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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsSwipey Rogue, by First-Order Games (swipe-action, autorunning, puzzle-rogue)
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Author Topic: Swipey Rogue, by First-Order Games (swipe-action, autorunning, puzzle-rogue)  (Read 2381 times)
firstordergames
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« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2015, 08:48:56 am »

What's in a Name?

I'm sure every dev here has played the name game.  Whether you're renaming your game, renaming a game mode, renaming a function, renaming a variable, coming up with a naming convention for assets... it never ends.

I thought I'd share some of the development of the naming of my game modes for you.  Smiley  (sharing pain helps make it go away, haha)

Game Mode Renaming - Round 1



Adventure Mode - became - Puzzle Mode

I noticed many people assuming "Adventure Mode" would play like a traditional "Rogue-like" because of the word "Adventure".  This mode was always the meant to be the puzzle mode with pre-designed levels meant to act like challenges/training for the core gameplay mechanics that you also use in the other mode (Rogue mode).  I used the term "Adventure" to reference the progression of designed rooms and their accompanying challenges (like how "saga" is used in King's progression based puzzle games).  But, I realized it was actually misleading so I changed the mode name to be completely blatant: Puzzle Mode.

Gauntlet Mode - became - Rogue Mode

Gauntlet mode became called Rogue mode.  The name was also changed for the sake of being as obvious as possible what the mode is.  This mode (which I have not yet revealed publicly) is the more traditional "Rogue-like" mode that you would expect from a game with the word "Rogue" in the title.  I've seen some criticisms of Swipey Rogue claiming "It's not a rogue-like!", blah blah, huff puff.  I can see how someone might feel that way if they've only seen the Puzzle Mode gameplay that I've revealed so far.  Fear not, I'm a rogue fan as well and I'm well aware of what they are.

Game Mode Renaming - Round 2



I then renamed the game modes again for further clarity. Check it out. I also updated the Challenge Saga overworld menu. The new background looks better, and I included links to the leaderboards for each section. The titles look tilted because they are, all titles rock back and forth now to give the menus a little bit of life.

Puzzle Mode - became - Challenge Saga

So the point of Challenge Saga is to have a huge pile of pre-designed rooms to play that both introduce all the gameplay mechanics for each area, and offer challenges that you can thrash on and try to 100%. Each area has its own progression menu with stats showing your progress in the area, and how many challenges you've completed in each room. This meta-gameplay is very reminiscent of games like Retry and Candy Crush Saga, so I wanted to include something in the mode name that more blatantly hints at a vast progression. I may keep the name 'saga', but I may change it (again!) to Challenge Quest. I still haven't decided yet.  ;-)

Rogue Mode - is now - Rogue Run

Rogue Run felt like a more interesting name. I didn't want to use the word "mode" since it's so boring. I hope it also conveys the "one off" nature of the mode since it's just a quick run until you die with no progression or saving, and it re-enforces the concept that this game is primarily a runner.

What do you think?

More clear?  Less clear?  I've found we're all more open to appreciate things when they live up to our expectations.  So naming, although seemingly innocuous, can often be the silver bullet or the Achilles heal of your product. I'm going to live with these names for a while, but they may change again!  Smiley
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 07:50:04 pm by firstordergames » Logged

firstordergames
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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2015, 06:34:09 pm »

Frozen Area Gameplay Preview

The world of Swipey Rogue is divided into 4 themed areas with their own unique gameplay elements.  The Molten Area has been already been shown plenty.  The Frozen Area is completed.  It added many new gameplay mechanics.

Video Devlog #13, Frozen Area Gameplay Demo:


Frozen Area Gameplay Mechanics

New gameplay that was implemented for this area:

  • (1) -1 health per second (cold damage)
  • (2) falling icicles (get hit & die)
  • (3) ice ball turrets (get hit & die)
  • (4) slick ice (can't change direction)
  • (5) freezing water (fall in and die)
  • (6) cracked ice (cross once, then it breaks)

Early Frozen Area Screenshots

Falling icicles, and slick ice:



Frozen water, falling icicles, and cracked ice:


Gameplay Gif

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Dewfreak83
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« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2015, 09:11:27 am »

Very nice devlog indeed! Love how you annotate all your changes and showing the iterations of polish.

Are you doing this full time still? Having to pick up any side contract work?
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firstordergames
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« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2015, 12:53:53 pm »

Very nice devlog indeed! Love how you annotate all your changes and showing the iterations of polish.

Are you doing this full time still? Having to pick up any side contract work?

Thanks for your comments!  Smiley

I'm doing this full time.  I turned down a couple offers already since I went indie (very hard decisions, but I want to stick to my plan).  I set aside a good amount of time to try to get multiple mobile projects completed.  I want to go through the entire process multiple times to learn every aspect beyond game development that's necessary to independently release games.  Also to prove to myself that I can do it, and to create a portfolio of proof that I can do it.  Sounds very sterile, but that's my core plan that I laid out for myself.  This first game is taking longer because I'm also doing all the things that I need to do for the first time as an indie developer (create all my dev / seller accounts, acquire old gear for testing, incorporate LLC, set up separate bank accounts, talk to tax people, and then setting up all the social media accounts for the studio brand, etc).  It really adds up to a lot of work and time.  This first game is a double-project really: create the game, and create the 'studio'. 

It's been fun though!  I wouldn't trade this for anything.  Still a lot more to do but it's moving along.

Thanks again for your comments.  Smiley
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firstordergames
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« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2015, 01:13:03 pm »

Gadget Area Gameplay Preview

So again, to re-iterate, the mythical mines of Swipey Rogue that you are exploring are divided into 4 areas: Molten, Frozen, Gadget, and Magic.  I've shown much of the Molten area as that was the first area that was designed and developed.  The Frozen Area was recently shown, and now here's the Gadget Area.

Demo video showing new gameplay mechanics in the Gadget Area


Gadget Area Gameplay Mechanics

New gameplay for the Gadget Area includes:
  • floor blades trap
  • switch, linked to any object (turns it off when switch activated)
  • Throwing Axe pickup
  • Homing Rockets pickup

Early Gadget Area Gifs

Here's a few gifs showing a Switch in action, the Throwing Axe pickup, and the Homing Rockets.

       

It's a lot of fun to design challenge rooms in the Gadget Area with these new gameplay mechanics.  

The projectile and the Rockets act like health pickups in a lot of ways (because they damage enemies without you taking damage).  Rooms can be designed without health pickups and take advantage of the properties of these new pickups instead to create necessity.  

Navigating a room in Swipey Rogue is as much about managing your health resource as it is traversing the obstacles.  That has been my goal all along and the reason for the name.  I wanted to find a way to take the core problem solving elements from classical rogue-likes and pair it with time critical, twitch action gameplay.

Thanks!

As always, thanks for dropping by to check in on the progress of Swipey Rogue.  There is much more progress to share (getting caught up), and much more work to still do.
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firstordergames
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« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2015, 04:08:23 pm »

Magic Area Gamplay Preview

The core gameplay mechanics and base 25 of 50 levels have been created, tested, and polished.  I've made a gameplay preview video where I walk through all the new gameplay.  It's getting really exciting now that all the core gamplay mechanics are designed and integrated for all 4 worlds in the game.

Demo video showing new gameplay mechanics in the Magic Area


Magic Area Gamplay Mechanics

New gameplay for the Magic Area includes:
  • warping enemies
  • player warp portals
  • player blast scroll pickups
  • plasma hazards and projectiles (similar to lava hazards and projectiles in molten area)

Early Magic Area Gifs

A couple gifs showing off player and enemy warps.

  

Many More Thanks!

And a heaping pile of thanks to you for dropping by to see how I'm doing.  I'm neck deep in finalizing Free Run mode (yup, it got renamed again, haha).  It's pretty awesome and I can't wait to share it.  Endless, uninterrupted, procedural maze running through procedurally generated rooms of all these gameplay mechanics is FUN!!  Hope you love it.  Smiley
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firstordergames
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« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2015, 10:02:58 am »



Polish, polish, polish

So I'm mostly focusing on getting Rogue Run mode bulletproof so I can make a new beta-test build that will double as a press build.

So here's all the in-between work that I've been up to in parallel (so busy!).  Smiley

Mode Renaming (3rd Time!):



I've renamed "Rogue Run" to "Free Run" (actually I've changed it since this picture to "Free Running"). This is a tricky mode to name.  I want to be certain that the name conveys what's going on.  You're auto-running through a 'dungeon maze'.

Dev Tweaks & More Polish:

Here's some more of the things I've been working on. Lots of little details. Smiley

Challenge Saga Room Editor Tool updates for Magic Area interactive elements.

When I add new gameplay mechanics, I have to create a a way to be able to add those elements to challenge rooms with the room editor tool.  I set up a section of the tool to swap out depending on which area of the world I'm editing and that panel has all the buttons that are specific to that area (top right area).

New sounds for Gadget and Magic area gameplay mechanics.

I love doing sound design.  It's something I've always played around with.  I like recording, or searching for source element sounds, then combining them in an editor and tweaking and modifying them to sculpt the experience I'm imagining.  Sound brings so much life to games.  It's a really rewarding part of development!

Enhanced Prop Placement System and Tile Corner Rounding System.

For a while now, I've been unhappy with how blocky some of the tiles look (particularly the lava in the Molten area, and all the ice in the Frozen area).  I had an idea to leverage the prop placement detail control in my level editing tool for placing rounded corners on lava and ice tiles.  I made a little rounded corner sprite and if any of the corners on a lava or ice tile are marked for 'prop' then I overlay the sprite on the corner.  It all happens in code when the level loads.  Looks much cleaner now and not so 'tiley'.

Thanks!

As always, many many thanks to you for dropping by and checking out the progress since last time. Still lots to do but it feels like that light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter (maybe it's getting closer!). I'm making great progress on Rogue Run and look forward to sharing that soon.  It will be great to have a comprehensive build in a polished / playable state that I can test and share with press while I'm wrapping up creating the rest of the rooms for Challenge Saga.
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firstordergames
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« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2015, 08:15:02 am »

Mode Renaming Again (3rd time)

I renamed the game modes (again!) to make it all more clear.  I think it's good this time!  Smiley  Smiley  Check it out.  I made a new annotated screenshot of the main menu to explain the modes.  (The irony here is that the mode has been renamed again since this shot, now called: "Free Running")

Game Modes Explained



Free Running Mode - Sneak Preview

I haven't officially revealed Free Running mode yet, but it should be pretty clear what it is now.  Here's another annotated screenshot, this time of the Free Run overworld menu to explain how it works.

Free Running - Maze Generation Menu


Free Run mode generates procedural mazes full of procedurally generated rooms.  You can select which areas of the world to include in the room generation (affects both the visual aesthetic, and the gameplay elements that are included as each area has unique gameplay).

Free Running - Room Generation Tests (20 random versions of the same room!)


Here's a shot of some tests I've done with the Procedural Room Generator.  Each maze in Swipey Rogue's Free Run mode is procedurally generated when you play.  Each room within the maze is also procedurally generated.  The above picture shows the same room (single exit on top wall) randomly generated 20 times (using all 4 world areas).

Free Running - Procedural Maze Generation Tests

I want to share an early video from when I first got the procedural maze generation/loading working for Swipey Rogue's Free Running mode.  It generates a maze full of generated rooms pulling from all the areas you have unlocked in Challenge Saga mode, and links the rooms together. 

I added a camera transition as you go between rooms to further emphasize your movement in the maze and help give you spatial context.



(YouTube video)


This was an early test.  The work I'm doing now is tweaking the generative algorithms so a better frequency of enemies, obstacles, and rewards spawn.   I'll do a full post soon detailing the way the dynamic character build system works and what types of buffs you'll be able to experiment with as you level up.  Smiley

Again, this is all for the "Free Running" mode where you dungeon run through procedurally generated mazes until you die.  (as opposed to the Challenge Saga mode which is all pre-designed, no-random, challenge rooms)
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firstordergames
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« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2015, 12:42:32 pm »

Manually Creating Seed Data for Procedural Systems



I posted a new devlog with a development focus on new systems that were added to support the procedural maze running gameplay in Swipey Rogue's "Free Running" mode. I break down the manual tools that were leveraged to create ‘seed’ data for the procedural systems in the game code.

In this mode, procedural mazes are assembled at run time based on pattern roots created in my level editor combined with real time, game-state relevant data. Correspondingly, rooms within the mazes are procedurally assembled based on pattern roots created in the editor and a real time assessment of the state of the game.

Factors the game code uses to make decisions include: how far you’ve progressed, how many rooms you’ve visited so far, how many mazes you’ve visited so far, what buffs you’ve acquired while leveling up, and many others.

I felt this was a novel way of taking advantage of tools I had already created to make richer data sets to feed the procedural systems (it also gave me visual debugging as I can both edit and simulate maze gen in the editor and see results and fix issues).

This mode has been implemented very quickly because I was able to use what I have and not re-invent the wheel. I felt it was worth sharing. I talk too fast and too much though (it's too long, like 8 minutes, sorry).
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firstordergames
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« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2015, 09:20:53 am »

Free Running Mode Gameplay Demo

I posted a new video with a full walkthrough of the front end menu flow to get into Free Running mode, and a couple of runs. I talk too much and speak too quickly as usual, but it shows a lot of the new gameplay:



I'm finishing the level-up screen today and adding a bunch of buffs. That will complete all the core features for "Free Runnning" mode so I'll have a new test build (hopefully tomorrow) soon! If anyone wants to help test, speak up now! 

Then I send that build out to press and testers and do nothing but tweak & polish & finish making Challenge Saga rooms & keep adding new buffs to Free Funning mode!
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firstordergames
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« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2015, 10:11:45 am »

Front-End Menu & Hud Final Polish (and a look back)

Wow, Swipey Rogue has come so far. I made a side-by-side, before & after collage for Screenshot Saturday to show the progress from my placeholder art to the final polish. It takes a lot of perseverance to stick with it and know how much it will evolve.

Here's the before and after for the Challenge Saga mode menu flow:


Everything has changed so much.  It's nice to see it all come together.

And here's just the new pre and post run menus and HUD for the new Free Running Mode:
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« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2015, 05:17:58 pm »

Free Running mode, Room State Persistence

I completed the room state persistence for Free Running mode yesterday.  Now when you explore the mazes, the state of each room that is generated is saved as you move on to the next and restored when you return.  All the random elements that were generated by the procedural creation system to composed the room (walls, hazards, enemies, breakables, pickups) are saved and re-loaded.  

I also color code the door highlight, based on if you've been to the room it leads to, to give you better context of your progression through the maze.

While I was playtesting, it bothered me that the 'gibs' from smashed crates, cases, and enemies were gone when you returned to a room.  They were just simple particle sprites so I wasn't re-loading them.  Still, it bothered my eyes seeing the room so clean when I returned so today I made a system to store what kind of "litter" might be in the room and to re-create it when you return.

Not entirely necessary, but I just like it better that way.  Smiley

Check it out!

« Last Edit: June 14, 2015, 05:26:35 pm by firstordergames » Logged

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« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2015, 09:15:17 am »

Free Running Mode - Leveling System



I finalized the leveling system for Swipey Rogue’s Free Running Mode. 
 
In this mode, you level up very quickly as you die quickly and often and it’s perma-death.  I wanted to create a sense of urgency to explore rooms quickly and defeat enemies quickly so you get xp quickly and level up to get perks.  That’s the cycle that feels fun in this mode so the tighter the loop the faster the feedback and rewards.
 
Anyway, after creating all the perks I realized they fit nicely into categories and could be represented on a progressive skill tree with locks and branches.  I mocked up the interface and lived with it in the game (non-functional) for a while. 
 
After deeply searching my feelings I accepted my gut reaction that this whole system actually felt limiting.  The point of this game is to play it over and over in quick sessions.  It made me sad to imagine that there would only ever be one linear skill tree that I could explore and experience.
 
The obvious option is to add additional character classes that would have different skill trees, etc.  However, this game is already over-scoping itself at every opportunity (even though I’m generally conservative about not extending scope).  The idea of adding additional classes is something that could be explored in future updates or other games. 
 
For this game, I wanted something that felt fresh every time, and offered a lot of “ups and downs” by turns of luck.  Using a slot-machine system that randomizes 3 options then lets you pick 1 introduces the “wildcard” element to the experience.  Anything can happen each time you level up, you might be presented with your favorite perk every time!  Perks layer, each time you’re presented with one, if you’ve already picked it before then it will now offer a more powerful version so their power stacks and stacks.
 
This direction excites me, while the other direction made me sad.  I think it’s important to pay attention to your feelings  when dealing with game design decisions.  We’ll see how it goes!  Beer!
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firstordergames
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« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2015, 09:32:27 am »

Free Running mode Perk System UI Progress

Free Running mode gives you continuous procedural labyrinths to run through while ranking up, and building your character abilities until death.

As you are playing a run, you collect XP for:
- entering new rooms
- killing enemies

You rank up very quickly at first.  Within the first couple rooms, if you're killing enemies, you'll rank up immediately.  And the next couple ranks come pretty quick also.  The increase of the required XP for next rank starts to become more noticeable after that, but most people should hit at least rank 3 on any given run.  I've gotten up to 9 once.  It. Was. Awesome! :D

Here's some (work in progress, perk art still just concept) shots of the UI that is going in to support the perk system. 

This one shows the pause screen, and the Rank-Up screen.  Both show all the possible perks.  The one's you've earned this run will be highlighted with their current value listed.  If you get the same perk multiple times, it's power keeps increasing (so for example, "Critical Chance" will be 15% first time, then 30% next, etc).  When you Rank-Up, three random perks are offered to you (slot machine style reveal) and you get to pick one.



This one shows the in game HUD that displays the current perks you're running with.  Each time you Rank-Up and pick one, it will be added to the hud (good reminder while you're running).  The death screen shows your cause of death, then the run summary shows your run stats and all the perks again.  You can continue with gems (earn gems by completing challenges in Challenge Saga mode, or buy them with gold you collect).  The continue cost doubles each successive continue (and resets when you start a new run).  It's not really meant to be a game that you keep continuing, it's more about those single runs, but the option is there if you want to spend your gems.


Perk Concept Art

And here's a little preview of the perk art.  Anthony is going to make this set for the game as one last addition. 


Thanks!

Thanks again for dropping by.  I'll make a demo video soon of playing through a few runs of Free Running mode and Ranking Up.  I'm going to finish a bit of regression testing with the iOS build right now first though.  I updated the plugin that I'm using for social and IAP and I want to make sure it's all still working as expected. 

After that, I'll post the build to Apple and put out a call for a real Open Beta Test.  Stay tuned!  Smiley  Smiley
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firstordergames
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« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2015, 03:28:48 pm »


Ok, I posted a full gameplay demo of the Free Running mode showing the new Rank-Up system and Perks system. I just fired it up and ran through a few times and edited in just my best run (I got to rank 6 and had a cool combo of Critical Chance and Chain Chance Perks).

Enjoy!
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firstordergames
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« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2015, 09:54:15 am »

I added a bunch of “pizzazz” to Swipey Rogue’s rank-up screen flow (micro-video attached). It’s a lot more satisfying already. I want it to feel like a slot machine. Still placeholder perk images, they should be completed by the end of this week. More polish to come, but good progress!   Toast Left


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firstordergames
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« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2015, 02:42:00 pm »

So, hardware issues are holding up the completion of some last pieces of art so I have to wait.  I'm not going to stress, and instead do some more internal testing and make the press / open beta build later when the art is done.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the music that has been created for the game.  UK composer Declan Bell has composed and created all of the pieces.  I like them a lot.  I hope you enjoy!  Smiley

Main Theme (front end menus):
https://soundcloud.com/declanbell93/swipey-rogue-theme

Run Summary Screen:
https://soundcloud.com/declanbell93/summary-screen

Molten Area Theme:
https://soundcloud.com/declanbell93/molten-world

Gadget Area Theme:
https://soundcloud.com/declanbell93/gadget-world

Frozen Area Theme:
https://soundcloud.com/declanbell93/frozen-world

Magic Area Theme:
https://soundcloud.com/declanbell93/magic-world
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