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Article - 'Weapon of Choice' by Kuro

An item about Game Design posted on Jan 14, 2004

Blurb

Kuro gives good tips and suggestions to gamemakers on designing and naming unique equipment for their games.

Body

Weapon of Choice -- How to make cool weapons/armor/accessories

Preintro Thingy
Normally I'd just write up a Game Maker article and send it in, but I ended up formatting my PC and forgot to back up my stuff. Guess it slipped my mind :( . But no worries here. I'll just start over. In the meantime, I've been thinking up things to write about. During lunch today, one of my good friends was drawing some cool-looking swords. I was pretty impressed, because they weren't your run-of-the-mill swords. We're talking Black Widow Swords, swords with a dragon as the hilt, and a really sweet looking lightsaber-esque handle. So I got to thinking, and I came up with this. Let's begin.


Step 01: Design

Assuming you're building a library of weapons for a game, you'll want to follow some important guidelines:

- No weapon is Supa Strong

- You don't flood one character with too many weapons

- You assign each character a suitable weapon (no mage should use a large sword)

- Most importantly: NEVER try to rip-off a weapon from another popular game. (i.e. Ultima Weapon)

Step 02: Coming Up With a Name

Names are really fun to make, but it takes some imagining. An 'Ultima Sword' isn't very imaginative, so don't try it. Something like "Valhalla's Fury" sounds interesting, but the meaning is so stupid. Viking Heaven's wrath? You be the judge. Using different languages is a good step, like Japanese, Chinese, and Latin are some prime examples. Everyone knows what ryuu (americans spell it 'ryu') means right? God I hope so. Check online dictionaries for some more references. A good example of this is the name Kuroken-ha. If you don't know what that means, I'll tell you. Kuro means "Black." Ken usually refers to "fist" or "punch." Add that with ha or "wave" Put them together and you have Black Fist Wave. Kinda lame, but it works. Latin is much easier to find on the internet, as Japanese dictionaries usually pop out Romaji* words and phrases.

*Romaji is a type of Japanese Writing System.

Step 03: What Kind of Weapons to Use:

Coming up with inventive weapon names is one half the battle, but choosing weapon types is a different thing altogether. Everyone usually settles for the "Hero uses a sword" routine, and that's not bad. But how about some innovation here?! Why does he have to use a sword? Why not a staff, or gloves, ala Zell? If you ask me, FF8 had the best variation of weapons around. A gunblade sounds cool, and it packs one heckuva punch too. Nunchakus, staffs, that boomerang-esque thingy Rinoa had, they're all a step further from your typical RPG. So what Kuro? What could we possibly use as a new weapon?! Let me just shout out some ideas here:

- Element based weapons? Fire Swords, Staffs, Gloves, Wands, etc
- Ore Weapons? Emerald, Diamond, Orichalium, Iron, Ruby, Sapphire
- Japanese style weapons? Katanas, Shotos, Bamboo Shinai (ala Kenshin), Tantos, etc
- Chinese Weapons? Uhh... None quickly pop into my mind, but I do know some...
- Irregular Objects? Lead Pipes (ala Saga Frontier), Baseball Bats, CD's (what? those things are sharp!)
- Seemingly Harmless Stuff? Any type of sport ball (like Wakka), Shoes, Lightbulbs, Playing Cards, Collector Cards, etc
- Scientific Weapons: Lasers, guns, cannons, arm-cannons (Think Megaman and Barret), and of course, handguns.

FInal Step: Putting it all together

Here's a kuickie list of cool weapons/armor/etc okay? Take your pick

- Delta Edge (Katana)
- Obsidian Tunic (Armor)
- Forest Wand (Wand)
- Ion Buster (Gun/Electric Sword)
- Atom Smasher (ironically, its a hammer)
- Lobo Boots (Footwear that increases speed)
- Dragon Stone (whatever you want it to be)
- Demon Lance (A lance...)
- Cutthroat (Spear)
- Diamond Shoto (Shoto)
- Wild Clown Deck (Cards)
- Aura Wave EX (some kind of... something)
- Returner (Boomerang)
- Super Bart Broomstick Delux
- Super Bart Broomstick Delux EX

Okay, I just made those last two up, but you get the idea, right? (A broomstick could be a cool weapon!)

Things to Consider
- Don't go with cliche weapons, with words like "Ultima" and "Ultimate".
- If you want each character to have final weapons, using words of finality such as Final, Zero, Absolute, Last, and Ultimate (or Ultima) is a risky thing. Some are cliche (duh) and others just sound cool.
- God weapons are in a sense, cool. By God, I mean weapons that somehow, a God (in your game) created the weapon and sent it to earth to be used by "The Chosen One". Just don't overdo it.
- Get a history behind your weapon. If its a special type of long sword, then it should have a story behind it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I suggest you go play "Baldur's Gate."
- Speaking of Baldur's Gate, don't bother using AD&D labeling with your weapons. While Sword of Chaos +2 is cool in Dungeons and Dragons, it just doesn't fit with standard RPGs.

And for all those pacifists out there:
Q: What if I don't want weapons at all?

A: Monks. They use their hands to fight. Give them cool Monk Accessories like Focus Band +XX.

Heh, I guess I should follow this up with a Class Creating article, or even a God Creating article, but meh.

Kuro, Master of the Anti-Light