ATTACK MOUNTAIN DEVELOPER DIARY 3
DEVELOPER DIARY 3: ARMOR / THE FORGE PART II
Hi everyone! Today, we’re going to talk about something near and dear to the hearts of many RPG fans; armor. One of the staples in character progression in RPGs is equipment – not just the weapons you wield, but the armor and accessories you wear. We’ll be breaking this one down into three big pieces: acquiring and equipping armor, gem slots, and upgrading your armor at the Forge.
A high-level armor design, initially unveiled in the wallpaper. Click for bigger version
Making Armor feel Special Again
The user can access their Hero’s equipment via the in-game menu (brought up with the TAB key). This allows them to tweak it at any time using a familiar slot-based system. The diagram above displays the different armor and accessory slots the player will have open to them. Most are self-explanatory, but there are two things that may have stuck out – the Rune Bracelet slot, and that giant yellow box that reads ‘Armor’. We’ll be addressing the Rune Bracelet in its own update when we discuss magic in greater detail – WAY too much to put here!
In Legend of the Time Star,getting a new suit of armor is a major milestone. While there are a lot of different items and equipment for the player to acquire, we wanted armor acquisition to feel special, so we put extra weight behind its impact on your Hero. Not only does acquiring a new suit of armor change the character’s entire appearance, it also dramatically boosts their abilities in a few ways that we’ll explain below. Because of this, armor suits are not as densely distributed throughout the game as other equipment. We currently plan to put six different suits into the game, which when matched against the game’s expected length, means you’ll get a new suit of armor roughly every sixth of the way through the game.
So when do you actually get new armor? Well, that depends! Some are built into dungeons. Others are acquired as part of the story. Others, still, are optional, and you can beat the entire game without getting them!
Properties and Progress
Armor provides the following key attributes. These are the main variables that change from suit to suit.
- Defense: Defense is the backbone of damage mitigation in Time Star. While other equipment types provide defense, none of them provide nearly as much as the armor slot (with the exception of Shields). The biggest difference users will notice when upgrading to a new suit of armor is that their damage reduction will be significantly better.
- Gem Sockets: We’ll get into these further on in this update. Gem Sockets are one of the major ways to boost armor’s stats and imbue it with special properties. Higher level suits of armor have more initial Gem Sockets and have a higher Gem Socket cap.
- Special Traits: Most suits of armor provide the user with a special trait that makes each suit even more unique. The potency of these can be boosted by intelligent Gem Socket use in addition to upgrading the armor’s stats at the Forge.
Building A Better Breastplate
Since there are fewer armor suits in the game, we had to think of different ways to make each suit last longer, in addition to ensuring there are enough options for customization and stat tweaking to keep players feeling like they’re constantly improving and advancing their character in a meaningful way. Since Armor functions differently from Weapons, we had to also think of how make armor customization function differently within the Forge.
One of the things we added into armor suits is the aforementioned Gem Sockets. The amount of gem sockets a suit of armor starts out with depends on the tier of armor it is; the later on in the game the user acquires the armor, the more gem sockets it’ll likely start out with.
So, what do they do? Simple: the gems that the user finds from treasure chests and loot drops – the very same ones mentioned in our first look into the Forge – can be plugged into an armor suit’s gem socket at the Forge, to give it different properties!
Each and every gem in the game provides a different type of improvement when used in this manner – when combined with the fact that many of the armors have multiple gem slots, the combinations are endless and you’ll be able to finetune and bolster your armor to match any situation you may encounter.
You won’t know what a gem does until you see it at the Forge, either – there, it’ll show up in the available gems list alongside its bonuses.
Let’s use an example scenario. Let’s say that you’re about to venture deep in the The Doldrums – a dangerous swampland that is the birthplace of the game’s menacing Fungal Drudgers. The Doldrums contain a lot of creatures and environmental hazards that inflict Poison, a status effect that gradually reduces your HP until you’ve either cured it with an antidote or have seen a doctor in town.
Before departing, you head to the Forge. Your current armor has two gem sockets, which currently house attack power-boosting Tiger Gems. Since you still want your attacks to pack a bit of an extra punch, but you also want some poison resistance, you swap out one of the Tiger Gems for a Viper Gem, which improves your poison resistance by 30%. With that done, you’re going to fare much, much better in your journey through the Doldrums.
That’s not the only way you can upgrade your Armor at the Forge, however – there’s a second way! Just like weapons, you can upgrade your suit of armor to higher levels! This utilizes the same system – collect a set of specific items and then bring them to the Forge, pay a small fee, and make the upgrade – but the improvements are very different and, in some ways, longer lasting.
There are five upgrade tiers per suit of armor. In addition to increasing its defense dramatically with each tier, most armor suits will receive additional gem slots as they’re improved, which dramatically increases their value and longevity as a useful piece of equipment. A suit of armor at level 1 might have one gem socket and decent defense, but upgrade it to level 5 and it may then have three gem sockets and as much defense as a much higher-level piece of armor. This means that players can still rely on a favorite armor suit they acquired earlier in the game, even if they get something new that is better in different ways.
This system provides a great degree of flexibility to how the player outfits their Hero. Most armor sets can be made into whatever you can think of – if you want a high-defense armor that makes you immune to fire damage, or an armor that dramatically strengthens your magic damage while at the same time giving you mana regen, you’ll be able to make it happen!
Is there one in this game? Suffice it to say that yes, there’s an ‘Ultimate’ suit of armor in the game and yes, you’re going to have to work for it. When you get it, though…you will remember what it was like to bust your tail for an item in an RPG and then wonder how you ever lived without it.
That’s the end of today’s Developer Diary! A bit on the shorter side, because we’re still working hard on getting the prototype ready for public viewing – also, there’s another developer diary coming tomorrow about exploring the world of Legend of the Time Star. It should give you guys a better perspective on how you’ll be getting from place to place, as well as the overall scope of the game. Stay tuned!
Want to make this game a reality? We need your help! We’ve got 13 days left and need to spread the word to keep the pledges coming in. Check our our Kickstarter page here!