Earthlock: Festival of Magic for PC and multi console release is a RPG/Adventure game set in the fantastical world of Umbra. Earthlock: Festival of Magic is the first part in a trilogy of games. In the Game the player gets to play with a cast of eight unique characters, which they meet through the story. The player can group up to four characters at once and engage in turn based combat, resource management and real time puzzle solving. Each character has a unique relationship with the other characters in the group, developing these relationships can unlock unique combat abilities encouraging the player to experiment with different groups.
In this post I will explain what we are trying to achieve with our combat design, and why. In short we wanted to simplify the RPG Stats'N Skills, but (a very important but) without loosing the great tactical depth and variation that the AD&D rules allows. (Read: big hairy goal)
Posted by bendikstang on Dec 14th, 2012
In this post I will explain what we are trying to achieve with our combat system, and why.
In short we wanted to simplify the RPG Stats'N Skills, but (a very important but) without loosing the great tactical depth and variation that the AD&D rules allows. It's a big hairy goal, we know!
First we threw out stats like STR, INT, DEX, VIT, etc. We kept HP and made a mix of Stamina and Mana and called it Energy.
Our combat is based on standard old school turn-based system and we have 3 tactical stages.
The combat rules are equal and applicable to all units in combat whether they are PC, NPC, Friend or Foe.
First off we wanted to add an extra element to setting up your team members by allowing you to pair up two players. The pair will become one combat unit and get extra combo abilities, so mixing up your players in different ways will unlock different combo abilities.
A Pair consists of one Fighter and one Protector.
When Paired the Protector will get one or more unique abilities that affects the Fighter.
The Fighter will have access to the magical energy that will enable the use of magical attacks.
From the larger amount of combat actions (both combo and solo actions) you will need to pick out a limited number that will be available in combat. You might start off with only 3 slots (5 on the image above) and at a later time max out at 12 or 18 slots. The Action selection sets (Menu to the left) can be saved for quick selection. The Combat Action selection can be chosen just before going into battle, when you know what you are up against.
This idea was inspired by how you need to choose a limited amount of plants before starting a battle in Plants vs Zombies. Reducing the player's options makes for more fun gameplay - in many cases.
There are 4 types of actions.
Each round a Combat Pair can perform two actions, one each. Most Actions will use a certain amount of energy. Some actions don't need energy, some do, and some creates energy. Each Combat Pair will have an energy bar, and as they perform actions it will affect this energy bar. How you manage the energy will greatly affect the outcome of the longer battles. The max amount of energy will increase as you level up. We would also like to allow the Protector to über-charge the energy bar unlocking some awesome super powered combo attacks.
We will try to keep each attack animations short and sweet. We want the gameplay to feel fast and flowing - as much as possible for this type of combat.
As the old school JRPG genre matured, combat stress was increased by adding time to the gameplay. Active Time Based Combat was one of those mechanisms that will penalize if you spend too much time thinking about what to do next. We don’t like to punish the player, but we do appreciate the added fun of getting a bit stressed out while playing. So, our approach is to add a timer that if you manage to do your combat action within a specified time-limit, you will get some kind of combat bonus. This might be a XP bonus, or an energy bonus, or maybe a Critical Hit bonus. This speed selection bonus will require fast action from the player.