First off, we’ll give you a 3D modeling tool inside the game itself. With this tool you can make for example, a sword. Here is where a few things change:
1) You don’t texture the item
- Instead you drag and drop materials onto the weapon, those materials texture the item
- The system now calculates how much of each material you need base on the size of said sword.
2) You don’t need to worry about stats
- Here is the tricky part, our balancing system, is physics itself. A buster sword or a giant sword shaped like a huge penis is going to make people laugh, but lets face it, there’s a few things it needs, sharpness, aerodynamics, high or low weight depending on how its to be used.
- So, why would a buster sword make people laugh? If you think of how big one of those are, you just put allot of most probably heavy materials into it. Do you have the strength to wield it, or can you find an adventurer that can? Our Salamander based species probably can, but let's now think about a few things. Can we make this work for everyone? This is what RnD is all about.
- So, we need a lighter weight for the buster sword to work properly, if we make it hollow it’ll be brittle without a better alloy, or we need a lightweight alloy that can still stand up to punishment without breaking. Alloying works differently than the two games that have it in them. Instead of seeing the stats, it’s more about trial and error. And figuring out the stats yourself. This is where you actually have to go and secure a bar of the metal or a sheet, and start testing it like hitting it, putting weights on it. You need to know the breaking strength, bendability, and many factors to know how to alloy.
- This is a very advanced technique in both real life, and in our game. Alloying usually will be developed by hardcore players who love a challenge, and doing science. Once an alloy is discovered by you, you can do things like streamlining the process to create it, removing impurities. And then, if you have a good product you can also sell it.
4) Magic and Technology upgrades
- Now we have an alloy, but its still too heavy to be swung with good efficiency by some heroes. We could use magic to reduce the weight of the item, while keeping the mass the same. This sort of enchantment would be done by someone good with magic. Not all characters are equal when it comes to magic. You could be great with fire magic, which is how you're able to alloy this metal, making a fire hotter than any other forge. But weight equates to a different type of magic, explained in our primary magic system post, soon to come.
- Then again, let’s think technology now. It’s quite possible for us to instead go and use some sort of technology we invent to enhance this weapon. From reducing it’s weight, increasing its mass and weight, or to even making it do some interesting things.
- When you go to add these, the planned interface is as simple as it can be. You select your weapon in the RnD system, select magic upgrade, then select something you know, having a scroll/book/crystal/etc, or start RnDing magic, which we will explain now.
5) New Magics with RnD
- Alright first off our culture doesn’t have magic that can modify the weight of an object. So the first thing we do is look at what type of magic we are using. Each species comes with some that they already have an affinity for. However, you can make others, for example, we’ve found a deity and want to make a magic based on that power source.
- Now, we select a source of magic, deity, and our patron. We don’t need to invent a whole new power source, which requires a long time to develop the power in this case. We then select physics modification for this spell, and choose lowered weight, but lock the mass. In physics, this would normally be an impossibility, but this is why we’re using magic and not technology.
- The RnD system now goes to work, looking at your fatigue, mental readiness, and many other factors, and gives you a time until completion. The more you change something, the more a spell does, the longer it takes to research. Especially for something new. Doing baby steps gives you a faster output, and more learned magic. But in this case, we are modifying one thing, and breaking one law of physics. So this is a relatively simple thing compared to a weaken spell, or fireball.
- Let’s say this states, it’s going to take 1 month in game. We also know that 1 month in game is 2 weeks real life. Do we have to sit there with our RnD up all the time? No. Can we speed this up? Yes! The ways we can speed this up, is special mini games for RnD that let you start trying to manipulate energies. When you first start out, you could end up slowing down progress more than you speed it up. But as you learn the minigame, you will be able to say, make this only take a week, or even have a breakthrough. But there’s another way as well. Other players with the same patron deity can offer “downtime actions” explained in detail later in another post. These actions put simply allow you to train, help another player, or do other things while you're offline. Think of this as your team at a company, helping each other out.
- Once this spell is made, we’ve now got a basis for using magic to help with multitudes of things, like say a spell that goes on a boulder in a catapult that once it reaches the max height of its arc, becomes super dense and heavy for greater impact against the enemy wall.
6) RnD with technology
- Alright, let’s say we want to do this with technology. Technology breaking the laws of physics is much harder than magic, but it can be done. We’d have to start off with making something that will reduce both mass and weight of an object. We need a power source that can be hidden in the hilt, a way of recharging it, possibly a meter for how much battery power is left.
- So once we have all of the above, it’s time to break physics. We now take our original device that reduces weight/mass and lock mass. The first thing we notice is the power requirements increase. Like with all RnD, even magic, multi-stepping will be key here as we need to test the product and make sure its working properly.
- A few stages in, we get to the exact weight reduction we want. Now it’s time to reduce the power cost. Where a deity type power source is a lot of power, technology has it’s limits, but with enough RnD in real life, we went from computers that take up an entire room, to the laptops we have today. But, there is a third option now that we should consider.
7) Combining Magic and Technology
- Our friend who was thinking of making a similar item in #5 came across a problem that he can’t solve. Areas where the deity has no influence. Another guy we know, has made a crystal that can store any type of energy for magic, in mass quantities, and its handheld. We end up meeting and showing our respective projects. A collective lightbulb goes off as they open up RnD and hit “group project”. Think of this like, well, a google document. We can interact with the gui at the same time, one of the people knows the modeling system well, and starts working on the looks. The other two start figuring out how to connect everything.
- Now we have a crystal that stores a deity's power, a magic that can use that power to reduce the weight of the sword, and a technology that can reduce the weight of the sword. We could turn the deity's power into the type of electricity we are using. We could use the deity spell with the crystal, or both. The choice is yours to make.
8) Making a new type of power (Technology)
- Alright, away from swords for a minute, we’re in a fantasy world, and I want lighting, I want to be the inventor of electricity on my server. We can skip the kite, key and jar here. We simply need to add to our RnD how electricity works. This is a relatively simple process using real life mechanics, as we all know how that works. But lets face it, that’s boring.
- Let’s go with a technology that uses quantum mechanics to generate power, that has to be transferred through a special crystal. Sounds hard right? Well in fantasy it could be, but since it’s just another form of electricity, it works with our system. All we have to do is model, or have someone model for us a generator for this electricity. Now we model the power cables. Then we just have to invent things that use this power.
8) Making a new type of power (Magic)
- So, it’s the same aspect in a way. An example being our server doesn’t have blood magic, and we want to use this as a base for being a necromancer. Well, blood is inside my body, so the basic power source is there. The RnD engine will quantify this power source, with a catch. It will quantify it, based on a few random factors, let’s say in this case, the random factor is the amount of electrolytes in the blood. Sounds simple right? Drink your energy drinks, right? Well it’s not so simple, what if a species doesn’t have electrolytes in their blood and you try to use them, via sacrifice or draining a victim of blood, for power? The system identifies this as blood, but it doesn’t have the resource required to do the spell. This is another case of trial and error and researching multiple times, before you decide to start fully working on spells for this new power.
- But now let’s think in a different direction. Our world has mana nodes, ley lines, or anything else. If we research power generically, we can find out what our world has first. This could unlock us knowing that because of this type of magical node, blood commonly stores it, and this could be used as the source of power. Now we can direct our RnD to use a known power, in a unique way. But blood magic also has an interesting effect. We could stop bleeding, slow movement, we’ve just opened up a whole world of possibilities for new spells.
9) Potions (Magic)
- Alright, when the game began, we started with shops with a few potions. We know because of the health system (our next posting, tomorrow), that the highest “healing” potions we have can fight off disease and poison, but not instantly cure. And we have some that cauterize wounds and let the skin heal over quickly. So if we get an arm lopped off, we do nothing more than not bleeding to death. We want a regeneration potion that can restore that limb.
- Step one of this process will be to amass herbs, magical reagents, and samples of any power sources we can use to start refining this potion. Every plant has statistics, same with reagents. By researching them we can find out what they are, lets say were a good mage and we already have. We know that this one flower can be used to promote rapid growth of cells. But we need something to give regeneration, not just healing over. We have a reagent that can store DNA that we’ve been using to figure out an elixir that will keep us young. But maybe it has another use as well.
- Step two, would be deciding a power source. In our power source system, explained in magic in detail, there is no good or evil, or light or dark power source, except for light and darkness. So we can use anything we want; we could go with a deity, but there could be nasty side effects if the person follows another deity, especially if those deities don’t like each other. So that is out for now unless we all follow one deity, which could make for a potion that couldn't be used by enemies, but we’ll go with a simple power source for now. Water element magic will be this power source, why? Well let’s say our character has an affinity for it, or the fact that water is one of the main healing elements, take your pick.
- Step three, testing. Needless to say here, once we make it, we have a potion that uses a drop of the user’s blood, so the spell knows what the body “should” be, and regenerate it to that state. Our first few tests in the field had limited results. We gave the potion to them, and a few inches grew back. We gave another, a few more inches. The next dose, they died in a horribly violent manner. Obviously, we need to do more research here. Just like real life medicine, you can overdose on a potion. So we need to make this more potent, or find out how long between doses you can use it. After a while we find that we can regrow 5 inches of destroyed limb, one dose every 6 hours in game.
- Now we have our first magical medical treatment in a way. We’re sure to be very popular with adventurers. They may be out of adventuring for a little bit, but they will regain the use of that arm.
10) Medicine (Technology)
- Well, this one is mainly covered in the health system, but we’ll go over a few RnD aspects of medicine while we are here. This works sort of like potion making, but in a more current day sense. Medicine can be tourniquets to stop bleeding, painkillers, you name it. These are normally, just like in real life, derived from plants. This can also include in sci-fi, or even magitech, the possibility of nanites or any other thing that can heal the body. I do want to go into the main detail of this in the health post, so I’ll be stopping this one short for now.
11) Fly me to the moon
- We’re going to cover both technology, magic, and hybrid in this one one. So, we have many options here; rocketry, magical ships that can fly, or even a mix of the two. But how do we get into space? While that answer will be explained in the procedural solar system post, lets go over some RnD aspects.
- First off, all technologies have the same pros and cons:
1) What is my energy source, can I store it and bring it with me, can I generate it on site. As you can guess, it could be harder to use deity power here, but also we are going to be missing a lot of natural elements in space. And for technology, it becomes a matter of a closed environment depending on what type of generator were using.
2) Can I generate enough thrust to escape the atmosphere? Crashing back down to the planet is normally considered a bad thing, unless this is an ICBM you're making, not to mention once in space, does your thrust still work? For instance if you use a technology or magic that repulses itself off of the gravity field of the planet. It will become less and less effective the less gravity there is, until you're floating in space going towards Jupiter 2. (bonus points if you get the reference).
3) Can I recycle the atmosphere and breathe during the trip? Air recycling is important, we don’t bother calculating breathable air on a planet as much as in a confined space. Mainly to save on client and server resources. But when in a spaceship, what is in the air is important. We need to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. Magic or Technology, the main solution to this can be found at NASA, using Algae or other plant life that breathes in CO2 and gives you breathable air.
4) Remember to bring food, or have a renewable source of food.
12) Where do we go from here?
- This should give you a basic example of how our RnD system is both a crafting system, and a modding system for the game. Any mechanic is up for grabs, and uses physics, and a balancing system to determine the stats of what you make. From hull strength to damage. One question I got at the Penny Arcade Exibition (PAX) this year is “But what if someone develops WMD’s (weapons of mass destruction)”. To this I stated simply, “We may throw balance out the window after release, but there is another balance your missing. If a WMD was being developed, you should have a way of finding out. From spies in the enemy nation, to your guards, police force, or many other things. Our npcs are very intelligent, they don’t want to all get blown up either. Just think to real life for the question of what happens if someone develops something. It’s either now a competitive set of businesses one upping the other, an arm’s race, or anything else you can think of.