Despite my relative silence this past week on Twitter/, I've been doing very little except coding. As I think I mentioned, I'd given myself a mini-crunch-time to see how much of the ziggurats I could get done by the end of yesterday. The things I wanted to get done I didn't finish, but a ton of other stuff I worked on instead did, so I'm happy with how it all turned out. I've created about half a dozen new block designs, and I've started the actual level generation for ziggurats! I debated showing an aerial image of one of the interiors, but that would give far too much away, as so much of the emphasis here is on exploration.
However, the current situation is that you can find your way from the bottom floor, to the top, via a number of puzzles, which have a selection of blocks, pressure pads, gates, clues inscribed on the wall, and the puzzles get tougher and tougher as you go upwards. The gate-pad-block triumvirate is coded fully, and can be expanded to any potential puzzle. Currently only the easiest levels of puzzle generate (2-4 blocks), but I'll be working on tougher ones in the near future. I also need to add a lot more to the ziggurats, so that not just every room is a puzzle, but now I reach a question, which is - how much should I put in ziggurats for this release? I could just put in puzzle rooms and blank rooms, which would be one thing, or I could put in puzzle rooms, rooms with statues, other features, hidden doors, treasure rooms, vaults, etc...
The problem is that for treasure rooms, there has to actually *be treasure* worth picking up, and that requires an inventory system; for statue rooms I have to code statue generation based on myth; for more complex puzzles I have to have multiple sources of clues, or clues that tie into mythology, or encyclopedia entries... and you get the idea. If I do make ziggurats "just puzzles" I want to stress that in the future there will be a lot more there, *and* a greater variety in the puzzles themselves, but I'm not really sure how much I have the time to put in for this release, given that history and myth generation, while coming along nicely, are still a long way from being finished. So, I have reached a conclusion - they will be puzzle-focused, but completing specific ziggurats will give you... let's be vague... a component of a clue, and when you have enough of the components, then there will be some hints towards what later versions will hold. That's vague enough for now. There will be things to "accomplish" this release, but many will hint towards later offerings. I think I have to stop somewhere for this release, and this is how. In later releases, when I add an inventory system, then treasure rooms will be added to ziggurats; when I add NPCs, then maybe other characters exploring them will be added, etc; it's an iterative process.
For those who don't follow on Facebook or Twitter, I'm aiming for the summer of this year for this release (probably/hopefully the most new content yet), to coincide with a talk I'll be giving at the International Roguelike Developers Conference. I'm not sure what exactly will be in 0.3 yet in gameplay, but there will at least be puzzles to ponder, and something snazzy to find on the top floors of the ziggurats. In the mean time, here's a picture of the "skull" block. I can't recall how many different procedural variations of this image are possible, but it's probably around a dozen: