Main Game Design

Bearing the last post in mind, I’ll now go over the overall game design.

Game Stages

There will be 3 stages of play in Ano Sekai:

  • Town Building
  • World Exploration
  • Endgame

While you can do the first two stages interchangably as needed, I want to be able to classify each and am seperating them based on their characteristics. The endgame is clearly the section at the end of the game.

Unlike other amateur game projects, I absolutely require there to be a Game Clear state. I understand wanting to have a never-ending game and I will account for that, but a game without a final goal isn’t a Game in my eyes. If you can’t finish it, then it’s just a sandbox. Sandboxes are fun, but I want to be given tasks and I want to have that feeling of accomplishment.

Town Building

This is the real focus of the game. I expect to be putting the most time and effort into this.

The player will be expected to build and maintain a town which NPCs will gather in. The town will have a levelling system with requirements to get it to the next level. As the town’s level grows, more NPCs will come to the town, more classes will be available for the NPCs, merchants will be able to sell new things, and smiths will be able to make better stuff.

I expect the player will do a bit of exploring at first to find a decent place to start building the town. Once they’ve found a suitable spot, they will figure where they want the center of the town and put down the Town Center marker block. NPCs will not spawn until this block is placed. Once put down, NPCs will spawn at a certain distance away from it and will wander towards it. From this block you will retreive the class changing items to give NPCs different jobs.

The goal at the start of the game is to level up your town. This is done by fulfilling requirements that will be given, and the requirements will generally be to have a certain number of NPCs having jobs specified in the list. You won’t be able to withdraw a job item without there being a suitable building available for that job, and so you’ll also be given the requirements for the buildings as well. Each town level has a limit to the number of NPCs that will spawn, and levelling up your town will also require that you’ve reached the NPC count cap for that level.

Monsters will be spawning as well as the NPCs, and will also be drawn to the town marker when close enough to it. Aggressive monsters will wander into the town and attack the townsfolk, and you’ll need to defend them. NPCs with jobs that have offensive abilities will also work to keep the town safe. As the town gains in levels, stronger monsters will be able to spawn. The player will want to balance the number of their workers with the number of their town defenders.

World Exploration

Once your town has reached a certain point, the player will need to start gathering harder to find materials for the smith to make more powerful items, like precious gems and metals. The player will also want to hunt rare monsters for more loot that the smith will be able to use. Finally, you will want to start looking for ruins to find legendary artifacts that the smiths can’t make. To do these things, you’ll have to leave town and explore the world.

I plan on setting up a system that lets you take 4-6 NPCs along with you when you leave town. The idea is to have them speed up the gathering process by working along with you. If you are hunting rare monsters, you would want to take a party of fighting-type NPCS. If you are after precious metals and gems, you would want to take some miners with you.

Giving general commands will be fairly simple; one button will be reserved for use-by-context. You will be able to “use” a miner and then “use” a wall for them to dig around, or you will “use” a fighter and then “use” a monster for them to fight it. If you want all of your miners to dig around one block, you’ll issue a command to everyone by simply “use”ing that block. The same is also true for commanding everyone to attack one monster.

Specifying how each NPC will act is going to be handled much like the Gambit system in Final Fantasy XII. Gambits are a “target” and “action” pair; if the npc encounters a situation that fits one of his/her gambits, s/he will perform the action assigned to it. If the “target” is “nearest gem”, and the “action” is “mine”, it’s pretty obvious what the NPC will do. If the “target” is “ally hp < 50%” and the “action” is “magic cure”, again it should be pretty obvious. Just as in FFXII there will be a vertical list of these, and higher actions are prioritized over ones below them:

[ally hp < 50%] [potion]
[nearest monster] [attack]
[party leader target] [attack]

In this case, the top-most gambit is the one that will be done before any other. When the NPC wants to perform an action, she will walk this list until she finds an action she can perform.

The worlds in Ano Sekai will be finite in size, and you will be able to travel completely around the world. There will be points of interest scattered around like ruins and caves, and they will have random items in them for you to find. Mapping the world is an important task for the player to do. Each point of interest will be generated in such a way as to allow for easy-to-read maps. If you are carrying certain items, features will be pointed out on maps for you.

Endgame

One of the requirements to hit the town’s level cap will be to give one NPC the role of royalty. From her, you will receive special boss monster Mark hunts. These special marks will not appear in the world until you’ve been given the hunt. These will be proper boss monsters, unique from the rare monsters you could hunt before. Boss marks will be shown on your map so you can find them easily.

After beating a certain number of boss Marks (4?), a gate to the underworld will open and you will have to travel into the underworld to destroy the source of the monsters, the boss of hell. Whether or not the underworld will be a new place to explore and find even stronger artifacts, it depends on a few factors. I don’t want the endgame to go on for too long compared to the main game. At the same time, if I were playing, I’d probably want to explore hell. I’ll figure this out when I get to it.

Once you’ve defeated the underworld boss, God himself will challenge you. He will open a gate to heaven, and you’ll be able to ascend to heaven to challenge him. It should be obvious that he will be the hardest boss in the game. Once you beat God, you’ve beaten the game. You can continue playing the world after you’ve beaten the game, but there’s a bit of explaining to do about that.

After beating the game

The way that Minecraft is set up, from the main menu you load a world up and it remembers the things you had when you left the world. The inventory is connected to your name in the world. In Terraria, you choose a player character and then a world, so you can have multiple characters each with unique inventories and stats. I prefer Terraria’s system and plan on implementing that method, but there may be issues with that…

When you take a player character into a world and beat God in that world, you will become the new God of that world. That player character is then bound to that world as its god and can no longer be played. The world will then be fast-forwarded a couple hundred years, changing features about it and repopulating the treasure and precious metals. The town will become a ruin and the new player will work towards ascending to heaven to challenge the new God.

I see that there are problems with that setup though. What if I want to keep playing that world with that character? What happens to the stuff that I had in my town and on my character after the time leap? If I don’t bind the player to the world in that time, then what’s to stop him from giving all of his items to another player character, who could then deposit them in another world? Why would I want a player to start with nothing when they’ve already gathered a bunch of stuff? Taking it away seems mean.

Maybe I should set it up so that the player can choose to set up a parallel world where the new world is a future version with a randomly created new god? any changes made to the original world after that wouldn’t be seen in the future version, so you have to think of it as a parallel world. I really had my heart set on player characters becoming the new god of that world. I’m going to keep trying to figure out a way to do that, even if it doesn’t make it in.

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