[5] Character Progression And Stats Rework

12/22/2023, 05:00pm

I've been spending some time figuring out how to improve the feeling of progression in the game. Player Characters should have the freedom to experiment with different combat styles, skills, and items, as well as have access to lots of content relating to all aspects of the game. However, I also want to reward specialization and create interesting paths for Player Characters to take, with some paths even closing off others.

In this regard, one of the new features I've been prototyping a bit is Cyberware. Cyberware chips can be installed in your characters brain to give them "focus points" towards a particular skill, or set of skills. Once installed they can be tough (or impossible) to get removed. Focus points increase the amount of experience points recieved in a skill, along with increasing the level cap of that skill. The idea is that by becoming a cyborg you can specialize further and become more powerful than typically possible. You just need to sacrifice a piece of your humanity to do so. If this feature sticks around and gets another iteration, I'll write a more in-depth post about it.

I made health bars a bit easier to visually parse. Now they are separated into sections, each one representing 5 health points. This makes it possible to quickly gauge your relative strength against other characters and monsters. It's also satisfying to see your character's health pool grow in a tangible way.

Each Skill level up now increases your Max Health and Stamina. Combat skills have more influence on this growth, but even if you play a pacifist character, you'll still become a bit more tough and fit over time.

Additionally, I made some adjustments to combat calculations with the goal of better rewarding Player Characters for training Skills in addition to simply acquiring better equipment.

Characters and Monsters now have attack/defense ratings that are used to determine hit chance in combat. Monsters generally just derive these ratings from their static damage and armor values. Entities with equipment though, like Player Characters, derive them from the damage and armor of each item equipped, as well as their mastery of those items and relevant skills. Of course, modifiers from things like status effects and enchantments are also taken to account in both of these scenarios. I also changed the max hit calculation, so now instead of being purely damage-based, it is based on the damage, combat style, and mastery of your main weapon (or if you have none - your fists). This creates a scenario where items that you may normally out-level will implicitly improve for you in a minor way if you continue to spend time training your weapon skills.

At this point I've iterated on this stuff at least five times, and I'll probably do so again. But I think for the moment this creates a much more interesting difficulty and progression curve. Hope to make another post soon.

- Declan (@dooskington)