Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demons Reach --- First Info!

Discussion in 'Upcoming iOS Games' started by CommanderData, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    Your responses so far to my small novel of a post have been great! Keep them coming, and I'll work out a summary of the best of the comments soon, combined with some more ideas I've been thinking of... I appreciate the fact that many of you still play Rogue Touch as well :)

    For everyone who missed it in the wall of text I put up, the current topic:
    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???

    I do have many gameplay elements of Spirit Hunter Mineko finalized, but am very interested to hear what would make this sort of game even more appealing to you. This is a clean slate as far as roguelikes are concerned, and now is your chance to speak up :D
  2. soulinhki

    soulinhki Well-Known Member

    Dec 19, 2009

    Looks very interesting, OGL graphics look super slick and frankly that is something I've been thinking to upgrade Cavern for a long time. Now if I would just have the time...

    I've always thought that your next project would be more like japanese rpg, and not a roguelike (don't know where that came from, propably from the first screenshots showing anime style graphics) but great to see that this is a fully fledged roguelike with random stuff :D
  3. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    Thanks Soulinhki!
    There are intentional Japanese influences in my game design and characters. This definitely won't be one of those very annoying cliche characters that so many anime shows have though. And yes, it'll have most of the standard details of a roguelike... and a few that I hope have not been seen before :D

    On the graphics- It does take a more thought to correctly handle everything now, but I think OpenGL was the best route to take. Of course, once you start down that road expectations rise dramatically! Take the shadow / line of sight system... looks like your algorithm is probably very similar to mine. Some people don't mind the shifting shadow-squares, and others who've not grown up on games like that find it very distracting.

    It's a problem that you never realized you had, until you go and apply smooth-n-shiny someplace else :p

    Must chat soon! But first, a bit of work and a review of what makes a roguelike "fun"!
  4. Crazy_Possum

    Crazy_Possum Well-Known Member

    What makes a roguelike fun...

    First, let me say that I have not been into roguelikes for long. I am fairly new to it, but I have found a few great details that make them fun.

    Atmosphere: In Rogue Touch, you can hear the dripping of water onto a dungeon floor. In some games, your vision is impaired in various ways, such as smoke. This adds to the suspense of the game.

    Good controls: While I'm sure you have already addressed this, I just need to point this out. Don't just make them functional; make them second nature to the player.

    Slimes: My favorite dungeon monster, even though they have on more than one occasion been the bane of my existence.
  5. eobet

    eobet Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    I'm interested in combat mechanics.

    Will these also be traditional or new/fun? :)
  6. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    There were some great responses to my questions on what makes roguelikes fun or not fun. Since a few of them are very large I'm going to cover them in multiple replies...

    Agreed that exploration and discovery are really the key things that bring people back for another try! If the dungeon layout was the same every game, and all the red potions were the same, and the scrolls of xex-pug-fey were the same, there would be no incentive to continue.

    Ease of use- as with Rogue Touch, I am going to make what could have been very complicated as simple as I can. Movement and a few context-sensitive hot-keys and maybe a couple of gestures will be all you need to know.

    Permadeath- the design of Spirit Hunter Mineko will be such that you probably won't be able to finish the main "adventure" in one shot. Actually I'd be very surprised if anyone did! The storyline will advance with additional deaths and playthroughs (as it does with Shiren the Wanderer). I have also mentioned that a feature like Shiren's item storehouse will be incorporated so that you can build up better equipment over time.

    (In case you didn't notice, I refer to main "adventure" because there will be a post-game adventure that unlocks after beating the main one :D)

    Tons of gear, customizability: I think I should have this covered pretty well. Actually my initial design had TOO MUCH stuff, which would have lead to inventory shuffling as you say, trying to find what you want for a specific moment in time. I ditched several categories of equipment I'd thought up for this game, but they should make an appearance in the sequel ;)

    Gear is still randomly found/dropped by some enemies, but there will be a place to buy some stuff as well.

    I agree that food at first seems like a gimmick. This is actually a tough one to solve properly. Without some urgency to drive you onward there's no reason why you can't simply park yourself in a safe corner and rest-heal back to full strength after every few battles. Exploiting that in turn makes the game less fun since your actions become very repetitive and less strategic... always the same "hack, hack, hack, hide, rest, rest, rest"...

    Some people suggest rather than food, maybe a very powerful, nearly (or really) unstoppable monster should appear and hunt you down if you take too long on any given level. That seems maybe too harsh!

    I haven't decided on a final "motivator" yet, so if anyone has more to say about the subject chime in :D

    (My response to the next few posts coming shortly I hope!)
  7. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    Got to catch up here so this is going to be a long one!

    Really good to know you're on board for all the staple roguelike elements! I'm thinking a couple of difficultly levels will help other players get used to this type of game. Its a tough balance, it can't be made "easy" or with unlimited "resurrections" at the spot of your death because the storyline as written requires deaths to proceed! A detail I'm still wrestling with...

    I think most "status modifiers" in Rogue would be considered semi-permanent. A few of them wear off after a certain number of turns, but things like armor rusting, poison, and so on are semi-permanent. What I mean is, if you don't have the correct counter-measure: Enchant Armor Scroll, or Potion of Restore Strength, the effect does not wear off on its own. Mineko's status modifiers will mostly be time based, an example would be like Rogue's confusion that wears off in a small number of turns.

    Crazy_Possum, looks like you get the idea here: A few bad run-ins with an Aquator or Rattlesnake can ruin the rest of the current game! What I'd like to see is any effect (good or bad) on your character lasting between 1 and 100 turns, depending on what it is...

    Keep trying to beat Rogue Touch! Even I have difficulty without playing one of the secret characters... Been fond of "Drizzt" lately due to the stealth, night vision, and his elfin armor/freezing sword, but there are a lot of other fun ones to try too :D

    BOARDUMB, you win the prize for writing a post almost as large as mine! Let me try to review without doubling the size of my post again :)

    1) Searching. It is true, I find myself obsessively trying to find every nook and cranny of the dungeon floor in case I might miss some item that would prove useful later. Searching as it stands in Rogue is really based on YOUR ability to observe the dungeon layout, and determine where a door may be hidden. Then you walk along that wall back and forth tapping the search key a bunch of times every few squares because you KNOW there's a door hidden there, but your character keeps failing to notice. Not a lot of fun.

    Secret doors might still have a place in the game, but if they do I'll make it so your character is automatically searching when walking along a wall. They might still miss it occasionally, but it should be much better than Rogue's implementation. Note that I am not discussing traps here, that will be done below.

    2) I've touched on the topic of food as a "motivator" to keep you going deeper into the dungeon in my previous post. If we continue to use food as a motivating factor, be assured that constant fainting will not occur when you are starving. The effects will be more subtle, but still undesirable :p Still, if anyone has a good idea for motivation that does not involve food please speak up!

    3) OK, maybe we should clarify- Traps as implemented in rogue (and Rogue Touch) are not as fun. Being invisible, difficult or impossible to disarm, and unable to affect monsters of any kind that step on them are annoyances that stack up fast. These kinds of traps were fine for 1980, but just won't do now. So Fargoal has taken things a step in the right direction. I'd like to take the next step from there.

    4) Dungeon layouts- It is quite possible to make more appealing layouts than Rogue had even with very simple graphics (or ASCII characters of course). Rather than a 3x3 room layout there needs to be more variety to the room count, room shapes, sizes, and so on. The caves are a great example of this, an environment that will have a completely different feel than man-made structures. Thanks for your appreciation of the visuals in RT and the tech-demo. :D

    5) I have touched on status modifiers already, but you're thinking along the same lines too. And yes, even if the effect only last 5, 10, or 50 turns, in most cases there would be "counter" item of some sort that could prevent the effect or eliminate it on your next turn. Like drinking a potion of healing to cure blindness in Rogue Touch!

    6) Permadeath. As stated, the game's design should make death somewhat painful, but also act as a requirement to drive the story forward and give you enough strength to reach the endgame and post-game dungeons! Not to say you would be unable to traverse the entire game on your first playthrough, but that would be a one-in-a-million shot!

    (Had more to say, but I am cutting this short, as I hit the 10,000 character limit for posting! Didn't know it existed :p)
  8. medianotzu

    medianotzu Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2009
    I like the sense of atmosphere, item collecting and suspense that one gets from a Roguelike/dungeon crawler. And when I say collecting, I also mean collecting the dead heroes as well. :D

    Let me be the first in this thread to say that I actually really like the idea of the unstoppable monster hunting you down if you don't move quickly enough. Not in the sense that you have a time limit to finish a level, per se, but maybe if you simply rest/regenerate health too long.

    Whatever you do, I am loving the line of sight and the idea of death advancing the story. Seriously great ideas. I've been waiting for a game like this!
  9. #49 Mindfield, Mar 21, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
    Wow, this is so weird.

    When I first saw this thread I popped in really quick without reaching much and scrolled down to the first bits of artwork, saw the characters, and immediately dismissed it as yet another JRPG. (I'm just really not a fan as they're all the same formulaic thing with the same big-doe-eyed characters, but I check announcement threads in the hopes that maybe it's different from the usual JRPGs you see by the truckload.)

    Just now I decided to check again for some reason and actually paid attention to things, and my thought process went a little something like this: "Waaaaaaaait a minute, that says ChronoSoft. Why does it say ChronoSoft on a JRPG? Whoa, wait, this thread was started by CD! Holy crap, Kevin's got a new game!"

    And then I paid attention to everything. So far I have to say I'm really looking forward to this even in spite of the Japanese-inspired artwork and naming. ("Mineko" sounds like a portmanteau of Maneki Neko, so it kind of struck me oddly to begin with.) A more simplified Roguelike is always welcome, and with different environments it ought to kick some serious tail.

    I'd like to take issue with one idea though: Secret walls are fun! Everybody loves discovering hidden things that may lead to some loot or useful items. It's the searching for them, or more particularly the mechanic behind it that often isn't. I've always thought that if you want to make it easy enough that secret walls don't frustrate and annoy players, make the tiles that lead to the secret areas just slightly different from the rest so players can find the secrets visually instead of bashing their heads against every wall. My implementation would be this:

    - Make 4-5 wall tiles in the style of the environment that are slightly different in a way that you could bypass easily if you aren't paying attention, but would notice if you're looking for them. Maybe slightly discoloured spots, a bump on one, or a crack, or a hole, a bit of moss, even some sort of indicator on the floor like rubble or something.
    - Use all of the tiles sparsely on a level -- after level generation, replace a few wall tiles randomly with one of the unique wall tiles, including the mouths of any secret areas that may have been generated as secret (or, if secret area generation is a secondary procedure to main level generation, use one of these unique tiles for each secret area in the level.)

    The idea here is not to totally give away the locations of secret areas, but to give players visual cues as to where they might be -- ones that are sparsely peppered throughout levels so players are only bashing their heads against these unique wall tiles and not every wall, but ones that aren't necessarily so obvious that you can spot them instantly as you go.

    This would reduce secret search time to a fraction of what it would be if you had the Rogue Touch manual radius searching method, or Cavern's one-hit reveal that still required you to hit every wall, yet it doesn't just point arrows at itself. Sword of Fargoal did this and it worked great.
  10. LordGek

    LordGek Moderator
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    Feb 19, 2009
    Software QA Engineer
    Saratoga, CA, USA
    I almost wouldn't mind the old Rogue/Nethack secret door system IF it were only used to access secret vaults/stashes and not basic infrastructure. Basically as long as the secret doors are kept to optional stashes and not a required passageway to then find the stairs off the level, I'm good.
  11. AnAdolt

    AnAdolt Well-Known Member

    Feb 27, 2010
    As a "motivator", instead of food--and fainting which is more of a punishment than motivator--why not have a real motivator and introduce a reward at the beginning. Instead of game mechanics, make it plot driven and greed driven. How mandatory you want the quest to be is up to balancing. So something like, an ephemeral plant that will increase your strength but only blooms one day out of the year and that day is 300 turns from now. The drawback to being a plot device rather than game mechanics is people may choose not to do the quest. You could make it a mandatory quest but then it's a bit more "natural" as a game mechanic and people are used to food.
  12. LordGek

    LordGek Moderator
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    Feb 19, 2009
    Software QA Engineer
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    Nah, this just sounds way too "optional". What kind of motivation is that when I could safely camp on an early level and become a complete GOD by exploiting the crap out of this? ;)
  13. TheDankness

    TheDankness Active Member

    Mar 21, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    #53 TheDankness, Mar 21, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
    Alright, I would like to start off saying the only rogue-like game I have played before is Nethack. (mostly the ASCII version)

    Of all the things mentioned by others as "not fun" I would really only agree about the searching, which you all seem to be coming up with some great suggestions. (both the auto-search and slightly varying wall tiles)

    I also like the idea of being able to set up traps. Thats would be a lot of fun.

    Alright now on to what I think is FUN in a rogue-like:
    -Mark/Recall spell
    -Cursed/Blessed items
    -Pets!!! (great for those who like to play as pacifists and have their animal do all the attacking, also for detecting cursed items)
    -Magic Markers
    -Multiple classes? Unlocked when you beat the game?.. I believe you mentioned there being more to do after the adventure is completed, plus I REALLY REALLY loved playing as a samurai, and more ridiculously so, as a tourist. :D
    ^^in NetHack that is^^
  14. yankjenets

    yankjenets Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2008
    I know this is kind of un-roguelike-ish, but I would probably like it more if there was something you could do with your gold. It would give more of an incentive for even bothering picking up the gold if you know you won't make the leaderboards anyway. Maybe you can use it to buy a random potion or scroll with w/e distribution you deemed fair (so you don't get to buy tons of enchant weapons, etc.)

    As for the food issue, maybe make the "food" characteristic of this game, whatever it is, reset every floor? So for example, implemented in Rogue Touch it would be as if you automatically ate free food every time you went down stairs (but the amount of time it takes to starve would have to dramatically decrease.) So, it still makes sure you can't sit in a corner and heal all day but it would eliminate some of the annoyingness of the current system while adding a risk/reward of "Do I walk all the way back just to search for more secret doors? Or do I go down a level now?"
  15. Isilel

    Isilel Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    I have only dabbled a very little bit in Rogue Touch, though I intend to go deeper and here is what I didn't like - controls. Inventory should have an icon rather than opening when one taps near the character and why doesn't it have a normal tap-to-go rather than tapping at a distant point in the direction you want to go? Are those legacy controls? In any case, I hope that Mineko has something more convenient.

    Traps - depending on whether one has trap-detecting abilities even initially invisible traps could be fun - provided that they also affect monsters and thus can be used tactically. Big bonus if there are creative ways to bipass them. Though I am also a fan of traps hinted at by visual clues, which could be disarmed by a lever, etc. A mix would be best, IMHO.

    Secret doors - again it would be nice if some had visual clues. I am also a big fan of illusionary walls. Not sure if it would fit a rogue-like, but I really love item use to open secret doors, like in Undercroft (or it's inspiration Eye of the Beholder series).

    Semi-permanent effects - I agree that they are way too harsh for games with permanent death and I am glad that you intend to remove them.

    Food - I dunno, I kind of always liked the idea of provisioning for adventure. If there is going to be a shop in the game, I am all for it. No fainting, but I am for dying of starvation, provided that it takes a decent amount of time to happen - like 3-4 weeks game-time.

    Permanent death - well it is definitive for the rogue-like experience, isn't it? Otherwise it would be just a simplified RPG.
  16. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    I've still got a lot of people to catch up with, so I'll try to do that this morning, starting here: :D

    The atmospheric sounds in Rogue Touch turned out to be subtle feature that a lot of people really liked. Of course the original Rogue never had more than the clicking of your keyboard or the odd [BEEP] from your terminal's keystroke buffer filling up. I felt compelled to have something audible, and I think that actually worked *better* than music. Expect to have ambient noises for each area again this time, but likely with music mixed in.

    Various visual impairments (and enhancements): My initial design had A LOT of different visual status modifiers. Some of that specific magic and equipment has been pushed back into the sequel as it'll be too complex to learn along with the new game mechanics. There will still be a few neat variations on lighting and visibility. The Line-Of-Sight tech demo was the start of that exploration.

    Good controls- I will address this topic in a whole new Q&A session this week, so save up suggestions for that :)

    Slimes- Yes, sometimes they can get the best of you, even if you try to fight in a doorway. And yes, slimes will be back! Possibly with a few new tricks mixed in too...

    Combat mechanics: This is partially tied to control scheme which we will discuss later, but I'll give a few hints now. First, virtually all roguelikes initiate "melee / close range" combat by trying to move into a grid occupied by an enemy. That type of combat will remain of course, but there will be lots of additional ways to deal with enemies. Ranged attacks will have much easier access than Rogue Touch had. With her spirit energy and new forms of magic items your tactical options will be multiplied dramatically.

    In a nutshell- base melee combat mechanics will be similar to existing roguelikes, the variety will come in from all the new stuff at your disposal. ;)

    Awesome to know that some of my changes to the old rogue formula are not only welcome, but seriously anticipated. Hope I can make it live up to expectations!

    Not sure how I would tie in this one specific "unstoppable bad-ass" monster to the story, but I have not ruled it out yet. I think "motivators" are another whole topic to start this week, as I have a third somewhat unconventional idea too. ;)

    "Collecting" of all sorts will be encouraged in the game. I fully expect to have achievements tied to it! :cool:

    (Everyone- If you haven't gotten a response from me yet, it's coming!)
  17. With regard to some "unstoppable monster" thing, would it perhaps look like this?


    (If you get that, welcome to my lawn.)

    Anyway, I really wouldn't care to see something like that. No matter how it's regarded this is still effectively a limit, be it time or moves or whatever, and the last thing you want to do is pressure a player when the player may already be pressured by other aspects of the game. If they want to rest and heal or just explore, let them rest and heal or just explore. There's really no need to invent a distant and contrived motivator as there are plenty of other ways to provide motivation.
  18. LordGek

    LordGek Moderator
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    Feb 19, 2009
    Software QA Engineer
    Saratoga, CA, USA
    That sure as heck would stop the humanoid...stop the intruder!
  19. drelbs

    drelbs Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    Here comes Evil Otto, push the fire buttons in!

    I'm sure he's crazy too, because he's bouncing off the floor.
    There's no way to destroy him, let him bounce right out the door... [​IMG]

    Nevermind me - I think I'm goin' Berzerk...
  20. Boardumb

    Boardumb Administrator
    Staff Member Patreon Silver Patreon Gold

    Apr 14, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
    That's what she said! Sorry, couldn't help myself :eek:

    Thanks as always for the responses CD. Yeah, I tend to have a problem with conciseness. :eek: I've also hit the brick wall that is the character limit in posts and PM's and it can be quite unsettling. :p Just make sure to not spend TOO much time responding to every single person, and spend just a *little* bit of time actually making the game ;)

    An idea I had as a motivator is a time clock of some sort. Keep track of how long it takes to complete each floor, or how long you've been sitting idle, then tie that into the gameplay or story somehow. Not really a new idea, lots of games have better endings/more content for meeting certain time or efficiency requirements. Possibly you could have it affect the items you get throughout the game, rewarding the more efficient players with rare or powerful equipment.

    I'm not totally sure how something like that could work in a roguelike, it's just a thought. And it reminds me, PLEASE include some in depth stat tracking in this game. I love looking through the different stats, especially the kind of obscure and weird ones. Rogue Touch kept track of quite a few things, so I'm guessing it's already in your plans. Just getting my quick plea out there. :)

    Relatively speaking, I'm a rogue noob, with Rogue Touch being my first foray into this realm. So I've never played Shiren personally, but these ideas right here sound REALLY exciting. I loved in RT how you could loot previous corpses, or see a previous character's scribbles on the walls. Sounds like you'll be expanding on those type ideas here, and I can't wait.

    I agree with you. I loved finding secret doors, just hated the spamming of the search button to do it. And sometimes it took more than a few searches to uncover a door, so you might *think* you've checked every tile, only to find out that you just didn't spam the button enough times. Your idea of visual clues is probably my favorite way to convey the secrets. It rewards those who pay attention to detail. I also like what someone else suggested with invisible walls. I think that maybe a combination of all of these things could work too. At the very least, if the character automatically searches while you're walking anyway, that will tone down the tediousness of finding the secrets.

    Sounds like you're going to get what you asked for. :)

    I like this idea, except how do you prevent people from exploiting it? If I'm low on health and there's a staircase nearby, I could just charge over to it, run down and back up again and presto, my health is recharged. If there is some way to rectify that situation, I think this is a nice idea.

    Hey there, just in case you aren't aware, you can pop into your Settings app and change the controls for RT to a d-pad. This is really the only way I can play now. It uglies up the interface a little bit, but makes playing WAY easier. I've actually tried to go back and play with the default controls, and I just can't. It's d-pad all the way. Apologies if you already knew about this :)

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