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Discussion in 'Upcoming iOS Games' started by CommanderData, Mar 18, 2010.
Now article in front page
Yay, front page news!! As JoshCM said the other day, this is going to be a great year for iPhone RPGs. I'm glad that I can be a part of the fun!
Today I'm doing a bit more work on building and room generation. The sample images in the front page article are "Cellars" and "Castle" tilesets, and each one will have differing layout designs. Where caves are very random and twisty, these man-made structures need to be constructed by different rules.
Rogue Touch, like the original rogue, based it's dungeons on a 3x3 room grid, like tic-tac-toe. You either had a room, blank space (potentially with a hallway running through/into it), or a maze in each of the 9 spaces. Even though they were randomly generated, the variety of scenery was not as impressive as many would like. Exploration was simple too, once you understood the 3x3 layout you knew where to look for secret doors or another pathway.
My initial attempts at enhancing man-made room generation were to just add MORE rooms. Why stop at 3x3, when you can have 5x5, or 9x9? 81 smaller rooms ends up being almost maze-like in design, with lots of twisty passageways between. Although cool in a way, it's not enough to make the dungeons really unique.
So my quest continues... more details coming later...
If anyone has any questions that I've missed, or something you want to know, please ask away
Same here - I've been playing roguelikes since D&D on the PET and I've seen LOS represented like this in plenty of games.
Possible things you could do with this:
- Fuzzy/round the edges a bit
- Smoothly animate the shadows moving
- Draw diagonal lines (issue here is you might have a monster/item standing in a partially shaded location
- Use dim instead of black for walls/flooring/items that you've already seen once (monsters of course would disappear...)
I like your character designs. Don't tell me you are doing the artwork yourself?
The game looks great! Good job on everything so far. I'm a sucker for a good turn-by-turn RPG...
Great post! It's nice to see you're familiar with the look, and can also anticipate some of the pitfalls right away too. Some sort of edge softening might be the easiest to achieve, but then you still have the problem that I mentioned in the front page article comments, requoted here: "Probably the biggest issue with the line-of-sight / shadow casting is that it only updates when you fully occupy a new square in the grid"
What that means of course is the motion of your character may be buttery smooth, but the shadow will update only once per grid square of motion. It looks fine in Ultima II, III and IV, or would even be at home in Rogue Touch due to the snap-to grid gameplay they all have in common.
To eliminate the jumps in shadowing I probably need calculate a darkness mask every pixel-frame of motion. Then you end up with the potential for partially visible monsters (not too big a deal), and more importantly a lot more computation used, which could lower the amount of time you spend playing
Your final note about dim vs black is spot on too. Unexplored areas should be completely black, then after your first pass through the area, any tiles Mineko "saw" would be shown as dim (like in the video). Any monster standing on a dim or dark square would be invisible!
Haha, I wish I could draw this well!
I used to be a better artist a long time ago before I migrated into programming... A few bits of the tile work and items are mine, but most of it comes from some very talented people all over the world. The story, character and monster concepts, and all that jazz were thought up by me, I just had to explain them well enough to get what I wanted visually!
Will be getting this
Hooray! This game is finally out in the open
"Rough tech demo" or not, the video looks fantastic so far. I was forged in the 8 and 16-bit era, so the graphical style is quite appealing to me. I don't really know the first thing about using Twitter, so I'm relying on you CD to fill this thread on TA with heaps of screenshots and ultra-exclusive information Bi-hourly of course
And although I might not understand some of it, I enjoy the behind the scenes type talk and am looking forward to following along with this game during the coming months.
Loser! You gotta get into the Twitter thing if you wanna be in the know! Lol
Good GRIEF I'm excited about this!
Heh, it took me a while to warm up to Facebook too. I'll probably get around to caring about Twitter right when everyone's already moved on to the next thing.
But I do have a Twitter account, so I'm going to follow you CD and try and figure it out as I go.
Ok everyone! This is a re-write of *big* post I made a while back on my own forums, and thought it might be useful to bring it to a wider audience here at TouchArcade... Let's have a little discussion about what makes a roguelike fun, and what makes it not so fun!
I don't want Spirit Hunter Mineko to become simply "Rogue Touch" with great graphics and animated attacks. Not that I am going to throw all of beautiful sprites and tiles away and strip it back down to cardboard cutouts again... but a new look is only part of the package.
People have different ideas of fun, and a lot of people have certain things that they hated about Rogue Touch (which is a nearly rule-perfect version of the original Rogue). It may be good to start on some of the things that have been identified as "not fun". Here are some comments from people over the last year:
1) Searching for secret doors is NOT fun.
2) Starving to death is NOT fun.
3) Traps are NOT fun.
4) Similar dungeon layouts are NOT fun.
5) Semi-permanent status modifiers are NOT fun... Rattlesnakes, Aquators, etc.
6) Permadeath is NOT fun.
Note that if you're reading this thread you probably didn't have a problem with most of these, but maybe there was one little thing that bugged you to no end that you wished was different!
I can try to address these a bit in turn...
1) Searching. If things were much easier to find, like 80-100% chance of finding the door on your first search, would it be more fun? Honestly I don't think so, it is still a hassle to walk along walls, pressing the search button every other step in hopes of finding a way forward. Maybe if progress could be slowed in other ways? A locked door and a key or lever elsewhere in the level? Maybe progress does not need to be slowed at all. Let the player dive quickly if they want, and die if not properly equipped.
2) Starving. There needs to be a certain constraint in place to prevent you sitting in a quiet corner and resting back to full health after every fight. Food serves the purpose of driving you forward. Must hunt for food to survive! I agree the random fainting can get really aggravating though. What is required is a reason to keep moving that makes you want to go forward, but is not so damned annoying when you accidentally run low on food due to random chance.
3) Traps. Randomly placed traps may make sense as a way to hamper an adventurer's progress in your dungeon, but I can see how they can be annoying too. Maybe the biggest complaint of all is, "why don't the monsters fall for them too?"... In Rogue Touch, they do not because the original Rogue was designed that way, and I wanted to stay true to that as much as I could. What if there was a more obvious risk-reward with traps? Say that all your treasure was found in chests, and the majority of these chests have traps armed on them? You want the loot, you need to take a chance. What if traps were found in the dungeon, but they were not so random? Maybe more obvious traps like a flamethrower in a wall that blasts anything trying to walk by (you can see the flame in the rock, giving it away) and you need to find the lever to disarm it, or otherwise avoid it. What if you could SET TRAPS yourself, and have monsters trigger them?
4) Dungeon Layouts. I've address this one quite a bit already, we have multiple tilesets and completely new methods of creating random levels to explore. The "Caves" are most well fleshed-out in design. I mentioned that I am still working on a better system for the "Cellars" and "Castle". There will also be an outdoor series of levels, we'll refer to that simply as "Forest" for now.
5) Status modifiers. Getting bit by a Rattlesnake for the 5th time, or rusting your armor down to -5 with an Aquator or rust trap does suck. But without these types of "gotchas" to make them unique every monster becomes a generic sack of hit points with teeth. Maybe a compromise, where most status modifiers are temporary and wear off on their own so you don't have to pray the random generator will give you that "Potion of Restore Strength"... Say you lose EVEN MORE strength from a rattlesnake bite, but you get better roughly 100 turns later? Or maybe you get tangled in a large spider web which hampers you movements (agility) and reduces your effective "armor class" because you can't dodge as well. After a number of turns the webbing is broken down and your agility returns to normal. Of course there would be new types of trouble to get into, but most of them would wear off on their own given enough time.
6) Permadeath. This is probably the thing that pisses off the most people who are not familiar with roguelikes. It is a very necessary component of the game though, and cannot be eliminated. There is the possibility of finding or purchasing a one-shot use item that brings you back to life, maybe with reduced stats. There is also another idea I am working on, based on Shiren the Wanderer gameplay- the ability to carry over an item or items into the next game. Shiren has the storehouse and storehouse jar method (as well as couriers that will run an item back to storage for you). I'm thinking something a bit different, but it would likely take some of the sting out of starting over for people new to the genre.
This was all written last month, but I feel it's important to get people talking about this stuff more. Some great thoughts were shared in my forums, and I have ideas that will potentially help in a number of situations, but as you may recall from Rogue Touch threads I am always open to suggestions and feedback!
The topic is what makes a roguelike "FUN" or "NOT FUN" to you, and if you could change or add some feature while retaining core roguelike aspects what would it be??? Your opinions on these topics are welcome!
Lol yea FB takes some getting used to, but now I don't even use Myspace, its all FB. And the new 'thing' is already out, formspring.me
Nice points there on the "Not Fun" stuff! I further contend, however, some folk may not even know what they want.
I mean take a classic annoyance of many shooter that only have limited ammo for their big guns.
Man does it SUCK when you run out of ammo!
Why not offer a way to have INFINITE AMMO?
(now we return to the same game with the developer granting these heart felt wishes)
This shooter is a joke, just get one of those super weapons and nothing can touch you! I'm bored with this simplistic piece of nonsense and moving onto something more challenging!
So basically a good game needs a certain level of tension and frustration or else the game isn't very engaging.
Yessir, I completely agree with that!
Of course for every 99 game-breaking suggestions like "INFINITE AMMO!!1!one!" you might stumble across one gem of an idea that you'd never considered simply because you've played roguelikes for 25+ years and have a hard time letting new stuff into that locked room in your mind...
I've made the first step, to open the door. It's up to that person to walk through it
Discovery. (what does this XEGPURT do?)
Ease of use. (not having to memorize 20 keys to effectively play a game.)
Mixed feelings on:
Permadeath. If it's not a super long game to complete, and easy to restart, I don't mind, but I would hate to see it in every RPG I've got... At the other end of the spectrum, Necromancer Rising just restarts you in town which at times feels cheesy, but I don't care because the rest of the game is sooo cool.
Tons of customizable gear/stats. Most roguelikes handle this for you, some games let you pick and choose (sometimes leading to munchkinism where certain things are obviously better and lead to repetitive play and/or you spend more time shuffling your inventory than killing things...)
Story. Have loved games that have had no story and those have had lots.
Turn based/realtime. I tend to prefer turn based (or semi-turn based like SoF) but both can be good.
Did that help any?
Food in Rogue seems like an unnecessary gimmick. At later stages of the game, I seem to have tons of food and always eat whenever I am feeling "weak," and in earlier parts depending on the randomness I might not have any food. Either way, it doesn't add much "fun" to the game IMHO.
Well, almost all of them make part of the fun IMO!!
I love looking secret doors, love traps and the need to care for food so I odn't starve t death. Maybe similar dungeon layout can be boring to someone, I really don't care if the game is good (you don't care if the layout is the same if you are busy trying not to die or looking for a secret place). Permadeath is a must! I think that's what makes roguelike games unique. Of course you could always give the option of a "diluted" roguelike game for players that are new to this kind of game.
edit..Oh! I am not sure what is Semi-permanent status modifiers.
Just wanted to point out that this doesn't sound like a bad thing at all. I'm glad you're going for a truly different game, but RT with great graphics and animations would be an awesome thing
1) Searching for secret doors is NOT fun.
I kind of agree with this. It's always fun to stumble across a secret door, but can be a pain searching EVERY tile to make sure you haven't missed anything. And my OCD side does NOT want to miss anything! I think small graphical clues, as well as a locked door/key system are good ways to avoid arbitrarily searching every wall. Maybe the greater the treasure, the harder it is to find?
2) Starving to death is NOT fun.
My most hated feature But I also agree with your counter point as to why you need something like this. It's cheap when someone can just sit there in the corner and regen their health. Admittedly, I use the temples in Fargoal in the same way, but at least you have to FIND the thing before you can use it. I think the thing that made me hate this the most in RT was the constant fainting, and how it really slowed down the pace of the game. Especially for a quick pick up and play design. I used to get so mad if I spent my whole 10 minute break only getting down one hallway because I was constantly fainting.
3) Traps are NOT fun.
I think traps ARE fun. I particularly like how in Sword of Fargoal, monsters are prone to falling in traps but humans are smart enough to avoid them. That totally makes sense. I absolutely love the idea of being able to set traps and have them be sprung by enemies. Also, a way of disarming traps I think is a must. Get the word out, traps are fun kids!
4) Similar dungeon layouts are NOT fun.
I do love a variety in environments. It didn't matter so much to me in RT because that was a totally gameplay focused experience. It could have been black and white blocks and I'd have still played and loved it (I'm quite fond of how RT looks, just to be clear). The graphics in this game will play a bigger role, and I think so far it's looking great.
5) Semi-permanent status modifiers are NOT fun...
Rattlesnakes, Aquators, etc.
Pretty much agree with this. I think the key is to not let your character get screwed over by just one little encounter with something. I think your compromise ideas sound really good. Or some sort of counter-items that you can buy/acquire so that you can be prepared for such things.
6) Permadeath is NOT fun.
Heh, well I've argued the opposite many times here in the Rogue Touch and Fargoal threads. I think it really depends on the individual. I grew up with near impossible games, and have many times loathed at the games nowadays that seem to just walk you through everything with checkpoints every five minutes. There's just no matching the satisfaction of *finally* beating that game you've been trying to beat for, oh I don't know, days, months... YEARS even. So perma death has never bothered me in the least, rather it brings me a sinister joy. I feel the pain of the folks who hate it, and it's tough to tell someone who comes from a different gaming generation to "love it because we tell you that you should".
I've mentioned Sword of Fargoal a few times, and I'm assuming you have been playing with the update. I think the steps they took in appeasing all types of gamers work really well. I was expecting to be upset by some of the changes they made, but instead they've been pulled off brilliantly. I think compromise should be the keyword in dealing with these issues in Spirit Hunter Mineko. Plus, the fact that it's NOT Rogue Touch, and you aren't obligated to follow any strict rules, means you can do some experimentation and see what works. It's obvious your going in a non traditional direction, so I don't think you have to worry about offending any purists in this case.
So far, I'm loving the ideas coming out so far. It's going to be really interesting to see what kind of game this will turn out to be in the end. :excited:
CommanderData, I actually like most of your "old" Rogue rules in Rogue Touch. While the starving made me mad in the beginning, after a while it is not a problem. I do agree with one of your ideas for a compromise, and that is the changes that rattlesnakes and aquators make to you. Having your strength and/or armor down for the rest of the game as you fight stronger enemies is pretty bad.
Oh, and congratulations! I got Rogue Touch in the Thanksgiving sale and have not yet managed to beat one dungeon! You have yourself a world-class tough game here, atleast for me.