Introduction to the weight system

Continuation of the work on characters.

If you have read my previous entry, you might have noticed that I pointed that playing with the character creation is something that I liked to do. I do, and I know that many other people do. At some point, I had to question myself. How could I put this fun into the game ? This question can be answered pretty easily : the game should allow characters appearance to change according to some factors. One of these factors that a player will be able to toy with is the character weight. A rather obvious one since it defines a lot of a character’s shape.

Currently, the weight system works through food buffs. If you’ve ever played a MMORPG, you’ve probably come accross food buffs. Things that you craft in cooking professions, that give you various bonuses. Usually, they’re not that great, but since I want cooking to have an important place in Metaworld (like crafting in general), these bonuses will be relatively strong. And coming with an additional effect to manage.
When a player consumes a food, it grants it a buff with a number of stacks and a buff timer. Those stacks grant the player bonuses when being consumed, what occurs when performing some action (mining, casting, attacking, resting, etc). If there are unused stacks at the end of the buff timer, they’ll disappear, but add some weight to the character.

The effects of additional weight have yet to be determined. But you can be sure that there will be both advantages and drawbacks. I don’t want extra weight to be considered like a bad or good thing, but as something that is part of character building, both visually and gameplay-wise.

And I’ll conclude this post with an image of what it’s looking like in-game. The way I’m making characters heavier or lighter is fairly basic, since it’s a simple scale on some voxels, yet it’s working well in my opinion :

Metaworld voxel character weight variation
Only 4 steps represented here, but it’s linear between each one.

Character style

Another long time since the last update. Not much happened regarding features development, but I’ve fairly well advanced on the character style, enough to show more properly what they’ll look like in Metaworld. No big suspense since people can immediately see it, this is how they’re looking :

Metaworld voxel characters
Metaworld voxel characters : remembrance of character sprites from the 2D era.

Chibi looking, somewhat cute, big heads with room for facial features, small bodies, closer to SNES/Game Boy character sprites than to 2015 AAA character models. I’m fully aware that comparison will probably be made with other games (Cube World ahead), but I expect experimented eyes to be able to make the difference!

My objectives with this character style were various.
If there’s one thing that I like when playing RPG, it’s to create characters. I can waste hours there. When it’s well-done, not only does it allow one to have a (potentially) unique character, but also a recognizable character. But sadly… Many RPG/MMORPG does not have a well-done character creator (for my tastes, at least).
The current trend seems to have powerful tools for face customization, but little to no body customization. This focus on faces is something that I’m struggling to understand. Faces sure does allow one to have a unique character, but how many occasions are there for a player to zoom on characters faces when playing ? Whether it is a player character or an NPC, in online RPGs, You hardly recognize characters by zooming on their face, you recognize them thanks to their clothes, hair, body features, equipment, etc (unless of course there’s an auto-zoom).

From the beginning, I wanted Metaworld’s character to be recognizable, not only due to their bodies, but also thanks to their faces. It implied to have big heads that would emphasizes on facial features (eyes, eyebrows, facial hair, etc). What I had in mind at the moment was a style as a remembrance of characters sprites from the NES/SNES/Game Boy era. Something that I hope to have been able to capture to some extent.

Another constraint was the need for coherence and harmony. Example : if I want to play a bald character, I want it to be as nice as a character with long hair. Similarly, male, female, tall, large, fat, thin or small characters should be equally nice to look at. A character should not be inherently ugly or beautiful, unless its player wants it to be. That’s the reason I don’t like character such as TESO’s one, for example (whatever you do, they are not nice to look at, even if you can hide them under gorgeous armors).

To settle for a character style might sound easy and be a light task, but it’s something more complicated than it looks like. As far as I can remember, every single time I had to design a character style, whether it would be sprites or voxel models, I would take an eternity. Thus, I’m quite happy to already have a satisfying one.