This article follows directly on from the last one, so reading that first is a good idea if you want any of this to make sense! I'd rather not be asked questions that I already answered in the last post.
While I mean for the Figimon to be a 'toy', a fairly trivial distraction between proper game releases, I do want to put a bit of effort into it so then it can actually hold peoples' attentions at all.
Since it will involve battling wild figimon in the dungeons, there needs to be systems in place for statistics, battle flow, and all that sort of stuff I include in all my proper games.
I've been going over some ideas, but I feel that community feedback will be useful for refining them so then I can produce something that many can enjoy. It seems like a good idea to present what I've planned at this early stage so that your feedback could have the most influence (since I haven't actually made anything yet).
I've come up with a sort of strange system influenced by Pokemon, Digimon, and - oddly - Dungeons & Dragons...
Each figimon would be a creature with a level and stats...
They'd have the stats that I usually use, though named in the specific way that I've named them in Alora Fane: Power (for physical attack AND defence), Spirit (for magical attack and defence), Vitality (for determining HP), and Agility (for turn order and accuracy/evasion).
Each of these stats would have a *fairly low value* throughout the figimon's life (derived from the base values for that species). That is, a base value might be 10 or 20, and it wouldn't ever get much higher than that.
Dungeons & Dragons did this out of necessity, using low numbers because the game was meant to be played with pen and paper, and smaller numbers are easier to calculate in peoples' heads.
Games like Pokemon calculate stats on Base Values for a certain species and the effort values that your Pokemon has earned... so you start off with stats around 10 at level 1 and in the 200-300 range at higher levels. I don't like that sort of thing, really... I mean, I don't *hate* it, but it just feels as if each point doesn't really matter.
In D&D, having 18 strength would mean that you were heroically strong; 22 strength would be superhuman. Finding an item that boosted your strength by even a single point was fairly exciting, and items that boosted a stat by *several* whole points (like +4) were extremely valuable and uncommon.
I really find this 'every point matters' system deeply appealing, and it's a theme I'll be reusing a lot in these mechanics and the mechanics of my other games...
...such as in the levels system.
JRPGs, including Pokemon, tend to include a max level of about 100, typically. Each level by itself doesn't really mean all that much; while level 30 is different from level 20, there's little difference between level 19 and level 21 (other than perhaps one of those levels being an evolution or move-learning level in Pokemon).
D&D, however (or at least the computer-based version of it in games like Neverwinter Nights; I've never played the pen and paper version), has much more satisfying level ups because you actually get to choose what happens at each one, and each one is significant.
I prefer to play as a Sorcerer, and I know that when I level up next, I'll get some new spells or get to change around some old ones, and it makes me really look forward to my next level.
The 'max' level is 20 though (before reaching Epic levels, anyway), which may not seem very high compared to JRPGs. But it means that there's a much bigger difference between level 4 and level 5; every level matters.
While I never pay much attention to my characters' levels in JRPGs, I always know what level my characters are in these D&D-based games.
SO. I have decided to use 20 as a maximum level in this Figimon thing. And I've decided to make each level *mean* something.
As in Pokemon and Digimon, the Figimon would be able to evolve to change their forms. Unlike Pokemon, each Figimon would have a set number of forms, so there wouldn't be any that didn't evolve at all.
The three forms that each would have would be named (like the 'Rookie', 'Champion', 'Ultimate', etc from Digimon): level 1 Figimon are 'Fledglings', then later they become 'Adepts', before finally evolving into 'Paragons'.
(If anyone can come up with a better word than 'adept' which means 'stage between beginner and master', that'd be helpful!)
These forms would basically be like a 'child', 'teenage' and 'adult' versions of each species, with the 'Paragon' being what it was supposed to look like and the earlier versions being underdeveloped forms working towards that goal.
While Beast Signer had growth trees with 'power forms' and 'magic forms' and stuff, I'm trying to make this simpler yet still interesting.
Evolution would happen at level 5, and again at level 10.
On every even level, you'd get to add +1 point to one of your stats. Remember, each point matters! This means that your level up is customised to your preference; you can work on a 'build'.
Every odd level, you get a skill... which I'll explain later.
Here's a chart:
The bit about level 21 is not something I've decided on yet.
My games usually use elements, and it was probably assumed that each Figimon would have an element. That was the original plan, but after going over various ideas, I've ended up with something else.
It's rather inspired by Beast Signer's planned system, which itself was influenced by Pokemon and Monster Rancher.
Each Figimon would be of one or two TYPES. These types would be as follows:
So a Figimon might be Saurian/Undead, or Insectoid/Plantoid, or what-have-you.
These Types would affect the elemental weaknesses and resistances, as well as the skills that the Figimon could learn.
There'd be six elements in the game: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Light and Dark. I would have liked to have used Aether and Fig, but for now I haven't for reasons you'll see in a minute. Maybe they'd come later.
Physical and Thauma may exist though for skills that are meant to be non-elemental.
Each of these Types (apart from Bestial) is a combination of two elements, as you can see on this grid here:
Some opposing combinations (fire/water, air/earth, light/dark) aren't used (at least, not currently).
Rather than planning the elements thing then trying to imagine what each pair could produce, I came up with some Types and just tried to shove them in *somewhere*... which is why a lot of these seem silly, most notably Spectral being Water/Light for some bizarre reason (when really it should be Aether).
None of this is set in stone, of course, yet.
These elements would determine the resistances of each Type, but not necessarily the weaknesses. Here's a chart of strengths and weaknesses; green means a resistance to that element, red means a weakness:
Hopefully it looks fairly balanced... even if some of them don't make a whole lot of sense (Pokemon type weaknesses don't though either, not really; why is Psychic weak against Dark, or Bug good against Psychic, other than for balancing reasons?).
The Bestial type is non-elemental and has no strengths or weaknesses.
Since Figimon would have two types, their weaknesses and resistances would overlap. Each green resistance on the chart means -50% damage from that element; red means +50% damage. So a Saurian/Draconic type would be immune to fire, but would take double damage from water.
Figimon by themselves would not have an element assigned to them (unless they DID, but I don't know...), but their skills would each deal damage of a specific element.
Again, I am influenced by Dungeons and Dragons in this regard.
In this - or at least the version I've played - spellcasters have their spells divided into ten 'levels', with level 9 being the strongest and level 0 (cantrips) being the very weakest. Level 0 spells might create a light source to see with, while level 9 spells rain meteors from the sky or stop time, for example.
Of course, the higher you level up, the higher level spells you can access. The highest level you can access is directly affected by your character's (class) level.
I'm doing a similar sort of thing, except there are only five spell levels.
D&D divides spells up into different groups; Wizards and Sorcerers can learn spells from the 'Arcane' spell list, Clerics and Druids learn spells from the 'Divine' spell list, etc.
Each Figimon *type* would have its own list of skills. For example, a level 1 Aquatic skill might involve blowing a bubble; a level 5 Aquatic skill would summon a tsunami. Every Aquatic type would have access to these skills... or the ability to *choose* them, anyway.
At every odd level, you'd be able to choose one single skill from one of the skill lists of your types, of the spell level listed in the level-up chart up there. A Draconic/Undead Figimon reaching level 5 could choose a single level 2 Draconic OR Undead skill to add to its repertoire, and these selections would be permanent.
It'd be the way of customising your build completely.
Skills would come in three types.
There'd be Attack skills, which involve physical strikes and use your Power stat;
Magic spells, which use your Spirit stat;
and 'Traits', which would be permanent, passive resistances and such, like 'Resist Poison 50%' or 'Absorb 5 Damage'.
Since you'd only have a limited choice of skills as you levelled up, I think that this would introduce quite a lot of customisation and variety.
To prevent too much progress each day, each Figimon would have an MP or Stamina stat or something which could only be restored using food or by waiting until the next day. This would limit the number of battles it could participate in. Higher level skills would drain more MP/Stamina, but the higher your level, the more you'd have.
You'd be able to buy food, of course.
Currently I don't know if it'd be possible to battle against other people on the site... It's something I'd look into, but multiplayer games are not easy to do and I've never done one before.
Instead, I merely meant for the 'game' to involve training your own Figimon in dungeons and deriving satisfaction from watching them grow.
Battles would be one-on-one, for the sake of easy development, though you might have a party which you could switch between as in Pokemon. You'd take turns, one by one, again as in Pokemon, exchanging blows until you or the opponent fell. Simple.
Levelling up would not be something that would happen quickly, since this isn't a *game* to be played at length, but a browser-based 'toy' or 'long-term game' which you only play for a few minutes each day. As such, you might level up a Figimon every other day or something.
Remember, this is meant to act as a minor distraction for months; it isn't a game with a goal. I feel I need to stress this because some people say things that suggest they don't understand that key factor.
I've mentioned all this partly to show that I'm actually doing something, but also so then I can get early feedback to inspire me and shape the 'game' in a way that would be appealing to the widest audience.
Comments about these specific mechanics, or what you do and don't like to see, would be appreciated. Suggestions will be listened to, if not necessarily implemented (just because I can't do EVERYONE's suggestions, only the best ones)...
I've decided to add aether and fig after all; people seem to really like such mystical, arcane elements so it seems an easy way to increase interest.
To make it even clearer that these are mystical, obscure elements, each one has only one associated Type; aether becomes 'Spectral', fig becomes 'Psychic' (though I'd prefer to rename that if possible just because Pokemon already has the Psychic type (it has Fire and Water and stuff too, but so does everything else); maybe 'Mystic' or something? Psionic?).
Glacial has moved from water/dark to water/light, and water/dark is now 'Cosmic', a Space (as in planets, black holes, etc) oriented Type.
There are other types I wish I had room for, like 'Avian', so I may do some shuffling around in the next few days.
Also, you'll notice that each of the 'basic types' is resistant to either fig or aether, and weak against the other. I suppose it divides the types into 'spiritual' and 'mental' types... in a way (though it's actually more like mystical and mindless). It seemed the 'best' way to balance fig and aether on this chart.