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December 07, 2019, 03:01:07 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsOathborn: The Chronicle of Ruin -- It's Ogre Battle, Suikoden II, FFVI/Tactics
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Author Topic: Oathborn: The Chronicle of Ruin -- It's Ogre Battle, Suikoden II, FFVI/Tactics  (Read 1188 times)
RuinousA
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« on: July 11, 2019, 09:39:53 PM »





Hey all -- my name's Andrew, and this is the devlog for my game Oathborn: The Chronicle of Ruin. Some of you might remember me or my game from way, way back (when it was just "Chronicle of Ruin"), and it's been a long time coming, but I'm bringing development back into the open, starting right here.


What it is: Oathborn: The Chronicle of Ruin is a grand-scale SRPG that charges you with leading a band of soldiers  through a dangerous, desperate world of shifting alliances and arcane oblivion. Inspired primarily by the long-gone Ogre Battle series, but is also heavily influenced by games like Suikoden 2, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy VI, Oathborn plays out through a combination of real-time tactics, turn-based combat, and traditional JRPG-style exploration.

FEATURES

Real-time tactical army command - Deploy up to 10 squads at once across a stage to complete objectives, battle enemies, and explore the world.

Highly strategic turn-based combat - Pit your squads against equally fierce enemies and triumph over them by mastering the many facets of battle, including the various governing elements, an alignment system, the strengths and weaknesses of your units and those of your enemies, and more.

Classic JRPG exploration - Explore well over one-hundred unique, handcrafted locales scattered throughout the game for treasure, secrets, wwstories, and more.

36+ classes, 10 unique heroes - Six standard class trees -- Soldier, Scout, Mage, Disciple, Valkyrie, and Ninja -- with three tiers each, and every hero gets their own unique class progression.

Deep customization systems - Fine-tuned control over every unit's stat growth, hundreds of pieces of equipment, and a huge assortment of powerful, game-changing augments enable a variety of playstyles and niches for every class.

Strong narrative focus over dozens of stages and a playtime of 25-30 hours - Oathborn's narrative is all about tight pacing, great characters, and a compelling plot.



More information is available in the FAQ on the game's website:

oathborngame.com

You can follow me for more info or reach out with a specific question on Twitter

twitter.com/ruinousa

Other than that, I'll be doing my best to get at least weekly updates going in here to talk more about what I'm working on, how the game plays, and whatever other plans I might have for Oathborn.




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chris is balls
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2019, 10:52:49 PM »

I am thoroughly impressed by all the work you put into those graphics, it looks great!

Looking forward to seeing footage of the game, or trying out a build!

Best of luck! Hand Thumbs Up Right
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RuinousA
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2019, 08:40:36 AM »

I am thoroughly impressed by all the work you put into those graphics, it looks great!

Looking forward to seeing footage of the game, or trying out a build!

Best of luck! Hand Thumbs Up Right
Thanks! Most of it is various degrees of outdated -- which must be pretty common when you have a long dev time and are improving as an artist throughout -- but yeah, 'work' is definitely the right word for it. Definitely gotta focus on refining my clusters and making everything a lot cleaner rather than busting my eyes and fingers layering everything with excessive AA. Your stuff is great, and super clean! I'll get there some day.
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RuinousA
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2019, 07:55:55 PM »

DEVLOG 1: COMBAT

An outdated shot, but it'll do for now

Combat. Fightin’ stuff. Swords and sorcery. In Oathborn, combat shares an equal burden with army management as the central components of gameplay. If this game’s going to work at all, the combat really has to grab people. So today, we’re going to talk about how Oathborn achieves that goal.

We’re about to get a little into the weeds here, so if you’d rather watch a video, rest assured that I’ll get a more visual demonstration together soon.

DESIGN GOALS

While Oathborn’s battle system follows the general framework of traditional JRPGs, my overarching goal with the combat has been to make something with strategic depth more akin to an SRPG such as Final Fantasy Tactics. Their combination of class systems, positioning, and environmental elements has always provided me with a richer gameplay experience than traditional JRPGs that, even when they do incorporate some degree of these elements, tend to focus on the patterns and baked-in weaknesses (or gimmicks) of individual enemies

The bullet points below aren’t all-encompassing, but they’re a few of the key ideas that I’ve tried to bear in mind in making a combat system that lives up to those aspirations:

  • Classes have roles, and squads have synergy - When everyone can do everything, differences in classes, characters, and abilities are just window dressing. Every class should feel different and have its own niche (or niches), and the array of units that make up a squad should give each squad a different playstyle, purpose, and win condition in battle.
  • No filler combat - No brainless battles allowed, no grinding encouraged. Every turn you get should be a potential tactical decision, and every fight you fight should shape the next steps you take outside of combat. That being said, difficulty settings are in place to allow you to adjust how forgiving (or unforgiving) you want combat to be.
  • Make every ability useful - Status effects that are actually worth applying! Knights with a Guard skills that you really, truly want to spend a turn on! Varied damage types so you aren’t always just picking the option with the biggest MP-to-Damage ratio! Every skill in the game should be worthy of your consideration.
  • Incorporate Ogre Battle/Tactics Ogre-style mechanics - Originally less a design goal than an amorphous “taste” goal, this principle ended up completely shaping the other points by inspiring the systems and opening up the avenues for differentiation in characters and classes that lets units work well together and against each other.

That last point brings us to the first big key component of Oathborn’s combat.

THE ELEMENT SYSTEM AND BONUSES

In Oathborn, there are four elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water.

(A shocking choice of elements, I know.)

Every class in the game has a variety of skills, and (mostly) every skill is aligned with one of the four elements. At any given time in combat, one of the elements is the dominant, or active, element. If you look back at the screenshot at the top of this devlog, you'll see the fire element at the top of the element bar, indicating it as the dominant element.

Use a skill while it’s associated element is dominant, and that skill gets a bonus. Throughout combat, the dominant element periodically changes. Again, looking at the opening screenshot, you see that the current dominant element is fire, and if combat continues the next will be water, and then earth, and then wind. When the dominant element changes, the strength of all elements levels up, increasing the power of the bonus a skill receives.

Let’s look at the mage’s Fireball skill as an example of how element bonuses increase:


With Fireball, it’s easy to understand the effect of elements. A little bit of extra damage, a medium amount of extra damage, a ton of extra damage. However, not all skills can simply increase their numbers. Status effects, for instance, have this problem. You can’t double-silence someone. There’s no such thing as double-sleep.

The solution to this issue is to have four specific element bonuses that tend towards certain types of skills:

  • Power: Power skills, like Fireball, receive a linear increase in strength that corresponds with the element level -- +25%, +50%, +75%. Power skills tend to be single-target damage and healing abilities.
  • Wisdom: Wisdom skills have their MP cost reduced by 25%/50%/75%. Wisdom skills tend to be expensive, powerful skills and often affect multiple units.
  • Finesse: Finesse skills reduce a unit’s delay until its next turn by 25%/37.5%/50%. Finesse skills are generally buffs and debuffs.
  • Vitality: Vitality skills restore 20%/35%/50% of a unit’s HP and MP. They’re usually threat-generating/reducing skills and other defensive skills.

The goal here is to provide every skill with strong incentives dependent on circumstances.

Every skill's icon is formatted according to its element and bonus for easier visual reference. Icon art is super, super WIP

Let’s take a look at this in action, using one of the starting classes, the disciple:


The disciple has four skills:

From left to right, Heal, Dispel, Pressure Point, Barrier. Once again, icon art is super WIP

  • Heal - Water, Power - Heals a friendly target for a moderate amount of HP
  • Dispel - Water, Finesse - Removes all negative status effects from a friendly target
  • Pressure Point -  Earth, Wisdom - Deals heavy damage to a single enemy target
  • Barrier - Earth, Vitality - Provides a friendly target with Barrier status, reducing magical damage received by 50%.

As you can see, the disciple is built around two elements of the four elements - water and earth. Most classes are structured like this, so that half the time all things are equal among all of the skills, and half the time, you get bonuses to multiple -- but not all -- skills that provide you with an interesting decision to make.

If the dominant element in combat is fire or wind, all things are equal between a disciple's skills and there’s no special incentive to choose one of these skills over the other beyond the circumstances of combat. But what if it’s water or earth?

Water - Heal and Dispel are both water skills, and receive Power and Finesse bonuses, respectively. Heal’s Power bonus is straightforward, and when you need a big heal, it gives a big heal. But what if you need a heal and one of your units has a nasty status effect on them, like silence on a mage or blind on a scout? Which do you choose?

Remember what Dispel’s Finesse bonus does:

  • Finesse: Finesse skills reduce a unit’s delay until its next turn by 25%/37.5%/50%

It’s at this point, you’d want to survey the battlefield. Utilizing the Finesse buff often enables you to leapfrog enemies that had their turn most recently. Sometimes, it even lets you leapfrog the entire enemy team, and in effect, get a free turn before they get to act again. Even if you can’t leapfrog all of them, if you can jump some of them in the turn order and have your team take care of the others, you’re getting two turns before any enemy has another opportunity. You could Dispel now and Heal next, with zero risk.

Of course, this all depends on the specific circumstances of combat, which you’ll have to evaluate yourself.

Earth - Pressure Point and Barrier are both earth skills, and receive Wisdom and Vitality bonuses, respectively. Pressure Point is a disciple’s primary offensive weapon, and as a healing class, it’s more expensive to use than offensive skills are for damage-oriented classes. However, with the right build, it can be absolutely devastating, especially against Ruin-aligned targets (more on Ruin soon). Disciples and the classes they rank up into are also the best tanks versus magic damage in the game. Barrier is one of the ways in which they accomplish this.

So, it’s your Disciple’s turn, and the dominant element is earth. What do you do?

Well, if you gotta Heal or Dispel, those are both still options. But now, with earth element up, that previously expensive Pressure Point is a much more attractive choice, especially if there’s a potential Ruin-aligned target like a mage, scout, or ninja. Or maybe it’s just late in the fight (or a series of fights) and you’re low on MP, but thedDominant element changed to earth at just the right moment to make Pressure Point just cheap enough for you to use and save the day. It happens all the time.

Alternatively, maybe that mage is in the back row and you know that you’re not going to do enough damage to kill him before he gets his next spell off, which you’re pretty sure is going to knock out some of your units. Instead of having to choose between healing and applying Barrier, Barrier’s Vitality bonus allows you to do both in a single turn, and potentially save multiple units by casting Barrier on an ally while the Disciple reaps the healing benefits. Vitality skills are an excellent way for tanks in Oathborn to remain healthy and utilize buffs without having to sacrifice their turn or that of their allies.

This is a very narrow range of situations for a single class encompassing two of the four elements. Every one of your squads in Oathborn will have five units of a variety of classes constantly thrown into a much, much greater variety of situations. And while I’m sure that it sounds like a lot, rest assured that it’s easy to get familiarized with in the span of a level, and I’m working hard to make everything as concise and visually digestible as possible.

ALIGNMENT: FAITH, RUIN, AND THE DAY/NIGHT CYCLE

In addition to element-based skills, some classes also have access to alignment-based skills. Alignment is a spectrum in Oathborn, with Faith on one end and Ruin on the other. Along the spectrum, there are five degrees of alignment - Strong Faith, Weak Faith, Neutral, Weak Ruin, and Strong Ruin. Alignment-based skills don’t receive the same bonuses as element-based skills. Instead, they receive bonuses when used by a unit of corresponding alignment, at their preferred time in the day/night cycle, and against units of the opposing alignment.

The alignments of Oathborn's six standard starting classes

Take, for example, the valkyrie. The standard valkyrie is a Weak Faith class, and one of her skills is a Faith ability called Faith Bolt. In a vacuum, Faith Bolt does a moderate amount of damage. However, because the valkyrie is a Weak Faith class, it gets a small damage bonus when she uses it. If she uses it during the day, it gets another damage bonus. If she uses it against a Ruin-aligned character, it gets another damage bonus - smaller if the target is Weak Ruin, larger if the target is Strong Ruin. Similarly, while the standard valkyrie is a Weak Faith class, there are ways in the game to modify alignment, and if you worked her into a Strong Faith class, the Faith Bolt would get even more damage. This would come at the cost of her being more vulnerable to Ruin-based attacks.

The advantage of alignment-based skills over element-based skills is that they don’t require the elements to power up to levels 2 and 3 to reach their maximum potential. The second you get into combat, that Faith Bolt is going to be as powerful as it’s going to be. Or as weak as it’s going to be, if it’s at the wrong time of day and without any good targets.

Grouping units with strong Faith or Ruin capabilities together can make powerful teams for wiping out enemy squads of the opposite alignment, so long as you’re careful about the time of day. On the other hand, having a squad of mixed Weak/Neutral alignments can make it so they’ll be ready to fight no matter the time or opposition.

THE THREAT SYSTEM, FORMATION BUFFS, AND VICTORY BONUSES

… Are just some of the things I’m going to talk about in the next combat devlog. Writing this, I can see that it’s already sprawled out quite a bit more than I had originally intended, so I figure it’s a better idea to get your feedback on what’s here rather than jamming in even more to overwhelm.

(Plus, I meant to get this up last night, and as I’m writing this, I still don’t have the art I wanted for it together)

Besides combat devlogs, other subjects in the barrel are unit customization, class details, story and worldbuilding, character profiles, and more. Between these larger “official” devlogs, I’ll also be updating here with smaller, less structured updates on specific progress that I’m making with the game.

Thanks for making it to the bottom, and please, please feel free to give me whatever feedback you want on the devlog, whether that’s about the systems I talked about today or the format of the devlog itself. You can let me know here, on Twitter at @ruinousa, through Kickstarter, or email me directly at ruinousa at gmail.com, which you can also find on the website, oathborngame.com

Till next time


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luigi56k
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2019, 08:54:44 PM »

Wow thanks for the combat information update! The only (very mild) criticism/concern that I would have is the day/night cycle having an effect on class abilities. I know it makes sense that a good/faith character would have a bonus during the day and vice versa for an evil/ruin character but I always felt like it slowed down games. Having to sit around and wait for the biggest advantage for certain classes is not a huge deal though. Plus with the Ogre Battle army system you can always just have two opposite allignment squads travel together to engage at the right time of day for the biggest bonus.

One additional question. Will there be a dusk or dawn period where there would be no advantage given to any allignment at that time?

 
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RuinousA
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2019, 07:21:59 PM »

Wow thanks for the combat information update! The only (very mild) criticism/concern that I would have is the day/night cycle having an effect on class abilities. I know it makes sense that a good/faith character would have a bonus during the day and vice versa for an evil/ruin character but I always felt like it slowed down games. Having to sit around and wait for the biggest advantage for certain classes is not a huge deal though. Plus with the Ogre Battle army system you can always just have two opposite allignment squads travel together to engage at the right time of day for the biggest bonus.

One additional question. Will there be a dusk or dawn period where there would be no advantage given to any allignment at that time?

 

That's a good thing for me to bear in mind, and the first thing I would say is that I do always try to keep the combat speed up, no matter what. Slow combat is a game-killer. Secondly, no characters have only Faith or Ruin-based attacks, they're just one of the tools in the toolbox. Their elemental skills still do plenty of work plenty fast, and no matter how powerful Faith/Ruin skills are, there's basically no way you'd want to use them all of the time. Like elemental skills, they have situational incentives -- when it's the right time of day, with the right target, when maybe the dominant element doesn't match any of your skills, or any of a number of other circumstances. Sometimes their bonus will be the best, and sometimes it won't, regardless of the time of day.

But, it's definitely something I'll keep an eye on.

Another question I got today, from Craig (thanks Craig, I was waiting on another question before I bumped this, don't want to spam the forum too hard Smiley ) was asking if there was a way to affect the dominant element via use of skills from your party.

Which yes, you can.

This guy right here:



He's one of your first party members, and he's a mage -- a hedge mage, really. A rough and tumble, nature-mage sort of dude. One of his unique skills allows him to set all the elements in combat -- the current dominant element and 3 upcoming elements -- to the element of his choosing.

One of my favorite things to do with him is put him in a party with only disciples (from the devlog) and ninjas, who are based around water and wind and have an extremely powerful water-based attack. While the most typical build with this guy is for magic power, you can build him for speed so that he almost always goes first in combat and changes the dominant element to water with his first turn. He doesn't have strong water skills himself, the ninjas do huge amounts of damage, the disciples do huge amounts of healing, and if the enemy squad doesn't have good water skills, they can't do much at all. It's a ton of fun, and probably a bit overpowered at this point. But still, tons of fun.

Craig also had a good idea that I'm looking into this week -- changing the dominant element or one of the upcoming elements by using skills from the same element multiple times in a row. Definitely worth a test!
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