(Hmm... I've yet to finish the MARDEK Walkthrough or upload MARDEK 3 because recently, I've been trying to avoid all things MARDEK, sort of, due to how much focus I put on it before that; I'm 'sick of it' in a sense and 'need a break' at the moment. However, I will decide now that I'll get back in to the 'MARDEK state of mind', finish the walkthrough (mainly the commentary; the Wiki and goznor.com probably provide other information about skill lists, etc, so I don't know if I need to bother), fix a few bugs in the game, and upload it to Newgrounds, uh... next week. Next Monday, let's say. Yes, now that I have a set date, I won't have to worry about when to do it, or something. I'll prepare myself mentally until then.)
I am currently working on Chimaera, as I said before. I want to talk about it a bit here because I feel uncertain about what to actually *do* with the game, and feedback will give me a better idea of what people might want to see, as well as fuelling my inspiration and giving me ideas.
The game is, basically, a battle engine. You are a Scientist who raises a single 'Monstrosity', which is a Frankenstein's Monster type of thing, assembled from various parts. The main gimmick - and the reason for the name - is that you change around the parts, the limbs, to alter the appearance, stats and skills of your Monstrosity.
You battle against other Scientists - as well as wild, escaped monstrosities - one-on-one in an arena for sport, to earn money and trophies.
Monstrosities would have different Body Types - I've got five planned at the moment: Humanoid, Theropod (dinosaur-like; raptor specifically), Arthropod (Insectoid; probably like a mantis), Quadruped (cross between a wolf and a horse, covering all four-legged animals), and another fifth one which you unlock at some point.
These body types would each have their own set of skills and limbs and such, and base stats. One might be an 'agile fighter' while another is a 'tank' and another a 'mage', but mainly the stats depend on the equipped limbs.
A Humanoid might have the Limbs 'Head', 'Torso', 'Left Arm', 'Right Arm', 'Left Leg', and 'Right Leg'. I wouldn't want to make it too much more complicated than that at this point (hands and feet were originally different limbs, and I wanted to do things like Wings, but... maybe in a sequel).
Changing limbs would affect the appearance but not the animations... so you unfortunately couldn't do things like giving a humanoid monstrosity a slug lower body, or make a centaur, or anything. That's just too complex, even if it would be 'cool' or whatever.
The game starts by letting you customise your Scientist... Or rather, just their face, like in Beast Signer.
You then get to choose one of the body types for your monstrosity (I suppose the others would be unlockable later).
Then you're sent to the 'Lab', which will be your main hub for most of the game.
In the Lab, you can do several things. You can:
- change your monstrosity's 'equipped' limbs, and check its stats.
- buy new limbs or sell old ones with the money you've accumulated.
- craft new limbs.
- participate in 'training' or 'tournament' battles.
- (Rest, perhaps, to restore the monstrosity's HP?)
Limbs are the main type of item you get, but you can also get components/reagents, which you can use in the crafting thing. You'd craft an item by choosing three reagents and combining them in a mix. Each available limb in the game would have a unique 'recipe' of three components to craft it. If the three you randomly tried to combine match any of these recipes, you'd get the limb (and its recipe would be 'unlocked' so you'd know how to make it again).
Limbs could also be 'dissolved' into their component parts.
There are two types of battles: Training and Tournament.
Training battles are against wild monstrosities, which are randomly-generated based on your own monstrosity's current power level. You fight until the death, and when you win, you get slight stat boosts (hmm, perhaps I could allow you to choose what type of enemy to fight, one for each stat, and you get the biggest boost for the stat you chose to train?), and there's also a chance you'd get some of the limbs that the opponent had, or the reagents that made them up. You'd not get any money though.
In Tournaments, you'd be entered into a 'round robin' set of battles, against pre-made Scientists and their monstrosities.
Each battle would be 60 seconds long (perhaps), and at the end of that time, if nobody had been KO'd, the one with the lowest HP would lose.
Any wounds would carry between battles, but you'd have a chance to use healing items between rounds, which could be bought from the shop.
Winning a tournament would give you a cash prize, a Trophy, and a special bonus prize which would usually be a limb or a rare reagent.
Tournaments are the main source of income, but they're only on certain days.
They're also the way to attain *ranks*. Each tournament has a certain 'rank' level - E to A (or maybe S) - which you need to be to enter it. Some special tournaments are 'ranking tournaments - perhaps they could be every month - which, if you win, increase your monstrosity's rank.
The game would work on a calendar system of sorts, with each battle (or rest) taking up a whole Day.
I'm not entirely certain yet how I'll handle this...
Originally I was going to do what Monster Rancher (the game I've been inspired by to make this) did and have time flow in Weeks, where there are four Weeks - so four actions - per Month, and the real months of the 12-month Gregorian calendar. Time flowed on infinitely in that, so you could play for a thousand years and your young assistant wouldn't ever get any older, nor would the world ever change. Which was sort of silly, but left gameplay free and open and stuff.
I was thinking of doing it differently though, and giving the game a 'time limit' of sorts, so it'd END after a certain number of years - it could be as many as ten or as few as two or three. This way, I could have a plot that unfolds on specific days in specific years.
At the end of this set number of years, you'd perhaps get an ending based on your performance, with a 'good ending' if you managed to attain the highest rank and do certain plot tournaments, or a 'bad ending' if you didn't.
The years could have a number of days like 100 or 200; maybe ten months with 20 days each or something like that. It's not set on Earth, after all (but Theanos, as it's a prequel to Beast Signer; the plot would show the events that lead up to Beast Signer's setting, with recurring characters and such).
At the end, you could perhaps start a 'New Game+' and carry over things like Trophies to your next game in order to complete everything easier next time around. You could also perhaps buy a very expensive time machine near the end, which you could use to send items back to a future New Game+?
I'm not sure about this idea of giving players limited time to do everything, though, so I'd be interested to know what people think.
Anyway, most of the game is the battle system, so I may as well get onto that now since this is the main bit I'm not sure about.
I wasn't sure originally how to handle turns or techniques...
At first, I wanted to do a simple turn-based thing. The first person to act is determined by a coin flip, then you take turns, one after another, executing a single attack each time. Standard, but perhaps boring?
Another idea then is to have an 'energy' value, which increases over time by an amount determined by your body type and Passive skills. This would function like MP, and different skills would require different energy costs (all of them would require SOMETHING). This means you could either attack quickly with many weak attacks, or you'd have to wait a long time to use your powerful attacks. It also means that I could add in the time limit in tournaments, which I couldn't do very well with the turn-based approach.
So I'm probably going to do that...
Also at first, I was considering having monstrosities learn skills permanently in some way or another, but instead what I'll do is give each limb its own skill (which could be shared with other limbs, rather than being completely unique to that limb). That means then that your 'equipment' directly determines what you can do.
Some skills would be Action ones - like, say, 'Flame Breath' or 'Ripping Slash' - while others would be Passive - like 'Regeneration 5%', 'DEF+10%', or 'Energy Accumulation Boost'.
Each Monstrosity would have the following stats: HP, Attack, Defence, 'Special Attack' (maybe 'Mind'), 'Special Defence' (maybe 'Resistance' or 'Spirit'), Accuracy and Evasion.
Each could be trained individually, perhaps... You'd get a 'permanent boost' to them after battles, but mostly they'd be determined by the limbs you'd equipped. Each limb would grant various stats; it might add to or lower some.
This means then that I could have some limbs with great stats and a poor skill, others with great skills but poor stats, etc.
I'm unsure whether to bring elements into the game, or whether it'd overcomplicate things...
I imagined that rather than having a single element, monstrosities could have an array of 'elemental affinities'; a different value for each element. Each limb would grant a certain boost to an affinity while perhaps lowering others.
The affinity value would affect the damage dealt and received by skills (which would each have a single element). If your Fire affinity was, say, 100, then you'd do 100% damage with fire attacks and receive 0% (maybe I could reduce this to 50%), while if it was -100, you'd take double damage and do none (you'd do none with any negative affinity value).
I obviously still need to refine this, and I'm not sure whether it'd lead to ridiculous overcomplication. I am trying to make this as a simple game, after all, so I want to avoid stuff such as that.
Hmm, I think I've covered the main things now... What else...?
There'd be a 'Limb Catalogue' and a 'Trophy Case', giving three ways to 'beat the game', sort of.
The Limb Catalogue would be a reference list thing of all the limbs in the game, with most of the slots being empty until you'd acquired that limb (or maybe they'd be faded if you'd SEEN but not acquired the limb). Each one would also have a recipe listed alongside it, which would be unlocked when you managed to randomly craft that limb from three reagents.
Filling it would be a goal for some people.
Each tournament would give a separate Trophy, and you'd collect these in your Trophy Case. Tournaments would all be pre-written rather than randomly generated or anything, so completing all of them would be a goal.
The other goal would be reaching rank A or S (whichever I made the highest) and defeating the strongest Scientists there (probably an 'Elite Four' type of thing).
Hopefully I've covered everything...
I'd like to hear whether this is a game that'd appeal to any of you. Suggestions, ideas, and opinions about specific parts are also appreciated!