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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsMaidens of the Hunt
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Author Topic: Maidens of the Hunt  (Read 5961 times)
« on: January 12, 2011, 10:59:52 PM »

I will be using this post to log updates and whatnot.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 02:23:13 AM by JWK5 » Logged
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2011, 11:00:59 PM »

The General Idea:
I wanted to try something a little different than the arcade shooters I am used to playing and go for something a little more puzzle-like. I didn't want to go too far outside the typical shooter conventions because I want to make sure I do not complicate the project into something that will be really hard to finish. The game play will mostly focus positioning your five characters and utilizing the right character for the right situation. The image above should explain the gist of what I came up with. I am developing this in Game Maker but if in the end I am happy with it I'll probably redo it in Torque Game Builder (which can export to PC or Mac).

The Maidens:

The Shield Bearer: The "Shield Bearer" maiden deflects all incoming projectiles that collide with her shield. She is essential for providing cover for the other four maidens (especially the "Soul Sealer" maiden) but it is generally not a good idea to stack all your characters behind her because the maidens can not shoot "through" one another and the shield does not protect from attacks coming from above or below. The Shield Bearer maiden will pretty much be invincible, but I may end up having magical attacks that can damage her later into development (it is one of those things I want to test out before I put into design just in case it turns out to be more of a frustration than a tactical consideration).

The Soul Sealer: When you left-click on the "Soul Sealer" maiden she will draw into her magic orb any floating "dark souls" left behind by the enemies you defeated (think Onimusha). The "dark souls" will be used as a sort of currency for buying new equipment and upgrades and whatnot. Whether you will need to just left-click or click-and-hold is something I will have to test out in-game before I make any concrete decisions on. On one hand clicking-and-holding could create a certain tenseness for the player as they try and decide between getting that one last dark soul or taking shots with another character. On the other hand this could become very frustrating in heated situations.

The Sorceress: The "Sorceress" maiden will do the most damage on "armored" enemies but the least on "unarmored" enemies. Her shots will have a pretty short range but cover a wider-area (and they will be spell-like in appearance). She will have a slight "cool down" period between shots which I will represent graphically (she will glow or something when she is ready to take another shot). I may or may not give enemies different elemental weaknesses (and maybe strengths too) depending on what kind of impact it looks like it may have on the game play. I don't want to overwhelm the player with too many factors to be considered, he's already going to be managing 5 characters as it is.
The Sniper: The "Sniper" maiden is armed with a mystic crossbow and will do the most damage on "unarmored" enemies but the least on "armored" enemies. Generally she will have pretty straight-moving shots (though some of her weapons might have other kinds of movement patterns). Her rate of fire will typically be the highest of the three attacking maidens (but I may give her slower optional weapons that have a "pass-through" ability). I may give some (or all) enemies a "critical spot" that if the Sniper maiden can hit precisely does extra damage to them, but this is yet another idea I will need to test out first.

The Trickster: The "Trickster" maiden does pretty respectable damage to both "armored" and "unarmored" enemies and has the most customizable attack patterns of the 3 attacking maidens. She will mostly use bombs, mortars, rockets, etc. and her attacks will generally travel straight up, straight down, in an arc, or some other indirect pattern. She is meant to be more of a support attacker (and a means to handle enemies that are above or below the group).

The Maidens' Equipment:
Between missions you will be able to access a "shop" that allows you to spend dark souls on different weapons for each of the maidens to equip that will alter their firing patterns and such. I am thinking with the shield bearer she might get new shields that can reflect certain types of attacks or absorb and store them to trigger some kind of special effect when you left-click on her. I am not sure just yet what you would equip the Soul Sealer maiden with just yet (maybe new orbs that draw the souls in faster). I may add in other purchasable items such as armor that reduces damage from certain attack elements or such.

Story a la BioShock:
As far as telling the story goes (which I've not got to yet) I will be taking a cue from BioShock. I really like how BioShock encourages the player to "find" the story rather than forcing it upon them. The pace of the game is never really broken by the story because it is told through recordings that are listened to at your leisure (and you can still play the game while you are listening to them). So for this game I am thinking that you will pick up items in the level that will help flesh out the events of the story (or at the very least flesh out the world the game is set in). You will review the items between missions in a sort of "mission log" or "journal" screen. Panzer Dragoon: Orta proved you can have a really story-rich setting in an arcade shooter without ruining what makes an arcade shooter fun. I won't be writing the next Lord of the Rings here but I do think I will be able to put together at least something interesting for story-oriented players to dig into.

Level Design and Set Pieces:
I will stick to the general arcade shooter layout but I want to focus on "set pieces" rather than a textured "collision maze". The thing that really stood out to me in BioShock's levels was that there was a ton of places where the level was designed around an event rather than the event feeling like it was just placed there in the level. I want that, but in 2D side-scroller form. I am going to focus on trying to make the levels feel like they are an actual place and build the challenges into the environment and vice versa. The fact that the game will be scrolling at slower speeds than most arcade shooters leaves me a little more room for more elaborate set pieces. I will have a better example of just how this will pan out once I get some good concept sketches going (most of my attention at the moment has been on setting up some of the basics of the engine in Game Maker).

Secrets, Achievements, etc.:
I will definitely incorporate some kind of achievement/trophy set up because I find that to really add a satisfying challenge to most PS3 games I own. Secrets of some sort, easter eggs, etc. are all things I'd like to add (if I can and where I can) because I myself love them. I am thinking that when the mouse is not on one of the maidens you can use it to click on things in the environment or on enemies. That way if you spot some collectible item in the background (such as a story piece) you can click on it to add it to your pre-mission inventory or click on signs and billboards or whatever to add notes about them in your journal. With the enemies maybe you click-and-hold for a second or two to "scan" them and add information about them to a bestiary. These are ideas I'll explore as I go (for now my focus is on the core features).

I am already writing a novel here so I will bring this post to a close. Hopefully you've got a good idea of what I am intending on doing with the project and have an idea of where my head is at with it. I will more than likely start posting some concept imagery tomorrow and a bit of the rough story elements I am tossing around. It will be easier to dissect the process I am using to create this all once I have more to show.

P.S. If you wondering why I went with "five maidens" it is because I really like the game "Legacy of the Wizard/Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family" which has you choosing between a family of 5 characters (father, mother, son, daughter, pet) each with their own special skills. I really liked the feel of that. So why five maidens? Because I like to draw female characters. Durr...? I don't really have much of the story done yet but I am thinking they will be sisters or valkyrie-like and of the same clan/kingdom/organization.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 11:16:25 PM by jwk5 » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2011, 07:03:28 AM »

This looks really interesting! It reminds me a little of Mercenary Force for the gameboy. I very much look forward to seeing where you take this!  Hand Thumbs Up Left

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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2011, 07:28:55 AM »

Completely love the idea! I will be watching this one.

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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2011, 04:37:19 AM »

While most of my attention has been focused on the engine (more on that when I've got something semi-functional to show) I've been working on some concept art as well. In this post I'll show you the beginning stages of the concepts I am doing for the "Sniper Maiden" player character.

I already had somewhat of an idea of what I wanted her to be like before I started her sketches so there wasn't a whole lot of experimenting with her figure needed. I didn't want her to be skinny and model-esque I wanted her to have a fuller figured body and a more battle-hardened look (while still looking very feminine).

While these are only the first of many sketches I will be making as I narrow down her design to a final draft am definitely going to keep her in the thigh-high boots with the upper thighs exposed. That contrast from the skin color of her upper thighs against the colors of her boots and bodysuit place a lot of emphasis on the positioning of her hips and legs which will be very useful in keeping her form readable when animated, and it also helps suggest that she is a very mobile fighter (and makes the booty look nice :D ).

I initially had her arms covered almost completely to help convey that she probably does a lot of blocking and deflecting with them but towards the later sketches I uncovered them to help maker her figure a little more readable (when shrunk down into in-game sprite-size it is important that her limbs stand out from her body as much as possible, especially against the backgrounds).

I gave her a long braid because I like how they animate and also because it will help reinforce the directional movement of her body (which is good since for most of the game she will be flying through the air). Another important aspect to this hairstyle is that it does not obscure her figure very much (especially her booty :D ).

Most of the smaller details will get changed around as I go, but one that will probably stay (in some incarnation or another) is the wings on the boots. Each of the maidens will have a pair of these Hermes-esque wings that will be the excuse reason for why they are able to fly through the air.

The colors are still being decided. I started with the colors in the upper left (the red and brown) and then I did a ton of color shifting. Of the bunch (which was about 30+ variations) I liked those first 6 the best. The two after that were part of another bunch of color shifts I did after a few costume tweaks.

I liked the brown and red because it felt the most "warrior like" (and red is a good "rage" color) but it just felt really bland. The blues and greens felt too passive by themselves and the purple had a really stealth-like or "dark magic" feel which I felt would have been better reserved for the "Soul Sealer" maiden.

The two at the bottom are so far what I feel is the right direction for her (though the path to completion is still long ways to go). The purple and magenta one feels a little ninja-esque but a lot less "magical" than the previous purple one did. The red and blue one is probably my favorite thus far because it is nice and readable with good emphasis on the hands (which is important since she will be handling a crossbow so there might be a lot of "delicate" hand animations). It keeps the "battle fury" red with a nice striking blue that is near-complementary to her skin color. The silver makes a nice middle-ground between the red and blue. I am not accepting them as the final colors just yet, though. I need more time to experiment with her colors before they feel "just right".

To the right of the actual concept sketches are some shrunk-down copies of them. These are just a hair larger than what I will probably use in-game (I am probably going to go with a resolution of either 800x600 or 1024x768). You can really get a feel for what your concepts will probably look like in sprite-form by shrinking them down every so often. Any elements that muddy up the overall flow of the character (when shrunk down) really should be removed. Readability is very important. You can see that I will definitely need rework her arm bracers because in nearly all of those shrunk-down color schemes her forearms practically disappear into the colors of her bodysuit.
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2011, 04:51:21 AM »

A really great idea, love the comic book style poses in the sketches too  Gentleman

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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2011, 02:10:47 PM »

Wow, you plan this stuff out a lot! It's very interesting to hear your thought processes on all this. More devlogs should be like this!
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 07:46:26 PM »

This project isn't dead (I just realized I haven't updated it in a few days) I am just preoccupied with the "Versus" compo entry I am helping create, but I will resume work on the game when the compo is over. The image above might give you an idea of the direction I am heading with the game (I will go into detail after the "Versus" compo).

And thanks a lot, Inanimate and OneMoreGo! Smiley
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 07:53:35 PM by jwk5 » Logged
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