Updates and Game Design Stuff

The flagstones are now randomly rotated when being placed and I added a slight gradient to the diffuse texture to emphasize the effect. They look nice and uneven now. I’m going to add a rule to randomly replace the textures on some tiles with lighter and darker variants.

I also added in a door replacement rule that replaces some wall and door sections with an alternative model.

What I’m trying to do at the moment is build up a solid base of “generic” architecture before moving on to specific room types, such as library or temple. Rooms that have a specific function will be decorated to reflect it.

It’s a strange problem to try and reason about the architecture of a dungeon. They only really exist to serve as gauntlets for intrepid heroes, but they’re often characterized as functional structures that were built for specific purposes and uses.

The characterization in Apotheosis is a bit different – The dungeons are part of a kind of “dungeon dimension” where heroes fight to become gods. The gameworld is characterized as a sort of divine chess game the gods use to entertain themselves.

This creates interesting problems and opportunities regarding what kind of rooms make sense in the dungeon. Strange eldritch machines, traps and the like make sense because the game world is supposed to reflect an actual game, but it doesn’t make sense to portray the dungeon as being built for anything other than to be adventured through.

The method of progressing is stolen from influenced by the game flOw.

There are two different kinds of portal that are dotted randomly about the dungeons – one kind leads to an easier dungeon than the current one and the other kind leads to a harder one. Elements within the dungeon are leveled and balanced to the dungeon’s “depth”, and certain kinds of monsters and items only appear in the lower levels. I firmly believe that Oblivion style leveling is a gyp and takes a lot of the fun out of progressing. The fact that the game will use separate, discrete  environments that smoothly ascend and descend in difficulty means that dynamic difficulty can be added implicitly as a function of the players choice rather than mapped to their character.

I’d like the game to be balanced, but I still want it to be hard. One of the of things I love about RLs is the policy of malice they have towards the player. Completing most roguelikes requires superhuman skill and dedication. I’d like to preserve that as much as possible, but the transition to real time means that some things would lose their value and just become frustrating. Fighting off a horde of enemies in real time and then keeling over dead from thirst would be more a pain in the ass than anything else. As much as possible I’m attempting to transition the strategic elements of RLs to real time in a meaningful way, rather than as a compromise.


4 Responses to “Updates and Game Design Stuff”

  1. 29Prime Says:

    I think that player choice difficulty mechanisms are essential to a good Roguelike; two of my favorites have mechanics like this. Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup encourages you to skip levels that are hard (dungeon generation is just random enough that an out of depth monster is significantly riskier than the next dungeon level down… on average); additionally, the dungeon branches at about level 15, giving the player a boatload of options that will be of varying difficulty based on their gear, class, and equipment. Got resist poison? Hit up lair first, maybe poke your nose into Snake Pits if you feel adventurous. Found a spellbook with mass confusion? Orcish Mines will be laugh.

    Similarly, DoomRL introduces player choice by giving special, fixed dungeons as options. Level 1-3 (IIRC) of the DoomRL contains a special staircase to Hell’s Arena, which is significantly harder than the normal dungeon, but rewards great loot. If you find some powerful equipment early on, it can be a worthwhile investment; if you don’t burn too many healthpacks.

    Mechanisms like this make the player feel in control and competent, when they survive, instead of being pampered by the system.

    • I like the idea of extending the choice of levels from being based just on general difficulty to choosing a level that is suited to the player’s character. It adds a layer of strategic depth, that the player has to consciously direct their exploration and make choices that are extensions of how they have decided to play in the past.

  2. Love the updates, keep them coming.

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