Bloodstone: The Journey Home is a third person role-playing total conversion of Valve’s Half Life 2 - Episode One, using the Source engine. In this modification, Khrinz, a common farm boy is plunged into an unknown world of magic and deceit, on the brink of an unstoppable invasion by a technologically advanced race. Bloodstone - The Journey Home is being developed by the 3rd year project group "Greenhorn Production" of the "Computer and Video Games" course at the University of Salford, UK. Please check our our website (www.bloodstone-thejourneyhome.com) for more details about the game.

Post news Report RSS Game Design Update 2: It’s not what you think…

A deeper insight into some of our design features, mainly the Creature Levelling System.

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Hello Again!

Well the time has come to deliver another game design update with regards to the mod Bloodstone-The Journey Home.

Within this update I’m going to give a deeper insight into some of our design features, mainly the Creature Levelling System. Firstly though I would like to thank everyone who has visited the website and the mod page, especially the people who have decided to watch, comment or vote for the mod.

In the last update I mentioned that creatures level up intelligently with the player (Creature Levelling System), and that it wasn’t what you thought. Well, let me explain what I mean when I say ‘intelligently’.

Firstly let me divulge to you the reasoning and background as to why, as the game designer for Bloodstone, I felt it necessary to implement this feature in order to enhance the gameplay for the player.

As a player of many role-playing games over the last 15 years, I always found that venturing into new areas far beyond the scope of my initial level 1 character was fascinating and exciting. Even though invariably I would end up being surrounded by a horde of evil bloodthirsty level 20 creatures, it gave me a drive and enthusiasm to reach the heights of their power and come back at a later date to inflict my revenge. This ‘level barrier’ as I like to call it, is kind of an invisible wall, preventing the player from reaching areas that they should not be able to reach at an early stage of the game.

If you play MMORPG’s such as World of Warcraft or Dark Age of Camelot, or offline RPG’s such as the original Baldur’s Gate, this ‘level barrier’ is in place. It allows the developers to control the player by keeping them in particular areas or zones, while also allowing players to set their own goals within the game; whether that is to inflict their revenge on the creatures that shattered their glorified dreams, or just to see what’s beyond that horizon.

Some of the sharp readers out there will now be thinking, ‘level barriers’, doesn’t having creatures level up with the player kind of negate that?? Well let me explain further the intricacies of the CLS.

The CL system is based upon the player’s enemies levelling and unlocking new skills as the player levels. This means that the player could encounter the same creature 5 levels later, and it would be stronger and have new skills, giving the player an increased and varied challenge throughout the game.

The system works by using a simple formula:

Min =< (Level + X) =< Max

Where Min is the creature’s minimum level, Level is the player’s current level, X is the amount of levels that the creature is higher than the player, and Max is the creature’s level cap.

So using the following formula:

5 =< (8+2) =< 15

This shows that the player is level 8 and has encountered a creature that is two levels higher than him at level 10. The creature has a minimum level of 5 and a level cap of 15, meaning that this particular creature would only start levelling once the player had reached level 4, and would stop levelling when the player reached level 13, as it would have attained its level cap of 15.

The creature level cap is in place so that the player can still feel a sense of progression as they level up, while still allowing an increased challenge from the enemies they face. The minimum level restraint is in place so that certain creatures around the world will be at a certain level of toughness, preventing the player from reaching ‘high level content’ at very early levels (‘level barrier’).

This will allow the player to explore the environment and set their own boundaries depending on how high level their character is. This will also provide incentives for the player to level up so that they can come back later in the game and pass these invisible boundaries by conquering the initially tough creatures present there.

As creatures level up using the CL system, they also unlock different skills and acquire new names. This allows player’s to easily identify if a creature is much higher level than them, and face an increasing challenge as the new skills are brought against them.

So I hope everyone understands how the CLS will work, and I apologise for it being so long. I thank everyone who actually read it all, and I will leave you with an example of one of our creatures:

Skeleton
Min Level: 1
Max Level: 16
Level Difference: +1
Level Prefix: Shabby (1-4); Tattered (5-9); Rotting (10-15); Decrepid (15-16)
Starting Stats:
Strength: 58 Constitution: 69
Intelligence: 50 Hit Points: 250
Inner Power: 275 Attack Power: 29
Spell Power: 25 Absorbance: 8.13%
Armour Factor: 12 Damage Range: 28 – 51
Attack Speed: 4.3 Experience: 61

Yes there are a lot of stats, and yes, it did take me about 2 weeks to do all of the stats for every level of every creature in the game.

Have a happy holiday and thanks for reading!

Rich
Game Designer

Greenhorn Productions
modDB
Website

p.s. watch out for some renders of our creatures in the next few days from our resident lead artist Adam, and the next instalment of Game Design Updates from me!

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