Thursday, August 09, 2012

Features and creep

Given my time and resource limitations I’m going to have to try to be strict with myself as to what I’m trying to accomplish and what features I’m going to try to include.

One of the reasons my previous attempt at a roguelike stalled early on was because I tried to do too much. I was trying (and failing) to play Adom and I was really impressed by the open world feel of it, so also influenced by games like Baldur’s gate and Morrowind I tried to make an open world/dungeon crawling sandbox. Cue lots of bloated design documents and a model/data object directory with over one hundred different objects. It’s didn’t go very far.

To avoid this fate I’m going to try to keep a tight rein on the list of features I can support.

This is a list of some of the features I want to include in the game.
  • An easy to use, casual friendly interface. Gameplay should also be simple enough, at least initially for players who have never played a roguelike to understand and enjoy the game. This is the number one, non-negotiable feature.
  • A tutorial to get new users into the game.
  • No open world. It will be a pure dungeon crawling game, though I would like there to be some route branching.
  • Levels will be randomly generated, but I want to use several different methods to give different levels different feels.
  • Traps, chests, teleporters, switches, keys.
  • Auto explore. This could be a biggy, but I believe it will make a huge difference, especially in a mobile game.
  • Multiple different play styles and build paths possible, even if they’re just variations on the standard rogue/wizard/warrior builds.
  • Abilities that can reposition or add status effects to characters, to add tactical choice.
  • Card based abilities/stat system.
  • Tile based art. I’m thinking more DCSS than dredmor. I don’t have the time/funds to have animation but it has to be more immediate and intuitive than asci.
  • Cool items and equipment with different stats and abilities that make the players make a choice – no best items. Also some abilities target tiles with traps/status effect/dots etc. 
  • Only basic potions and scrolls – mostly ‘oh shit’ crutches.
  • Enough different monsters to be interesting and varied.
  • Monsters that don't either just come up to you and hit you, or stand back and shoot you.
  • Different damage types, with corresponding resistances and themes.
  • Must have some pathfinding, since it will be in effect mouse controlled.
  • Some kind of online scoreboard system.
  • No religions/races etc - another thing to balance and I'm already so low on time.
  • No crafting.
  • I would love to have multiple languages, so I'm going to try to build it in a way that would make this possible at some point without too much pain. I'm not planning on have more than English in my initial build though.
Actually, looking at all this, I'm clearly crazy. I probably can spend 2-3 months on this full time before I'm going to have to start whoring myself out for freelance work, and this is a list that I wouldn't feel comfortable promising a client given double that time. When you add to the fact that I haven't done much mobile work before and time for testing/balancing etc I'm going to have to cut this all down drastically.

I think what I'll do it carry on with my spare time planning and groundwork so that when my contract finishes and I start on it full time I have a running start, then see how I'm doing 4-6 weeks in. Then I can make some difficult choices and try cut it down to something I can actually finish. 

I hope.

No comments: