About Character Customization and it's reflection in gameplay
But so much to do, so little time. The dialogue system is nearby finished (the work will be make all conversations to the level of the old RPG immersion that I pretend. That was the reason for the character creation system; every choice you make will be tangled with the conversations. The way they speak to you, conversation options, or whole conversations can depend on your choices on character creation (for the time being; gender, faction, personality (that is linked to the aesthetics of portrait).
I'm wondering if keeping the user selections simple (you select simple things and the scripts make of you a complex character), or adding so much choices as you will remember from the first Elder Scrolls or Ultima character creation, like homeworld, studies (if any), and career choices 'till the moment where game starts, class specialization (engineering, science, etc) that affect stats, but, the idea I'm working on is that the main character is the captain and will depend on having the right companions (that they sure will be engineers, scientific, military, etc) on roster. One can say "I can let that for the next game", but hell, I'm gonna be working hard for months with this, and the success can determine If I release another sci-fi retro RPG of the Galactic Battlefare Universe.
The thing is whatever male, female or androgene sex the character has, former faction, or personality, the main character of Ancient Relics is a retired naval fleet captain with problems with the Terran Confederation, and will find old friends and make new ones. You don't write letter by letter what your character say, or what he is done in the past. The character is already created, you customized it. It's not like Ultima's Avatar, where the only thing the main character say is "Job", "Name", and "Bye". So in the context of Ancient Relics, I think simple character selections, that will return in more complex conversations via script, is the way to go.
Note: Dialogue system reminds right now more to the first Elder Scrolls games, where you select a keyword of action (Trade, Accept, Reffuse, Attack, Leave...), of conversational tone (Calm, Harsh, Interested..) or game story keywords (ask about certain person, or certain place). But the option trigger a real conversation between the characters, with bracketed narration included (so yes, I think the closer experience is first Elder Scrolls Games. I'm working around the idea of having a max of 9 conversational options at every moment, or make a scrolling window of options that will let me open or close global dialogue options, precisely like in the best old rpg games. That you can be in one point of the galaxy "doing a quest", asking people if they know how to make it to somewhere, and go back to the other point of the galaxy and ask the first npcs you encountered if they know where is it. This will be preferable in inmersive narration, but will build scripting expensiveness, so I'll see what I do.
¿Told'ya that I love how my dialogue system is right now?
About the art
I established the cannons of 2d art in Ancient Relics; 3d realist toon shaded sprites of guys and gals and multi-limbic aliens. There is a lot of art just for npcs here, companions, and Player Portraits (there are 30 in total of the last, today I did 7).
a NPC that you can come across during any town shop day or dungeon friday, need a 1024px ingame sprite. NPCs that you can talk with (most of them), will need (at least, maybe some of them need more) one 1024px Dialogue Sprite. NPCs than can be team up (recruit as your companion) need a 516px portrait, and NPCs that can be part of the ship crew need an 256px Inventory Crew Icon. I'm not sure yet if all Crew members can be companions and viceversa, I will think of that when time is on the essence.
The second NPC I put in the test level was a placeholder NPC take out from Hearts Date Club, but finally get fond of she and remake the graphics for Ancient Relics standards. She is a NPC that you find in game, can talk, and can be recruit, so need all the graphics. This way, I made a template so you can see the kind and variety of graphics I'll use per NPC:
Don't miss detail, zoom this commie.
The Character Creation system is functional,( but I have to fix the script 'cause when cancelling and making a new character, portraits doesn't show well), when I'll have the other 24 player portraits (in a few days I hope), I'll have enough to justify a new video (character system and dialogue system with the first conversations, so you can taste the flavour of the game).
About RPG systems
Player inventory - Ship inventory
As I'm immersed with all the above, I'm letting flow in my head different ideas about the inventory. Right now, I have one basic scripted in place (items, equip, stats..), but my priority is making two kind of inventories, Player and Ship. How much you will can customize the ship thru his inventory, or how well by compatible the dual inventory idea, I don't know yet. Sure, you can purchase merchant cargo in a spaceport and take it directly to your spaceship.. But when you're roaming a derelict spaceship dungeon, the only cargo you'll can handle will be personal size? Teleport is not of human use in GBF (for teleporting merchant cargo directly to the ship from spot. Maybe you can tag cargo for, when you return the ship, send the minions to take the load? Hmmm...
No idea yet. Wanna do something original, fast or slow, but engaging. Two days ago, a found a Success $100k Kickstarter grid-based space RPG (Space Crawlers). Nothing to do with my retro-conversation inmersive-space opera universe, just procedural dungeons and some kind of nintendo old style RPG first person combat system, but with appealing AAA graphics (I don't need nor want AAA graphics, but I congrats space crawlers developers). I thought before about a first person perspective rpg turn based combat, but thought that was bland. Face it, in Eye of the Beholder, Ishaar trilogy, Lands of Lore, the real time first person timed actions based combat works, at least for its age. But in a sci-fi enviroment (yes, they will be close combat enemys, but mostly ranged) with grid-based movement, I don't see it. A Realms of Arkania isometric-grid turn-based hardcore combat system is a naughty idea, but really costly to achieve, out of my possibilities or budget.
Real time? Turn-based? First person, isometric, top-view? Minigame, hardcore RPG? Any suggestions will be appreciated, in the meantime I'll think about it.
From the time being, I'll keep working day and night, soon you'll see more or less the results of first (and maybe second) week of work!
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