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Sharde fragments (not a typo)

I’ve had an idea for a strategy title floating around in my head for a while now – I even went to the trouble of coding a rough prototype of the combat engine in VB .NET, called Swarme. Essentially, it’s a casual-friendly version of Master of Magic, the old Simtex title that makes Puzzle Quest look like Tic-Tac-Toe. That’s a joke, by the way.

Still, Master of Magic was great. I can’t believe I first played it on a holiday in New Zealand when I was 14 or 15. One of my top five games, along with Resident Evil and World of Warcraft. Yes, WoW is good, if addictive.

Anyway, I’m getting off the point here. I just wanted to jot down some thoughts I had about a potential system to handle magic research.

I’ve come up with the name Sharde for the time being. There’s no particular reason for the extra “e”, it just gives it a medieval fantasy twist, as “e” is wont to do.

Yes, the magic system. There are four schools – fire, water, nature and death. I’d like to get time and metal in there as well, but they could wait for an expansion. As could duelling between wizards and some other mechanic I thought of, but have forgotten (nice one).

The player (as a wizard) would be able to research spell “shardes”, which are basically spells. Each spell would have a colour (red for fire, black for death) and a shape. A triangle, a square or a quarter-circle are the ones I’m thinking of now.

The player could research the first tier of spells in any order they want. However, if they collect three or four (haven’t decided on a hard number) of a certain shape, they can then combine them to form a larger version of their original shape (except for the quarter-circle, which would form a circle). This would unlock the next tier of the school they decide to combine the shapes in, and, depending on the original schools the shapes came from, grant certain bonuses to those schools.

The reasoning behind this mechanic is to break away from the strict “I must research so-and-so to get such-and-such”. Using this system, the player still needs to make certain choices about their upgrade path, but they have the flexibility to dip into other schools if they want, without putting them at a disadvantage progression-wise. Heck, you could get four nature shardes and use them to advance in the death school – you’d just gain a bunch of bonuses to using Nature spells, while getting access to more complex death spells.

I also had the idea that the player wouldn’t be able to stock “mana”, or other resources. Each turn, they would allocate their power levels to certain schools or efforts (research say), and a separate power pool to give them resources to cast spells in combat. Improving your resource generation would simply add another power level to distribute.

The sharde-combining mechanic would be tied into something like the Wii remote or DS stylus, which would make it physical and more engaging (potentially). Players could also use their shardes to build cool pictures and share them with friends or the community. Okay, I’m getting vague here.

Anyway, I had to get this down before it all vanished. I’ll probably add to it later.

~ by Logan on August 21, 2008.

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