Sorry for not posting progress in a while. It's been busy shifting gears between CodeSpells and other projects here. That said, we are really excited about the design progress made over the last few weeks, and incorporated some of your feedback on the previous post. Here's some info that will give you an idea of where we are headed.
We've also been working hard on some graphic novel pages to illustrate the setting. We'll be using some of these illustrations as brief in-game cutscenes.
Please tell us what you think!
EDIT: keep in mind that some of the mechanics are more or less tentative, and open to feedback
High level goal:
To make a more traditional game by making risk, reward, story, and character progression mechanics. In addition, the existing assets and systems should be put to use, like mana, and environments.
Genre of Play:
Survival / Defense
During the day, the player will be exploring, gathering resources, finding spells, and building towers. During the night, bad guys come try to ruin the base. The player will defend with enchanted towers and spells.
Activities are the swirvy objects, resources are the rectangle objects.
Hollow arrows from activity to resource indicate that the activity drains/costs the resource.
Solid arrows indicate the activity replenishes the resource.
Some Mechanics Shifts
Mana doesn't replenish by default when in survival/story mode
Mana replenishes at your home base
Destructible/Mine-able objects, like trees and rocks
You die when any 2 mana bars are depleted
You respawn after a short cooldown at your base
Make destructible trees and rocks.
Can't wait to see this story! I like the idea of elemental salts to replenish mana and for crafting complex objects, but if we're going to die just from running out of two types of mana and that mana doesn't replenish naturally, we're going to need much higher caps or elemental salts will need to be very plentiful. Another option would be to add mana veins, which might allow for replenishing mana over time for being near them, but slower than you would at base.
Another thing that's worth thinking about is what the inventory system is going to be, both from a gameplay standpoint and a lore standpoint. In a lot of RPGs, you can carry ridiculous amounts of weight and volume, and it's completely invisible and doesn't appear to affect your character, despite it somehow fitting into a tiny backpack or pouch. There are a few options I can see working in CodeSpells, one being simply lore-related and the other making for some interesting gameplay options.
The first option would simply be to explain that the wizard has a pocket dimension where she stores everything she collects. Gameplay-wise, this could either happen automatically when resources are mined, or there could be a "pocket dimension" spellement that opens a portal to the pocket dimension, allowing you to place objects into the inventory.
The second option would be to avoid an inventory entirely, or at least use it only for elemental salts. The player would have to craft spells that could carry the resources to their desired location (perhaps a magic circle in the base?) where they could be consumed for crafting objects. The wizard would have four pouches on a belt used for the four elemental salts (or five, if life remains a separate form of mana).
The final comment I have is really a question - will we be able (and if so, how will we be able) to lose the game? Obviously we'll be able to die, but will there be another objective we have to protect in the base, or some object we need to keep fed with elemental salts, or will it be just based on whether we're alive or not? And if we do die or fail the objective, will we be reincarnated/reset to a previous save point, or will we have lost the game and have to start over? And of course, the importance of that decision is greatly affected by the length of the game - will we be looking at something that will last an hour or twenty to beat the story? After the story is completed, will we be able to continue playing with what we have, just fighting against increasingly difficult waves, or will that simply be the end, and that game is over? If we can keep going, will we have a leaderboard system so we can see the top players?
This was long to read. Good job, then!
I think your idea of carrying objects using spells is a good idea. This way, we'll have to think of "how am I going to move this big log to the base? My 'pull' spell isn't enough...".
Life is a form of magic, if I'm not mistaking, so, we'll have 5 pouches.
As I said on the Discord server : having infinite waves, with each wave getting more difficult would be a great addition.
Having something to protect and losing on its destruction would be a good goal, in my opinion. Or, maybe, have it be the "real" you? Since we're essentially made of mana? We could imagine you protecting your dying corpse. And each time you die, your body looses a bit of its health. And you'd have to spend time healing yourself. If your body reaches 0 HP, the game is other, and you can submit how many waves you survived to the leaderboard?
As to mana limits : I think it all depends on how the game is played. If you don't need much mana, having low mana pools isn't a problem. If we need a lot of mana, having a way to replenish our mana pools will become vital. Maybe a way to create buffs, or anything? We'll have to discuss this, I think ^^
The world would have to be randomly generated, in order to guarantee replayability. Although this would go against Leaderboarding, as someone could get lucky and have a lot of resources... Balance is going to be tough ^^
Life is a form of magic, yes, but at the moment we don't have any spellements that cost life mana. It makes sense to have it if any such cost ever exists (such as for changing variables), but unless we do, it seems unnecessary. Since we're made of mana (I guess this is official lore now?), it would make more sense for us to lose equal amounts of all mana when taking damage instead of just one type of mana, unless we have one type (such as Life) that is keeping us held together. That would also explain the lower capacity we currently have for life mana, since a large portion of our life mana is going towards keeping us together. (Sorry for the run-on sentence)
I like the idea of protecting a physical body. And your suggestion for the ability to respawn but still be able to outright lose the game is perfect. Having a way to heal your physical body (such as through healing herbs you can find while exploring) would be an awesome way to add another level of depth to the gameplay, as it's another thing you have to consider when managing your time and resources. As for the leaderboard part, I think time survived is a better stat, because it has much smaller quanta and thus we can differentiate between players better.
On the mana front, I definitely agree. The specifics of the gameplay would dramatically affect how mana regeneration and limits need to be handled. Based purely on current gameplay, however, you would only be able to cast three or four powerful spells or no more than ten weak spells per element per trip, and that's not leaving any mana left over to keep you healthy. Having some sort of amulet or magic item that could be imbued with pre-charged spells would dramatically lessen this need, as you could just use those for all predictable purposes, and only use your own mana when you need something unexpected or are in a dire situation.
Finally, I completely agree on the random generation. Without that, the game will be fun the first three or four times we play it, and then grow very repetitive. However, in the interest of competitive play and leaderboards, we could also have some set seeds that are used for competitive play, each of which would have its own leaderboard. That way those who want to grind away for the top place on the leaderboards can do so, while more casual players will still enjoy playing the game a few times, instead of just once.