Thursday, December 16, 2010

Carnivorous Ponies

Only brainstorming ideas for Clan Lord could make me consider how scary a carnivorous horse would be. Those things are Strong, give them a taste for human flesh and you've got yourself a nice horror movie. Almost as scary as this.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Team Fortress This Sunday

I just wanted to remind everyone that Yappy is hosting a GMs vs. Players Team Fortress Capture the Flag event this Sunday at 11:00am Pacific Time. Depending on turnout I'm anticipating Team GM will need a few volunteers; or we'll have to cheat even more than we're planning on.

On a related note, Valve has obviously been watching Clan Lord Team Fortress for ideas to steal. The Scout in Clan Lord Team Fortress uses a slapping fish to fight, and a recent Team Fortress update introduced this new weapon. What a blatant ripoff, someone should sue.

Now, to steal Yappy's sign off, another random youtube link.

Monday, September 27, 2010

And Pets Get Even More Awesome

Bloodmages can cancel one of their abilities by saying a "magic word" to rise from the dead. The main reason for this was there just aren't many good triggers for abilities when you're fallen, since you can't use an item. Some talk on the bloodmage forum about the general idea (including Skirwan's idea to allow people to customize the commands, so cool!) got me to thinking about how a game with verbal based commands could be cool. Instead of typing /use fireball your character would just shout "Abra Cadabra!" (or Hadouken!) and your spell would be cast.

Well, I just made the leap that this is the natural way to do pet commands. Probably make them customizable, too. Maybe you can train your pet with positive re-enforcement for certain words. ;) (This will almost certainly never happen, but cool all the same.) Regardless, even noncustomizable verbal commands are great. They eliminate the need for an extra item, and add flavor. If I were a good GM I'd leave it as a surprise, but it's your own fault for reading the blog and having it spoiled.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How To Make a Suggestion

Focus on the Problem, not your Solution
A suggestion is pretty useless if we don't know what the root problem you're trying to solve is. On top of that, sitting down and figuring out exactly what the problem is, and why it is a problem, really helps to define what the proper solution is.

I'm also personally much more likely to respond to someone giving a concrete example of a situation which was just outright no fun. I can identify with it, think of how I'd feel the in the situation, and get annoyed by proxy enough to act.

Granted, some of the coolest ideas are just that, cool ideas. No concrete problem that needs solving, just a fun new mechanic that adds interesting decisions to the game. So there are exceptions to this rule.

Avoid Definitive Statements
Words like "never" and "always" turn me away from suggestions almost instantly. If someone is exaggerating to make their point; I don't take them seriously.

Be Nice
I have delayed work on things before because of the way suggestions were worded, even when I agree with them. I've got lots of things to work on, and I'm going to work on the things that make nice, but frustrated, people happy.

Be Persistent, but not Annoying
There is a fine line between persistence and annoyance.

Multiple reports in a single update. Not useful, it can't have possibly been fixed by then.

Bringing the same thing up over and over again in off topic posts. Not useful, makes me ignore the issue.

*Just* bumping a thread every month? Questionable.

Posting to a thread with another (unique) report of the same general issue every month, and a re-iteration of why it is unfun? Useful!

Bug every update if a perceived issue still exists? Useful!

Realize Your Needs Are Personal
They don't apply to everyone. You don't speak for everyone. You can only speak for you. Embrace this, I'm more likely to respond to a personal appeal anyway. You aren't fooling me pretending to speak for the community.

I don't give a crap what the poll says.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rain Beta

Phew, finally got in the beta for a weather system I've been working on for a bit. I don't want to talk too much about it, but it is pretty neat, it is a simple simulation with some basic starting parameters and rules that it follows. I'm kinda hoping to give mystics some weather related tools, but for now really observant people might be able to predict some basic trends. Although it'd probably be a mistake to assume they might mirror reality in some way; I know nothing about meteorology.

I've found a few typos already, but the main bug reports I could use are where the weather doesn't seem to make sense. Like you travelled straight west and it went from raining, to sunny, to raining (this is sometimes legitimate though, and in places like tanglewood or the marsh, unavoidable.) The most common error you'll run into is raining in doors, which for the most part is fixed, but in some places the designer might not have marked it correctly, or the indoors area is technically ALSO outdoors. We couldn't catch all of these, so I'll need to rely on bug reports. General feelings about weather there is too little or too much rain, and how long it should last are good, but make sure you give those a few weeks, as you might just be in a rainier or rainless trend for a bit.

Weather only exists on Puddleby Island now, it takes about half an hour to add a given region, more considering I'll probably want some extra features to account for each islands unique characteristics. For example, I haven't decided how it should deal with the desert on Gungla, and it probably has to rain a lot more on Noth, and Iceton has some pretty unique weather patterns and a fragile snail ecosystem to consider.

Edit: Oh, this is also another great example of art inspiring a feature. The great rain art we got for Lugubrion's keep let me realize just how cool it could look for the whole world. Now we just need some better light snow (currently it ranges somewhere between white-out and noreaster conditions) and some heavy rain graphics.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Artists Inspiring Game Design

Some of the coolest ideas I've had have been inspired by cool art in the image file. The very first example are the gargoyles scattered around Metzetli, I won't go into detail since they're kind of deep in and the surprise is the coolest part, but that idea wouldn't have come if the helpers working on the project hadn't found the image and proposed we use it. Another example, also on Metzetli, is the Hellebore. It, and the root, were sitting in the image file, but I had no idea where they had come from or what they were intended for. (Of course, Sunken Colonies from Starcraft have to be given some credit as well.) The latest example are the newly introduced leeches, again, I won't go into details since a lot of people haven't seen it yet, but it was originally intended to be included in Lily Pond 2. I said, "an image that neat deserves a new mechanic", and it eventually became what we've got today. Those three parts of Clan Lord just would not have existed if it wasn't for talented artists inspiring additional creativity. And this is just for images without suggestions, it doesn't include the numerous great ideas we've gotten from artists along with art for them. Artists have a lot of power in that way, they can say: "Awesome Art. Awesome Idea. Now you just do the easy coding, testing, and balancing part."

In short, artists are awesome.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bloodmage Addendum

Also: Why couldn't people have complained about their bloodblades BEFORE I finished work on the class? It would have made this so much easier!

Bloodmage brainstorming

I've been listening to bloodmage complaints, and one is that you get ready for a big swing to take out a monster only to luck-whiff it and die a horrible death a bit later. My first thought was "Oh, just reduce luck misses on the bloodblade", but then you open it to potential abuse for people without training, and I also don't really see this being needed for high health focused bloodbladers. So I decided I'd decrease it when the blader was low health, which is great and solves the problem, but it isn't very noticeable and cool, and it leaves me wondering whether it should be an ability or just free. It is definitely useful, but the idea of paying a few ranks for something you can't show off and kind of feels like something you deserved all along is lame. It also generally only works if you're able to kill the monster with that hit, which led me to thinking "well what if we let you turn it on and off, and it let's you know if your next hit will kill the creature" (with some tweaks to damage variation). But removing variation COMPLETELY from the game is kind of silly, and besides it still doesn't allow for people to pull off damage over time attacks very well.

I'm currently considering an ability that, when the bloodmage is low health, they get reduced luck misses and luck hits (not that the reduced luck hits should matter), and when they hit the creature it is "stunned" for a short time, probably just enough for the savvy blader to pull back and try to avoid being hit (this would probably have to be accompanied with some timeout so multiple mages couldn't keep something stunned indefinitely). I imagine it as a passive ability that is active all the time, but I'm still not sure of the cost in ranks. It also seriously intrudes on a rework of their crippling abilities I had planned which would grant extreme speed reduction on hit. Maybe I can work around that by introducing some passive element of crippling blows into this ability in addition to potential reworks of crippling blows in general.

For other classes I'd have concerns about reducing variation like this, but by its nature the bloodmage is already an incredibly risky class, adding elements that a skillful player can use to avoid death generally doesn't run the risk of making the class less exciting and interesting to play.