EDIT: I have put my “Planitia Tasks” document online and it can now be viewed by anyone at this link. So you guys can actually check on my progress yourselves now!
First off, I’ve done a comparison of the god powers of various games which you can look at here.
Now I’m going to subject you to a bit of stream-of-consciousness about god powers.
God powers fall into two broad groups: those that help your followers and those that hurt the enemy followers.
Another reason I don’t like Black & White – the god powers are anemic. This is because your goal isn’t to destroy the enemy god’s followers, but to convert them to your side. You must convert, because doing so increases the range in which you can use your god powers. I’m not going this route with Planitia…on levels when you are opposed by another god, your job will be to wipe out his followers, not convert them.
Making it so that you can only operate in your own sphere of influence is terrible. It makes the game almost completely defensive. Another thing I hate about Black & White. On the other hand, by default you could only raise/lower land in Populous 1 and 2 near your own settlements, but you could use any other god power anywhere. This is good, I like it.
One thing a lot of people don’t know is that some of the god powers in Populous 2 that “grew” effects across the land did so according to the rules of Conway’s Game of Life, so if you understood how the Game of Life worked (and you should), you could actually set up glider guns that would “shoot” carnivorous fungus into your enemy’s base. That is just too freakin’ awesome.
So here’s what I’m thinking. These are effects, not spells. They will be combined to create spells.
Temporary unit growth
Don’t want walls; makes games too defensive (walls don’t protect against god powers anyway)
Inspiration (advances village tech level)
AOE direct damage,
Damage over time
I’m thinking that I want a fairly low mana cap, but a healthy civilization will give you a fairly fast recharge rate. The big effects will take practically all your mana, thus you won’t be able to cast them more than once every few minutes or so, no matter how much mana you have.
I’m also sort of leaning towards the idea of different types or schools of magic, kind of like Populous 2 with its six different types. I think six is too many, though. Five would be interesting but it would feel too much like Magic: The Gathering. Three, maybe?