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Posts relating to Programon:

5 years ago

Weekly Update

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: Art Concept ArtProgramon
Programon - or Beast Signer or whatever it'll end up being called - is coming along well. You know... that thing I talked about last time, whenever that was.

I've got the basic platforming engine set up and stuff, and have made some customisable player character sprite things. Now it's time to finalise the gameplay mechanics and designs some monsters; it is a monster catching game, after all!

Since I've been working on getting better at art over the last year or to, I can approach this more seriously than I did with Beast Signer Alpha. With THAT - and MARDEK too - I just drew the monsters directly into the game without really *designing* them first, leading to some rather bland results.

This time, I'm doing what I did with Miasmon, and drawing monsters before even THINKING of adding them to the game, going through various sketches until I end up with something that I like.

Here are some that I've done so far:

I'll continue working with these, and I intend to get the in-game menus (a boring but necessary feature) and a very basic battle system set up by the end of the week. It's doable!!
5 years ago

Update: Beast Signer?

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
I've not updated here in a while, I know. I've been very out of touch with Fig Hunter for a while now, and I've felt better as a result of it. I know that this site is very useful to a lot of people, but, well, I've said enough times before why ∞ I don't like it ∞, so there's no need to go over it again. I've been turning my attentions elsewhere, trying to find somewhere where I belong, and I've been doing that rather than working on games, I'm sorry to say.

I have several games 'in progress' at the moment... Miasmon, Timid Cervid, Chamaeleon, Clarence RPG, and probably more that I can't think of right now. I WANT to finish them all! I'd also like to get to MARDEK 4 eventually. But I know that each one has a long road before I can get to the point where it's Finished, and then I'll have to worry about *marketing* it, and ugh, it's all very off-putting. Especially since I plan to go to university in September, so I feel like I need to get SOMETHING done before then.

I've decided that I'll return to several old ideas that I've had the *concept* for for a while, but I've always avoided actually starting serious work on them because I felt I should finish something else first.
The ideas were for things like Fig Hunter Online, or Beast Signer (Online), or other similar things that I've talked about using different names.

The general idea behind them is that they'd be games that start with very little content, but update regularly - maybe once a week - rather than having to wait until they're fully Finished before you can play them. Your saved data would be tied to your account on the website, so you'd be able to play them from anywhere. It's a similar concept that many games like that AdventureQuest thing seem to use. I've understood the technology behind it for years, but always worried that my skills were never good enough to pull it off.

The game that I want to make using this idea would be Beast Signer... sort of. It might get a different name; I may reuse the 'Programon' name for that recent thing that I talked about.
So it'd be a monster-catching game.

Interestingly, though, it'd also be a side-scrolling platformer! Or the field bits would be, anyway. When travelling around from Town A to Town B, rather than just holding down an arrow key and wandering along a top-down route avoiding long grass, you'd have to run and jump around on blocks and stuff. Monsters and trainers would walk around like platformer enemies do, and touching them would take you to a battle scene like in a typical RPG. The wandering monsters wouldn't be randomised, and they'd have set species, so rather than just hoping for the Random Number God to favour you with a rare monster when wandering around in long grass, you'd find the rare ones by perhaps finding hidden passages, or simply exploring at length, or things like that. It seems much more rewarding that way to me.
I like this idea, because as much as I adore the top-down view, whenever I find myself wanting to have quick, simple fun with a game, I find myself playing a platformer, simply because there's a joy from the movement itself that I can't get from top-down wandering.
I imagine that the side-scrolling bits would be fairly generic; I'm not exactly going for innovation. It certainly wouldn't be challenging either; there might not be any way to die in the platformer bits. Or maybe there would be. I'm not sure.
It'd be more about the fun of free movement than about precision jumping, though. There wouldn't necessarily be *obstacles* or anything, just like walking between two towns in Pokemon doesn't involve puzzle-solving or tricky manoeuvres or anything.

The battling itself would probably be 2 vs 2, like Pokemon double battles. Probably. Maybe. Perhaps. I've worked out many details, but they're tedious technical things that people might actually be interested in, but which I'm not really interested in writing about. o_O
I might use the silly Programon elemental types I came up with recently though; these things: ∞ Fig Hunter ∞

I THINK that I might make it so that monsters go through various stages of evolution... The stages would be the same as the Miasmon ones; Essent, Transient, Prime and Paragon.
Similar to the other Beast Signer (and Digimon things, which is where this came from), each monster might have its own 'growth tree', where it could evolve into divergent forms based on certain criteria (power form, magic form, etc). Each family would be different; there'd be no set Template that they'd all follow, and they wouldn't be based on elements or anything either. Some monsters might have entirely linear trees, some may never reach Paragon stage, some essents might be able to become half a dozen different prime forms, depending on how you treated them. It'd depend on the monster!
Some monsters might even share forms with entirely different families, like Embark (fiery dog Essent from Miasmon) having 'Wolflare' (fiery wolf) as its main prime form, but Gruul (Essent) might have Wolflare amongst its prime forms too (though it'd probably take special circumstances to get there, and you'd usually get Gruul's 'normal' grey werewolf-like prime form instead). That's all very much a maybe, but I liked how that kind of thing was possible with Digimon (in certain games, anyway).

The way you'd acquire new monsters would use ideas from Miasmon and Alora Fane.
Rather than catching wild ones, you'd have to clone level 1 Essents and start from scratch with each one. To be able to clone a monster, you'd need its 'card'. You could buy these cards from a shop (this would allow me to use microtransactions for them in future), OR you could get one by defeating every instance of a certain monster species in the World (which I'll describe in a minute) that you find it in. You might be able to find these cards in treasure chests or get them as rewards and stuff like that, too.
Interestingly - perhaps annoyingly - you'd also need the right card before any monster could evolve.
Evolution wouldn't happen automatically. Instead, once the monster reached the right level, it'd, I don't know, start glowing or something, and there'd be a message on its status screen saying it was ready for evolution. From the menu, you could select some EVOLVE option, which would take you to the monster's growth tree, showing the potential forms it met the criteria to evolve into. You could choose one! Or you could train it more to unlock other forms before evolving (maybe it couldn't get any experience at this point, though?). You'd need the card for the evolution though; common forms' cards would be easy to find or cheap to buy, so it wouldn't be too much of an issue, but this would solve the problem of people training things that had no evolved forms added to the game yet, and getting frustrated when they didn't evolve, or something. Adding new monsters would work a lot easier with this cards system.

Oh, and the setting would probably be similar to Beast Signer Alpha's, in that it'd involve going into a virtual world and battling with monsters that are essentially bugs in the code, but there probably wouldn't be a single plot with characters and stuff. You'd probably start the game at the Hub; there'd be no remnant colony bit.
You'd make a custom character, choosing between the two sexes, and one of five races: pale, tanned and black humans, wolf-headed anthros, and reptilian anthros. (Mainly they'd share one of two bodies, but their heads and skin colour would differ between the races.)
You'd be able to equip clothing (probably a top, pants, and a hat), which would affect your appearance in battle and in the field (of course).

Gameplay would involve travelling to various different self-contained WORLDS.
Each World would have its own areas, monsters, and story; they wouldn't be connected to other worlds or anything, and you could only get to worlds from the Hub. This would easily allow me to add new Worlds each week, without worrying about some overarching Plot thing, or adding things that could break other things.
They'd be sort of like the episodes of a TV series in that their plots would be set up and resolved within a short amount of time. They'd be short stories, more like single side quest kinds of things rather than GRAND EPICS that span many hours and involve saving the world.

The main things that delay the progress of my games are the need to *design* things, like details of the plot, or monsters, or things like that. So I have some potentially appealing ideas that could both help me with that, and which could involve players a whole lot more!

One of them is something I've talked about several times over the years, in regards to Beast Signer, Miasmon, and other things: a Design A Beast contest!
I'd have one each week, where artists could submit drawings of their original monster designs, and other players could vote on what they thought was the best one. The winner each week would be added to the game (I'd make the graphics for it using their concept drawing as a base for the design), and the in-game Bestiary would credit them for its creation.
It'd save me the pain of designing everything myself (though I would design SOME monsters), and would make it so that players could make a real impact on the project!

I know that not everyone is an artist, though, so it could be frustrating for people who want to contribute but can't draw.
So I have another idea!
Since the Worlds would be self-contained and would have their own short plots, that'd mean a lot of plots. I doubt I'd be able to come up with a new, interesting one on a weekly basis, so I could run Write An Episode contests!
These would allow people to write a short story which could then be made into a World. They'd not be able to build the areas themselves or anything, but they could describe them, and the characters that would be involved, and things like that, and I'd use their short story or script to build the World myself. I'd probably make adaptations here and there, and wouldn't be using scripts written by 13-year-olds verbatim or anything like that (so you can stop worrying about the game being really terrible!1), but I'd use their idea as a base (unless the writing was really good, anyway). And since there'd be voting and everything, I'd be using the most popular ideas, which would hopefully appeal to a lot of people.
To get an idea of the expected length of a story, think of things like an episode of a long-running series like Star Trek or Stargate SG-1 or Doctor Who or things like that. Long enough for stuff to happen, but NOT something like a full-length RPG such as Final Fantasy.

I may or may not make some 'official NPCs' who could be optionally implemented into players' stories so they didn't have to work with nothing. And of course I'd write some Worlds myself!

This whole game idea appeals to me because I could probably get it up and running in a month or two. It'd generate money through advertising, and eventually I could add microtransactions too (the game is designed in such a way that you could buy things like outfits or new, rare monster cards using real money if I ever decided to add that).
I don't have to wait to Finish a game, nor do I have to deal with sponsors or anything.

It's a plan I've had many times before, but now, I think, is the time to finally start it. It seems the most sensible route at this point for various reasons I could talk about at great length but won't.

I'll probably make a separate site for it, rather than just making it a part of Fig Hunter. But I've not decided yet. We'll see.

Sigh! If I'd gone this way with Miasmon, I bet I would have had it out within a month! The reason it took so long was the designing of monsters, and rewriting the plot over and over again. Without those two problems, a game like this would hopefully be swift indeed!
5 years ago

Programon Types (EDIT 3)

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: IdeasProgramonTimid Cervid
I know I've been going on about my ~emotions~ for weeks, unintentionally offending a large percentage of my audience, and not releasing any new games or anything... and I know that must get annoying!1

SO I think I'll write some posts about game development to try to make up for that.

I mentioned the other day that I was thinking of making a game with silly Pokemon-like types, and I listed a few ideas. I'm still thinking about that, and I've developed my ideas further!

I have a potential in-development name for the game: 'Programon'. This comes from two possible ideas for the game's setting.

I heard this really fascinating concept on a radio programme the other day! It mentioned a realistic form of reincarnation, where upon your death, you'll find yourself instantly resurrected in the distant future, in a computer program at the end of the universe which had been built by a hyper-advanced race in order to simulate everything that existed before the universe was destroyed, including, of course, you.
It's a fairly outlandish concept, but fascinating, particularly for fantasy.
I wondered whether the game could be set in such a setting... It'd start with your character's funeral in the real world, but then you'd wake up in this strange world called 'The Program' (since it is of course a computer program).
It would be imperfect, however, and monsters - 'bugs' - would have arisen from the code based on things like peoples' thoughts and ideas (which is why they'd have types like Religion and Food).
Then you'd, uh, train them for some reason.

That's very similar to Beast Signer, so I thought that maybe I could just use the story of that... where you're a Signer who goes into the virtual world that was built on a war-torn planet for the survivors to live better lives in. And stuff. Monsters could still be called 'bugs' rather than 'beasts', and the virtual world could still be called 'The Program'.

I'd prefer to develop my ideas alone, so I'm not looking for suggestions, BUT I thought it might at least be interesting for people to read about my ideas anyway, so they can watch the game develop over time.

I thought more about the types, and what they might be weak against or resistant to; an amusing exercise! Here's an image of what I have so far:

UPDATE 3: Changes to the grid, of course!

UPDATE 2: I've done a complete overhaul of the weaknesses and resistances in order to make it not too crowded. It's not yet balanced though!

UPDATE 1: The grid no longer corresponds to the rationalisations below, as I've altered it based on suggestions and my own ideas.
I'm wondering whether to reduce the number of weaknesses and resistances for each type though; Pokemon types tend to probably only have 'three or four' weaknesses and resistances each, while I've got loads and loads of relationships. HMM.

And here are the rationalisations for those relationships (based on the effects of an attacker's strike):

- Evolved to kill other animals
- Devours food
- Can't really damage buildings
- Or metal gadgets
- Or ghosts and the unexplained
- Technology and science of all kinds is animal-proof, in fact

- Is land-based and can't hit flying things
- Gnaws on bones, destroying undead
- Devours food
- Smashes up buildings
- Is thwarted by technology
- Devours pirates
- And ninja
- Is useless against ghosts and aliens
- Disproves religion
- Is merely a specimen to science
- Can't do much against magic

- Has the upper hand against land-based animals
- And dinosaurs
- And forest creatures
- Can blow away filth
- Can barely make a mark on buildings
- Or technology
- Swoops away pirates
- And ninja
- Is useless against ghosts and aliens
- Isn't great against the laws of science

- Their powers of darkness are partly absorbed by other dark creatures
- They corrupt nature, being unnatural abominations as they are
- Useless against the power of love!!
- Their dark energies can destroy ghosts and aliens
- They are weak against holy things
- They baffle and stun science

- Is land-based, and can't really reach airborne things
- Struggles against unnatural abominations
- Struggles to ward away filth
- Can destroy buildings
- Resisted by technology
- Conquered by pirates
- Helpless against the supernatural
- And the divine
- Explained by science, can't fight back
- Useless against magic that defies the laws on nature

- Stuffs and bloats animals
- And dinosaurs
- Is refused by undead
- Architecture doesn't eat
- Pirates will stop their rampages for a good meal
- Refused by ghosts and aliens

- Makes animals ill
- Doesn't stick to airborne things
- Blends in with nature
- Rots food
- Blends in with other filth
- Dilapidates buildings
- Rusts and clogs up gadgets
- Doesn't bother filthy pirates
- Disgusts religions, as is clear by many of their commandments
- Is easily waved away by magic

- Can't do much against moving targets
- Especially if they're airborne!
- Encroaches upon and destroys nature
- Is controlled by gadgets
- Can contain paranormal phenomena
- Can cause religious types to want to worship
- Is easily warded by science
- Is putty in the hands of magic

- Cleans up filth
- Hacks other gadgets
- Is ignored when love shows up
- Not yet able to detect paranormal phenomena reliably!
- Shunned by religion
- Impresses science types
- Doesn't impress magical types

- Tames beasts
- Doesn't tame dinosaurs
- Is ignored by the undead
- Isn't much appreciated by foodstuffs
- Is laughed at by filth
- Doesn't affect buildings
- Or technology
- Loves love!
- All pirates need is a hug!
- Ninja too!
- "What is this thing you humans call 'love'?"
- Pacifies the religious, who hold it as a value
- Dissected by cold science
- The strongest magic of all!!

- Struggles when fighting giant extinct lizards; not really their area of expertise
- Can't reach flying things very well
- Unfamiliar with battling unholy horrors
- Devours food
- Likes breaking furniture and smashing up towns
- Holds back against other pirates due to a Pirate's Code
- Hates and defeats ninja!
- Smashes up science!
- Terrible when faced by magic

- Also unfamiliar with battling ancient thunder lizards
- And can't reach flying things
- Familiar with myths and legends; used to battling eldritch phantasms and such
- Prefers not to destroy buildings
- Hates and defeats pirates
- Reluctant to defeat other ninja
- Familiarity with magic and monsters leads to effectiveness against the paranormal
- And magic

- Ignored completely by animals
- Wishy-washy unexplained phenomena pale in comparison to real dark magic
- Supernatural; better than nature!
- Haunts houses; aliens zap buildings
- No good at leaving an impression on gadgets
- Scares pirates
- Ninja are prepared, though
- Competent within its own familiar domain
- Explained away by religion
- Baffles scientists
- Warded by magicians

- Can't explain dinosaurs very well
- Turns undead
- Can't preach to a building
- Or to gadgets
- Love listens
- Shunned by pirates
- And ninja; contrasts too much with their lifestyles
- Explains away the paranormal
- Rejected by science

- Explains dinosaurs
- Can't explain undead
- Still struggling to explain nature
- Cleans up filth
- Hacks gadgets
- Ignored by love
- Can't explain the paranormal
- Criticises religion heavily
- Can't explain magic
- Or art

- Destroys dark magic
- Inferior to nature
- Doesn't do much to technology
- Ignored by love
- Defeats pirates
- The best defence against the unknown
- Trumps science
- Resisted by other wizards

- Not understood by animals
- Or dinosaurs
- Or the undead
- Captures nature
- Ruined by filth
- Well-received by love
- Ignored by pirates
- And ninja
- Captures religious ideas
- Impresses wizards
- Enjoyed by other artists
- Scoffed at by musicians, who feel superior

- Ignored by animals
- And dinosaurs
- And the undead
- Well-received by love
- Scoffed at by artists
- Enjoyed by other magicians

Phew. Well, that took ages!

These are not at all balanced!! I only went through them once, and the numbers don't exactly add up; there are no doubt many types that are significantly inferior to others.

Instead of spending forever tweaking things myself, though, I thought I'd - gasp - actually ask people here what they thought.
So if you have any suggestions for type relationships that should be added, removed, changed, or whatever, in order to better balance the grid, then I'd be interested in hearing them! I won't necessarily accept *all* suggestions, but I'll keep altering this based on what people say, and we'll see if it's any better in a few days' time.

I may not necessarily keep all of these types! But for now, there seem to be enough of them and they are fairly interesting and unusual!