8-Bit Action RPG

Recently while working on my entry for the BGMC 16, I though to myself:

Wouldn’t it be fun to expand this idea. How about if you could play through as a wizard, or a barbarian? It would really change the level dynamics.

Rather than spending more time expanding my BGMC entry further it’d probably be a good idea to funnel all those new ideas in to a full new project.

Originally when I had the idea of making an RPG a few years ago, I had planned on using an 8-bit style, the “Chibi” design, with big heads and small bodies. But as I worked on it I wanted to get more realistic, more detailed. Maybe because of this, my main RPG project has got bogged down. There’s just so much content to make, so much detail required.

Maybe I need to work on something a little more fun. A little more simple.
The game I made for BGMC16 wasn’t just fun to make, it was fun to play test too.

So with that in mind, I’m going to brainstorm some ideas.
This is a kind of loose Game Design Document.

***Chibi, 8-Bit Hand Painted, roguelike, procedurally generated, tile based, RPG, dialogs, power ups, old school gameplay, Nintendo, Sega, Archetypes, Heroes, Magic, Fun, fast paced, stealth, multiple playing styles, procedural puzzles, random power-ups/power-downs, permadeath, stunned not killed, food = health, monster behavior, persistent worlds…

***Gameplay would be arcade like. Drop bombs, shoot magic missiles, pick up power-ups that sort of thing.
It would change depending on which character you use, for example the ninja drops bombs, the wizard uses magic etc…
I’m not sure if you should choose one character and play all the way through as that one, or if you should be able to switch mid game… If so what would be the mechanics of that?

As in the demo, movement is tile based and restricted to NESW directions. Movement is fairly fast paced and there will be quite a bit of tile dancing as you try to avoid an enemy so as not to deplete your ammo/mana.

Character advancement wise, there would be a kind of skill tree, or special ability tree where you can upgrade your main weapon, increase your speed, get resistance to certain enemies, gain secondary weapons or abilities etc…
Maybe you can buy more ammo for your weapons (more bombs or scrolls) or temporary bonuses such as armor which would protect you from a limited number of hits.

The mission would be collecting or eliminating something. All the gold on a dungeon level, all the mushrooms in a forest, destroying all the undead in a graveyard. Simple stuff to give you a short term goal. levels would get more difficult over time, and more advanced enemies would show up.

I want monsters to be really different in behavior and abilities. Not just a palette swap or different skin. Variations in enemy speed, alertness, intelligence, resistance to attacks and other things will all help to do this. I’ve got some plans for multiple tile monsters such as longs snakes or large dragons. I’ll see how they work in a couple of tests and decide whether it’s worth the effort to include them.

***One inspirational site I visited today was this one:
Those models in the gallery are the kind of things that I’d like to make.

For the BGMC I made some simple characters, but I’d probably use sculpting and texture painting as well as baked normals to get something more like the characters you can see in the above gallery.

For the tilesets, in the demo I used simple cubes with a texture, but I’ve used more complex multi-part tilesets in the past. I’d like to have different tilesets in the same map. So a map might be mostly caves but you find a stone room in there or part of a sewer. Levels would be procedurally generated but would be remembered and saved during a single game. As long as you don’t die the maps are persistent. So you travel through a cave to get to a sewer entrance which leads in to a city.

Over all it’d mostly be kind of hand painted textures on low poly characters and levels, but I’d like to experiment with adding detail by using baked normals in conjunction with the hand painting.

***I really like the gameplay I got from my BGMC entry, with grid based movement and an “alertness” mechanic, which means you can either sneak or fight your way through. Lots of the code already exists, but I’d like to clean it up, too much of the AI existed outside the state system in the demo, which made it much messier than it needed to be.

Game levels would be procedurally generated (random), using a basic BSP tree system, though I’d like to experiment with building some prefab areas. Enemies and items would be placed procedurally using algorithms that react to player progress making the game as hard or as easy as you feel comfortable with.

AI would use simple Closest Tile pathfinding alongside random patrolling. In the demo this worked really well, and gave the illusion of advanced AI without the calculation overlay of A*.

***I’m really intrigued by the possibility of procedurally generated stories, or random story generators.
You set out on a journey to find X. You meed A who promises to help you if you to find B, which is hidden in C, and guarded by D. You get B but in a story line twist, A turns out to be E. After dealing with E, you find F which is actually X, what you were looking for all along!!!

Or something like that :smiley:

The story would take the form of a randomly generated connectivity graph with nodes which connect in different ways.
You might visit a dungeon, or a tower, or a town where you can use your loot to upgrade your abilities.

***The to-do-list would start out with making demos of some of the above elements. The improved level builder with prefabs designer, the procedural story generator, the ability tree. I’d also need to think about which kind of character to include. I’d probably start with making some test characters, probably enemies so they can be used even if they don’t work out that great. I know the work flow I want to use for that, but I’ve only used it with hard surface modeling before, it’s be a little different to use it for organic models…

Next I’d make a working demo with just one of the characters and limited enemies/locations to get people to start playtesting and start receiving feedback. Finally I’d move on to expanding the project to include all characters, locations and enemies.

Anyway, I’ll post any progress here and see how things go.
For now anyone got any ideas for character types?
I’m trying to think of somewhat unusual archetypes, and those that don’t rely directly on hand to hand combat. They should be more kind of arcade style characters. For example the Barbarian might throw axes, the tomb raider might have a whip or a grappling hook. The necromancer might have poison daggers and the ability to create skeleton/zombie buddies from dead enemies.

Some ideas I already had:
armored warrior*, wizard, thief, ninja, pirate, barbarian, necromancer, priest, thug, tomb raider, elven archer, bard, druid…

  • I was thinking of the guy from Ghouls and Ghosts who gets knocked out of his armor when he gets hit and runs around in his underwear… :stuck_out_tongue:

Sounds like a perfect candidate to explore this set of ideas from the Three Hundred list! I really like the idea there of the player collecting cards and using those to tailor-make their rogue-like experience, to a degree.

I support this project all the way! This sort of stuff is right up my alley…

Wow this sounds really great and I’m really interested in that project. I’m researching a lot in game design right now, and I think this game could be a good project to really focus on a good design.
What I thought with the class changing in game:
I would say you have to keep the class you choose with some exceptions. Maybe at the fifth level or so, where you have played some time with your class you could find a potion to change your class. This would give the opportunity to explore the other classes or change from a class you didn’t like playing with.
Hope you keep posting updates and your ideas on the game design and such.

Well I think it’s good asset for MOTHER 3 Reboot.

I have been thinking of making all the characters as animals.
Here’s a Tiger “Epic Hero” type character. Possible attacks/abilities could be throw shield/daggers/javelin, defend with shield, hurl boulders, whirlwind attack…

The eys might look a little strange because they are sprites. They can be opened and closed or made bigger to show shock or surprise using a bone on the armature. I may make the crest a little bigger. Armor can be removed for base character.

Some other character ideas are cat rogue, rabbit wizard, frog necromancer, monkey pirate…

Enemies might be other animals, or bugs or other fantasy creatures, such as a gelatious cube.

I’ve decided there will be several races of characters around, but you should choose from 3 types of tiger for now.
The warrior I’ve already shown, here’s also the wizard (in green) and the rogue (with the crossbow).

I’m going to reuse some of the monsters I made for my roguelike project (such as giant spiders and wasps), as well as making some new ones.

Great models and a good idea with animals
Eyes are nice

More cats…
Cats seem to be very popular on the internet, and I’ve always liked cats myself, so why not exploit the lovability of cats? :smiley:

There will be other animals, as I’ve said, but I’m working with a base mesh and armature to make some variety of a single character type.
Maybe I’ll start off with cat land and expand from there once I’ve got the cat type missions working well.

My ideas about gameplay have been shifting, I’ve been thinking of having a single character class, but change your abilities by picking up different kinds of gear:

  • Throwing knives, slow and not very damaging, but a weapon is better than nothing.
  • Crossbow. Better than throwing knives.
  • Magic shield. Can be thrown or used in self defense against missile attacks. If you throw it, you can watch it bounce back and forth between walls maybe… or it has to be picked up after you throw it.
  • ice/fire/acid magic staff.
  • Bombs…

With each of these except the shield I can imagine you can pick up a weapon and use it until it expires. Maybe you could switch between weapons you still have ammo for? Your tactics would have to change on the fly, depending on what items are available. Different power-ups could permanently or temporarily increase your performance with one item, like throwing three knives at once, or being able to kick bombs or firing flaming crossbow bolts.

There’s also the potential to use other items not directly combat related, such as smoke bombs (teleport you out of trouble) or different types of potions.

Maybe you could have a few item slots, so you can’t just store everything, but have to choose what to carry with you. I liked the way in CRAZYBOMBNINJA you couldn’t store power pills but had to use them right away, forcing you to lure enemies towards them. But maybe it would be more fun to have them selectable. Perhaps there could be two kinds, scrolls and potions. Scrolls can be saved for later, while potions are used instantly.

Whoa… looks great! Love the cats. Hope this turns into something great!

Low resolution games usually are easier to make as they don’t require smooth physics. You also don’t need very perfect animations, they should more look like bouncy. Good luck:)

Nearly finished populating the world of cats! :slight_smile:
Bring on the undead cats!

Unlike the demo characters are going to have two movement modes, wandering and alerted. When alerted they will move much quicker, so they will be more dangerous. Wandering characters will have a “spotting” timer, so they won’t see you immediately, but after a second or so, this should give you a chance to be more stealthy. Spotting progress will be shown using icons like in the demo.


Just great! Keep it coming.

Cool models

Just for fun, can you make a futuristic fat cat in a tattered high class smoking jacket? with a google glass type monocle/DBZ power level meter?

well, it’s just the basic characters for now. :slight_smile:

Later I’m thinking of expanding gameplay in to a kind of Steampunk area, Maybe steampunk rabbits :slight_smile: Clockwork and Rabbits just seems to gel doesn’t it?

For now I’ve got the cats all done, I’ve made them so they can share outfits, so when placing an NPC I can choose a random NPC skin and give them a random outfit.

There are good cats and bad cats, two 512x512 textures and one armature to be shared by all.
I plan on generating a town with some merchants and other NPCs to give out quests and then the quests themselves. Things like bring back 12 rats from the swamp or find 5 blue diamonds in the temple ruins etc… There will be points within the main town where you can travel to other scenes, like the temple ruins. As I further develop the game I can add more travel points to lead to other locations, perhaps a new base town with new NPCs once you’ve completed all the starting quests. I want a game I can build a little at a time, adding new monsters, new combat mechanics and new locations one at a time, while hopefully all the old stuff remains playable to people wanting to test the game.

I’m looking for more interesting game mechanics for combat, I’ve already considered a boomerang, and a grappling hook, as well as a giant potion which makes you huge so you can crush your enemies. Any other ideas for potions or weapons?

weak weapon that bounces off walls.

bear trap,

a snare that you set where the trap is, and where it pulls them to?

enviromental traps that you can use your abilities with?

like snare pull enemy into crush trap…

I like the sound of a bear trap! Maybe I can do an animation of the kitty flying up in the air with it snapping at its tail. :slight_smile:

A snare would be good too. I’m thinking of items and weapons which work together, the snare holds them in place while you can blow them up with a bomb.

Looks great I like the detail!
I am curious as to what happened to your previous sci-fi game?

I liked the models a lot for your sci fi game :smiley:

It’s still around but hard to work on right now. I don’t have much free time so it’s difficult to keep all the story lines straight in my head. I’ll go back to it when I’m not so busy.

I want something more simple and modular that I can pick up and put down easily. :slight_smile: