BuJoRPG Dev Blog 002: Trees

Look at this! I’m already back for another update… and I’m probably going to ramble on this one a bit. I also have visual aids!

In BuJoRPG Version 1 (V1), there weren’t any Attributes to advance and all the stats just climbed up as you acquired them. So, for example, if I wanted to level up my walking steps, the number just climbed and allowed me to earn XP to advance my level. Input directly affected the level. This isn’t a terrible mechanical concept but I want BuJourneyRPG (V2) to be a little more nuanced.

In case you’re wondering, I’ll be short handing the V1 and V2 in every blog and I’ll be explaining what is what each time in case it’s your first blog post. I’m also bolding terms that are important and vital to V2 the first time to kind of highlight features.

Back to the good stuff.

I was going to follow the pattern of leveling up the attributes in a similar fashion, having things that advance Physical (PHY) be physical activities, having Mental (MEN) be mental activities, and so on. This would have a direct and pointed means of advancing the attributes. While you might think this is simple, it would also unbalance the four attributes if you didn’t allow yourself to expand your horizons.

It’s important that the attributes remain somewhat balanced because the story elements are going to be tagging all four attributes. If you’re using V2 for one of the four attributes because you feel lacking, great… but there is now a mechanic I’m working on to allow the attributes to remain balanced, even if you never want to work on the MEN attribute.

Let me introduce “Advancement Trees.”

This works from the bottom up, meaning that single hexagon at the very bottom is where you start. In this example, you have three paths you can choose to advance your attributes and other skills (I haven’t defined skills yet, so no bold). Maybe the first hex at the bottom is a PHY +1, with the option in the second level being a (red hex) MEN +1 and (yellow hex) Social (SOC) +1. Even though there isn’t a yellow hex at the bottom, you need to unlock certain levels to enter that advancement tree branch.

Each hex provides another boost or advancement point. This will keep things balanced (somewhat) so that you can, if you want, only work on one attribute story type. The concept came from Final Fantasy X’s “Sphere Grid” (which is pictured below).

The basics of the Sphere Grid is that you start in a spot and work your way around to gain new nodes to unlock. The V2 version is the Advancement Tree above (simplified). If you decide to go with just the red hex path, you would have connecting tissue between each hex to connect them. For the purpose of this example, I simply blurred the other two paths a bit.

Choosing the red path in this example would allow you to acquire the necessary attributes, maybe even skills, or perhaps even some sort of items, in order to help you “level up” and finish the particular story you’ve chosen to go along.

An example would be that if you’re playing a Space Quest (a generic Star Trek) adventure, you’ll get all the attributes you need in order to get from “level 1” to “level 10” and accomplish the end goal.

I’m betting someone is asking “what about going back to finish the other paths?” This is your own journey to improvement, you can clear the whole Advancement Tree if you’d like… it’s your journey. As long as you’re unlocking each “hex” before you advance to the next one, you’re doing it right.

There isn’t a mock up or generic tree made up yet. This concept came to me in trying to figure out how to keep the attributes somewhat balanced. Leveling (whatever that ends up being called, if anything else) will happen regardless of story or improvement. The idea has just come up and I’d like some time to work on it…

For those wondering about the YouTube video portion of this little blog: I want to be able to show something in progress before I start making them. There would have been a lot of still image type stuff and talking (rambling). I hope everyone is happy that I started with the small stuff in type first.