Devlog 2: Spell Design
The latest update to Drift Arena includes the introduction of spells, a playable level, and support for Windows Mixed Reality devices. For the next few devlogs, I will be discussing design choices that I made as well as a few challenges I encountered along the way.
The Ability System
Coming up with the ability system was a rather straightforward process. I wanted a typical spell casting system that involves key bindings, "normal" spells, and more powerful ultimate abilities. I considered using gestures and pressing down on 2 buttons simultaneously to cast spells as well, but decided against them as they weren't as quick and simple as using a single button in terms of both usage and development. After considering the buttons available on the current VR motion controllers and the buttons that were already being used (grip, and trigger), it was quite obvious that at best, there would be 2 buttons on each controller intuitive enough to use for spells. As for how to assign the buttons, it came down to the following 2 options:
- 3 for different spells, 1 for ultimate
- 2 for different spells, 2 that both map to a single ultimate
I ended up deciding on option 2 as the button mapping felt more intuitive to use and I also liked how simple it was to have only 1 spell per hand.
Designing the Energy Edge spell
After quickly implementing and trying out a few simple spells (a shield barrier, and a few temporary stat buffs), I found myself wanting a spell that was a lot more fun, visually impressive, and required more skill to use. Ideally, it would also be something you could only do in VR. Eventually, I thought of the "sword projectiles" (TVTropes warning) abilities and it was exactly what I was looking for. The player would need to be holding a bladed weapon. Casting the spell would imbue the weapon with power and swinging the weapon would release a projectile that deals damage and is capable of cutting things.
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