Author Topic: 100 Heroes: Shopkeeper of Doom  (Read 4897 times)

mendonca

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100 Heroes: Shopkeeper of Doom
« on: October 26, 2012, 08:19:51 AM »
Hello!

I've been working on a game for the past six months or so, called 100 Heroes, about a shop owner in a town in a generic fantasy world.

You play the role of that shop owner, and the objective of the game (at the minute) is basically to get a high score before you either run out of capital, or get destroyed by a monster.

http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=105835.0

It's been done as a hobby to teach myself a bit of Python, but I have been having so much fun creating it I suspect I will continue to develop it for a while when I get the urge or the time to do so.

The game as it is has some of the features I intend to add, but I reckon I have pretty much taken it to the point where the current design document 'ends'. Because of this I'm pretty much just adding, developing and polishing things on an ad-hoc basis, which is cool and everything but won't really cut it for the 'next stage' of the game.

Existing systems are basically an illusion of complexity, at best, with lots of very simple dice rolls and limited actual 'decision making' taking place. I'm at a point now I think where things need to start getting a bit more complicated - and for that I need to plot out in detail what the next 'stage' of development will look like.

As such, I would be interested if anybody had some feedback on the game to help drive the game in the right direction.

I ask here because one of the most important concepts of the game to me is that is has a 'roguelike' feel, and so I would be interested in opinions as to whether or not the basic elements of the game achieve that at all (or not).

Thanks for listening  :)

jim

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Re: 100 Heroes: Shopkeeper of Doom
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 11:32:39 PM »
Hi! First of all, I applaud the work you're doing. Snarky and fun. I enjoy these types of games (can't remember too many of them... Reccetear and maybe a mini game from the Breath of Fire series?)

In any case, you had me at hello.

So I just downloaded and played my first game. This is what I experienced, to the best of my recollection.

1) Started the game. I couldn't tell what I was looking at. This was a good thing. I looked for documentation, then settled on hitting the question mark. My first success!

2) Stumbled around for the first few days. I did not realize (nor should I have, as far as I can tell) that items are categories rather than specific by default. So what I saw were a bunch of items that were described identically, some for $5, some for $20. I bought the ones that were $5 and counted myself a winner, until I realized that I needed to identify them. It was frustrating to find out that my first savvy purchases were nothing more than cloth sacks. I remember thinking that color coding for degrees of identification would be very helpful.

3) Stumbled around some more. I didn't exactly squander my funds, but I was aggressive, anticipating that there would, you know, be buyers. I bought as cheap as I could, raised the prices by 20-30% (adjusting where needed when I learned the base value of an item - the thinking was that a retailer of limited-stock items should try and sell slightly above market value), and hoped for the best. Nobody really came to my shop much, though I saw my reputation ticker going up.

4) Was stoked to buy a Hawaiian Shirt for $1 at the auction. This was the big victory.

5) Noticed that the end of the month was maybe 4 days away and that I was literally $1 short of the tax man's due. I had sold, I think, two items at this point; only two adventurers had visited me. I felt like I didn't have enough information. Were they not coming because my prices were too high? How did they know in advance of a visit? Was I just being unlucky? Not knowing any of this and not having any way to discover the answers in-game was a frustrating experience. And I realized that I couldn't figure out how to expand the window on my machine so that I could catch all of the dialog section... maybe I was missing clues? In any case, I had no idea what I was supposed to do to improve business. I lowered prices.

6) Two days left before the tax man. I drop all my prices to market value, and a cloth sack to $1, which would at least cover my rent.

7) Nobody came to my shop and I lost.

Reflecting on this, and being in sales in real life, I want to be able to do more to affect the outcome of the game. What I like about sales is that investigation and tactics really pay off, and that there are a lot of ways to "win" based on what your investigation tells you about yourself, your competition, and the people you're selling to. Whether you reduce overhead, run the competition out of business with a price blitz, or just work to protect your market... there's always a way to make it work. For instance, I would like to be able to sell to another shop in a pinch. I would like to spend money on advertising. I would like to be able to sponsor a hero provided that he improves my brand image. Perhaps if a dungeon was killing off too many heroes, I could fund a determined effort to wipe it out (but should I? Do I need the dungeon in order to profit? Could I sell weapons to the monsters, too? I don't understand how the mechanics work...)

Mostly, I just want to be able to drive traffic to my store with various approaches. For instance, the most infamous and awesome sales tactic, in my opinion, is the auto sales "loss leader." In this game, I'd show a Shiny Broadsword +1 in the window for $10, and when the customers came in asking for it, I'd say that it had just been sold --- but I have one a lot like it, and just a bit more expensive. Y'all come on in now and get yourself some adventurer's gear!

I know that's a bit of a goofy example, but you get where I'm going: it needs to be more than just buying low and selling high. After all, what the fuck is a Coach bag, really? Why does anyone buy a Jaguar automobile when it has proven itself, repeatedly, to be the worst vehicle line in the world? Why would anyone buy a Montblanc pen? There's other stuff going on beyond the actual, material worth of an item. People are complete and utter slaves to community opinion and advertising. They doggedly chase after "perceived value." Beyond all of that, there's a lot of people who just don't know shit and fall for stupid tricks. If a great big sign that says "Best Deals in Town" still works during the internet age, it would definitely work in the middle ages.

Let me bookend that by saying that while I believe that a business can get ahead by being Coach, or just by fucking people over, I also believe that a business which does either is ultimately working to ruin the world... and it would be sweet to see that in the game.

Speaking more pragmatically to interface, I want to know what's going on more. I was mostly just waiting around and hoping that the purple @ would end up on my square. If I started playing again, I wouldn't know how to do things any differently; I wasn't able to learn from my mistakes because I don't know what my mistakes were. If it turns out that my prices WERE too high, customers should still show up, then get disgusted and leave with a nasty comment. I would also like to find some way to find out what adventurers want - not by telepathically seeing what they are thinking, but by investigating legitimately. Or maybe fantasy tropes could help. See a message saying "Zombies mass around town," stock up on blunt weapons.

It's definitely possible that I am missing the cues that should be telling me how to play, and maybe I'm just wanting a different game. But if what I've observed so far really IS the game, then the above is where I'd like it to head. More information, more options, clearer indications of success and failure... and maybe some occasional cool shit to spice things up. Any game where you're mostly organizing and waiting plays out a bit like a board game. Disasters, holidays, royal visits, riots, caravans, mystical events, and random events in town should all occur - they all affect the bottom line, and they can all be exploited.

And if I have not said it yet, THANK YOU for making this game!

mendonca

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Re: 100 Heroes: Shopkeeper of Doom
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2012, 01:49:06 PM »
Nice one on the shirt  ;)

There is ONE 'marketing' strategy in the game at present, which might have saved your bacon - you can 'Call Over' heroes from within the capital-H individual hero interface.

Not sure there is much else I can say to all that, except, thanks!

Gives me a huge amount to think about, and I pretty much agree with every comment you've made. Hopefully in the future it will be much closer to the game you THINK you are playing rather than the one you are  :)