Combat System Overview:
Combat is a main focus in Hero Soul, so I wanted to give players a few ways to approach combat. Here are a few pillars I wanted to adhere to when designing combat for my game.
Make players feel they have control of their character
Fast free flowing combat
Easy to learn yet strategicly complex
Balance Spreadsheet for weapons can be found here.
Early in the design process, I knew I wanted combat to flow in real-time. This was mainly because in the previous previous project I worked on, which used an ATB (Active Time Battle) system, the downtime created a lull in combat. While this promoted more strategic gameplay, overall I wanted this project to have a more action/reaction style of combat. So, I adopted a more hack and slash approach to combat after experimenting with other styles.
Currently, all characters have 2 styles of attack, light attacks and heavy attacks. Like the name implies light attacks do less damage than heavy attacks, though heavy attacks are slower than light attacks.
Although I leaned more towards action/reaction style of combat, I still wanted to have strategic elements in combat. This lead to the creation of the Arcana system which brings deck building and resource management to combat.
Arcana is how you cast magic in this game and it is done via deck and cards. Cards in your "hand" can be seen in the bottom left. When you use an Arcana card it is replaced with another card from your deck and enters a cooldown period. Spells in your “Hand” can also all be cast at once, called “Burst”, combining all cards in your “Hand” into a unique skill.
Epic Boss Encounters!
Bosses show up at the end of dungeons and must be defeated by the player to exit the dungeon. Because I chose to go for real-time action, that has opened may possibilities when designing boss fights. Instead of being more formulaic like in my other games, bosses can now be reactive in their behaviors. As a rule of thumb for me when designing bosses, no matter how unique or fun the mechanic must be the mechanic must fit the boss thematically. Hopefully that will come across in my boss design now, and for the future ones to come!
At the start of the game you will have 4 characters to select from each with their own unique story. If you have trouble selecting which hero to start with, fret not the companion system will have you sorted!
Along with your selection of hero, you will also be able to select a companion to accompany your adventures. The companion is 1 of the remaining 3 heroes and each brings something different to your party. For instance the companion pictured to the left, brings interesting defensive option, using his shield to block enemy projectiles.
Here are a few key game systems that make up the game.
Procedually Generated Content
The Hero Soul
Deck building & Arcana Crafting/Arcana Disenchanting
Rune Forging (In Progress)
Procedurally Generated Content:
All levels for the game are procedurally generated meaning every time you enter the dungeon the map layout, enemies, and special rooms will always be different. I chose to make this design choice to increase the replayability of my game as well as increase the uncertainty both as a player and as a designer that procedural generation brings. Overall dealing with procedural generated content has been a balancing act between keeping things different enough to maintain the uncertainty and keeping some elements the same to promote familiarity and mastery.
Code Snippets can be found below.
The Hero Soul:
I am often asked why my game is named Hero Soul, so to answer that, the Hero Soul is a power bestowed upon those worthy of becoming heroes. The Hero Soul allows the user to draw upon the knowledge and experiences of heroes from the past.
In context of the game, the Hero Soul is a talent tree system which allows the player to customize their character. This system was designed in a way to allow players to heavily customize their characters into they what they want to do. For example if the player wants to be a warrior that is also adept at using magic, they should be able to using this system. It was this idea that gave birth to the Hero Soul system.
Here's how it works:
Every 5 levels including level 1, players will be able to unlock a talent tier. To do this they will pick from 6 heroic souls. Each heroic soul follows an archetype. For example in the picture above, the Berserker archetype is chosen and a preview of the 1st tier for the Berserker heroic soul can be seen on the left. Now, if you select the Berserker archetype, you will now unlock that heroic soul's tier 1 talents for your player talents as seen in the picture on the left. You will then be able to select what specific talent you want in this tier, in which the Vitality +5 talent is chosen. This process is done for every tier unlock and the archetype can change every tier. Meaning, if you choose the Berserker archetype for your tier 1 talents, you do not need to stay the Berserker archetype for the 2nd tier onward. You can even pick the Mage archetype if you really wanted!
This system was created to supplement the Arcana combat system and was mainly created to promote a sense of player progression as they play the game as well as allowing players to customize their Arcana decks to their own unique play styles. This system also includes a crafting and disenchanting system which allows player to convert raw Arcana, obtained from defeating monsters, into previously discovered Arcana cards.
The system can be seen on the right, and and is heavily inspired by the Hearthstone style of deck building. I based it off the Hearthstone system because of its familiarity with players as well as its ease of use.
Here's how it Works:
To start, players will be given a "starter deck" of Arcana which includes 3 copies each of 5 random cards. As players play the game, they will be able to purchase and discover new Arcana cards. For instance dungeons have a chance to spawn Arcana Fonts (pictured on the left), which allow the player to pick 1 of 3 random cards to add to their collection. Other ways to obtain cards include but are not limited to, quests, vendors, or bosses.
Once a card is discovered, you will also be able to use raw Arcana, dropped from monsters, to craft more copies of that card at any Arcana shop, located in every town. If you do not wish to use the card you will also have the option to disenchant the card converting it into raw Arcana.
Through numerous play tests and contemplation it has come to my attention that the current iteration of the Arcana System has a few problems that I wanted to address. Mainly, it came to my attention that the current system is pretty linear in nature. What I mean is that once you get the card, there really isn't any further progression you can do other than finding a stronger card. So to rectify this, I began work on the Rune Forging system.
Rune forging is fairly straight forward, as you play through dungeons you have a chance of discovering runes that can be used to augment you spell cards. Runes can do simple upgrades such as increase the card's damage but also more complex things such as adding a homing effect to the spell. Hopefully this system will add another layer to customization and variance players can experience while playing.
To the left is an example of what the system will allow. The spell shown has been modified to home in on nearby targets. However this system was designed in way to be robust in supporting multiple effects on spells. In addition to the homing effect, the spell has also been augmented with a splintering effect, in which projectiles will splinter into more projectiles when hitting an enemy. Being able to stack multiple effects and statistic increases for spells will hopefully allow players to feel a sense of progression and also not feel obligated to stop using their favorite spells when introduced to other spells.
Another aim of this system was to promote effect and spell synergy and overall create emergent behavior. There is still much work that needs and much more bug fixing and tweaking that must be done, however as it is right now I am happy with the system.
Meet the Characters:
More Characters to come!