Tribes of Khull

Hi there.

I am currently busy with planning and conceptualizing my next prototype. A 2d fighting game set in a world called Khull where Lizard-humanoids battle for dominance. The idea so far is there are seven tribes to choose from.

In the image above I've done three head gear concepts of the total seven. For the prototype I'm thinking of making only two tribes playable.

The first tribe, the Uttans, are necromancers. The second tribe, the Dollok are warlocks and the third tribe, the Gathi use solar powered defensive technology.

I am planning to implement the following:
- a gear system where as one defeats an opponent from another tribe, one gains research/tech from that tribe. So, for instance, if I play as the Uttans and I defeat a Gathi, I gain defense technology, that shall be re-appropriated for my tribe.
- wearable gear that changes appearance and has stat influence.

I'm using a program called Dragonbones Pro for the animation and doing the art in Krita.

As I am passionate about this project, I would like to streamline the development process as much as I can. If you have any advice for me on how to approach prototype to demo development, that would be awesome :D
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Thanked by 1Jesse


  • Nice art. the only advise from me is that the different origins and motivations of each tribe will give you various senarios of engagement. depending on your own experience you might find yourself emplementing a reconciliation or non violent conflict resolution system , either through story progression or gameplay mechanics like 'moral choices'. I personally like the concept. But I dont like to be limited by a 'fight to win' gameplay system. good luck . looking forward to more posts.
    Thanked by 1Jurgen
  • edited
    Hi Kulu.
    Thanx for the post :) I'll keep that in mind. Maybe implementing some sort of ally system in the game, like gaining the loyalty of other tribes could work and be beneficial to the player. Thanx for the idea :)
    Maybe it's about a time of great stress for the tribes that used to co-exist in peace, before something dark and destructive happened, then the battle for re-union begins, re-uniting and fighting a common threat.

    I made this as an animation test for a generic character:

    I'm thinking that:
    Maybe this game could have a resource management aspect. Like trading with other tribes to gain tech/magic from them.
    When engaged in a fight it'll play out 2d fighter style and then when the player wins there is the option to be merciful or not (with both options having a greater effect in the game).

    The reason a fight is started could be for various reasons, occupying land, gaining access to resources etc.

    The seven tribes planned for the game could have their set territories and occupying aspects of these territories could have certain benefits.
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  • Here is a concept of regions in the game. Like on a world map of sorts. Each tribe has there own base region that is unique to their tribe.

    - There will be open regions that are unclaimed, so the player or AI could occupy these regions as the game progresses.
    - Each region has its pro's, for instance raised attack or defense stats.
    - Allegiances can be made or broken. If the player has allied with another tribe, sharing of technological/magical ability will be affected by how strong the alliance is. If an allegiance is broken the benefit of that ally is ended for the player, yet what has been shared is kept.
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  • edited
    This sounds cool!

    But be careful about planning too far ahead. If the thing about a project that excites you is something that will take a year of development before actually implementing then you're focusing on a far off dream. You need to be excited about the things right in front of you as well.

    What I mean is, for one tribe being necromancers and another solar-technomancers to be at all meaningful you have to first:

    1) Have combat working so that killing another reptile is fun.
    2) Have special moves in combat that will differentiate reptiles from each other.
    3) Have a system sophisticated enough that you can add extra abilities from fallen foes (and the combat still being fun). The core gameplay has to make the differences in the tribes and the collection of powers meaningful.
    4) Have world map screens and text and stuff so that you can relate the lore of the world and do things like trade etc.

    Unless you're getting someone else to work on this, you have to be excited about Point Number 1 to find the motivation to get to point 4.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't pursue this though. I actually think that a fighting game where the choice of who you fight next is a strategic decision, and one that affects your abilities, sounds rad.

    What I mean is, in a game like Megaman, the order that you choose to complete the levels in affects what set of tools you have in the latter levels. There's very few fighting games that I know of that you A) choose who to fight next and B) winning a fight affects your abilities in subsequent fights.

    Most fighting games have terrible single player campaigns with no progress of upgrading between levels. So this sounds interesting to me.

    Aztez is perhaps an exception here. Aztez is a game worth thinking about. It was a commercial failure for the team that made it, largely because it took 5-6 years to make (and they didn't make nearly enough sales to justify that). But it had a worldmap and the choosing of levels. Players kind of hated the worldmap, though I haven't played it and I'm not sure why players hated the Aztez worldmap. You probably want to figure out why players hated the Aztez overworld campaign before you possibly go make the same mistakes as them.

    In any case, you've got to kick ass at point 1) for any of that to be relevant. If actually fighting isn't fun, then designing a detailed backstory and strategic layer for the fights doesn't make sense.
  • Thanks EvanGreenwood :) Much appreciated!

    I am currently planning out what I will need animation wise to get a prototype going:)

    Here is an example:

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  • Here I'm trying out the hand-drawn animation approach. The question was, should I do pixel art, use Dragonbones Pro and pixel art or just Dragonbones? With 'hand-drawn' I feel I have way more freedom.


    I got advice from someone today that its a good idea to try and master a skill such as hand-drawn animation. Its something that takes a lot of practice and since I like drawing and painting, I might as well develop my own creative skills rather than rely on software to do the work for me.
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  • This is a brilliant concept!!!
    Thanked by 1Jurgen
  • Putting so much time into animation before you have any gameplay means you'll inevitably go back and re-do a ton of work as gameplay changes. Hand-drawn animation is GREAT. But yes, time-consuming.

    Examine your primary goal: If your primary goal is to practice animation, cool, go do it and do as much of it as possible, even if you never make a game (and you're much less likely to make a game if you START with animation rather than gameplay).

    If you primary goal is to practice making a game, then start with gameplay. Use grey boxes and placeholders. get a game to work and move and play before putting in time to make animations.

    So what's your primary goal?
    Thanked by 2Jurgen Elyaradine
  • Hi Tuism :) Thanx for the post.
    Very true:), I've been practicing my animation technique the last two days and came up with this as a test:

    I've been overthinking things a bit, forgetting that I'm making the game for fun.

    My primary goal at the moment is to get better at animation, I haven't started making sprites yet and I need to understand my subject matter better. I realize that there is so much that I can bring to this game if my planning is good and I have confidence in my technique. Nearly there :)
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  • So your primary goal seems to be to practice animation - so great, go for it, don't worry about making a game, make animations and enjoy the practice and learning :)
    Thanked by 1Jurgen
  • Here is a concept closer to the idea I have in my head:

    I've realized that how the character looks will give a good indication of what one can do with the character in game.
    It also makes it easier for me to conceptualize a character if I take more risks art-wise.
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  • image
    This is an update on the previous post's concept :)
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  • Animation practice:
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  • nice. cant wait to see character variations. I would look at different real reptiles to form variations and maybe even behavioural variations. remember that lizards can carry on living without its tail . good job!
    Thanked by 1Jurgen
  • Hi Kulu, thanx:) Yeah, I've been thinking quite a bit about how each tribe is represented, for example the Uttans (necromancers) will probably look somewhat less bulky and less muscular than the other tribes, spending so much time around death will have to reflect somehow.
    Behavior-wise, since two tribes have technology as in one has defensive tech (the Gathi) and the other energy weapons (the Ovret), I'm looking into giving each tribe their own specific weapon types. Different kinds of weapons will handle differently and therefore change fighting-behavior.

    The weapons of each tribe should reflect what they do and also enhance their fighting ability. For example, the Uttans would have a staff of power that could be used as a melee weapon and spell-caster.
    The Gathi (the tribe that harnesses their sun's energy) would have shield emitters and knock back-fields etc.


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  • I am currently working on the Uttans(necromancers) concept-wise.
    Here I thought it would be cool if they had no eyes and they are guided by the power of the dead.

    This axe doubles as a melee weapon and a spell-caster.
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  • I'm thinking before I get into creating test sprites for the first prototype, I might as well study the concept of 'frame data'.

    I found this link: for anyone interested :)

    So, every attack has 3 phases:
    - startup (the start sequence of the attack)
    - active (the apex of the attack, when the damage may be dealt by it)
    - recovery (the cool-down period back to idle for instance)

    As an idea for the future:
    It would be cool if I could have the character react differently to the opponent's attack-phases with the same move perhaps.
    Like a certain move will execute differently under certain external circumstances.

    For example:
    If the opponent does a forward jab, then by holding block and pressing light punch the opponent's jab startup, my character will perform a parry.
    When the opponent's jab is in active phase, my character would perform a counter hit with the same keys.
    When the opponent's jab is in recovery phase, my character would then perform a grab/ throw for instance.
  • In almost all fighting games, a consistent outcome from the same inputs is very, very important. Having a different outcome according to the opponent's frames (which goes by VERY quickly) can very very easily be confusing as hell and be a huge hurdle to a player learning and understanding the game.

    But hey, try it with greyboxes and see what happens, no need to guess about it :)
    Thanked by 1Jurgen
  • Thanx Tuism :), much appreciated.
    Yeah, I totally agree. The game shouldn't be difficult to pick up and play and because the frames go by so quickly I think its less consistent with dependable moves.
    I'm putting it on my list of things to try as I can always learn from the experience :)

    As a note to myself I have condensed what the first prototype should encompass:
    - a movement system with collisions
    - two characters, one player and an AI opponent (player is Uttan and AI is Gathi) This will make it easier when I start implementing the 'gaining of tech' system
    - two attacks per character, light punch and a heavy kick ( usable on ground and in air)
    - one tech/magic ability per character to test out how tech and magic may interact and add to game-play
    - a health bar
  • edited
    I've been thinking about how I tend to embrace new ideas over revisiting past ones. I had this idea about 4 years ago that I re-discovered in a drawer yesterday. I did a painting of the character's head earlier.
    I put a lot of thinking into this character at the time. He is a elven necromancer raised by Paladins. His mother (an elven queen) died giving birth to him and his father is a shape-shifting dragon. Being left with Paladins since he was a baby, he grew up learning their ways. Then one day, he discovers an ancient book on necromancy and his natural link with nature and the pain of the dead he senses leads him to leave the Paladins and become a necromancer.

    Instead of having various tribes of lizard-humanoids, I'm thinking in the direction of various races.

    The Uttans would then be elven necromancers for instance.
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  • Here are two concepts for the Gathi thus-far:

    The idea so far is, the Gathi have technology that is able to transform from one shape into another. Armour may become a shield and shield may become a hammer etc.
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  • Here is a Gathi tech transform concept:
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  • Here is a level background concept:
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  • Here is an Uttan crest concept:

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  • Hi Jurgen , good going, dig the animation tests and ideas (helmet to hammer)
    Thanked by 1Jurgen
  • Hi watson, thanx :) Much appreciated.

    Here I'm planning some of the Uttan's attacks:

    Top left: A type of push/ shove move to gain distance between opponents.
    Top middle: An elbow strike that also gains ground.
    Top right: Knee strike with knock down.
    Bottom left: Soul rise, lifting the opponent into the air.
    Bottom middle: Vision beam.
    Bottom right: Door kick.
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  • Here is a gif of a grab and shove move I did today:)
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  • Here is a quick sketch I did of an Uttan to get a better feel for the design direction I should take :)
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  • Here is a pixel art concept I did for the Uttans:

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  • Here is an updated Uttan concept:
    I'm thinking that pixel art would be less work overall than the hand-drawn approach.
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  • Here is an Uttan concept for a spell manifestation called 'Eb tree':

    I'm thinking that this tree manifests as part of a systematic spell, where the Uttan player casts a spell like a type of wisp / ghost seed that follows the player. Then after a series of moves and attacks, the 'wisp' enters the soil and grows into an Eb tree.
    The tree could enhance the player's speed, strength or maybe even magical ability, until it is destroyed.
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  • Here is a concept of an Uttan 'reacher' spell:

    The idea so far is that it comes from the soil and grabs the enemy if close enough. Then it slams the enemy on the ground once or twice.
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  • Here is a plasma-wheel-attack concept:

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  • This is a spell casting system concept for the Uttans:

    It works as follows (for now):
    At the bottom there is an image that depicts the player casting a 'plasm' orb at the enemy and when the enemy is successfully hit, he ignites in green flame.

    Then in the diagram (Tree of the dead):
    2a,2b and 2c are first tier link attack spells that are a type of 'spell-combo-starters'.
    3a,3b and 3c are second tier link attack spells that can be linked from the first tier.
    4a,4b and 4c are third tier link attack spells that can be linked from the second tier.

    Linking back from where the current active spell is for instance:
    4b is active, then links can be made to either 3a or 3b for a defense spell.

    If a link from 4b is made to 4a for instance, another attack spell is created.
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  • Here is a concept for the Dollok tribe (Warlocks):
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  • Here is a warlock spell concept:

    The idea is:
    The warlock creates a type of paradigm around himself that may extend and change form depending on what is needed.
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  • Hey Jurgen, this is looking supercool - well done on your progress. The painterly style you've used with your crests and background really catch the eye. Whether that's in the the game, or used for marketing, I hope that makes in it.

    Thanked by 1Jurgen
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