Birth of a Demigod, part 1

This is the first of a multi-part series that I am writing to give people an idea of what actually goes into the creation of a demigod.

My first task after being hired by Gas Powered Games was to set up the new demigods. This is definitely a lot more work than I expected and over a far greater time than I had anticipated. The normal starting point would be creating the concept for each demigod. The concepts for Demon Assassin and Occulus were already done before I got there, so I can't comment on that phase.

The first thing I had to do was create the blueprint for each new demigod. Basically, I just copied over Regulus' blueprint as template and edited it from there. The main focus for the first pass was making sure the categories were correct and that the weapon was set up properly. No detail at this point, just the basics. I also had to use Regulus' model in-game as a stand in for Demon Assassin since no model existed for him at this point. For Occulus, there was a very basic model. It basically looked like a golden Buddha statue.

Next, I had to code all of the abilities. For an active ability there is a blueprint for each level of the ability that lists things like how much damage the ability does, what the ability can target, cool down, cast time, etc. Inside that blueprint we can add ability specific stuff like how many target Oculus' chain lightning can hit. Each one of those blueprints use a single function to actually perform the ability. The function handles setting up emitters, beam effects, impact effects, and dealing damage. Also, there needs to be a buff blueprint for any buffs that are applied, any kicker abilities there may be, and any debuffs that are applied. Coding and testing abilities was probably the longest part of the demigod creation process for me.

To actually get the abilities in game I had to create a skill tree for both demigods. This tells the game what abilities are available for the demigod and at what level. It also tells the game how to display the skill tree in-game. I also had to list the skills in the demigod's blueprint. The skills listed in the blueprint tell the game what the pre-requisites are for each skill and what each skill enables and and disables.

Occulus required a little more work because he is a general. So, I had to create the blueprints for his summonable minions as well. All of the work so far has been using temporary models, temporary effects (if any at all), and temporary values for abilities. The balance person is the one that will go back and put in the actual values for abilities. But, it is fun playing around with an uberly over powered demigod for a while.

One thing I forgot to mention, when wiring up abilities you also have to make sure you do it in such a way that makes them easy to modify. For example, all the values needed to modify chain lightning, from the damage, the number of targets it hits, to the delay between chains, is modifiable in the blueprint. So, if Shana, who is the one that did the balance work on the new demigods, wants to make a modification to chain lightning, she doesn't have to mess with the code. She just has to change a value in the blueprint. This means she doesn't have to track me down to get something changed every time she wants the ability changed a little bit. This makes her job and my job easier.

This is it for part one. Hopefully, I will continue with part 2 next week.


mocafrost said... / October 13, 2009 at 9:21 AM  

I like the team effort.

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