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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsBlitz Dungeon Action-y Roguelike
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Author Topic: Blitz Dungeon Action-y Roguelike  (Read 2884 times)
Gamedragon
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« on: April 28, 2016, 10:14:53 PM »



Overview:

Blitz Dungeon is an action-roguelite that is 2D and played in a world set after a cataclysm destroyed the world. This cataclysm has caused much knowledge to be lost and means that technologies such as medicine are now seen as a form of magic. With Blitz Dungeon, the artist and I are attempting to create a fast-paced, tight action-roguelite where the sense of momentum the player gets is essential to the feel of the game. Thus, the major design precepts of Blitz Dungeon are:

Pacing and Momentum: Move quickly and keep moving.
Unlike most games in the roguelike genre and sub-genre, Blitz Dungeon is not intended to be a slow affair where players make every move carefully. Think of this as most roguelikes being a game of chess, where Blitz Dungeon is a game of Snake and Ladders. As such, one of the main points we will be trying to develop in the game is the sense of movement and momentum the character should get as they play. This does not mean, however, that the player will not have chances to slow down and consider their next moves. These moments of slower action will be placed in the game and designed to give the player chances to plan for boss fights and other large fights.

Levelling and EXP: The player will be able to gain experience and develop.
Similarly to most roguelikes and RPG's  characters in Blitz Dungeon will be able to level up and become stronger throughout the course of the game. This gives the player the freedom to develop their character in the way that they want to and to play the game how they would like. This is extremely important in Blitz Dungeon as the game is designed without a class system, and so the statistics that define the character’s performance in the game should be changeable, to a degree.

Weapons and Items: More than just tools.
Weapons and items in Blitz Dungeon will not just be tools for the character to use and progress in the game. Instead the items will have pieces of attached lore that tell the story and background of the game. This is one of the most important design precepts of Blitz Dungeon as it allows the artist and I to tell a story that is non-linear and is partly reliant upon the player to understand and interpret the lore they find. This should lead to the player having a greater sense of achievement as they uncover the history of the game world.

EDIT: Updated description.



Update 1:

I didn't really manage to do much today. The most important thing that I've been looking at recently is movement and mobility for the player, specifically dashing. In my first prototypes of the game the player could "dash" or move a little faster by holding Shift for a short amount of time. I eventually decided that this either wasn't obvious enough to the player or not fun enough for the player, either way, it wasn't working. So what I've decided to do is come up with a way to give the player more feedback, graphically, that they have "dashed" or use the other prototype I've come up with in which the player presses Space and has a short period in which time move slowly, this gives the player more time to maneuver themselves around enemy projectiles. If anyone has some ideas I'd be happy to hear them.


Resources:
The Dawnlike tileset
Aron Granberg's A* project
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 08:04:47 PM by Gamedragon » Logged

Gamedragon
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2016, 04:18:18 PM »

Update #2:
Haven't had much time to work on the game lately but I have managed to get some work done!

The first order of business for me lately has been adding some variation to weapons. The first step with this, was creating a file in which I store ideas for weapons. This file includes their names, their damage rating and their range. I'm doing this mainly so that my thoughts don't wander, so that I've got a list of items I need to add and how I add them. This means that I won't move on to another feature before the current one has been completed to an acceptable standard.

The second order of business was making enemies mean something. Beforehand enemies were just obstacles, there was no real reason to fight them, especially as you could just run away. No, however, enemies can almost be seen as resources, they give the player experience with which they use to level up and they drop weapons.

Finally, I wrote up another description of the game today as the original was lacking in detail and was pretty awful, to be honest.

I'll finish with some images.


The game's first boss, courtesy of my artist.


My version of the boss. Yeah, the artist's version is way better.


And finally, I'm telling the truth this time, a GIF. A very unoptimised GIF, but a GIF all the same.
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Gamedragon
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 09:10:37 PM »

Update #3:
I'm still working on adding variation to items/weapons. Part of this was making it so that every "syringe", Blitz Dungeon's replacement for potions, isn't benign. Basically, we're taught as children not to use random syringes and this is reflected in the game. If a player tries to use every single syringe they find, then there will be a nasty surprise waiting for them. I'm not working incredibly quickly though, and I attribute that to the fact that a new release of Dwarf Fortress has been... released. It's pretty damn fun, go play it.
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Gamedragon
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2016, 03:27:40 PM »

Update #4:

I got a little bored of just doing item variation stuff so I've started work on getting the combat in the game to an acceptable standard. There were a few steps in this they were:
  • Making sure that the player can't just spam the attack button to attack.
  • Making the player think before attacking. In other words, make timing your attacks more important.
  • Making sure that we can easily balance different weapons, so that while some weapons are just better, no type of weapon (e.g, Bows, swords, etc.) is inherently superior.

All in all, I think our new system solves these problems. Now each weapon in the game is timed, what I mean by this is that you hold down the attack button and a timer goes up until it reaches a number - the number is determined by the weapon being used - and then the attack goes off. The only real problem I had with this was giving the player feedback so that they could tell when they would attack, but I've solved this by having a sprite next to the player that gradually fades in, when the attack goes off the sprite has faded in completely.

Anyway, here's a gif of this in action.

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TheArtistJiii
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2016, 10:37:43 PM »

I like your choice of using blood splatter to give feedback to the player that they are doing damage, but if the enemy just keeps comming without so much as flinching, personally, thatd make me feel powerless. Just an idea.
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Gamedragon
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2016, 11:07:40 PM »

To be honest I've been thinking similarly. What do you think would work better, pushing the enemy back a little, or stunning them for a short period of time? I'm leaning towards stunning them personally.

Mini-Update:
I made attacks push enemies back slightly. It doesn't look half bad and certainly makes dealing with large groups of enemies a little easier.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2016, 12:25:47 AM by Gamedragon » Logged

bdsowers
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2016, 07:49:19 AM »

Many games that have an attack cooldown the way yours works put a HUD item on the bottom of the screen that also shows the countdown along with the fade. It works pretty well, and is easier to track than an icon next to the player's character that may or may not be fully faded in.

I'd suggest reining in the blood spatter a bit so it's more localized to the enemy you're hitting. Right now it looks like it goes everywhere.

I'd also spend a little time breaking up the environment a bit. You lose a sense of space when everything around you is the same floor tile.
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2016, 01:19:26 PM »

I'd suggest reining in the blood spatter a bit so it's more localized to the enemy you're hitting. Right now it looks like it goes everywhere.
I agree, it's easy enough for me to change and should give a better look.

I'd also spend a little time breaking up the environment a bit. You lose a sense of space when everything around you is the same floor tile.
I also agree with this. I'll probably add more variation to the tiles by the time the game is complete or maybe I'll just break the rooms up into smaller segments.

Many games that have an attack cooldown the way yours works put a HUD item on the bottom of the screen that also shows the countdown along with the fade. It works pretty well, and is easier to track than an icon next to the player's character that may or may not be fully faded in.
I disagree with this however. This game doesn't actually use a cooldown for attacks. Rather, each attack takes a certain amount of time to go off. I probably should have mentioned though that the fading-in icon is probably just going to be a placeholder, the actual icon that tells you when you will attack will be a circle or progress bar that fills in over time. If you've ever played Metrocide you'll understand what I mean by this.

Anyway, onto...

Update #4:

I've mainly been working on inventory stuff recently. Before now I did have a working inventory in but you could only pick items up and use them. Now they can be dropped. This doesn't seem hugely important but it was actually one of the most requested features (or most reported bug) of the few play-testers that I've had play the game. This change comes hand in hand with the fact that now if a weapon is equipped the old weapon isn't deleted, as this is what used to happen. I also went ahead with adding a pushback, as was discussed above, and reducing how far blood flies. All in all I think the game is starting to actually feel like a game!
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2016, 11:42:43 PM »

Update #5:

As you might recall, the game's description states that part of Blitz Dungeon's design is in momentum. In other words I'd like the player to feel like they should always keep moving. Now at the moment, Blitz Dungeon has absolutely nothing to encourage this. There is nothing to stop the player from hanging around the tutorial level and just farming enemies until they level up as many times as they want. This is, obviously, a problem.

Now I've actually got a few solutions to this, there are three games that I can think of off the top of my head that in some way make the player keep moving forward (there's actually a few more than this but I'm going to focus on these three).
  • The first of these is Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. if you haven't heard of it, DCSS is a fairly classic roguelike in which the player progresses through levels in order to retrieve the Orb of Zot and return to the surface, fairly standard roguelike plot/motivation. Part of DCSS's design philosophy, however, is making sure that the player doesn't get involved in a grind. To stop the player grinding DCSS uses Out of Depth (OOD) Monsters, enemies that are far above the player's skill level that spawn as the player grinds.
  • The second game, Ruins of the Reckless is a roguelite game in which the devs keep the player moving by giving the player a reason to keep pushing, to keep moving forward. In the developer's words,
    Quote
    the more recklessly you play, the more options you will get when you level up.
  • The final game is FTL, a space-ship fighting roguelite in which the player is not made as such but encouraged to keep moving forward by the ever encroaching threat of their enemies.

What I particularly like about these approaches is that none of them force the player to move on, as such. Rather the give the player a reason to move on. The way this is done is slightly different in each approach, though there are similarities, such as FTL and DCSS increasing the threat on each previous level. For Blitz Dungeon I'm planning on going with the FTL/DCSS approach. This partially because I think it will fit with the feel of the game better and partially because I think that the Ruins of the Reckless approach is a little beyond both my skill in game design and my skill in programming at the moment. Who knows though? Maybe I'll add it later.
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2016, 02:53:38 AM »

Update #6:
I've finally started work on story and lore! As mentioned in the description the story of Blitz Dungeon is going to be told primarily through the lore attached to different items. As such I've had to do a little more work on the inventory, it isn't finished by any means but it is in a readable state at the moment. On another note: I was talking to the artist lately (err... literally today) about the need to start creating enemies who differ both mechanically and artistically. So keep an eye out! The next set (I've decided to make every 2-3 levels a "set" that adheres to a similar theme) of levels, will be very different, both in art, mechanics and (maybe, hopefully) level design.
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Gamedragon
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2016, 10:41:46 PM »

Update #7:
I've got the first public build of Blitz Dungeon ready! If anyone would like to give it a go and give me some feedback that would be greatly appreciated. The download link is here: LINK. It's a ~70mb download if you need to know. Controls are below.

Controls:
  • WASD to move.
  • Arrow keys to attack. They must be held down and you must be wielding a weapon, you don't attack instantly.
  • Click an item in you inventory to equip it.
  • Hold shift as you are moving to sprint OR press space to move in slow-motion.
I hope anyone who plays has fun.
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2016, 11:26:25 PM »

Just realised that I didn't mention a few things that I should have. First, if you hit a certain health and a blue square appears don't worry, it's a scrapped prototype for the magic system that I scrapped. Second, ignore the second level with a wizard on it, he's also part of the scrapped magic system.
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2016, 01:19:07 AM »

Update #8:

Hey, so I haven't updated in a while not because I haven't been doing anything (although that's a part of it) but because I didn't feel anything I've been working on has been worth sharing. Anyway, I've been making a few changes. The first of these is a complete scrapping of the magic system I mentioned above, I thought that at first it might work in this game but I've basically decided that it doesn't add anything worthwhile. Some of the other stuff I've been working on is a bit more interesting.

First of all I've been working on making the game darker. Don't worry! This isn't a DC dark and gritty reboot type of darker. The type of darker I'm talking about refers to lighting. If you played the build I posted or looked at the screenshot then you may have noticed that the game had absolutely no lighting, that is no longer the case!

I've gone through a few iterations of lighting and have had a few... missteps with it.

Missteps like this.

I did get it working correctly after that, however, and went onwards to produce this:


And finally I've come up with this:


Which I'm happy with.

The other thing I've been working on has been proc-gen dungeons. I'm not sure about them, I've written an algorithm for them and it's producing some nice dungeons but the fact of the matter is, I'm not sure if they're right for this game. I am incredibly proud of the, admittedly fairly poor, script I wrote, so I'll probably post it sometime in the future.

Oh yeah, I'm going to update the OP with a few more details about the resources I'm using.
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2016, 03:52:36 PM »

Update 9:

I've been working, perhaps a little prematurely, on some polish. Basically I've been making a few changes to the game in order to make things work a little more smoothly. The biggest change here has been with the inventory. No longer must you slowly drag your finger on the mouse to use an item, now you can just press a button and voila! An item is used.

This has actually become fairly important as I'm attempting to make dashing far more important. Dashing has been kind of hit and miss for me. In the first prototypes of the game it was actually fairly important, and part of my design ethos is that I attempt to keep up momentum. But over time I've found that I'm drifting further from this and dashing has become less and less important. And so, in an attempt to make dashing more important once more, I've fairly drastically increased the speed of enemies. This... Seems to work actually. The game is far more difficult and moves much more quickly, and this is basically what I was aiming for with this.
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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2016, 10:33:09 PM »

Anyway, I've got the second build up. Controls are the same as before but I'll post them again.

Controls:

    WASD to move.
    Arrow keys to attack. They must be held down and you must be wielding a weapon, you don't attack instantly.
    Click an item in you inventory to equip it.
    Hold shift as you are moving to sprint this now allows you to pass through enemies and projectiles.
    Hold space to move in slow-motion.

Here's the link: LINK

If you play and would like to give some feedback then I'd particularly like some info about the difficulty of the game.
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« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2016, 04:14:00 PM »

Update 10: Secrets and Rooms and, Bosses, Oh My!

Ohoho, this is a pretty good update, in my opinion. In the days since I last updated I've made quite a few changes to the game. Among this is some fairly tame stuff, like fixing movement and attacking. But this is not the most exciting part of what I have been doing. No, the most exciting parts of the development lately has been in the addition of extra levels, bosses and, my personal favourite, secret rooms.

Bosses:

First off, the bosses. The major thing I've been doing with bosses at the moment has been modifying the original boss slightly so that he is more dangerous and poses a greater challenge to the player. I've done this mainly by stopping the player from going into areas where they could fundamentally cheat in the fight. I've also made the original boss make the player move a little more by adding a few falling boulders to the area around him.

My favourite part of working on bosses in this past week or so, however, has got to be the addition of a new boss. This boss was enjoyable to work on mainly because I've attempted to make it a completely different fight to the first boss. This of course means that the boss is currently playing completely differently to the rest of the game, at least so far. Anyway, I like to think I've succeeded with this:


Rooms:

On a different note, I've also had a fairly good time recently designing some new levels. I've had a few thoughts about my levels recently and figure that I can probably make them a little more interesting. The first step for this is really adding the possibility for environmental hazards, not the most unique of ideas, but I think it will work.

Secrets:

Aha, my favourite part of what I've been doing recently! I've started to add secret rooms to the game, it's going to be interesting thinking of ways to alert the player to their presence, but I think I'll be able to do it. Hopefully.
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« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2016, 02:19:26 AM »

Update 11: Music and Music and a little more Music

As the title suggests, today was spent working on music. It's been an... Enlightening experience. While I do dabble in music I've never really considered myself a musician and I've only ever briefly touched on actually composing music. And so I began my journey by spending an interesting, and enjoyable, but ultimately fruitless few hours in MuseScore and GarageBand. Later in the day, however, I found SunVox, an 8-bit music tracker, at least that's what I think they're called. Anyway, it's let me make some fairly simple pieces of music that don't actually sound that bad, I'll probably read up on the actual theory of what makes good game music and then use SunVox to make Blitz Dungeon's music.
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« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2016, 04:08:46 PM »

Update 12: UI and Stuff

You might have guessed from the title, today I've been working on basically just adding some UI features to make it more obvious to the player when an enemy loses health and how much health they use. I've also started to re-design, but not re-implement quite yet, a system for using health potions. In this new system, if you use a certain amount of potions within a short period, you overdose and damage your health and stamina.
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« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2016, 09:58:49 PM »

Update 13: Janitor-ing

I like to think that a clean home is a happy home, the same applies to code. So you can kind of guess what I've been doing recently. I've been cleaning up some of my code and a few other things, making it more readable and clear and getting rid of a few bugs that I've only just noticed. I've also got another build up, this is the link: Click here to download. It contains both an OSX and a Windows version and is ~71mb in size.

Ah yeah, I've also started learning about shaders in an attempt to make Blitz Dungeon look a little less awful.
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« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2016, 10:48:48 PM »

I don't have anything to show for it at the moment but I've been slowly making my way through adding unique enemies and artifact weapons. There should be something to actually show for it in a few days.
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