Tag Archives: interface

Video: New Arcana Manor build

As promised, here is a short video of the newest build of Arcana Manor.

This build features some experiments with a new spell interface, including a rotating 3d tarot deck and a hexagram gui with jewel buttons that summon magical sigils with spellcasting powers. The player can also shift between first person shooter mode for melee and third-person mode for cursor-based spell-casting in the interfaces. I’m using Jeff Faust’s ArcaneFX in conjunction with these interfaces to implement spell-casting effects, including a custom attack spell with my own zodiacs and rune rings and a modified levitation spell using physical zones. The build also features some custom items representing the minor arcana of the tarot deck, including an ankh wand, a glowing black sword, a cup, and a pentacle.

“A Wicked Pack of Cards”: Video of New Arcana Manor Build

This is a video of the newest build of Arcana Manor, a 3d action-adventure game about running and jumping through a surreal occult mansion while casting spells based on the tarot and ceremonial magic. This build showcases several new features, including two tarot-based interfaces for spell-casting, spells powered by ArcaneFX, new environments such as a platforming version of the paths of the kabbalistic tree of life with color and tarot correspondences, sounds for picking up objects, and a story journal with concept art by Ron Smith. Credit goes to Frank Bignone for graciously sharing (as a resource on garagegames.com) the 3d gui wheel and folder that I’m adapting to construct the player-character’s magical tarot deck.

Interface Design

One of the issues not discussed in Quests is the design of a game interface, both for basic functions like saving games and for gameplay interactions like casting spells or equipping items. The reason for the deliberate omission of interface considerations is that the book primarily discusses modding toolsets, which typically do not allow for significant modification of an existing game’s interface and certainly not the creation of a new interface.

Interfaces are crucial, though, when designing one’s own quest-based game, because an interface shapes the way that players can interact with the system of rules that constitutes the game. Here are some thoughts on the interface for Arcana Manor, which I’ll be putting into practice in the Torque Game Engine Advanced.

Main GUI

Accesible at the game’s beginning

The game’s title written in an appropriately arcane font

A brightly lit color scheme that looks like a tarot card from the Marseilles deck, with sharply angular buttons and a background colored like a mosaic or stained glass window

card from Marseilles deck

card from Marseilles deck

Start game option

Resume game option

Save game option

Load game option

Quit game option

Arcana Manor Magic Interface

Gestural (with mouse, xbox 360 controller, or maybe even Wiimote, since the Torque Game Engine Advance is cross-platform)

Trace sigils/glyphs/runes in the air with the index finger of a hand as well as magical weapons/items based on the tarot suits (wand, sword, cup, and disk).  One model for this interface is the spell-casting system of Undying.

casting a spell in Undying

casting a spell in Undying

These sigils include geometrics sign (pentagrams and hexagrams)

The point of the sigil at which the player starts tracing it has an effect, because different points have varying elemental, planetary, and/or tarot correspondences.

hexagram attributions

hexagram attributions

Each sigil consists of particle effects and emitters, so they leave glowing trails of fire. The colors of these trails have varying magical effects.

Spells are powered-up via the number of wands, swords, cups, and disks collected by the player. These are displayed on the HUD interface as rows of each item, i.e. the standard mana-meter has four parts.

a tarot disk for the interface