After a lot of time in the US, I’m back at home in Brazil during my Winter Break! It’s just two quick weeks here and then I will have to face 24 hours of airports all over again to get back and finish my masters the following year.
Last months I’ve been more on easy gear, I will use this time to have some more-than-needed rest and then get back at my pace, lots have to be done in the following months!
Creativity is weird
I said here last month that I wouldn’t be working on Aglarond anymore, I also said I maybe would still work on game projects that would be even smaller scope. The thought that I had an interesting and fun turn-based combat system coded (well, it is interesting and fun at least for me) but wouldn’t make anything with it kinda made me upset. But to be honest, I was ok with it.
But suddenly, my brain threw me an idea. Well, not really suddenly, related ideas applied to other genres are something that I discussed a lot with fellow teammates on the studio I attend for my Master’s.
The idea is really simple:
- It all happens in a room. So no room generation and no level design, well, there is a minimal aspect of level design, but this is something I’m fully capable of.
- Defend something. In this case, I think I will go with the door, or the throne, it doesn’t really matter.
- Monster spawn from specific places in the dungeon. In the gif, the iron door is where the monsters would be spawn, but ideally, maps should have 2 or 3 spawn points.
- Monsters spawn in waves. The first wave has 4 monsters, the second wave has 6 monsters, and so on and so forth. Waves get increasingly difficult and in between waves is when you recover some health and give your brain a little break.
- Monsters want to destroy what you must protect. Have to have some conflict, right? I can experiment with different flavors of monsters, some can attack you, some can change goals, etc…
And also, I bought some pixel art roguelike assets for the game, and I might buy some sound effects, I just don’t want to spend time anymore doing things that won’t push me as a Gameplay Programmer, and also, these assets are way better than anything I would ever be able to do anyways.
There are some problems I can see with this game and I will point them now, but before pointing them I just wanna state that I don’t care, I will make this game and release it, and if I can improve some of these points, good, if not, then, well, at least I still think it can be a quick fun game!
- It doesn’t have mastery. This is the biggest one, Roguelikes are a lot about mastery, and although this is not a roguelike, it draws pretty obvious inspiration from the genre. How the 100th hour playing this game differs from the first hour? What are you learning about the systems? What are you learning about strategies? There’s not much to learn so not much room to achieve mastery.
- There are no secondary goals. Right now it is all about killing monsters before the monsters kill the door, or the throne, or you, there’s not much to strategize, I’m afraid the game will be just a “slaughter the monsters until you are mathematically not able to survive”
There are some ways to try to remediate those issues, which are:
- Adding spawn locations for health pickups in the middle of a wave. This can create situations where players have to decide whether to engage in combat or get a health pickup in order to survive longer.
- Adding random power-ups at the end of a wave and/or in the middle of a wave. I can easily have power-ups that make player health regen faster, double the damage for a while, make their speed bigger for a while, give immunity for a while, make the player take less damage. This can create both mastery of the system and secondary goals, as well as changing the playstyle according to what power-up the player has at the moment.
- Having more than one level. I’m probably going to do this anyway, but I can have different levels for the game, with different amount of doors, different layouts, and whatnot, these can make players strategize and play in a different way, also make the environment less boring.
- Adding doors that can be locked/unlocked. If the door is unlocked, enemies spawn from them, if it is locked, no enemies spawn from it. This can make me explore more enemy variety because I can add an enemy that sole purpose is to open any closed doors. This also adds strategizing for the player in the form of “Should I guard the door or should I go lock that door?”, “Should I protect this spot or go kill the enemy that will try to open the door?”
… At this point I just noticed I turned my monthly update post in a short Game Design Document for this game, well, that’s fine. I just wanted to describe what it is, some concerns I have and some possible mitigations for those risks. All in all, I think this was informative and some good bits on the game design process.
Quick Unreal update
Besides that, I’m working on an Unreal Gameplay demo to practice my gameplay programming skills, create portfolio pieces and flex my C++ muscles. I’m trying to create gameplay for the Paragon hero asset Sparrow.
It has its problems, such as: (1) there’s no animation for walking sideways with the bow down, (2) the camera doesn’t follow the character when moving to the left or right when the bow is down, (3) shooting have no impact (and no code for hitting anything at all)
I wanted it to be a demo of a game where shooting is meaningful, it would be a stealth game where you only use your bow when absolutely necessary, so using it should feel thoughtful and powerful. But anyway, this is something that I still will work a lot on and improve a lot!
Anyway, that’s it for my monthly update, thanks for reading!