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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogs[Doomed] Small Trading Roguelike
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Giaddon
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« on: July 15, 2011, 07:47:21 AM »


This thread shouldn't exist.

Because this game will never exist. (Sorry!)

Because I don't know how to program or do art or do anything that makes a game, a game.

But what the hell. Nothing wrong with failure.

Here's the idea: it's a casual trading roguelike. I say roguelike because the game takes place on a randomly generated map, and because it's meant to be played many times, and because you are meant to lose, often, and restart. But it's not about exploring dungeons: it's about exploring one large world map, discovering cities, and trading goods between them. It basically comes out of my affection for trading/management games, but my frustration that everything is so slow, staid, and works the same most of the time.

You start as a simple hero unit, who has just founded a trading company in a small city. Other than that city, the map is black, waiting for you to explore. You are in debt, and you have a certain number of moves to make the money or you lose. As you explore you'll find many things -- people, caches of goods, monsters, etc. And you'll find cities, which for each game the map will be populated with a random set from a predefined list of unique cities. Each city produces a single good, unique to that city, which you can buy there and sell at other cities. Once you pay off your initial debt, you can begin to expand your trading post in the initial town, with the goal of cornering the world market (or something -- not totally clear on the endgame yet. Hopefully everyone will die before they get there!).

The hope is to fill the game with interesting micro-decisions. For example: the fastest route to a city is through a monster area (tiles in which you may be attacked). If you go around, you'll lose time. If you go straight through, you may be attacked and killed. Or: you can create items for yourself with the goods you trade: is it a better investment to make that lamp or to sell the phosphor and glass needed to make it?

Here's what currently exists:

1)a player unit that can move on...
2)...a 70x70 map of blank tiles...
3)...some of which become city tiles...
3b)...that the player can buy goods from...
4)...and some of which become monster area tiles...
4b)...which contain a few monsters for the player to fight.

TODO:   
+ Basic monster tile functionality.
+ add a UI/HUD

+ Make cities do something (sell goods).
+ Implement equipment, crewmembers.
+ Develop UI/HUD to display various goods, attributes, etc.
+ Advanced monster tile functions.
+ Add more tile types and events.

It's being made in FlashPunk.

I'll use this log to post updates and ideas, probably a couple times a week if I'm making progress. Progress is slow because, as I said, I'm learning everything as I go.

Any comments, advice, suggestions, or derision is welcome below.

Note that the in-game font I'm using as of 7/24/2011 is Texture Fancy by tsampson of fontstruct.com. It's used under the terms of the Creative Commons attribution/share alike license.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2011, 06:45:32 AM by Giaddon » Logged

QOG
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2011, 09:52:35 AM »

This actually sounds pretty cool.
You should get attacked by the hired thugs of competing merchants.
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Sakar
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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2011, 01:07:57 PM »

This sounds really interesting, though I found myself constantly thinking Spice and Wolf while reading that (not really a bad thing)
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JasonPickering
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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2011, 01:10:24 PM »

how will you do the landscape? will it be all procedural like a regular roguelike, or will you connect "sections" together like you see dungeon-crawl boardgames?

also I would totally take the dangerous path, if I can hire some muscle to protect me a long the way.
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Giaddon
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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2011, 03:00:24 PM »

Look away!

Here's a screenshot of the current "build."



The "P" is the player, the red squares are monster areas and the gold square is a city. You can see I have the beginnings of a HUD now as well. The grey tiles are just blank tiles -- eventually each map will have a variety of different tile types, not just these three.

Unfortunately, this art is going to be as good as it gets until an artist gets on board (this will never happen).

This actually sounds pretty cool.
You should get attacked by the hired thugs of competing merchants.

Thanks! That's a good idea. I am planning to include a number of enemies/obstacles, though I'm not 100% sure how they will be implemented yet...

This sounds really interesting, though I found myself constantly thinking Spice and Wolf while reading that (not really a bad thing)

I'd never heard of Spice and Wolf. I googled it and it looks pretty cool! I'll take the comparison as a compliment.

how will you do the landscape? will it be all procedural like a regular roguelike, or will you connect "sections" together like you see dungeon-crawl boardgames?

also I would totally take the dangerous path, if I can hire some muscle to protect me a long the way.
It will be a single, fully procedural map, although my poor coding and math skills mean "procedural" will be more like "random."  Embarrassed

Map generation is something I will be continually improving: hopefully by the time I give up the maps will be interesting and fun to play.

And you can hire some muscle! The plan right now is for the hero to have a "crew" of up to three members, who can help him in various ways (like guards that increase your combat rank).
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JasonPickering
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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2011, 03:45:17 PM »

since your starting out, maybe these articles might help

http://www.squidi.net/three/entry.php?id=121
http://www.squidi.net/three/entry.php?id=124
http://www.squidi.net/three/entry.php?id=125
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Thomas Finch
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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2011, 05:11:23 PM »

I like it! You shouldn't give up, just keep going with it! If you put in enough work, eventually maybe a programmer or artist will see this thread and offer their help!
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Giaddon
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2011, 06:36:41 PM »

I like your attitude, Ardbob!

In order to prevent myself from gagging while working with the game, I've grabbed some images from kind people on the internet. Hopefully I'll eventually get unique artwork, but until then, big thanks to Redshrike on www.opengameart.org for the terrain tiles , and to TIGSource's own Oryx for the player sprite. The original post has been updated with full credits.

Here's the current look:



I've made some changes to the camera (it's more zoomed in), and obviously shrunk the HUD down: the name and cash total float and follow your character around. It looks nice.

TODO:
Get the monster tiles working!
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JasonPickering
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2011, 07:01:27 PM »

will they be static, or move around themselves?
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Giaddon
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2011, 07:24:36 PM »

Here's the current plan for basic monsters.

As you can see in the screenshots, certain tiles are "monster tiles" (the dirt ones). When you enter a monster tile, there's a random chance you'll be attacked (this chance will be modifiable with items / crewmembers). If you are attacked, the game will semi-randomly choose what type of monster attacks you. Each monster will have a combat rank, and so will the player. The two ranks will be compared, and whose # is higher wins (ties go to the player), and a pop-up tells the player what happened. If the player loses a fight, he dies instantly (unless maybe he has an item or something). But! monster areas may block where you want to go, and monsters protect valuable treasure tiles (not yet implemented), so the risk of entering monster tiles is rewarded.

There may be a few special events that spawns a mobile monster that goes straight for the player or a city, requiring the player to confront it. This would be rare.

One of my influences here is Weird Worlds of Infinite Space, which usually made it simple to avoid combat if you wanted to. So the player can stay away from monster zones until he or she feels ready.

And also, can I say, I've been really impressed with the Rogueline development! The transformation from Canabalt-style RPG to the more complex set of battle "chains" has been very cool to watch!
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Thomas Finch
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2011, 07:43:09 PM »

I really like the style you're using. It reminds me of that indie game on xbox live where you defend a mansion from zombies.
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QOG
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2011, 08:25:50 AM »

<image>

I've made some changes to the camera (it's more zoomed in), and obviously shrunk the HUD down: the name and cash total float and follow your character around. It looks nice.

TODO:
Get the monster tiles working!
Yeah, consistent resolution would be good. Also, character should not look like a fighter.
Not sure I like the new HUD.
With the monsters (some random, hard-to-implement ideas):
-Some monsters you might want to hunt, as their hides/horns/whatever can be sold
-Some monsters (like maybe bandits) can be bribed to let you go free, or even hired as mercenaries.
-Some monsters can be distracted/killed by certain items (Minotaur is distracted by red fabric), but you will of course lose the items by using them in this way.
In summary: money, rather than might, should have a large impact on the combat
Anyway, I hope this isn't completely doomed.
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Giaddon
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2011, 08:54:11 AM »

Monster tiles have basic functionality! In the below screenshot you can see the log, a line of text above your character that tells you what's going on. In this case, after moving onto a monster tile, my hero was instantly killed by a dragon.  Evil



(In the real version your death will of course give you a whole new humiliating screen, but for testing purposes I'm just using a simple line of text)

You can also see the new zoom button in the top-left, which doesn't actually zoom, but lets you switch between screen scales (1 and 1.75).

I really like the style you're using. It reminds me of that indie game on xbox live where you defend a mansion from zombies.
Unfortunately, none of these graphics are mine, so I can't take any credit. I'm glad you like it, though!

Yeah, consistent resolution would be good. Also, character should not look like a fighter.
Not sure I like the new HUD.
With the monsters (some random, hard-to-implement ideas):
-Some monsters you might want to hunt, as their hides/horns/whatever can be sold
-Some monsters (like maybe bandits) can be bribed to let you go free, or even hired as mercenaries.
-Some monsters can be distracted/killed by certain items (Minotaur is distracted by red fabric), but you will of course lose the items by using them in this way.
In summary: money, rather than might, should have a large impact on the combat
Anyway, I hope this isn't completely doomed.

I agree, the hero sprite will look differently later. This is just a placeholder for now. The HUD is something I'll be modifying a lot -- I really appreciate a clean, easy to use interface so that's a high priority. This one looks better in motion.

We have similar ideas for the combat! The plan is definitely to have money/resources > might. I'll definitely be looking into implementing hunting / payment mechanics. Great ideas! 
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JasonPickering
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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2011, 02:19:47 PM »

I dont know why, but when I was reading through this just now I had a flash of like minesweeper and wandering the land trying to next move to a monster spot.
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Giaddon
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2011, 10:00:19 AM »



New stuff! First: the art!

I'm experimenting with a more abstract, board game style. FlashPunk makes it super easy to swap out art assets for each other, so I'll probably be playing with the look of the game throughout its development. I'd like a lush, opulent pixel look, but I'm not good enough for that myself. But I can make the simple designs you see above.

Next: the HUD!
So the money count is back at the top: huge and in the center, right where it should be. You can see that the log remains above the player, where it's easy to see as you move around the map. I also added a little extra information: you can see the hero's combat rank vs. the monster's (2:1). This may go away later, I don't know how much information I want the player to have.

Speaking of combat rank, you can now see two stats at the top left: combat (the sword) and speed (the watch). The speed number is how many moves you can make before a day goes by. Several systems will be linked to how many days have passed in-game, so it's in your interest to be faster.

Fog (in the line-of-sight sense) is also implemented, but the performance is very low, I'm gonna need to rethink the system to get it running smoothly.

Next I want to get basic cities working, as well as implement a pop-up system that asks the player to make a choice for certain events.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2011, 10:11:31 AM by Giaddon » Logged

JasonPickering
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« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2011, 03:38:33 PM »

with the new art, it makes me think a space theme would be better. everything would still be the same just named different, you get attacked by some Crazy empire instead of monsters, you trade different space items like Minerals and stuff. and then the read outs now become your Mission Log and the squares are sectors. I also think space trading clicks more then trading in a fantasy world.
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QOG
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« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2011, 04:22:41 PM »

with the new art, it makes me think a space theme would be better. everything would still be the same just named different, you get attacked by some Crazy empire instead of monsters, you trade different space items like Minerals and stuff. and then the read outs now become your Mission Log and the squares are sectors. I also think space trading clicks more then trading in a fantasy world.
Space trading has been done many, many times. I think it would be better if the developer did something a little more original, namely what he is already doing.
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Giaddon
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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2011, 09:15:06 PM »



Basic city functions are in! Before, the map uh, "algorithm" (*cough*), would just place the city tile graphic on the map, but it didn't do anything. Now, during map generation, the system randomly chooses from a list of cities, removes it from the list (so you don't get repeats in the same game), and then places it on the map. As I said earlier, there will be a total of fifteen or so unique cities, and each one will produce a special good which you can easily buy there (so the mix of cities on the map can have a powerful effect in the game: without certain cities, it will be much more difficult to get certain goods (which you might want for crafting, or for building up your home town)). The first time you enter a city in a game, it will display a little text to set the scene and let you know which good it sells. The above is the welcome message for Red Dune, a desert city that produces glass. With the tone of the text I'm aiming for something storybooky, something light but fun enough to add personality to the trading layer. There may be other text events, as well.

I think my next goal is to add some more tiles to the mix, like mountains and deserts (bad form to have a desert city without deserts...).
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Thomas Finch
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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2011, 09:39:33 PM »

I know this isn't much a response, but you deserve more positive feedback so... THUMBS UP!
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Giaddon
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« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2011, 07:20:59 PM »



More changes: I switched the graphics to true 8x8 (before they were 8x8 images blown up to 32x32). This meant that I could more than double the size of the game world (to 5625 tiles. I'm not sure if I want it that big, but I have the option!) and give the player a view of more tiles, which is useful. That's also about as many pixels as my art skills can handle. As you can also see, I've made some changes to the map generator! Now the monster areas are much more organic and interesting. You can also see some desert in the lower left: it's hard to see in the lo-rez screenshot, but I think it looks pretty good!

You can also see a problem: two cities (red tiles) generated right next to each other. That shouldn't be too hard to fix. I also need to finish rescaling the HUD to the new size.

I may be posting updates less often this week, but I should be back with more stuff this weekend.

@Ardbob:

Hand Thumbs Up Left Thanks Hand Thumbs Up Right
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