There’s been much progress made on the Immortal Doctrine Demo.
- New Dungeon Tilesets
- Marin Character Sprites
- 1st Monster Cheruba Sprite
- NPCS: Bard, Mayor of Faraway, Kitkat, Lily, Artisan, General Store, Solider, Targus of HOF.
- Faraway Background
- Faraway Plains tileset at 50% completion
- Treasure chests and Treasure rooms
- Dungeon: Pantheon of Time, all rooms have been completed, but need to go back to do some additional detailing.
- Outlined Faraway Field Completely.
- Made major adjustments to UI for both in game and battle system.
- Design for new characters including abilities
A couple of Major Changes (all for the better for the game)
I’ve decided on a mapping and level building strategy for the game. Previously, I struggled with how to build maps for the game because one big thing about ARPG’s and level design is the balance between making maps too big, or too small.
My first attempt was to create a bunch of large maps for the player to explore. On those maps, I would create “hotzones” which were areas were certain monsters would be likely to spawn.
If a player walked into a hotzone and a battle began, there would be an indicator (like a battle ring) to show the player the limits of the battle field on the map.
With this set up, the player could exit the battle at any time by simply exiting the bounds of the limit.
There were two things about this system I did not like:
Pacing- The transition from exploration to combat felt good, but it wasn’t perfect. Walking to suddenly being interrupted by a bound limit + monsters, was okay, but just not quite… as good as I felt like it could be
Battle Importance – Fights were fast paced, as intended, but they felt a little “too fast”. Meaning, rather than allowing the player to focus on the enemy at hand, and respecting the danger they pose, it made enemies feel more like fodder. A minor nuisance to get rid of. This isn’t how I want monsters to feel.
Because of this, I stepped back and decided to really think about how these things should work. I looked at both older and new games for inspiration, including what games did right and what games did wrong.
And then finally, I came to a wondrous conclusion!
The way that mapping will be handled in the game is by breaking down larger maps in to smaller chunks. These chunks are large enough to have a single battle in one map, but a total area could be broken down into 9 major areas with each major area being broken into 4 sub areas.
With this, the battle zone can be limited to the full size of the sub area making combat feel much much more natural. Thus I call this method of Map Design, Organic Map Design.
The other beautiful thing about it is, having the maps designed that way reinforces an important feature that I wanted to reserve in the game which was the importance of positioning.
In the previous map models, the maps were very large and so there was a lot of open space to fight.
But now in the new Organic Map Design, everything is much more compact, you have to worry about walls and other obstacles (like trees) being in between you and your target if you want to use an ability that requires a clear line of site.
Though it restricts the flexibility of some abilities, it also reinforces the benefits of other abilities. For example, Lexicon is target based and so it can be used accurately despite the target being on the other side of an obstacle.
I believe that drawing mechanical distinctions between abilities like this is important because it allows for every method of play to have it strengths and weakness. Therefore, the viability and importance of all of the game’s various methods of play can be of equal value in the perspective of the player.
If there were no mechanical or strategic benefits of using Lexicon or Elocutions, there would be be almost no point choosing one versus the other.
But now, with the new mapping strategy, those strategic and mechanical benefits are more apparent.
In addition, the new map structure allows for me to draw even more distinctions between the strengths of different game characters.
Some are better for long range combat, while others are better for short range. Other’s can do both, because they have a gap closing abilities, or abilities that allow them to teleport through obstacles to reach their targets.
So if you hadn’t already guessed it, these changes to the Mapping System also influence combat rather heavily.
Combat is now restricted to by sub area and not by some arbitrary battle bounds.
Because of this, the transition between exploration and combat feels much much better in my opinion and ever encounter feels very clean.
In addition, because of the new battle zone mechanic, the player can opt to escape battle by leaving through one of multiple available exits in the sub area.
The mechanics of battle have one major change and that is the movement speed of the characters during battle.
Now, characters will move more slowly during battle as if they are in a battle ready stance.
I felt this change was necessary because again, I wanted to make sure that encounters with monsters could be respected.
It also helps with balancing as it prevents players from being able to enter a map and then just run past all of the monsters. This would be especially problematic because Immortal Doctrine has no unnatural barriers. Meaning, as soon as the game starts, you can literally book it to the final boss area in the game with your stick sword and pot helmet.
But in order to make the barriers a bit more natural, I needed to make it extremely hard for the player to consistently avoid all combat (unless they are already strong enough to take a few hits from more powerful monsters)
I’m very excited about these changes to Immortal Doctrine and hope that they can provide an improved experience on the gameplay.
For now until next month, I will be working on finalizing the game’s featured dungeon and will soon be working on developing the land of Faraway.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!