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Strategy RPG Prototype

Made in Game Maker Studio

This is a game that’s been floating around in my head for some time now, but is currently on the backburner. It’s essentially a combination between the monster collecting and raising from Pokemon and the Strategy RPG mechanics of Fire Emblem. The furthest I got with it was a prototype I developed in Game Maker Studio by combining the knowledge I gained from SergeantIndie’s turn-based strategy tutorial and HeartBeast’s turn-based RPG tutorial (which has since been taken down but a Godot equivalent is now up). I originally envisioned it as an iOS game and so I did actually get it working on my phone, which was exciting! It was a pain in the ass because of all the configurations and certificates and what have you that I needed to get my head around, but I got there!

The prototype was mostly designed as a base to start with where I could see what kinds of abilities I could implement, so there wasn’t any form of level structure or balancing in play. I had about 10 different monsters of different types, who each had their own sets of stats and abilities. I envisioned the gameplay being very kinetic and systems-focused, so while there were simple abilities like fireballs and lightning bolts (which took into account the targets’ types when calculating damage!), some of the characters could do more complex things like charge across the room (taking enemies with them), alter the movement costs of tiles, or even plant traps that could blow up in enemies’ faces. The order of operations of things that could trigger off of one another started to get very complex and I lost sight of how to implement it within GameMaker. I could envision ways that I could work it out in a more traditional programming language and so I decided to one day start it from scratch in Unreal. I did love the way that everything moved and interacted even at this early stage, so I knew this direction for a strategy game would be a winner.

I’ve got to see if I can find the old executables, or at least some screenshots, so I can share more details about the design. But in the meantime the sprite I made for one of the characters is up there, and here’s a summary of what I achieved with this prototype:

  • Coded myself using GML

  • Utilised JSON structures and OOP principles to create different creature units with their own stats and skills

  • Implemented basic A* pathfinding, and extended the functionality to account for things like tiles with terrain that cost differing amounts of move actions e.g. rubble that has a higher move cost or tiles charged by unit abilities so that it has no move cost at all

  • Implemented basic procedural generation algorithms to create a different playing space with different units each time the game is loaded

  • Created sprites myself in a variety of programs

  • Used mobile development modules to compile it for iOS devices, and utilised mobile-specific features such as touch controls and on-screen buttons

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