Wizard's Sword or a quest of game design
Fantasy Simulation:Date of delivery: 6 years
of life and survival in a fantasy setting
Title of setting:
of life and survival in a fantasy setting
Title of setting:
Genre of video game: Simulation in the style of Role-Playing and Adventure Games as well as Real Time Strategies
Genre of plot: High Medieval/Folk Tale
Setting: The world of the Broken Kingdoms
View: 3D Bird's Eye View
Game Framework: 3D open world, painted 3D models with fluid and vivid animations, 2D interface, an advancing time system, light and darkness system, extensive scripting
System requirements: Current/next generation of Personal Computers. Advanced motherboard, graphics card and CPU as well as copious amounts of RAM and space on the hard disk drive
Concept: Wizard's Sword is meant to be an open world simulation for ages 16+ that allows for the type of immersion and freedom never before experienced when playing a video game. It is set in a Folk Tale world with a strong foundation in reality and the Medieval Age. The game is centred around characters and their role in communities. In life it is work that creates communities or societies and allows them to thrive. The simulation is meant to allow to see whole communities in actual gameplay rather than through some form of storytelling or empty animations which is bound to create a vivid experience for the player as all characters will appear real as they go about their artificial lives. Heroics and brigandry will have a great impact on the world as each character's actions have consequences and can, in the end, affect all characters within the video game.
The Player Character is essentially the same as each Non-Playable Character as all characters in the simulation use the same conversation system to talk to each other, have the same set of statistics and skills which represent all the characters might do, use the same type of a journal, equipment sheet and can perform the same array of actions. In the ongoing quest of survival, food and drink as well as equipment and supplies are a driving force in the lives of the characters as they trade, live, sleep, fight, work and travel the world in order to achieve their goals and fulfill their everyday needs and desires.
Realms can rise and fall into ruins based on supply and demand. Increasing supply and demand is equal with a realm's growth as more goods are needed for a bigger population which in turn creates more goods. Therefore, decreasing supply and demand are synonymous with a crumbling realm and the simulation is meant to let the player see this happening through travelling amidst all the societies present within the simulation. If a hamlet is attacked by brigands while no guards are present the town won't be supplied with grain and mercenaries may be dispatched to deal with the brigands. If they fail, the scenario might repeat and the town might become abandoned as people seek better lives. If the mercenaries succeed both the hamlet and the town that depends on the supplies provided by the people from the hamlet will be saved. Hunters might bring back wolf skins to allow their people to craft boots and the event will lead the savages who dwell in the wilderness to roam into different lands in search of leather for armour, fangs and claws for jewelry and meat to sate their hunger as the forests might become bare of fruit and roots through lack of experience in gathering. Eventually the savages might settle for good as they are knowledged enough in all manners of life to build their own stronghold which serves as a town or hamlet.
Wizards rule this world either from towns where they reside or through wandering the world in search of interesting events, ruins to discover or artifacts and scrolls to study in their abodes, towers, on the road or at one inn or another. Magic is the ultimate power granted to mortals by the deities and can be mastered and used only by a chosen few. This power is nearly limitless.
A storyline exists in the simulation and it is meant to take the player on an adventure which will allow to travel five realms covered by wilderness and dotted with hamlets, towns, farms, mines, caverns and strongholds while countless other characters go about their lives living out the same possibilities that are available to the player. The story is meant to showcase the infinite possibilities of the sandbox of the gameplay.
Concept of the plot: Beneath the giant moon that shines upon the continent and the ocean surrounding it throughout day and night, within the Broken Kingdoms, called so by it's people, much is about to change as someone with no particular ties, work nor past to his or her name is about to receive, by the grace of the deities that rule the world, the gift of magic. The pantheon of deities counts twenty one and they all represent parts of human life. A thief, a knight, and so on. The most enigmatic of deities, the wizard, will take a close interest in the Playable Character.
Content: Returning to the concept of the game, the refugees from the hamlet which was attacked offer quests to the mercenaries/town guard as they have the event in their journals. It is based on the database of events within the video game. A script activates after the battle for the hamlet is lost which adds the attack on the hamlet into their journals. The guard or mercenaries accept the quest adding it into their journals and so they wander the countryside looking for the culprits near the hamlet. Similarly a script would activate if the PC stole something from an NPC and the NPC would note and offer the quest to the guard.
Generic quests function as one of the corner stones of Wizard's Sword, as the journal handles quests, the quests appear based on connections to the database of quests which is of course hidden from the player.
The combat works based on a six sided dice system in which hitting a target and damage is represented by dice rolls. Armour acts as a barrier to damage and has it's own durability points as opposed to the percentage of health. The dice number is the first of the 1d6 acronym, in this example it means one six sided dice.
4d6 are rolled to pass action checks including hitting a target. Small one-handed weapons deal 1d6 minus 1 damage, the lowest score being 1, regular 1d6 damage and bastard weapons as well as bows 2d6, two-handed weapons deal 3d6 damage.
Leather armour has 40 points of durability and absorbs 1/4 points of damage loosing durability and in the case of wooden weapons it absorbs 3/4 of the damage from each strike, not loosing durability. Further on is the chainmail, with 90 points of durability which acts as half of a barrier, absorbing 1/2 damage of an attack against the wearer while wooden weapons simply do not affect the durability of the chainmail while causing halved damage. And at last is the plate armour with a 140 durability points which acts as a full barrier and absorbs all damage until destroyed, wooden weapons cannot affect this armour, it hinders dodging. Weapons have a similar range of durability, from leather and wood to plate and two-handed.
Flanking other characters guarantees a more fleshed out combat system where additional points, from 2 up to 8, are granted to the attack check and damage when standing beside another character in order to realise the concept of a battle in which characters surround themselves. This warrants attacking from behind a character as well, commonly known as backstabbing. The advantage becomes bigger the further a character is in degrees from the front of the character starting with 90 and ending at 180 to represent the back with 45 degrees each side to allow for backstabbing. 90 degrees flanking equals 2 additional points to damage and attack check, 135 equals 4 while 180 degrees equals 8. Rushing is using the run ability as in the general experience in Wizard's Sword yet within combat to allow for standing directly beside another character. It can only be done at the end of a 2 metre circle around every character. Upon a succesful rush 3 points are added to the initial attack.
Attacks upon vital sources like the heart or an artery equal another 2d6 of damage if no armour is present and a secondary 4d6 hit check to decide whether the damage happens or whether a non-vital part of the body is damaged. The character performing a vital source attack opens himself up to flanking attacks from all the enemies present who can attack the character. Besides that flanking attacks happen when a character moves past another character even though it is not that characters turn. There is no flanking/backstabbing bonus to a vital source attack check.
Intense swordplay in form of duels, dodging and counterattacking. A duel is a process that starts upon locking swords with another character because of using a skill in appropriate conditions. It involves different combat rules applying to the duels, strength becoming more important than agility as dodging becomes annuled and instead one has to rely on parrying, all characters can escape a duel through stepping backwards upon a succesful counterattack or attempting a roll of four dice in order to escape by stepping back succesfully through dodging which is a skill that hinders the attacks upon a character using dodging by up to 8 points. Counterattacking is performed upon an attack on a character who tries to defend himself in one of the following ways, dodging or parrying. Upon an attack on the character in question a parrying attempt is based on the skill of parrying and a 4d6 roll unless the character has a higher skill in dodging which works just the same as parrying.
Counterattacking is a derivative of parrying and dodging and so the skill requires one of the previous ones and can only be performed upon a succesful parrying or dodging roll. After an action check a character with the skill might be granted an attack that happens within the moment the dodge or parrying attempt was executed. The counterattack can be dodged or parried. When a character succesfully dodges/parries and performs a counterattack that was dodged/parried, that character begins a duel so that the counterattacks do not continue indefinitely.
Using the left mouse button is meant for walking while the right click for combat. The third mouse button brings up a list of possible interactions to apply to either mouse button while the game is paused.
The combat is based on slashing from sides or from overhead, thrusting or swings and two-handed strikes in cases of bastard weapons as well as single-handed swipes with two-handed weapons which are possible based on the third mouse button unless the player prefers generic attacks which through a random chance execute one of the possible attacks.
Casting sorceries involves an action check as well and it is based on SAEIS or Strength, Agility, Endurance and Intellect as well as Sense. The five are what governs the skills of the characters. The skills are based on the basics of movement, combat, dialogue and work. Scaling as well as hiding, silent movement, physical endurance, melee and ranged combat, diplomacy, lying, magic with it's six divisions and work skills to name a few.
Pain and damage to a character equals loss of the health percentage and the endurance percentage respectively. Pain lowers a characters endurance percentage as a character receives it resulting in possible loss of consciousness at 0 percent endurance. Wounds can be treated with herbalism knowledge and appropriate medicines while resting only alleviates pain which also represents bruises, long term lowering of the endurance percentage. Endurance regenerates slowly, health does not.
Magic can be defined through six groups which are telekinesis, weather powers such as thunderbolts, light, darkness, conjuration of water, power over electricity and fire. Further on prolonging and shortening of life, as in, healing and harm which are respectively green and red, conjuration of mundane objects as well as artifacts and thought exchange.
Magic is, as stated through the lore and setting, a matter of thought. It is constructed by a human in order to achieve a goal. The thoughts become harder to complete for various reasons as the magic grows stronger in it's nature and so, skills affect and allow for branches of the initial sorceries a wizard or a wizardess might perform. Casting sorceries drains endurance. The damage a harmful magic might inflict range from 1d6-1 to 20d6. Magic works through clicking the third mouse button and accessing the list of known sorceries and then right clicking to incant it which takes up to a few seconds of ingame time.
Countless adventures await based on random occurences or events happening based on the AI's travels and work. This includes animals, beasts and all sentient life represented within the simulation. These events exist beside the actual quests which form the plot as well as an abundance of side quests which can merge with AI created events within the storyline. For example, the antagonism of two characters leads to a side quest appearing while it may also not appear or disappear within the passage of events and advancing time.
Emerging victorious over a group of bandits allows a character to gain some SAEIS Knowledge Points. Knowledge is divided into the five groups based on how it was earned as well as general knowledge and is automatically distributed into obtaining new skills and improving those already learned through the percentage of a skill increasing. As aforementioned performing an action gathers experience in the respective skill, when hovering the mouse cursor over the particular skill while in the journal the player will see the particular boons the PC will enjoy when profficient enough in the skill. To further describe the knowledge system, each SAEIS skill is a percentage upon percentage to simulate a novice advancing towards mastery over a skill. In skills the player has to reach mastery of a skill in order to unlock further skills including skills that overlap between statistics and usable skills. 13 skills per each statistic totalling in 65 skills. Experience is earned and is automatically distributed evenly into all skills which are based on the action which earned the PC the experience. It is a percentage that rises over time as you use the appropriate skill.
The are 65 basic skills beside the usable skills. Usable skills apart from the ones aforementioned in the combat system are for example sprinting, appraising and alchemy as well as all the other ones that appear to be in place within the video game.
Feats earned as if achievements if attributes exist.
Strength: 1.One-handed Weaponry 2.Two-handed Weaponry 3.Archery 4.Shielding 5.Brute Force 6.Weight Lifting 7.Weight Carrying 8.Sprinting 9.Swimming 10.Mining 11.Blacksmithing 12.Building 13.Heroic Strength
Agility: 1.Quickness 2.Dodging 3.Sneaking 4.Cutpursing 5.Lockpicking 6.Keeping Balance 7.Climbing 8.Weaponless Melee 9.Skinning 10.Carpentry 11.Tailoring 12.Fishing 13.Heroic Agility
Endurance: 1.Health 2.Stamina 3.Pain Threshold/Fortitude 4.Temperature Threshold 5.Withholding Breath 6.Farming 7.Building 8.Trekking 9.Metabolism 10.Brute Force Continuity 11. Stopping Brute Force 12.Iron Skin 13.Heroic Endurance
Intellect: 1.Thought 2.Memory 3.Understanding 4.Reading 5.Identifying 6.Reasoning 7.Herbalism 8.Gathering 9.Languages 10.Knowledge 11.Willpower 12.Array of Incants 13.Heroic Intellect
Sense: 1.Charisma 2.Stress Management/Coping 3.Wit 4.Strength of Sanity 5.Affinity with Magic 6.Diplomacy 7.Lying 8.Romance 9.Haggling 10.Gambling 11.Coercion 12.Behaviour 13.Heroic Sense
These aforementioned are the foundations of the skill system and each skill contains many sub-percentages representing sub-skills which are passive or usable and so some of these skills stand as cunning backstab, rushing, swipe, marksmanship, shield bash and so on as it fits into what is written.
The light and darkness system is based on day and night as well as light sources smaller than the moon and so it calculates shadows. Shadows allow for more efficient sneaking and allow even invisibility while someone is hiding within. A person standing in the moonlight of the day will not notice a person sneaking/crouching in the shadow of a building's west side while the moon shines from the east. The shadow will essentially be too dark to pierce unless someone enters it and adapts to the darkness.
Ingame, the bird's eye view camera is set at 40 degrees above from the ground level and it can be rotated in a full circle around the PC who is always at the centre of the screen although there is no zooming in or out or raising and lowering the camera. In the case of the foreground obstructing the view of the PC and anything around the character a rectangle that is 50% of the screen appears around the PC removing all from the foreground from view. This allows for visibility of objects, characters and the PC when for example a wall obstructs the view of the PC.
A generic conversation system which works based on the Eight Pointed Star: People, Lore, Directions and Work, Friendship, Romance, Trade as well as Grouping. All of the aforementioned continue into lists of topics that have descriptions and can lead towards further lists of topics. The descriptions of topics are basically dialogue lines that are randomed with each conversation. In general topics are the locations present in the video game, characters, items, trade types, romance branches such as flirting or dedication, friendship branches and so on. Chosen topics affect available future topics as does the relationship system. Group conversations exist for up to five people as characters learn new topics simultaneously.
Characters stop their loitering to talk to other characters in their free time and stop their tasks to talk when in need to do so. The Player Character encounters characters wanting to speak to him or her and stopping beside to indicate the possibility of a conversation through a marker.
Humans, beasts, animals and other sentient life forms such as the savages exist in the world of the Broken Kingdoms and on the continent. Language is one of the skills based on Intellect, even the language of animals.
There is tobacco and drink, flirting, merriment and rejoycing, dancing amidst many other activities for all characters to enjoy. Thirst and hunger exist to further define the world. Health and Endurance as well as Stress to complete the five percentages that rule life within the setting.
Alcohol inebriates the character who uses it. Not only does the character who has partaken lose some social skills, they also receive a penalty to all dice rolls within the system. The status of inebriation starts after a character has drunk a bottle of hard drink or four of a softer variant. The penalties all vanish in time or through sleeping. One cannot decide how long one sleeps as when sober, it is always the maximum value of a one night sleep while characters that are not drunk can nap as well through deciding to sleep less than the maximum resting period of 12 hours. There are no benefits to being drunk even though it is a popular activity. Tobacco drains endurance and offers nothing else except for being an activity that characters enjoy partaking in same as alcohol. As for hemp, it raises the maximum endurance while draining the current amount the character has besides being an activity as well. It is a peculiar substance that is not used by most yet it allows for a deep waking rest and so has it's place within the world of the Broken Kingdoms. Hemp and other herbs as well as alcohol heighten the pain threshold or when pain activates and remove pain. Open wounds cause pain over time.
Equipment is sorted into singular clothing and armour, cloaks and coats and helmets in items worn as well as supplies, weapons as well as items of multifold or single use in general equipment. Clothing is one object, all other objects are singular in nature excluding arm and leg armour which function as single objects as well. All characters share no nudity and wear basic clothing unless they acquire different clothing to replace it.There are two necklace slots and four ring slots. Index and ring fingers of both hands. Necklaces like prayer beads, feather necklaces, classic jewelry and dreamcatchers. Creating artifacts is difficult yet you can out of items that you use and through magic. The items become artifacts over time as you achieve heroic deeds wearing them. Crafting is possible at workshops and campfires.
Exchange of goods and construction works are perhaps the most vital part of the life of a society. The PC can buy or build warehouses, obtain goods and even sell them. This means shops can be built or otherwise acquired and taken care of by the PC. By the work option within the EPS one can also hire people to take care of buildings. This warrants revenue out of safe shops and warehouses. Based on the events within the video game a thief might enter a shop owned by the PC where the player is the actual shopkeeper and he is away adventuring. In the case of the hired shopkeeper the events might work similar as the shopkeeper falls in love or gets drunk taking up all of his time for the day. This means he does not show up at the shop and the player might not ever find out about the thief who has taken goods from the PC if the player does not check the shop's wares.
However what would make a loyal and well paid worker abandon his duties? Self defence and defence of the closest ones. Above that his or her personal whims as they exist as of the AI continuing to shape a character's life based on the actions recorded in the journal at the start of the game. In example after a few weeks of gameplay the chivalric guard might become a brigand if luck is really not on his side as he lost his entire family and no longer desires to earn enough money to house them but instead enough to house himself. The character desires no social contact for some time and so does not fit his or her work as well.
Sense is a variation on sanity and wit in speech merged into one. It is the valid reasoning of social behaviour and norms, even the world past intellect which constitutes knowledge and natural predispositions. Sanity takes it's toll through gaining stress in combat, work and life. In diplomacy and deceit all is possible through exactly wit and cunning which are sense.
Apart from that there is the natural predisposition to selfish decisions and it's opposite, innate kindness and compassion. Adding to this the ordinary day conversation we have all the dialogue required for the completion of the EPS. Through multiplying the eight points in the EPS by the amount of dialogue that might be expected in an adventure game which is a basis for any role-playing game there is the conclusion that at least eight branches to each branch eight times are required for the conversation system to be varied in it's nature. These will be one or two sentence long for a quick exchange of words, sense skills will of course allow for different options instead of the generic similarly to intellect skills or the situation and stress.
Thirteen occupations define medieval life. As it is farming, herbalism, fishing, tailoring, mining and blacksmithing, hunting, leatherworking, sword-for-hire as well as thievery, carpentry, construction, shopkeeping/innkeeping and ownership of land. Land is a plot of land slot or a building. All of these can occupy both the player and the NPCs. The thirteen occupations collide with the crafting system which allows even for the painting of walls. To craft means to combine items.
The journal or memory is shared as a system by all characters including the Player Character. Locations as well as people, work, notes and so on are scribed automatically within to allow the AI to perform it's best. It also includes the skill book. The journal also includes inventories connected to owned land plots. The journal updates the inventories when accessing them while on the actual land plot.
The simulation offers fluid animations and an array of movement within the video game, walking through crowds, jumping and running, skimming between characters as they collide.
Ingame time of the twenty four hour day of the setting would equal from two up to four real life hours during which the player can do literally anything. Unique places as well as generic buildings to visit. For example the ruins of the Morgrayn castle and the buildings within the Morgrayn hamlet. The world is inhabited by many people and so holidays such as medieval festivities centred around religion or lack of work exist. The nine month year represents autumn and spring. Each month has four nine day weeks. Two seasons within the video game to represent harvest time and the death of nature before rebirth.
There are five large realms to wander, work and adventure within. Load screens between the realms and while entering cities as well as the underground. Only the realm in which the player is in is the one in which all characters move and act while the other ones are simply calculated as if it was happening. Similarly all places behind loading screens. If a realm becomes depopulated characters from other realms as well as from the realms not depicted might travel within.
Seemless loading between rectangles that would average in ten game screens, the one the player is in and all the surrounding ones to allow for travel between rectangles. This means that the engine loads the rectangles as the player is moving around allowing for an illusion of no loading of the game screen rectangles.
In the video game there are two levels to the bird's eye view of the world which are the ground level and the rooftops. Caverns and mines as well as buildings have two levels as well when designed to be as such, the basement level and deeper underground. There is no loading between the ground level and the second level. It is true that ladders, ropes, climbable walls or stairs serve as the way up to the rooftop level or the basement level. A tenement building can serve as an example that within it there are stairs to reach the 'rooftop' level which is the first story or perhaps another based on the design of the building, skipping the levels inbetween, while outside you can reach the rooftoop level and either enter through a window or a door if the rooftop level is actually not the rooftop or a flat rooftop. Barely sloping rooftops are the common rooftop in Wizar'd Sword. If the second level is actually a higher level as in the example of a tower, it means the rooftop level around the tower would be higher than the rooftop level around the buildings nearby the tower.
To pick a lock the player has to go through four stages of a circular maze in which tumblers exist. The outer circle is the first tumbler which the player picks by clicking on it so that it goes upwards and unlocks that particular tumbler. The player then advances to the next stage of the circular maze. The circular maze is a full circle upon which the tumbler is situated at one point out of all the degree abbreviations present.
Many possible endings to the game as well as the side quests. A branching storyline that is affected by the random events and the player character's actions within the video game's timeline as well as by time alone.
The adventure game within Wizard's Sword can be narrowed down to the dialogue system which functions as an innovative way of presenting in-game conversations to the player and the point and click adventure that exists within the simulation. Looking, applying force, opening, closing, climbing, all done by right clicking outside of combat. To discern between looking at a door and applying force to it, the player clicks the third mouse button which offers a list of possible interactions as well as the journal. Personal inventory is presented within the journal.
The humanity meter serves as a guide to understand how evil or good the player character is. NPCs have the humanity meter as well. It does not affect anything, it serves the purpose of monitoring your own character and the deeds and how they affect the world. Meanwhile, deeds that are evil are remembered while the humanity meter is more of a guide for the player to understand whether his or her actions are good or evil.
What is the setting: The Broken Kingdoms are a world large enough to have a twenty four hour day within a nine day week and twelve months long year. Only the moon exists giving more light during the day than during the night. This means everything in the world is quite pale, yet the days are still colourful while the nights are dark.
The pangaean continent sprawls the entirety of the world, or planet, of the Broken Kingdoms leaving the Ocean on all of the borders of the classical mercator map.
It is a place inhabited by humans, savages, animals and beasts. Savages in the eyes of the humans exist as beasts although the characters are humanoid in form and truly do resemble beasts and animals. These savages are still sentient beings and can create societies just as much as the humans can.
All humans are slightly vampiric because of their ancestry as in the past humanity of the world did not know how to farm or forage succesfully and so hunted, wandering the continent. In a few generations humanity adapted to forage as well and eventually became settled and started to cultivate the land. Eating raw meat and drinking blood affected the race forever. This means that they enjoy long lives and are stronger and more agile than their real life counterparts.
Gothic architecture is the main principle of constructions within Wizard's Sword. Even the wooden buildings in the villages are constructed with this architectural style in mind. This shines upon all other craft in the world as even swords have a gothic quality to the blade, hilt and guard.
Analysis: Mundane and exciting experiences in an advancing world. Simulation of societies, economy and characters. A plot that drives the player towards achieving the ultimate goal of performing magic at whim in order to defeat the wicked wizard.
An RTS/Tycoon in which one governs and attempts to work within an economy while controlling only one character. Endless gameplay and a massive scope. An RPG with love, revenge, overcoming obstacles, helping others as well as selfishness and everything else that a simulation of real life in a medieval setting warrants.
Choices to make and consequences of actions. A brand new combat system based on dice rolling as well as skills. Usable skills based on four six sided dice.
One immense sandbox map to cover the area of approximately a hundred and three square kilometres or fourty square miles, a compressed part of the pangaea of the Broken Kingdoms, approximately five diverse realms within the temperate region of the world.
Around a hundred years of ingame time allowed within the video game. Advancing time as well as events within the first eight years.
Branches to the storylines within the main quest as of time as well as events and side quests generated by the AI's movements and actions within the world. A memory system in which the computer processes journals ran simultaneously. Dialogues based on the eight pointed star and lists of possible topics with descriptions.
Possibility of multiplayer in the future of the simulation's development as well as neccessity for a demonstration version of the game to see how adding more characters and more locations affects the player's computer in order to discover how big the scope of the game can be on the next generation of PC gaming.
Would the game succeed?
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