Boss_Contest_zps71ee7cf8
Hi, everybody. The blog has been a bit quiet, but it was all the calm before the storm! This will be the first year that we celebrate RPG Maker Day, on February 15th, and to celebrate our 24th Birthday we will be having loads of events, giveaways, and free stuff!

And to kick it all off we are going to be hosting an awesome game making contest: Encounters of the Boss Kind! This game making contest will be a bit different though in that you will be making the shortest games possible: Just one boss fight. Here are the basic criteria for your entry:

  1. No Scripts
  2. No custom resources. Only use RTP or official resource packs.
  3. The game should have the following structure: Opening Cutscene => Boss Fight => Ending Cutscene
  4. Follow the party outline listed in the next section.

Party Outline

Your party will consist of the following four characters:

Party Member 1: The Hero

The Hero uses a sword. He/She has some magic too. He/She is an all arounder.

  • 1-5 Sword Skills
  • 1 Healing Spell
  • 1 Damage Spell
  • 1 Wild Card Skill (Any Effect)

Party Member 2: The Healer

The Healer can use any weapon you would like. He/She focuses on healing and buff skills. His/Her skills can be set up as follows:

  • 1 Weapon Skill
  • 1-3 Healing Spells
  • 1-3 Buff Spells
  • 1 Wild Card Skill (Any Effect)

Party Member 3: The Mage

The Mage uses a staff, but not well. He/She focuses on attack spells and debuffs. His/Her skills can be set up as follows:

  • No Weapon Skills
  • 1-3 Damage Spells
  • 1-3 Debuff Spells
  • 1-2 Wild Card Skills (Any Effect)

Party Member 4: The Wildcard

This Character is completely undecided. You can make it any kind of character you would like. His/Her skills can be set up as follows:

  • 1-8 Wild Card Skills (Any Effect)

Judging Criteria

Your game will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Storyline/Writing. This will mostly be judged around the Opening and Closing cutscenes, but remember, you can use battle events to insert some lines into the boss fight as well.
  • Boss Fight Strategy. How much thinking does it take us to beat the boss. How much do we have to work skill combos and adapt to make it go down.
  • Fun. Just how much FUN do we have while playing it.

Entering Submissions

YOUR ENTRY MUST BE IN BY THE END OF FEBRUARY 13th, 2014 (GMT-5)

Email your Submission to community@rpgmakerweb.com with the title “Encounters of the Boss Kind”

Prizes

You have the chance to win the following prizes!

  • Grand Prize: A Steam Copy of RPG Maker VX Ace + Any one item from our Forum Store with a cost of $25 or less + 1 Free Year of Member+
  • Second Place: Any one item from our Forum Store with a cost of $25 or less + 3 Free Months of Member+
  • Third Place: Any one item from our Forum Store with a cost of $25 or less.

Any questions? Ask them below in our comments section.

Now, get on making those Boss Fight Games and keep an eye out for more RPG Maker Day announcements!

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Today, we have 3 great new products to share with you.

tyler-warren-rpg-battlers-2nd-50-product

Tyler is back with a brand new batch of battlers. Inspired by classic games like Dragon Quest, this set features 50 new battlers – from creepy fish from the depths of the oceans to trolls and dragons, and more!

Check out some great screenshots right here.

adventurers-journey-2-product

Kairi Sawler has created yet another fantastic adventure pack. This time, she explores a few of the world cultures such as Egypt, Japan and magical lands that exist beyond time.

Check out music samples right here, and don’t forget to download 3 completely free tracks!

Haven’t picked up Kairi’s first album or Tyler’s first 50 battlers yet? They are featured as our Deal of the Week right now.

fantasy-adventure-mini-music-pack-product

Created by Joel Steudler, this musical mini-pack is a fantastic preview of Joel’s impressive composing skills. If you’ve never bought any of Joel’s packs, consider this an affordable way to check out his music. And if you’ve bought one of Joel’s packs, then you know that you’ll be getting a quality set with the perfect fantasy feel.

Click here for samples and more information.

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No royal children to save, no dark lords running amuck. The bandits are all in prison, the dragons all resting peacefully on their mountains. Our heroes find themselves with a day to themselves…

dayoff1

Yes, Ralph. We checked.

Anyway, as I was saying. A whole day to themselves, what would our heroes do? And you are here to answer that question in an art contest! Here are the rules:

  1. Your entry may be any form of visual static art.
  2. Your entry must depict one of the RTP characters from XP, VX, or VX Ace on their day off from adventuring.
  3. You must email your entry to community@rpgmakerweb.com with the subject line of “RM Heroes’ Day Off” by February 8th, 2014.

That’s it. No more rules. All entries will be put up on Facebook for a vote. The winner will receive a prize!

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A lot has been said about the creativity of Indie Games vs big budget games, and I think that being mostly hobbiests with a spattering of commercial indie devs, we need to really be taking advantage of that advantage we have.

One of the biggest advantages to creativity I think in RPG Maker, and one that is used regularly in the Indie environment as a whole is the concept of a Living Game. I’m making this definition up myself, but I’m taking the terminology from something that already exists: Living Documents.

The Quintessential Living Game

The Quintessential Living Game

Here is the thing, though it is more feasible than it used to be because of downloadable updates and such, but for the most part, once they ship the game, a big box commercial game (especially console games) are pretty much what they are going to be and can’t be changed. You have your internal playtesting, and your focus groups, but for the most part you have an educated guess on how the game as a whole will perform in the wild. Now, if you have GOOD QA it will be a pretty good educated guess. Don’t take this as a bash against QA guys, because I know a couple and they are really awesome people and know their job.

Living games on the other hand, get out in the wild and aren’t necessarily in their end state. A lot of indie games do this, and RPG Maker games almost always do this. You can release an early demo and get tons of feedback on what works, and what doesn’t. Even if you release the full game, you can always go back and touch up areas that people have issues with… or even completely rewrite them.

While we of course, probably won’t make a game with the same reach, just think about the whole debacle with the ending of Mass Effect 3 for instance, or the outsourced boss fights from Deux Ex: Human Revolution. Now, both of these got changed to varying levels later, but it wasn’t as easy as a living game. Mass Effect 3 had an ending DLC added, with varying levels of success among fans.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the other hand released an entire new version of the game with the director’s cut to fix their mistake. I rebought the game myself, its a brilliant game and the director’s cut fixed most of the issues, but in reality I’m still kind of peeved at the approach. That to get the game really how I think it should have been to begin with I had to completely rebuy it.

RPG Maker games don’t have to deal with this. They can be revised as often or as little as you want, you can even tweak something repeatedly and get feedback on it. Take advantage of the way your release medium and RMers expectations work. Incorporate the fans into the polishing of your work.

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You hear it all the time from modern gamers, “C’mon, its just clicking in menus, that isn’t REAL gameplay.”

And I'm pretty sure we can all admit that technology has improved a bit in the last 30 years or so.

And I’m pretty sure we can all admit that technology has improved a bit in the last 30 years or so.

The next argument you always hear is that turn based gameplay was a product of the technology. That had they had the ability to make every game real time that they would have.

So the Question becomes: Does Turn Based Gameplay still have a place in modern design? Or is it a relic of the past that should stay dead?

The Technology Argument

As much as some people might not want to admit it, one of reasons that a lot of early video games were turn based, was the technology. The technology exists to go beyond that now; real time is easily achievable. This reason really doesn’t apply very much anymore, though for an RPG Maker developer, I would say turn based is still a simpler frame to use. But what an RPG Maker Developer can do doesn’t justify Turn Based Games in the larger world, so if this as the only reason for turn based games to exist, I would say that no, they shouldn’t. But why should they exist?

Gameplay

I think for my next point, I’ll have to try and define a word, one that seems relatively simple, but is used in so many different contexts.

Yes, the Text Speed changes things in game, but its not exactly challenging anything, so it isn't GAMEPLAY.

Not Testing a Skill = Not Gameplay

Gameplay to me is about two major things. The first is that the player should be an active participant. If he’s just watching words go by, he’s passively encountering the game. He has to be doing something that changes how things happen on the screen. The second is that it has to challenge a skill. If he is just changing the volume in the menus, that isn’t exactly gameplay.

Most games challenge your reflexes and hand/eye coordination: Shooters, Platfomers, Action Adventure games, etc. They also challenge your ability to make QUICK decisions. The decisions may or may not be deep, but they challenge you to do them very fast.

Turn Based Games, with RPGs and Strategy games most often falling into Turn Based, challenge a different set of skills. There are two main skills they challenge, and most Turn Based Games will challenge one or both of them.

turnbased2The first is planning. Think about any of the turn based empire building games out there. You have to plan out your technology trees, you have to plan out your distribution of forces.

There are even some games that utilize this part Turn Based, while doing other parts in real time, such as Creative Assembly’s Total War series.

The second is more immediate analysis. Think of the middle of combat decisions you make. Most of analysis will play out in your head right here: If I do this, then he can do this, and then I can do this. You also sometimes have to decide when something is worth the risk or sacrifice or not. This is very much the skill that makes good chess players good.

turnbased3

I would say that, to me, this justifies Turn Based games on its own. Variety is the spice of life after all, and some people get more enjoyment out of different skills being challenged. Someone with poor reflexes, or who makes decisions slowly can still enjoy a turn based game, while someone who does his best thinking on the fly might prefer something faster paced. Neither of them are really wrong.

Where Turn Based Goes Wrong

The thing is, not every challenge to turn based game is actually false. There are a lot of turn based games that fail to have real gameplay due to not taking into consideration the gameplay aspect.

turnbased5

Think of any game where you can just hit attack over and over all the way to the end. There is no challenging of your skills to be had there. Now, that doesn’t mean the game is without skill at all. If you had to have done a good deal of planning and preparation to get yourself to that level of ease in the actual combats you still were challenged at some point.

The big thing is, to always remember: the Player should be an active participant, and the player should be utilizing a skill.

What do you think? Do you think that Turn Based games are still relevant? Should real time take over entirely? Tell us about it in the comments below!

BONUS CHALLENGE
The first person who can name every game from the images in this article, either in the comments here, or as a comment on the Facebook link will receive $10 USD in forum store credit.
WINNER: HESUFO

11 comments

During a recent conversation, I was confronted with a declaration of the “ideal” party size in games. More specifically, the person was talking about the ideal active party size, but you know, its very easy to pop that discussion out to talk about party size as a whole. What is a good size for the number of party members to choose from?

Ok, I think I've finished. OH WAIT, I HAVE AN IDEA FOR ONE MORE!

Ok, I think I’ve finished. OH WAIT, I HAVE AN IDEA FOR ONE MORE!

The Simple Answer

Well the simple answer is this: Well… it depends.

Which yes, I know, this is a cop out, but its actually the truth of most parts of your game. What is good will depend. So instead of trying to identify the correct numbers, what we should do instead is examine how trends in numbers affect the way you make the game.

In the complex answer, we’ll look at how story decisions and gameplay decisions affect the ideal party size. Remember that overall these are just suggestions. Things can actually work even outside of my suggestions, but always try to think: What am I doing to mitigate the issues here?

Story

When designing your game, you can go either direction, from story to gameplay, or gameplay to story. Just make sure they both inform the other. I’m going to talk about the story implications first, but it really has nothing to do with the importance. Inevitably, you will find yourself making choices based on a combination of both and how they interact with one another.

With your story, you generally have three choices based on how many of the characters are important to the story.

  1. Main Character
  2. Core Cast
  3. Ensemble

Main Character
PartySize2With a main character storyline, in general the story revolves around your player avatar, and the other characters exist to support his story.

This is used in a lot of games, and is very versatile in your party size. Because the background and development of the main character is really the only thing that matters that much, you can go with a small cast, or you can go with a giant cast of fairly static characters to support him.

Core Cast
PartySize3With a core cast storyline, your story revolves around a small group of important characters, and generally their storylines interplay with each other. Each one of them needs time to get character development, and you tend to want to have them around during most of the game. Games with Core cast storylines work best when your active party and your total party numbers are very near to the same number.

Unlike with the Main Character build, where extra characters can be added without really feeling odd, because you have a core cast that all has strong character lines, adding a static character feels out of place.

Ensemble
PartySize4Ensemble games tend to have a lot of different characters with a bit of character development each. Their arcs may or may not be tied directly together, which differentiates a bit from the Core Cast type games. Generally, an ensemble game will have a medium sized cast. You don’t want to go with so many characters that you can’t give each their own character arc, and if you go with too few, it starts to just feel like a Core Cast game without any interaction between the arcs.

As I said earlier, you CAN play with this a bit, and there really are a lot of other types if you get nitpicky about it. These are just general guidelines, not set in stone laws. But always keep in mind, if I have this kind of story, and I’m going with a suggested cast size that isn’t suggested, what am I doing differently that makes it work?

Gameplay

With gameplay, I’m mostly going to stick to the concept of a standard JRPG. The reason for this is that the assumptions drastically change in other styles, such as Action RPGs, which generally support all the way down to just one playable character, and Strategy RPGs that can at times support even an active party in the double digits.

In my opinion, the main gameplay concern that you should have with a large cast of characters is customization. As I talked about before, there are different steps you can take to customize characters, but I didn’t talk about what I’ll talk about here: customizing your party.

The main thing that I think is important is to have the game feel unique for different players and playthroughs depending on how the team is built.

There is a general axis on which you can create this customization. I’ll talk about each extreme, but remember, it is a spectrum, not a binary choice.

Lots of Characters, Low Customization
PartySize5On one end of the spectrum, you can have tons and tons of characters, but very few customization options for each character.

WIth this, the players party customization is created by picking WHICH characters to use. Characters can also be pretty similar in their role and abilitiies, as long as there is at least some differentiation between the two. Because each character doesn’t have a lot of options for customization, there isn’t a chance that the two characters will start to behave identically.

Few Characters, Lots of Customization
PartySize6On the other end, we have very few characters, usually the same as the active party size, but each individual character can be customized strongly.

With this, instead of finding the right party composition for party customization, the player turns each individual character into the right cog for their machine.

And Everything In Between
You can mix it between the two. Finding the right balance for your game, for the storyline you are trying to create, is important.

Always, always remember that your gameplay and your story should work together. Don’t make a game with tons and tons of characters, but you only focus on the core cast for instance. Unless you can make it work! But always know why it works. Have a reason. Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing.

How many playable characters are in your game? How does it reflect the story? How does it impact the gameplay decisions you make? Join the conversation below!

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One thing I’ve noticed a lot of RPG fans enjoy (and I myself enjoy a lot) is character customization. Allowing players to grow their characters in the way they choose allows them to make their own path and strategies, rather than feeling as though its dictated by the game. But with this customization lies a potential problem. If you let each character learn almost anything, they all start to behave the same mechanically!

Even with customization, your characters should probably feel different. So today, I’m going to explore 2 games that use customization, while retaining strong character uniqueness, to give you some inspiration on how to approach doing the same.

Game 1: Final Fantasy VI
Method: Powerful Unique Skillsets

Edgar shows off one of his tools, while Locke prepares to steal something.

Edgar shows off one of his tools, while Locke prepares to steal something.

Final Fantasy VI had a pretty strong customization system with Espers. Each Esper allowed you to master different spells and also affected your stat growth. This let you change your characters enough that they could all do a bit of everything, though strong stat bases could kept certain things more viable than others.

What Final Fantasy VI did right which kept the characters really unique was supply each character with a unique skillset that differentiates them from everyone else. There are several keys to why this worked:

  • Each Skillset played differently. Sabin’s Blitz worked differently than Cyan’s Sword Tech worked differently than Gau’s Rages.
  • Skillsets that didn’t have a unique gameplay mechanic did something that couldn’t be repliicated, such as Locke’s Steal skill.
  • The Skillsets are powerful enough to be regularly used, making sure that they don’t become a cosmetic, but ultimately useless difference between characters.

Because of the Unique skillsets, I would never feel like the party was the same with Locke, Celeste, and Terra as it was with Sabin, Edgar, and Cyan, no matter how I used Espers to level them up.

Game 2: Dragon Quest VIII
Method: Each Character Gets Different Customization Options

Jessica uses one of her Whip skills.

Jessica uses one of her Whip skills.

Dragon Quest VIII introduced a skill system to the Dragon Quest series. Each character gets skill points as they level, and you can allocate them however you want to give them more special abilities.

This seems pretty par for the course for basic customization, but what makes the characters unique is that the set of skills they can put points into is different for each character. Now there is some overlap, for instance each character has the Fisticuffs skill, Angelo shares swords with the Hero and staffs with Jessica, but each character has a unique nonweapon skill, and each of them have at least 1 unique weapon skill.

On top of this, Dragon Quest VIII retains fixed stat growth and spells based on levels, keeping the same type of uniqueness of character that older games in the series had. The skill points really allow characters to SPECIALIZE rather than being their entire character. While a sword Angelo and a bow Angelo might play differently, they still have more in common than sword Hero has with sword Angelo due to their stats and spells derived from their base class.

Conclusion

To keep classes unique, customization either has to add on to what they have by default, such as in Dragon Quest VIII, or you have to add on something that adds on top of customization such as in Final Fantasy VI. The customization section should almost never be where the majority of a character comes from, unless that customization system is segregated with each character to keep the characters from feeling samey.

Do you have any other methods of keeping characters from becoming bland mechanically? Any other games that you think handle customization in a good way that retains character uniqueness? Join us in the comments section below!

 

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This is going to be a short post, but hopefully an important one. I’m sure there are a good many of you in our audience who sat around every day in high school history wondering: “Man… why do I got to learn all this stuff, its just a bunch of boring dates and facts about things that happened hundreds of years ago!”

Of course, you might have been sort of right, depending on the quality of your history teacher (though its not so much fact as best guess consensus, but we’ll let that one slide). But here is the thing: History is a goldmine for storytelling.

Not just to set something in an actual historical setting, but you can pull historical cause and effect straight into your own settings. Think about the parallels between say, the War of the Roses and Final Fantasy Tactics (or A Song of Ice and Fire if you are a fan of that).

Change these to Lions and boom, its Final Fantasy Tactics

Change these to Lions and boom, its Final Fantasy Tactics

History is an endless supply of situations to pull from, and they are all at your fingertips, especially with access to the internet (which I assume you have, and if you don’t… HOW ARE YOU READING THIS!?). We have tons of resources, from Wikipedia to a certain internet celebrity’s youtube series on World and US History (Seriously, if you haven’t watched John Green’s Crash Course History serieses, you should, they are truly amusing and enlightening).

I mean, I can just grab a random video from his and use it to think of a game concept:

Natives dealing with a foe with technologically superior weapons while suffering from mass disease (Conquistadors)

Reeling from a previous war, a nation establishes new allies, while breaking old in an attempt to regain land they had lost, igniting the rivalry between other nations, and throwing nearly the entire world into global combat (The Seven Years’ War).

With the royalty deposed, a new regime takes over a nation, imposing bloody deaths to any suspected of not following their banner (The French Revolution).

Have you been inspired by anything from history? One of the wars, or maybe the black death! Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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So last Friday, I was able to get our art diretor Lunarea (pronounced: Loo-nah-ray-ah, which is something I learned during the chat) into a live chat with the fans to answer any questions people could think of for her! You can download the entire log here, or read below to catch some of the highlights (including one question I got to answer as well):

Redweaver_420: Have you guys considered making things to flesh out the RTP, like emo sets or face pics for all the pallete-swapped people 5&6 etc.?

Lunarea: We strive to give a lot of content that can be used with the RTP, but we also try not to repeat too much of what the community’s already done. There’s a lot of RTP add-ons like the emotion facesets or recolors, so we try to focus on giving you other kinds of original content. Archeia has a personal blog that has a ton of portraits and faces with emotions that’s based on the RTP, too.

Koneko: What do you use to do your artwork in and how long does making something take from idea to imported for you?

Lunarea: I do all of my work in Photoshop CS6 and the packs take quite a long time. The Zombie pack (which is my latest pack) took a little over 500 hours of work. But the amount of work it takes really depends on the content, the style and the theme. It’s never a quick process, though.

HypnoNate: Which resource pack, if you had to choose one, is your favourite?

Lunarea: That’s a tough question! If it’s just my own packs, Arabian Nights is my favorite. If it’s all packs … I think I would probably go with the DS pack. It’s very cute.

Indie Game Judge: So what future themes are you looking into making packs for?

Lunarea: We’ve got quite a few packs in progress at the moment: farm/sim modern, wild west, dungeons, royal/noble, detective/noir, dark fantasy, and a few that have to stay a secret a bit longer.

Redweaver_420: Outside of RPG Maker games…what are your top three “desert island” games?  Feel free to give us your answer, too, Nick!

Lunarea: Do MMO’s count? I pick WoW, Torchlight and Starcraft 2.

Nick Palmer: Desert Island… Nier, even though it doesn’t have the replayability I think its one of the best games ever made. Dragon Quest IX (I can play this forever), and uh… Some other time sink game. Maybe one of the GTAs, haven’t played 5 yet but I hear it can be played forever.

WandererGalv(NOFAPcrew): oh… how long does making new auto-tiles take for you…? =\  seems pretty tedious indeed…

Lunarea: Depending on the detail, most of the auto-tiles take at least an hour. I’ve had some auto-tiles take several hours, with the longest one being a water tile that took 5 hours. Water is especially difficult because it’s supposed to animate fluidly, but you only still get 3 frames and it’s a big challenge to make fluidity happen in 3 frames.

GaryCXJk: Seriously, I always wonder how graphic makers could keep their sanity. (on the subject of autotiles).

Lunarea: With lots of fellow artist support and a kind word here and there from people using the art.

*After money was mentioned in relation to the question*: Lunarea: Money mostly makes it possible to keep working on content without having to get a second (or 3rd) job. It’s a great bonus, but not really the reason most of us are making art.

End Q&A

We both had a ton of fun doing this for you guys, and hopefully if you wanted to join in you made it. We plan to do something else like this in the future, but we want to hear from you the fans first! Who do you want to see put in the Live Q&A box? Another one of our employees, one of the people who have made resource packs for us? Or maybe even a prominent game maker from the community! Who should I be targeting to line up for the next Q&A. You tell us in the comments section below.

 

 

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Someone, though it is argued exactly who, once said, that stealing from one person is plagiarism, while stealing from many is research, and though we should strive to do better than steal, it is true that as designers, we are indeed dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants.

Just as Sakaguchi stood on the shoulders of Horii, or Horii stood on the shoulders of Greenberg and Woodhead, or they in turn stood on the shoulders of Arneson and Gygax, we too stand atop a plethora of designers who came before us.

For those of you following along at home (and yes, I know there are tons of intermediate steps and other inspirations)

For those of you following along at home (and yes, I know there are tons of intermediate steps and other inspirations)

So its easy to see something in a game and immediately think “Wow, I want to do that!” But where do we cross the line from paying our respects to their brilliance, to outright theft of their ideas.

And with that drawn out intro, I lead you into the topic of this article: Taking inspiration from a mechanic in a game, but making it something of your own, rather than just a pale copy.

Step 1: Knowing Why?

The first thing you should be aware of is WHY. Why are you taking a mechanic from another game. And try not to answer with “because that is the way its done.”

Let’s say that I really really love the Materia system from Final Fantasy VII and want to use it in my upcoming game: The Village of Cakes.

Giants2

So now the question: Why? Let’s take a look at the mechanic and I’ll list what I liked about it:

  • Strong Customization
  • No “Messing Up” with bad builds
  • Can craft unique skillsets for characters
  • Can alter spells and abilities with modifiers

With this knowledge in hand, we know what to try to replicate at when we design our own system.

Step 2: Identifying What You DIDN’T Like

Next, try to think about what parts of the mechanic you didn’t like. I’ll do a list again for the Materia system:

  • Every character could feel “samey”, as all Materia could be used on any character
  • Link system required tons of slots to pull off mediocre combos with regular spells
  • Summon Materia tended to give too much “bang for your buck”, even with limited castings per combat

Now that we know what we DIDN’T like, we know what to try to avoid when making the mechanic our own.

Step 3: Rebuilding

So let’s take the mechanic, and rebuild it, keep the parts we like, but toss the parts we don’t. In the end, the mechanic will still probably resemble the mechanic that inspired it, but it won’t be identical.

So we start with the base system. Equipping cool magic stones to weapons and armor to give us spells and abilities. But first, let’s see if we can deal with some of the problems we had. What if certain magic stones took up more than one slot? This would solve the problem of Summon Materia and the bang for the buck problem.

But let’s take it further! What if different stones took up different amounts of slots depending on WHICH character was equipping it. Maybe the healer type can equip healing magic for less, your strong man can equip big physical swipes for less. You can still pop a weak healing spell on your big guy for an emergency, so it keeps a lot of the customization, but the characters have more individuality.

And now that we have multiple slots for one piece, we’ll need to change from links of 2 slots, to clusters of slots. Now a weak spell can have tons of modifying pieces attached to it, and as a side benefit strong spells can have LESS. So what is better, that HP/MP absorbing doublecasted Fireball, or that MP absorbing Raging Inferno!?

Step 4: Reskinning

Now that you’ve rebuilt the mechanics, you need to reskin them. Keeping the same skin can work sometimes, but really, with things as specific as Materia for instance, it feels very very derivative. So think about how you can make it fit into your world aesthetically that will also change how the mechanic is viewed by the player. The Skin is important for feel.

With my Materia inspired system, I think I’ll go with Runes. I’ve always thought Runic magic was a cool idea, and the idea of mystic runes being scrawled on the weapons and armor of the heroes to be called forth to execute special moves and attacks is a great visual.

Giants3

When reskinning, keep your game world in mind. Think about how the mechanic will integrate with the story you are telling. Why does X mechanic work in Y way?

Conclusion

So as you can see, even though when I say that it was inspired by the Materia system its obvious, would you really see scrawling runes on your equipment with variable size based on character with possible modifiers based on the area available for scrawling and think: Man what a ripoff. Would you have even recognized it had I not said where the idea came from?

Don’t rip things off. Examine, adapt, create, and make it your own. Your mechanic should play and feel different. And never, ever forget the giants whose shoulders you are standing on.

Have a mechanic that is inspired from another game? Want to see if people can identify where its from just from a description? Just want to tell us your thoughts on design inspiration? Join us in the comments section below.

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