You Got Skills

It’s been a busy past couple of weeks for me lately. I went to two family reunions, went on vacation with my fiancee, visited with my brother who came back from Japan for for a week, and hosted a crazy LAN party… all while actually being quite productive on BM2.

So I don’t have any cool new demo for you guys but I want to let you know what I’ve been working on and give you some more details about how skills/upgrades will work in the game.

Currently I’ve been finishing up the Saved Game Profile system that works similar to Bowmaster Prelude. I redesigned the code from the ground up to meet the needs of the exciting new skills/upgrades system in BM2. The skills system is currently being developed and I’m making great progress on the front end user-interface design of the action bar and skill book. If you’ve played World of Warcraft you’ll notice a similar design.

In Prelude you had a user interface that allowed you to setup your action bars with skills using a window that showed all of your action bar rows along with all of your available skills. You could drag and drop skill icons into the action bars you wanted them to be in and then when you exited to the game window you would see the changes reflected in your lower action bar. The current issue with that method for BM2 is that I plan on having so many skills available for the player to use that they may not all fit on a single page…

The way it works in BM2 is similar but way more intuitive and allows for many more skills. Now you have a skill book that is tabulated by elemental type (e.g. fire, ice, light, dark, etc.). While in the game you simply click on your skill book button to bring up the skill book while in game. Clicking on a skill book tab will show you the available action-skills that are available for you to use in your lower action bar. There are other miscellaneous tabs for other stats too, but for now I’ll focus on the skills and action bar.

Using the skill book you can drag and drop action-skills to the action bar. You can also drag action-skills from one spot on the action bar to another and easily swap two action skills (e.g. place ice arrow that is in spot 1 at spot 4 where fire arrow is, now fire arrow is in spot 1 and ice arrow is in spot 4).

Perhaps the most interesting thing about my planned design is not the action skills alone (e.g. fire arrow, ice arrow) but the ability to purchase modification upgrades. For example, every profile will start with at least the basic arrow skill. A skill modification would be something like "multi shot". You’ve seen something like this before in Bowmaster 1 where you could upgrade how many arrows of a specific type you could shoot. Now I plan on having other interesting skill-mods, and the ability to purchase them for all sorts of different skills opens up several combinations of upgrade configurations…

So just to re-cap, I have several base elements in the game… Fire, Ice, Wind, Earth, etc…

Every element has a basic arrow type skill…. fire arrow, ice arrow, etc. These skills start off with the ability to fire a single shot at a time. With the new mod system, you can purchase abilities that will be applied to a specific skill.

Here’s a few of the skill mods:

  • Multi Shot: Allows you to shoot two or more of a type of projectile at once in an even spread.
  • Rapid Shot: Allows you fire multiple projectiles at the specified angle and velocity.
  • Power Shot: Allows you to fire a stronger version of the projectile. The shot has a delay and will be fired at the angle you specified when you released the bow.
  • Homing: The projectile will have the ability to home in on a specific target.
  • No Gravity: The projectile will not be affected by gravity.

You’ll be able to purchase several mods for the same projectile type. E.g. your fire arrow can have multi-shot and rapid-shot, while your ice arrow can have rapid shot, homing, and no-gravity mods.

Mods will also have a rank level (that increases through through repeated use or by purchasing upgrades). So rank 1 multi shot will start you off with two arrows per shot, and with each increase in rank you will be able to shoot more of that projectile. The affects of increased mod rank will depend on the mod type. A low rank homing mod will just not be able to turn the projectile as fast as a high rank homing mod.

Note that not all skills will have access to all possible skill mods. I’ll be making sure nothing gets too overpowered. And to do this, I’ll be adding an element not seen in previous Bowmaster games: Mana/Energy. Skills will still have cooldowns like in Prelude but now certain abilities will require that you have enough energy in your mana pool to perform them. The use of mana will add a new element of strategy to the game. I promise to balance this element so that it doesn’t seem restrictive — Mana resources just need to be considered when you ask yourself, "should I use Fire Storm or Ice Storm?"– in Prelude, as long as both cooldowns weren’t counting down, you could use both one after the other.

The skill mods for each skill will be displayed just above the skill action bar. When you select a skill in the action bar to activate it, you’ll see the list of skill mods available for that skill. All projectile skills will have the single-shot "mod" listed first, and all additionally acquired mods will be displayed after it.

Figure 1: Basic Arrow, Single Shot Mod Selected

Figure 2: Skill in Button 2 Selected, Multi-Shot Mod Available

Figure 3: Skill in Button 3 Selected, Rapid-Shot and No-Grav Mods Available

Stay tuned for more updates!