### Author Topic: Encircled  (Read 4606 times)

#### Quendus

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##### Encircled
« on: August 25, 2012, 03:48:46 AM »
Roguebasin: http://roguebasin.com/index.php/Encircled

Just finished this 60-hour roguelike. Unlike every other roguelike out there, you can only attack if the terrain surrounding you matches a pattern on your weapon, and you can only hurt someone if the terrain surrounding them matches a pattern on your weapon. All the enemies have the same restrictions.

Slightly inspired by rogue rage, you automatically attack every turn if you can. All you have to worry about is where to go and whether to pick up a different weapon off the floor.

Objective is to slay a certain number of boss enemies on each level. All the other enemies can be ignored, but they'll do their very best to hinder and hurt you.

The dungeon is initially just a random mess of walls and floors, but as you play a level it gets restructured by whoever stands on a terrain alteration button - as long as someone does that, the dungeon will change so that their weapon patterns are more prevalent.

Screenshots:

#### Alex E

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##### Re: Encircled
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2012, 07:05:20 AM »
It looks neat. I'll try it soon and give feedback if I can.

#### Alex E

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##### Re: Encircled
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2012, 11:18:54 PM »
Ok, so I tried it out.

It seems that once you've played one dungeon, you've played them all. The dungeons just all feel the same.

I spent forever trying to get around the hoards of enemies blocking my way just to kill the 10 bosses. It's very hard to tell what's happening most of the time, since there are so many enemies and the tiles are constantly changing.

I noticed that the tiles that you can "see" light up more compared to the others. Why do you have a field of view if you can just see everything in the level either way? Maybe it's meant for a later version of the game.

I personally think that there should be less enemies, but they should all do more damage to the player. This would make it feel more tactical rather than "Hopefully standing here and holding the wait key won't get me killed!"

Other than that, I really like the idea of the game. I don't think I've played a roguelike with the attacks only working based on the combination of tiles around you. I'd love to see more varied levels though.

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Encircled
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2012, 12:16:02 AM »
Ok, so I tried it out.

It seems that once you've played one dungeon, you've played them all. The dungeons just all feel the same.
The variety of gameplay between levels is supposed to come from the differences in the enemies' weapons. As far as generating dungeons with character goes, the cons are that it would destroy the gameplay balance (making some weapons overpowered and others useless), and that the terrain restructuring buttons would destroy the prettiness very quickly. The pros are that the quick destruction of the terrain's prettiness would bring the balance back up to normal quite quickly, and that until then it would be prettier.
So, maybe I'll include a few dungeon generators in the update...

Quote
I spent forever trying to get around the hoards of enemies blocking my way just to kill the 10 bosses. It's very hard to tell what's happening most of the time, since there are so many enemies and the tiles are constantly changing.
Maybe I should only give a 1/3 chance of successfully altering the terrain each turn?

Quote
I noticed that the tiles that you can "see" light up more compared to the others. Why do you have a field of view if you can just see everything in the level either way? Maybe it's meant for a later version of the game.
Field of vision is relevant for visual-range weapons, which can harm enemies at any range as long as there are no walls in the way. These weapons start to show up around dungeon level 7 or so. Since giving the enemies an AI I haven't been able to get to that kind of depth without dying or cheating (against mindless enemies it only becomes difficult around dungeon level 9). Maybe I should try to make ranged weapons appear earlier (by increasing their frequency or putting less weight on ranged weapons in the weapon quality calculator)?

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I personally think that there should be less enemies, but they should all do more damage to the player. This would make it feel more tactical rather than "Hopefully standing here and holding the wait key won't get me killed!"
It's impossible to make them do *more* damage, because they use the same weapons (with the same damage) as the player. But I can reduce the player's HP so that it takes a lot fewer hits to die. I already did that once since the development version (from 110-300 down to 60-250), but I should probably take it down some more. Maybe to 20-100? I might have to rescale damage to make that change viable, because enemies can get big damage weapons very early on.
Same with the enemy count - their numbers were originally unlimited, now they're capped at 80+bosses. I could probably take that down to 40 or 50+bosses?

Quote
Other than that, I really like the idea of the game. I don't think I've played a roguelike with the attacks only working based on the combination of tiles around you. I'd love to see more varied levels though.
I'd like it too if the levels had more obvious structure, but enforcing things like rooms, corridors, caves, chessboards or whatever would necessarily make a lot of the weapons totally useless. This would either screw the enemy and make the level too easy, or screw the player and make the level too difficult (unless the player is lucky enough to find a weapon viable for that layout). Similarly, any nice-looking configuration would be totally trashed in a few hundred turns by all the mashing of the terrain-alteration button (which the enemies deliberately press, even if the player doesn't).

Unless you mean the levels should start off looking pretty and distinct and non-noisy, and should degrade to the chaotic soupy mess over time?

#### Alex E

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##### Re: Encircled
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2012, 01:09:59 AM »
I like the idea of having a structured level at first and having it get "messier" as time goes on.

As for the ranged weapons....yes, I think they should appear much earlier on. Maybe they can appear straight off from level 1, but be much weaker than later on.

I don't think that a 1/3 chance to alter terrain would do so much with the overcrowding. Well, maybe, I wouldn't know. You don't have to do it, but I still personally believe that there should be less enemies with more damage. Or just have less player heath as you mentioned. Either works. Just have the amount of enemies increase each round (If it doesn't already). Player health can increase slightly too.

Once you release another version, I'll be sure to check out again.

« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 01:13:56 AM by Mosenzov »

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Encircled
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2012, 01:11:05 PM »
I like the idea of having a structured level at first and having it get "messier" as time goes on.

As for the ranged weapons....yes, I think they should appear much earlier on. Maybe they can appear straight off from level 1, but be much weaker than later on.

I don't think that a 1/3 chance to alter terrain would do so much with the overcrowding. Well, maybe, I wouldn't know. You don't have to do it, but I still personally believe that there should be less enemies with more damage. Or just have less player heath as you mentioned. Either works. Just have the amount of enemies increase each round (If it doesn't already). Player health can increase slightly too.

Once you release another version, I'll be sure to check out again.

I think with all the monsters having 1 or 2 HP on the first level, even a ranged weapon with 1 damage would be overpowered there. But I'll see how early I can get them in without making melee weapons useless.

The 1/3 chance to alter terrain was a way to make the constant terrain alteration slower and less confusing, not to fix the overcrowding problem.

I don't plan to make the enemies do more damage, but I will decrease the player's HP and reduce the number of enemies, which should fix the overcrowding.

Player health already increases (by 10) every level, but I might decrease that to 5. As the player's weapons improve, killing non-bosses should become easier, so raising the enemy population limit (probably by 2) every level is a good idea.

Once the enemy population is down to reasonable levels, what would you think of taking 1 HP from the player every turn the player is surrounded and has no valid direction to move? That should make being surrounded a clearly bad thing rather than a mere annoyance, and with the lower numbers of enemies it should be avoidable.

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Encircled
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2012, 03:46:20 PM »
I've made a quick fix to address most of the balance issues. Same download link ( http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6433222/encircled.zip ). No interesting terrain generation yet, since that's a more time consuming change than just tweaking the numerical balance.
* Enemies now limited to 30+2*dungeon level rather than 80
* Player health now 20+5*dungeon level rather than 50+10*dungeon level
* The line of code responsible for quality control is no longer ignored, so awful weapons don't get generated
* This means weapons on level 1 are much easier to do damage with, for everyone.
* Damage rescaled (fibonacci rather than square numbers)
* Terrain gets altered more slowly
* Ranged weapons appear sooner (first one on level 3 to 5, occasionally even level 2)
* Two different colour overlays ('r' and 't' keys) for the player's first and second weapons

The early game is probably a lot more fun now (and ds_creamer reported actually dying!), though I'm concerned I might have made the late game broken and/or impossible. I guess we'll find out!

#### Alex E

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##### Re: Encircled
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2012, 06:54:00 PM »
Once the enemy population is down to reasonable levels, what would you think of taking 1 HP from the player every turn the player is surrounded and has no valid direction to move? That should make being surrounded a clearly bad thing rather than a mere annoyance, and with the lower numbers of enemies it should be avoidable.

I like this idea. Sometimes I would get surrounded with no where to go, and neither me nor the the enemies would be doing any damage forced me to just hold the wait key and hope something opens up. But you'll have to see if it doesn't unbalance anything.

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Encircled
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2012, 12:43:38 PM »
Well, since I released that update to decrease monster numbers and increase minimum weapon quality I've been able to avoid ever being surrounded (though I've been cornered several times and had to take some hits to escape). Still, a feature like that would make it clear to new players that letting 'b's surround you is something to avoid.

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Encircled
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 07:07:41 PM »
Well, there are still no penalties for having no adjacent empty tiles to move to, but there are a lot of improvements from ARRP and other updates:

* Damage amounts and remaining HP flash briefly on screen for player and enemies.
* There's a menu system allowing you to choose from 6 play modes (including a tutorial), get in-game help, and set the animation delay for the number-flashing. The new play modes allow the player to experience the different possibilities of the system (including ranged weapons) or play a game with a different challenge level.
* Level generation is non-boring and includes pillar areas, areas with diagonal lines, chessboard patterns, white noise, and generalised versions of those. There's no connectedness check yet, but instances of isolated areas are very rare, and instances where they affect gameplay objectives are rarer. They can be fixed by standing on a numbered tile.
* There's the option to make a very minimal information dump after victory or defeat.

Most crucially:
* Health slowly regenerates if you stand still. This means that the first level where enemies have a ranged weapon isn't necessarily a lost cause.

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Encircled
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 07:55:05 PM »
Two gameplay videos in one day!

Game_Hunter's, highlighting the conceptual difficulties in learning the game: