Author Topic: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!  (Read 12802 times)

Tim Saunders

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Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« on: March 14, 2015, 01:17:54 PM »
So I managed to finish my first 7DRL successfully! I'm pretty pleased with how it has turned out in the end.

It can be played online here:

http://tjs.itch.io/into-the-darkness





It's a dungeon crawler whereby you start with 1 attack and 1 defence and can change the amount of damage you deal out and receive by playing up to three cards each turn from your hand.
For example Strength increases your attack by 1 and Armour Piercing reduces a monster defence by half (rounded down). So by playing those two cards you can damage a monster with a defence of 3 by 1 point of damage.
Once played the cards are returned to the pack and you get new ones (provided you have any left).

The idea is to combine the cards currently available in your hand as best you can to defeat monsters as you encounter them. Since your cards change each time you play them every battle will play out differently.

Development was a hard slog, I started out with nice classes and code and it ended up as a bit of a mess as I chucked more things in and hacked things about to get them to work quickly.
Originally I intended for there to be around 6 cards in a hand, but it gradually increased to 15 as it was too restrictive otherwise. I also added the ability to discard cards for health and shuffle when you have no options.

As I've not made a roguelike before a lot of work was done just setting things up and getting the game flow working (although a lot of that was handled by rot.js).

There's some stuff I wanted that is missing (ranged weapons, magic etc.), but what is there works quite well and I had fun playing through it last night.

binary_headspace

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2015, 08:07:56 PM »
For some reason I could not move down! (x did nothing).

Other than that I enjoyed this - it is slow paced as you need to mouse over your target to check their stats and then examine your cards - but the mechanics feel interesting. If nearby enemy stats could be visible on screen automatically it may help speed up play.

Good work :-)

Tim Saunders

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2015, 08:42:10 PM »
The x key problem sounds strange, probably a typo or something since it was working earlier. Am I allowed to fix it now or is it too late?

Glad you liked it, it changed a fair bit from my original concept but I actually managed to have some fun playing it last night (in between crying with tiredness :D).

Good point about the mouse over problem, I guess I knew all the monster values since I designed them. Perhaps I could try adding a list of enemies on the right with their stats and abilities, although that might need a smaller font to fit it all in (it's also a limitation of playing in a browser). The game is quite a slow paced game though rather than the normal hack and slash type gameplay, especially so when you first start playing it and don't know any of the cards.

Anyway thanks a lot for playing, I'm looking forward to playing some other entries myself when I've recovered!

darkflagrance

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2015, 01:50:07 AM »
I have to say, the mechanics of the game are quite fun. Drawing/playing cards at my opponents feels like I'm playing Baiten Kaitos, or Yu-gi-oh. Congrats for a successful game (in my opinion)!

Tim Saunders

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2015, 03:37:43 PM »
Hey thanks glad you liked it!

If the idea works sufficiently well then I have some ideas to flesh it out and refine it as it is still a bit rough round the edges in places (particularly in dealing with multiple monsters at once).


emptytheory

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2015, 10:38:56 AM »
I love the idea of this game, Tim! However, I cannot figure out the game's logic. This event left me scratching my head:

I was standing face to face with a Mercenary (not sure if I remember the name correctly). I had 6/10 HP, 1 attack and 1 defence. My enemy had 3/3 HP, 2 attack and 0 defence. I picked the cards "Tactics" (if your defence is greater than the enemy’s, add the difference to your attack) and "Death Blow" (if you take 50% or more of the enemy’s health, it dies). I thought: "Tactics" should raise my attack to 2, since my defence is greater by 1, and "Death Blow" should make an attack of power 2 kill the enemy, since its max HP is 3.

But what happens is that we both deal 1 damage to each other. Why is that? Is there something about the order of calculations or something I'm missing?

emptytheory

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2015, 07:18:59 PM »
After playing the game a lot more I'm happy to say that I've not been able to reproduce the strange event I (thought I?) experienced. I love the game even more now! From the end of level 1 and all the way through level 2 it felt like my life was hanging by a thread, but seemingly hopeless situation after seemingly hopeless situation was transformed into victories by creative insights into new card synergies. It's quite the design feat to give the player such resources for creative problem-solving as to make that many situations feel hopelessly insurmountable while they actually can be overcome by being persistent and creative.

Tim Saunders

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2015, 10:40:17 AM »
Hey glad you like the game, I think I'm going to expand on the concept further in future but at the moment I'm undecided exactly how to do it. Any ideas for improvement or more content would be very welcome.

The bug seems a strange one, it should process the cards in order and the code looks ok for both Tactics and Death Blow. Maybe something else weird was going on there.

Darren Grey

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2015, 05:52:16 PM »
A very interesting game! I beat it on my first playthrough, but that took about 2 hours...

A big problem is that every single fight is gruelling as you struggle to find an efficient way to beat the enemy. On top of that the game is actually pretty easy I find, as you have unlimited healing from card discards and no shortage of cards if you play efficiently. What the game could really do with is having some really basic monsters (attack 2, defence 0) that act as windshields, provide no new cards on death, and are fairly common. Also make the bosses always have a few of these around, to give more use to the multi-tile attack cards.

You might also want to get rid of healing through discards to force the player to use the healing cards more - I was always discarding them as they were useless.

Have you played the board game Mage Knight? This game reminded me of it a bit, which is one of the most positive things I can say about any game ;)

Tim Saunders

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2015, 07:01:24 AM »
Thanks for playing! Interesting that you found the game gruelling but at the same time too easy.

Actually I agree that if you play efficiently then the game is easily beatable, but the idea was that in doing so it requires thought and planning so it still has a fair amount of difficulty/gameplay.

Adding healing from discarding cards was done late on in the week as before I felt that it was too random whether you had the correct cards for healing at the right time and ended up being not fun. Unfortunately I didn't have time to balance the cards to make healing more viable so I added health gain from discarding cards instead. If I had more time I would have probably not added that feature.

The problem was that if I increased the number of healing cards it made it harder to have the right card combinations to defeat the enemies, I am wondering whether a better design would have things like healing abilities and area attacks separate from the cards themselves.

Also running out of cards is quite an unsatisfactory end to the game as it is impossible to win without any cards, so I balanced the game to be slightly on the generous side regarding getting more cards. Having said that a lot of people said they felt the game was too hard which surprised me as I also completed it on my first play through.

I've not played Mage Knight, I'll have to have a look at it.

Darren Grey

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2015, 11:27:19 AM »
By gruelling I mean it felt like a chore at times. Not hard, just time-consuming. It would have been nice to have some much more simple enemies just to change the pace.

In general I think the hand mechanic could be designed differently to make it maybe more balanced and manageable. Have less cards for the player to choose from, but more balance in their consistency and more ways to interact with them. For instance you could categorise cards into attack/defence/healing/utility and have a hand size of 6 but make sure each turn there is at least one of each type. Amongst the utility cards you could have one that powers up the next card played (in effect playing that card twice in a row).

There should also be a sense of progression, with more card types discovered as you explore or kill enemies. There could even be a bit of deck-building to this, as you avoid picking up cards you don't like the look of. Bosses should also drop some really powerful cards that are exciting to get in your hand.

One other idea is to have the number of cards you can play in a turn dependant on the number of surrounding enemies - it could give a reason to deliberately get numerous enemies together.

As for running out of cards entirely, why not just disallow it? When the deck runs dry it just reshuffles. The challenge is still in making the most of your hand and trying not to die.

Xecutor

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2015, 11:42:39 AM »
I agree with Darren on everything :)

I'll add that some repositioning/mobility cards would spice things up a lot. ATM aoe cards are really hard to use due to the way AI moves.

Tim Saunders

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2015, 05:45:51 PM »
Quote
By gruelling I mean it felt like a chore at times. Not hard, just time-consuming.

I'm interested in what about the time consuming part made it a chore rather than interesting. Was it because the UI made choosing cards annoying or the fact that you have think about which cards to choose each battle since the pack/enemies make each encounter different? I was hoping the latter aspect would be fun because games where you just repeat the same actions for 90% of monsters can become quite tedious for me. The fun part of games for me is where you have to carefully plan your next move, so the design of this game was based around that aspect.

Quote
In general I think the hand mechanic could be designed differently to make it maybe more balanced and manageable. Have less cards for the player to choose from, but more balance in their consistency and more ways to interact with them. For instance you could categorise cards into attack/defence/healing/utility and have a hand size of 6 but make sure each turn there is at least one of each type. Amongst the utility cards you could have one that powers up the next card played (in effect playing that card twice in a row).

Yes the overall balance wasn't what I'd planned at the start. You only had a handful of cards at the beginning, but like you say if you end up with all utility and healing cards then you can't actually kill anything so it all depended on luck.

I think I'm leaning towards removing area attacks/healing/utility abilities from cards completely and delivering them in some other method that you can combine with the card mechanic.

I like a lot the idea of a card powering up the next card.

Quote
One other idea is to have the number of cards you can play in a turn dependant on the number of surrounding enemies - it could give a reason to deliberately get numerous enemies together.

I've designed a fair few abilities that give the player an advantage when surrounded by monsters, hoping to get time to put them in soonish. There's a few there already such as Bravery that increases your attack for each monsters greater than 1 that surrounds you. The ones there though need improving though I think.

Quote
As for running out of cards entirely, why not just disallow it? When the deck runs dry it just reshuffles. The challenge is still in making the most of your hand and trying not to die.

Actually this was my original design. Unfortunately I realised that if you have non-optimal cards you can just use them up and wait for the good ones with no penalty. Also it removes the incentive to be economical with the cards which adds another layer of strategy. I realise the current system isn't perfect though so I'll have a think about how to improve it.

Quote
I'll add that some repositioning/mobility cards would spice things up a lot. ATM aoe cards are really hard to use due to the way AI moves.

Yeah I agree with this. Also the fact that the area attack cards use up one of your possible 3 cards that turn means that they always seem to end up underpowered.

Thanks for all the feedback!


Darren Grey

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Re: Into the Darkness (7DRL 2015) SUCCESS!
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2015, 08:56:11 PM »
Actually this was my original design. Unfortunately I realised that if you have non-optimal cards you can just use them up and wait for the good ones with no penalty. Also it removes the incentive to be economical with the cards which adds another layer of strategy. I realise the current system isn't perfect though so I'll have a think about how to improve it.

You could try to enforce efficiency through a score system instead. Or perhaps have X number of recycles you're allowed, and killing enemies or progressing through the game or finding certain items gives you extra recycles. Would essentially be a hunger clock.