Featured image : ley line

Concerning spirits and the occult – Dev Blog 13

Welcome to this weeks development blog. Today we shall be looking behind the veil at some of the more occult aspects of the game that we have been working on this week. The world of Fringe Planet is steeped in various occult and magical references – it is a place where spirits, demons and many other fantastic creatures exist. The peons can tap into these occult forces and use them to manipulate the world around them.

We draw heavily on real life folklore and mysticism, because the world is full of some incredible beliefs, religions and mythology. The systems we have created this week draw on two forms of real life mysticism: those of Ley lines and Spirit Houses.

Ley lines are originally a European belief that there are lines of magical energy that link up ancient sites of worship. There are multiple different explanations for what they are and how people can interact with them (by dowsing, following fairy rings etc;). Some people believe ghosts can use them to move between different locations. Some believe that they are part of a natural system of magic that protects the Earth. But whatever the belief, we find them a fascinating concept, and this is why we have added them to Fringe Planet.

Leylines

In Fringe Planet a ley line is a line of power, a line of least magical resistance for the various occult energies that travel through The Void. Magic and various magically inclined bits of equipment will work much more successfully when the are placed near a ley line. Every map will have two ley lines, one running from the North to South, the other running from East to West. The majority of the time these ley lines will be invisible to the player, however certain events (and technology unlocks) will allow these ley lines to be seen.

A common aspect of a lot of the more ancient religions is that of the importance of the four elements: earth, fire, air and water (and that these four elements have a compass point associated with them) – and this was something we wanted to incorporate into the ley lines in Fringe Planet. Therefore the influence of an element on a ley line changes the closer you get to one of the four cardinal points. This is important to take into account if you are working towards getting the most efficiency out of magical equipment.

So ley lines may be the equivalent of an occult highway, but how can the player tap into this magical energy? This is where Spirit Houses come into play.

Spirit Houses are beautifully carved houses that are placed outside properties in South Eastern Asia that are home to various ghosts and spirits. Regional beliefs as to what these ghosts and spirits (and if they are a positive or negative influence) are varied, however Spirit Houses tend to be of amazing craftsmanship, full of very ornate details.

Spirit House

Spirit Houses in Fringe Planet are a very early tech that the peons will discover. By placing a Spirit House somewhere in the magically charged atmosphere of Fringe Planet, the player can begin the process of harvesting spirits. The placement, and direction the Spirit House is facing will heavily influence the type of spirit that will occupy it.

After placing a Spirit House, it will initially be empty – however as time goes by there is a chance for a spirit to start inhabiting this house. Once inhabited, the Spirit House will start to emit particles indicating that it is occupied. These particles will change colour depending on what type of spirit it is.

Spirits are all made up of the four elements, the total number of elements inside a spirit determines it’s strength, and every spirit itself has a name associated with it (procedurally generated via Markov chains).

Strength of SpiritMaximum elements
Wisp6
Shadow10
Minor Spirit13
Spirit18
Strong Spirit25
Minor Elemental32
Elemental40
Strong Elemental50
Lady/Lord60
Empress/Emperor80
Primus100

For instance, looking at a Spirit House and seeing it is glowing blue, indicates that the spirit has a higher water element than any other. If the spirit has an elemental breakdown of 5 water, 2 earth, 2 fire and 1 air (for a total of 10 elements) then it is a “Water Shadow Spirit”.

Once a spirit is occupying a spirit house it will stay there for a while, however, based upon the strength of the spirit and the quality of the Spirit House, a spirit may decide to leave when it wants to. Spirits can be “harvested” by a peon with a Spirit Box – this will empty the Spirit House. Once a spirit is inside a Spirit Box, it cannot escape – and in this form it becomes a very useful resource for the peons to use. Initially, a Spirit Box will be used as a power cell – providing power to various different pieces of equipment, slowly draining the spirit inside in exchange for light, power, warmth etc;. Later technologies will allow the Spirit Box to be used in different ways, combining different spirits to form new entities, or even breaking down a spirit into their component parts for advance equipment.

Spirit Houses

Placing Spirit Houses on or close to ley lines will not only decrease the time it takes for a spirit to start inhabiting one, it will also greatly increase the quality of the spirits you will find.

Thanks for reading this weeks development blog – and try to keep the spirits happy!

There is a lot more to read about Fringe Planet… why not try:

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