The Master Sword: Reforged Manifesto

Lark

Old Skool Apostle
MSC Developer
MSR Developer
Lead MSR Developer
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This post will serve as a reference for outlining game design concepts, desires, and direction for Master Sword: Reforged. It will be laid out in a FAQ style, so feel free to ask questions in this thread that haven't been addressed yet, and I might add or merge them into this post. All concepts in this post are fluid and can change as desired, and will be annotated as such.

Sections (for faster browsing):
GREEN - General Questions
BLUE - Gameplay Concept Questions
VIOLET - Gameplay Mechanics Questions
YELLOW - Story/Lore/Campaign Questions

RED - Technical Questions

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What is Master Sword: Reforged?
Master Sword: Reforged (MS:R) will be a First-Person perspective Fantasy Role-Playing Game (RPG) and spiritual successor of the Half-Life mod, Master Sword: Continued (MS:C), which (as the name implies) is also a continuation of the original Master Sword mod released over 20 years ago. If you would like to know more about MS:C's history, see here. MS:R is built in Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) - a more modern engine than MS:C's GoldSrc engine - which allows for vastly improved 3D visual effects and technical capabilities.

Is this a single-player RPG? Multiplayer Co-Op? PvP? Open-World? MMO?
Much like MS:C, the main focus will be on multiplayer cooperative (co-op) play, and there will be single-player support. The rest is undecided at this time, and while there will likely be Player-vs-Player (PvP) support, it is not planned to be a primary goal. It is also planned to leverage UE4's level-streaming features to give an "Open-World" feel, but it's not a guarantee. For network play, a small-scale client-server model will be used; expensive server infrastructure and development time will (likely) not be spent on making this a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game.

Will this be a kid-friendly game, or will it have gratuitous sex and violence?
Yes.

How much will this game cost when it's released? DLC? Expansions?
Nothing. Ever. Legalities aside, this is a hobby for me - I have a day job and a family, but I do love working on this game. In fact, I'm hoping we can recruit ambitious artists, designers, coders, etc., that can leverage their work on this game to launch a successful career of their own one day. That being said, in order to mitigate cheats/exploits, I would hesitate to go full open-source.

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What will the game mode(s) be like? Story campaign? Sandbox? Dating sim?
MS:R will be, first and foremost, a Dungeon Crawler. Players connect to a server that's on a particular map or region, create/join a Party or Guild (or go solo), take on challenging quests, puzzles, and combat, and earn rewards they can use to (hopefully) tackle different areas. The goal will be for most areas to take 20-30 minutes (no more than an hour) for players of an appropriate level/skill/gear to be able to complete, so casual players with busy schedules can still have fun without feeling locked into a lengthy time commitment. But players can feel free to play as long as they like, and there will likely be an AI-controlled feature for parties with players that quit or go AFK (or for those that just want to play solo with bots).

MS:R currently does allow for easily creating other game modes (PvP Arena, Battle Royale, etc.), but that will come after the main game mode is fleshed out more.

So is there a Story or Campaign to follow, or just a bunch of disconnected maps?
There will definitely be a story - the fantasy world is tied to the pre-existing lore (scroll down to Lore Questions). It will take some time to implement a story-driven campaign, but it will be open-ended: Players won't need to follow story progression (which I'm hoping is nonlinear) in order to access new areas/content, but it might serve as a mini-tutorial or provide other advantages. Regardless, the primary focus will be on supporting content developers to expand the game with new areas, dungeons, and challenges, with the secondary focus being on the story (and tertiary focus on PvP or other game modes).

How large will the Party size be? Will there be "Raids"?
There is currently no planned limit on Party size, other than the server's max player limit. However, enemy numbers/difficulty will be complemented accordingly. If servers can stably support dozens of players, a feature that requires multiple Parties to coordinate efforts might be implemented, but is not planned at this time - it feels too much like a MMO feature that could impact balance or gameplay negatively if not thought out properly.

Will there be adjustable difficulty levels?
Maybe with server settings or mods, but the game will scale "difficulty" with the player's progression and number of players (see below).

What about end-game high-level players? Will this be another never-ending meta grind?
MS:R will ABSOLUTELY NOT be another end-game meta grind-fest. In fact, the game will be designed in such a way that returning to earlier areas presents something fresh/new/beneficial and still offers a challenge. In terms of the story campaign, there will definitely be an ending for the game. However, it will probably take a while (a couple years, maybe more) to release enough content to reach that point.

How will the game's design keep older content fresh/relevant at higher levels?
There are a few ways I hope to accomplish this:
  1. Procedurally-generated dungeon layouts (pending technical implementation). This will require some heavy dev work and modular level design, but puzzles, enemies, traps, chests, etc. will change when a dungeon is triggered to load/reload (but NOT when a server quits/restarts).
  2. Dungeon progression. Some rooms, floors, etc., will be gated off by harder enemies, keys, or some other mechanic that can only be done later in the game (credit to @Age for the idea).
  3. Character Stats will not be over-leveled to the point where it makes early dungeons extremely trivial. Example: Players might start with a paltry 100 HP, but even a hardened, specialized "tank" will not reach 800+ HP at higher levels. Instead, they might hit around 200-250 HP, with buffs, and better damage mitigation.
  4. Items will not be replaced by vastly superior tiers. On the contrary, I'm aiming to keep the starter equipment relevant by doing fairly high (physical only) damage compared with later tiers. But it will start as "Rusty" or "Poor quality" and require significant resource investment to improve, when compared with other items you can earn from loot/quests (not to mention elemental damage, enchantability, etc). You could theoretically keep using an upgraded starter sword periodically throughout the whole game if it suits your style, but it would not be recommended for, e.g., elemental-themed areas.
Will there be races, classes, and specializations? Can I switch between classes/specs?
There are a few so-called "Enlightened" races, with the three main playable ones planned to be Humans, Elves, and Dwarves - maybe more to be added at a later time. Classes and specs are still TBD.

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So how will Attributes work exactly?
UPDATE: There will not be Attributes for now, but will be implemented and refined during play-testing.

How (generally) will combat work?
This game is primarily played in a first-person perspective, and combat will deliberately focus on controls best-suited for first-person gameplay. Players can use items, spells, and weapons in each/both hands, and they can have various effects when used, charged, thrown, and more. Likewise, players can expect to find more diverse groups of enemies that use increasingly-effective tactics at higher levels. This game is NOT about encouraging offline strategy sessions, spreadsheet use, or rote memorization of enemy positions and skill rotations, but it IS about adjusting to the situation. A ranged strategy that works against a slow enemy might not work against an enemy that looks the same, but moves faster and is harder to hit.

There are a variety of items, spells, weapons, and armor players can use that best-suits their play style, and all but armor can be switched in combat for different situations, but item variety and specific combat abilities/mechanics won't be discussed here.

Will there be race- or class-specific abilities, spells, or items?
Undecided, but I'm thinking there will be some race-specific bonuses, passive skills, and/or items. Weapons and armor can be upgraded, and certain spell/item combinations can create unique (hidden?) effects and abilities.

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What fantasy world is this game based on? Where can I read more about the lore?
MS:R is set in the fictional world of Leann, and I'll take this opportunity to point to this subform and this novella. For the record, I am definitely not a loremaster by any means, but I've done some light reading. For more questions/information, @Thothie might be of assistance.

What is the era or "Age" in which MS:R is set? Who or what is the primary antagonist?
Unknown at this time, but here are the Ages I'm considering:

- The Age of Blood (however, I need to check at what Age humans make their appearance).
- The Age of Revival (MS:C's era).
- The Age of the Dragon (other MS:C successors are targeting this Age, but certainly worth considering).

There are other Ages worth considering too, but I think these will be the top contenders. The primary antagonist will be tied to the lore from that era.

What about recreating the MS:C world and story in the Unreal engine?
MS:C is still actively being sustained/developed and played. Herculean technical challenges and permission aside, I have no intent to import, convert, or otherwise recreate MS:C's events in the Age of Revival.

What about time travel?
Umm... MS:C did it, so sure, why not?

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What are the System Requirements/Recommendations?
Unknown at this time. This link references requirements for the editor, but it changes based on the game's implementation. More to follow.

Will MS:R ever be on platforms other than the PC?
Maybe. Right now the focus is on mouse-and-keyboard controls, with eventual gamepad support (request from my wife and kids). I would like the next focus to be on VR support, since I think that would be really cool if we could make it happen.

Why Unreal Engine? Why not Unity, Godot, or <insert engine here>?
Personal preference, really. A good case could be made for using any other engine, but there are three things that sold me on UE4:
- Simplicity with scripting and rapidly prototyping in Blueprints.
- Working natively in C++, which I'm experienced with.
- Enough documentation and resources online to work through most problems (although admittedly, Unity's community support is better).
 
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