Author Topic: Demon: A monster collection roguelike 3/31!  (Read 33173 times)

Ferret

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Demon: A monster collection roguelike 3/31!
« on: October 18, 2014, 11:51:06 PM »
PC, Mac, and Linux builds download link: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-sx_4eW-B5hWnhNZlRPclZLeUU&usp=drive_web

Development website: http://demon.ferretdev.org/

Hi. :) Demon's actually been cooking for some time now, but I figure it is far enough long for people to enjoy, so I'm announcing it here in hopes of trading fun and many deaths for yummy feedback. :D

Demon combines the monster collection mechanics of games like Shin Megami Tensei and Pokemon with traditional roguelike features such as challenging tactical turn-based gameplay, randomly generated dungeon layouts and encounters, and of course, perma-death. :)

Some screenshots:
       

I'd love to hear feedback, comments, and suggestions, but even more than that, I hope you have fun trying it out. :D

Edits 1 & 2: Changed build download link.

Edit 3: Updated screenshots since the old ones were pretty dated.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 03:07:41 AM by getter77 »

Samildanach

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2014, 12:56:01 AM »
First impressions:

I like the idea. As far as I could see, the manual doesn't mention how to recruit new allies, so I had to figure that out (not difficult but it's still odd that it's not explained). Enemies seem extremely damage spongey - two allies and I were tearing into a foe with everything we had it just tanked the damage. They all seem to be like that.

There's definitely a lot of promise here, though. I'm going to keep fiddling with it and see how it does. Keep it up!
« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 12:58:42 AM by Samildanach »

Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2014, 01:19:54 AM »
:D Thanks for the feedback! Recruiting allies is in the manual... but now that I re-read it with your feedback in mind, it's pretty brief and seems poorly located. Party recruiting/management probably deserves its own section rather than being part of "Advancement". :) I'll update that in the next build. (This is exactly why it is useful to have people who never played before reading the manual: stuff that is 'obvious' to the developer can end up glossed over or under emphasized to the point it gets missed)

I'm glad you were able to figure it out though: if you don't mind, what helped you figure it out? (so I can do more of that in the future :D )

Damage sponginess is definitely present a bit at the start: the early monsters tend to be a bit lower than average on damage output to help with easing into the more unusual mechanics Demon throws at you from its monster collection lineage. :D If you grasp those quickly, it might seem to ramp up a little slow... but by Tower:5 or 6 you should be able to find some ways of dealing damage quickly if that's the strategy you want to pursue. :D Your starting build can also make a difference: Try including Debuff as at least a secondary so you pick up Expose (lowers target's damage absorb.) In particular, Electricity/Debuff is probably the highest total single-target DPS of the starting builds if you really want to obliterate things. :D

I'll keep an eye on it though, if it's consistently getting feedback of that nature, I'll see about slanting the early guys a bit more towards DPS and see how that does. :D I'd rather people not die much before at least Tower:3, but on the other hand, I don't want people to assume the whole game is spongy.

Thanks again for the feedback! :D

Zireael

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2014, 08:41:18 AM »
I love the idea!!!

How many levels are there? How many monsters? Can we breed them?

getter77

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2014, 12:10:04 PM »
Agreed in full that this seems chock full of promise and heading in a good direction---definitely keep at it!   8)
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2014, 03:50:22 PM »
There are currently 17 floors to the tower, with approximately 60 monsters (not counting modified ones) total running around, all of which can be recruited. There are also a few human foes.. half a dozen or so... running about to make life interesting in various ways. :D You can't recruit those, but there may be other benefits to fighting them.

Eventually, it will be 30 floors with many, many more monsters. :D


The monsters can't be bred directly, but there are plenty of ways to get custom ones:

* Once a monster has been in your party for a bit, it will begin to gain Training Points. These can be used to copy its abilities to other monsters in your party. For example, Goblins have an ability called Low Profile that lets them duck under allied projectiles flawlessly. This is a great ability to pass on to other melee-oriented monsters if you want to use ranged attacks: you'll be able to shoot over their heads while they hold the line.

* Monsters have a chance of spawning "modified" (e.x.: Fiery Goblin instead of just a Goblin), giving them new abilities, resistances, and adjusted stats based on the modifier. Modified monsters can be recruited just like any other beastie (though depending on what you have to do to recruit them, the modifier may make things more difficult. :D )

* There are unique monsters as well, and even these can be recruited, but the conditions are often rather difficult (and in typical roguelike fashion, you only get one try per game... if they spawn at all!) Still, unique monsters often have unique abilities and/or especially good resistances and stats. :)

* Future Tech: I am thinking of adding a consumable item that lets you discard one monster to add a modifier based on its type to a second monster. For example, you could use it to discard a Jinn to add "Fiery" to any unmodified monster in your party. I would probably also cause unique monsters to have unique modifiers to offer through it. :) There may eventually be other items you can use to tweak your monsters in various ways too.

Thanks for the encouragement and well wishes. :D

Samildanach

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2014, 07:17:06 PM »
:D Thanks for the feedback! Recruiting allies is in the manual... but now that I re-read it with your feedback in mind, it's pretty brief and seems poorly located. Party recruiting/management probably deserves its own section rather than being part of "Advancement". :)

I read the manual three times and couldn't see it!  :-\  I think with the party aspect being so pivotal to the whole playing experience, it could do with a prominent position in the manual. I find a lot of people aren't very receptive to feedback (even when they've requested it) so good on you for taking it on board.

I'm glad you were able to figure it out though: if you don't mind, what helped you figure it out? (so I can do more of that in the future :D )

Again, it was pretty straightforward. After failing to spot  anything about it in the manual, I looked at the overall UI/HUD and saw a row of icons at the bottom. I thought maybe one of them might be connected to party recruitment so I moused over them until I found the right one.

Damage sponginess is definitely present a bit at the start: the early monsters tend to be a bit lower than average on damage output to help with easing into the more unusual mechanics Demon throws at you from its monster collection lineage. :D If you grasp those quickly, it might seem to ramp up a little slow... but by Tower:5 or 6 you should be able to find some ways of dealing damage quickly if that's the strategy you want to pursue. :D Your starting build can also make a difference: Try including Debuff as at least a secondary so you pick up Expose (lowers target's damage absorb.) In particular, Electricity/Debuff is probably the highest total single-target DPS of the starting builds if you really want to obliterate things. :D

I'll keep an eye on it though, if it's consistently getting feedback of that nature, I'll see about slanting the early guys a bit more towards DPS and see how that does. :D I'd rather people not die much before at least Tower:3, but on the other hand, I don't want people to assume the whole game is spongy.

Sponginess was the part I was less confident in criticising. I was conscious that it could be an intentional design choice. The thing is that I've played a few times now and so far I haven't managed to get off the first floor. Now, granted, I'm not a great player but the battles often end up feeling like I'm barely scratching the enemies (whether physically or magically) while they lop great chunks of health off me and my allies. Thanks for the tip on debuffing though - I'll look into it.

The other part is that first impressions can be crucial; if the first floor or two are very spongy, expect to lose players to impatience. With many, many games out there and only limited time to play them, a game that feels laborious at the beginning can suffer. Just my opinion, of course.

Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2014, 10:02:45 PM »
:D Thanks for the feedback! Recruiting allies is in the manual... but now that I re-read it with your feedback in mind, it's pretty brief and seems poorly located. Party recruiting/management probably deserves its own section rather than being part of "Advancement". :)

I read the manual three times and couldn't see it!  :-\  I think with the party aspect being so pivotal to the whole playing experience, it could do with a prominent position in the manual. I find a lot of people aren't very receptive to feedback (even when they've requested it) so good on you for taking it on board.

:D Don't feel bad about not seeing it. The burden for manuals is on the author, not the readers, if something can't be found the first time it's read, the manual's bugged. :) I've fixed it up nicely (I hope!), party management gets its own section in the next build's version of the manual. :D

I'm glad you were able to figure it out though: if you don't mind, what helped you figure it out? (so I can do more of that in the future :D )

Again, it was pretty straightforward. After failing to spot  anything about it in the manual, I looked at the overall UI/HUD and saw a row of icons at the bottom. I thought maybe one of them might be connected to party recruitment so I moused over them until I found the right one.

Cool. :D The hotkeys and their tool tips are Plan B... though it's supposed to be in anticipation of people not reading the manual, not because the manual whiffed. :D Still, awesome to know it worked. :) Thanks!

Damage sponginess is definitely present a bit at the start: the early monsters tend to be a bit lower than average on damage output to help with easing into the more unusual mechanics Demon throws at you from its monster collection lineage. :D If you grasp those quickly, it might seem to ramp up a little slow... but by Tower:5 or 6 you should be able to find some ways of dealing damage quickly if that's the strategy you want to pursue. :D Your starting build can also make a difference: Try including Debuff as at least a secondary so you pick up Expose (lowers target's damage absorb.) In particular, Electricity/Debuff is probably the highest total single-target DPS of the starting builds if you really want to obliterate things. :D

I'll keep an eye on it though, if it's consistently getting feedback of that nature, I'll see about slanting the early guys a bit more towards DPS and see how that does. :D I'd rather people not die much before at least Tower:3, but on the other hand, I don't want people to assume the whole game is spongy.

Sponginess was the part I was less confident in criticising. I was conscious that it could be an intentional design choice. The thing is that I've played a few times now and so far I haven't managed to get off the first floor. Now, granted, I'm not a great player but the battles often end up feeling like I'm barely scratching the enemies (whether physically or magically) while they lop great chunks of health off me and my allies. Thanks for the tip on debuffing though - I'll look into it.

The other part is that first impressions can be crucial; if the first floor or two are very spongy, expect to lose players to impatience. With many, many games out there and only limited time to play them, a game that feels laborious at the beginning can suffer. Just my opinion, of course.

Oof. :( Yeah, a bit of early sponginess is one thing, but Tower:1 being that much of a jerk is a bit more frownysome, especially since from your posts it sounds like you've been summoning and recruiting allies and using your starting abilities (most of the T:1 deaths I've seen are before people figure out those things.) Malingees might be a good candidate for moving to T:2, and the pairs of goblins might also need a nerf. Were those the encounters giving you trouble there, or were there others?

I'll swap around the spawn table on T:1 and T:2 a bit, hopefully that can shift the difficulty to a bit gentler place for T:1 (by T:2 you're more likely to be 2nd level and have a full party, lone monsters, even if they're the nastier members of lowbie land, should go down easily at that point.)

This is awesome feedback btw, and exactly the kind I need: fresh eyes on the first stuff players see. It can be almost impossible to fully "pretend" to see something with new eyes, especially something you've been working on, not just playing. :) Thank you again!

Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2014, 03:52:13 AM »
Posted a small update! Build links won't change, but here it is again for easy access: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/akfvy4z8fmsavdm/AACrg9QrE7tcXDtLQOsYb_7Ga?dl=0

Manual has been revamped a bit, including a new section on party management and some re-ordering of the chapters. Still relatively short while hopefully containing everything you need to know about the basic game rules. :) Also adjusted the starting encounters on Tower:1 a bit: goblin pairs should be mostly lone goblins now, and malingees have a somewhat more generous recruitment mechanic.

I'm already working on the next more substantial update. :D I'll give more details about what that will include soon. :)

Edit: Build link did change after all. :P
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 06:00:40 PM by Ferret »

Samildanach

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2014, 01:24:05 PM »
One of the things I enjoy with this game is the way recruitment works. It reminds me a lot of Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call (known as Nocturne elsewhere). Different monsters have different things they want before they'll join you. It's a nice touch. I liked that about SMT:LC (though was eventually put off by the tedium of the combat).

Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2014, 03:26:43 PM »
I'm glad you're liking the recruitment mechanics. :) Shin Megami Tensei games as a group are pretty much my favorite games. :D Roguelikes are a pretty close second*. :) Part of why I started on this project was because I wanted to see if it was possible to combine the two together. :D

* ::looks around nervously remembering the name of this forum:: Er... I don't have to leave now do I? :( It's a REALLY close second I promise! :D

Samildanach

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2014, 12:21:02 PM »
I'm glad you're liking the recruitment mechanics. :) Shin Megami Tensei games as a group are pretty much my favorite games. :D Roguelikes are a pretty close second*. :) Part of why I started on this project was because I wanted to see if it was possible to combine the two together. :D

* ::looks around nervously remembering the name of this forum:: Er... I don't have to leave now do I? :( It's a REALLY close second I promise! :D
Lucifer's Call is the only one I've played so that's my sole point of reference for SMT mechanics. :)

Don't worry, roguelikes aren't necessarily my favourites either. I'm still waiting for someone to combine the best elements of Morrowind or Sid Meier's Pirates with a roguelike.

Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2014, 04:57:49 AM »
May not necessarily be the most exciting thing ever, but going to try adding a very... subtle?... tutorial system in the next build. I kinda grumble at tutorials in general, especially intrusive ones. Based on your feedback and that of others, the tooltip bar and its mouseovers seem to have a fairly high rate of bailing people out, if only folks mouse over them, but unfortunately (and also based on some feedback) that doesn't always happen. :P

To try and encourage that, I'm thinking the tutorial system will light up a few of the buttons at appropriate times the first 3 or so times they're relevant, then stop doing that for the rest of the game (maybe even the rest of any game on that same computer.) For example, Summon would light up when you have a good, healthy ally to summon and an open slot for one, then never light up again after the first time you have the maximum of 3 allies at once out. The Activate Link button would light up when you're in the presence of a recruit-able enemy, never again once you've recruited a few guys. etc. Similar things could be used for Unsummon, Item, Teach, and Rest...maybe Explore too, but not sure I need to go thaaat far.

That would be it. I'm hoping the glowy buttons would be effective at calling attention without bothering anyone who picks it up quickly enough to need it. I've seen some similar tricks used for things like level up notifications and what not in other games, I'm kinda hoping I might be able to extend that technique (whose effectiveness+unobtrusiveness I approve of) into actually teaching these parts of the game, which are the ones that differ most from other roguelikes and are least intuitive in general.

Anyway, it may or may not be 'enough', but heavy-handed tutorials really grump me out. I'd prefer to take baby steps in that direction rather than overkill it. :D I hope to able to finish upgrade up soon, I'd rather be on something more exciting. :D

Samildanach

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2014, 11:22:06 AM »
It's a good idea. My only concern about it is that if the buttons glow only the first few times, people might expect them to always glow and then not realise they can use those buttons once they stop glowing. Have you ever had that experience where a level up indicator that usually glows suddenly doesn't glow for some reason? You don't realise you have a level up available when that happens. The inconsistency of having buttons glow at first and then not later could be confusing.

I don't want to sound negative - the glowing buttons are a good idea - just raising a point for consideration.

Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2014, 03:41:24 PM »
It's definitely a good point. :) I like the basic idea of making the buttons glow... but if I always do it, it might be overkill (since I'm doing it for more than just the level up functionality.) On the other hand, if people get used to it and then don't see it, you're right that they might not realize it's just a tutorial function that quietly turned itself off.

On the other hand... hmmm. It might not be terrible for them to always light up. Let's see...

Summon: Lights up if you have less than 3 active allies and have at least one good candidate for summoning (i.e.: a monster with relatively good HP still)
Unsummon: Lights up if any ally is in danger.
Activate Link: Lights up if you could recruit a visible monster. Ignores monsters more than X levels below you?
Item: You've found a new *type* of item (i.e.: 1st healing stone, 1st spirit candle, but not 2nd healing stone) since the last time you opened the menu.
Train: When a monster gains its first training point OR when any monster becomes the highest training point count currently in the party. Disables when you open the menu, not went it is spent. (There are plenty of reasons not to spend training points immediately, so I don't think I can hold the glow until they're spent.)
Rest: Out of combat and party is not in peak condition.

Any of those strike you as "too pushy"? Unsummon is the only one that worries me a bit, though not because of pushiness.... there are times it's a very good idea to unsummon, even if an ally is not in danger, and I don't want people to think they can only do it when the button is lit up. I could also just leave that one out of the glowing fun times, and hope the other glowing buttons get them visiting the hotkey bar enough that they catch it. I guess it comes down to showing players that glow means "this is relevant to your current interests" and not "you can only do this now."

Option B might be to take a different approach: Only reveal the buttons the first time they become relevant, then they glow until used. In that case:

Summon: You start with this active and glowing.
Unsummon: Activates once you summon a monster and 'flares' to call attention to itself, but does not glow persistently. (Little iffy on this whole setup. :P )
Activate Link: Activates first time you find a monster you could recruit.
Kill Command: Always active, but never glows.
Rest: Activates first time you are out of combat and not in perfect health.
Auto-Explore: Activates once you summon your first ally.
Item: Activates when you pick up your first item.Portal Search: Activates once you find a portal.
Train: Activates when a demon earns a TP when you have any other demon in your party as well.
View Party: Always active, but never glows.
Discard: Always active, but never glows.
Help: You start with this active.

I think this approach might help avoid the false messaging problems of the purely glowing buttons approach...though coding it will be a little bit more involved. What do you think of these two ideas? :D