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.

10 thoughts on “November Update

  1. man, this is incredibly ambitious, and I’m really existed for it. I think I’ve been checking this site nearly daily for this update in particular. I cant wait to play the beginnings of this new game, and seeing how much of episode two got done

    1. I’m glad to hear you’re so excited about it!

      Honestly, Crimson Glow is going to end up being much less ambitious than Potion Wars, but I have a little bit more of a life now than I did when I started Potion Wars, and there was just too much time between updates for PW. Anyway, I hope I don’t disappoint you!

  2. Hey, sounds good from the read, don’t see why it shouldn’t translate well into the game, so good luck :). Really like the two path method with the bosses. that’s good variety and enhances replays and different players play style. Nice idea.

    Note on the healing, one thing about the engine I like VS things like Rags, is it’s FAST. Backtracking and healing/resting isn’t an issue as it can be done quickly. In something like Rags those trips could be a real pain due to page loads. Makes choosing a more grindy path not an issue, and/or reduces the penalty for failing (makes failing fun!).

    And thanks for the transcripts.
    Good luck with everything.

    1. I’m glad you think it’s fast. One thing that drives me crazy about some RPGs is how much unnecessary tedium you have to put up with. It’s so tedious to return to get healing, the combat takes longer than it should with painfully slow animations, the towns are huge and complicated and it takes 30 minutes to complete a fetch quest that should take 30 seconds, etc.

      So one of my goals with my engine was to reduce that tedium as much as possible.

      Note though that healing isn’t being restricted in the harder difficulties to reduce tedium, but to force the player to strategize. Since the generic enemies are going to be so fragile, I need to make sure that their challenge comes from gradually wearing you down. So to get that, I need to make sure energy is a finite resource. That would be ruined if I let you rest infinitely often _and_ made it convenient to rest.

      1. Oh yeah, those massive town maps in RPG games. No idea why, maybe something to do with the engine, but took forever even with shift-run to get around.

        Have fun with the balancing 🙂 Not easy, why in combat games so many of the combat systems have moved from health packs to chest high walls and auto health regen. Don’t have to work out how good the average player is and how many packs they’ll need. Heaven forbid someone dies and has to reload nowadays.

        At least having a fail state (too much resting) gives you an option for alternate end (more writing). Bonus for going hard core? ;). And good that difficulty level actually changes gameplay, and not just a HP buff for bosses, another gaming trend I hate.

        1. The worst part is that it should be _painfully_ easy to implement some sort of “teleport to places you’ve already been” mechanism. You know what I want? I want an RPG with a detailed, beautiful town, that I can run through the first time, and experience its wonderful glory. Then I want the automap to let me set map notes on places I’ve already been, and double click on the damn note to send me immediately to that note.

          I haven’t quite worked out what will happen when you hit the rest limit. One possibility is that I just deactivate resting, and you have to complete the dungeon now. Another is a fail state in which the villain gets away. That may not be too much extra writing. It wouldn’t be too hard to toss in a conditional the next time the villain shows up. If you caught them in a previous episode, then there’s a line about how they broke out of prison. If you didn’t, then there’s a line about how you failed to get them and they’re still at large. I’ll have to think about it.

          Yeah, I hate HP buff for enemies and bosses. I like my combat to be fast-paced. Either I die relatively quickly, or my enemy dies relatively quickly.

          Granted, that doesn’t mean I won’t have some long, multi-phase boss battles interspersed with cut scenes. 😉

          But if I do, I’ll make sure to either give the player a chance to save between each phase, or have a different autosave for each phase, so that the player doesn’t have to start over from the very beginning of the battle every damn time. Also the game will be saved between the cut scene and the battle so that people don’t have to slog through the cut scene again when they die. That always drives me nuts.

  3. Glad to see an update. I’ve actually friended you in AOTK. My UN is rrichmon, but I would love to help, but I am starting my first job since graduating from college on Monday, ontop of that it’s wrestling season and I coach so i’ll be pretty much busy all day.

    Game sounds like you have it figured out right now, it’ll be nice because you will see a difference in writing styles from the other roommates, making it a unique experience for the 5 different routes you’d pick.

    I cant wait to spend my spare time on this haha. ttyl

    1. I’ll post more about it this upcoming weekend. But here are the highlights of what’s been happening over the past few weeks:

      1. Try to modify my Potion Wars code to do what I need for Crimson Glow.

      2. Watch the code break in hideously weird ways.

      3. Discover that my code is _even worse_ than I thought it was (and I thought it was pretty terrible).

      4. Realize that I have no idea what is going on in my code, or how to debug it.

      5. Throw a few things across the room.

      6. Decide to scrap my Python codebase and start over, writing sane code that is actually commented, and properly tested.

      7. Decide to write the codebase in Java instead, because that allows me to use a kickass testing framework called the Spock Framework.

      So basically, I have no idea when the first day will come out. It’ll be a while, though unfortunately. I’ll talk about it more this weekend.

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