
(Would one character be played by one human or would one human control more characters like in wesnoth or something?)

Another tank alternative: Droids
Why only play humans? It might be cool to play a kind of a war android which could resemble as much of the tanks as you like (it would be thick armored and could deal electro shocks in a small radius or something)

Instead of skills one would naturally talk about tactic modules or whatever here. If you'd want to humanize it further one could tell that the real character is sitting somewhere at home controlling the droid then you might want to add a hacking/controlling skill which would improve things like movement speed or accuracy.

Personally I also like the idea that (unlike the medival tanks) such droids might be relatively harmless in how much damage they deal but have a even thicker armor to really just block people. The electro thingy could also have a teasing function, so movement speed of hitted units would be drastically reduced.

Also (as they are nothing but a bunch of technology) they could serve as shield generators, increasing armor of nearby allied units.


- Slow
- Don't deal much damage
- There might be some anti-machine specific weapons which would be hazarderous to these units (naturally there might be some anti-organic ones, too ;))

- Can slow down other units (and maybe even shorten the reach of some weapons due to some electromagnetic field?)
- Have a thick armor
- Can support nearby units with shields and maybe even shaders
- A big bunch of them at a high level would be a really hard to crack wall

I guess I don't have to tell one could imagine tons of kinds of droids for various purposes. (Also one could control them like "pets" maybe)

Just had this thought coming up when reading your post. I'm happy when you can use it, otherwise sorry for spamming :)

phoku hat gesagt…

Hi asmanian, thank you for your input.

In fact I had quite similar ideas in mind - called biomechs. I don't think I will make them that much different from human players apart from the naturally different resistances (EMP vs. Biological weapons ...); they will be able to use the full arsenal of technology, though their proficiency in using those will differ.

Also another kind of class I had in mind would be an engineer, controlling one 'bot' from a distance, which could be chosen before the mission starts.

Supporting nearby units with shields and .. hm maybe I can come up with other ideas .. is an idea I haven't considered yet. Such an 'aura' effect might add something to the gameplay.

We'll see :-)