9 Dec 2013

Khemeia

So, in between various assignments and things, I've been working on another of my game ideas. This game, titled Khemeia, is chiefly inspired by the alchemy in Fullmetal Alchemist.

The idea of the game is team-based first-person combat, similar to Battlefield (with a 'commander' Archmage on each team). However, unlike games like Battlefield and CoD, which claim tactical and strategic play but often devolve into endless rushes, Khemeia enforces tactical and strategic play through the players' sole method of attack, a kind of magic called 'Forms'.

Forms are comprised of 2 main components, the Bounding Shape and the Invocation.

Bounding Shapes are regular polygons with between 3 and 9 sides. Each Form requires a particular Bounding Shape and more complex or powerful forms generally require more sides in their Bounding Shape. To create a Bounding Shape, a player must place energy 'nodes' in the world at the corners of the Shape they want to create. Players must, however, be careful to make the Bounding Shape accurate, as wonky Forms will have very high resistance, quickly shedding their energy and dispersing.

Invocations are sequences of words or characters (I'm unsure of the exact UI-side implementation at the moment) unique to each Form, basically analogous to spells. Invocations are used to convert inactive Bounding Shapes into activated Forms, which then create various effects within the area of the Bounding Shape dependent on the Invocation used. When a Form is activated with an Invocation, it adds a number of Invocation Nodes, which draw energy from the Bounding Nodes and use this energy to produce the required effect.

The complete structure of the Beacon Form, with nodes highlighted.
The green circles represent the Bounding Nodes, which must be created manually in the world by a player. Bounding Nodes are able to transfer energy between themselves through the orange Bounding Shape (with the exception of the outer circle, which is purely aesthetic). When a Bounding Node runs out of energy, the Form 'breaks', destroying the Form and releasing all energy contains in its nodes in a destructive blast.

The blue and red circles represent the Invocation Nodes, nodes added when a player activates the Form with an Invocation. The blue Invocation Nodes are intermediary nodes that transfer energy from the Bounding Nodes to the red Invocation Nodes through the purple Invocation Shape. Red Invocation Nodes use the Form's energy to create the corresponding effect. They rely on the blue Invocation Nodes to supply them with energy from the Bounding Nodes.

This simulated system provides a number of interesting mechanics:

  • Forms only affect the area within their Bounding Shape. This necessitates ambushing or flanking the opposing team's players in order to defeat them. This mechanic in particular enforces tactical and strategic team play, as simply rushing in would be completely ineffective. Your opponent isn't going to be kind enough to walk into the form you've just created in front of you.
  • Forms have a limited amount of power, thus a limited lifespan if not resupplied with energy. Larger or more powerful Forms may require constant charging by one or multiple players to sustain, requiring communication, planning and teamwork to accomplish.
  • Creation of larger Forms must be coordinated in order to minimise resistance. Large Forms with high resistance will be almost impossible to sustain.
  • Forms can be left as 'dormant' Bounding Shapes, using almost no energy whatsoever, until the point they need to be activated. Inactive forms are difficult to find, so they are very useful for setting up traps and ambushes. However, Forms are not locked to the team that created it. If an opponent discovers a dormant Bounding Shape, they can use an Invocation to activate it prematurely and destroy your carefully-crafted trap.
  • In addition to hijacking inactive Forms, the opposing team can also attempt to drain the energy from a single Bounding Node. If the node is drained of all its energy, the Form will break and explosively release all the energy contained in its remaining nodes. Large or badly-created forms are particularly susceptible because their high resistance slows the passive energy transfer that opposes the draining attack. This can also happen without enemy intervention if a Form draws energy from a Bounding Node faster than it can redistribute the energy from its other Bounding Nodes.
That's all the information that comes to mind at the moment. I'm certain there is more I have forgotten and I will probably add to this later. To finish, I will include a few Form designs I have created for testing the energy and Invocation system, heavily inspired by the visual style of Fullmetal Alchemist and real-life alchemical symbols.

Top-Left: Beacon, equivalent of a flare used to signal to other players
Top-Right: Azoth, named after the alchemical medicine, used to heal players
Bottom-Left: Thunderstorm (temp name), calls down lightning in the area of effect
Bottom-Right: Calcination, named after the alchemical procedure, burns everything in the area
Centre: Soul Thresher, captures the soul of everyone who dies in the area. Souls are used for advanced magic.

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