Updates and a summary

This is where we are now:

1. Character progression will not be tracked per level. Instead you will be noticed when you learn new things and abilities. Skill levels will not be visible, instead you should get the feeling or know it intuitively that you have become better at your skills
2. Skills will be enhanced numerically (ie +1, +2  and +3)  three times per skill. This will happen at the three different stages of a skill, ie the Intuitive, Intelligent and Instinctive stages.
3. Skills range numerically from -10 to 10. New abilities for each particular skill will be learnt at level 1, 3, 6 and 10. This will be tracked under the hood, as it were, and not be visible to the player.
4. Skill progression is planned to be tracked via a neural network. The actions of the character will be assosiated with what is going on inside the character, such as emotional states, and what is going on outside the character, such as smells and sights.
5. The speed at which a skill is learnt is determined by the three different mental faculties: Instinct, Intuition and Intelligence in association with the different stages the skills are in. So, if the sword fighting skill is a level 4, the intelligent stage, the speed is determined by the character’s Intelligence faculty.
6. Further to the learning rate, a characters motivation for performing an act, such as sword fighting, will also be dependant on the character’s motivation. Exactly how a character’s motivation will  be determined I do not yet know.  One way of doing it is to decide upon a moral alignment, a world view or ideals at the character creation stage or along the way during the game. Another idea is to use Soul Ages that I will have to go into detail on in a separate  post.
7. Combat will be turn based but movement will not be grid-based, as is traditional, but instead a movement area will be displayed and the character can move anywhere within this area freely.
8. Damage will be tracked as a per damage basis. Ie, a broken arm is a broken arm and needs to be taken care of properly. Healing potions or a healing mechanic in general has not been decided.
9. Magic is so far two fold. Magic was initially approached in a scienticfic, or pseudo-scientific manner where you learn and use magic on a logical level. Now, we have found a peotic way of approaching magic which has almost the opposite direction of the logical method of learning magic.
10. Graphically the game is now in an isometric perspective and all graphics and animations are place-holder stuff.
11. Story and ideas behind the game will not be made public and the reason for this will neither be public.
12. We have planned to not have any dialogue trees and as little conversations with NPCs as possible. Instead we want to implement text as a game mechanic or environmentally. Think text as sound effects.

That is it for now.

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INSTEAD OF HP

When you get damaged what happens is that a particular injury has occurred on your body. At this point some various things happens.

First of all it is a matter of if you notice and are aware of this injury. We have all, for example, found a splinter in our fingers. When the splinter enters beneth our skin we do not always notice it but at a later time, when an infections has started, we do notice it. An opposite example is when we slam our toes accidentally into the leg of a table or some other furniture. It hurts immediately and all our attention is focused on this injury.

When in the heat of battle, I imagine, some other rules apply. When we are completely immersed in an activity and where the consequences of our outcomes has strong meaning for us, we tend to be better at keeping our attention focused on the thing that we do even if we are injured.

An example is when you watch football. If a player is hurt by some tackle, and he sees that there still is a chance to reach the ball and perhaps score, he will ignore the injury and continue running. If the football player instead sees that there is no chance to reach the ball he will fall like a ragdoll and focus all his attention on the injury and the pain.

The above is a way to delay the injury and it is most probable that there is a limit to what injuries we can delay. We cannot for example delay the injury of a decapitation, as we instantly die. (Oh, what I would give to get a glimpse of what goes on in the mind of a freshly decapitate head!)

What we have here is the notion of delayed injury, however, an actual injury also has to be determined. What does it mean for example to get your arm bitten by a rabid wolf? Or getting a spear through your stomach? Or your finger cut off by a sword? Or getting a blunt mace on your ribs?

When the rabid wolf bites your arm it is of outmost imprtance to determine if the wolf gets through the protection, such as cloth or steel plates. Shoud he get through the wolf will surely rip through skin and flesh and possibly damage internal organs, such as nerve cells or even bones. Secondarily the rabid wolf will possibly spread a diceise, making you weaker and weaker progressivly, should your immune system not resist it.

So let us say that you are not protected when the wolf bites. To ignore the pain from this would take a tough son of a bitch, if it even is possible, but I sure it is. For the moment lets say we do notice the pain and we focus our attention on the pain. Because of this we will lose our rational faculties and in a fashion of panic try to get loose. This will for sure just make the injury worse, as the wolf’s theeth is in our flesh and throthing our arm here and there in an attempt to get lose will for sure rip more tendons and nerves than would be done other wise.

Let us now say that we do keep our rational faculties intact and we are for the moment able to analyse the situation, what is the best way to make the injury as low as possible? Physically it would be best to, with the arm, follow the movement of the wolf’s head movement. This is because we would then not oppose the force and instead follow the same direction of the already applied force from the wolf’s head movement. Now, this would be an incredibly difficult task to be successful in. I assume the wolf’s head movement is rather chaotic and fast.

The previous appoach does not seem likely. If we instead would determine that as long as the wolf has a grip around our arm, we would not be able to get loose, logically we would have to find a way to get loose. One way I can think of is to hurt the wolf and I assume, again, that if we manage to poke the wolf with sufficient force in the eyes, the wolf would for a brief period losen the grip around the arm. This is our way to our arm’s freedom.

But what if we do not keep our rational senses, ie focusing our attention on the pain and panic, is it still possible to perform an eye poking feat? I think so. Instinctively we would want to get lose and it would be fully possible to sub consciously make the decision that poking the wolf in the eyes is a good idea. Such a feat would happen instantly without consideration and would probably go faster than if we would spend time analysing the situation.

In the above cases it can be seen that the injury from the bite of a rabid wolf can vary between a flesh wound and your death. For should you get free directly by poking the eyes out it would be a flesh wound and should you panic and not get lose, the wolf would eventually kill you.

Now, the feat where we poke out the eyes can be substituted with other various feats, such as sticking a knife, dagger, sword in the side of the wolf. Clubbing the head or some body part with a blunt object. Provided you have the weapon ready or accessible. But what this feat is about, is really to determine if the act is instinctual or rational and if the action happens at all, and in the end to determine the damage done. Funnily enough we could bypass this whole dilemma by equipping a steel gauntlet and when the wolf jumps at us we hold our armoured arm out so that the wolf bites it. Then there would be very minor damage as the wolf would in no way be able to penetrate the steel. This is also how the police train with their dogs. They equip themself with kevlar or some other durable material and are so free from harm.

So, how do we determine the damage done in gaming terms? The idea so far is to track states the character is in. If the character has been bitten by a rabid wolf the consequences of that will be tracked. The character then has to make various Checks to see how it affects him or her. An Endurance Check will determine if the character can continue as normal or if penalties to Attention, Attack Rolls etc will incur. The Endurance Check is made when the wolf is biting the arm and after the incident is over. A Consitution Check will determine if any of the physical faculties will be affected, such as lowered Strength, Agility, Endurance until the wound is healed. A Will Check will determine if you are able to ignore the pain or not and so be able to chose freely what and where the Attention should be focused.

This damage is all there is, and no subtraction of Health Points. Instead you die if an injury, at any moment, accumulated or single injuries, makes you die. Decapitation simply kills you, no turning back. Blowing up from an explotion also kills you outright. Starving and dehydration to a certain point also kills you. Loss of a certain percentage of your total blood will also Kill you. If you then for example get your arm cut off, you do not die because of the damage done to your arm but because you eventually will lose too much blood.

This I think, is the way damage will be tracked.

What fun is this, you might ask? I don’t know but I am willing to try and I believe it is just a matter of making it making sense and understanding the relation between the cause and the consequence. It then is just a matter of what statistical data you keep track of. The traditional Health Points are just an abstaction and a simplification of the above where you track only one injury statistic instead of many.

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Parallell blog

I have started begun work on a computer game based on this project  The blog can be followed here:

http://luminousgamescape.wordpress.com

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How to Check actions

A unified system on how to decide on the different Checks in any action.

First, there is a rule of three. In the three steps a different faculty is used. Primal Faculty, Mental Faculty and Physical Faculty. Each of them needs to be used separately in the three steps. Each step also needs a Sense connected to it. You also add the Skill used to all the Checks. Lastly you need to make an Attention Check. A list:

1. Every action is divided into 3 steps.
2. One of the steps must use one Primal Faculty (Emotion, Cognition, Coordination, Reaction or Pattern Generation)
3. One of the steps must use one Physical Faculty (Strength, Endurance, Agility or Beauty), unless there is no physical movement involved such as manifesting a Spell. In such cases use another Mental Faculty instead.
4. One of the steps must use one Mental Faculty (Instinct, Intuition, Intelligence or Will). There are no instances where you do not use a Mental Faculty.
5. All Senses involved in the action needs to be Checked.
6. Attention needs to be Checked
7. Add the Skill Used should be added to all the Checks.

To test if this theory holds up I’ll do some experiments.

Experimental Example 1:

Greg sees a boar beyond a hill 50 meters ahead of him. He prepares his bow and arrow and sneaks close to the animal to get a better view. He manage to find a spot where the boar does not see him while still giving him full view of the boar. Greg prepares to draw the bow.

1. Stability Check:
– Coordination (Primal Faculty)
– Balance (Sense)
2. Aim Check:
– Instinct/Intuition/Intelligence (Mental Faculty)
– Vision (Sense)
3. Release Check:
– Dexterity (Physical Faculty)
– Touch (Sense)
4. Attention Check:
– Focused Attention

Experimental Example 2:

Lydia attempts to manifest a Flame of Fire in her hand. No physical movement is needed therefore :

1. Connection Check:
– Cognition (Primal Faculty)
– clairvoyance (Sense)
2. Understanding/calculation Check:
– Intelligence (Mental Faculty)
– Clairvoyance (Sense)
3. Manifesting Check:
– Will (Mental Faculty)
– Clairvoyance (Sense)
4. Attention Check
– Focused Attention
– Sustained Attention

Experimental Example 3:

Rodger has found an ornamental box but it is unfortunately locked. Rodger has a pair of lock picks in his pocket so he takes his chances to open it.

1. Prehension Check:
– Emotion (Primal Faculty)
– Vision (Sense)
2. Initial Picking Check:
– Intelligence/Intuition Check (Mental Faculty)
– Hearing Check (Sense)
3. Practical Picking Check:
– Dexterity (Physical Faculty)
– Touch (Sense)
4. Attention Check:
– Focused Attention
– Sustained Attention

Experimental Example 4:

Brawn is in a melee fight with a bandit who had snuck up on him during his sleep. Now Brawn has the opportunity to swing his sword against the thug.

1. Stability Check:
– Agility/Strength (Physical Faculty)
– Balance (Sense)
2. Aim Check:
– Instinct (Mental Faculty)
– Vision (Sense)
3. Swing Check:
– Coordination (Primal Faculty)
– Touch (Sense)
4. Attention Check:
– Focused Attention

All of a sudden another bandit comes in from behind and they flank him. Brawn needs to Check if he can keep attention on both bandits.

1. Attention Check:
– Divided Attention

If Brawn succeeds the Divided Attention Check he will not get any penalties for fighting two bandits at the same time. If Brawn fails the Divided Attention Check he will have to make a Selective Attention Check each time he attacks and each time he is attacked. Now the new bandit attacks and Brawn needs to do the following Checks.

1. Attention Check:
– Selective Attention (if this Check fails he will get a penalty on the below Checks)
2. Prehension Check:
– Reaction (Primal Faculty)
– Vision (Sense)
3. Assimilation Check:
– Intuition/Instinct (Mental Faculty)
– Vision (Sense)
4. Dodge Check:
– Agility (Physical Faculty)
– Balance (Sense)

After having written down the above examples I have found a pattern that I think follows most actions:

1. Prehension
2. Assimilation
3. Execution

First there is a Prehension which is a way to estimate the situation. The only possibility humans have to collect information from the outside world is to use our Senses, the Senses in turn are connected to a Faculty such as our Emotional centre in the brain, or in other instances where we are very much aware of the situation the senses can be connected to our Cognition.

Prehension in the this way can also mean Preparation, in other words: How  we prepare for the action to come. In the case of shooting with a bow and arrow the Preparation stage is a matter of finding a Stable position in which you can stand and then fire the arrow successfully.

The second step is the Assimilation. Assimilation means that we compare new information with the knowledge we already have. In other words, we take all the information that we can Prehend (first step) and compare that to all that we already know in order to determine an appropriate action. Depending on how long time you have to assimilate the situation a different Mental Faculty will be used. Our Instinct is the fastest and most Immediate information processing faculty so in close quarters where a quick action or reaction is needed Instinct is used to Assimilate. When there is enough time to feel or think of the situation, then Intuition is an appropriate Mental Faculty. Lastly when there is enough time, such as when trying to solve a puzzle, we have the luxury to Assimilate with our Intelligence which is the most aware process of assimilating information.

The third step is the Execution. This is when the actual task is performed. Most things we do are concerned with a movement in the physical space but not everything is, such as in the Experimental Example 2.

Conclusion: All actions should be described in the three steps:

1. Prehension
2. Assimilation
3. Execution

Should there be an action that does not fit into this pattern, another pattern should be used with the aim to make as much sense as possible.

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Motivation – Cognition or Emotion

Cognition and Emotion denotes two separate innate functions of the human body and psyche, both of which are Motivational faculties. Emotions are the feelings that humans feel in any particular situation which fills the body and mind with a sense of importance and meaning. Emotions often feels abstract and are at most times not easy to rephrase with spoken or written language. If a human acts on the Emotions, then, it might not be as easy to explain the WHY of the action.

Cognitions on the other hand, are more often rational and conceived of the thoughts a human thinks. The thoughts usually forms some kind of logical pattern, where past experiences and the currently possessed knowledge are the basis of the thoughts. Just as emotions acts as the motivational factors for humans when acting, Cognitions motivates humans in a more concrete and rationally conscious way and actions may be consciously decided upon before the act takes place. A decision that follows some sort of a coherent thought that makes some sort of internal sense.

Even though Emotions and Cognitions, as human motivational faculties, are not easy to clearly describe we can sense a distinction between the two. Below are some Powers that comes with either Emotion or Cognition

COGNITION POWERS

Self-Discipline
Prerequisites: Reched the Professional level of at least 1 Practical Skill, Will +1 or higher.
Effect: Will Check is increased with your Cognition score and maximum roll on 1d10 for the Will Check.
Description:
Whenever you are forced to act on an Emotion (such as when being under the influence of a magic spell that alters your emotions) you can force yourself to act against the emotion.

Epi-Cognitive Space
Prerequisites: Having cast one spell.
Effect: You add your Cognition score to all Spell Checks
Description:
Each individual has a unique way of imagining and thinking and the way of thinking is called Cognitive Space. Your Cognitive Space is naturally including the higher dimensions when thinking.

Group Inspiration
Prerequisites: Be of Allonomous moral alignment.
Effect: The result of all dice rolls are increased with +1 when when being part of a group. This affects the dice roll itself so that a 9 becomes a 10, for example.
Description:
When acting as an individual in a group or a team your feel more motivated and are able to exceed where you in other situations, being alone, would not.

Orderly Emotions
Prerequisites: Emotion +4 or higher, Cognition +5 or higher. Will +5 or higher.
Effect: You gain access to Inspirations and may choose one directly. You can activate all Inspirations at Will at any time.
Description:
With your thoughts you can produce emotions that are benefcial for you. Your prefrontal cortex has gained the advantage to at any time fill yourself with positive emotions.

INSPIRATIONS

Battle Frenzy
Effect:
– Strength, Agility and Endurance are increased with a value equal to your Emotion Score,
– Movement speed is increased with + 5 m/s
– All Motor Faculties (Coordination, Reaction and Pattern Generation) are increased with +1
– Damage Resistance is increased with +10
Penalty:
– Physical Fatigue increases twice as fast.

The Moment of Now
Effect:
– Focused Attention and Sustained Attention are increased with a value equal to your Emotion Score.
Penalty:
– Divided Attention, Alternating Attention and Selective Attention are decreased with a value equal to your Emotion Score.

Deja Vu
Effect:
– Pattern Generation is increased with a value equal to your Emotion Score
Penalty:
– You may not use any other Inspirations, Powers or special abilities while this is in effect.

EMOTION POWERS

Fearless
Prerequisites: Memory +1, Instinct +1, having been frightened at least once.
Effect: You can add your Emotion Score to your Will Roll when attempting to resist being frightened from a natural or supernatural effect.
Description:
Your previous experiences has taught you that fleeing is not always the best thing to do. You have learnt how to take control of your flight or fight mechanism.

Bravery
Prerequisites: Instinct +2
Effect: When you are outnumbered by enemies you can choose one
Dice Roll to have maximum effect. This power can be used once per day.
Description:
At moments when the odds looks to be against you, you are able to find courage and are able to act at your maximum potential.

Hope
Prerequisites: Instinct +3
Effect: When your HP is at 25% or lower of your maximum or HP you you gain bonuses equal to your Emotion Score to all Faculties of the Body. This power can kick in once per day.
Description:
When your life force is drained and your life is in danger you have learned that there is always more power to harness. A stream of intensive emotions fills your body and you feel revitalised.

Reverse Emotion
Prerequisites: Cognition +3, having been aflicted at least once by a negative emotion from a spell effect.
Effect: All negative effects are reversed to have positive effects. This power can be used once per day.
Description:
With a conscious effort you have learned how to alter emotions that has been imposed on you through magical means.

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Constitution Powers

Immune system: Deceases
Prerequisites: Having been afflicted with one decease
Effect: When ever you get afflicted with a decease and manage to cure yourself from it, you gain immunity to this decease forever after.
Description:
Your body is not only of high vitality and health. It has also with an increased immune system learnt how to prevent and protect against the deceases it already knows.

Immune system: Poison
Prerequisites: Having been poisoned at least once.
Effect: Whenever you are poisoned you gain +5 to your Constitution Checks for resisting any poison and to get rid of any posion. Also, if you you do get poisoned your body only takes half the detrimental effects and they last only half as long.
Description:
Having been poisoned before your body has learned how to fight any poison to maximum effect, both preventively and when your body do get poisoned.
Poisons are fundamentally different from deceases in that deceases are organic cells that try to reproduce and take over your body. The more the decease manage to reproduce in your body the more affliction it will incur. Poisons, on the other hand, has no reproductive function and will instead only affect according to the volume poison that afflicts your body. Some poisons are so potent that only the smallest volume will have devastating effects to your body.

Regeneration
Prerequisites: Having been wounded.
Effect: Whenever you have been wounded (a loss of Health Points) you recover and heal at twice the normal rate.
Description:
Your body is healthy enough to afford to spend enough energy to mend your wounds faster, while still maintaining energy reserves for the rest of your organs. The wound can be a simple bruise to that of an open wound or an internal organ being damaged. You do not, however, recover lost limbs.

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Intelligence based magic Part II.

It was discussed in the last post how you create spells and how you cast spells and also what is needed from you in order to do so. In this post I will explain and discuss how you manage and maintain spells and also the practical skills needed for casting spells.

First, though, I think it is needed to explain what was discussed in the comments in the next post.

Spells on the fly – Imagination Vs Reality
In the imaginary world of Seventh spells are created on the fly by simply willing what it is you imagine into physical existence. Now, as we are in the real world (the matrix?) we can exploit the practical dilemmas that comes with always imagining spells when playing the game. So, I will create spells in advance that anyone can use while playing the game. More than that anyone else who has the interest can create new spells, provided the spell creation guidelines are followed. It is then up to the person who plays to imagine that the character is imagining that particular spell.

You could also, for example, whenever a character imagines a spell file it in a database and anyone else can use it in the future. This happens outside the game, of course.

Spells on the fly – Spontaneity vs Memory
Memory is a Major Faculty in Seventh and it represent the same memory that we talk about in the real world. The memory in the game will allow you to not only memorise trivial or important knowledge but also to memorise particular spells. How many spells exactly is to be decided later.

When you have memorised a spell you not only remember the abstract parts of the imagination, you also memorise the sensory connections and the particular formulas used to create that spell. This means that when you cast memorised spells, you do not have to roll a Clairvoyance Check (sensing the source of your imagination) and not an Intelligence Check (understanding the imagination and how it can be materialised). Instead you only have to roll a Will Check to see if you can will it from memory into physical existence.

Another way to memorise spells is of course to write them down. The all classical Spell Book will, then, naturally take place in this universe as well. Spells written down does not, however, serve as such a quick reference as the spells explicitly memorised in your memory does. To explain why this is we just have to compare how it is to remember the experience of something to the time it takes to read about that experience. Remembering the experience is more or less instant where as reading about it takes much longer time.

Spells in a spell book, then, is only for future reference should you not want to imagine a new spell at any moment.

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