Work Progresses In Hell

Just a quick blog post to inform the faithful that work is progressing quite well on Solium Infernum. If you have read this blog before then you probably know that I’m a frustrated systems engineer. In that spirit I’ve been quite pleased to have finished my second pass on all the major system components save one.. the rituals system. I’ll be taking that one on this week and the law of unintended consequences has created some nice trouble spots to focus on.

One big thing is some of the complexity for special rules that only becomes apparent when you are working through other systems blocks that are involved. I realized while working on the standard interface for selecting a target from a list whether it be a legion, praetor, relic or even another player that some of my rituals were going to need a second pass. One ritual for example that I have mentioned before lets you place dummy icons on the board to confuse and misdirect your opponent. That’s all well and great until an enemy legion needs to be targeted and you choose to do so from a list rather than clicking on the icon on the map. How do you represent the dummy icons on the list…. multiple entries? I’ve chosen to hide the random selection aspect under the hood when selecting from a list. The legion’s name is highlighted in an unusual color… right now a purple since red usually means “no worky, not a valid choice.” So when you select the legion name on the list you are saying choose a random target from the entire group of icons with that legions name. If you prefer to be more precise you can always just choose a specific icon on the map by clicking on it. But the point is that sometimes unintended consequences pop up from what seem to be clever design decisions. Right now I need to go back and arbitrate all the rules and interface collisions from this type of thing.

Fun work this is not. But it is necessary. It also highlights in my mind why probably 95% of indie games never see the light of day. Putting your head down and churning out the second, third and fourth passes is tedious. The mind wanders and the song of the Sirens of new game designs beckons. The allure of starting fresh with an idea or theme that has caught your fancy is almost irresistible at times. The infatuation of that new relationship where you are creating something fresh and open, the untrodden path is very powerful. It takes discipline to continue down the well worn muddy rut you have been plodding down for 12 months. Luckily I have enough wax in my ears and good old common sense to know that if I leave the path and glance back over my shoulder, those new designs will indeed never see the light of day.

So Solium Infernum is moving along. The more I step back and admire the design the more proud I have become. I’ve been influenced by everything from Conservation Laws to Symmetry to basic game theory of interactive decisions while crafting all the major game components.

Here is a brief description and picture of the Dire Dissipation Ritual that crowns the top of the “Destruction” discipline that an Avatar gains levels in. It’s the most devastating direct damage type power in the game and in order to use it you usually need to be in Vendetta or Blood Feud with the owner of the target legion….a special deceit ability lets you target any opponent and frame somebody else in case you are wondering what the exception is.

Dire Dissipation Ritual

Dire Dissipation:
Target an enemy legion belonging to a player with which you are in Vendetta or Blood Feud and permanently damage its hit points and attributes if it fails a resistance roll versus destruction. Hit points are reduced by the power level obtained in the discipline of the player performing the ritual. Attributes are reduced by a random d6. Both the hit points and attributes are permanently reduced and cannot be restored.

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