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Game mechanics

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Game mechanics encompass all the rules and logic in Shadowrun Awakened. This includes the rules ported directly from fourth edition along with gameplay features that are entirely original to SRA.

Gameplay Mission Statements

The game mechanics of Shadowrun: Awakened are guided by the Shadowrun 4th edition and the themes of the previous editions. They are guided by the project mission statement and project goals and attempt to relate them to the paradigm of a game.

  • Ground mechanics in the Shadowrun P&P
    • Leverage the setting to provide myriad possibilities
    • Whatever can be done in the P&P should be at least partially captured (at least one day)
    • Actions/objects/abilities that are forbidden in Shadowrun cannot happen in SRA (EG: teleportation, resurrection)
    • Make participation in a group key to unlocking the full experience
  • Reward Player Skill
    • Challenge players to think strategically and plan ahead of time
    • Reward reflexes and timing, but do not rely on them
    • Impose consequences for failure, but never punish participation
    • Liberate players to explore, but guide them when necessary
  • Emphasize Decisions Not Management
    • Provide non-linear stories based on player decisions
    • Make actions swift and non-repetitive, link them to the player's objectives
    • Streamline control over equipment, abilities, and other minutia
    • Minimize the time spent traveling, searching, and waiting
  • Foster a positive community
    • Manage a fair economy
    • Focus on character change over time, not just accumulating power over time
    • Make relationships and social status an invaluable asset for players

Genre & Influential Games

Just as the Shadowrun P&P cannot be classified into a single category, no video game based on it will ever fall into a single genre. Primarily, Shadowrun Awakened will strive to be an Action RPG with influences from other games and genres.

Shadowrun Awakened will revolve around a player managing a single character and defining the character using abstract statistics that can be improved over time through achievement. The player characters will share the world with NPCs and powerful factions. We will strive to present this classic RPG formula in a in a lightweight fashion to ensure stat management is not overshadowed by fundamental player decisions. The Shadowrun P&P's endless possibilities should be preserved, including a class-less skill system, but also recognized as a possible impediment, especially concerning gear. Modern RPGs, especially Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Mass Effect outline streamlined paradigms for NPC interactions, a single story augmented by "side-quests" and exploration in an open world, and consequences for the actions of the player. To a certain extent, RPGs that track a more nebulous "good vs. evil" concept for the player will be emulated, especially when trying to express factions in SRA, such as the Fable Series.

Player characters will live in a single persistent world, making SRA firmly an MMORPG. This single world will enable players to communicate and maintain relationships, explore its secrets as a team, and overcome its challenges together. Certain critiques of the MMO will be addressed directly by the SRA mechanics: grindquesting, emphasis on time in game over good play, lack of meaningful consequences/challenge, and total lack of conclusion to the game. Due to the flat nature of Shadowrun character advancement with respect to power, there will also me a minimal amount of startup time before a player can experience the most exciting and compelling parts of the game.

While SRA will have a lot of action, a lot of it will be planted in Stealth Action. Missions in Shadowrun often require runners to act as covert operatives, utilizing stealth and disguise to access forbidden areas. Combat is not their first course of action and it usually only happens when something goes wrong in these situations. This is much like Metal Gear Solid's classic format of sneaking whenever possible and being forced to retreat by overwhelming enemy forces if discovered. This is also used in such games as Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed. Unlike in MGS in particular, most situations will not allow for easy escape by just waiting out an alert situation. In Shadowrun, once a building it alerted, it continues to be on alert and searching for intrudes until they are all captured or are otherwise verified as away from the premises. It should be possible for players to fight their way through for a short time, but eventually the sustained alert will result in their capture or death if they do not choose to run away. Even when they run away, it will be possible for them to be chased to a certain extent, so evasion from enemies will likely work on a city-sized scale.

Unlike the P&P, SRA's existence as a multiplayer video game means the combat system must not be purely turn-based. While it should respect the aspects of varying characters reflexes, action duration, and frequency amongst characters, it cannot alter time (by stopping or slowing movement). This means combat in the game will involve real-time movement and at least pseudo-real-time action. In many respects, the combat system will resemble the one found in Neverwinter Nights and the very similar and even more successful Knights of the Old Republic. Both featured initiative and an implicitly turn-based combat system using an approximation of the 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. For NWN in particular, the system was created to be playable in a multiplayer format, thus many of the design decisions concerning a pseudo-turned-based system apply directly to our adaptation. The most important envisioned variation to this framework, given the great emphasis on guns in SR, is to have a mostly realistic cover system that capitalizes on real-time movement and dodging. Overall, NWN is also a good example of how to adapt the rules of a P&P's to a game, not just the setting, where some aspects were streamlined while preserving a high percentage of the original material.

Core Mechanics

Core Mechanics are the game mechanics being worked on for Version 1.0.