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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsBoundless Paths (Tower Defense Exploration Roguelike)
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Author Topic: Boundless Paths (Tower Defense Exploration Roguelike)  (Read 3317 times)
Oaklin
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« on: September 18, 2023, 09:44:36 PM »

Boundless Paths is a mix of 3 of my favorite sub-genres (TD, roguelike and exploration). Aside from designing a game I'd like to play myself and needing something unique to hopefully stand out against better funded efforts, I felt it could address some subjective 'imperfections' in the TD genre.
a) Maps the player has to adapt to, instead of potentially having the perfect solution out on the internet. This is achieved by both the random map and path generation, the exploratory mechanic, and even the player choice in terms of where to explore.
b) Continuity between maps. Many TDs have different approaches to this, but I opted for a roguelike design because I like how roguelikes balance between higher stakes and frustration (eg. permadeath is too frustrating for me). So like most roguelikes, an average run is meant to take about 1-2 hours, and failure does grant some consolation credit.
c) No more sudden death. I didn't like how quickly tower defense games tend to flip from 'Not a single monster has breached my defenses in *yawn* 50 waves' to 'Oh no, I just lost and have to start over' So I intentionally gave players a large and growing health pool that is meant to regularly take damage. Health can also be used as a resource in multiple ways, and there's additional incentivization to hoard health beyond just not losing.

Anyway, here's a link to my trailer so everyone can see what I'm talking about.




As per my post in my Obligatory Introduction Thread, I'm a solo programmer with nearly no prior skills in anything else - art, sound, video etc. If there's interest, I can talk about how I addressed each of those domains as a newbie.

Early and midgame are done, and now I'm polishing the game and running beta tests in preparation for release.

Update: releasing on 10th Apr 2024
« Last Edit: April 05, 2024, 02:58:47 AM by Oaklin » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2023, 07:27:20 AM »



I like how you managed to implement the fog of war into a TD concept. Good job

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mobilelast
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2023, 02:12:35 PM »

I loved the contrast between the soothing music and hordes in the video. I think it would be even more mysterious and enchanting without the speech.
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Oaklin
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2023, 11:43:59 PM »

Thanks. Will be removing the trailer voiceover and partially replacing it with subtitles.

Did a UI redesign to group the various UI elements, after scanning through 10+ popular strategy/TD games for inspiration.
Also upgraded the textures of many map objects with the most suitable free ones I could find.

Now that everything looks better, I will be working on re-doing the trailer next.
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Oaklin
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2023, 07:48:12 AM »

Improved the weapon effects (using particle effects) and re-did the trailer with all the map/UI/effects improvements, tighter editing/accelerated time, and replaced voice with text.

Trailer link in opening post.
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Oaklin
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2023, 03:02:21 AM »

Re-worked the tutorial and added a 'game tip' line in my equivalent of a loading page (since I have 0 load time)
I've tried to make it both as easy to follow and un-intrusive as possible.

Given the lack of feedback from playtesters, I have to guess at the issue (and even whether not getting feedback is normal), so I have been and will continue to work on improvements that impact the trailer and early game.

I have intentionally not targeted the larger subreddits as I'm trying to present a better first impression of the game, and also avoid spamming.
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Oaklin
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2023, 02:42:14 PM »

I've finished the last round of visual upgrades for now, and released the 3rd version of the trailer (see opening post).
These include:-
    Replaced most of the 3d monster models. Also have attack/summon-minion animation as appropriate instead of just run/walk.
    Improved (again) many tower attack/aura visuals. Now every aura & attack should be obvious and distinct.
    New Victory/Defeat summary screen (instead of squeezing end-of-run stats into Main Menu)
    Beautified windows for quest, class select, global buff, codex - mostly by filling any large empty spaces with good images.

Stocktake:
The gameplay for early and mid-game has been feature complete since before public playtesting in early September.
Features include:-
Tower Defence basics (towers & upgrades, monsters, spells, resources)
Exploration mechanics for procedurally generated map + monster pathing
Resources and interactive encounters to be found while exploring - outcomes mostly affect resources, buffs and monsters.
Boss monsters (common unique ability is to attack towers) and player win condition via attacking their forts.
Quests - basically this game's achievement and prestige system controlling all the early/mid/late game feature unlocks.
Classes - unlocked by quests. Each has its own combination of towers and spells.
Info Panels - Tutorial, Codex, Bestiary, multiple Stats panels.

Way Ahead:
Community Engagement & Marketing - Priority is still trying to get critical feedback on the game.
Improve user experience - keyboard shortcuts, cloud save, make sound and options accessible in main menu (not just in-game)
Late-game features - Enchantments, larger maps, more Quest Sets, classes, monsters (new abilities)
Steam Cloud, Achievements, Trading Cards.

Anything reasonable I find to improve the early/mid game will immediately skip straight to top priority over the above.
I'm targeting a mid Feb 2024 release, but my priority is to release a good/popular game, as far as is practicable.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2023, 04:45:40 AM by Oaklin » Logged
Oaklin
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2023, 12:31:27 AM »

I found the interplay between the calming music and the oncoming hordes in the video to be quite captivating. I believe it could be even more mysterious and enchanting without the accompanying speech.
Unlike when mobilelast made a very similar comment in September, the currently linked (and only one available to watch) video does not have speech. Thanks regardless.
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Oaklin
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2023, 02:45:47 PM »

Playtest signups closed.
Game updated to Version 0.5 - Map Generation and Sound revamp. QOL, UI, Tutorial/Info improvements.

Map Generation - Multiple changes to make the procedural generation fairer in terms of game balance, and also made the exploration experience more interactive.

Sound - changed many of the effects & music clips, smoothened the start/end of music loops and applied a consistent maximum loudness cap to all clips.

UI - Visual indication of tower upgrade level, mouse & keyboard only map pan/zoom alternatives, longer/clearer mechanics tutorial and other info/guidance features.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2023, 02:27:45 PM by Oaklin » Logged
Oaklin
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2023, 08:54:17 AM »

I found a good source of feedback, and have made many improvements in version 0.5 and 0.6. The plan is to repeat this feedback & polish cycle leading up to release. Will also provide a demo as part of participation in SteamNext Feb 2024.

Version 0.6. Monster/Tower rebalancing towards fewer but stronger monster spawns, Tower models and effects revamp, Quest re-balancing, Scout Panel, sound/music revamp v3, many UI & QOL improvements

Monster/Tower rebalancing towards fewer but stronger monster spawns. Includes multiple changes to every tower upgrade path, monster stats & abilities, and some mechanics (beam upgrades).
Changed monster spawn order to random instead of by tier. Also added randomization/variety to wave design, so that each path sometimes has different monsters
All tower models replaced, including aura, projectile and impact effects. Different models when upgrading towers along each branch. Rotation to face targets. Monster targeting options added for relevant towers - first, last, close, strong, weak
Quest rebalancing - enabling both very early and late game meta-progress by giving all ‘General’ Category quests 10 levels.
Added Scouting Window, showing upcoming wave spawns as clickable bestiary icons/numbers, instead of previous text-based scouting report. Minimizable.
Sound/Music - improved transitions, quality and variety.
Main Menu makeover. Many other UI and QOL tweaks everywhere.
Animated notifications for daily summary, monster hitting base, income and spellcast.
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Oaklin
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2023, 08:48:22 PM »

Version 0.7 Illustrated in-game strategy guides, tower/monster balance, randomness balancing, 3d model and UI upgrades, sound/music revamp
Illustrated strategy (both general and tower specific) and UI guides added to codex and tutorial
Balance changes to many towers and monster types (>50% of all towers and monsters)
Randomness management - generated paths now have a ‘fairer’ range of windiness.
Players now get hints of unrevealed events if they have poor luck finding them in explore.
New paths open every 2 days instead of everyday in early game.
Improved/replaced 3d models for trees, T-junctions,map & spell event, forts and corpses.
Added / replaced many music tracks (2 new ones every 5 game days) and sound effects.
Improved many UI textures (Stats, quest, codex, bestiary etc)
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Oaklin
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2024, 03:09:41 AM »

Ver 0.81 Steam Cloud, UI Makeover, New Map Events - Scrying Stone and Ruins, Map & Spell balancing, (more) Scripted Tutorial, Scout Window enhancements, Tower/Attack/Feature color/effect enhancements, Sound (tower attack) revamp

Steam Cloud support
New splash background and icons
New button designs and font sets to match the fantasy theme
More compact UI elements/design, obscure less of map.
Improved some monster models, bestiary, spawn arrow (and other UI) images
Spell costs and effects now scale with game progress as appropriate
Right mouse click now exits/cancels most windows/actions (like ESCAPE)
Map Generation - caps path loopiness and event distribution variance for fairness
Added Ruins Feature - can be removed for 50 gold or food to become plains (for placing towers)
Added Scrying Stones feature - choice to get info on nearest treasure, lair, gold or food
Tutorial now has a fixed map and is more scripted/on-rails.
Tower, Tower Attack and Map features enhanced with differentiated colors and particle effects
Scout Window display enhanced with row-danger coloration, and resizes to match content perfectly
Quest Window display improved with summary counters and completion trophies
Tooltips - more complete, within screen, and appropriate timing/order
Sound (tower attack) revamp - improved variety, simultaneity and replaced beam attack.
Towers and Forts now turn black when destroyed.
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Oaklin
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2024, 03:11:19 AM »

Boundless Paths will be participating at Steam NextFest until 12 Feb. Free Demo available during this period.

Store page & demo link:
https://store.steampowered.com/app/2598860/Boundless_Paths/

Also updated the trailer in the opening post.
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2024, 09:30:17 PM »

looks fun
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Oaklin
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« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2024, 12:59:39 AM »

Release Version 1.0 - changes since 0.81

Large Map mode with greater challenges and modified mechanics
New: Enchant shop with 14 late game bonuses with new mechanics to purchase
Added 11 unlockable monsters, 1 unlockable fort.
Added 2 new quest sets
Steam Achievements supported
Revamped Daily summary UI and popups
A ton of UI, map, effects & QOL improvements
Monster/tower/quest/feature balancing
Many bugfixes
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Oaklin
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2024, 02:57:21 AM »

Releasing on 10th Apr 2024 on Steam with 15% launch discount
https://store.steampowered.com/app/2598860/Boundless_Paths/#:~:text=Boundless%20Paths%20on%20Steam&text=An%20Exploration%20Tower%2DDefense%20Roguelite,and%20a%20quest%2Fprestige%20system



Features include:
Procedurally generated maps, paths and waves to manage and adapt to.
Exploration to find resources and events, with multiple ‘breadcrumb’ mechanics to locate them.
Unique towers and upgrades to choose from.
Spells powered by ever larger sacrifices of life as a resource instead of just a game-over counter.
Monster variety with 9 distinct abilities, including counter attacking player towers
Strategic choices on when and where to trigger boss waves to conquer the map.
Complete challenging quests to unlock towers, spells, new bonus mechanics and a late-game enchantment shop.

Platform: Windows
Discord : https://discord.com/invite/XF3afMtZxC for news, discussions or to contact the developer. Feedback would be most welcome.
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