Voxel Quest Design Doc
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General Notes: This looks like a lot of stuff but keep in mind the player will see very little of it immediately. Overall the game is going to be designed to minimize the learning curve and resistance to starting a new game.
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Princilples of Design:
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Easy to learn, hard to master.
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No difficulty levels - there is only one difficulty, which is very challenging but not unfairly so.
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No grinding, no repetition.
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Always engage the user mentally (never a "dull" moment)
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Avoid boring chores, tasks, and cumbersome interface.
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Isolate learning into small chunks - users should learn as they play.
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Risk vs. reward is always heavily emphasized.
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Die fast, level fast (influences: Spelunky, FTL, various card/board games)
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No dialogue trees or anything like that. When you have a conversation, it is for the sole purpose of gathering or relaying information.
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Similarly, don't force players to read through a bunch of backstory - "show don't tell" - let players learn about the game's universe naturally as they play.
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Zero resistance to starting a new game - players should easily be able to create their character in seconds without having to distribute a million skill points. Alternately, character creation might occur entirely in game based on how they decide to distrbute acquired skill points. (Although less realistic, skill point distribution is more fun IMO than grinding on some skill to level it up). Likely, character creation will only involve distributing a few points among core attributes (strength, intelligence, etc).This design document is out of date, and also under construction!
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Fun takes priority over realism, *always*
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Strong emphasis on emergent scenarios - the game should set up its own challenges as a side effect of the ever changing world, NPC relationships, etc.
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Deaths are *never* unfair. Similarly, minimize "luck of the draw" or extremely unbalanced playthroughs.
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100% determiistic mechanics. No "chance to hit", every action plays the same way always based on the current state. How dexterity and "chance to hit" are handled: Every character/monster has attack and defense modifiers (see below). Before a successful hit lands, you must wear down their dodge meter / points (see below) with attacks (think of it like the shield meter in Halo and similar games). After this is worn down, you will land a successful blow. This bar recharges slowly during combat (after each turn), so you can hide or retreat to recharge it. Characters with high dexterity are able to bypass this dodge meter quicker (especially so if the victim has low dexterity). In shorter words, the dodge meter determines your ability to avoid continuous attacks, the defense rating comes into play once an attack is landed. Critical chance is calculated based on how far the defense meter is into the red (negative).
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Players should die on average every x minutes (20? 30?) but a good playthrough should be hours maybe.
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Progression is always within the playthrough, never in between playthroughs (one commenter pointed this out as a reason they disliked in Rogue Legacy and Risk of Rain). No carrying stats or wealth between playthoughs (debatable, but in my experience the game has had far more replayability when this is implemented). No unlocking, but maybe achievements? No useless achievements like "died 50 times."
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A good distribution of common and rare items - some items should be fairly rare but not too rare in light of permadeath. Potentially, all items exist in a given playthrough, some are just much harder to find than others.
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Show players the exact result of their attack *before* it is performed, with a breakdown of all the defense and attack ratings in play, how the dodge meter is effected, critical effects, etc. This can be shown in a popup box or tooltip (which can be turned off if prefered).
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Constantly shuffle up the playing field so players cannot depend on a single strategy (the same way many card and board games do based on the cards that are drawn). At the same time, allow some degree of player choice (i.e. choose one of five available skills (cards) to play). Potentially the card selection is just guided by the current state of the game.
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No useless skills or attributes - try to make all skills / attributes equally useful, even ones that traditionally are not.
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All usable skills/actions will be represented as "cards" (either literally or figuratively). Each card will have its own set of rules which will allow players to gradually learn the rules of the game as they unlock new skills. Every action produces a score based on the variables in play. A score of "0" is a neutral result - nothing good or bad happens. A negative score is a failure, a very negative score is a critical failure, a positive score is a success, and a very positive score is a critical success. Example: playing a "slice" card against an enemy shows that you are using a sword with +1 to slice, but the enemy is wearing platemail with -2 protection to slicing (lower is better); your skill level with swords adds +2 to slicing. A score of 10 is a critical success and you slice a limb off. A score of -10 is a critical failure and your sword breaks. Your total score is 3, played against the enemy's -2, and the result is 1 (sucess) and 1 damage is done. This is a simplified scenario and there would probably be more variables in play like your dexterity/strength, as well as the enemies, the dodge meters, and so forth, but you get the idea.
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Combat and noncombat situations are both "synchronous turn-based" meaning every move that you make, the computer makes a move (i.e. if you take a step, the computer takes a step). This prevents scenarios where you wait too long for AI to take its turn (for example, 10 enemies each taking seperate turns with several actions in each turn). Action points build up over turns, allowing you to take different actions based on how many points have been acumulated. It also allows for more interesting "preventitive" actions like cover fire, blocking, or countering. This system maintains the quick and responsive feel of traditional roguelikes while allowing more interesting tacticle decisions with action points to consider.
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AI is always plotting. The world does not revolve around you, and NPCs will do everything they can to get ahead, even potentially at your expense. Expect to be lied to, robbed, manipulated, etc.
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(Tristan) Note to the base 10 system for the core attributes: The value 3 is the AVERAGE. Everything above, is exemplary to some degree. I borrowed this idea from the "Warhammer" tabletop, where this works quite well.
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Core Attributes:Description:Modifies: (Tristan) Range
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StrengthHow much muscle your character has.Attack Damage, Defense (parry, block), Stamina1 - 10
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DexterityAbility to coordinate muscles in your body to successfully perform an action (i.e. aiming a bow). Affects ability to successfully land coordinated blows and dodge attacks.Dodge Points, Dodge Meter Damage1 - 10
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CeleritySpeed with which you can move your muscles and change direction or action rapidly.Action Points, Initiative1 - 10
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Vitality / Vigor / ConstitutionThe overall fitness of your body, you metabolism, your ability to heal rapidly and fight off disease and poison.Physical Health1 - 10
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IntelligenceHow innately smart you are. Effects spell casting and mental skills.Mana1 - 10
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CharismaHow appealing you are to others, both mentally and physically. Ability to rapidly think up solutions or conversations options (i.e. lie effectively), effectively communicate, influence others, etc.Influence1 - 10
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PerceptionSensory and interpersonal perception. Ability to see, hear, taste, and smell, as well as the ability to percieve things about others like whether or not they are lieing, if they are nervous, and their potential motivations. How far you can see, important for ranged attackers.Initiative, view / hearing distance1 - 10
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DisciplineAbility to control your mind calmly even in dangerous situations, overcome emotions with logic, fight discomfort and distractions.Mental Health1 - 10
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Indirect Attributes:Description: (These attributes cannot be modified directly, only by using equipment, your core attributes, and any perks or potions in effect).(Tristan) Direct function of core attributes: (external modifiers are aggregate and can be stacked. Some examples: spell effects, special armor effects, special weapon effects, fire, water, frost, etc. - external modifier equals 0 when no special effect is in place)SpecialOther functions
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StaminaDrains as you use physically demanding skills like running, attacking, etc.(20 + external_modifier + 3 * strenght) * not_paralyzedIf creature is not paralyzed, the value of not_paralyzed is 1 (true) else 0 (false).
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ManaDrains as you use mentally demanding skills like spellcasting.(20 + external_modifier + 3 * intelligence) * magic_userIf creature is non-magic user, there is no mana! magic_user 1 (true) or 0 (false).
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Physical HealthThe overall health of your body. Affected by wounds, disease, etc. Affects physical performance.20 + external_modifier + 5 * vitality
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Mental HealthYour overall mental health. Affected by many things including tiredness, comfort, concussions, drugs (potions). Affects the performance of any skill requiring the mind.(20+ external_modifier + 5 * discipline) * not_insaneIf creature is not insane, value of not_insane = 1 (true) else 0 (false).
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Action Points (AP)Total number of movements you can make in a turn. Some moves require more AP than others.(20 + external_modifier + 2 * agility) * not_paralyzedSame as stamina...
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Dodge Points (DP)How many dodges you can perform (higher dexterity attacks drain this meter faster or bypass it altogether). Recharges slowly after each turn. How far this meter dips into the negative region determines how critical an attack on you is (critical bonus can be calculated off any number of factors).(10 + external_modifier + 5 * dexterity) * not_paralyzedSame as stamina...Recharge rate:
dodge_points += dexterity * 3
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InitiativeHow fast you react to various circumstances. Determines who moves first in a given turn.(perception + external_modifier) * not_paralyzedSame as stamina...
If Initiative of player and creatures are equal, player moves first, then AI creatures. Lvl of creatures as kicker value, to determine move order of the creatures.
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Attack, DefenseAttack and defense have many modifiers including ranged, piercing, crushing, slicing, magic (or a specific type of elemental magic), undead, etc. For example, a resulting attack might do 2x damage against undead or a defense modifier might offer +5 protection against fire. Attack and defense do not get calculated until you have run down the target's dodge meter with (attempted) attacks.
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InfluenceYour ability to influence others. Adversely affected by being unattractive, bad hygene, being dull or dimwitted, dressing poorly, having poor physical or mental health. Positively affected by your wealth, social status, beauty, charisma, etc. Negative influence modifiers may apply towards hostiles, differing races, differing alignments, etc.(10 + external_modifier + 8 * charisma) * not_hostileIf creature is not hostile by default, value of not_hostile = 1 (true) else 0 (false).
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Alignment / ReputationAffected by your actions towards others. You can be somewhere between evil, neutral, and good. It is possible to disguise your alignment. Your reputation will vary between races, factions, and other alignments (i.e. if you are evil, other evil people may favor you).Alignment = (50 + external_modifier + reputation) * not_hostileSystem idea for Alignment:
0 : Hostile
50: Neutral
100: Ally
The not_hostile flag is mainly for creatures, which are "always" hostile, regardless of reputation. This does not mean, that a creature might turn against the player. If the alignment score is low, this creature might decide to attack the player openly, or to plot behind his back instead. But non_hostile = 0 (false) is always openly aggressive against the player.
Reputation (Evil, Neutral, Good):
reputation = aggregate of good vs. bad, player starts with 0; value can be negative.

Examples:
- Doing a quest for a good character -> +10
- Slaying evil dragon -> +50
- Take candy from a baby -> -20
- Burn and ravage a village -> -100
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PietyYour standing with the various gods (one per elemental plane); affects your ability to pray for favors at altars and (if negative) what wraths you will incur.Similar system to Alignment / Reputation but with gods...
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Elemental Planes:Description:Associated Races (Humans can be aligned with any plane):Associated design theme, historical influences and mythology
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InfernoFireDaemons, ImpsGothic?
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MountainIce, Thunder, Storms, StoneDwarves, orcs, gargoyles, ogresNordic / Viking ?
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SwampWater, poisonTrolls, gremlins, nymphsMayan ?
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ForestEarth, PlantsElves, pixies, gnomes, dryadsTribal ?
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HollowMoon, Darkness, Death, the Undead (A hollow is like a haunted forest)Any undead (ghosts, vampires, skeletons, etc), werewolvesEdwardian / Victorian ?
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OasisSun, Light, LifeGeniesEgyptian / Greek / Roman ?
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Classes:Description:
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SorcererMagic exclusively based on Inferno Plane
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WizardMagic exclusively based on Mountain Plane
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Warlock / WitchMagic exclusively based on Swamp Plane
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DruidMagic exclusively based on Forest Plane
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NecromancerMagic exclusively based on Hollow Plane
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Cleric / PaladinMagic exclusively based on Oasis Plane
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ElementalistCan use magic from any plane, but weaker overall.
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Barbarian / BerserkerHighest attack (favors heavy weaponry), low defense (adverse to armor). Favors strength over dexterity. Adverse to magic, intelligent thought.
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MonkAdverse to armor and weaponry, favors discipline, hand-to-hand combat
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Ranger / HunterFavors manual ranged weaponry (like bows), outdoorsmanship, dealing with wild animals
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RogueFavors short-range weaponry like daggers, thrown weapons, agility and dexterity, stealth; sometimes uses a little bit of alchemy or magic.
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Knight / WarriorFavors heavy armor and weaponry
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Marksman / SniperFavors mechanical weaponry like crossbows and muskets, longest range, poor close range combat
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Ninja / AssassinGeneral mastery of ranged, hand to hand combat, the katana, poisons, stealth
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Professions By Resource
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ResourcesGatherer (Raw)Refiner (Processed)Artisan (Manufactured)
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MetalMinerSmelterBlacksmith
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Tinker
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Gems + MetalJeweler
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GemsGeologistGem Cutter
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WoodLumberjack WoodcutterWood Smith
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Wood + StoneCarpenter
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StoneQuarryMasonSculptor
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PlantsFarmerMiller
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Herbalist
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Chef
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Plants + Animals: WeaverBrewer
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Apothecary / Alchemist
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