Tuesday, November 29, 2016


An action game lives and dies (sometimes literally) by it's enemies. The Elementalist blends action, puzzles, and exploration so having a good cast of baddies to practice all those cool spells against is a must.  Suffice it to say I have put a lot of time and effort into making the enemies that our wizard will face.

Every enemy in the Elementalist has a distinct AI that drives it's behaviors.  Each individual AI is directed by a set of motivations that can be predicated on the conditions present in their environment and the ability of the enemy to detect them.  More simply stated the enemies decide what looks tastiest moment to moment and drool accordingly!

Enemies also have the ability to react to events occurring around them and navigate their way around the map with varying levels of sophistication depending on how clever they are.  Some enemies fire projectiles back at the wizard and have custom intelligence that determines how accurately they can aim.  I quickly realized that making their aim too accurate made things a little too challenging (and made the wizard a bit too much of a pin-cushion).  All of these custom behaviors are still being tweaked and adjusted as I play and re-play the alpha content, but I am excited to get your feedback to really dial them in.

Along with their custom AI all enemies also have a set of strengths and weaknesses that dictate what kinds of attacks work best to overcome them.  Hopefully they are mostly intuitive (and helped out by the floating damage numbers) but I do expect players to experiment and find new strategies where all else fails (and it will probably fail at some point).  Defeating enemies will add an entry into the wizard's "Bestiary", which can be accessed from the in-game pause menu.  Defeating multiple enemies of the same type will reveal more information about the enemy, including the strengths, weaknesses, and hit-points (HPs!) of each.  Be sure to check your Bestiary after whacking a new fiend!

Now I don't want to give too much away because exploration and discovery is such an important part of the experience of a game in my opinion but it is probably fair to give an example of a couple of the enemies currently in the alpha code.  These animations are taken from the bestiary entries for the respective enemies and are subject to change...


A classic that keeps coming back for more (provided there are still limbs, bits, or brains available).    Zombies use their keen sense of smell and reasonably good vision to hone in on the most delicious treats available.  What the zombie lacks in brains it definitely tries to make up for (by eating yours).  Yes, the zombie really loves that meat...  hmmm, could that be a hint?  No, probably not; hints here would be inconceivable!

Rattus Soldier!

The Rattus are scattered hither and yon about the world (that's just the vernacular you have use for role playing games, sorry).  The Rattus soldier employs it's exceptional mobility to dodge incoming attacks and get it's pointy bits where you don't want them.  Make sure you can walk tomorrow by keeping this feller at range!

There are roughly a dozen enemies currently in the alpha contentout of the currently completed set of twenty-eight.  I have also created art assets for another half-dozen or so and have a few more designs in mind.  I expect the full enemy roster to be in the neighborhood of fifty when the game is complete but in the mean time I hope my first dirty dozen can keep you occupied!

Most of the alpha content is complete and I am just adding a few visual, auditory, game-play and interface tweaks as I go through the content over and over (and over).  My hope is to get things ready for alpha release right around Christmas.  Yule never expect it!  (ouch! sorry).


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Items 2: The Return of Items

I spent some time this evening working on NPC dialogs for a few of the merchants in the game introducing some of their side-quests.  The base content for the alpha is getting close to completion and I am still trying to find that sweet spot where I can feel like there is enough included to get a feel for what the game is and enough alluded to that you can imagine the greater context and hopefully be excited to explore the rest.  All of which has very little to do with the rest of the post, which is about the other usable items I did not get to in my previous post because I agonize over all the content I produce, even for the Internet (reading what you type more than once?  Shocking, I know).

Bark-skin potion

This muddy brew may take second place in a beauty pageant(*) but it still grants the wizard temporary immunity to damage.  The damage immunity may not last a long time but it can sure be a life saver (or possibly a puzzle complexity reducer for the impatient)!


When your enemies have more legs than brains this simple combination of rope and rocks should be your go to accessory.  What it lacks in, well, everything else, the bolo makes up for in it's ability to slow your enemies down.

Speed Potion

Far less addictive than you might expect, this potion never-the-less gives you a serious kick in the movement department.  It will let you win at things you aren't even supposed to win at, like yelling.  You will win at yelling!  Or maybe something else like jumping or waving. It will let you wave your hands really fast and you'll probably become invisible!  Which doesn't even make any sense!*  Just quaff and go! Go go go go go!

Cursed Skull

Seriously, why would you even have this in your pockets?  It isn't like anything good could possibly come of it...

Large Potion

The "Large" potion.  It's like if your mana potion and your healing potion got together and had a very big baby.  And then you drank it.  On second thought, let's leave the metaphors out of this.

Holy Cross

This holy symbol really makes certain undead people uncomfortable.  If you suddenly find yourself the undesired center of an undead party you should throw this on the ground.  (And while you're throwing the cake to the ground tell your so called girlfriend that you're an adult!*)

Invincibility Potion

If you came to chew bubble gum and kick tail but you are all out of bubble gum(*), try the invincibility potion!  "Wait, how is this different from the Bark-skin potion?" you may ask.  Simple, the Bark-skin potion only prevents direct damage to you, it won't prevent all of the other unfortunate status effects that might happen, like being hexed, knocked back, slowed down, stunned, etc.  If those don't sound appealing maybe this will!

Lucky Coin

The lucky coin makes all your coins lucky!  In practice this means that if you toss out a coin while you have this shiny fella equipped it will work like some kind of secret sonar and "ping" for any nearby secrets.  Just look for the sparkles!  Do you feel lucky, punk?*  Don't complain, it's cheaper than bombing every square inch of wall like you had to do in the original Zelda.  And these days if you're a real cheap-skate you can probably find all the secrets on-line anyway; way to ruin everything Internet!

Phoenix Feather

Don't let Dumbledore(*) know where you got this.  If you have a phoenix feather equipped when you die you will be immediately reborn in a burst of flames, though you can safely assume the feather bit the dust in the process.  Just don't count on this to save you if you fall into an endless pit or a puddle.

Alright, that wraps up the currently implemented usable items in the game.  The wizard can also improve their chances of success by finding more powerful gear through searching out secrets and fulfilling quests for some of the world's inhabitants. Thanks to all you LeVar Burton* fans for getting this far!

Keep your eyes peeled for more!  And if you know anybody else who might enjoy having their eyes peeled point them this-a-way (it sounds odd but there are actually a surprising number of people who enjoy all kinds of crazy stuff out there if the Internet is to be believed)!


* bonus geek points if you caught all the inane references here: (zradick@gmail.com)

Friday, November 4, 2016


Today I want to cover eight of the sixteen items currently in The Elementalist.  The items here can be used in many different ways within the game. Most have a very obvious use but some can also be used to take the place of a potentially unknown spell or possibly to solve puzzles for which no other solution may be possible.  The brief tutorial in the game includes a few examples of these cases but there are many more to discover throughout the world!

Items can be obtained by defeating specific enemies, uncovering secret caches, or simply purchased from one of the world's NPCs (non-player characters for those too cool to be in on RPG, role-playing game, jargon -- though that probably narrows things down to the subset of people who would never in a million years be caught reading this blog so I guess I can forge on with geeky acronyms safely, huzzah!).  Most items obtained can only be used once before they must be purchased again, though there are exceptions to this rule; for example your teleportation crystal is never used up and if you manage to put out your bomb before it explodes you can safely pick it back up (unless somebody else lights it again for you).  Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself here; on with the first eight items in the list in no particular order!

Teleport Crystal

The teleport crystal is retrieved early on giving the wizard a means to return home at any time.  As you explore the world the crystal can be attuned to larger crystals found throughout so that the wizard can be instantaneously transported around the open world.  The teleport crystal can be used infinitely.

Mana Potion

The mana potion can be used to immediately replenish the wizard's current stores of mana, which otherwise recharge over time.  When fighting tough adversaries being able to recharge your spells without delay can make all the difference.  And mana potions are blueberry flavored to boot!

Fairy Jar

Just like it says, this is a fairy in a jar.  Fairy jars make for a great lantern in dark places and can be set on the ground to illuminate your surroundings.  You can even pick them up and stuff them back in your belt to use them again.  Just be careful that nothing breaks the jar because catching fairies that get loose can be tricky!

Sticks n' Stones

We all know what sticks and stones are capable of.  So why not see if you can't put them to good use?  They also make a great impromptu remote operator of switches if you happen to find any of those (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).


The quintessential fused fun bringer, bombs require a bit of finesse due to the delay between getting the party started and actual party time.  If you (or one of your enemies) happen to extinguish the bomb before the party starts be sure to pick it back up for a rain-check.

Healing Potion

Pink is totally in; in to saving your back-side that is!  Unlike mana, you do not periodically recover your health so keeping a supply of these little pink cuties on hand is definitely a good idea.  The wizard is relatively frail and depends on staying out of the line of fire; but if the line should pay a visit just say hello to your little friend!  You can also recover your health by resting at a bed, but beds are somewhat less portable.


A hunk of meat may seem like a silly thing to keep in your pocketses but it can definitely be preferable to being gnawed on.  Just be aware that once you flop this down there's no picking it back up, ten second rule or no.

Holy Water

A vial of holy water just destined to ruin the day of some poor undead thing assuming your aim is up to the task.  Water fight anyone?!

Bear Trap

This playful beauty snaps shut on your enemies (or yourself if you aren't careful!) and will hold whatever it has snapped on in place for a few precious seconds, giving you the chance to escape or make some other daring move!  You were planning to do something daring, right?

That wraps up the first randomly selected half of the items currently in The Elementalist.  Stay tuned for the remaining eight items in a future post!