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

    Mindfield, thanks so much for taking an interest in this! I know it might have looked like "just another JRPG" at first but it'll be quite unique of course! I know you liked Rogue Touch back in the day (still have the quote from your website in my iTunes description :)). Hope your first forray into development is going well, we need to catch up via e-mail sometime!

    As you note, there are Japanese influences here, partly as homage to Shiren the Wanderer and also because Rogue Touch was particularly popular in Japan. You'll see it in the pixel art, hear a bit of it in the music, the title was chosen to have an anime sound. The name Mineko actually means "child of the summit" in Japanese, which immediately makes sense when you consider where she lives. Yes, I've put a lot of thought into all aspects of the design :D

    Overall, simplified may not be the best way to describe Spirit Hunter Mineko. Different, Roguelike evolved... You can tell with the topics I am bringing up here I want to get everyone thinking about what is important, and where we can challenge what is "normal" in a roguelike. I have a lot of my own ideas, but it always helps to validate them, and/or collect new ones!

    I like your thoughts about secret doors, and will combine my response about that with LordGek's below:

    This is a simple but powerful idea, and I am all for it if I can make the level generator intelligent enough to figure it out. I've read some concept work out there that suggests calculating a dungeon with an optimum path and then placing the best treasure "out of the way"... That would mean that you have to wander a lot more to find the goodies, and are more likely to find the stairs down. This is complicated by the fact that each of my environments will have different rules for generation!

    Still, I am definitely interested in trying... a secret door (if one exists) should lead ONLY to optional goodies, not the stairs! As far as detection goes, we certainly won't be using the method that Rogue Touch did. Either the doors will be detectable automatically upon passing them closely (and making a "saving throw vs vision" for D&D fans), or they would rely on the vision of the PLAYER to locate and step into them. Maybe a pixel or two out of place that makes them look different, something to catch your eye when you pay attention, but doesn't scream "treasure hidden over here"!
  2. Indeed -- the fact that it's you doing it is what made me start paying attention because I knew you wouldn't just be doing another JRPG-type game. Like me you're a child of the 80s, and I don't think you have it in you to be a follower of trends with so much more interesting gaming history to plunder -- something else we have in common. :)

    Indeed we do -- I have a few things to show off, too. Nothing code-wise, but some assets nonetheless. Hit me up in E-Mail (or PM if you don't have my E-Mail) and we'll chat. :)

    Evidently. :) Nevertheless the influences are just fine -- that isn't really what I tend to dislike about JRPGs, and besides, this isn't going to be a JRPG, not in any traditional sense of the term anyway; the Rogue influences will make a huge difference in how the game plays out.

    Of course! Making a game you like to play is paramount of course, but getting ideas and opinions from those who will collectively be playing it far more than you is important, too, and really helps round things out. There's no such thing as too many good ideas. :)

    This is definitely the idea I favor (obviously). To me it adds a level of immersion, putting you in charge of what you find rather than leaving it to a roll of the bones. Not every "special" wall tile would be a secret, but you still have to be deliberately looking for them, and even if one of them turns out not to be a secret, at least you have visual cues as to what you need to be looking for in order to find them. Having secret doors just appear when you successfully roll vs. perception doesn't feel rewarding, and manual searching is too much grind. Placing the ability to find secret areas squarely in the player's line of sight makes finding them that much more special and rewarding, as far as I'm concerned.
  3. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    AnAdolt, we will absolutely not allow fainting if we still use food as a motivator so no worries there! I do think there's some potential for motivational details that work into the story, and have one planned already. It won't be a motivator throughout the entire game, but every little bit that is NOT food based helps. :D

    TheDankness, sounds like you've been playing NetHack for a long time! Way back during my initial thoughts about a new roguelike I thought about having multiple classes. I wouldn't rule out the possibility as an unlockable feature after beating the storyline but of course the base game is all about Mineko!

    Pets- maybe not traveling with you full time, but you will probably see the equivalent of "summons", can't say too much more about that yet but I think it will be pretty cool! :cool:

    The complexity of NetHack puts it in a class of its own, of course we won't get as crazy as they did... but Mineko should have a bit of something for everyone who enjoys games like Rogue Touch, Nethack, and Sword of Fargoal.

    Actually it'll have features that will interest people from several categories of gaming outside roguelikes too. That's all I will say about that for now :p

    Money will have purpose finally! We'll use it for tracking score, but there will be a merchant to buy things from. As you say, there will be limited quantities and somewhat random distribution to prevent abusing the system...

    I like the idea of resetting the "motivator" mechanism every time you descend or arrive at a new floor. Now all I need to do is think up a somewhat logical reason and motivator to fit that scheme :D

    Laptop battery getting low, will continue responses tomorrow! :eek:
  4. yankjenets

    yankjenets Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2008
    You have played Rogue Touch, correct? I was assuming that you can only go down the stairs, not up (until you retrieve the amulet, of course.)
  5. Boardumb

    Boardumb Administrator
    Staff Member Patreon Silver Patreon Gold

    Apr 14, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
    Oh, haha. You're right. I think I've been playing too much Sword of Fargoal, where you can go up and down at will. I could see your idea working in something like Rogue Touch. Actually, you make me wish that WAS a feature in RT :D

    I guess that begs the question then, is this new game going to be structured similarly where you dive down floors of dungeons? This whole time I've been envisioning it more like a traditional RPG, where you roam around a bigger world and then come to different dungeons during your journey. But I hadn't thought of it being just one singular dungeon, which is weird because that is a decidedly rogue touch (see what I did there?).

    Maybe you can comment on how the structure of the game is going to be CD? Unless you have somewhere and I missed it :confused:
  6. medianotzu

    medianotzu Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2009
    I've been thinking a bit about this question of what makes Roguelikes fun. It's an interesting question, and one worth asking for those of us who like them, and especially for those making them. :)

    As I said earlier:

    But looking into it a little more, I think the most fundamental aspect of why I love Rogue and Nethack is the sense of discovery they stimulate. I can't think of another type of game that so constantly puts the player in a situation where they are required to find and learn so much within a defined environment...in this way I'd almost liken them to highly complex puzzle games rather than combat-oriented games. Obviously, they have a certain designated rule set, and goal, but unlike puzzle games, there are various ways to enjoy a Roguelike--you can play for the stated goal of finding an artifact, for humor, or for other reasons which, to me, mostly boil back down to discovery.

    As a relative newcomer to Roguelikes, it's the act and sensation of discovering, figuring out the rules, finding items and working out a means of figuring out what they are, using your inventory in the most beneficial way possible, when to fight and avoid monsters, when and where to use turns searching for secret doors, etc. Feeling you are improving in your strategies and seeing your overall progress towards the goal of the game, and of course the randomly generated dungeons and items only further enhances the discovering aspect.

    There's also a heavy sense of resource management that I think is important and adds a lot to the overall strategy. I think this is definitely something that I want to see carried over into updates to the genre, which makes me feel that motivators like food work, although it can get a bit frustrating at times to have a powerful character undone by an unlucky lack of food rations generated in the game. ;)

    I think some of the suggestions in here are great, notably the idea that you can have some subtle visual cues that will allow for finding more inventory and having a set motivator for each floor...although I might also want to play a more hardcore difficulty level that allows for the motivators to carry over across floors so there will be a greater need to economize your items and movements.
  7. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    I'll try to be brief in my points here so our combined comment does not exceed the 10,000 character limit again ;)

    Of course my priority is in working on the actual game, but it helps to get the word out to everyone here about what's going on. Nothing's worse than a developer created "upcoming game" thread that dies on the vine when they stop caring enough to update it every once in a while. :(

    Anyway, on to your thoughts- Stat tracking: I'd like to have a pretty large array of statistics on your individual runs if possible. Also plan on tracking total gameplay time across multiple games, and achievements for various interesting things that you can do or have happen to you in the game.

    I'm afraid my own private server won't be up to the task of handling all the data for Spirit Hunter Mineko. As for other online platforms, personally I've always been partial to Plus+ for this sort of thing. Mineko has been accepted into the Plus+ program already so that will likely be where all this info goes (as a third party game, I'm trying to stay indie all the way!). Still a bit too early to talk much more about that kind of thing though...

    Regarding secret doors- I think everyone's of the mind that the doors should be there, but the mechanism has to be simple, automatic, and preferably VISUAL in nature, so that you as a player need to be paying attention in order to locate them. Sort of illusory walls, or some such thing that can be walked through to find a secret area, maybe a treasure room. I'll maintain the idea that the path onward should never be blocked by a secret door.

    I'll be back to provide some more info in a bit! Maybe another screen-shot or two :D
  8. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    #68 CommanderData, Mar 23, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
    OK, I know I hinted at screenshots. Instead, enjoy a bit of video! This is a *VERY PRELIMINARY* sample of casting shadows instead of using the tile-based visibility that the first tech-demo had. No audio this time, so it's safe to view at work ;)

    I'm torn. Part of me likes this effect and how it makes the caves feel, and part of me prefers the tile-based visibility. Speaking of which, I have improved the initial Line-Of-Sight tile implementation too, so maybe a showdown between the two methods is needed. :p

    In the meantime, take a peek at this and give me your thoughts:

    FYI this is all calculated in real time every frame, 30 FPS on my iPhone 3GS uses between 15-20% CPU. It is incredibly un-optimized so I imagine it could be made to use a lot less power if people think it's worth continuing to work on :)

    Back to work, will check in again!

    PS- any chop you see in the video is because it was recorded in the simulator and I have a LOT going on my iMac right now (about 200 tabs of Safari, and 3 xcode projects + instruments, and iShowUHD for the video recording... yes I am crazy, why?)
  9. squarezero

    squarezero Moderator
    Staff Member Patreon Silver

    I much prefer this over the tile-based shadows -- feels much less distracting. Perhaps the shadow could be softer, even semi-transparent?
  10. Oh yeah, definitely digging the new smoothed method. It has a much greater visual impact and adds a deeper sense of immersion (insofar as it's capable of providing that). Needs a bit of smoothing but as you said, very preliminary, lots of work to be done, but I'd totally run with that.
  11. brokenplatypus

    brokenplatypus New Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    This is really sweet! It really adds to the claustrophobia of running around in a dark cavern.
    It's tough to strike a balance between keeping the feel and mechanics of a turn based rogue-like and at the same time introduce animation and more modern effects. So far it looks like you're nailing it.
  12. drelbs

    drelbs Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    Gives it an eerie 3D look.

    I like it, but there are two things I'd recommend:

    1) Do not shade walls/floors you've already seen to black - dim them a bit instead.

    2) Fuzzy the edges a little bit, they're way too sharp. (Reminds me of NWN1 shadows, which can look a little wierd sometimes, especially with several light sources close together...)
  13. I thought of both of these when I posted but came to two conclusions:

    1) It would look nicer but would still reveal the lay of the land, which sort of negates the point of having the field of vision in the first place.

    2) Softening the edges would eat up a fair few additional CPU cycles which may slow the game down too much. You could probably create a textured dynamic polygon with alpha channel which would work in hardware but I don't know how expensive on CPU cycles that would be or how effective it would be compared to doing it manually, which would undoubtedly be slower. There are methods to play with here but no matter what it's going to slow things down a bit.
  14. GordonFreeman

    GordonFreeman Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2010
    Wow! it is hard to decide! The last one is more polished and it gives a claustrophobic feeling to the game; but personally I enjoyed better the first kind of shadow. I don't know why, I just like it. Probably secondary to playing a lot of retro games...
    I noticed that so far comment then to go positive for the last kind of shadow. For this kind I would recommend fading it down a bit close to Mineko and making it darker at the end.
  15. dansu

    dansu Well-Known Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Actually, I like how everything out of your line of sight is completely pitch black. It adds more suspense because you don't know what could be lurking in the shadows :eek:
  16. K76

    K76 Well-Known Member
    Patreon Silver

    Feb 12, 2010
    Cowtown, Texas
    Bingo. ;)
  17. Boco_T

    Boco_T Member

    Oct 26, 2009
    Can't wait for this!

    As far as the questions about things that are "no fun," my idea is related to a "luxury shop." I can think of various ways to implement it, but the basic idea is that there's a place in the game where you can get one of the more convenient items to prevent you having to do something that you find "not fun" in the game. Rings of slow digestion, searching, something that will revive you one time, night vision, etc, all would be found in the shop. I think the best thing I can immediately come up with as a way to get into the shop would be to just have it be one of the random scroll types. You could price the items however you decide, and you could also make it so that you could trade in a token to get one free item. Perhaps the single token in a game would be located randomly in the first five floors, that way one person could remove one annoyance of their choice.

    That way, you can use or not use it if you choose. You'd be able to limit the access to the shop, set high prices so that really advance players could perhaps buy one or two more items late in the game, have control over it that way.

    As far as the shadow system goes, I like the concept of that line-based one but I'm also fine with a block-based one. I think the shadow system in Cavern is acceptable and I think I'm in the camp of "whatever makes the game use the least battery/CPU and still conforms to your vision."
  18. drelbs

    drelbs Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    I wish I could remember which game(s) I saw this in - but I'm pretty sure most roguelikes that only show things in LOS still show walls when you can't see them, they just don't display the floor/features/monsters/items. This is what I mean. Anything standing on a "shaded" square would disappear/not be visable, but the terrain would remain (greyed out.) Any changes to said terrain would appear when it was in LOS again.
  19. drelbs

    drelbs Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    I wish I could remember which game(s) I saw this in - but I'm pretty sure most roguelikes that only show things in LOS still show walls when you can't see them, they just don't display the floor/features/monsters/items. This is what I mean. Anything standing on a "shaded" square would disappear/not be visable, but the terrain would remain (greyed out.) Any changes to said terrain would appear when it was in LOS again.

    Now if your character is shown holding a torch, and these LOS lines wavered a tad, implying total darkness, THAT would be cool. (Again thinking NWN1 here.)
  20. drelbs

    drelbs Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    First example I came across on YouTube:

    Note how the walls/floor grey out but don't disappear when out of LOS.

    Monsters, etc. would disappear completely.

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