Archive for October, 2007
I’m in the middle of exams so I haven’t done much programming on Caverns of Underkeep. This will pick up once exams are done and I have more time to devote to the project.
Meanwhile, I’ve created some of the monsters that are going to be in the first release of underkeep. (Due Jan 2008) The first release is only going to be a testing release and contains the first two levels of the dungeon.
Hopefully I’ll be able to find an artist when the time is right who can make lots more monsters, and items and stuff (and a nice UI) – So I can concentrate on the programming.
Well here are my monsters
I drew these in paint.net
And here is a x2 zoom
(Yes, those are supposed to be skeletons)
In Roguelike jargon there is a term called ‘YASD’ or ‘Yet Another Stupid Death’ Which is basically something sucky that happens that causes your character to die. For example drinking an unidentified potion which turns out to kill you, or falling into a trap that you didn’t see whilst on 1 HP.
Most roguelikes have permadeath – Once your character dies, that’s it. No restoring from saves. Not all roguelikes are like this though and some are a little more forgiving and don’t wipe your save game from the hard disk when you die.
I’ve thought of a very simple way to combat YASD in my roguelike game, but I’m not sure if I’m going to implement it because it might make the game too easy. And that’s the autosave feature, whenever you go up or down in the dungeon the game is automatically saved and when you die the game is restored from the last save point.
I remember Half-life doing autosave particularly well. And saved me from alot of annoying tedium of playing through parts I’ve already played through.
Of course – I could always make autosaving an option that the player could choose to use. A ‘Normal’ mode that allows restores when you die and an ‘Ironman’ mode which features permadeath.
Each gamemode would have it’s own set of scoreboards of course. I wonder what other kind of optional game modes Caverns of Underkeep could have?
Or more to the point how long should my Roguelike be?
Nethack is huge and has something like 50 levels. Castle of the Winds – which is one of the main inspirations for my Roguelike has 20 levels per title (parts one and two) and takes quite a while to get to the end. If I remember correctly, it takes me more than a day or two to finish?
But I’m seriously considering going with a much lesser number. I’m thinking 6 levels of depth.
Remember ‘Caverns’ is played in a browser and there is no easy way to save your game. (I have thought of one way but it would probably be a bit too much work to implement.) So I figure that – assuming the player doesn’t die, they should be able to complete the game in 2-3 hours, ie an evening’s worth of play.
Lets also assume that they die a few times before they figure the game out.
And given that the game is randomly generated and lets say they like the game, they play it twice.
So I figure – very roughly, that the average person will probably get about 8 hours of enjoyment out of the game.
I think 8 hours is a pretty good number for a good free game.