Tarot [WORKING TITLE] - Game Doc and Prototype

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N

    B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N OSHA Man

    Jun 7, 2016
    United States
    LINK TO PLAYABLE PROTOTYPE (it's at the end of the post too, but this is kind of long): https://mega.nz/#!YqxyiQ6L!q4B2ptu411r0NqVvQBkTVXMGAZAy0Yj3thvvOA9ay-U

    Disclaimers and Shit:

    Just a few things before I get this out:
    1. There will be a chance that this game will never get completed. Lots of projects like this don't get finished. Partially my fault for starting to develop a game right before I go to college, so, even if you do like the ideas presented here, bear this in mind.
    2. If you don't like the idea, tell me why! I need input, this is why I'm posting the Game Doc and Prototype here. Don't just call it stupid and move on; explain why it's stupid, and, if at all possible, give suggestions on how to fix it.
    Also, backstory for those who care
    story behind the prototype

    Anyways, this is either gonna go well for me or be a personal cringe-fest, so let's get it over with.

    Working Title: Tarot

    Gameplay Description

    Tarot will consist of a arcade-style gauntlet of boss battles for the player to progress through. There will be six bosses in total, in addition to two possible secret bosses unlocked through special conditions. The player must defeat the current boss to progress to the next level.

    Gameplay will be very combat-heavy, similar to fighting bosses in the Kingdom Hearts series. The player will have to read and predict the various attack patterns of the six bosses, and exploit them effectively to win. The game will be presented in a pseudo-3D top-down perspective, similar to Streets of Rage II. Players can move across the X- and Z-axes, as well as jump and attack in the Y-axis.

    The player can attack bosses by using a set of 3 telekinetic swords to launch at the boss, and can do so using the attack button. The player can lightly tap the attack button to launch the sword quickly at the boss; this light attack has a limited range and does minimal damage.

    Holding down the attack button will charge the player's attack; this will render the player unable to move and thus temporarily vulnerable. Releasing mid-charge will launch the sword with an unlimited range, but still only does minimal damage. Releasing the attack button after fully-charging the attack will launch the sword straight ahead. Unlike the other two forms of attack, this will not home in on the boss, but will inflict much more damage than a normal shot would.

    Also at the player's disposal are a set of three Tarot Cards of the Minor Arcana to assist during battle. Said cards are chosen from six random possibilities before every boss battle and have different effects, whether it be boosting attack, healing a small amount of health, or increasing defense. These cards can only be used once per boss battle, so the player has to use them effectively.

    There also exists a Set Break guage; getting attacked or dealing damage adds to the guage. Once the Guage reaches Level 1, the player can perform a “Break Set” using a Major Arcana Tarot card (also chosen from three random possibilities before each boss battle). The nature of the attack depends on the Arcana of the card: for example, a Wheel of Fortune Card may result in random stat boosts/drops and spontaneous healing, while drawing the Justice Card gives the player a gigantic sword to slash at the boss.

    The story is only presented to the player in Adventure Mode. It is completely optional and can be skipped either by pressing the START button during cutscenes in Adventure Mode, or just by playing Arcade Mode. More on Game Modes later.

    In short, the game is about a young teenager named Joan who is trapped inside her own head with no memory of how she got there sans visiting a fortune teller named “Madame Imaginos”, and must re-live her memories and do battle with the Psychic Manifestations of her personal struggles (represented by Tarot Cards of the Major Arcana) in order to recover her memories and understand how she got to where she is.

    Art Style/Theme
    Tarot revolves around a theme involving Tarot Cards; all of the bosses will be based off the Major Arcana (each arcana tying into the story and situation currently presented in Adventure Mode), with Minor Arcana also being used as possible influences. Each boss will work up the Major Arcana, starting with The Fool/The Magician and eventually working up to Death/The Tower/Judgement (to slightly parallel The Fool's supposed journey through the Arcana).

    The game will have a “sketchbook” quality to the artwork. This entails “sketchy” shading and the like. All the frames will be drawn out by hand on paper, since I don't have access to a drawing tablet. Character designs will be somewhat animesque. All of the bosses initially wear masks, and become unmasked as they take damage, often accompanied with changes in boss-attack patterns. Actions and sound effects will be emphasized with comic-book-like interjections (written in a totally stylish font, at that). On the Sliding Scale of Realism vs. Formalism, this game will lean heavily towards Formalism.

    In most cases, coloring for scenes will take up about 16 colors, at most. Coloring will be very simple, and will be aiming for a deliberately “messy” style. This is done to try and avoid a “DeviantArt” look to the game (due to my lack of coloring skills); however, if this attempt fails, by all means, make note of it in the comments.

    Here is some sample artwork for the game:


    The game's soundtrack will be mainly composed of music tracks from various rock bands, potentially including bands and groups like Yes, Audioslave, Blue Oyster Cult, Rush, Jefferson Airplane, The Police, Radiohead, King Crimson, Soundgarden, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Frank Zappa, Genesis, and so on. Preferably, each boss character gets two songs from each of these bands, one for when the boss is masked, and one for when the boss is unmasked (signalling a subtle change in boss-attack-patterns).

    I feel that I should handle this aspect of the game very carefully; while there is a good potential for the music being used to awesome effect, there is also a very good cringe potential to using music from rock bands, taking the player out of the experience.

    Extraneous Gameplay Details
    There will be two game modes initially available to the player: Adventure Mode and Arcade Mode. Adventure Mode paces the boss battles with (optional) visual-novel-style cutscenes played in-between, and has a Save Option allowing the player to save their progress before and after each boss battle. Arcade Mode excludes these cutscenes entirely, focusing more on gameplay, including a Score Counter based on damage done to bosses and pattern exploitation, as well as a scoreboard listing various high scores by the player. It is not possible to save progress in Arcade Mode, however.

    Technical Specifications
    Tarot will be developed using SDL 1.2 and extensions for SDL 1.2. SDL 1.2 is chosen over SDL 2 to maintain maximum compatibility across platforms.

    Primary development will be done for the PC, in C++, and will (ideally) run at 60 FPS across all platforms. Once general PC Development is done, homebrew ports will be developed for homebrew-enabled game consoles.

    The game will definitely be coming out for the following platforms:
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Nintendo 3DS (All models, ideally)
    In addition to the platforms above, I'd also like to port the game to the following platforms:
    • Mac OS X
    • Wii
    • Dreamcast
    • PlayStation
    • PS Vita
    As far as the Aspect Ratio is concerned, the game will run at 16:9 on systems that support it. However, that's the thing: not all systems support it, so the aspect ratio may vary. On the 3DS, it will be 5:3 for the upper screen and on systems like the Dreamcast and PlayStation, the game will likely run at 4:3.

    Release Notes
    Tarot will be released free-of-charge, as FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software), with the game's source code and most of its assets being available to browse on BitBucket. The source won't be available on launch, however, and will be released at a later date. The release page will probably be on GBATemp, and may also be released on other forums.

    The decision to make the game FOSS was done partly out of a sense of generosity, and partly due to the fact that the game's soundtrack will include several tracks from various Rock bands (keeping it FOSS will help keep the game under Fair Use according to the Fair Use Act of 1976).

    Here all the influences on the game that I am consciously aware of, just for the sake of completeness and to kinda help illustrate the direction I'm going for in this game. There may be unconscious influences on the game, but I'm not aware of those, so, obviously, I can't really list them here.

    The Persona Series: Generally, the series also employed Tarot Cards as a recurring theme, to complement its use of Jungian Psychology (Tarot as archetype and whatnot). Some of the themes expressed in the Persona games (particularly Persona 3, no spoilers please, haven't quite finished it yet) have carried over to this game. Also, the exaggerated art style (particularly from what I've seen of 5) may have also been an influence on this game's art style.

    JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: This kinda overlaps with the influence of the Persona games, considering that Persona, to a degree, was itself influenced by the manga. The use of Tarot Cards as a recurring theme in Part 3 (“Stardust Crusaders”) also helped to push this game in that direction. The art style of the anime (and the manga, by extension), with its exaggerated action and fight sequences, also partially influenced the game's art style. Also, the number of musical references throughout the series, particularly rock references, may have partially influenced the decision to use music from rock bands as the game's soundtrack.

    MegaMan: The strategy of reading boss attack patterns and exploiting them was partly carried over from the bosses in the MegaMan games. To an extent, these games could be seen as a reference on what to do and what not to do (MegaMan X6, anyone?) regarding boss patterns.

    Kingdom Hearts: Like the MegaMan games, the strategy of reading boss-attack patterns and exploiting them effectively came from the Kingdom Hearts series. The battle system was also, to an extent, based off the 2D-Implementation of the Battle System in Chain of Memories (sans the card system, so don't worry). In fact, the whole concept of the game was based around the premise of “what if there was a Kingdom Hearts game that only focused on the bosses?”, noticing that more attention from fans and regular players was given to boss battles than other aspects.

    PaRappa the Rapper: Yep. This is the weird one. You probably think I'm nuts right now. In all seriousness though, as weird as it may sound, this game influenced the story and the general scope of the game, including the decision to keep the game limited and include only six stages. The whole story of the first PaRappa is focused around personal growth, as well as featuring some mildly relatable situations as backdrop for the stages (unlike other games in the series), which influenced the decision to use everyday situations as backdrop for the Tarot Cards and the archetypes they signify.

    Old Arcade Games, In General: I've noticed that older games have a heavier emphasis on player skill than new games do, which seem (to me, of course, this is subjective) to be more focused on story as a whole. While this is fine, and can make for some great experiences, I somewhat miss the more skill-based player-paced games of yesteryear, with a focus on gameplay, player skill, and getting better at the game and finding new secrets to uncover. (Yes, there are a number of secret features planned for the game.)

    SiIvaGunner: Yep. I thought the intro to the Christmas Comeback Crisis was the coolest thing ever when it came out, and helped push the art style a little. I guess this also counts as a Homestuck influence? Idk.

    There is a playable prototype of the game that can be downloaded here: https://mega.nz/#!YqxyiQ6L!q4B2ptu411r0NqVvQBkTVXMGAZAy0Yj3thvvOA9ay-U. Keep in mind, however, that none of the art has been implemented, and this a simple test composed of nothing more than colored rectangles on a screen to see if the basic gameplay is up to snuff before moving into actual production.

    Special Thanks
    • @Chary for looking over this (I hope I edited this well enough)
    • Anyone who looked over some aspect of this game beforehand
    Last edited by B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N, Jul 25, 2017
  2. B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N

    B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N OSHA Man

    Jun 7, 2016
    United States
    I apologize for commenting on my own post, but be sure to give me any suggestions or list any possible areas of improvement (be it the art style, the gameplay of the prototype, the story, possible game modes, etc.) in the comments. I need input!