Sunday 17 March 2013

7drl success: 86856527

edit: please bear in mind that this was a prototype made in a week. the commercial game i have now released based on it has the same basic idea but is considerably more advanced and more clearly explained. this prototype is not intended as a demo version.

Successfully completed this seven-day roguelike. It's a CYBERPUNK HACKING GAME with COMPLICATED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT and LONG-TERM DECISIONS.

There are some issues that I don't have had time to fix yet, due to the whole seven-day thing:
- It's quite complex and I skimped on explanations so expect confusion.
- The mac version doesn't work on older versions of the operating system (this is part of Apple's planned obsolescence hellhole; the latest version of xcode won't build for older systems but I'm forced to update to it because the older ones won't build for newer systems and I've been forced to update the operating system on my ipad so UGH; basically I have to have multiple xcode versions installed and I really can't be bothered untangling this mess right now so).
- It might crash on completion. Or other times, who knows?
- It doesn't save.
- It might not be that well balanced, there's lots of costs to get right and I haven't played enough yet.

I intend to spend more time on this and release a more finished version in a few weeks.

latest version: windows mac
7-day version for the record: windows mac

Some explanation if you're finding it too confusing:
- Arrow keys move, moving towards an enemy attacks it.
- You pick up resources from tiles by using DATA SIPHON, which are the smiley faces you collect.
- Siphoning floor tiles gives credits or energy, which are spent to activate programs.
- Siphoning wall tiles gives programs or points.
- The red number on a wall is how many enemies will appear when you siphon it.
- Mouse-over walls/programs to see what they do.
- Click programs (on the right sidebar) to activate them.

edit: hahahah I said "a few weeks". anyway it's released on ios now and I'm still working on an updated PC version.. it's way way better now though!
edit: now also available on steam.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

7drl: day 2

I enjoyed seeing Terry's posts about his progress on his 7-day roguelike so I'm writing one too. No promises about keeping this up consistently.

The classic roguelikes I've most played are Nethack and ADOM, so any critical generalisations I make are mostly about these. (The Angband family seems to suffer from most of the same problems without the redeeming features though.)

My 7drl last year was a curated selection of some common elements of roguelikes - tactical combat (focusing on evasion rather than slogs), inventory management (limited to single-use powerups), the identification game. This worked out pretty well, so I started thinking about trying to do something similar but with a different subset of roguelike components. Specifically, it would be nice to include richer character growth. Gaining items in Zaga-33 is a form of growth, but because they're consumed when used their effect is quite short-term (gaining identification knowledge is long-term growth, but very limited).

I'd classify the common forms character growth takes in roguelikes as follows: either intrinsic (innate abilities of the character, usually permanent or close to it) or extrinsic (granted by items which can be lost or replaced), and either interesting (granting new abilities and changing the rules) or boring (making numbers go up).

Advancement in roguelikes often ends up being quite dull because there's not much choice involved. Intrinsic growth often lacks any choice at all (you killed some things and went up a level and now you are stronger). Extrinsic growth often offers obvious choices where one alternative clearly dominates another - particularly when the choices are boring (it's very easy to determine which of two numbers is bigger; take the sword with the most plusses on it). Decisions often come down to either being obvious or a pure gamble once you understand them: either you know fire damage is going to be better because the strongest enemies are made of ice, or it's unknown whether you'll turn out to need one or the other. Worse, most of the time the correct choice is "carry both of them and switch between them as appropriate"; i.e. not a choice at all and just tedious micromanagement. (Apparently Brogue has treasure rooms which only let you take one item; this is good because it removes the "all of the above" option.)

So here I'm trying to create a character advancement system based on choosing between interesting alternatives, in such a way that there's no obvious best choice but without it being a matter of blindly gambling, and committing to them rather than micromanaging.

So far I have four enemy types with different abilities, and they're super-easy to kill because the player has a ranged attack which stuns them. No advancement yet, but that's totally the goal. (Zaga-33's goal was a system of politics based on making and breaking deals with different enemy factions so uh I guess we'll see.)

(You can only see three enemies in this picture. Like I said: abilities!)