The Dink Network

The Minions Of Darkness - development thread

August 25th 2007, 11:59 AM
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Writing about TMOD is taking a bit longer than I expected...

...Anyway. I'm currently making notes for a TMOD timeline, so that the story can at least be partially understood. As previously stated, you can expect a rather complicated story, and a lot of D-Mods won't be considered canon. In fact, I'm pretty sure even Mystery Island won't fit in.

Also, it looks like I may have to edit the Dink engine a little - there are quite a few battles in TMOD that involve several main characters at once, and sometimes several screens; so it can get a bit messy.

As mentioned, it has a lot of main characters, and what makes it even more interesting is that some of the main characters are often working against each other - so you might have to undo your own work at times. Bwahaha.

One of the main characters in the first episode is a dragon (well, the title for Part 1 of the prolog *is* "Seth's Dragon", after all).
And while I'm at it, I might as well say it right now - TMOD doesn't have much of a levelling system.

Aside from the fact that I don't like levelling, I think it's best for the story too; since quite a few main characters are extremely powerful (even two weak "minions of darkness" could probably kill Dink within two seconds, and the main characters are far more powerful).

Timeline and more story/gameplay information coming soon, I hope.
August 27th 2007, 01:30 PM
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**TMOD's current battle system**

1. Damage. TMOD tends not to use the original stats all that much (unless perhaps you're playing as Dink). A lot of damage is done magically, and the damage dealt depends on the spell/magical weapon, spell strength, spell type/element resistance, shielding, and target.

2. Magic system. TMOD's magic system is quite different from what you're used to. The mana bar is still there, but the delay rate depends on the character's mental strength; all of your spells are available at the same time, and you can get hotkeys for your spells.

3. Mental strength. Each character starts with a certain amount of mental strength. It affects the delay rate (basically, you have to wait some time before being able to cast a spell again). Each time you cast a spell, it uses up some of your mental strength. The more powerful the spell, the higher the cost. This means that at first, the delay rate will be low, but it will get higher as the characters cast spells. You regain some mental strength when not casting spells, and some spells may even allow you to go into a "resting" state to speed up regeneration (not recommended if you're fighting alone).

4. Spell strengh. Sometimes, you'll get to pick how powerful you want your spell to be. A higher spell strength means a higher mental cost. Also, you usually can't pour all of your strength into a single devastating spell and win the battle. In some battles, you will lose the game if your mental strength gets below a certain level.

5. Will. Some battles have a will system. Will may affect mental strength regeneration, as well as the NPCs' motivation to keep fighting.

6. Shielding. A lot of mages use magical shields as protection. They are used to block/weaken damage. Shields can be bypassed and destroyed.

7. Absorption. Some characters can suck the mana out of creatures and absorb a part of it. Absorption can cancel a spell that's being prepared, weaken mental strength, and destroy shields and/or elemental creatures.

8. Spell clash. A spell can be used against another spell. This is especially true for "missile spells". When this occurs, it tends to result in the destruction of one of the spells. The remaining one is weakened.

9. Essence. Essence is more or less the character's overall power. Essence is gained through meditation, focusing, and sometimes energy absorption. Essence is lost when the character's mental strength is very low or when the charcter uses it to make a spell or creature (most spells have little or no essence cost, but there are exceptions). Essence is very hard to gain and losing too much essence tends to result in viewing a nice Game Over message.

Next : More info on spell types.
August 27th 2007, 04:15 PM
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pillbug
Peasant Male United States xbox steam
Love! True love! 
Sounds pretty cool. What stage is it in now?
August 28th 2007, 03:20 AM
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Thanks.

Well, there's still quite a bit of map design to be done, and a lot of graphics to add. Scripting is about 51% done for the first episode, and most midis still have to be added. So it's still in a fairly early stage right now, but I'm doing my best to get it released as soon as possible. Even then, I doubt it'll be released before 2008.
September 5th 2007, 01:26 PM
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Phew. Typing this took hours, and I'm quite tired. I probably forgot to mention a thing or two and I might have made a few mistakes, so I'll read this post again tomorrow and edit it if needed.

Here’s a bit of background info regarding magic:

In the “Tmodiverse”, pretty much anyone can cast spells or learn how to do it (it isn’t restricted to bearded gnomes or whatever). Of course, some beings may have an easier time casting magic, due to being able to “focus” more easily than others and whatnot. There are several ways to learn magic :

-It is possible to learn magic without any teaching whatsoever, through sheer will and meditation.
-However, having a (good) teacher can be a great help.
-Some creatures are able to cast spells (or use magical abilities) naturally. These include elemental creatures and “born” shapeshifters.
-Powerful spellcasters can absorb magic into themselves (or pour it into someone else), and even “shape” someone’s abillity to focus in some cases.
-Finally, one can learn spells through magical scrolls. However, if the one who would cast the spell isn’t powerful enough, magical potions are required. Furthermore, when one learns a spell this way, they will likely forget it after a while, especially if they don’t use it frequently.

Spell types

1.Fire

A rather popular element due to its sheer destructive properties and the fact that lesser fire spells can be cast fairly easily. Because not that many people can cast powerful spells around the time of Seth’s demise, lesser fire spells tend to be greatly overestimated by some - a weak fireball could barely scratch a slayer’s skin.

Lesser fire spells include fireball and flame/light spells (among others, I’m merely giving a few examples), greater spells include walls of fire, explosions, scorching heat, heat absorption, and burning everything to a crisp, so to speak.

Difficulty (casting) : Fairly easy for lesser fire spells, moderately difficult for any spell that can actually affect something that’s not your average tree or human, and very difficult for greater spells.

Difficulty (controlling) : Fire may appear easy to use, but being able to fully control the fire element’s properties is actually very difficult – which is why one should be careful when using powerful fire spells. Once cast, it may have unwanted consequences.

Element resistances :

Fire : Immune. When fire spell is used against another fire spell, they is a pretty high probability that they will end up merging.
Earth : From weak to normal.
Water : Very weak.
Air : Resistant, may increase the fire spell’s power in some cases.
Void : Very weak, even more so than against water.
Energy : Normal.
Darkness : Normal.

Note that while Fire is “normal” against both Energy and Darkness, Energy spells and Darkness spells tend to be much more powerful than Fire, Earth, Water and Air.

2.Earth

Not as popular as Fire because it takes some skill to do anything really impressive with this element, but lesser Earth spells are much more stable and less risky than Fire spells.
Lesser Earth spells include making rocks or earth dust (which can then be used with an Air spell, to, say, blind a foe) appear, greater spells include earthquakes, earth-shaping (for example, carving stairs into a mountain), spikes, and volcanos (which actually use both Earth and Fire).

Difficulty (casting) : Moderately difficult for lesser spells, difficult for more powerful spells and very difficult for greater spells.

Difficulty (controlling) : Moderate at first, but greater spells like earthquakes can be pretty difficult to control.

Element resistances :

Fire : Depending on what spells are used, from weak to slightly resistant.
Earth : Weak.
Water : From weak to quite resistant.
Air : Resistant.
Void : Very weak.
Energy : Normal.
Darkness : Normal.

3.Water

Harder to cast than Earth but actually used more frequently. Well, being able to quench one’s thirst at will is pretty cool. Furthermore, Water can be pretty hard to stop.

Lesser water spells include small magical fountains and hybrid spells like acid rain, more powerful spells include water balls and hybrid spells like iceballs, greater spells include flooding.

Overall difficulty (casting) : Hard.

Difficulty (controlling) : From easy (water balls) to hard (flooding).

Element resistances:

Fire : Quite resistant.
Earth : From slightly weak to resistant.
Water : From slightly resistant to resistant.
Air : Resistant.
Void : Very weak.
Energy : Normal.
Darkness : Normal.

4.Air

By far the most difficult to cast of the four elements, Air is unpopular as it takes a lot of skill to do anything useful with this element. Still, weaker mages sometimes like to use it to create hybrid spells like Breath of Fire (Fire/Air) or Dust Cloud (Earth/Air).
Note that Air is also the toughest element to stop, and Air spells/creatures can be very hard to hit.

Weaker spells include making a nice breeze or weak wind gusts, greater spells include devastating storms.

Overall difficulty (casting) : Very hard.

Difficulty (controlling) : Moderate.

Element resistances :

Fire : Very resistant.
Earth : Fairly resistant.
Water : Resistant.
Air : Very resistant and may yield unexpected results, such as the two spells merging.
Void : Very weak.
Energy : From normal to slightly resistant.
Darkness : Normal.

5.Void

Aka “no element”. This category’s purpose to weaken and/or destroy the four elements. Few people know about it.

Lesser spells include void attacks on specific targets, greater spells include void auras which drain all elemental magic nearby.

Difficulty (casting) : Very hard.

Difficulty (controlling) : Easy.

Element resistances :

Fire : Very resistant.
Earth : Very resistant.
Water : Very resistant.
Air : Very resistant.
Energy: Weak.
Darkness : Extremely weak.

6.Energy

Energy is non-elementalized mana. Thus, it does not share the elements’ weaknesses, but pure energy is harder to cast (elementalized mana is not pure, and easier to cast). Very few people are powerful enough to use it.

Weaker spells include minor healing and minor shielding, more powerful spells include greater healing, teleporting, shielding auras, hasting, minor paralysis, and energy blasts, greater spells include energy beams, energy auras and clouds which damage anything nearby, mass teleport spells, area scans, minor energy absorption spells, resurrection (actually a Life/Energy spell), minor body shaping, and so on.

Difficulty (casting) : Very hard.

Difficulty (controlling) : From easy to (very) hard.

Element resistances :

Fire : Resistant.
Earth : Resistant.
Water : Resistant.
Air : Resistant.
Void : Very resistant.
Energy : Normal.
Darkness : Normal.

7.Darkness

Also known as shifting energy. Darkness is basically an improved form of energy, but much, much harder to cast. Although most experienced mages know about Darkness, very few are powerful enough to cast even a weak darkness spell. Greater spells are legendary, and many people think no one is currently powerful enough to cast them. Because of its “shifting” properties, Darkness can be harder to detect than the first six categories. Furthermore, this spell category can cause blurred vision very easily, hence its name.
Due to this fact and also the fact that it is *really* powerful, it tends to have a bad reputation among non-mages.

Weaker spells include Dark Sight, which is basically a greater area scan that allow the user to see through darkness (among other things), and minor darkness missile spells, greater spells include scanning over large areas, dark blasts, dark shields, greater body shaping, dark teleport spells which can pierce through most anti-teleportation shields, mana absorption, dark beams, near-instantaneous full healing, flying, illusion spells, dark walls, dark waves, easier resurrection (Life/Darkness), dark cocoon (a major paralysis spell which prevents the target from both moving and spell casting), and so on.

Difficulty (casting) : Extremely difficult.

Difficulty (controlling) : Depending on the spell, from easy to very difficult.

Element resistances :

Fire : Very resistant.
Earth : Very resistant.
Water : Very resistant.
Air : Very resistant.
Void : Nearly immune.
Energy : Resistant.
Darkness : Immune, may increase power.

The only way to beat darkness is to either absorb it with another darkness spell, or destroy it with powerful spells like hybrid Fire/Earth/Water/Air/Energy spells and/or Ancient spells. Death magic could work and Gate magic might also work very nicely, but most characters can’t use these last two categories.

8.Hybrid

Hybrid spells are spells that draw their power from several categories. Hybrid spells include Breath of Fire (Fire/Air), Fireblast (Fire/Energy), Dust Storm (Earth/Air), Thunder Strike (Air/Energy/Earth/Water/Fire), Frostbite (Fire/Energy), Ice Crystal (Fire/Energy/Water), etc.

9.Ancient

Ancient magic means extreme control over the first eight categories, as well as a very powerful mind. This kind of magic is legendary and most people think no one can cast it anymore now that the Ancient Ones have disappeared.

Difficulty (casting) : Mind-numbingly hard.
Difficulty (controlling) : Mind-numbingly hard.

Ancient magic is devastatingly powerful against the first seven categories, and is very resistant to them as well. The only way to do any significant damage is to either use Darkness or Ancient magic. Technically, Death magic might work in some cases, and Gate magic could do tremendous damage, but once again most characters cannot use these two categories.

10.Life and Death

A very mysterious kind of magic.

Life magic includes mental broadcasting, mental bonds, mind reading, mental control, and resurrection.

Death magic includes spell disruption, will disruption, destruction of the first nine spell types, and death (well, duh).

More info soon.

11.Gate/Spirit/Soul

More info soon.

12.Reason

???

(more info not so soon)

Next : TMOD timeline (story information + info on some major plot events that occur prior to Prolog Part #1), and more info on spell types #10 and #11.
September 11th 2007, 09:24 PM
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scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
I'm sure your dmod will be pretty good, for the amount of planning and thought you've put into it alone, even if you ditch this complex magic stuff in frustration sooner or later. (How far done are you with implementing the new gameplay elements?)
September 12th 2007, 04:44 AM
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even if you ditch this complex magic stuff in frustration sooner or later

Implementing and balancing have been quite hard, but I've been working on TMOD since 2003.

The magic systems I mentioned are already implemented. Of course, there are still some issues here and there, but I'm quite pleased with the result. Spell clash still needs a bit of work, though. It's kinda messy right now, and it needs more graphics, but otherwise it's working.
September 29th 2007, 01:34 PM
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There hasn't been much progress on TMOD these last few days, since I've been busy working on the Initiation walkthrough. It'll be quite different from most walkthroughs - it'll basically be detailed information about each level, maps, and general advice (battles, endings, stat boosts...).

Right now the maps for Level 6 and Level 7 are done. They include screen limits as well so as to make them easier to understand. I had to reduce image quality, or else the walkthrough would end up being bigger than the game.

I intend to start commenting the maps when all of them are done.
Most levels range from 15 to 25 screens, so making the maps isn't too bad. The sewer has over 50 screens, though, so I'm sure making the map will be... uh... an interesting experience.

Since there have been few good D-Mods lately, I might release one or two smaller D-Mods that aren't necessarily TMOD-related. In fact, I was working on a D-Mod for joshriot's one-screen contest (involving Jarvis the Knight, if SabreTrout doesn't mind ), but since it'll probably miss the deadline, I might as well make it a normal D-Mod.

EDIT : One last thing - if no-one minds, I think I'll be taking a small break. Episode 4 of Wing Commander : Standoff (http://standoff.solsector.net) has just been released, and well, let's just say I do occasionally play games that aren't RPGs. It shouldn't take me more than two days to complete it, so I don't expect the "small break" to take too long.
September 29th 2007, 02:37 PM
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Striker
Noble United States steam
Daniel, there are clowns. 
Wait! More WC content was released and I was not informed?!?! TRAVESTY!!
October 5th 2007, 08:09 PM
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Maybe you should publish the modified .exe as a separate dev file?
Also, sounds great .
October 9th 2007, 03:25 PM
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Thanks.

About the modified .exe : I may indeed release it, and its source code, once I'm done with it. I'm not entirely sure it'll be this useful since it's being made purely for TMOD, but I guess there could be a few neat things of interest within. We'll see.

Also, I hope to be able to finish the timeline tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. It's about time.
October 10th 2007, 06:06 AM
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Fireball5
Peasant Male Australia
Let me heat that up for you... 
sounds like tmod will be great! i cant wait until its finished
August 5th 2018, 09:23 PM
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Skurn
Peasant Male Equatorial Guinea xbox steam duck bloop
can't flim flam the glim glam 
i too cannot wait to experience the very first dmod written with novashell