Posted by: kaising | April 19, 2010

Demo play-through II

Based on the first play-through outline, but taking second overhaul changes into account. Key gameplay points are in bold.

1. Player gets a starting creature, with docile nature. Natures are explained; docile learns very quickly, but can only learn low-powered moves. It may have two move slots instead of four. It pretty much is just useful for trying out all the basic features of the game, but not be very competitive in player vs. player battle. It should be really cute to make up for this. The idea here is to teach the player, but in order to be competitive they need to level up and gain access to other natures (and spend more time playing…). For the demo, there is only this one creature available.

2. Player goes to the forest level with their new creature. There’s a quick description of the fact that they will train their critter.

3. The creature wanders around via wander, target, and collision avoidance.

4. The player’s training actions are: click, press command buttons A/B/C, press positive/negative reinforcement buttons. When the player tries a click or command buttons A/B/C, the creature tries to perform an action where it is, biased by previous training.

Instruct the player to train it to come to the mouse… click (stimulus=CLICK) and watch what it does. Reward it (within 3 seconds) for coming to the cursor. Repeat until it comes every time; tell them that continued training helps it understand more clearly where to go.

Notes to self: No encoding of what actions are opposites/mutually exclusive? Game keeps a list of what the creature last did, what last stimulus was used within certain amount of time, etc. – all to be checked against when the user rewards or punishes.

5. Unfreeze its desires. Give an example of it getting hungry, and teaching it what it should eat. [Actually, skip this feature and desires other than boredom for now.]

6. Instruct the player to call it over to investigate things, or to let it wander. When it runs into an item of interest, it waits for a bit (or it’s ‘boredom/idle’ counter can go off and it’ll seek something). When its ‘boredom/idle’ counter goes off (which started when it sat), it may try something, which you can reward or punish (or ignore). Have a blurb explaining this. Equivalently, you may try pressing a button, as mentioned in item 4.

7. Make sure it does one of these things; then instruct the player to press one of the command buttons and give positive reinforcement.
a. Splashing in the water –> learn small or medium splash attack (water)
b. Sitting in the sun, becoming warmer –> learn heat attack (fire)
c. Hopping around –> learn jump attack (air)

8. Explain that repeating this will teach it to respond to the command button with that action, even in battle. Also mention that for some behaviors, the creatures aren’t naturally inspired by the environment. The player may use rare items to trigger these behaviors.

9. Also explain that creatures remember what the target of their action was. [Record sequence of user actions in past N seconds?]

10. Tell the player that once they are done training, they may try a battle. (Or wait until they have a decent response rate of attack for at least one command button.) Show them the button to go into battle.

11. Once in battle mode, tell them to use their commands to try to direct their creature. Have a really dumb opponent, that attacks on a very slow timer, and takes two hits to defeat. The two animals can move freely around the terrain, and the three mentioned moves (splash, etc.) do damage when the player’s animal successfully executes them close to the AI enemy. It should be made apparent by now that the point of training is to 1.) create a good moveset tailored to the battles you plan to have, and 2.) have your creature respond reliably enough to the commands, so that your creature may win.

12. Explain that it is the player who levels up from the accomplishments of their summon. Show the improvement on the player’s stat page. Player leveling up unlocks abilities, such as using certain items, being able to train creatures with certain natures, etc. Creatures’ stats like attack power could level up, and types of creatures could have level ‘caps’ so players must train multiple creatures to continue advancing, but this is not necessary for the demo.

To add if time permits:
Element alignment via a fire level
A creature with a different nature
Facebook functionality

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