November 25

Design Quest: Week 1 Mechanics

Now that I’ve set-up the bare bones game, it’s time to get designing some game mechanics!  I’m hoping that by the end of this week I’ll have an enjoyable game for you to try out.

I’ve decided to focus on the card mechanics first.  In the bare bones version there’s only three types of card, melee attack, ranged attack and move.  Each character draws five random cards each turn for you to use and then discards them at the end.

In this week’s prototype I’ll be adding five new cards types and updating the existing attack cards.  The card set will consist of:

  • Move – move x squares
  • Direct melee attack – hits one target for x damage
  • Area melee attack – hits multiple targets for x damage
  • Ranged attack – hits one target for x damage
  • Heal target – heals the target for x hit points
  • Block stance – prevents enemies moving past the character
  • Defensive stance – reduces incoming damage
  • Evasive stance – attempts to dodge incoming attacks

I will also be creating AI rules to determine how they are used by the enemy characters.  By combining different stats, cards and AI rules I’ll be able to create different enemies for the player to deal with.

I’ll remove the randomness of the deck draw.  Instead, each turn the characters will draw X cards up to an upper limit Y.

Finally, I’ll be putting together a series of encounters for the player to fight through, similar to the bare-bones prototype.  It’ll be fun to randomize these encounters at a later date but for now I want to design these encounters to try out different design ideas.

TL; DR? New cards, decks, levels and AI.

November 24

Design Quest: Quantity Leads to Quality

There’s a great story from the book Art & Fear that shows us how to get better at something:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pounds of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.

Well, come grading time a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

I want to become a great games designer and therefore I’m going to follow a similar strategy.  Each week I’ll be releasing a prototype that explores a new gameplay idea.

I’ve created a barebones version of my turn-based strategy game.  It contains just enough code/art to communicate my intent, while still allowing me to iterate quickly.  This will allow me to focus on the mechanics rather than all the other parts of game development.

 

Check it out now, over on itch.io

 

My weekly process will consist of:

  • Deciding on a gameplay experience to explore
  • Adding new features/mechanics to support that experience
  • Publishing a new prototype to itch.io
  • Collecting feedback from players
  • Writing a blog update with my findings

This can only work with your support so please try out the games, leave feedback and let me know your thoughts.