It has been a long time since the last update. I have been having some issues with the game design, but I finally worked them out.
The original design was way too complex. Not just from creation perspective, but also from the player’s. Trying to explain the mechanics would have required a dozen page help system. I liked the character creation system, but felt it was too limiting for a single character game. The idea of being locked into a set of skills before you get to play the game doesn’t seem fun. If you didn’t enjoy that style of character or found it lacking in an area you would have no choice but to reroll.
I have settled on a skill tree system consisting of four trees:
Combat – Skills involving weapons and armor
Black Magic – Spells that negatively affect enemies. Examples: Fireball, Sleep, Poison Cloud
White Magic – Spells that positively affect the player. Examples: Heal, Shielding, Strengthen
Grey Magic – Spells that manipulate matter or reveal what is hidden. Examples: Detect Monsters, Create Food, Enchant Armor
A skill tree system will allow the player to change focus while leveling if something is not working and will allow for large variety of player builds. At maximum level the player will have enough points to max out two of the trees. At normal end game level the player will have most likely have one and half of the skill trees maxed out.
To plan out the trees I printed out all the skills and cut them out into individual rectangles. I found being able to move them around on a table allowed me easily play around with them until I got the layout to something that felt right. It is weird but doing this seemed like a breakthrough. Looking at all the skills in a spreadsheet is overwhelming, but having physical objects I could move around made it manageable.
Simplifying the skills system will hopefully allow me to complete the game in time for the Microsoft Dream.Build.Play contest which has a submission deadline of June 15th.