I experimented with getting a game to run on my mobile phone yesterday, and was successful! It was just a simple test screen that played some music and showed an image (rather than a port of one of my existing games, which would be more complicated to do), but it was EXCITING, and took me back to the days when I'd make simple text-based games on my TI-83 graphing calculator thing back in school, back when I was first learning how to program. Oh, those were the days and so on. It's sort of given me a new burst of enthusiasm about games development, especially since it's possible to run things made in Flash on a mobile device rather than having to learn a whole new language!
I've been playing around with planning the mechanics of Miasmon a bit more, and want to present them here. These are very much preliminary concepts that are likely going to change considerably!
Here's what the title screen will totally look like:
Well, not really. I doubt it'll end up being nearly that pretty in the end. I can but dream.
I'm torn about what to actually make the gameplay like though, beyond the turn-based battles. I could make it an RPG, which I imagine is what most people would like and expect from me... but those take forever to make and quite frankly I doubt my ability to make a decent one at the moment. So instead I've taken inspiration from those many town-building sims that seem to be all over the place at the moment.
Using the plot and setting from before, two eager young archaeologists - Zaffre (now a Bold from the Bronze Archipelago) and Cerise (now a Meek from Meekwood) - set out towards the petal called Fracture in order to investigate an ancient race known as the Elarna, who wiped themselves out in some cataclysm eons ago. They join an archaeological team called the Daring Delvers
(as in the original plan)... and the game involves maintaining the Delvers' base of operations and sending parties off into ruins.
The base would probably have some isometric view, like this:
It's probably nothing new to you, this kind of thing. You build buildings and roads and stuff. These kinds of games work well as Freemium games, because there's always new stuff to buy. To me as a developer, this screams 'easy money!', though I don't know what players would think.
Your team of Daring Delvers would be made up of individuals, who you recruit using a method I'll talk about in a minute. Each one would have a unique design, personality, and backstory, and could have either their own perianth or monster team (whichever I decide to go with), as well as their own stats and such. And relationships with other members of the team! Tapping on one would show their status screen:
The buttons in the lower left there would probably fill the left panel with a list of either all your people, monsters/gems, and available buildings (or something). If you had a person's status window open, then tapping another person in the list would show you what the current person thinks of that other person in the form of a personalised quote (different for each person, rather than a stock message).
People would have two primary stats: Strength and Knowledge, and these could be increased by sending them to libraries or gyms (which you'd have to build). They have an innate skill for each one (as shown by the stars) and their stat will increase at a rate determined by that.
The main gameplay involves sending off people into ruins in teams of three:
There would be a selection of multiple different ruins (accessible by tapping a 'Command Centre' building), each one containing a RELIC at its lowermost floor. Collecting these relics would be your main goal in the game, and each time you collected one, a story scene would play out.
Each ruin has a number of floors, and each floor has requires a certain amount of ANALYSING before you find the door to the next floor. It can also be EXCAVATED to uncover treasure. And it has wild MONSTERS too.
Sending a party requires assigning three people to different roles:
engage a monster in battle, protecting the team; only their monster is used in battle.
deplete the floor's analysis gauge at a rate equal to their Knowledge stat, which is necessary to move to the next floor.
deplete the floor's excavation gauge at a rate equal to their Strength stat, uncovering treasure when it's down to 0. This is optional, but of course the treasures are valuable and this might be the only way to acquire certain items.
A floor's analysis and excavation bars serve sort of like HP... When you send out an expedition to that floor, it triggers a battle, which the guardian engages in. If the battle is won, then the floor's analysis bar goes down by an amount equal to the Analyst's Knowledge stat, and its excavation bar goes down by an amount equal to the Excavator's Strength stat. So if a floor has an analysis amount of 100, and your assigned Analyst has a Knowledge stat of 10, that'll mean you'll need to battle 10 monsters before you complete that floor and move to the next. Once a floor is completed, you can continue to send expeditions there to battle monsters as much as you like.
Any person can be assigned to any of the roles; you don't have people who are predetermined Analysts or Excavators or anything. However, their stats determine their suitability for each one.
People may have some kind of energy bar that depletes for each mission, and increases over time, meaning that you can't just rely on three people while neglecting all the rest. Or maybe I'd do the typical sim-like thing and have excavations require a certain amount of real time to complete (though I can see that being annoying and making this not really a game you could pick up and play for half an hour or something).
People have different RELATIONSHIPS with eachother, which affects their work performance; people work better when accompanied by friends, and worse (and probably lose more energy) when accompanied by enemies. These relationships develop by being sent on missions with others, and are probably determined by sentiments in some way.
Each sentiment is annoyed by the two adjacent to it! They feel like the one they're weak against gets them down, while they can't really admire the one they're strong against and want them to change to suit their values. They get along best with either their own type, or the one directly across from them on the Aster diagram there.
Courage feels like Sorrow is a 'crybaby' who gets them down.
They keep trying to encourage Fear to be more daring, and can't respect them for being themselves.
However, they share a brash, tough, choleric attitude with Destruction; both are ACTION types.
Fear gets annoyed by Courage trying to get them to do things they're not comfortable with.
They feel that Bliss shouldn't be so laid-back; they should be more aware of danger, and can't respect them until they do.
However, they admire how Creation makes new things that help soothe their own worries. (So while Courage and Bliss would say "stop worrying!", Creation might say "I'll make you a shield to keep you safe!") Both are 'REALIST' types.
Bliss is bothered by Fear not letting them relax.
They want Destruction to be less, well, destructive, and hateful, and can't admire them for being that way.
However, both Bliss and Sorrow 'wallow in beauty', but in different ways, so they can learn from eachother's outlooks in a positive way. Both are IDEALISTS.
Destruction is bothered by the sappiness and wimpiness of Bliss.
They argue with Creation types, picking faults with all they do.
However, they share their brash nature with Courage.
Creation is bothered by Destruction criticising - or even destroying! - their creations.
They also don't approve of Sorrow sitting around 'doing nothing' and wallowing in misery.
However, they gain pleasure from knowing their creativity can help soothe Fear's worries.
Sorrow is bothered by Creation constantly trying to give them 'solutions' to their 'problems'.
They don't like how brash and aggressive Courage types are.
However, they can share outlooks of wallowing in beauty with Bliss.
You can pair people up in houses (you also need to buy houses for any new people that you get!), and their relationship with eachother will be altered by that over time. Being sent on missions will make them like or dislike eachother based on these sentiment interactions. Since you can send three people, it's possible to make combinations where two get along well at the expense of the other, all three get along moderately well, all three hate eachother... I think it could be really interesting to play around with, and it gives the characters more character
than simply being faceless 'units' who you order around to do your bidding.
Oh, as for acquiring new trainers... On the penultimate floor of every ruin you'd find a lone adventurer/treasure hunter who'd challenge you to a monster battle. When you won, there'd be an exchange, and they'd join your Daring Delvers team. There'd be one of these trainers in every ruin, and each would have their own design and personality and such; they'd have a sentiment and would be of one of the five Alora Fane races. Perhaps the more you developed them, the more of their backstory they'd share, perhaps in three unlockable sections like the characters in MARDEK.
I'd be able to release new ruins as updates, each coming with its own monsters, trainer, and plot scene(s).
Oh, and battles!!
I'm not sure yet whether to have a number of monsters, each with its own perianth, or whether to just have one perianth per trainer. Each has their charms, and I'll need to do a bit of exploration to see which one feels nicest. This is likely to be the general layout though, and you'd tap on the petals (or core) of the perianth in order to execute skills when it was your turn. Tapping one once would show the skill's name and properties, and tapping it again would execute it.
I think that's about it for now! I'll write more as I come up with more ideas and refine these current ones!
Also, here are some sloppy sketches!!