Friday, August 23, 2013


I'm currently in the process of creating the equipment screen, and a question I'd eventually have to ask myself has come up. This is basically another one of those "thinking out-loud" and "explaining it to someone in detail to the point where I come to a decision myself" sort of posts. So..yup.

Progressive vs non-progressive weapons

The question is this, should items all be equally powerful, but behave differently (different speed, power, status effects, weaknesses) Or should the weapons get progressively more powerful as you progress, rendering older weapons useless? (but still having different types, that act differently.

With non-progressive weapons, if you find a particular sword in the beginning of the game then that sword effectively becomes an active part of your arsenal and you will use it in certain situations, or perhaps if you simply prefer how it plays. But the trade-off is that you may just end up getting a bunch of weapons you'll never use because of you're preferences.

On the other hand, if weapons are progressively more powerful, then once you find a better weapon you would never use that old sword ever again, because it's too weak. The advantage is that an aspect of the gameplay will always be changing, and the player will have to adapt to it. However, if the player likes a certain kind of weapon, such as a spear, and hates all the other weapons, then they will have to wait until they find that "next" spear to actually use one. Or, they might stick to the old one, which will make the game a lot more difficult.

The other option, I suppose, would be to make it so weapons can be upgraded, meaning you could upgrade an older weapon so that it meets the new standards. Not really sure how that would play into gameplay. Dark Souls is an interesting example, because it sort of fell in the middle. It was very much incremental, but sort of worked in phases were early weapons could still be useful mid-game when upgraded, but you eventually found something better. Not so sure that upgrading an old weapon is as interesting as finding a new and equally better weapon though.


Personally, I think I lean towards non-progressive weapons. Perhaps it's an excuse for bad design to say that players might only use the weapon they like. Ideally, they should all be useful and interesting in some way.


This also plays into how armor might work a bit. I could theoretically make it so armor effect's your appearance, but doing so would mean I couldn't have as much armor, since it would be too much work too animate. In this case, non-progressive armor would make more sense, because then the player wouldn't be stuck with an outfit they hate just because it's stronger. (though that might happen anyway if they prefer the buffs of one kind of armor)

In that case, perhaps each set of armor could have alternative buffs. For instance, one could have defence+ and health+ from H attacks, but you can only choose one of the two. This might make it at least more unlikely for a player to find armor that they like the look of, but don't find useful enough to wear.

I'll see how viable multiple costumes mid-development, I suppose. The tradoff of alternate armor is that every H animation would have to be nude, because there's no way I'm animating alternate animations for each outfit.


  1. If it's an either-or situation, I like the sound of non-progressive weapons. If the weapons handle differently enough, and are all useful (albeit excelling at different things), it could provide replayability. Similar to how each weapon in Monster Hunter drastically changes the gameplay.

  2. If you're going to have enemy drops like in Castlevania/Metroid games then you can follow the Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow weapon system, where you have the choice not only for a lot of weapon types (swords, rapiers, lances, hammers) but you also have upgraded versions of each one.

    In DoS you get weapons and souls by beating foes, latter enemies will give you better weapons and souls so you can grind for them, or you can simply use your collected souls to upgrade weapons into a higher tier (e.g. you use a soul on a longsword to upgrade it into a broad sword and so on). Dawn of Sorrows' plot is a mess however if there's something I love about it is the weapon system.

    I think if you implement enemy drops in this game you can do the same. You get a weapon of certain type and later in the game an enemy drops an item that works as a material to upgrade that weapon so you get updated on your armament. I hope this EXTREMELY SUBJECTIVE comment helps you on that.

    About armor, I really hate trading armor values in any kind of RPG, so I'd prefer to see an armor system like in Marionette of the Labyrinth where each armor gets you a certain bonus.

  3. Did you ever play Castlevania: Symphony of the Night?
    There's a weapon in it called the muramasa that grows stronger by absorbing blood from enemies.

    Would something like that work? having a comparatively weak weapon that slowy gets stronger the more it's used.

  4. I would suggest non-progressive, but with a few "endgame weapons" so that the player can try every weapon type through the game and finally picking the one that he prefers, instead of locking the player into a final weapon of a certain type.

    Unless you add the secret/ultimate weapon that has a completely different feeling/mechanics than any other.

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  6. A potential idea would be to give weapons an "Experience" type value. Have this value increase over time, and when a weapon levels up, it changes how it attacks. This could entice the player to use different weapons, just to see how things change.

    1. Or it might encourage them to stick with one weapon that gets more and more powerful.

    2. The point with it would be it would only change the "Style" of the weapon, meaning how it works. Not its literal damage. So it hopefully will make no one weapon be superior, they would all have different uses for different situations.

    3. Reminds me a tad of Ghouls and Ghosts, kinda how the fire is the worst weapon possible but it becomes manageable depending on the armor upgrade and even more so when you can cast the weapon spell.

  7. I'm of the same mind as the previous anon, as far as weapons go; rather than having a plethora of possibly upgradable weapons, give the player one of each base weapon and allow them to upgrade that singular weapon as they progress.

    The admitted problem with this sort of system is that it leans towards lots of grinding, either for requisite experience for the weapon type, or materials as well/instead, depending on how you implement the upgrades.

    As for armor, if you choose not to have sprite-altering equipment, perhaps instead of swapping out whole suits, you could have a selection of equipable upgrades? It's a personal thing, but I'm not very fond of having 13 different armors, each with wildly varying descriptions, show no cosmetic difference at all.

  8. y not keep it simple and have 2 types of weapons that r both required to complete the game? like a light sword and heavy sword and enemies will block light attacks or dodge heavy attacks? u could then add abilities that combine the weapons to make a double sword which the player uses to do a spin attack like nathan graves from circle of the moon. as for upgrades u can make it so on each stage enemies drop materials for a certain upgrade or weapon mod that gives them extra effects for extra damage/reach. then u can increases weapon speed/accuracy through an experience system for each weapon rather than just player level.

    if u add too many weapon choices it might get too complicated with balancing each weapon. maybe u can make unlockable characters that have different weapon sets but basically have the same gameplay? like how u could play as Richter after beating SoTN with Alucard.

    also i always found it weird that theres both health and defense stats(and sometimes also resistance stats) when they all basically do the same thing. could u make player levels only increase something like evasion where ur character has a slightly longer invincibility frame during a dodge animation and just keep health at 100.00% w/ just defense from upgrade-able armor?

    I think it would be better to make the rpg part as simple but as customizable as possible in order to fit everyone's tastes rather than making really unique things where some people may really like while others really dislike or having too many things to look at.

  9. I'm all in favor of non-progressive weapons. I'm the kind of player who likes to toy with all aspects of a game, provided I enjoy it. Being able to play with equally balanced weaponry so that they're all useful no matter where I am or how far I go in the game is, at least to me, a key factor in replay-ability.

    Each weapon having abilities and strengths that allow you to tackle enemies differently is one method of encouraging some players to go through an area many times and allow the experience to still remain with a different feel, making second or even fifth runs through still fun because you're completing that set area in a new way. Using a scythe weapon that might let you throw an enemy at another, a fist weapon that might allow for parries and a brawling aspect of combat, and a sword option for a more traditional hack and slash style with perhaps an added bonus of reflecting projectiles by hitting them, are all examples of what I believe would affect the game in a way that allows for interesting playthroughs that allow for a fair amount of replayability.

    I'm completely ignorant of the programming aspect of this, but as a gamer, that just sounds interesting to me.

  10. Hmm, I don't know if it is doable with the engine you are working on, but Kyrieu, have you thought about adapting to how the armor appearance works in diablo 2? Pretty much it works like this, have few tiers of armor which let's say three for now, cloth, leather, metal armor. But when you are drawing the sprite, separate them to different parts specifically such as boots, torso, legging, shoulder, glove. So in theory, you only made three armor sprite in total, but when you are making armors, you could recombine the sprite from different part from each tier and have nearly unlimited possibilities (maybe color could plays in effect as well.)

    So for example, the tier 1 armor would be just cloth, and very likely, the very first drop of armor the player might get will looks like clothes torso part with nothing else which offer little to no protection. The next armor that player might get might be cloth torso with cloth glove....cloth boot and more and more until the player start getting armor drops that will gives them full clothes appearence. As the player progress through the game, you might start adding some leather sprites to the clothes sprites and so on and so on with leather and metal, or even clothes and metal. I am not sure if I explained myself clear enough, but if you don't understand what I said, feel free to ask and I will elaborate more.

  11. Well an idea could be she starts with all basic weapons. Knife, Spear, Sword, Mace, bow? As she goes through she will meet a blacksmith or method of upgrading the weapons, perhaps as semi-rare drops along side with using currency to repair. Being a type of "rock paper scissors" where certain weapons do better against each enemy, as you upgrade the weapons the durability and damage goes up.

  12. So far, most people seem to be in support of non-progressive weapons, which I find surprising. To those suggesting an upgrade system or weapon exp, I'd say definitely don't do anything grindy like that. Tie the general power of your weapons to the PC's stats alone. Instead have things like secondary slots on the weapons that you can put gems, ruins, glyphs, whatever into in order to customize the items, while also making it possible to freely remove them at any time. Then have the whatevers be the main loot you can scrounge for around the map.

    For the weapons themselves, I recommend picking out three of them, and having them always be equipped to the character, with a single button press, I can then switch between the three and actively use them in game without having to open the menu. This will encourage players to use all the weapons.

    Armor is a tricky one. If you're going to have alt outfits, it may be best to not have a primary armor slot and instead have the costume be purely cosmetic. Then you don't have to worry about players using outfits they don't like, or not using the ones they do. The other option is to have something like elemental resistances on certain outfits, while giving weaknesses to others. Again, giving better states to one over the other is not recommended.

  13. if i had to pick then non-progressive.

    i don't think making everyone use every weapon is a good thing myself, it seems like it is forcing you to use a weapon you don't like, but just to ask tho how many weapon types are you hoping to add?

    about the armor i think you should just keep her same look no matter what she equips (altho i like the idea of nude h-stuff but thats because i'm not a fan of fully clothed h lol)

    oh and more as a idea maybe you can use a "card system" (like the underrated castlevania circle of the moon) allowing you to use magic/special attacks (you combine 2 cards and they will allow you to use different effects or attacks)

    also maybe add a small upgrading system, like equiping a knife with a "fire element crystal" so you would do more damage to plants and ice monsters but do less damage to water and other fire monsters, (kind of like dark souls :D ) instead of just finding a "fire knife" you know?

    sorry for the long post and any spelling errors i've made, just trying to say everything i thought of and i'm to stupid to notice any of the errors XD

  14. It might be too much work but you could try having armor not change your look, but just have different costumes. And with the weapons you could try having 3 or so weapons in a tier (Bronze long sword, knife, pole-arm to silver long sword, knife, pole-arm).

  15. Non-progressive weapons seems better. It'll be easier to balance if all your base numbers come from the main character's stats. And that gives you more time to make sure each weapon looks cool and is fun to use. Maybe even give each an exclusive special move or 2.

    I hope one weapon option is a rapier like Shanoa gets in Order of Ecclesia. It was really fun taking out enemies with a flurry of stabs. Maybe a slower weapon that covers a wider area would be good too, like Eroico's flame sword.

  16. How about non-progressive weapons with an upgrade system that, rather than stats, adds new attack options to each weapon? And these can be used for both combat and exploration purposes. For example, a hammer can be upgraded with a powerful smash used to break down certain walls and the guards of certain enemies. A spear could be upgraded with a high jump for platforming and attacking aerial enemies. A bow could be upgraded with rope arrows that allow you to pull yourself to distant gaps or enemies/items to you.

    Keep the upgrades limited, one or two max for each weapon, and have a system where you can quickly switch between them (IIRC, Nightmare Sphere just assigned weapons to different buttons, letting you switch up mid combo). By gradually making each weapon necessary to proceed, the player will learn the ins and outs of each one and learn where they situationally excel. Halfway through the game, the player shouldn't even be thinking about pelting that turtle with arrows that just bounce off no matter how much they prefer ranged combat; they should be charging in with the hammer ready to fall.

  17. I think the main thing with getting players to switch to whatever weapon is best for the situation is playtesting and quick and easy switching. Having to pause the game to use a menu every time a different situation comes up is a pain and breaks the pacing. The value of thorough playtesting is obvious.

  18. In my opinion in rpgs weapons are progressive, you start with the old wooden stick and finish with the "brute flail of utter annihilation"... or something :P and the fact that you have to change your playstile is not a bad thing because you're keeping alive the interest. Going start-finish with the same lance because you've found the right trick to stab enemies is boriiiiing. About armor a little visual implementation could be nice, perhaps like diablo 2 or dead space (same base but some pieces added with increasing resilience) so... uhm... you could rip off some clothes and use the same basic model for scenes....BUT scenes are more important than visual candy for me! So you could completely ignore armor :P

  19. how about a mix of both the PC gets the progressive stats of an RPG while the weapons gets more attack options,as for armour how about 3 types of armour
    cloth(light/low Defence),leather(medium/medium Defence) and metal(Heavy/High Defense)and on top of that armour customization(tho only customizable by the blacksmith,tho having a few sets of armour in the inventory would help alot and would change the attack speed to fast to slow depending on the weight of the armour.

  20. Actually, even as a player I prefer progressive equipment - both weapons and armor. That being said, it's all a matter of balance. There is some satisfaction in finding better, more powerful equipment - but no one says it has to be linear path from sword level 1 to sword level 2; There's plenty of space for innovation.

    For example, being able to find better item, but sacrificing it to put/add it's stats to something found earlier. OR general equipment customization. Any and all of those would work.

  21. Either way sounds like it could have it's pros and cons. Do something that won't bore you.

  22. The dark souls/resident evil 4 method of progressive upgradable weapons is really rewarding and fun, but it seems like a lot of work to implement. It does stink to have to stop using a weapon you really like a lot in place of one that does more damage, especially in dark souls where the weapon animations and length etc make a significant difference gameplay wise. I think if you had to choose between just having non-progressive weapons and the opposite end of the spectrum, non-progressive weapons seem friendlier to implement with fewer consequences for the player.

  23. As an avid proponent of H-scene with clothes+underwears on, I propose the following:

    Forgo using armor at all and transfer its utility to some other class of items such as amulets, belts, bracelets, etc.
    If necessary, conjure up a convenient background story.

    ex) The protagonist hails from a particular school of magic users that favors a mix of melee and magic combat style when in battle.
    The style requires its user to be unencumbered by heavy protective garments in order to maintain an enhanced state of mental concentration required to pulse magical powers through the user's body.
    The power allows otherwise untrained magic user to wield even heavy weapons comfortably.

    If you still want to add some variety to the protagonist's appearance while keeping it separate from equipment stats, why not just do it? It's done in some MMOs already.
    You can create a "costume" class of items which does nothing else other than changing the character's appearance.
    Scatter some popular ones - bloomers, bunny girls, etc. - in various hidden places and people still will go through pains to get them even if these costumes don't affect practical gameplay.

  24. For the weapons, I prefer how Dark Souls did it: there's some progression but anything is viable, even with smaller tiers in each category, you can simply upgrade any weapon to keep up damage-wise, or have it's stats be tied to your stats, like how Dark Souls had the E-S rankings on weapons (then again, I'm also the guy who made one of every class in that game specializing in different weapons and spells for each, so I may not be the one to ask for something like this)

    For armor, you could do one of several things:

    A. Simplify the armor to three categories (light, medium, heavy) that have general stat leanings, but each category itself is progressive, with each category having a base appearance and each actual armor just being a different color (the MMO method)

    B. Have armor not actually appear on the character, rather have costume-type items that change the appearance (the FtP method)

    C. Have only a few sets of armor with various stats, but upgradable (the Dark Souls method, for lack of a better name)

    D. What one guy said and not have it be armor, persay, but rather stuff like amulets and rings and stuff that either don't need to be animated, or are possibly easier to (the... EarthBound method?)

    E. ...I'm out of ideas off the top of my head

    Some of these might already have been suggested or I may be missing something, sorry, it's pretty early in the morning when I typed this.

  25. Definitely non-progressive. Make each weapon as unique as you can, so they have their uses against different enemies or situations (you could make weapons help with the platforming like the whip in Castlevania). Then design the levels and the enemies in them around a certain weapon so earlier ones don't get pushed to the side.

    I think that keeps things more interesting.

  26. hmm...interesting enough.....altough having to change between a ton of weapons for each individual situation is not exactly my playstyle i'll go with it cuz i dont want to spill the beans

    theres a question on my mind idk if it was asked once but here we go.....will you make a quick change kinda option to be able to quickly change between weapons for each individual situation? cuz i think that would keep it more on the action and less go to the inventory and change to that weapon every scenery change and if you arent going to make that you could also make the inventory diablo-like for easyer access , those are my thoughs ,hate me for em.

    Have a good day sir

  27. Implement a rock-paper-scissor style weapon classes.

    For weapons, there could be slashing/cutting, stabbing/penetrating, blunt categories, each with multipliers against certain enemy types.

    Slashing/cutting could have small vertical area damage and be effective against unarmored/light opponents while being horrible against larger armored ones.

    Stabbing/penetrating could have a little bit of horizontal range with the ability to penetrate through enemies, and be effective against armored ones, but lose effectiveness against smaller unarmored/light enemies.

    Blunt weapons could be a slow attack with the chance to knock back smaller unarmored/light opponents while stunning larger armored ones.

    As for armor, maybe you should leave that to level and instead try something like spellcasting for active defenses. Summon temporary barrier of water to repel fire, steel shield for physical attacks, wind to deflect ranged attacks, etc.

  28. I haven't read too far into your archives of this game, but in general it's highly situational, and from what I can tell, you want a progressive weapons setup, if the game is not linear.

    Upgrading weapons, at their most basic level, comes in the form of "put shiny boss balls in the weapon to upgrade it." After a player upgrades a weapon a few times, they're not going to want to use that new sword they just found.

    Non-progressive weapons are perfectly fine, but it's not sounding like something you want in this game, as it lacks a change. If you're going to have a town, or you're willing to add some sprite familiar as common of fantasy heroes, then you could have something like [Village elder: The church has a legendary hammer, but they'll only give it to a hero that has killed the dragon that destroyed the town to the north.] or [TotallyNotNaviOrPuck: I heard that there's a magical spear behind a waterfall around here.]

    1. Non-progressive weapons do not lack change, because aside from having different animations, attack power, and speed, they can also have different uses.

      For instance, that spear behind the waterfall may be slower than a dagger and yet attack farther, and be super powerful against a particular enemy.

    2. Ah, yes. I was trying to get at a sort of point where upgraded weapons come in phases at close increment to avoid the "My sword(lv.1) is useless now that I got this new hammer(lv.2), but I like using the sword's style." there would be instead "Oh, I can go to this cave for a new daggers(lv.2) or attack the orc camp for a new axe (lv.2)."

      My assumption was that non-progressive was one weapon type without change, or that someone whom is an axe fanatic might not see their favorite weapon type until late, and I keep thinking of many more problems that I'd run into if I tried to make a game of this scale.

  29. Add armor that changes looks!

    When I was young, I would always get excited when I get visual upgrades to my characters in games. Such as megaman or even in FF1 your characters changed looks after a certain quest.

    1. Yeah, if I can manage it I will. I've always loved it in other games.

  30. How about non-progressive weapons with removeable, progressive updates?
    Like you have a sword and a speer and in the end they are both same effective. And while playing you find (i dunno...) orbs you can put in any of your weapon and make it stronger. And you find new, better orbs and you can easily remove the old ones. It doesn't need any new animations and it's fair

    1. With upgrading boss balls, either they're static, upgrade one and it's a better weapon for life and the alternate equipment dies to neglect; or if you can remove them but there's only one kind of upgrade, and then you're just juggling boss balls from weapon to weapon depending on what the situation asks; or the boss balls are removable and have different effects, which could be a coding nightmare, induce writer's block for finding more than two to four kinds of boss balls, and so on.

      The only way I could see this streamlined for play is if the character has some piece of equipment to throw the temporary buffs into, like a bracelet that holds jewels that have 3-8 different possible jewel type. If there's a gem that increases attack speed, the only way I could see to work it would be reducing the amount of frames in the animation, depending on how it's animated, either going from [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8] to [1,2,4,5,7,8] or [2,4,6,6,3] to [2,3,6,6,2].

    2. If anything affected attack speed, it wouldn't effect the number of frames, but literally the speed at which it displayed them.

      As for upgrade orbs, I doubt it's something I'll go for. Though there will be a couple skills that change certain things, which will technically have the same effect.

  31. Progressive weaponry (weapons that gain stats/exp over time and use) requires balance to make sure neither weapon gets too over-powered, but that doesn't seem too difficult. Having a variety of weapon types that can gain experience via frequent use or by plugging in stat points offers a lot of variety and chance for experimentation. The downsides however lie in that the game could get super grindy in the pursuit of more powerful weaponry, and it would reinforce a mentality where players won't want to step out of their comfort zones and experiment with ALL types of weaponry, as they don't want to switch to weapons with lower stats, and will re-use non-ideal weapon types simply because that's the type they poured more stats into.

    On the other hand, you have your limited weapon types (like Zelda items) where you unlock more "tools of the trade" over time that offer a variety of fighting styles at similar strength levels, varying in practicality based on the situation at hand. The problem with this is an innate lack of interest, as the game would feel less dynamic with weapons that don't vary in some way, making it feel overall more linear. I personally love a game where it gets easier or harder based on how tactfully/foolishly I invest/waste my stats in my weapons.

    There's also Castlevania Style where there's a massive complex weapon fusion system that can lead to ultimate weapons with set stats that- wait I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about. The problem with this is more on you; it'll be difficult to put that many weapons in your game.

    Each option has its considerations. Personally, I would love to see multiple weapon types (heavy and slow, ranged, quick and short, etc) and a limited number of stat increases per weapons (up to 6 "levels" of strength, up to 3 in speed, etc), increased through individual weapon use instead of stat point pickups or general EXP gain. With individual weapon exp based on use, you will be rewarded for weapon preference since the more you use a weapon, the stronger it gets. But each weapon is still approachable since getting from level 1 to 2 requires the same amount of effort for each weapon. You won't have a "general character exp system", therefore if you get to level 10 and pour 10 stat points in one weapon, it won't feel like a shitload of effort to pour one stat point in a new weapon after the gigantic exp requirement to get from lv. 10 to lv. 11. The player character would remain the same strength, but the weapons and items would become stronger. And if you want to sprinkle some max health expansion pickups then that would be fine too.


  33. I recommend against swappable upgrades, weapon-based XP, etc. These add complexity without really adding depth. Especially per-weapon upgrades, because this punishes players for using a variety of weapons.

    Halo is a good hybrid model to follow, I think. Weapons are good in different situations. Some weapons are clearly stronger (rocket launcher), which is exciting when you get them, but they have drawbacks so that you still want to mix it up.
    Cave Story is a good 2D example of this. Again, some weapons are "stronger", but there's no single weapon that's best in all situations.
    Metroid generally has weapon progression (shot to ice to wave), but requires certain weapons (ice) to access secrets or defeat specific enemies (metroids).

    These games all allow hot-swapping weapons, which means one or two more keys on your keyboard. If you want to avoid this and equip weapons on a subscreen, make the weapons good in situations that span a whole level: one weapon is good against fire enemies (so you use it in the volcano area), or good when you're moving vertically (so you equip it for shafts and unequip it for horizontal areas).