Skill Interface

So you may be wondering what the hell this is:

Short explanation: Its kinda like this:

But why the hell all that buttons, huh?

Here’s how it went that way:

I’ve been discussing with my accomplice, Ragosta Tin Dei, how I could encourage the player to experiment. And what I had thought is to lessen the repercussions of mistakes that the player makes. I talked about it in detail here.

The traditional level-up style of improvement is a permanent change for a character, so careful thought must be applied before committing to whatever points should be allocated. An inferior character build will leave the player with having to restart his game, at worst.

That is exactly what I want to prevent. My hunch is, so did Blizzard when they made Diablo 3, and so did Bethesda when they made Skyrim.

The movement away from the traditional stats and skill trees is something to be watchful of, my friends. My hunch is you’ll see more of it in new games.

I understand the exploration of character builds is part of the fun for people. Some people don’t mind throwing away hours, maybe days worth of playing when realizing they made a weak character build. I can’t say the same for everyone.

So, with that in mind, I proposed several ideas. The one that I liked the most, is one that Final Fantasy Tactics did (and lately, what I saw Diablo 3 did): swappable skills. Each unit can equip/unequip skills as if they were items. As for Final Fantasy Tactics, they were skill sets. It makes for some rather strange combinations, where you could have a healer that charges in battle, for example.

One of my concerns for this was that it doesn’t make sense in the narrative that you “equip” skills. Does the character equivalently memorize/forget the skills in the story when you equip/unequip skills?

Turns out, players don’t care much, as I saw with Diablo 3 and Final Fantasy Tactics.

Now back to this:

So what are those? Each icon you see there is one skill. And like I’ve discussed, you can choose which skill to equip to each unit. You equip them in that grid. That’s a 7×3 grid, allowing you to equip up to 21 skills.

Why so many? That’s where you equip passive skills too. So you have to be mindful of that tradeoff. Passive skills are nice, but they take up space where you would normally put activated skills, too.

Each skill is also assigned a hotkey mapped to the QWERTY keyboard. Other keyboard layouts can be considered.

Polyomino System

What’s more, some skills take up more than one square in the grid.

Skills have upgrades, and every upgrade adds one square to it. Again, you have to choose. Do you want your unit’s skills to have many upgrades? In exchange, he can put only a fewer amount of skills, since each skill now takes up a lot of squares.

Its basically a Tetris-esque mini-game, or technically, more appropriately called, a polyomino system.

Similar games that do this is the Nintendo DS game, Avalon Code, and the recent 3DS game, Kid Icarus: Uprising.

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One thought on “Skill Interface

  1. Pingback: Aurora: new design ideas « A Discrete World

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