Day whatever

Posted in tinyheist


Still working on my roguelike! Although for various reasons, I lost a lot of momentum on it this week. Oh well!

I have a pretty clear idea of what a complete version of this game looks like, now – most of it spelled out here. This week, I mostly worked on the level generation, which turned out to be a pretty huge problem to do right. I’ve made an editor (pictured above!) to pre-design a bunch of tiny segments of levels, which the game will then put together in an interesting way.

I’m not yet at a point where this approach is making levels which are more interesting that the thing I hacked together on day one – but I believe that if I stick with it, this will eventually lead to making levels that are really, really great.

I promised to give a talk at this year’s A-MAZE festival – which is not a thing I do very often. (My last talk was more than two years ago). I’m planning to talk about the making of this game, doing a day by day blow of how it came together. So, finishing this by A-MAZE is the new deadline, I guess! Hopefully it’ll be done a lot sooner than that, though.

Right so, back to work!


Right! What’s next?


Yay! So, the week’s over, and my seven day roguelike is now just a roguelike. What happens next?

I’m still planning to keep this game pretty small – it may not be a 7 day roguelike anymore, but I’m not planning to let it get too far into double digits. It’s definitely tempting to let this grow into a big elaborate thing – but this is literally my first ever roguelike, and I feel like I’d learn more by finishing it than by endlessly tweaking it. I have bigger ideas for future things. This was just a warm up!

Here’s what I’m gonna work on next:

Better level generation!

The current dungeon level generator is a thing I hacked together in day one – sometimes it kinda works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m gonna do a lot of work on making that better. I think a lot of problems in the game (guards getting trapped in little rooms, corridors that you can’t see the end of) aren’t problems with the enemy design; they’re problems with the level design. And they’re very fixable.

More enemies!

I basically can’t have enough enemies in the game, I think. If I want this to be longer, then I need a lot more enemy variety – also, bosses!

More items? Possibly also less items!

There’s definitely room for more interesting weapons and items, but also probably less? Having a bigger selection of stuff to try out will give me a better idea of the stuff that just isn’t any fun. Like, the dagger, for example – it’s way too overpowered, and using it makes the game a lot less fun to play. I’m also not so sure about the sniper rifle – although I think the pistol is great!

A better inventory system!

I think part of playing the larger, framing game around the levels is going to be making decisions about what’s in your inventory – so I’ll probably make that whole system better – and by better, I mean more restrictive. I want people to make decisions like having to leave behind first aid kits so they have enough room to bring a fire extinguisher, etc etc. Also, playing around with a hunger mechanic…

Finish the overworld!

In theory, the overworld should be difficult to transverse, and somewhere you spend as little time on as possible. It should also be as varied and fun as the levels themselves. The fire people are the start of that, I think.

Overall structure stuff!

I wanna quickly get this to a point where you can play through from start to finish – which means having some concrete GOALS. There’s a bunch of work to be done in making sure all that works…


Er, *cough*, forget I said that. There will definitely not be any secrets in this game.


7DRL 2015, Day 5


Here’s day five’s build!

[Play Online]

Today didn’t go quite as well as the last few, but progress is being made! I made a start on the framing world around the levels – a lot of that was background structural work, so there’s not a lot of exciting new content to see today – but I can fill things out with real content tomorrow.

Nearly at the point where I’ll admit to myself that this will take longer than seven days to finish. Not there yet, though.


7DRL 2015, Day 4


Yesterday’s build was pretty rough. Today’s is much better!

[Play Online]

Today I mostly worked on enemies! Yesterday there was only one – today there’s seven! I also fixed a bunch of inventory bugs, and massively improved the level generator. It’s getting to the point where you can sorta play it!

It’s tempting to stick with enemy and item design for the next few days, since that’s most of what makes the game fun, but I think I wanna change direction a bit and work on making a larger world for the game. I see this as a bigger thing with a hub world, shops, and some overall missions… That’s a lot with just three days to go, but things are going pretty well so far, so…


7DRL 2015, Day 2


This is going well! This whole zero polish ASCII graphics approach is refreshing – it’s really nice to be able to just have an idea for a thing to add and then, 10 minutes later, it’s in the game and I’m playing with it.

Alright, as promised: a brief overview of what this is: I’m really into roguelike design, but I’ve actually done very little of it. Figured it was time to change that.

One particular idea I’ve wanted to play with for a long time now is turn based stealth – it’s a thing that sounds really good in theory, but I’ve never really been able to get it to work in practice. So, this game is all about trying out stuff in that direction, and seeing what works.

Should have a playable build tomorrow, all going well!


7DRL 2015, Day 1


Back from GDC! I’m so sleepy D:

So, I’m working on a new thing! I’ve kinda left it too late to do anything “official” for this year’s seven day roguelike (which, annoyingly, almost always clashes with GDC – or in this case, GDC jetlag), but I feel like making a roguelike, and I feel like spending about seven days doing it, so who cares about the jam deadline?

I don’t have a good track record for finishing roguelikes – I always get caught up on stupid unimportant details. This time, I’m trying a different approach – zero polish. I’m using ASCII, I’m doing a rough implementation of everything, and just trying to get as many ideas down as possible – if I discover anything fun, I’ll poke at it a bit further.

Will talk about the actual mechanics I’m trying tomorrow, once I’ve made a bit more progress. Don’t want any ideas to crystallise just yet.