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Forums :: Battling Dragons :: 13 Years of BD

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MintMan

Posts: 4043
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Jul 9, 2012 21:06
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  So today marks the thirteenth anniversary of Battling Dragons. (Yay?) Like a lot of the low-play games on RE, it has struggled to find a place on the non-dial-up web, but it still does what it does. And what it does has always been something different.
  
  Version 1: This was nothing more than an animated dragon you could put on your personal web site. This is the truest definition of an adoptable -- a concept that still exists online, somehow, and despite being widespread, is about as popular as you could expect such a non-concept to be. I always wanted to attach some programmatic method to it, but my original host of Angelfire sorta prevented me from doing that. In fact, upgrading BD is the entire reason I moved to a different host in the first place.
  
  I still tried some stuff with JavaScript in this early version. This was the "training game" and actually laid the foundation for the much-ignored BD RPG. Creatures had three "spells" they could use, with a precision-timed meter to determine the actions power.
  
  Version 2 & 3: I lump these together because, despite there being an entire code re-write between, little actually changed in terms of what the end-user experienced. Battles between users were finally possible, but for some reason, I decided to use a generic "RPG" battle system. I introduced a standard "attack" option (which was lacking in V1) and pretty much squeezed mythology into terms of a generic strategy setting.
  
  This in my opinion, was a stupid idea. And that's why I changed it.
  
  Version 4: The current version that people still haven't gotten the hang of. Doesn't help that I bumped it a half-version with even more obscure functionality. I got rid of the standard attack and made everything creature-specific. I started adding concepts that were not from a standard RPG, and I started adding stragety-game ideas from other projects of mine such as the three-bar action system (Power-Magic-Special).
  
  
  However, I still think there is something lacking in BD's fundamentals. There are two areas I think it could be more faithful:
  1) Mythology
  2) One-on-One Fights
  
  Some things from mythology just do not fit into a cut-and-dry formulaic system. Too many times, there are phenotypes who, according to lore, should be strong against types they are weak to in the game. And that type is weak to it in the game because some other creature was described that way and set the precedent.
  
  It fails in one-on-one fights in that it still uses too much of the RPG mindset. This works out great when translated back in to the oft-ignored RPG, but there is a heap of stuff that a strategy game doesn't need when you cut out other participants and make it a mano-a-mano affair. I mean, is speed really all that necessary? It will result in the occasional double-strike, but little else, making it a sort of feast-or-famine. Moreover, fast moving creatures are usually given speed, and legs/wings should have nothing to do with the rapidity of actions.
  
  Then, back to the elements. What is the point of making one monster elementally superior to the other? All that really does is limit who you can reasonably fight. Sure, it does something when Valor is taken into account ("Hmm, can those extra levels be offset by the type advantage?") but I think it would be better to make it a less one-sided affair. I mean, some discrepancy will always exist between Monster 1 and Monster 2, but I would like for it to be less noticable.
  
  And then there is Strike/Agility. Freakin' missing. I hate chance so much in my strategy games. I prefer to liken things to chess instead. What makes chance worse here is that it is always so small for a bad thing to happen, and it when does, it is really bad.
  
  
  Some time ago, I had mentioned that I was contemplating another version of BD. I think the only way to justify making a new installment of the series would be finally to introduce instantaneous battles as an option. Fortunately, web technologies have made huge leaps recently. And Version 5 would correspond beautifully with HTML5, which means its oft-ignored actual RPG counterpart would be, y'know, not all text. (And screw how incompatible the new game is with regular RPG fundamentals; if that part is oft-ignored anyway, why should it get the lion's share of attention?)
  
  
  So, some of the things I am thinking of so far are:
  * Structured Types: No more simple phenotypes. Go into a deep description and qualification of everything about the monster. For example, Kamaitachi wouldn't be "Bestial"; it would be "Mammal > Vermin > Weasel". And, y'know, Wind.
  * Levelable Techniques: This was a concept I originally had slated for V4 but opted out of. I should have kept it in. Pretty much, every tech has a training score, not just spells. The technique would have an effect which increased depending in which level it was slotted (sorta like Relics currently do). A big advantage of this is that it would reduce the number of redundant techs a monster had (like three plain Attacks of different levels), although those would be less redundant because...
  * Injury and Called Shots: A working replacement I had on hits/misses was Location Damage. Pretty much, called shots to locations of a monster. And yes, this meant mapping out the physiology of every monster to give 'em parts to hit. (At least Kekkai would be easy!) Body parts could be injured, thus making the use of techs relying on that part less useful. This also means that healing would not necessarily cure injury, as per Thor's lame (literally~!) goat.
  * Rethought Stats: If they stay around in the current form, there are gonna be many fewer levels to them (maybe three up/down instead of the current ten). However, stats are so hard to map out in the first place for certain monsters that they may all but vanish. I mean, Arcane/Virtue was a nice thought, but there are just too many neutral monsters out there. One possible replacement would be up/downs to specific action types determined by...
  * Skill All The Things: This is a concept from a game of mine, Caeligens, which also created the three-bar battle system. Pretty much, most every action carries a side-effect with it that alters the battle. Maybe the Basilisk's Crown tech will make all Fear-effects stronger, or its Incinerate will actually add the Fire aspect to it.
  * Re-envisioned Scare & Degen(!): Poor Degeneration. It is always getting redone. However, just like when I redid it the first time, it was because its generate effect of attrition played poorly to a one-on-one fight. I mean, it technically did more damage than a straight-up attack, but it took long. The main problem is that stepped damage like that is, once again, a very RPG concept. One possibility I am thinking of is something more like Scare -- a huge chunk of damage that a monster slowly recovers from by way of paying for it with reduced stats. I mean, typically, when poisoned, something gets sickly and weak and diseased, not just "Ow, I'm hurt."
  Scare just needs redone in general since fear is an entire monster cornerstone which I regrettably failed to do justice.
  * More Bars: The average level of tech will always be #Bars-1, which is why V4's original plan to have five bars never went through. However, I did have a few other bar types laying around. With the bar abilities introduced in V4.5, it would be possible to give a monster the ability to swap out one of the default bars for another one, with different allotment rules and effects on the techs within.
  * Different Picture Rules: Submitted pictures just never happened in the first place. The current crop would prolly be archive since they are really the only pictures of 90% of the bestiary. But let's be serious here. Not even I draw all-traditional anymore, and I certainly don't make pictures 145 pixels. With less emphasis on displaying the creature on a web site, things would prolly open up a lot in this area.
  
  
  Welp, as per usual, I'm just documenting my thoughts on Reality's End things publicly in the forums since the main page is (still) unfriendly for blog-like ranting. I really gotta do something about that. So many bits of tech wisdom are going unposted. Do you have any thoughts, one person who read this?
  
I hear that Space Trombone is the way all the cool kids are sharing music these days.
MadGoblin

Posts: 1509
Member #2

Jul 10, 2012 18:00
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  I dunno. I'd, like, just make Caelinamagoozer and see how that goes. BD is good, yes, but I've always thought that Caelinnapopo (since I have behind-the-scene knowledge of it) would be a good one-on-one fighter. Plus, you know, not the mythological basis of creatures. A good concept on paper, a bad practice when a full new creature needs fleshed out and drawn to get in the game. Whereas Caeligy is just "anything you want, ever, have." Yay, customizing~! Or, maybe I'm just fighting whatever you say. * class changes to Warrior to be better prepared to... ah, who am I kidding? I just needed to class change *
  
"Of all the times to be swallowed by a giant, metal plant. Mondays are always like this."
  - Geeker, Project G.K.R.
Camo

Posts: 1606
Member #5

Jul 12, 2012 11:45
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  *Sips beer*
  
  So when's RE-con this year?
  
English lessons with Camo
Zedd

Posts: 286
Member #76

Jul 12, 2012 19:15
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  I like a lot of what you're talking about.
  
  Personally I like the idea of leaving some kind of stripped-back version of stats; I kinda see BD as more a tactics game, and it just seems like a way to make different monsters play differently. I also always envisaged some kind of grid-based movement system which used the speed stat, but that would be difficult to integrate into the AI system.
  
  Definitely reducing the bonuses from type advantage would be good. It also seems like degen (taking it to be poison/disease) should have some kind of 'incubation' or whatever before it really does damage?
  
...'Common problem'? It's a freakin' segmentation fault on the video drivers!
MintMan

Posts: 4043
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Jul 12, 2012 23:42
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  If degen(eration) took time to do any damage, it would lose its use. Unless, of course, it was a lot of damage, but then people would just start with it and go to any of their other many options.
  
  The current system of a little over a long time does tend to do more damage, but in small amount, so there is both reward in waiting and instantaneously.
  
  
  As for movement, there actually is a movement system in BD which is leftover from the M4 experiment. (Remember that? No? Prolly for the best...) In fact, every battle still takes place inside of one of these auto-generated terrains. It is just the initial "space" is the haven, which has absolutely no effect on battle whatsover.
  
  Essentially, terrains were one-dimensional rings on which a player could advance or retreat in order to gain some sort of advantage depending on the current surroundings -- or just to get distance from the enemy, 'cause that did something, too.
  
  Y'see, M4 had a bevy of default commands integrated into every monster, even tho' the bulk of them made little sense being usable by every monster. These sorts of half-actions (which would only take up a partial turn, or less time than another sort of action or perhaps only one spot from a bar without recharge) would be made available in an Advanced Battle, which I do believe is also coded into BD -- it just doesn't really do much of anything and so isn't available for selection.
  
  
  But, yeah, tactics are where it's at. I don't think BD will ever get griddy, but I do have a few things cookin' on that front. Besides, how exactly would you fit Kjata into any sort of map? Oh, right, he is the map~!
  
"I know that will be obvious to some people but sadly stupid people have internet too." ~ Maffew of Botchamania
Dragon_Kirby

Posts: 192
Member #226

Jul 14, 2012 2:38
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  It took me way too long to realize that, no matter how much I liked it, there was no way Degen was both balanced and useful...
  On the other hand, I only recently learned to use Strike to my advantage...;-; * creates a CriticalityEvent *
  
COOKIE!
  
  And, hold on, speaking of that RPG, is getting the shiny thing out of the fountain a thing?
  
  [Edited by Dragon_Kirby on Jul 14, 2012 2:39]
Sword
MintMan

Posts: 4043
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Jul 14, 2012 10:35
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  Currently, Degen is useful when you target the stats right. (High Arcane user, low Virtue target.) It also can't miss, putting it to your advantage when used against high Agility monsters. It is simply something you don't want to use too far into battle, especially since it chains into a very long lasting effect (even if it does start double-ticking away life when reaching a high amount).
  
  The main problem is that I don't really think this is a good representation of what it is supposed to be -- Poison. In the end, it just becomes another stat-vs-stat advantage to seek, which are pretty much set in stone for one creature versus another, thus making the battle take place with the decision to enter battle even instead of during it, which is less fun, which is the end of a really long single sentence~!
  
  Hm, shiny thing in a fountain? Sounds like a thing. The BD RPG had all of its groundwork there; it was just a bugger to add new scenes to it.
  
  According to the code (and my account, which has said "shiny thing" attained), you can get the thing from the item. It is all very localized, too, and can be accomplished in just that one scene.
  
  I think my big problem with the BD RPG was how much writing I had to do and how little you ever wanted to read it. The battles mostly focus on your bars, so you miss a lot of stuff. When navigating, you pay more attention to that little map than anything being said -- unless it is the object listing for the room. Maybe rearranging the layout would help keep all of the important parts in view?
  
"I give up." ~ Virginia
  "The three sweetest words in the English language." ~ Ross, Raising Hope
Dragon_Kirby

Posts: 192
Member #226

Jul 14, 2012 19:09
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  Really? Blargh, I was sure I had already tried every possible combination of commands in the square...
  
  * uses Wield with a CriticalityEvent *
  
  Hm, maybe it's just more Hydra funny business, healing but no virtue, degen but no arcane-virtue stat-changing techs. So that would make it something determined before you even make the challenge, I see.
  
COOKIE!
  
Sword
MintMan

Posts: 4043
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Jul 14, 2012 22:50
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  Yeah, Healing-Without-Virtue is something I started to address with the new Feed action. Even stuff like Degen had Defense thrown into the mix and some other wackiness. I think that was one of the main advantages behind Hydra having the improved Regeneration skill (which, is to say, deproved, since it was way too powerful before).
  
  In my recent effort (or not recent, since it is a few years old now) Incarnate, there were no stats whatsoever. There was only one damage system, too (no Physical and Special, that is). It made things much better, really. I mean, if you have one high offensive stat, why would you ever use the other? (Thus the idea behind the bars in BD, although everyone still has one bar and a half that they excel in.)
  
  However, even though there may be no simple comparison between every monster by describing them in seven simple stats, they still have differences among themselves. I mean, a Behemoth's attack should certain do more damage than a Falcon Fish's, right? But if both use a Level 3 attack, what would make the Behemoth more powerful? Or would the FF simply not have any attacks that went up to such a level? In which case, what would it have at those levels instead?
  
  Make it more balanced in some ways, and it gets unbalanced in others! Quite the predicament. Or maybe it only is for suck-monsters like the Falcon Fish who don't have any cool abilities. Maybe FF could have a Pity ability? * brings forth a Pity *
  
  
  As for the RPG: it isn't just commands. You need a certain item first.
  
"'Nember back when you kept a graffiti book? And the only way for stranger to see who your friends were was to look at who had drawn in your book? Thank god for facebook. Now nobody has to be good at anything and everyone can know it." ~ MRTIM
Sword
Zedd

Posts: 286
Member #76

Jul 15, 2012 17:48
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  On Jul 12, 2012 23:42, MintMan said:
  

  ...how exactly would you fit Kjata into any sort of map? Oh, right, he is the map~!
  

  
  Which also raises the balance issue. How can you be mythologically accurate and make Kjata even able to be hurt by, say, a kamaitachi?
  
  Certainly some of the more 'joke' b-monsters (celphie, falcon fish, etc) would need to suck at least a bit, but...
  
To sit on the fence is a dangerous call, but someone's gotta do it.
Dragon_Kirby

Posts: 192
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Jul 25, 2012 9:20
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  On Jul 14, 2012 22:50, MintMan said:
  

  As for the RPG: it isn't just commands. You need a certain item first.
  

  
  I had a dream that I used the puppy. Unfortunately it's too late to try that.
  * uses Affront on Pity *
  
COOKIE!
  
Sword
Camo

Posts: 1606
Member #5

Sep 9, 2012 4:24
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  So I have started making homebrew now, just thought I should mention that here.
  
  
  And drinking it. Smile
  
Camo Smile Camo Smile Camo Smile UPSIDE DOWN SMILEY Camo Smile Camo Smile Camo Smile
   Camo Smile Camo Smile Camo Smile !FOREVER! Camo Smile Camo Smile Camo Smile
  
  Camo Smile
MintMan

Posts: 4043
Member #1

Sep 9, 2012 18:34
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  I had some pumpkin wine a while back.
  
  And I didn't die/go blind~!
  
"All romance ends in despair -- or death, but most likely despair: gutwrenching despair." ~ Detective Lassiter, Psych
Sword
Camo

Posts: 1606
Member #5

Sep 16, 2012 18:40
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  Pumpkin wine? Oh you crazy Americans with your Halloween and your pumpkins.
  
  Well I'm producing beer faster than I can drink it, dunno if this is a success or means I'm getting old.
  
There is the possibility of displaying different signatures!
MintMan

Posts: 4043
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Sep 17, 2012 19:47
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  None of the above; that statement is obviously a lie.
  
  ... and why do I have no al-co-hol related iconery to choose from here? That seems quite the shame.
  
"I give up." ~ Virginia
  "The three sweetest words in the English language." ~ Ross, Raising Hope
Rook

Posts: 497
Member #112

Sep 27, 2012 24:21
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  On Jul 9, 2012 21:06, MintMan said:
  
Version 4: The current version that people still haven't gotten the hang of. Doesn't help that I bumped it a half-version with even more obscure functionality.
  

  And then he said:
  
Lots o' stuff about Version 5.

  Not to be overly critical, but wouldn't the solution, then, be to move to a more concise, yet well thought out system? Elegance in simplicity? I'm a little worried we might be moving to this.
  
  My major gripe about the proposed v5 stuff is: how do you remember the type weakness between, say, "Reptile>Lizard>Skink" and "Mammal>Herbivore>Giraffe?"
  
  And yes, I DO want the system to change to something I'm less useless at. Slanted Mouth
  
"You might say it's sexist to treat women like a baseball card collecting mini-game so you can ogle their luscious, rounded boobies and melt away between their smooth, milky thighs as the sweat runs in rivulets from their writhing, sensuous body, but... Sorry, I forgot where I was going with that."
  --Yahtzee Croshaw, Zero Punctuation
Sword
MintMan

Posts: 4043
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Sep 28, 2012 19:40
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  Oh, I thought I had made it clear before. The new system would simplify type effectiveness by getting rid of it. There are too many things it just doesn't make sense for. The Basilisk is hurt by Weasels and its spittle fells Birds. However, they are felled by the Cock's crow. A simple cyclical system makes no sense; instead, every monster would use -- that's right -- only what is in their legend. The moves and monsters would clearly state these effects, too; it wouldn't be a guessing game.
  
  See, I'm not adding "more system"; I am redoing the entire system. Pretty much, what you said you wanted is what I said. Try as a might, mythology just doesn't lend itself to a fairly generic RPG battle system. And the web itself barely lends itself to a slow-play RPG battle system anymore.
  
  I'm pretty much using the massive downtime in BD as a chance to do a revision as of yet unthought of and possibly infeasible. Levels and experience and monsters would carry on, but little else -- only the theme of mythology would remain, and be strengthened severalfold.
  
  
  Mostly to document my ongoing madness:
  
  I am thinking that stats will exist in a minimalistic form of only bonuses. Thus, each species will only have a few items of "+X Attribute". This will avoid the stupid issue of most monsters' most stats hovering around average but not quite. Stats would also be purpose-driven instead of trying to spread functionality out to "be fair".
  For some reason, a lot of monsters will raw, elemental forces as attacks came up later in BD's cycle. These attacks could be confined neither to Power or Magic specifically, and so existed in some sort of limbo. I mean, spitting a stream of water isn't really dependent on dark mystic forces, but it isn't exactly like stabbing or clubbing, either.
  
  I am also thinking that mayhaps all accuracy will default to 100%, and then only circumstance will modify it from there. I am thinking it will be something a monster pretty much has to opt to use with its techs -- if it even has evasion techs. There also have to be multiple types of "evasion"; increased accuracy won't make you hit a Cwn Annwn any more -- they're ghosts!
  
  
  As for damage to specific areas, I am also thinking about monster-specific damages, which right now, really only lends itself to the Hydra, Idrus, and Amphisbaena. Still, it would be cool to have them lose a head and actually gain it back using Regrow/Rejoin.
  
  
  I am also thinking about reducing the number of names for techs, and possibly getting rid of Spells altogether. My only fear is that some confusion can arise from slotting multiple Bites in a grid. I would have to guess the move would be limited to a single bar. Fewer tech names also makes the verbage easier, as I really want that stupid "X uses Y on Z" motif to disappear in favor of "X Ys Z".
"All romance ends in despair -- or death, but most likely despair: gutwrenching despair." ~ Detective Lassiter, Psych
  
  [Edited by MintMan on Dec 5, 2012 23:18]
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