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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsRoadwarden - RPG text-based adventure
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Aureus
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« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2021, 03:57:53 AM »

Embracing the RPG Side - Roadwarden Devlog

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Greetings, travelers! The new demo (which is available on Itch.io, and will soon be up on Steam) showcases the massive changes that the game went through over the last year and a half. Better writing, visuals, sounds, UI, mechanics, new activities... I’m so excited to share it.



I also keep adding new areas, dialogues, and quests, and updating the systems that were a part of the game since early 2019. I can say with confidence that Roadwarden IS an RPG now, not just an adventure game with RPG elements. I seek new ways to support the experience of being a lone traveler exploring a dangerous world, balancing these efforts with not making the game too complex.

Massive rewrites



The demo-related parts of the game are now after their second draft. People not experienced with writing may be surprised to learn that this process didn’t add much volume to the text, quite the opposite.



As I grow confident and learn more about English, I convey just as much (or more) information in fewer words. I put more trust in the way I express myself or describe objects, gestures, and places. The game’s illustrations don’t need as much explanation as they used to, and the new ambient sounds also help.

NPCs have more personality and quirks, with much less nodding, head shaking, smirking, and fist-clenching. There are also more role-playing choices and freedom when it comes to playing through various interactions.

Updated Attitudes



Attitudes were among the first ideas introduced to Roadwarden - a set of icons that are active whenever a PC encounters a new character or a group. They open new dialogue options and slightly alter how the protagonist is perceived, unlocking / hiding specific information and / or impacting the mood of the conversation.



The issue was that for 99+% of the playtime they are deactivated, covering a corner of the screen with ugly shades of gray. The “unlocking” animation was easy to miss, and in some cases player simply didn’t notice they had an option to select them.



Now they can’t be omitted as the icons show up only when they’re relevant, and the screen is more tidy. This change also covers the special class skills:



New Armor system

The system of having the Armor on a 1-3 lvl scale has been replaced with a 0-4 scale, and the player doesn’t have to *remember* the status of their Armor since it’s always displayed.



In the old system, lvl 1 gave no advantages, lvl 2 reduced the incoming damage - though usually only once, or slightly. Lvl 3 worked better, but needed a significant investment, and could also be reduced.

In the new system, lvl 0 offers no protection, lvls 1-2 offer slight wound reduction, and lvl 3 offers significant protection. Lvl 4 is locked at the start of the game and can be unlocked in at least two different ways. Fixing armor is much cheaper, but its lvl gets lowered more often.



Lvl 4 now adds a small modifier during combat and other physical challenges. There’s also going to be three NPCs that offers armor-fixing services, instead of one.

The player can decide to save money by purchasing a special item that allows them to fix their armor wherever they are, though they need more time (and experience) to efficiently use it.



Reworked Hunger system

I disliked the original version for a long time. A PC could be either hungry or full. Sleeping while being hungry would reduce their HP by 1 (or they would recover 1 HP less). There was a cosmetic difference between having a simple meal or a luxurious one, but it didn’t mean anything stat-wise, and no matter how satiated the PC was, they would get hungry after every night.

The new system uses the 0-4 scale, just like HP and armor. Sleeping reduces it by 2 and different meals offer customized amounts of Nourishment points. A baked fish or a few fruits will give you 1, a food ration or a simple meal - 2, a luxurious meal - 3 or 4.



Having 0 or 1 Nourishment points won’t “damage” the character while sleeping, instead negating any sort of HP gained during the night - what in most cases is a lighter penalty, but in others is much more severe.

Having no Nourishment points makes physical struggles more challenging, while 3 or 4 points adds bonuses to dice rolls, especially in combat. This way, there’s value in not only avoiding the lower numbers, but also maintaining the higher ones.



Updated combat

For some time now, combat results were linked to various statistics and items. Higher HP or better weapons were the obvious ones, but as the time went on, more details have also been added to the list.



Taking into consideration Nourishment and Armor levels allows a player to plan ahead and prepare themselves before traveling to a dangerous spot, which will often mean spending more time and money. It adds to the previous preparations - improving one’s HP points, gathering information from the locals, and purchasing or finding new equipment.

New Appearance system

Being on a 0-5 scale, the Appearance either hinders interactions with NPCs or allows a PC to get more from them. It adds penalties and bonuses to friendship and reputation levels and alters prices of bought or sold equipment and merchandise, especially one that’s on the pricier side.



The appearance level considers a few factors. The level of cleanliness, the condition of PC’s clothes (which can be either damaged or not), having the outfit covered with blood, and being either strong and healthy, or weak to the point of exhaustion.



There are various ways to wash oneself and adjust one’s clothing, but it takes time. I hope to build a system which encourages players to get familiar with various bodies of water in the game and use them to get nice and tidy even before they reach various settlements, so they can make a better first impression.

There are also items which can be used to manipulate the effectiveness of various cleaning spots.



To unlock the highest possible level of appearance, a PC will have an option to buy a fancy set of clothing. Its price will be reduced by various factors, but in general, it’s meant to be an investment, not an obvious must-have piece of equipment. I also consider giving the fancy outfit (which can be either a tunic, a robe, or a dress) an ability to ignore the regular “torn” or “bloodied” statuses since there’s the understanding that a PC switches between it and a regular outfit depending on where they are.



While the game uses Appearance mostly to influence other numbers, in the future I hope to use it to alter dialogues by giving NPCs small comments on PC’s clothes and, for example, smell.

The core goal of the Appearance system was to give a player more perceptible results of actions that involve dirt and struggles, and to support the idea that a PC can gain an advantage by manipulating others - just as with lying and Attitudes.

Updated Bestiary

It used to be that a PC had to pay a lot of money to unlock the Bestiary during a conversation with a special NPC, but after adding many more creatures to the game it turned out that the player was suddenly hit with a lore dump. In the meantime, various creatures are mentioned by NPCs, rarely giving any explanation on what they even are since, in the game’s logic, a PC should already have a shared knowledge.



The new Bestiary, with its “basic” lore, is available from the start of the game, while additional details and tips on how to defeat specific monsters are added during various interactions and conversations. The NPC who used to unlock this section of the game now only speaks about the new stuff, making their tales brief and to the point.

Visual updates

Every time I’m convinced I’m done with it, I find new ways to update the game’s presentation. I started with taking to heart the criticisms of the game’s title screen:




It made the original random quotes appearing at the top of the screen too jarring, so I moved them to a special box that appears whenever the game is launched. They can also be turned off in the game’s settings.



The more advanced menu changes are difficult to show. In general, the sections now properly fade in and out, gently shifting between various modes instead of using rapid transitions.

Some traveling illustrations were altered. They rarely use the world map icons, now more often using cute little pictures that I love beyond logic:





And since it was important to keep PC’s mana points displayed at all times, I found a way to present the character class skills as a part of the UI, even though the “Attitude icons” are now gone.



I also added a silly splash screen to make it clear that the game is launching. It helps me during development, but there’s a chance I’ll remove it before the full release.



Working on the vocabulary (part 2)

Another SPICY set of game’s world updates. : P This time related not so much to spirituality and magic, as it is to the setting’s politics.

The game’s fantasy setting, Viaticum, has finally received a massive update! (nerd alert)

the city -> Hovlavan (a butchered version of Hebrew words standing for “White Coast”)

As the game got larger, keeping the city’s name vague was getting more and more awkward. I also added Hovlavan to the journal, gathering any city-related details that the player either discovers during their journey or sets as “facts” whenever they are asked about it by NPCs.

Empire (the state) -> The Ten Cities
Empire (the land) -> The Dragonwoods
province capitals -> cities
townsfolk -> cityfolk
Imperials -> cityfolk (loyalists to The Ten Cities), the Northerners, the Northern Tribes
Middle Mountains -> The Growing Mountains

There were also other changes, but let’s keep them a secret. ^^

Other advancements

The new alchemy system for scholars was recently reworked for the 3rd time, and I believe each version is an improvement.



The new fishing system allows the players to gain an unreliable source of fish (which can be baked for food or sold to some NPCs) by setting up traps at various bodies of water, which then can be checked on during PC’s patrols. I wouldn’t call this a minigame, but these tiny interactions add both to the “living off the land” vibe and to the “getting used to the familiar roads” progression.



The new settings now take a bit of scrolling, but explain things clearer:



The temporary notifications that show up on the screen are now added to the game’s Archive. Both the small textboxes and the stats-change animations:



The game’s Credits are now prettier:



I’ve learned how to use the custom saves outside of the player’s view, so the “respawn” options are now bug-free:



In general, I keep learning how to properly use Ren’Py, so I turn blocks of code into more convenient, automated processes, hopefully making them more reliable.

---------------------------------

You can also find me on socials, and the game has Steam and GOG pages on which you can add it to your wishlist. Have a great day!


« Last Edit: August 17, 2021, 04:17:58 AM by Aureus » Logged
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« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2021, 02:48:03 AM »

Oh wow, that is an epic post, I'll need some time to read through all of that!  Cheesy

Glad to see the project is alive and kicking though!

EDIT: by the way, the first link is a medium link that redirects you to the itch.io page. Since I hate that kind of linkjacking, here's the direct one:

https://moral-anxiety.itch.io/roadwarden
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« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2021, 04:17:11 AM »

Thank you, I'll edit the link - it was a mistake. : )

EDIT: And done! Thank you for taking a look at the post, I put a lot of effort into them. ^^
« Last Edit: August 17, 2021, 04:26:02 AM by Aureus » Logged
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« Reply #43 on: March 30, 2022, 09:53:02 AM »

Growing and Evolving - Roadwarden Devlog

Greetings, travelers! The game’s development goes smoothly, especially content-wise. Since the last devlog I added 5 large settlements, more than doubling the previous amount, and it’s a delight to see how the areas and quests on my task lists get marked as “finished”.



The break from social media has been a relief. Spending less time on maintaining an online presence took a huge weight off my shoulders, allowing me to focus on what’s going to matter the most to the players. I hope you can forgive me for keeping a few surprises until the game’s release, and for now here are some highlights! : )

Interface updates

The shops are now denser, using fewer buttons and having an option to display more items at once:





The sleeping / resting spots no longer require any memorizing or guessing on the player’s side, instead explaining directly how they will affect the character stats:





What also affected the healing ritual for mages:





Also, the game no longer marks the “distanced” Attitude as the default option during conversations. The player has more freedom in looking at the options they find any interest in, without being pushed to seeing one of them as “the regular one”.





Due to popular demand, the game now highlights the Trade / Rest (Seek shelter) / Travel buttons to make it clear the player isn’t “stuck” in a conversation or interaction.



And while there’s much more, let’s end with this tiny adjustment:





The character sheet

As the game gets more complex, it requires better tools to explain its rules, especially to the players who take longer breaks between play sessions. The character sheet allows the player to learn the rules in greater detail while also keeping track of various actions.





The map key

Thanks to the new icons, it’s easier to keep track of various services and opportunities. Unlocking new options and areas adds more icons to the key, so getting used to them takes little effort.



The upgraded inventory

Speaking of icons - how about a glimpse of the current item set from the game?



I recently redrew about 1/3 of them. To those who’ve been following the game since its oldest demo I offer this humble reminder how things used to look like a few years back:



To some encounters, mostly the combat scenes that are not a result of an ambush, I added an option to use the healing potions mid-action. The game keeps track of the possessed potions and reminds the player about them if it sees the PC is currently hurt.



The glossary

I added a classic lore-explaining glossary to the journal. This way, the player can quickly learn about the setting if they feel lost in their journey. After all, it can be difficult to introduce all this information organically in an RPG with this amount of freedom.



—--------------------------

As the game grows, I find more ways to make its rules transparent and the events easier to follow. I still have to redesign the quest journal and I hope to simplify some of the rules after I thoroughly test the game in its entirety, but I believe that Roadwarden successfully adapts to its new environment. : )

Thank you for taking a look at this devlog, for your support and kindness! I hope you’ll agree the changes are promising, and that they explain why the work takes me so long!



---------------------------------

You can also find me on socials, and the game has Steam and GOG pages on which you can add it to your wishlist. Have a great day!
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« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2022, 01:15:15 PM »

This looks wonderful!
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« Reply #45 on: March 30, 2022, 07:47:08 PM »

This looks wonderful!

Thank you! <3
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #46 on: March 31, 2022, 02:28:58 AM »

Oh, I didn't know I could wishlist it on Steam. Done Smiley
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« Reply #47 on: March 31, 2022, 07:42:20 AM »

Oh, I didn't know I could wishlist it on Steam. Done Smiley

Thank you for your support!
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« Reply #48 on: March 31, 2022, 11:25:53 AM »

Wow. This looks wonderful, will definitely be keeping tabs and adding to my Wishlist. Never saw this devlog before, but glad to see you've stuck with this project through the years. It really does look incredible.
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« Reply #49 on: March 31, 2022, 10:14:12 PM »

Wow. This looks wonderful, will definitely be keeping tabs and adding to my Wishlist. Never saw this devlog before, but glad to see you've stuck with this project through the years. It really does look incredible.

Thank you! I had to take a break from posting regular devlogs and social media updates for reasons unrelated to the game itself - its more of a self-care matter. ; ) This is easily the largest Thing I've ever worked on, so even if it fails, I'm glad it manages to make a good first impression. : )
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« Reply #50 on: March 31, 2022, 10:44:53 PM »



I especially love these inventory icons, the pixel art works so great with your color scheme.
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« Reply #51 on: April 01, 2022, 12:51:26 AM »

I especially love these inventory icons, the pixel art works so great with your color scheme.

Thank you! : ) I don't have many opportunities to practice since my development time goes mostly into coding and writing, but I love the path I took to learn the basics of pixel art.
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« Reply #52 on: April 01, 2022, 02:19:07 PM »

Thank you! I had to take a break from posting regular devlogs and social media updates for reasons unrelated to the game itself - its more of a self-care matter. ; ) This is easily the largest Thing I've ever worked on, so even if it fails, I'm glad it manages to make a good first impression. : )

Glad you prioritized your mental and physical health. Only get one life, but there are limitless projects to work on. You powered through and are back at it. Will be keeping an eye on this.
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« Reply #53 on: August 16, 2022, 03:34:53 AM »

Coming out on September 8th! - Roadwarden Devlog

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Greetings, travelers!

Now, here’s quite a jump forward — Roadwarden will be out on Steam on September 8th, 2022!

It’s an illustrated text-based RPG in which you explore and change a hostile, grim realm. Roadwarden has been in development for almost 4 years now, and we’re on the final stretch!



The last few months were all about tying up the loose ends and hunting for bugs — but there are still a few new features to talk about!



Difficulty Selection Screen

The time limit is the most restrictive system in Roadwarden. Given enough time, the player can heal their wounds, earn coins to buy useful equipment, or gain trust of the locals. However, some of the quests are time-sensitive and players who repeatedly fail at preparing themselves for exploration and combat may reach the game’s epilogue without completing some of the major storylines.



While it’s possible to complete all of the major quests in less than 25 in-game days, most newcomers will struggle to efficiently optimize the Roadwarden’s systems. Adding an “easy mode” for players who are not used to RPGs (or video games in general) and the “hard mode” for returning players is meant to open the game up to a variety of expectations and playstyles.


Updated Quick Menu



After many months of being untouched, the buttons in the top-right corner are not only reshuffled…



…but I also replaced the Trade button with a quick access to the Character Sheet.



When tested, it turned out that it’s a bit too easy to omit the Trade option while talking with various NPCs. From now on, the trading is available through the dialogue options, always staying in the player’s field of view:





The Ancient Bug

This annoying line of code has crashed the game more times than I can count.



Here you can see how it should look like:



The reason why it destroyed me is that the game didn’t break when this bit of text was loaded. Instead, it could lurkin the shadows for minutes, until it appeared in a completely different area or conversation. I spent many hours tracking down the source, especially after it crashed the game of one of the demo players.

“Is it a memory leak? Is the game simply falling apart after some time? Am I going crazy?”

But now, the bug is no more! I’m FREE!


And all sorts of tiny, yet important details

And what is this just below the quick menu? Is this the new, fancy clock?
Why, yes it is!





It’s less distracting and offers more information at once whenever pointed at, with fewer space restrictions.

The item list in the inventory is now more flexible. In the early stages of the game, it remains small, but…





…once the player gathers enough items, it resizes, usually filling the entire screen without forcing the player to scroll down to see everything at once.

Also, while the owned coins are still meant to be displayed together with the other “Merchandise”, the game now recognizes when there are no other items from this category. In such cases, the coins are moved to the Misc section, instead of occupying the entire row by themselves.



While some quests may still need updates in the journal, they now more often use gray font to hide outdated information, and horizontal lines to divide quests into sections, for example — separating the old part of a quest from the new one, which gets pushed to the top of the entry.



And last but not least — autosaves occur more frequently, after roughly 20 dialogue choices. It’s still not recommended to play without manual/quick saving, but the game is now more resistant to unfortunate crashes and bugs that would punish players who forgot to save in a long time.

---------------------------------

Thank you for taking a look at this devlog, and for your support and feedback over the years!

You can also find me on socials, and the game has Steam and GOG pages where you can add it to your wishlist - I hope it will be available on September 8th!

Have a great day!


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« Reply #54 on: August 16, 2022, 03:45:40 AM »

Already wishlisted Smiley

Do you need a playtester for the Steam Deck?
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« Reply #55 on: August 16, 2022, 04:09:05 AM »

Do you need a playtester for the Steam Deck?

Thank you for the offer! Actually, it didn't cross my mind, my publisher is handling the store issues. I think I should ask them, so thank you for making me aware! : )
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« Reply #56 on: August 17, 2022, 01:25:18 AM »

Awesome, I wish you all the best for the launch! Nice to see you are working with Assemble, they are just across the river from where I live Smiley
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« Reply #57 on: August 17, 2022, 02:03:45 AM »

Thank you! My body is in Poland, so I've never been to Assemble's HQ, but I hope to see the area one day. : )
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« Reply #58 on: August 18, 2022, 04:14:45 AM »

Just a note to say I finally got a chance to put in a little time on the demo and really liked what I saw. It's a unique take on a text-based RPG and I found a lot of the new UI very intuitive. Keep up the amazing work!
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« Reply #59 on: August 18, 2022, 05:39:54 AM »

I'm so glad to hear that, thank you! Having a smooth UI is very important to me when I play other games with repeating input. Not so long I played a very simple game where I just lost focus about 40% through just because it had long delays (1-2 secs) between every dialogue popup, in a dialogue-heavy game. It was such a tiny thing, but my frustration grew only larger and larger.

I pretty much try to fix every bit of the game that keeps frustrating me when I play it fast. : P
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