25 July 2013

Making a Roguelike: More Design Ideas

Let's talk about some more things we're implementing in our roguelike. Once again, I won't talk about the interface system yet but the mechanics of a good roguelike don't need much of that anyway, do they?

A lot of roguelikes require you to eat in order to survive. The classics, like Nethack do that, Rogue Survivor always puts you against the clock by having starvation threaten and force you out of hiding, one could even argue that a space-shooter roguelike like Transcendence does the same by having your ship consume fuel. The threat of starvation is a good gameplay mechanic to prevent the player from standing still too much if food is a limited resource. In our game, you die of dehydration, which is another name for the mechanic that I though was a little more realistic about what kills you first. If the game was more survival-based I'd probably have planned a hypothermia-feature as well but as it stands, the only two things in the game that kill you are lack of water and monsters.

You find sources of water in the cave. Statistically there should be some on every floor although statistics can lie and in our monster-less test-build there have been cases of death by dehydration. All the better, in a roguelike, sometimes the dice are just against you. Now on a somewhat lucky run, the finished game should take about 20 to 30 minutes to play through if everything goes well and you know what you're doing. If there are sources of water though, you could in theory just camp there. What do I as the designer do against that?

22 July 2013

Making a Roguelike: Some General Ideas

A friend and I are in the process of making a roguelike (or rogue-like or roguealike or rogue-lite or whatever. Screw the Berlin interpretation!). I won't tell too much about the greater concept yet but let's talk about some general ideas and design decisions regarding the game.

Our game, which is barely playable right now (it does generate a cave and one can wander around in it and even pick stuff up but there is little to no adversity as of yet - dehydration is currently the only true enemy), has a simple premise: You are a person, assumedly in some medieval time, walking through the forrest/mountain at night when you fall into a hole that is the entrance to a cave-system. You need to find a way out. When you think about it, this can be a rather terrifying thought and I had the idea when visiting a cave on vacation over New Year's 2011/2012. That particular cave was discovered by a man named Baumann (after whom the cave was susequently named) who was a miner in the olden days and got lost in it after his light went out. After three days he managed to find an exit (and tell his tale) only to die of being half-starved and being lost in a cold cave for days. This, I thought, could be made into quite the game. And then I decided to add monsters and some low-key magic. So what about those monsters?

20 July 2013

Adventures in KSP: Coming Home

So let's finish this adventure in KSP so we can get to new horizons with new parts and all that. I had recently returned from the surface of Duna and docked with the mother craft, the Troy. Now the last two hurdles would be to get back to a Kerbin orbit and then get the crew down to the surface. Alive, if possible. Here's how things went.

I had done the necessary math. Or rather, a website had done it for me. All that was left was to hope that the ship would have enough fuel to get into a stable orbit around Kerbin, if necessary with the help of atmo-breaking. My trio of Kerbals could now only look back to Duna and hope that future generations of Kerbals would keep on exploring that strange desert planet.

Looking ba-hack over my shoulder...
The weeks of interplanetary flight passed. Then the Kerbin encounter happened...