Kanohi masks and other extra powers
bionicle fighter game game design kanohi powers
Part of a series of posts about my game.
Up until now, all special powers have shared the same energy bar. This works nicely from a programming perspective, and probably from a player's perspective as well. It's nice and simple. However, it's not entirely in thread with canon, and it limits my options when it comes to programming the strength of each effect and the amount of energy each ability should drain.
Let's take the Kanohi Kualsi, for example. This one lets the user teleport within a certain range. It is meant for bypassing obstacles, allowing a quick get-away, and also to confuse an opponent while also making closing the gap to him or her very easy. It drains a standard amount of energy (10 points) per use, and changes in speed and range depending on the user's stats. However, it has a few issues.
1) There is a brief cool-down period after every use. This is just long enough to make a melee attack straegy somewhat unfeasible.
2) It's dependence on the Mind stat means that people with little Mind not only has worse range and targeting speed, but also less energy to use it at all.
3) With low energy reserves, using both elemental attacks and Kanohi abilities removes the ability to effectively use the other. A character with a low energy pool and low stats in elemental attacks are essentially a heck of a lot more crippled in all aspects than the ones with high stats.
Long story short: Say goodbye to the shared energy bar.
First, I'll remove the air bar from the HUD, as it serves no purpose most of the time. Instead it will appear in a sensible location while underwater or otherwise losing points from your air supply. Taking its place beneath the elemental energy bar will now be the secondary power bar. This bar will be used for Kanohi, Rahkshi flight (more on this later), Skakdi vision powers, and other such things. The primary energy bar will stay the same, keeping track of the energy used for elemental powers, Rahkshi/Kraata powers, and so on.
With the Kanohi separated into their own energy bar, I can now play more loosely with their functionality. A Kanohi power can now be allowed to have both a strong effect and a high energy drain, without me worrying about this removing all elemental power capability in the process. All Huna-users can now throw out some elemental attacks without instantly turning visible again, and I can add proper strengths/limits on other mask powers as well.
Now, as I've mentioned before, stats are being reworked. The Mind stat in its current form will be gone. Toa will, on the character menu, have access to more specific Kanohi perks. Every Kanohi will have an average power level. There will be two available perks for each mask, where one will generally increase the maximum duration and/or times it can be used in quick succession while the second perk will make the power better/stronger somehow. Some utility masks such as Night Vision won't really work too well with a limited duration, so they will instead have something else as the first perk.
To be specific, a typical mask selection may look something like this:
Kanohi Ruru, Mask of Night Vision
Without mask power: Visibility is decreased to a short radius around the user while in dark areas. Only light-giving powers such as fire and lasers will be able to give the user more visibility (at the cost of revealing themselves to others).
When using the normal mask power: Allows the user to see in the dark, although with a deep green tint. Activates automatically once the user enters darkness and uses no energy. If the user encounters bright light while the power is active, they will be partly blinded for a few seconds.
Perks/upgrades (costs 1 point each):
[ ] Night Vision works in true color display instead of a tinted image. Prevents being blinded from sudden light.
[ ] Can see through elemental darkness. Activating the mask power can now cast some light at the surrounding area as well.
Penalties/downgrades (rewards 1 point each)
[ ] Takes a short while to switch between regular vision and night vision.
[ ] Decreased night vision range, making the outer rim of the screen stay dark even while in night vision.
Other masks will be detailed later, this is just one example. May be subject to change before release if game balance turns out to need adjustment.
Now, you may be wondering: What happens if I choose a certain perk, then change my mask in the middle of a match? Well, since masks will mostly be set up to have one perk related to duration and one related to the mask's power level, they will translate rather well into one another. Equip a duration-boosted Huna and you can rely on the masks you pick up to be duration-boosted as well. If not, the perk will be chosen that best fits the spirit of the one you originally picked. This is what happens currently as well, with some masks having their strength boosted (Kakama, Pakari) based on Mind while others instead boost range (Kualsi) or other things.
Furthermore, there'll be a very brief delay on picking up new masks and/or items. A short pick-up animation, nothing more. It's just to prevent characters from running around and rapidly switch masks in the middle of a fight at absolutely no risk, especially since there will be more ways to block attacks with shields.
Rahkshi have always been unable to use Kanohi, which means that half the items littering the battlefield will often be unusable to them. I may allow a Rahkshi to pick up a Kanohi and carry it as if it was a weapon, with an attack then throwing it away. This would be used mostly to deny Toa from getting that mask, or perhaps to toss it to an ally in a team match.
Random idea: Rahkshi could potentially also gain the ability to infect a mask by picking it up and holding it for a short while. Once dropped, the taint would be clearly visible, and it would fade after a while. If a Toa foolishly tries to equip it, it will stun them for a few seconds while they fight off the taint's mind control effect. If a stun proves too much, it might drain elemental energy or mask bar energy instead. After this, the mask will be completely cleansed and usable again.
Now, Rahkshi flight. Currently, Rahkshi can fly at will at no penalty. This makes them pretty much immune to fall damage and allows them to reach any location on the map without trouble. Basing their flight off what is seen in the movie Mask of Light, and what seems to be their tactics in other media, I have decided that the Rahkshi will have their flight style changed. A tap of the Kanohi button (which is not used for anything in Rahkshi) will make them switch into flight/glide mode. In this mode, they hover above the ground and travel at a higher speed than normal. They can fire off their projectile powers, but are more limited in terms of melee attack.
Also keeping with canon, a Rahkshi's staff will allow propulsion, thus making them able to take full flight. Otherwise, they will not be able to gain as much height or speed. Gravity will still pull the hovering Rahkshi downwards a bit, though it will not crash into the ground and take fall damage. Due to the way powers and stats will be set up, the staff will no longer have the +1 level boost. It will keep the ability to channel a weaker version of the set Rahkshi power (or full-power if wielded by the proper Rahkshi), as well as be a formidable melee weapon with good range and decent blocking capabilities.
While flying/gliding, the Rahkshi cannot block. It will be as vulnerable as it is while undefended on the ground, though its lock threshold will still come into play: An attack that breaks the threshold will also break the Rahkshi out of flight mode. This enables immediate combat, but also forces a drop instead of a graceful landing. Since switching back takes a second or two, the Rahkshi may very well take fall damage unless it has enough time before it hits the ground.
So, a Rahkshi with a shield may still be a bit more secure in flight mode, at the cost of not having the extra propulsion a staff will grant. Still, you'll have a hard time running from a Rahkshi that's chasing you in flight mode. Take advantage of its inability to defend instead and blast it down!
"Flight" will take the place of Kanohi perks on the Rahkshi's character menu. The stats you can choose to upgrade/downgrade will be maximum flight time before recharge as well as the maximum speed/"jump boost" of flight.
There's been some planning recently for new species, since so many seem to want them. This is perfectly understandable, and since the new engine is planned to use a more modular system for powers and such, I can take the liberty to introduce Skakdi just by giving them stronger weapons and weaker elemental powers, heh.
For Skakdi, their vision powers would take the place of Kanohi powers.
Vortixx would have some sort of weapons or tech to be equipped instead of a power. For ease of programming and balancing the game, this could allow me to map the Miru's levitation power to simpel Vortixx jetpack graphics, and so on.