My role: Solo Developer
A non-traditional RPG
I spent some time on a personal project one spring, with the goal of creating a game which re-imagines spelling games by adding elements of turn-based role playing games.
SpellBlade was the brainchild of these two genres. It functions like a RPG traditionally should: with monsters, swords, and quests. The key difference is that instead of pressing a button to perform an attack or ability, the player fights monsters by making an anagram of their name.
In SpellBlade, the player fights monsters by re-arranging the letters in their names into new words! For example, if they're fighting a Skeleton, they could make the word "Tone" to deal 4 damage.
The game also has a unique twist on the core mechanics of other RPGs. The player has stats like strength and agility, and those effect the gameplay dynamically by making it easier or harder to spell words. When the player performs well in battle, their stats give them a boost. They don't give the player a free win.
Instead of generic health potions and armor plates, the player can earn equipment which change how combat works entirely. The player's gear will usually have special effects that make combat a different experience altogether. They also collect bonus letters which are added to the total pool of letters that they can build words with.
A mixed media experience
Instead of trying to produce and program a fully fleshed-out game on my own, I decided to create a physical module for SpellBlade so that I could playtest it's core mechanics. While developing the design document and the module, I decided that I would be able to get more accurate feedback from playtesters by creating a digital component for the game as well.
Although bare-bones in terms of artwork, I programmed a small digital game to go alongside the physical game module. The digital component handles the combat, since it can check the player's words against a dictionary in an instant and also keep track of time-based events easily. The physical part of the game keeps track of all the other aspects of the game, such as the overworld and spawning monsters.