What is an ability? The swinging of a sword? The casting of a spell? Or is it the monster running alongside the character?
The Answer: All three of them and much more. An ability is not only a spell or a weapon but rather the possibilities of how the player can interact with the world and its characters. Abilities are visible in all kinds of games and all kinds of forms: spells and weapons, active and passive, offensive and defensive, and so on. Abilities are core to many genres: role-playing-games (RPG), hack and slays (Hack’n’Slay), card games, puzzle games, etc… Abilities are just everywhere because they form and are one of the main aspects in games: Game-Design.
Abilities can be used alone or in combos. They can interact with each other or they can be executed alongside each other. Sometimes they are used for fighting and at times they aid in solving puzzles or riddles. Now and then they can be used for cooking, crafting or all sorts of in-game interactions, such as the player’s interactions with the world and the creatures living within it. Since they are so versatile, so diverse, and so omnipresent there even exist several terms for them such as “skill”, “perk”, “spell” or “ability”, to name a few.
Ability Designer is a tool for Unity which allows the developers to create all kinds of abilities without a lot of coding. Version 0.5 features a small set of phases which can be combined in order to define the ability’s logic, outcome and visuals. Currently it allows non-structured programming styled features such as “goto”-calls which will be removed in future updates.