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.
CODING AND AI
***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
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…