Author Topic: Roguelike Design Critique  (Read 7075 times)


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Roguelike Design Critique
« on: July 03, 2014, 05:54:42 PM »
I've been lurking for quite some time, so I thought it was time to finally start to participate in the discussion. I have been working on designing a small game development project for myself, to finally actually complete something. The design has been coming along well, and I plan to do the coding during next year's 7DRL, or some sort of game jam if there's one that's thematically available, followed by post-competition updates to improve the playability of the game.

Before I begin with the design description, here are the design goals:
1. Except when I don't want to, adhere to the Berlin Interpretation. I want this to be a game that is inviting for roguelike purists to some degree.
2. Emphasis on crowd-management. De-emphasize luring a single opponent, and pillar dancing.
3. Constrained procedural generation. Not just rooms and corridors.
4. Opportunities for risk-reward trade-offs.

Plot: This game takes place at the end of the story. The dark mage has nearly won - the armies of the world have been crushed, and the resulting eternal rule all but certain. One lone rebel arrives at the gates of the fortress of evil tired and nearly dead. Their friends have perished against the multitude of minions and sacrificed themselves to keep the fight alive.

Character Creation: At the start of the game, the player selects a character class. The class defines starting stats and equipment. At level-up the player is assigned stat points which they can use to increase whichever stats they desire.
Stats: There are 5 primary stats, with tentative names:
Strength: Primarily defines physical melee attack damage.
Vitality: Primarily defines HP and base physical defense.
Agility: Turn speed and ranged attack damage.
Wisdom: MP, and light-elemental magic skills.
Intelligence: MP and dark-elemental magic skills.

Inventory: The player is limited to 20 inventory slots. Each slot can contain either a weapon, a piece of armor, or up to 20 units of a single consumable (potion, scroll, etc).

Consumables have a single use each.
All weapons have charges. A single physical attack uses 1 charge. Weapons also have skills associated with them. These skills may use up multiple charges - e.g. a fireball might cost 3 charges. For most weapons as charges decrease the strength of the weapon INCREASES. A weapon with one charge left might deal double-damage, but is using up an equipment slot in the meantime.

Some armor has charges as well. Boots of Whisper-walking might have 5 charges of 'silent walk' available.

Skills: Skills are attached to weapons and/or armor. They typically have a stat requirement, which is how classes differentiate themselves. A player who invests in high strength will have fewer points to invest in intelligence, locking themselves out of the higher-intelligence skills. Most attack skills are multi-target, and if used effectively against multiple opponents cost fewer weapon charges than straight-forward attacking. The design is meant to suggest that a fighter can use the same equipment that a mage can, but they won't be as good at it. I want to promote strategy diversity.

Dark Fortress Design: As mentioned earlier, the focus here is on constrained procedural generation. There are various rules associated with how areas fit together. The exterior of the fortress, for instance, is fairly square, with 4 towers, and a central keep. This keep may be connected to one or more walls or towers, and the layout of the areas is designed using a directed graph, assuring connectivity. Certain areas are thematically linked, often by the mini-boss minion(s) located in the area. This is similar to the design that Dungeon Crawl uses, but less tree-shaped and more graph-shaped, and non-static. Different zones may be linked together differently each playthrough.

Thanks for taking the time to read through my design. Comments are welcome.


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Re: Roguelike Design Critique
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2014, 08:54:16 PM »
Sounds nifty, please make the game and make it all it can be to attack the greats and classics on the field of battle!   8)
Brian Emre Jeffears
Aspiring Designer/Programmer/Composer
In Training


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Re: Roguelike Design Critique
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2014, 09:41:52 AM »
The design has been coming along well, and I plan to do the coding during next year's 7DRL

It doesn't sound like 7DRL. How do you know the design works?


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Re: Roguelike Design Critique
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2014, 10:10:30 AM »
Agreed, this sounds like a bigger project. People have managed to put together impressive 7DRLs before, though, so maybe … Anyway, you seem to have clear ideas to start you out with the design/implementation. Good luck, and do keep us posted.

As always,
This matir, as laborintus, Dedalus hous, hath many halkes and hurnes ... wyndynges and wrynkelynges.


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Re: Roguelike Design Critique
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2014, 11:17:29 AM »
(sorry the reply was delayed. I didn't have access to a computer, and the anti-spam filter didn't like my tablet's browser [chrome])

Overall, yes, it is a bigger project than just a 7DRL. I would really like to make something bigger. But in the meantime, I want to try out a 7-day version of the game and go from there. The shorter version will have fewer levels, enemies, items, etc. It will be designed to be played and finished quickly.

Aside from the usual hurdles of making a 7DRL, I will be contending with implementing the skills-on-items portion, which necessitates creating more items than a normal 7DRL might have. However, in my defense, I'm still making a fairly conservative roguelike. There's no super-crazy features like side-scrolling turn-based physics or anything. It will also most likely be very light on graphics, since that's a particularly weak spot for me, but something I hope to continue work on later.