Battle Cry

Design spec v1.3



Battle Cry (working title) is an arcade battling game. It takes place in a fantasy world with characters such as wizards, knights, spiders, and outside locations such as desert areas, green hills, stone valleys.

Note (to avoid any confusion): This game is not connected to Infinity/ The Last Guardian (the rights to the graphics have reverted back to me).
This is not an RPG, nor an action-adventure, though it will have elements from both of them later on. It is not story-oriented, though it will have a story later on. If you played North & South on the Amiga you got a good impression of the effect that's tried to achieve. Half the fun was the two-player mode battles and the panic that set in when you had to handle a complete army (which has the equivalent complexity of a party since it was divided into just some units) Seing a unit occassionally slaughtered while you were too busy attacking the enemy somewhere else made for quite entertaining panic attacks.


Word definitions for this spec:


The game should be fast, action-oriented and easy to start playing.

Game play

The player has to rely on his agility in fights and his tactical understanding of the battle situation. Battles always take place with two parties set against each other in one static playground. There are no puzzles (combining objects or anything), though certain hot-spots need to be found in storymode. Certain items will be found and used (like a key), but these occasions are strictly linear and will be handled by plot-intermissions.


You can take look at the main story. This is all regarding story-game, not arena-game.

Technical overview

The game will target the Windows platform. DirectX6+ may be needed. It should run at reasonable speed on a Pentium.

Graphic and sound

The resolution throughout the game is 640*480 pixel, 16-bit colors. The palette is static and predefined. There is no scrolling and only a single battlefield. Sprite size is 32*32. Further icons should expected to be 16*16. Further character portraits should expected to be 32*48.

The game view will be a frontal top/ side view (like in Final Fantasy II). If there is the need for it, light direction is upper left/ player POV (for shadows). Wind direction is left to right (for flags etc).

Later on: The background sound will be midi, the sound effects wave. There will be changing battle-screens.

Game Language

The game will be in english, but all in-game sentences should be stored in a single file. Furthermore, the language should be defined in an editable ini file. Later on: The game will be translated in whatever language the participants speak and want to see the game in.

Programming Language

The programming language and further programming details are not part of this design spec and can be defined in a programming spec by the coders.


Navigation is joypad (first player) and later on keyboard (second player, in two-player battle).


The playground will be either walkable (grass etc.), unwalkable (always the borderzone, plus different smaller obstacles scattered throughout, like trees, buildings etc.), plus deadly areas (poisonous sea, fire etc.). The surrounding areas do not change their position, and they don't adapt to character action. They do change their appearance (water, fire etc). An optional second air layer is purely cosmetical (birds, clouds and so on).


The battleground has 2 dangerous areas:

These can only be not of harm to a character who posesses magic abilities of these kind (see spells/elements).

Additionally to dangerous areas, there can also be restricted areas. A restricted area is one which is completely bordered by obstacles of any kind or dangerous elements of either kind and which is not the starting position of the player character(s). For example, an island inside a sea is a restricted area. A fire on this island is a dangerous area inside a restricted area. This is important to differentiate because no character who's not from the island contacting this fire is harmed (see unmixability of magic elements),

Then there are buildings and other obstacles. These objects can be plot-critical, meaning that every character of the player (good) party may have to be taken there at the end of a won battle.

Unrestricted areas are called open area. Every plot-critical object has to reside in an open area. For example: it is not allowed to put a house on an island (water is dangerous), or inside a ring of fire (which is dangerous), or inside an unpassable rock formation (obstacle object). It is allowed to put enemies in restricted areas, though. These will then be unattackable by non-magic enemies, since short-distance conflicts cannot extend over fire or water.


There's currently 89 races.

A character race is either good, evil or magic. Magic character are to be considered neutral, but get either evil or good when they're created.
The player can only get good races into his party.
Later on: The player in a two-player battle can choose from good and evil races.


For a complete list of characters and their attributes, refer to

For more details refer to Char.txt file-explanation


There are many different characters, good and evil, some with magic abilities, some without. Characters have 3 major static attributes plus one dynamic attributes. There's also the mind (good or evil) which is considered a status and not an attribute.

  1. Agility: 1 to 100 (1 is worst, 100 is best)
  2. Strength: 1 to 100 (see agility)
  3. Magic: 0 to 100 (0 is nonexisting, 100 is best)
  4. Health: 0 to 100 (0 is dead, 100 is full energy)

These values are also the attribute lower and upper limits.
Each character has a starting health value of 100.
Each of the static attributes can be different for each single character, but keep unchanged throughout the game. Later on: in a multi-level game with individual hero characters, these attributes may increase throughout the game.

Character class: Agility, Strength and Magic are considered to be of equal value in the characters overall class value. The class value is the sum of these divided by 10. The health is not included in the class value.

Party class: The party class is the average character class of all characters in a party (the sum of all individual characer class values divided by the number of party members).

Example: A character with the values
is character-class 30+40+20 = 90/10 = 9

For more details refer to the List of attribute effects.

AI (default)

Characters attack depending on the range towards the enemy character and these values:

As default, enemies already hate their enemies and have greater hate then fear.

Characters with neither agility nor strength higher then their magic: Each character tries to attack the character closest to itself to whom he feels greater hate then fear. If they're equal, hate wins over fear. If a character fears all enemies and posesses magic, it'll use magic. If a character fears all enemies and doesn't have magic, it'll attack the first enemy who's already attacked by a friend. If no other character is attacked the enemy will flee.

Characters which have magic higher then their strength and agility: These characters use magic x times out of 10 (x=health divided through 10). For example a health of 68 means:

60% chance that magic is used.

This simulates that a wounded character rather acts out of panic or physical aggression then concentrating on a spell. Besides, each spell takes some more magic, and an already wounded character will not want to waste too much additional energy.

A dying character will try to run as far away as possible from everyone it fears and stop attacking until he healed itself out of the dying status. If possible, that character will try to hide in an element it can resist (for example, into water if it has magic element water).

Navigation/ Stats/ Selection mode

A character is navigated with left, up, right, down (see navigation). A character can't walk through obstacles. A character can walk in deadly areas, but he cannot survive them for long unless he has a certain magic defense.

The stats of a character show the characters attributes, his health, his available magic spells, his eventual current magic creation, his name, and later on maybe a character portrait.

Another character is selected by pressing the character button once, then using left, up, right, down to select the new character, the pressing the character button again. Pressing the character button twice shortly results in no change, since the current character is start of the selection mode.

Menu system

The menu system will largely graphical with additional text.
Example: Icons are shown, but additional text when in focus. Or, attributes are shown as percentage bar, but with additional text of their value to the side. Or, character portrait is shown with additional text of the character name below.

Note: More details of the menu system will follow.


The story-game, as opposed to the arena-game, has a continuing story. A second player can join any time in a level (by pressing the action-button) and take over any character not occupied by the first player. The second player uses the alternative input (keyboard if first player uses joypad). The second player has to rejoin in every screen. If a second player joins a story-game level, the party-class should be reduced to 75%. A second player has to rejoin every level to continue participating.


There is only a simple arena-game story that will always be the same.

This game will have two parties (player vs player/ player vs computer) battling each other in one single arena-screen. Each party can select up to 6 characters, but not the same character twice. The arena-game is limited to a 10-minute battle and if after that one player has more survivors then the other, he has won. In the arena-game, which is a medieval tournament with the king and princess and spectacors watching, bonusses are thrown in from the audience.

All characters of Party 1 will drop a blue shadow. All characters of Party 2 will drop a red shadow.

The more characters a party will select, the less powerful the individual character is. Additionally, the character selected first is relatively more powerful then the second character selected, and so on to the sixth character.

Example: The player party selects only a wizard and a fighter. The other, computer party selects six other characters. The players wizard and fighter will be on their own relatively more powerful then any individual enemy character. The players wizard will be relatively more powerful then the players fighter.

Note: The party class at the begin of an arena-game battle should be a constant.

Demo-stage might also have a computer vs computer option.


The game consists of plot- and battlemode (both story-game and arena-game have these). Plotmode is everything (including intermissions) that's not happening during a fight (battlemode).

In plotmode, pre-defined plot-triggering hot-spots have to be checked. These are triggered as soon as at least one character collides with this invisible area.

Examples: "in front of house" triggers person coming out of the house, "around the lake" triggers dragon coming out.


A story-game party consists of 1 to 12 characters. Up to 6 characters are static and player-controlled. The other 6 characters can be results of magic spells. No party consists of more then 6 characters from level-to-level. Magic characters die at the level-to-level transition.

The battle mode consists of the two parties battling as long as all characters of one party are either dying, dead (see characters/health) or under a morph spell (see spells).

A character naturally heals over time and wins back up to 100 points of its original health.

For more details, refer to The different fight-modes.

Visual effects

These still have to be defined in detail, but should consist of (character-independent and over-layed) iconized graphics. For example, a small sword pops up if a character is hit, a small shield pops up if the character successfull defends a blow (that is, if an enemy shot isn't lucky) etc.

Magic/ Spells


The magic world is divided into four elements. Two of them are considered to be black, two of them are considered to be white magic. An character with an evil mind is more likely to posess black magic, and a character with a good mind is more likely to posess white magic, but this is not always the case. Each character can inhibit all 1 or all (2) areas of either white or black magic, but never white and black magic. Fire and water are for example impossible.

Possible magic area(s) of a character:
Fire/ earth/ fire and earth
Water/ wind/ water and wind

A character cannot be strongly harmed by a battleground of the same element it magically posesses. Example: A character of element fire with value 10 can walk through fire. Value 5 means he can walk through it for a limited time (loosing health).

As result of the unmixability of black and white magic (this is important to keep a certain power balance):

An element spell has a magic class of 1 to 4.
The classes and their needs of magic:

  1. 1+
  2. 4+
  3. 8+
  4. 10

For all the spells refer to the List of spells.

Reward system

There's an instant visual reward for successfull hit. But at the end of a battle, the party is rewarded. Rewards are not determined on a single character basis, though every single character is affected. Rewards are constant increases to attributes agility, strength and magic and not temporary increases like the bonusses. Health is excluded and set to full at the end of each level.

Later on, details of the reward system will have to be defined, since they'll only be needed when there's more then one level. Still, we should have a battle history that keeps track of what exactly happens during a fight.


There will be no constant weapons, nor any other object that could be taken from one screen to another. But what will hapen during a fight is that numerous items (power-ups, long-distance weapons) pop up for a limited time (in storymode: dying characters leave items) and can be taken by a character. The player has to decide if he wants to sacrifice his current attack and take care of these bonusses.

Refer to the List of bonusses.

Long-distance weapons

A long-distance weapon is a bonus-weapon and can only be held by a character with a magic of zero. Up to one can be taken by a character at a time, and if a new one is taken the old one will vanish. A long distance weapon needs a focussed shot to cause enemy damage (see Focussed shot). A long-distance weapon will also vanish if it's used up. A weapons usability means how many times a weapon can be used.

See the List of long-distance weapons.

Example: In the first levels, things like apples and stones are left by dying characters. In the later levels (implemented later on), these won't be seen anymore, instead we get bows, then spears, then bombs.

Dying/ Death


A dying character of either good or evil mind is visible as such by having a red silhouette blinking every second. An evil character controlled by the enemy AI acts a little different (see AI). A dying character has the attributes agility, strength, magic decreased by half.


A characters death is actually not the end of it. It just means it can't be used for this level anymore. A character of either side that dies flees outside of the screen and will return if the party it belongs to has won the battle.

Game Over

The game ends only if all characters of a player party have died.


As of now, there are no options.

Later on, there will be things like: turning sound on/off.

last update: 9/5/99

© Philipp Lenssen