This page shows examples of some of the design specifications that were created for The Calling
The designs mentioned here may be different to those seen in the demo. This was due to time constraints when building the playable demo so that it was stable for showing at Develop Brighton 2023.
The Calling is not a combat focused game, but what combat there is will be fun and balanced.
The Detectives will have a revolver attack that will allow them to attack from a distance of up to 30 units. It will let them fire a shot every 0.6 seconds for 6 shots before an automatic reload. A reload will take 3 seconds. Ammo is unlimited.
The Cultists will have a shorter ranged attack, half the distance of the Detectives and a slower fire rate of 0.8 seconds. They will also have 6 shots before the automatic reload of 3 seconds.
To aid shooting, the gun attack should not use a single ray-cast to determine a hit. Instead either a set of parallel ray-casts or a ray-sphere should be used to allow for some inaccuracy.
When Detective is killed, after they are shown a death animation, the player respawns back at the edge of the play area.
All damage in The Calling results in instant death.
A Cultist Death
On dying, a Cultist become a Ghost which makes them invulnerable to further damage. But they are unable to interact with any of the puzzle elements of the game being on a different plane of existence.
Ghost Surge Attack
When in Ghost form, the Cultists attack changes to a surge attack where the character rushes forward. Any other players hit by this sudden explosive movement, is killed. The hit box for the attack is the same as for the player collider, making it easier for Ghosts to hit their targets.
When in Ghost form, players can also pass through certain environmental features like the walls of buildings.
Return to this World
Ghosts are able to return to the physical world by visiting certain marked points within the play area. The "Return" time takes 2 seconds.
The Player choosing when they want to return from the overpowered Ghost state, gives a strategic element to the combat.
The First Ritual - Searching For Relics
The first ritual played picks up from the introduction story that is shown to the players when loading in. It tasks both teams with the same objective of finding hidden relics that will influence the future rituals within the ceremony.
The map is split into multiple zones and each zone will have at least one relic placed randomly within it. This is to insure that there is a fair and even spread that gives each side a chance to find at least one item.
Searching for a relic, is one of many actions that can be performed by the player. The control system will use a single button for all Actions/Interactions, and it will either work with a single button click or by holding the button down for a period of time.
Interactable items will be highlighted to the player with a visual effect.
When the player enters the interactable area for an item, they will be shown a UI prompt on the screen that prompts the player to press/hold the button.
If the action takes time to perform, a progress bar is shown along with the button. The time to fill progress bar equals the total amount of time needed to complete the action.
When the player is searching for items, they will get a UI notification if the search has been successful or not. A successful search will also notify all other players that a relic has been found.
The finding of relics will give the team that find them small advantages, such as placing objectives in a position that is more favourable to that team, or providing them with additional guidance on how to complete a ritual. A team that does not find any relics in the initial stage will be at a disadvantage but they will still be able to compete against their opponents.
In order to fairly balance the first round, A/B testing will be used to help determine the ideal starting spots for both teams, the distances between the zones on the maps, the position of the interactable items within each zone and the time it takes to search for an item, and the total round time.
Balancing the game flow
To aid balancing of the game, there will be a number of rituals that the game can dynamically choose from depending on who is winning to try and give the team who is behind a chance to catch up. If for example the Cultists find the most relics during the first round, the second round (ritual) will favour the Detectives slightly. The aim is that no one team should win all of the rounds that make up the full ceremony.
As playtesting is undertaken it will highlight if a certain ritual favours one team over another. It is acceptable if the win/loss balance of a ritual reaches 60/40 for a given team, as long as there is a counter ritual that favours the opposing team.