Author Topic: The Trapped Heart  (Read 4103 times)

Darren Grey

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The Trapped Heart
« on: March 14, 2016, 01:19:18 PM »
The Guardian of Earth is trapped, imprisoned by their own strength in an attempt to seal the Heart of Chaos. Now the Guardian of Air, wielding a Shard of Chaos, seeks to rescue their kindred spirit. But will either of them have to power to overcome prophesy? Chaos can only be overcome by great power or great sacrifice...

The Trapped Heart is my 7DRL with a luvvy-duvvy theme about two nature spirits fighting a lot of ectoplasm. It's hex-based, 1hp, where the player is killed by being surrounded and the enemies have directional shields protecting them. You can download it for Win/Mac/Linux here (ignore the payment request):

https://darrengrey.itch.io/the-trapped-heart

The big gameplay innovation is the directional shields, which means enemies only die if you can hit them from the right direction. Direct damage can be made through lightning bolts or enemies can be indirectly damaged through earth spells pushing them against walls or other enemies. This leads to very tactical gameplay and some interesting and fun bosses.

There's also a little more going on with the story and how to win, though unfortunately what's implemented is a lot lighter than I had planned. The game saves meta-content between runs, so play on one game can affect the next. Breaking out of this "cycle" to get a true victory requires the player to follow special conducts. I had hoped to enlargen this with further details and story and dialogue options, but I was far too constrained for time.

Overall it was a fairly difficult week. I started a new job recently and on weekday nights I was just far too burned out to write useful code (what code I did write was buggy as hell). Some of the technical challenges turned out to be way harder to implement that I expected.

Oh, and I had an artist on board that produced some lovely terrain sprites and player icons early on, but then failed to produce any monster sprites by the end of the week. So I had to ship with my own badly drawn artwork for the enemies :-/

Avagart

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Re: The Trapped Heart
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2016, 03:55:38 PM »
Quote
Oh, and I had an artist on board that produced some lovely terrain sprites and player icons early on, but then failed to produce any monster sprites by the end of the week. So I had to ship with my own badly drawn artwork for the enemies :-/

Grumbling :P The Trapped Hearth looks awesome. I have omly one minor complain - borders between tiles could be more visible.

Serin Delaunay

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Re: The Trapped Heart
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2016, 05:49:34 PM »
Darren, did you wait for topic 4999 to appear before you pressed the Post button? ;)

Darren Grey

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Re: The Trapped Heart
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2016, 11:57:43 PM »
Darren, did you wait for topic 4999 to appear before you pressed the Post button? ;)

Hah! Clearly fate favours me today :)

Darren Grey

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Re: The Trapped Heart
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2016, 01:59:59 PM »
I've decided I really need to do an update to made the mechanics of the game clearer. Any suggestions of how to do this are very welcome :-/

ZammyIsOnFire

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Re: The Trapped Heart
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2016, 11:29:17 AM »
I like how fast it plays. Great entry!

I am never sure when I am really gonna get surrounded and when not. Most of the times I stay in danger zone and throw lightning at targets in such way to maximize jumps. Also I still have not learned how the lighting jumps, I can feel there some kind of triangle going on but not sure.

I think the idea is pretty good but predictability of situation is a problem for me. If I know more what will happen next turn I think I will like the game more. Of course this might be just me.

Darren Grey

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Re: The Trapped Heart
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2016, 05:43:38 PM »
Are you standing next to walls? Because as the air spirit you are slowed when next to walls, so enemies get double moves, making things much less predictable.

The jumping between enemies thing needs a little more explanation, I guess... It essentially searches clockwise for more enemies to hit within range of the player, but won't go beyond the clockwise half of the player. I might change that behaviour in an update.

Darren Grey

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Re: The Trapped Heart v1.1
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2016, 03:13:22 AM »
I've made a post-7DRL update, with no significant gameplay changes but fixing some bugs and descriptions and adding more clarity to the mechanics (hopefully). Full changelog:

* New: Dungeon name announced on entry
* New: Particle effect to show when slowed
* New: Tooltip on player to show current abilities and status
* New: Pause upon death to make death situation clearer
* New: Tips on death based on gameplay
* Bugfix: All levels now assured to be connected
* Bugfix: Various typos and poor descriptions corrected
* Gameplay: Changed arcing to attack a wider range of targets
* Gameplay: Changed earthquake to be more symmetrical
* Gameplay: Tweaked Bro-Knight summons
* UI: Changed text colours to be more readable
* UI: Updated help text to make clearer
* UI: Changed descriptions of air magic to be more consistent
* UI: Changed shield appearance to be more symmetrical
* UI: Tweaked title screen image
* Performance: Reduce particle count on shields

Downloads for Win/Mac/Linux from itch.io:

https://darrengrey.itch.io/the-trapped-heart

I would like to do more work on story development in the game, but I'll likely leave that off till I get more feedback.

PatrickLipo

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Re: The Trapped Heart
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2016, 08:46:30 PM »
I usually hate hexes, but this game is so tactical and so interesting!  You've got, like, a content arc in an 7DRL... so jealous!

jere

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Re: The Trapped Heart
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2016, 03:18:42 AM »
You've outdone yourself. I probably played for 10 hours over the past couple days and beat the game several times. Now for some rambling feedback:

I did run into a few crashes. I don't know if any of the logs would be helpful. I saw this but didn't submit anything because the form itself seemed very buggy: http://i.imgur.com/pL1zJ9e.png

Some people have commented that earth seems overpowered. Not sure what the solution is, but I think the main reason is that earth is able to push things away from you so easily. You can kind of play the game by button mashing, while lightning forces you to be much more careful. I find the throne room very tough with lightning, but a joke with earthquakes.

I think you should try to improve the monster art either through getting an artist going again or doing it yourself. You're probably skeptical of the last option, but I bet you could come up with some decent pixel art if you gave it a shot. The main problem now is that the styles of the main character and monsters are just not similar. Just adding a near black outline would be a huge improvement:



You were thinking about commercializing a game last year. I think this is the one you should run with. When I finally figured out the mechanics, the game made me feel like a goddamn wizard. :D

One last thought. When I first played the game, I accidentally used only air abilities and stumbled upon the swapping scene. I now know this to be, though a nice touch, really just an obscure thing that can happen. But here's what I thought the overarching story was:

-You play the game through as Air.
-In an ironic twist, you too become trapped while trying to rescue Earth.
-Now, Earth must try to rescue Air.

Looking back, that misconception of how the game was going to play out was really beautiful. For one, it has this brilliant symmetry where you are forced to play both characters. Not only that, but Earth is obviously much more challenging, which makes sense for your second run. The swapping part, where your character gets trapped, is poetic. Anyway, I just think that might be an interesting way direction to take the game. As is, you can't easily play both characters, which affects both the theme and the gameplay.
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Darren Grey

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Re: The Trapped Heart
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2016, 11:23:57 AM »
Thanks for the feedback! Did that bud happen in the dungeon level when the Bull tries to charge?

As for the artwork, I've actually become somewhat attached to my own tiles :-/ But some of them are bloody awful... Just adding an outline isn't enough - that's what I did with the Bro Knights.

Story wise the intention was that you would get trapped as Air and then have to play as Earth, and that it might take a while to figure out how to break the loop. The idea, vaguely hinted in places, is that sheer power isn't enough - friendship and understanding are what is needed to open the path to victory. But I need to make air powers more useful and earth less overpowering for that to work out.

In fact the whole cycle between the two characters was the initial premise for the game. I was originally thinking of having a fairly standard roguelike but using the character swapping. Then a couple of nights before the 7drl week I had the idea for enemy directional shields and all the mechanics spun out from there. And then the game ended up being more about those mechanics, with the story and the detail of the character switching taking a back seat.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2016, 12:40:02 PM by Darren Grey »

jere

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Re: The Trapped Heart
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2016, 12:44:38 PM »
I believe so, yes.
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