a Modern Take on Traditional JRPGs:

The video on the right shows a vertical slice of the combat experience of my game Aetheria. The video shows a few key mechanics in the game, which includes but is not limited to:

  1. Talent Trees
  2. Weather & Day/Night Cycles
  3. Charge/Burst Skills
  4. Overdrive, Final Limits



Talent Trees:

When I design a system in regards to player progression I always like to promote player choice, thus the talent tree system was born. In Aetheria, there are 2 types of skills the player can learn special (physical) skills and magic skills; each having their own preferred item builds. Thus I designed 2 unique skill trees for every character, 1 for tech special skills and 1 for magic. Thematically this fit into the story special skills originating from the character and magic skills originating from the character's spirit companion and allows the player to choose what skills they want to build their character with. One benefit this system gave players was that it allowed them to plan their skill path, showing all the skills available.

The system works in a rather simple way, as the player's character levels up or completes a quest, they receive skill points. Skill points can be used to obtain skills from either tree, with the top row skills costing 1 skill point, next row 3, 5, etc. To obtain skills you must have the prerequesite skill connected to the skill you want to obtain.

Weather & Day/Night cycles:

This was the major mechanic that distinguished my game from the others in the space. As you play the game, time will advance in real time changing between night and day. For certain levels, enemies will changed based on time of day. Overall I wanted the day/night system to offer players a meaningful choice since night enemies tended to be more hazardous than their day counterparts. In addition to day/night cycles, some levels would also experience unique weather conditions that influence combat. For example in the forest level pictured to the left, there is the unique rain weather condition. If you were to encounter an enemy during this weather condition you would receive an agility debuff making it take longer to prepare attacks.





Charge & Burst Skills:

Burst and Charge skill types are 2 unique skill types added to the game. From a design standpoint they were meant to give increase the player's input and participation in combat and both types can be seen in the video on the right.

Charge skills are skills that require the player to repeatedly press a button to charge the skill. The player's progress is tracked via charge bar and the skill will do damage based on how full it is at the end of a timer.

Burst skills like charge skills require the player to repeatedly press a button, but unlike charge skills burst skills execute every time the button is pressed.


Overdrive, Final Limit:

Final limit was a mechanic that payed homage to the Limit Break from Final Fantasy 7 and was created to balance out the excess TP (resource used for physical attacks and final limit) going magic would generate. Final Limit grants the user a damage bonus, however in doing so, I realized that now the mechanic was now imbalanced for players going physical damage builds, since the final limit would require a large amount of TP to use. So in addition to increased damage, final limit also grants free use of any physical skills regardless of the price.