Unity Splash Screen
Any World Games Splash Screen
[Screen fades to white]
The entire screen is abruptly covered in kaleidoscopic and fractal color patterns, swirling and swaying for a second, which quickly fades to a view well above a forest stretching into the distant mountains which is receding very fast, from the point of view of the player. There is a pointy-hatted, swirling-caped figure riding a broom in the air above the forest, apparently flying backwards from the player simultaneously. Also in view of the player, but elsewhere on the screen, is a broom, tumbling down, possibly smoking / flaming. The players view continues to zoom back and downwards in between the trees while fading to black, quickly. [Brief Pause]
The black screen fades up to a blurry view of a candle lit interior. Think classic witch hut / cottage. Not dirty, just rough. Lots of dark corners, everything built from wood or stone, with some metal work. There is a big black cauldron hanging on an outcropping that juts out over a crevasse in the stone cave floor and wall that makes up the rear of the hut. The crevasse has a magical glow emanating from it, bathing the cauldrons base in colors and particles swirling around. There are wooden shelves on both sides, crammed with glass bottles and small stone and wood boxes.
As the player tries to move (other than move the mouse to look around) a blurry shape moves from one side on the floor, towards the player. The player is presented with a choice of “familiars” in a to-be-determined interface. Cat, fox, crow, owl, etc. Once selected, the creature comes into focus and moves to the player, greeting them. The player can get up at this point. The standing-up animation shows the characters hands, which are scorched / burnt.
As they finish getting up, they will be facing the direction of the stand holding the spell book. A bright blue sparkly streak running from the open doorway across the floor to the stand and up its side is giving off a last flare up and then it fades away. The book on the stand is smoking and spitting off glowing particles. If examined, it looks blackened from an explosion. This fades after moment (it is a magic spell book after all). The player may be realizing that they just got blown back to their hut by another witch, which also blew up their spell book!
The book is leather bound and about the size of a standard three-ring binder. It has alphabet tabs around the entire right hand side (when open, well, it’s always open, really). The tabs open to a “page” and then there are page turning tabs at the bottom right corner. A spell is added on the blank first page – name and ingredients list – and then it “sinks” into the book to the correct place (this is just a visual). Spells are displayed on two pages – a floating image of the ingredient on the left, just above a simple map that has a point showing where that ingredient was found by the player. The right page has the name of the spell and a list of the ingredients. As the player runs their finger down the list, each ingredient is displayed on the left, with its corresponding map marker. The location of the ingredient is auto added when the spell is added to the book. These only display when the player does this action. This book is entirely 3d, held by the player in the left hand. The right hand curls up with the pointing finger out. They can walk while holding it, but they walk slower and part of the view is blocked by the book. The book has three or four “surviving” spells – health, basic defense weapon (stun?), something, something. The player will have to go find those spells ingredients, which are marked in the spell book, before having them to use. A tiny bit of survival play right at the beginning. All the ingredients will be close by, some in the cupboards if they look.
OK, the player walks away from the book and finds a crystal ball on an iron stand. It has swirling smoke inside. When they reach out to it, the smoke clears. It looks like two tiny witches on brooms are circling each other over a forest inside! (This is not a must, something else may be better, consider this a placeholder visual) If they activate the crystal ball (how?) the player finds themselves over a forest, facing off against another witch. The player better know how to fly a broom and sure better have some spells in their wand. Wand? Of course a wand! The wands appearance will be chosen when the player picks their characters appearance. It holds seven spells. When held in the players right hand, spell selection is done by the left hand. The left hand will curl up with the pointing finger out and move along the length of the wand and can “click” on a section to activate that spell. Don’t witches rub their wands first? The left hand is used during battle to hold onto the broom and cast self-only spells (health, etc).
— I realize this jumps all over, but just bear with me! —
As the player continues to look around, they realize there are shelves full of glass jars and small wood or stone boxes. Lots of them, on shelves. Some of them contain ingredients. Rules for how long stuff keeps are going to be used. Perhaps a floating image of a hourglass in front of the container when waved at? The player can use them now, but will have to find them out in the world to have any more. Ha! This allows a lot of experimentation, which leads to a drive to find more of a given ingredient, thus exploration!
The hut / cottage has several rooms – main area, bedroom, bathroom (yes), storage room (like a pantry) – kitchen fireplace, big black cauldron over crevasse, alcove for crystal ball, area for spell book stand, and candle stands. A few spider webs in the rafters. A rat randomly scurries across the floor.
There is a table on each side of the cauldron, which the player can place ingredient containers on. After picking out ingredients and putting them on the table, the player can add them to the cauldron. The player stands in front of the cauldron and picks up a container (glass jar / wood or stone box) in their left hand. It is opened by the right hand (insert appropriate animation). The right hand then takes a piece or uses a spoon (as appropriate) and adds it to the cauldron. This creates a small billow of smoke and special effects. Every time. When 3 or 4 ingredients are added (amount needed not figured out yet), the cauldron bubbles and makes weird sounds. The player then waves their wand over the cauldron and the spell transfers to it in some spectacular display. That is one spell created and loaded. The spell book will show the ingredients for the surviving spells, the player can find them on the shelves. To make a spell for self-casting, some slight change to the above sequence, so that they load into the four rings on the left hand. Didn’t I mention those, sorry. The four rings are only for the players self-cast spells. The visual when cast is the left hand turns palm up and the thumb slides across the four fingers, stopping on the chosen ring to cast the spell, with a nice effect, too. A key is held down to toggle the left hand interface, while the mouse moves the thumb back and forth, clicking then selects that ring. A different key toggles the left hand holding the spell book. The mouse again controls the right hand for this interface, to pick out pages and ingredients.
Character selection before customizing
As they get up from the floor of the hut, in a daze, they unwillingly drift out the door and along the trail through the woods, destination unknown. The player can look around as they move along, bobbing a little bit. This goes on for a half of a minute, sort of like the tram ride at the beginning of Half-Life, that you could walk around the cabin, but not leave, while credits subtly showed. They drift into the tiny village and find themselves inside a tavern (?). There are a variety of men and women here, in various dress and actions. None of them react to the players presence – the player is invisible! The player can now walk around freely, but not leave. They select the character they want and possess them! At this point, the auto-walk takes over and the player walks out. An NPC can call out to him / her with some comment – “Leaving early, Sally?”. The player is auto-walked back to the hut, where they go inside and walk into the bedroom. As they look into the fancy magic mirror, a menu to customize appearance shows up (to be figured out). Now think about the poor villagers for a minute. They just watched a friend walk out, never to be seen again. Except they are seen again! And they scare the crap out of the villagers – because the scary, scary witch is their missing friend! So there has to be an ongoing story of the villagers trying to do something about the witch. This is the element of danger in the single player mode of the game. Poor witch, has to watch over her shoulder when she needs some flowers and frogs.
Edit – This was written before I had read about the Oculus. I have been considering adding the Leapmotion controller for the players hands,but the HTC Vive system goes another dimension beyond. I was bleeding excitement over a VR headset. Now the thought of walking in my game, bending over and picking a flower – brain pop!
The Deep Dark Forest
The world outside is a forest for a long ways. It is surrounded by tall mountains (?). There is a river running through it. It has a several open meadows and rocky outcroppings. There may be a small hill with ruins of an ancient building. There will be a deep cave as well. There is a small village nestled in a clearing with fields around it, maybe 50 – 80 people total. They are very afraid of the witch and will run at the least awareness of the player. The player will be unable to approach or capture a villager, they are always heard / seen until the player figures out how (I haven’t yet – silence on self, hypnotic spell?). The villagers can’t be used like minions, they are for practicing spells on.
Anyway, the forest has all kinds of creatures and plants. Everything is potentially an ingredient. All the models of trees, plants, animals, rocks, etc will be destructible. This means when they harvest the bark from a tree, it will show the stripped trunk. When an animal is killed, the carcass will be there after the player harvests the parts. The first version may only have plant and mineral ingredients. Animals as ingredients could be introduced as an expansion – the Blood Magic Pack! Farther along, a team multiplayer expansion will be for three versus three – the Coven Pack. But I digress. The point is that the environment will be rich with useable plants and rocks and bugs and stuff. Moss, lichen, mushrooms, pine cones and wild apples from the forest. Stones, quartz and sand from the river. Crystals and gems can be found in the rocky slopes of the surrounding mountains. This world is going to be detailed and pretty, in a dark way.
The spells work by combining ingredients that have negative or positive values for given variables of the player (or target). Each ingredient also determines the colors and shapes of the spells visual effects when cast. This is all under the hood, of course. There are two kinds of spells – self and target. Self is obvious, they only work on the player by their left hand – healing, invisible, etc. The target spells only work with the wand – villager, tree, the stone that was levitated over the enemy player so the next spell could target it, thereby allowing the player to cast “enlarge” on the stone. Wham! The player will have to learn what does what when mixed with what. Three or four ingredients allows tons of combos. What has to be figured out is the right number of ingredients based on the functioning of a spell. For example, a fireball spell. Well, what makes that? I have no idea – a red flower, a piece of flint and a piece of straw? The attributes affected by spells are going to be a long list, along the lines of wet/dry, up/down, shaking/immovable, dark/light, pull towards/throw back, rise/sink, hot/cold, etc. There will also be stuff like melt, bend and other deformations of the enemy player character model. An individual ingredient will affect a set of attributes – positively or negatively, but at least three attributes. Combining ingredients that affect the same attribute makes a spell. So there will be lots of attributes to make up, to assign to ingredients. The point is to create a system where the rules are simple and the outcomes are unknown. This may require six ingredients. I am still working this system out. It is important that spells have big, splashy cool effects! That is a big part of the fun! Think flaring bolts and writhing ropes of energy, dripping magic glitter crap all over! Ha! On to more descriptions!
1 Versus 1 Online Combat
The goal of the player is to create spells that allow them to disable the opponent, thereby gaining their spells and not losing their own. The crystal ball is the interface for the online combat lobby. Up to 30 players can watch a match in ghost mode – they are not visible to the combatants. The arena is some sort of forest with a large clearing in the center. It is enclosed by a crystal sphere, despite it being a relatively large area. Maybe a set of narrow towers for the players to start on, on opposite sides of the arena. Players use the spells they chose to bring into combat – seven target spells in the wand and four self-cast spells in the rings. Players must incapacitate (?) their opponent to win. There can be a draw and both players have to concede. They both lose their spells if so. Otherwise, the winner goes home with new spells and the loser goes home stripped. Ranks and leveling up is not sorted out yet.
I am looking for a writer to expand and get adventurous with this basic concept. The writer would have to explain why there are multiple witches trapped in separate tiny worlds, that battle each other for dominance! Did some spell go majorly wrong in the far past? Hmm, what is the end goal? To have all the spells, of course. No, there has to be more to it than that. The huge, huge part a writer would have in this game creation is creating brand new content – creatures that wander into the forest, plants that only appear under certain circumstances, unique items that need spells cast to make them appear – and what about the tiny fairies that appears randomly? What is their story? Why don’t they stick around? Story, story, story! I will build the game events that present these story lines and lead the player into amazing spells! Come on, doesn’t that sound like fun?
Look And Feel
Deep dark forest, bright sunny open meadows and riverside, craggy grey mountains. The original Grimm’s fairy tales kind of atmosphere. I have been chatting with a few folks who have expressed interest. Nothing vaguely concrete yet. But that’s OK, because the game mechanics come first. My favorite part!
VR Movement In A Chair
I have been working on a design for a foot controller that allows walking, running, jumping, left-right strafe and turning with just your feet, in any FPS. It is adjustable for foot sizes and spread. It can be used as a controller for anything because it frees up that many more buttons / keys elsewhere.
Then I read about the HTC Vive. What can I say? A lot! I have conceived a walk input for vr. A button (?) on the wand triggers “Button Walk” mode. The player then walks, in place. Simply lifting each foot in place – left, right, left, right. Because the button is held down, the game knows to move the game space around the player as long as they are “walking”. Turning is the same, just not moving forward. Doing it fast makes the character “run”. When the player gets to a location they want to actually “walk” around in, they release the button and the game then resumes normal movement within the vr 15×15 space. “Button Walk” from room to room or across a field, normal walk around once there. Wow! My head is going to explode! And then the flying broom battles! Perhaps a simple saw-horse like padded frame that swivels? The player sits on it and feels like they are riding a broom! Well, that needs work.
To The Vive Creators
I feel that working with the HTC Vive from the get go on Witchcraft: The Game will make it an experience of incredible immersion. I have a spare room of 12 x 10 feet to dedicate to your system. We have wanted to make the Witchcraft game for a long time. I bought the books to learn to make a game engine a decade ago and became overwhelmed. I can code just fine, as long as I know what I’m talking about. Game engine math is way over my head. So when I discovered Unity, well, I burst from my shell and went crazy! You can see the first couple of games I have put out in the world, totally off the cuff. Very simply made, but fun. Fibonacci Mountain is surreal and mellow – no enemies, no violence, simple score of pickups to access a fun reward.
This has rambled, hey? I really hope you pick me for a kit.
The universe is amazingly random.
Thanks for for your time.
Shar3D – Toby Breeden