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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsSon of a Witch: An Action Roguelike
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Author Topic: Son of a Witch: An Action Roguelike  (Read 12471 times)
bigosaur
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« on: March 01, 2016, 02:16:17 AM »

Latest video:





Latest cool screenshot:



The game is on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/539400

Initial post:

In the past 7 months I have been planning a new game to make. It will be a multiplayer action brawler like Castle Crashers with cartoony graphics. The main problem I have with CC is that once you complete it, there's no incentive to play more. So, I decided to combine the brawler mechanics with roguelike elements: permadeath, procedural generation of levels, items, enemies, etc. and non-modal gameplay (esp. imporant if you have 4 players playing).

I have most of the concepts on paper and spreadsheets and some 60% of the graphics is ready (still need to work on animations and special effects a lot). Current plan includes: 12 heroes, 44 monsters, 16 bosses and 6 different environments (forest, battlements, castle, dungeon, catacombs and a special ice level). Additionally, 50+ different weapons and items will be available to loot and use for the first version, and more planned later.

There will be 3 distinct play styles available, focusing on melee, ranged or magic combat. The player's starting class would determine the proficiency (i.e. base damage and effect modifiers) but the player can upgrade during the game and become multi-class if desired (and RNG does not get in the way). Melee combat is going to work similar to Castle Crashers with additional "rage" mechanics, which is a meter that fills up and you can use a special attack then.

The levels will be laid out like rooms in the Binding of Isaac with boss fight at the end of each level. The mana system and magic items will work like batteries in Isaac (i.e. you need to complete a couple of rooms before reusing the special magic) and the regular magic users can constantly shoot various weak projectiles similar to tears in Isaac.

I plan to post my progress every day, so stay tuned Smiley


« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 04:00:59 AM by bigosaur » Logged
bigosaur
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2016, 06:13:50 AM »

Here are some graphics for the trees, bushes and flowers in the forest levels. This will be the first area.



And I'm also experimenting with different fonts for the game logo.
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Zatari Kattis
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2016, 08:10:35 AM »

Wow, I really like The Binding of Isaac and your idea seems pretty cool. It looks fun so far even if you haven't shown much of it. But I hope you finish this game because I think it could turn out pretty awesome. Keep it up!

Also, are you working alone on this?
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bigosaur
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2016, 09:57:37 AM »

Also, are you working alone on this?

Alone? No way. This game's scope is too big for that, it would take years to make it myself. Although I am the only one working on it full-time, the game will incorporate work from at least 5 other people. So far, three guys will be responsible for the graphics, one music, one sound effects and I'm doing all the programming, character animations and level design. I hope a playable beta can be made during 2016, but don't want to give any hard estimates - it's too early.
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bigosaur
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2016, 02:28:45 PM »

The game will feature dungeon crawling with rooms, similar to what Binding of Isaac game does. Unlike Isaac, I want graphics in MMiaW to be pixel-perfect, without stretching artifacts.



The target platform for the game is PC. I looked at the Steam hardware surveys, and it seems that two resolutions dominate: 1366x768 for laptops and 1920x1080 for desktops. I plan to design the game rooms to fit perfectly into the smaller, 1366x768 resolution. Players who have even smaller screens won't be able to see the whole room at once, it will scroll. Players who have bigger screens will be able to see multiple rooms at once. This way the graphics will always be sharp.

I also contemplated on making the room size different based on player's screen resolution, but I want the game to have online multiplayer as well and for that reason the rooms have to be the same size on all computers.
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bigosaur
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2016, 11:27:32 AM »

Here's the first enemy. I'm still playing with different poses in Anime Studio Pro:



The forest will feature 4 enemy factions: goblins, bandits, skeletons, and various animals: bees, bears, etc. This is the most basic goblin melee unit with short range, but powerful strike that deals a lot of damage. He's slow and heavy, so make sure you don't get hit.

I need to put some work in that swoosh effect to make it look better...
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bigosaur
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2016, 09:36:51 AM »

The Story



You mom is a witch. Together with your brother, the three of you live in a forest. One day, the king's soldiers show up at your home and take her away without any explanation. As a player, you can choose one (or both in co-op) of her sons to go on a rescue mission. One of the sons is a young sorcerer and the other one is a warrior.

In the meantime, someone has stolen a powerful ancient artifact from the goblins who live in the nearby forest. Angry goblin patrols are searching the forest for the thief.

You need to avoid or fight the goblins to reach the castle, and then find a way to get inside. On your adventure, you can rescue or recruit other heroes to help you on your quest. (up to 4 players will be able to play in co-op mode, with 12 different playable characters).

Once inside the castle, you try to reach the dungeon hoping that the mom is locked up and alive. Meanwhile, the goblins track the thief to the king's castle gate, and they demand their artifact back. The king soldiers cannot find the thief and aren't able to produce the artifact. The goblins demand to come inside and find it themselves, but the king refuses. The goblin siege begins and soon they manage to break down the defenses and come inside... now you need to fight both the goblins and the guards. They fight against each other too.

But the real reason why your mother was taken away remains a mystery until you find her...
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bigosaur
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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2016, 09:43:47 AM »

The main menu is fully functional now. I'm reusing the custom engine from my previous game, so all I needed was a good font and some nice graphics to make it work:



I plan to add some goblins who would walk across the screen down in the forest. Just need to animate them first.

This will also be the base background for the forest levels.
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bigosaur
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2016, 05:28:37 AM »

Character selection screen works now:



The game can be played with 1-4 players. So far the local co-op already works, and I plan to make the online multiplayer as well.
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bigosaur
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2016, 05:45:54 AM »

Here are the doors between forest areas in open, closed and blocked state. You can blast the blocked doors with bombs to discover secret stash of treasure chests. The regular doors close when there are monsters on the screen, so you have to beat them to go further. Or, you can blast the door open with a bomb and escape the battle. Beside this, there will be a magic spell that opens doors.



I also plan to add a special Boss door for the boss room, and locked doors for which you'll need a key to unlock. I'm not sure if the shop needs a special door as well?
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bigosaur
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2016, 09:04:11 AM »

Here's the second goblin. Once you attack him, he raises his shield and then he's only vunerable to very strong attacks. However, you can sneak behind his back and hit him.



I built a custom animation engine. I make animations in Anime Studio Pro and then export them into JSON. Then I massage this JSON format into C++ code that I include directly into my project. Since I don't have a player character yet, I'm using the keyboard controls to move the goblin around:



P.S. This .gif animation has slower framerate than the game. The goblin actually moves a little bit faster. The game runs at constant 60 fps all the time.
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bigosaur
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2016, 09:59:22 AM »

This character is a mage, but I decided to animate him first. Mages can pick up melee weapons and attack too - they just deal less damage than knights. You can pick up any weapon that the enemies drop when they die. In this shot, the mage is using a goblin club Smiley



The font for damage numbers is bad, I'm experimenting with some others. Sorry about the small yellow crosses - I'm using those to determine the hitbox using some basic trigonometry. The cross should represent the location of the weapon's tip.
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bigosaur
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2016, 10:52:52 AM »



Here's the user interface. I'm still not 100% sure whether to show the player stats on top or bottom. The game can be played by 4 players, so maybe I can show two players up and two down, or something like that.



The red bar is health, the blue is mana, and the green on is Rage. The rage fills up when you hit enemies with melee weapons and when you get hit. When the rage bar is full, you can use a special melee attack which will depend on the weapon type (sword, axe, spear, hammer, club).

You can see the two weapon slots, but I plan to allow players to carry some items as well. Not sure where I will show those.

If you wonder what's that blue ball: the magic staff shoots magic orbs that resemble tears in The Binding of Isaac. This is the most basic projectile. Other wands will fire different ones. For example the Staff of Fire will shoot fireballs that set enemies on fire; the Staff of Ice will shoot ice bolts that freeze the enemies, etc.

The map

In the meantime I gave up on the smaller screen idea. 1366x768 sized rooms are too small for big 1920x1080 monitors. Although you can see multiple rooms at the same time, it would still mean that 40% of sceen is unused. I tested and there's just too much empty black space on the screen. So, I decided to make the rooms wider. The room size is now 1920x720. Players with smaller screens will scroll left to right, just like Castle Crashers. There is no vertical scrolling. If you have more than 720p high screen you will be able to see more of the beautiful backgrounds that extend at the top of the screen.

Because the rooms are rather wide (or should I say: long?) now having a single entrance vertically doesn't work well. Because of this, I'm changing the maze layout to hexagonal rooms. Each room can have 6 different exits. The new maze generator already works, and here's the minimap:



This one shows small rooms and it's optimized for 720p screens (768px, 800px, etc.) If you have 900+ it starts showing a bigger minimap. Once I add all the different room types I will add markers for different rooms and perhaps if you left some important items somewhere. And there will be magic spells to discover the whole map.

The white rectangle is the current room, light ones were visited and dark ones you know about (have seen the door to it) but haven't been inside.
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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2016, 11:03:34 AM »

My only feedback currently is that the combat looks incredibly sluggish. It has a nice aesthetic though! The idea sounds good.
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bigosaur
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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2016, 09:55:08 AM »

Thanks for the feedback. Not much to show on the screenshot, but the Goblin Clubber and Goblin Shielder are fully animated and the basic AI works: collision detection, avoiding obstacles, moving towards the player and attacking.



I'm going to go back to attack animations and improve the combat. I really want to get to that Castle Crashers brawler feel.
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bigosaur
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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2016, 12:06:36 PM »

One of the ideas in MMiaW is that you can pick up any weapon from a defeated enemy. Here's what the goblin looks like when he's dead:



You can then pick up his club and use it to attack.

A second stab at UI

I tried playing the game with the previous UI idea which had a horizontal bar for Health, Mana and Rage. However, it's quite unclear that Mana and Rage are tied to the weapons and items. So, now I'm changing the layout: there's only one Health bar at the top - the Mana and Rage bars will be shown alongside of weapons and items that require them.



Don't be confused with the portrait image - I'm currently controlling a goblin instead of hero, because he has complete animation set.

I think this layout will work, but I'm not really happy with the graphics. Need to experiment with some other designs....
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bigosaur
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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2016, 08:39:10 AM »

After three iterations, I believe I have finally nailed the design for the player info overlay:



Here's the explanation how it works:

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bigosaur
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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2016, 01:58:33 PM »

The basic magic staffs fire magic orb projectiles. Some other staffs will be able to launch fireballs, ice bolts, etc. Here's the ice projectile:



When wielding a magic staff, the player can walk in one direction and independently shoot in a different direction. It's very useful when you are retreating:



If you are using a controller, one stick controls the movement and other the shooting direction. Because of the way the game is played, only left and right directions are available for shooting. Although, with some upgrades, you can get diagonal and homing projectiles as well. If you play on keyboard, there are two keys assigned to shoot left or right.
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bigosaur
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« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2016, 05:16:06 PM »

Add a bunch of goblins and the action becomes intense. I have improved the AI, so now they don't walk over each other anymore. They are trying to surround the player from all sides.



Using melee weapons really feels like playing a true brawler game like Castle Crashers.
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bigosaur
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« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2016, 11:43:27 AM »

You can pick up weapons of fallen enemies:



You will also be able to pick up weapons that drop from chests, barrels, boxes, etc. I spent a couple of hours experimenting until I got this cool magic hovering effect:


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