Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Re-Designing Combat

Last week, my two best friends told me that they wanted to learn Japanese.  On the same day.  Within 10 minutes of each other.  They know of each other but I don't think they've ever met.  My first thought was annoyance that I didn't have Japanese Arena: Kana far enough along to be really useful to them.  Instead I spent some time answering questions and giving some advice.  A few days later I found myself outside staining the porch.  For some reason I decided not to listen to music, but to just do it all quietly.  Drove me nuts after a little while so I started thinking about Japanese Arena.

Suddenly I had an epiphany.  The combat was no good.  I had already been thinking about that when I watched my cousin play it a few weeks ago and saw that the fight was over after a few questions.  It didn't make for much of a review.  So I started to think about how to make it better.  After a bit of thought I went back to my two main goals for the game.

  1. Make it so that the user will learn how to read and write Hiragana and Katakana.
  2. Keep the users interest to help them complete the game and accomplish point 1.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the current battle system wasn't really fitting that.  As it is, you can level up your character and boost their stats so you do more damage.  Aside from me liking RPGs, why was this even here?  Just so that I could take on harder monsters which really aren't that much harder because I've boosted some numbers?  That just seemed wrong.  Then I remembered the excuse I give in the game for the player to be fighting monsters in an arena.

"Knowledge is Power"

That was it.  I don't need to level them up.  I don't need any stats at all.  All damage is based off of how quickly and correctly they answer questions.  If you don't know the stuff covered in the lesson, you're going to lose.  If you have a grasp on it, you're going to have a chance.  If you know it really well, you'll take the enemy down in no time.  The smarter you are, the more powerful you are.

This required a change for the weapons and armor.  Before they would just boost your stats.  Now there aren't any stats for them to boost!  All of the questions are split into Attack questions (where you attack the enemy) and Defense questions (where the enemy is attacking you).  Different weapons will give boosts to Attack questions, while different armor will give boosts to Defense questions.  Some of the boosts I'm thinking of are: bonus to available time to answer the question, chance for a critical hit, chance for a wrong answer to be shown as wrong, etc.

Looking forward to when I can get back to work on this!


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