Building Your “Deck”

In WAVEN, the “deck” is intended to bring together several ideas. And even now, it’s the most complicated mission concerning this crucial concept for the game. As I’ve explained in earlier posts, in this new game, you don’t play just one character but rather a group. In addition, you can change up your spells however you like, within the imposed limit of nine spells. In the interfaces I’ll present below, I’ve limited the number of playable active spells to nine, but of course, that could change based on future testing. So, your play style won’t be based on your character’s build but on that of a “team”. Currently, the deck consists of four major elements:

  • Your Hero: This is the character you control in the world and in combat. It’s YOUR avatar. You lose the fight as soon as your hero is KO’d. You can change heroes if you like, but this will mean having to start over from scratch (well, almost from scratch, since you’ll keep your fragments) with another character…
  • Your Hero’s Spells: Each hero’s spells are, of course, linked to their class. There is a specific tab for them. You’ll choose eight “ACTIVES” your hero can cast in combat (with the system already discussed) and a final spell to be linked to your weapon.
  • Your Hero’s Equipped Weapon: We still have a lot to define when it comes to exactly how weapons will function. For now, we see each weapon as giving the hero carrying it a specific “style”. This style is defined by getting three “style” spells after a weapon is equipped. Heroes can’t initiate combat without a weapon equipped. Of the three “style” spells, two are passive and the last is “active” (that is to say, it’ll be added to the eight other spells you pick, as explained just above). Our goal for this concept is to provide a framework for the hero’s play style to make PvP combat easier to follow. For example, when you run into a “spectral” Iop, you’ll know right away what their play style is and the threat that entails. Okay, just so there’s at least one picture in this post, here’s what a Spectral Iop could look like.
  • Your Companions: Companions show up when you want them to in order to help you in combat. For now, we’re going with two different principles: They need to be “summoned” during PvM combat; and by contrast, they’re at your hero’s side from the start during PvP fights. There’s a good chance these ideas will evolve (but “you have to start somewhere,” as they say).

Here’s a quick look at the four main elements of “deck” building. Compared to our previous games, it is vital that you combine all these elements well if you want to be effective in combat. The word “deck” bothers me, but it seems appropriate (for now) because we are fairly close to card game-related GD mechanics.

Accessing the Deck Interface

Often when we start a project, I say “extreme” things like “the art direction needs to be similar to that of the cartoon Seabert” or “for this video game, the goal is to forgo developers”. For WAVEN, I was stuck on the “zero interfaces” idea for a long time. I (generally) realize I’m spouting nonsense, and that we could never really have “zero interfaces”. But stupidly saying it over and over is a way to limit things and get a message across. In the end, I’m convinced we’ll have way fewer interfaces than any other game in the same genre. But if there’s one area that really needs interfaces, it’s “deck” building.

Thus, the goal was to bring as many subjects together in one place. It’s not “zero interfaces”, but we’re still going to have as few as possible… And to do that, we have to “centralize” things.

Below, take a look at pictures of my game design documents. I’m always a little uncomfortable sharing them (that has nothing to do with you, dear readers – I don’t even show them to my teams), but they’ll help you follow what I’m saying. Obviously, nothing’s final. When I work on this kind of subject, the idea is always to provide a starting point. Then, the devs and UI artists take it from there and add their own touch (even if it means revising everything).
This “deck” interface opens from your character. The idea isn’t to have X different icons around your hero, but to trigger opening it on the first “click”.

Choosing Your Companions

In order, here are the actions you’ll perform to effectively prepare for combat. You’ll need to choose which companions to take with you. The maximum number of companions that can help you during a fight is four. I can already hear some of you saying, “Nah, I’m pretty strong, I don’t need your silly companions…” My answer to that is, “We’ll see.” However, unlike spells and your weapon, you don’t need to “recruit” them to start combat. At the start of the game, we’ll provide you with “small” companions to explain the concept, but you won’t ever be required to use them in your PvM fights.

As I explained above, it’s important to understand that we’re trying to focus our energy on centralizing information. Here, the main idea is to have your deck, team roster, and available spells on the left, always kept visible. The part on the right (gray background), however, will change based on your needs/choices. All you’ll need to do is use the small interface composed of three buttons – Spells/Companions/Weapons – to get to the page you want. Choosing companions will be a matter of dragging and dropping them onto one of the four spaces provided (placed under the deck selector).

Choosing Your Weapon

Weapons are chosen in exactly the same way. However, you cannot NOT have a weapon equipped. Or, we’ll see about making it so that characters have basic “bare-handed” abilities. As explained above, weapons entitle you to a gameplay “style”, and they determine the two passives you’ll have. I won’t say much more on this subject, because we still have a lot of work to do on how weapons function. Plus, there’s a nice post to be written on this specific point.

Choosing Your Spells

When it comes to spells, it’s the same general principle as with companions and weapons. As in KROSMAGA, you’ll be able to save several decks in advance, but remember, the deck is more than just your spells. It’s a whole system created by your hero through their companions, spells, and weapon.

Regarding Hero Stats:

I’ve already talked about this, too (at my age, it’s easy to ramble on), but the idea isn’t to provide skill points or stats when your hero levels up. Rather, the idea is to design a game that is easy to grasp, making beautiful PvP fights easier to follow.
In this context, my two GD interns had a very good idea, which we’re going to examine from every angle before sharing it with you in more detail. It consists of linking your hero’s HP to their spells. The amount of HP would be linked to spell level and power. An especially effective spell could, for example, not give your hero any HP. What I like about this system is that, regardless of your hero’s level, you’ll always have the opportunity to challenge yourself and play with lower-level friends in order to “level up” your less effective spells. Similarly, I think this will make it possible to balance certain spells more easily, as well as give you an extra level of decision-making about your heroes’ builds.


Excerpt from Tot’s blog, November 30, 2017.
Read the original post (in French) in its entirety.

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