Category Archives: Potion Wars
Potion Wars Episode 2 content

Spankers, Spankees, and Switches of All Ages (18 and above),

As requested, here’s a link to a PDF of the content of the second episode of Potion Wars:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4c0BkzLlLZOcm5uNFVpNDZPejg/view?usp=sharing

It hasn’t been edited much at all, so it’s in very rough shape. But enjoy, nonetheless.

Also, if you haven’t, don’t forget to check out the previous post, November Update. That one contains some more information about the planned structure for Crimson Glow.

 

November Update

Spankers, Spankees and Switches of All Ages (18 and above),

First weekend of the month, so monthly update. I’ve finished the first draft of the first day of content, as well as most of the tweaks to the engine and to the first dungeon that I want to make at this point. The next step is to update the customization choices at the beginning of the game, then spend about a week ripping my hair out and swearing as the game crashes like a racetrack full of drunk drivers driving monster trucks. Once the game starts crashing like a racetrack with a single drunk driver in a monster truck, I’ll toss it off to my beta testers, and then we’ll get the first day posted.

I was planning on posting the content I had for episode 2 of Potion Wars, but apparently compiling LaTeX into PDF is more complicated than it should be on a Mac. Useability my ass. Anyway, I’ll see if I can get it compiled and posted tomorrow.

For the rest of the post, I’m going to talk some about the structure I have envisioned for this game, particularly the dungeon crawling part. In Potion Wars, I was trying to make each fight fairly challenging (at least until you gained a few stats, and some more health/mana). Basically, at first you needed to run back to the healer after each battle. However, in Crimson Glow health and mana have been merged into a single stat, energy. Furthermore, there aren’t really going to be healers (or potions).As a result, energy is going to become a very limited and precious resource. Finally, the emphasis is going to be on battles with supervillains rather on generic fights, and you should feel like a superhero when fighting generic enemies. So you should be able to mow through lots of generic baddies.

To capture this, dungeons are going to be much more about energy conservation. Generic battles won’t be particularly challenging, but they will wear on the player, and a big part of the strategy will be determining the most energy-efficient means of completing the dungeon, so that you have the energy to defeat the supervillains. Furthermore, generic enemies will be very fragile (i.e. non-super enemies will have 1 energy, with the possible exceptions of the first boss), and they won’t really have any special skills. So you should be able to one-shot them easily. However, there will be a lot of them, and they’ll be strong enough that you can’t just hold down the attack button and blindly mow through them. On top of that, there will be energy attrition. Basically, each round your character will lose some energy (because it takes energy to keep your powers going). The amount you lose depends on the difficulty level:

Hand: You lose no energy each round, and supervillains lose lots of energy each round. Resting also takes no time. This is the difficulty for people who want to breeze through the game and experience the story and spankings without too much challenge.

Strap: You and supervillains lose a roughly equal amount of energy (villains may lose a little bit more, because they didn’t have to slog through a dungeon) each round. Returning to your room and resting takes some time, but you should be able to have enough time to rest once or twice without ignoring too many other responsibilities. This should be a good, reasonable difficulty for people who enjoy RPGs.

Cane: You lose quite a bit of energy each round, and supervillains don’t lose as much. Resting takes a significant amount of time (several hours). This is the difficulty I will be balancing on (mostly because if I’m not careful, this difficulty could be unwinnable), and will (hopefully) require a careful use of skills.

 

Speaking of skills, this is another difference from Potion Wars. In Potion Wars, there were a fair number of stats (six, I believe) and everyone learned the same set of skills, In Crimson Glow, there will be far less emphasis on stats, and far more on skills. There will only be three stats: Strength, Speed, and Willpower. Strength controls how good you are at grappling, Speed controls your regular attack, and Willpower will generally influence how much energy you have, and how strong your skills are (though Strength and Speed will also play a role depending on each skill). However, I plan on there being a lot of skills, and each skill will have multiple levels. Not only will there be skills that are general-purpose (like Crimson Punch), but there will also be skills that are very situational. For example, there might be a supervillain who is a flyer, and really fast, but not very strong. So you can learn a skill that allows you to anchor your opponent to a building, drastically reducing her effectiveness. Of course, anchoring may not be effective against other opponents who are on the ground or something.

Basically, my plan for each supervillain is that you will have two avenues open to defeating them:

  1. Patrol a lot and get high enough stats that you can beat them using just the general-purpose skills. This will be the more challenging route, but it will be necessary if you want to be able to beat supervillains the first time you meet them.
  2. Get your butt spanked the first time (most likely), and then develop a special-purpose skill that neutralizes the supervillain’s strength, or inflates a weakness.

In particular, I want each villain to have their own combat style (as much as they can given the relatively simplistic combat system) with their own unique and powerful skills, and I want the player to be able to develop counters to those skills. It always bugs me when enemies have super-powerful skills, and you have no way of countering them (I’m looking at you Avernum: Escape from the Pit and your stupid acid raining bosses, and utter lack of silence spells, or elemental protection spells or cure-all spells for the entire early game). I just love being able to take an enemy’s strength and turning it into a weakness.

A little sample of some of the skills you’ll be learning:

Crimson Slap: This game’s version of firebolt. Standard single-enemy damage skill. Higher levels make it more powerful, but also cost more.

Crimson Armor/Boots/Eyes: Increase strength/speed/willpower at the expense of the other two.

Crimson Cord: Pull an enemy into a grapple.

Crimson Flare: Blind every enemy in the battle, giving them a significant penalty to speed.

Crimson Bind: Wrap the Crimson Cord around an enemy and essentially paralyze them for a few turns.

Furthermore, different skills will be unlocked based on levels gained in other skills. For example, to unlock Crimson Bind, you need to get three levels in Crimson Cord, and to unlock Crimson Spanking you need to know Crimson Bind and Crimson Slap.

Basically, I want a lot of the depth in the game to come from skills. Which skills should you train? Which ones should you use in this situation or that situation? What kind of character do you want to play?

 

Edited to Add: Furthermore, the nature of this game means it is much more conducive to having help from outside writers. In particular, I’m looking for writers who’d be willing to adopt one of the player’s roommates (there are five. Three have been adopted already). Basically each roommate will be associated with one of the basic choices you can make each day:

  1. Patrol – Taken (by me!)
  2. Work – Taken
  3. Study
  4. Party
  5. Train – Taken

And the events of each activity will further develop that character. For example, one of your roommates will be a colleague at your work, and the work events will feature him/her heavily. My dream is to have someone else working on each of the other activities. That way, I can focus just on writing the Patrol events, on improving the game engine, and merging everything into a coherent episode. If you’re interested, send an e-mail to my google account sprpgs, or contact me on animeotk (my handle is “aka”) and we’ll talk.

The King is Dead, Long Live the King

Spankers, Spankees, and Switches of All Ages (18 and above),

So I have some bad news. I’ve decided to put Potion Wars in a coma. I’ve been having a lot of trouble writing the second episode, mostly because of massive tone clash. The premise just demands a very dramatic, down to earth tone. Dramatic, down to earth tones really do not mix well with spanking porn. Rape, torture, and incest porn? Sure. Just look at the success of Game of Thrones. But spanking has just too much whimsy to really work well with a story about a drug war being fought along racial lines.

Some of you are probably slapping your forehead and saying “No duh, dumbass!” In my defense, the story kind of got a little bit out of my control. Stories do that sometimes. Note that I’m not doing this lightly, and it’s absolutely not because I got bored and found a new, shiny idea. I love Potion Wars, I love the story that’s taking shape, and I very much want to tell it. This just isn’t the right place.

So the next question is, what now? One option would be to take Potion Wars, rip out all the porn, and release it somewhere as a vanilla game. However, this website is called “spankingrpgs.” Not “baitandswitchrpgs.”  I’m going to write a full-fledged spanking RPG if it kills me. I just need to be careful to select a premise and tone that are conducive to spankings. So here are my constraints:

  1. The game needs to be an adventure tale that is ostensibly dramatic. It does not have to be serious and angsty, but I’m not a comedic writer. The content should be dramatic, even if the tone is not.
  2. The game should have an element of whimsy, silliness and absurdity. Spankings are absurd, and they will fit much better if there are other elements of absurdity already.
  3. There needs to be plenty of natural opportunities for spankings, both top and bottom. Ideally without making the spanker look like a total douchebag (unless the spanker is villainous and they’re supposed to be total douchebags).

After considering these constraints for a while, I decided that one of the genres that best fits is the superhero genre. Particularly, Silver Age superheroes. Silver Age superhero comics were more than a little absurd, but the characters took them more or less seriously (so we get a rather absurd tone, but also some drama). Furthermore, a Spider-Man style superhero (i.e. a part-time superhero whose trying to balance work, life, and superheroing) provides a ton of natural spanking opportunities. First, we get the obvious superhero-supervillain showdowns. You can spank supervillains for trying to take over the world for the umpteenth time, and supervillains can spank you for trying to foil their plans for the umpteenth time. Plus, Silver Age supervillains tended to be ridiculously over the top, and I could totally see a Silver Age style supervillain giving a Silver Age style superhero a sound spanking, and vice versa. Furthermore, there are plenty of opportunities for spankings as the player tries to live a normal life. You stood your boyfriend up, because you were fighting across a bunch of rooftops? That’s a paddling. You slept through class because you were up all night trying to find the villain’s hideout? That’s a paddling. Forgot your mother’s birthday? Paddling.

My basic thoughts are the following, at least for the first season:

Each episode of the first season will have a new villain. You’ll have an initial encounter with the villain, that will be fought either to a draw, or the villain will win. Then, over the course of the episode you’ll need to prepare for the next showdown with the villain. This could be done a variety of ways:

  1. You could patrol a lot. Basically, beat up a bunch of generic criminals to get stronger, and interrogate the underworld about this villain (note that patrols will have some unique content for each day, just like other events. You won’t just be grinding against generic enemies).
  2. Do some research. Maybe the villain is reminiscient of an animal of some kind. So the animal’s weaknesses may be analagous to the villain’s. Or maybe you study news footage of your last battle to better determine what their strengths are, and then develop a new skill to counter them.
  3. Try to learn more about the villain’s personal life. See if maybe you could use a bit of psychological warfare to manipulate them, or lure them into a location where they won’t be as effective (i.e. lure a flying enemy into the sewers).
  4. Some combination of the above three.

Furthermore, you’ll have obligations you need to meet outside of superheroing as well, like homework, family get togethers, a job, etc.

Each episode will be broken into days, and I’ll release content a day at a time. Each day will be a fairly small update, so that we don’t have massive droughts like with Potion Wars. Each episode will have a list of tasks you’ll want to accomplish, perhaps broken into subtasks (i.e. you have a midterm at the end of the week, so each day will have a subtask to study three hours. If you study three hours every day of the episode, you’ll get an A+ on the test). However, you will not have enough time to do all of them. You could do all of them so-so, or a few of them well, but you can’t do all of them completely. Furthermore, you’ll absolutely have to spend a lot of your time preparing for the final fight with the supervillain, because at the climax of the episode you’ll have to defeat them. So if you spend too much time doing personal life stuff, you may find yourself in an unwinnable situation.

Of course, you need to do moderately well at the day-to-day tasks as well. Perhaps if your grades get too low, you’ll have to move back in with your parent (you’re in college, FYI), which will make it harder to patrol and research villains. If you do too poorly at your job, you’ll be forced to spend extra time at work, giving you less time to patrol and research villains.

The supervillain combats will probably be a bit more elaborate than the battles in Potion Wars. Not a whole lot more elaborate (I’ll be using the same game engine, just with a few minor tweaks). But many of the combats will probably be multi-phase. You’ll fight for a while, then there’ll be a cut-scene, and you’ll get options (which options will depend on the choices you made over the course of the episode). The outcome of the options will determine who gets a bonus in the next phase of battle, you or the villain. Obviously there will be a lot of save-games to minimize repetition. There will probably be an auto-save at the end of each phase of battle, and an autosave at the beginning of each day.

Finally, I’ll probably introduce more customizations. In particular, I’ll give players the ability to control the gender of other characters. You’ll have the options of:

  1. Specifying the genders you prefer to see for spankees. This will generally influence the genders of supervillains (since you are required to defeat them at the end of every episode), and perhaps a side-kick if you get one (no promises!). If you turn off the ability for enemies to spank you, then all generic enemies will be this gender.
  2. Specifying the gender you prefer to see for spankers. This will generally influence the gender of authority figures (your boss, your parent, etc). If enemies are allowed to spank you, and both the spankee and spanker gender are the same, then all generic enemies will be the selected gender. Otherwise, the gender of generic enemies will be chosen at random.
  3. Let the game choose at random (or let characters use their preferred genders if they have one).
  4. Pick and choose on a case-by-case basis. This has the downside of interrupting the flow of the story a bit, but gives you more fine-grained control.

Note that this isn’t guaranteed to affect all characters. For example, I plan on pulling Carrie into this game as your best friend, because I just love writing her. She’s going to be female either way, because she will forever be a woman in my head.

The downside to giving players control over the gender of other characters is that there probably won’t be as many sex scenes as I’d planned in Potion Wars (i.e. few to none), because there’d be so many damn combinations to write (male-female, female-male, female-female, male-male).

Furthermore, dialog choices probably won’t have as much of an effect as it did in Potion Wars. This is because I want the various tasks you can choose each day to have significantly different content each day, and I do want to release content at a reasonable pace. I do still want to give you opportunities to influence conversations, and I want characters to remember them, but you probably won’t get as many dialogue choices, and your choices probably won’t have as many and as long-lasting effects as I’d planned for Potion Wars. For example, in most conversations, you’ll probably get one choice at the beginning, in which you’ll have two to three options of various personalities (cooperative, aggressive, bratty perhaps). Then, the rest of the conversation, I’ll put words in your character’s mouth, based on the personality you chose. So if you chose the bratty option, then I’ll give your character bratty dialogue in that scene.

That being said, I do want some activities in earlier episodes to influence later episodes, so I’ll try not to railroad you too hard. As always, it’s a careful balancing act.

Thoughts? In particular, feel free to make costume or supervillain/hero suggestions. Also, if there’s a particular personality you’d like the opportunity to roleplay (an angsty loner hero? A pompous bastard? A cowardly lion?) let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for personality suggestions, and if I’m going to spend time writing dialogue for a particular personality, I want to make sure there’s at least one person that wants to play it!

New Etrian Odyssey Episode, A Few Changes

Spankers, Spankees and Switches of All Ages (18 and above),

A new Etrian Odyssey episode has (finally!) been posted. Get it over at the downloads section. I’m much happier about this one than either of my previous two. Which probably means it sucks, because that’s how this usually works.

As far as Potion Wars is concerned, I’ve been pretty busy lately (hence why I failed to post an update last weekend). However, I’m still chugging away. I have one and a half scenes left I want to write before I make the next release, which will finally, finally have the next dungeon level. However, I’ll also be introducing a some new game mechanics (weapon/clothing enhancement, and catfights) in addition to the next episode’s enemies. So there’s still a lot of debugging, and balancing ahead, so I can’t really give an ETA. In fact, I’m going to give up on giving ETAs anyway, because I always, always, always underestimate how long it will take me to get stuff done.

It doesn’t help that I’ve had a bit of writer’s overload the past few weeks. I think a lot of it is because I’ve also been working on Etrian Odyssey on Sundays. That’s a lot of writing. When I started Etrian Odyssey I believe I was either in the middle of, or coming off of a major coding period, so I needed some writing to change things up. Now that I’m in major writing mode for Potion Wars, I’m finding that also writing the Etrian Odyssey episodes is a bit much.

So here is what I’m going to be doing: when I’m in major coding mode, I’ll be working on my Etrian Odyssey Let’s Spank. When I’m in major writing mode, I’ll be working on a different coding project. This way, my Sundays can be a chance to take a break from Potion Wars, do something very different from whatever I’m doing during the week, and still contribute something to this site.

The question of course is, what will I be working on when coding? This project will be an attempt to apply the lessons I’ve learned from Potion Wars and since I started working as a professional programmer:

1. I’ll be using Test Driven Development. Basically, I’ll be writing the tests before I write the code. This will ensure that the code is much more stable.

2. I’ll be working hard to make the code much better documented, and follow some style rules so that the code is more readable.

3. I’ll be using actual tools out there in the wild to help me (say the build tool Maven, the language parser tool ANTLR, the GUI library NiftyGUI), rather than trying to roll my own hilariously inferior and buggy versions.

I’ll be working on the project in a combination of Groovy and Java. Basically, I’ll use Groovy whenever possible, and Java when the tool I’m using demands it (i.e. ANTLR). There are several reasons I’ve chosen these languages. Most importantly, there is an awesome testing framework out there for Groovy/Java called Spock. And since I’m doing TDD, having a good testing framework is a must. Next, Java is ubiquitous. So it has a lot of excellent tools out there, from IDEs to language parser tools. This also means that more people are more likely to know the language, which means I’m more likely to get programmers willing to help me (learning Groovy when you already know Java is very very easy, especially if you also know a scripting language like Python, Perl, or Ruby). Third, this will give me a chance to mess around with some of the tools we’re using at my job, which will be nice. Also Groovy looks like an interesting language that combines some of the safety of static type checking with the flexibility of duck typing. Also its strings are called GStrings. So you know, it’s just begging to have a spanking porn game written in it.

The repository for this new project can be found here: https://github.com/sprpgs/GroovyBooty

I can’t decide if my proposed name for the engine (GroovyBooty) is awful, or awesomely awful.

Right now, it only has one branch (other than a basically empty master), where I was messing around with Groovy’s ability to easily create simple Domain Specific Languages (DSL’s) to see if I could use it to implement a dialect for writing dynamic game text. Turns out doing it directly in Groovy isn’t quite powerful enough, so I’ll have to use ANTLR. Anyway, if there are any programmers out there who would like to get involved, but have been scared away in the past by the fact that my Potion Wars codebase is garbage, let me know.

The next question of course, is what game should I be using as my motivating example for building the engine? I have two possibilities under Eye of the Brainstorm:

The Majesty meets Princess Maker game I talked about a while ago:

http://www.spankingrpgs.com/?page_id=88

We also have a Multi-Generational Dungeon Crawler that I just posted under Eye of the Brainstorm:

http://www.spankingrpgs.com/?page_id=302

Both games will share a lot of the same code, so we don’t have to commit to anything just yet. I am curious about what people’s thoughts are though.

An important thing to keep in mind: Any sort of playable game using GroovyBooty is a loooong way off. It took me 18 months to get the first version of Potion Wars up in all its buggy, convoluted, hacky glory. And that was working on it for several hours a day for most of those 18 months. This will be a much more deliberate, slower development process aimed towards building a well-designed, stable codebase that can be easily maintained and expanded for years to come, rather than for just getting something out the door ASAP like with Potion Wars. Furthermore, I’ll only be working on this once a week in spurts.

And again, if there are any programmers out there who’d like to help develop GroovyBooty, shoot me an e-mail. Furthermore, if there’s anyone out there who would like to help with the design process, that would also be welcome. The only things I’m not looking for right now for this project are writers, artists or musicians, because we’re a very long way off from developing any actual content. I will happily take such help for Potion Wars ;).

Enjoy the new Etrian Odyssey episode

Potion Wars Version 2.14. Possible Music Overhaul.

Spankers, Spankees, and Switches of All Ages (18 and above),

I’ve uploaded the latest version of Potion Wars, which fixes the bug that kept you from being able to select clothing past number 10. Hilariously, I then decided that it was silly to make dresses available when selecting pants, because they end up replacing the shirt you selected previously. So I shifted the dresses into the shirts menu, and now all the clothing has less than 10 items again! After all that work creating logic to select clothing item 11 too…

Anyway, you can get the most recent version over in the Downloads.

One other thing, Bonemouth has pointed me to a library of free to use (so long as I give credit) songs. They are quite good, and there’s more variety than I have access to through the place I got my original music (Play On Loop). Unfortunately, the two styles are radically different. So I’m thinking about replacing the current music completely. As a sampler, here are some of the tracts I have in mind:

1. To replace the Church theme (plays during the game’s opening crawl):

2. To replace the title theme (plays when the title picture shows up):

3. Not sure sure yet which I want to replace the generic combat theme. Here are a few options:

 

 

And finally, something a bit slower. This would replace the theme that’s played when the first girl you fight in episode 1 is dragged off by the city guards:

 

 

Does anyone have any strong opinions one way or the other? These would show up in the same version of the game that introduces the first level of the episode 2 dungeon.

 

Cosima Scene, New Etrian Odyssey Episode

Spankers, Spankees and Switches of All Ages (18 and above),

First, we have a new version of Potion Wars up: Episode 2.12.

 

Changelog:

1. Added a scene written by Bonemouth for those of who you challenged Cosima to a sparring match in episode 1. Thanks Bonemouth! You can find Cosima in the guild. Just enter the main guild room, and hit talk. She should be there.

2. As requested, you can now purchase the childlike outfits that Ildri makes you wear if you piss her off enough. Note that you’ll need to start a new game in order to see them in the tailor’s inventory.

3. Fixed a bug where the dungeon crashes if you try to use the new (E)xit command in the episode 1 dungeon. I believe either the (E)xit command doesn’t show up at all for episode 1, or it just doesn’t do anything, since you’re not allowed to leave.

4. Modified the flavor text for spectral spanking to make the spell a bit less flexible in-story. While giant glowing hands spanking people is kind of funny, the ability to conjure glowing hands that mimic your every motion as a Tier 0 spell seems a bit absurd, and overpowered. Gameplay wise the spell hasn’t been affected.

5. Health gain and mana gain have been modified. Now, for health you gain 8 + however much health you went over the threshhold. So if  your threshhold is 30/35, and you get hit for 10 damage, you will gain 8 + (40 – 35) = 13 health. You now gain a straight +3 mana every time you gain a point in Talent.

6. A bunch of behind the scenes stuff to make writing dynamic text easier, and in preparation for game mechanics that will show up once the episode 2 dungeon goes live.

 

Also, I’ve moved the Transcripts into their own tab. Clicking on the transcript tab will take you to a bunch of links allowing you to download the transcript pdf, and source. There’s also a link to a webpage of the transcript. Hovering your mouse over Transcript will display a link to “Episode 2” that links directly to the webpage displaying the transcript. Note: The transcript only contains the first scene of episode 2. In general, transcripts will only be posted a little bit after an episode is completed. This is mostly because I want you guys to actually play my game, rather than just read the transcripts. The transcripts are intended to give new people a sense of what they can expect, and the rest of you the ability to look for paths you may have missed during earlier playthroughs, or to see if beating that one asshole boss is actually worth it.

 

I’ve also finally finished episode 6 of the Etrian Odyssey Let’s Spank. I’m sorry it’s taken so damn long (almost two months!), but I’ve had a lot of trouble writing it. I finally realized that the reason I was having so much trouble with this, and the previous episode are because of tone clash. I’d designed these characters for a fairly whimsical and silly story. Unfortunately, Sam’s little PRS attack has taken the story down a darker path than I’d designed these characters for. So this and the previous episode have basically been trying to mash a round peg into a square hole and wondering why I’m having so much damn trouble. So in this episode, the Sirens basically dig themselves out of that hole. This episode is still a bit too dark, but nothing was really resolved in episode 5, and I can’t just drop it and pretend it never happened. Anyway,  things will get much more light-hearted for episode 7.

Also,  I’m definitely going to stick to one episode a month, rather than shooting for two. I overestimated my productivity. I have this annoying tendency to do that. So expect the next episode around the end of July.

June Update

Spankers, Spankees and Switches of All Ages (18 and above),

Reminder: If you haven’t yet, make sure you download version 2.11 and save your game. Version 2.12+ will not be compatible with save games from 2.10-.

Not much exciting happening right now. I’m steadily working my way through the primary events of the episode 2 dungeon. I’ve written two events (one of which is quite large), and started work on a sequence of two or three smaller but interrelated events. Haven’t had much of a chance to work on Etrian Odyssey, unfortunately. Last weekend I worked on Potion Wars Saturday and Sunday, because during the week my computer was out of commission for a few days (naturally my computer has to not work when I’m not working a full time job -_-). This weekend, I spent all of yesterday with friends. The weekends are usually when I make the most progress, because I’m not drained from a full day of work. As a result, I try to spend at least one day working on Potion Wars, even if that means not working on Etrian Odyssey. I do try to spend at least an hour Monday-Friday working on Potion Wars, but those hours tend not to be as productive as weekend hours because of mental fatigue.

Potion Wars 2.11: VERY Important Update

Spankers and Spankees,

I’m back from vacation. Unfortunately, my computer decided to have problems right when I got back, and I’ve only just gotten it repaired, so I wasn’t able to get anything Potion Wars related done on Tuesday and Wednesday, like I’d hoped. On the bright side, the shop where I took my computer to get repaired had an old Macbook Pro for salve for dirt cheap, so I picked that up, and we now have native OS X executables (technically it’s a shell script. OS X “apps” are horrible and should die in a fire. Slowly and with great agony.)

I’ve uploaded the latest version (2.11) to the Download tab. This is a VERY VERY VERY important update. It doesn’t add any new content, but what it does is fix a very subtle mistake in how the game saves.  Originally, when I saved whichever “conversation” a character currently has, I saved the conversation based on the conversation’s number, rather than it’s name. Furthermore, my translation script assigns numbers to nodes in order from the beginning of the transcript to the end. What this means is that if I add any new conversation nodes to the middle of the transcript (such as say text for enchanting equipment with enchantment gems at the smithy), then the node numbers will get screwed up, and old saves will give characters the wrong conversations.

This version fixes that. This version will correctly load your save files, and then save them using node names rather than node numbers.

Therefore, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you:

1. Download version 2.11

2. Load your saved games in version 2.11.

3. Save the game.

If you don’t, then your save file WILL NOT WORK for future versions of the game. I repeat, save files from before version 2.11 will be incompatible with versions 2.12+. Unless you want to lose your progress you MUST download this version and save you game using it.

I’m really sorry about the inconvenience.

Thoughts on Stat Gaining Mechanic

Spankers and Spankees,

First, I’ll be spending next week visiting family, so I won’t be on until the last week of May (a little over a week from now).

Second, I spent a few hours last night playing Dark Eye: Blackguards. Haven’t played it much, so I don’t have much of an opinion about it, though it looks like it has potential. There are a few things I don’t like (the heavy emphasis on randomness in combat, especially the high failure rate of spells), but there are also some things I do like (the combat grid is well done, the combat itself is fun despite the heavy random element, and the story has me intrigued, though I’m 99.99999% certain it’s going to fall into the painfully cliche “My old friends are members of an Evil Cult Planning to Unleash the Supreme Evil/Take Over the World/Steal Grandma’s Pacemaker” plot). Actually, that last one sounds like it’d be kind of fun…

One thing that I really really like is the stat gain system: after each fight, your characters gain experience (groundbreaking!). This experience goes into a pool of points that you can then use to level up your skills. So far at least, after every fight I’ve gained enough experience to level up at least one skill, and often more than one. I like this because it gives a sense of gradual improvement. After every fight my characters are slightly better than they were before. I like that. And when I like something, I start thinking about how I could build a similar mechanic…

So here are my thoughts. Currently, every action gives you 3 stat points. Where those points are allocated depends on the action performed. For example, attacking allocates 2 stat points to Dexterity, and 1 stat point to Strength. Every time enemies attack, you gain one stat point, depending on where you got attacked. While I like how organic this approach is, there are a few problems. For one thing, your defense also relies heavily on these stats. Therefore, in order to keep yourself from being one-shotted by a physical attack, your squishy mage will have to waste turns smacking baddies with his staff while your enemies laugh. Similarly, with physical attackers (assuming those attackers even know any spells. If they don’t know any spells, they can only gain those stat points by being zapped by spells). Second, if you decide during the game that you need to pivot (i.e. focus more on magic and less on physical attacks, or vice versa), then you need to waste precious rounds doing something your character sucks at. This will almost certainly be frustrating, especially if I can balance the combats well enough that they’re close. So this is actually a very rigid approach to character improvement, and that’s not good. I don’t like rigid character development, because it punishes experimentation.

So, the first thought is that all stat points go into a pool, which the player is then free to spend to improve stats, health, mana, and learn spells.  This makes character development much more flexible. Are you getting roasted by spellcasters? Spend some points on Talent. Getting one-shotted? Dump a bunch of points into health. This also has a benefit when characters join your party: Rather than giving them pre-allocated stats which may or may not work with your build for for the rest of the party, I can just have the character start with a  pool of stat points that you are free to use however you wish. I could do a similar thing at the beginning of the game, allowing you some control over the starting stats of your character, which spells they know, etc.

Now, here’s the next thought, and the one that gets me really excited: You need to spend a certain number of points in order to improve a stat, and the number of points you need to spend increases as the stat gets higher. So far so standard. However, let’s throw in a little bit of randomness. Just a touch. Imagine if you have a percent chance of gaining the bonus from the next higher stat, depending on how close you are to increasing your stat. So suppose you have 10 Dexterity, it takes 100 points to get 11 Dexterity, and you’ve already spent 90. So you’re 90% of the way there. Imagine if in battle, you have a 90% chance of attacking with 6 Dexterity rather than 5. So maybe there’s a 90% chance that instead of doing say 10 + .4 * 10 = 14 damage  (against an enemy with 3 Dexterity), you do 12 + .5 * 12 + 1 = 19 damage. Meanwhile, if you’ve only spent 50 points on Dexterity, you “only” have a 50% chance of gaining this bonus.

Second, suppose that you don’t gain a fixed number of points every time you attack. Instead, the number of points you get depends on how effective your action is. The less effective your action, the more points you get. So imagine you have 5 Dexterity (so 10 warfare), and your enemy has 5 Dexterity (so 10 warfare). Then, you’ll do 10 damage. Meanwhile, if you have 10 Dexterity (so 20 warfare), and your enemy has 5 Dexterity, you’ll do 20 + .5 * 20 + 15 = 45 damage. So you’ll get significantly fewer action points than if you only have 5 Dexterity. Now obviously, you need to have some caps, so that a tank with 5 Talent doesn’t get 5000 action points for casting Firebolt on an enemy with 95 Talent. Similarly, a character with 95 Talent zapping an enemy with 5 Talent should get at least some action points. The points you’d get would probably be something like max(MIN_POINTS, MAX_POINTS – effectiveness), where “effectiveness” could be something like the damage you do, or the number of turns you start grappling, or the number of turns an enemy is inflicted with a status spell.

These two things provide a whole lot of opportunities for different play styles. Do you spend your action points now, and make the upcoming battles easier, or do you hold off to get as many points as possible but make the upcoming battles much harder? Or do you do something in between? How in between? Only spend enough points to get 10% of the way to the next point? 50%? 90%?

Furthermore, a jack of all trades character has an interesting new twist vs. a specialized character. First, you can have partially developed stats, and still gain some benefit from them. The points put into a partially developed stat start working for you from the beginning. This can make it less painful to spread points around. Also, Jacks tend to have lower stats across the board, but not so low that they can’t be effective in battle. Therefore, regardless of their actions in battle, you can expect them to gain more points, which can again ease the large point burden. I like this. I like this a lot. Specialized characters are valuable because they are very effective in battle against specific classes of enemies, but at the cost of perhaps a small dint in action points. Jacks meanwhile aren’t as effective against any one enemy, but can hold their own against anyone, and tend to gain more action points.

What do you spend points on? Well, you can spend points on any of the stats (Dexterity, Strength ,Willpower, Talent, Alertness). You can also spend points on health and mana (one point corresponds to one point of either), and you can spend points to learn spells.

This again, opens up a huge range of character building options, especially since mana, Talent, Willpower, and spell learning are all decoupled. For example, maybe you want a character who is mostly an armslength fighter, but perhaps has a few of the simpler buff spells, to provide some support. Then you don’t bother putting points into learning new spells, but instead pump Talent, and Dexterity. Maybe you want to build a Grapple-tank, someone who can grapple a spellcaster and shut them down, but you don’t care about necessarily learning spells. Then you can pump Dexterity and Talent (with perhaps some Willpower). Maybe you want a character who knows a wide variety of spells. Then you pump Talent, Willpower, and spells, with some points also thrown into mana. Maybe you want a character whose spells aren’t particularly effective, but he/she can cast a lot of them. Then you pump spells and mana. Similarly, maybe you want a wall, a character whose job is to defend the squishier characters, but not much else. Then maybe you pump their health to absurd levels.

Of course, the tricky part is to balance them all. 😉

Another tricky point is that if I’m not careful it could be very easy to exploit. Just cast one Firebolt at 5 Talent against an enemy with 95 Talent to get the MAX_POINTS, then spend the rest of the combat attacking and pump the points into your Dexterity. Perhaps a character doesn’t gain any points if the stat difference is too large, or takes severe penalties to the number of stat points they get? I don’t know, I’ll have to think about it.

Any thoughts? I might spend the next week thinking about it, and potential formulas for generating points, how fast point costs increase, etc. If I do implement this (I may not, this is still very much in the brainstorming phase), it won’t be until after I’ve overhauled the GUI. Allocating points will require significant (and non-trivial) extensions of the GUI, so I don’t want to do anything with that until I’ve built a GUI that can actually be extended with non-trivial things.

Potion Wars 2.10

Fixed a bug in the logging code that resulted in infinite recursion. See previous post for details on changes in 2.09.

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