I'm pretty interested in the lockout mechanic. So far I've never played a Metroidvania that got dynamic routes right.
What kinds of things are affected by the procedural dialogue?
firstly, thanks! i haven't either, and that's a part of what i'm trying to get right here
(and hopefully I do). i've been working a lot at figuring out a way to make it feel organic; at some point, if you open up the world a certain way, how do you account for players who have newly expanded mobility? the easy answer is "make changes to the world map that remove the possibility for getting early-onset upgrades in the late game" and i'll probably be guilty of that somewhat in the end but i really want to work on making it organically impossible for the player to access other branches without purely resorting to story events explaining them away (there are a few times i've planned where that will definitely happen, but)
hilariously, one of the best examples of something that does this (kind of) well (though not to the extent at all that i'd like) isn't even a metroidvania: sonic the hedgehog 3 has a lot of paths sonic & tails can't access that knuckles can; he goes down branching paths as a result, but the divergences always feel directly linked to the two sets of characters and their respective abilities, never to hamhandedly railroading each down a certain path. .
secondly: it's important to note that it's not
procedural in the strictest sense (in that dialogue is not, in fact, going to be generated by a set of parameters automatically in the same sense that worlds/words/descriptions are in something like nested.
rather, i'm going to be writing several different possible versions of dialogue for each possible interaction, and the game, on its outset, picks one of those versions at random. there might be some
procedurality in some small things like adjective choice, etc etc but i don't want it to end up feeling like mad libs or anything
those dialogue chains will each also
have their own series of conversation trees that are full waterfall structure; as in most games, the vast majority of these choices probably won't ultimately affect a whole lot (though i'd like to say they would, realistically it's unlikely that i'd have the time to build in believable consequences for every single decision
,) but occasionally they will
affect minor-to-major things in the end, like ending branches, some puzzle solutions, etc.
although at the core the game is a metroidvania in the very strictest sense (and it'd be entirely possible for most playthroughs i think to end up just not talking to anyone
if you so choose) and the most radical changes are going to be based on which abilities you choose, there are going to be minute-to-vast possibilities opened up by talking to npcs as well.
there's a gatekeeper, for instance; you can talk to him, and he'll let you through the gate if you can convince him to do so. you can also sneak past him, but if you do that he might lose his job later on, and that would change what he says to you/what possible interactions he'd have.
one way to maybe describe the balance between npc conversations and metroidvania mechanics i'm aiming for is that i'm taking a balance cave story had between both and i'm making both more emphasized, to different degrees; for one thing, the game actually is a full-on metroidvania, unlike cave story; for another thing, conversations have some slight import beyond being an opening for getting the worst ending and being flavor.
the short answer is "i'm hammering out specifics right now" of course, though, since we're still in incredibly early stages
Ishmael's expression raptures my soul.
original OP under the cut
(hopefully) a videogame by robert j! lake
so i started working on this a year ago. i plan on getting it finished in time to release in 2020. that's about a six/seven year dev cycle if you count that, but alas.
this is gonna be my solo project.
so what the fuck is this? it's a game. or, at least, it will be.
i'm not a programmer and i have no programming experience, but i'm a hell of a designer/animator/sound designer/writer/composer/producer and i'm gonna be building to the best of my ability a pile of assets and rulesets until i either find a programmer or force myself to learn. so this might not be the usualest of devlogs; especially at the beginning, there aren't gonna be programming/implementation updates, just animation/music/background/world layout/level design ones. as it is, i've got a good 5 percent of that work done. when i graduate next year, i'll have a lot more freetime to dedicate to nothing but that. actually turns out i might have found a programmer, and this devlog hasn't even been up for a day
and you're thinking "okay sure, maybe that's not how i'd
do things, but rj, you haven't told me what you're actually building. what is this?
answer: it's a metroidvaniakinda
not exactly. but that's close. that gets about 70 percent of the idea across. the thing is that it's a little more complex than that.
metroidvanias don't typically have multiple paths.
you run through super metroid in one direction. you may backtrack, and it may be one giant map, but there's still a general "correct" path through the game, despite there also being an abundance of secrets.
in this game, there are multiple upgrade trees.
so ishmael (that's the dude up there, all wigglin/jigglin) can find upgrades that allow access to new areas like samus can. the difference is that finding those upgrades means ishmael is locked out of other
upgrades, and consequently other paths through the game. meaning there are going to be quite a few endings and a fuckload
of ways to get through the game.
that's still only about 85 percent of the way towards explaining how this game works.ON TOP OF THIS
there's also a lot of
"rogue"-"like"-ish "elements" (SIGH)
throughout, but only in the most tenuous
of ways. see there are a number of possible layout seeds (but each are hand-crafted) and dialogue seeds (for those dudes you can talk to) and etc, and each playthrough mixes and matches them. on top of this, there are a number of possible random events, starting points, etc that can change how certain areas work and even sometimes the outcome of a playthrough's final path.
as above, someone contacted me. we're still working out the details, but it seems pretty solid.
but i'm doing this without any knowledge of programming to guide me. i know enough to know how to design a thing. i just can't build that design.
there are a lot of things i can do without that ability, though, and i'm gonna keep working as long as i can on those. i did prototype in unity actually but i can barely make things run and it was a mess. it was a workable enough mess that i know there's something here, but i'm not the person who (currently) can build the gears.
so this log, for now, will just be updates on other things.
in essence, i'm building the game backwards, from a fully-fledged idea inward. i already know more or less exactly how the final product should feel, play, look...and i'm fully capable of putting all of that together myself.
i'm gonna post a collaboration post thing once i
-have money to pay someone
-have enough assets/work done to prove i'm not just a quote unquote "ideas guy"
until then, have the weirdest devlog ever, i guess
also, music (all still wip, unfortunately):hit italso thisat least one of the (probably quite a few) game over/ending tracks
thanks for indulging me
EDIT: a gif
EDIT AGAIN: i should probably clean this first post up in a year or so