One Step At a Time

As previews go, this won’t be much, but I wanted to show at least *some* kind of progress. :D

Up to this point, I’ve been working on the base system for generating random Brands. Happily, that system is now working enough where I can show you some of the Brands it is generating.

I should stress: I have only made a VERY limited number of possible boons, banes, conditions, and requirements up to this point. It’s generally a bad idea to go making a lot of content for a system until the system’s complete and has been tested: otherwise, you risk finding out you need to change something about how you made your content, and now you have a ton of content to redo instead of a little.

Also: No numbers are shown on these because Brands, like characters, have levels: the actual numerical values would be based on the level (and, in the case of the Boons, how many and which Banes, Requirements, and Conditions were present, since each of these strengthens Boons.)

But, even with only that very limited number, you can start to see some at least slightly interesting results. :D

TestBrands1

This first set has four brands, from top to bottom:

1st: Requires Agility, then boosts Agility and Magic if the requirement is met.
2nd: Just raises Agility and Magic straight up. Notably, the bonuses would be less than the 1st since there’s no Agility requirement.
3rd: Only a Magic boost here. It would be more of a Magic boost than the 2nd however, since it isn’t also boosting Agility.
4th: Only an Agility Boost. Like the 3rd, it’d be a better boost than the 2nd since it’s just the one stat.

TestBrands2

Four in this set (the fifth is incomplete in this screenshot) too:

1st: Requires Magic, but boosts Agility and Vitality. Good defensive boost for your magic users. :D
2nd: Simple increase to Vitality and Magic.
3rd: Simple increase to Agility and Magic.
4th: Simple increase to Strength and Agility. It’s worth noting that Banes, Conditions, and Restrictions are, at least currently, somewhat rarer than Boons, but that could very easily change before release.

TestBrands3

Last set of 3 (ignore the topmost one, it was in the 2nd set), and it’s here the RNG decided to make things a bit more interesting. :)

1st: Increases Strength and Vitality, but decreases Cunning. Could be a good defensive or melee boost for any character not planning to use status effects.
2nd: Now we have a tricky one: Requires Strength, and only functions when HP = MaxHP, but increases Strength and Magic. The bonuses to Strength and Magic granted however, would be considerable due to the present of both a requirement and a condition. A little unfortunate it is Strength + Magic as the bonus pair, since that usually requires melee to take full advantage of, an obvious problem with HP = MaxHP as a condition… but the size of the bonuses might be worth trying to find a way to make it work.
3rd: Another tricky one: When HP = MaxHP, it raises Agility and Cunning while decreasing Strength. As with the 2nd Brand, the bonuses will be considerable since both a bane and dondition are present. Seems ideal for a character who uses ranged attacks to inflict status conditions and isn’t quite as concerned with the damage.

I should stress again: this is nowhere near the complete set of modifiers I plan on supporting in the release, just a test set that is enough to run the system through its first paces with. :) That said, I think even with this incredibly limited set there are some interesting results coming up. :) I can’t wait to see what sort of things pop out once I’m further along. :D

Next Up: Soul Brands

The next feature I’ll be working on is Soul Brands!

I’ve written about them briefly here and there, but I’ve rarely gone into any detail before, so allow me to give a brief explanation here.

But first, the usual disclaimer: This all reflects current planning of a feature VERY EARLY in development. :P Plenty of this could still change, but it can still be regarded as a good first draft of where things are headed. :)

With that out of the way, here’s what I’m thinking so far:

  • Soul Brands function as “equipment” for summoners and demons.
  • Characters can have one Brand equipped at a time.
  • A summoner’s relic can store a small number of Brands at a time. Credits can be spent to copy a Brand onto a character: this consumes only the credits, not the Brand. Thus, a single Brand can be copied to any number of characters.
  • Players will probably find roughly one to two new Brands per dungeon floor on average.
  • If you later discard a stored Brand (to make room for a new one), this does not remove that Brand from any character(s) it was copied to.
  • Enemy summoners will of course utilize Brands as well. Like a player can, they may have Brands equipped to demons that they no longer have stored in their Relic, reflecting the total selection they have found in their careers.
  • Even demons not affiliated with summoners may have Brands. The chance of this increases as you advance up the Tower, eventually becoming almost certain. However, non-affiliated demons on a given floor will only be able to choose from a very limited number of Brands (possibly only a single one.)
  • Of course, Relic Wraiths and their demons will also use the Brands they had found before the unfortunate summoner’s first death.

So, what does a Brand do, and how do they work? Brands are made up of up to five components:

  • Level: The level of a Brand determines the size of the bonuses, penalties, and requirements it has. Brands you find in the dungeon will usually have a level roughly matching the character levels of the demons found on the floor in question.
  • Boon: Boons are the reason you want to equip a Brand in the first place. Boons are bonuses of some kind, the intensity of which is usually based on the level of the Brand.
  • Bane: Banes are penalties of some kind… but their presence on a Brand increases the bonuses provided by Boons.
  • When: Whens are a short-term condition that must be met for a Brand’s Boons and Banes to be in effect; generally these are conditions that you may or may not meet from turn to turn. For example, “HP <= 50%”, or “Last ability was a movement ability.” Whens also increase the bonuses provided by Boons.
  • If: Ifs are a long-term condition that must be met for a Brand’s Boons and Banes to be in effect; generally these are conditions that check things that are hard or impossible to change, restricting who can use the Brand. For example, “Weak To Fire”, “Base Strength > 50″, “Must be Unique”, etc. Ifs also increase the bonuses provided by Boon.
  • Every Brand has at least a Level (of course) and one Boon. The other components are optional.
  • Brands are procedurally generated using lists of Boons, Banes, Whens, and Ifs.
  • I will probably rename Whens and Ifs. :P

That’s it for now. :) As I said above, this is pretty early in development, so it may be a bit before the first screenshots or more details are ready. Cheers!

11/26: Back In The Saddle

New build released! Links to the right have been updated!

Can’t promise this build is anything too exciting: mostly just bug fixes, largely related to Demon Preservation. :P But, I wanted to get them out of the way before starting on the next, more interesting build. :)

Enjoy, and good luck in the Tower!

Tiny Update

Hey. :D I hope everyone’s enjoying the 11/9 build. The next build will probably be a bug fix / polish build: the list has gotten a bit long again so it’s time to knock it back down to keep things running smoothly. :)

And after that? :) I haven’t decided yet, but I’ll let you know once I do. :D

Until then, good luck in the Tower. :)

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11/9: New Beginnings

The newest build Demon is released! Links on the right have been updated!

This build contains three major new features / changes:

* Demon Preservation: Relics now work to preserve the life of their summoners’ demons just as they work to preserve the life of their summoner. But no gain is without loss: Restore Demon is no more! Should a demon die despite the efforts of your Relic, only the Relic Upgrade Revive Demon offers hope of seeing your fallen comrade again…

DemonPreservation3

* Revamped Character Creation: Character creation has been significantly changed: in addition to being more streamlined, the overall power of starting characters has been significantly reduced, to make early game choices much more interesting and meaningful.

ANewStart

* Reduced Restrictions: Two major restrictions have been removed. It is now possible to have multiple of the same demon (without using Fuse Demon), and it is now possible for both summoners and demons to have no Weaknesses (via Soul Armor and Fuse Demons, respectively.) However, the inherent instability of a physical form with no Weaknesses causes a notable reduction in MaxHP… perhaps such perfection is best left to those with the Vitality to handle the strain.

NoWeaknessesHuh

Other small changes and bug fixes have been included as well: you can read all about it in the change logs included with the builds, as always.

Good luck in the Tower!

New Beginnings and a New Friend

Another thing getting revamped in the next Demon build is character creation. :D

First, the “bad” news: as I have long promised (threatened? :P ) I am finally somewhat reducing the overall power level of starting abilities. Too many starting abilities were of a caliber that you really didn’t need anything else for quite some time (hello, Frost Ring, among others), or often gave such early access to powerful mechanics that the Tower finally getting around to revealing them 10 floors in wasn’t all that impressive (hello, Alluring Gaze, among others.) These factors combined to make the early game relatively dull for experienced players.

So… now you get one starting ability, not three, and the selection, while still hopefully interesting, is definitely less powerful overall:

ANewStart

I’ve tried to choose each ability to be somewhat representative of its element and distinct in at least one way from the other options. :) Obviously with only one element trying to stand in for elements that have dozens of abilities, the representation part won’t be perfect. I also tried to make sure none of them are “traps”: combined with your new starting ally (more on that in just a moment), all of these should be capable of helping you recruit a minimal party on the first two floors and get you rolling properly.

At this point, someone is probably about to ask “Which Relic is that list for?”: actually, it’s for all of them. Relic no longer determines anything but appearance and initial Relic Upgrades. Your ability choice determines your resistances (which are always one resistance and one weakness, now.)

What about stats? Well… nothing determines your starting stats: these always begin at 10/10/10/10/10 regardless of your choice: having to earn large bonus modifiers from stats is probably more meaningful than being given them upfront and just maintaining them. :P It also gives you the flexibility to choose your own stat build without being stuck with my assumptions about what someone would want to prioritize based on their Relic/ability choices. (Note: In the Upgrade revamp, coming later, I will probably add a relatively cheap Upgrade that lets you swap your stats around, for those folks who are grumpy about having to have 10 in stats that they feel are completely unnecessary for their plans… or for those who want to change their build later, for that matter.)

Now, about that new friend…

NewBestFriend1

Meet the Homunculus. You only get one, so treat him well! You always get him though: you can no longer choose a starting ally, this is the one everyone gets. However, he has been designed to be of use to pretty much any build: Heavy Blow gives him a decent combat ability that is effective against the vast majority of early enemies. Draw Wounds lets him support melees, or anyone else who needs healing, without distracting him from attacking. Refresh lets him support heavy SP users, aided by the fact neither Heavy Blow or Draw Wounds uses up his SP. Finally, Low Profile lets him helpfully tank for anyone using projectiles without interfering with their attacks. His completely neutral stats make it possible to grow him anyway you want and get at least decent results.

Homunculus has other odd properties: He’s a bit of a semi-Unique. He is not technically Unique, but he has two of the strongest benefits of Uniques: the extra MaxHP and… a unique modifier. :D

NewBestFriend2

NewBestFriend3

The unique modifier in question, Artificial, adds Body and Mind resistance, “evens out” stats, and offers one ability of each element for its ability pool. The abilities offered tend to be generally useful things. Even if they end up not being appropriate for the demon you give the modifier to, it is almost certain someone in your group will appreciate learning them via Copy Ability.

So.. yeah. I won’t deny it: this is a pretty big change to character creation and the early game. It’s definitely less power. Could also say less choices, but I’d argue that one: There’s less up front choices, but I think the high powered starts were removing the need to make many real choices in the early game, so it may be a wash on that front. Another way of putting it: “character creation” now occurs more in what you decide to recruit/learn in the first few floors, rather than before you start playing. My hope is that this is more interesting and fun, both for new players and experienced ones.

That said, I don’t expect this to be universally popular. :P The only other thing I’ll add is a reminder that if this proves to not work out like I’m hoping, I *have* been convinced to undo unpopular things before. Granted, it’s been awhile since the last one (does anyone remember when incompatible demons couldn’t be in the same party? :P ), but I do pay attention and respond if something just plain doesn’t work out.

Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before you can try all of this stuff out yourselves. :) Cheers, and thank you!

Slight Change of Plans

As you can tell from the screenshots showing the removal of restrictions on duplicate demons and having no weaknesses, there’s a lot going on in this next build change wise, to say nothing of the already previously discussed Demon Preservation mechanic and new/changed Relic Upgrades… or for that matter, the barely discussed revamp of character creation.

To that end, I’m putting on hold any major adjustments to healing/damage in this build; I want to see what the results of the rest of the changes are first. :)

Cheers!

PS: There will definitely be a new scoring version with the next build, given how much is changing. :)

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