Thursday, March 7, 2013

7DRL 2013 day 0: Intro to TriQuest!

So I'm going to be participating in the 7DRL challenge again. If you don't know what 7DRL is, it's 7 Day Roguelike, where "roguelike" is a genre of single player adventure/roleplaying game with minimal graphics and intricate gameplay mechanics. The goal of the 7DRL challenge is to write a roguelike in 7 days. No prizes or anything (apart from some neat logos you can put on your blog or whatever), but it's fun to build a game and play the games that other folks build. I've participated four times before, and succeeded twice; you can see my completed games on my website: - Decimation, my 2009 entry, a very simple game where you're the number zero and you use math to eliminate the other numbers. - Smash Arena, my 2010 entry, an arena battle game where you try to knock enemies out of the arena; the more you damage them, the further they fly when you hit them, sort of like in Super Smash Bros.

I also participated in 2008 (tried to make a game called Rogue Battalion that had driveable vehicles, but got in over my head since it was my first time) and 2011 (tried to make a game called Into the Darkness that was a metaphor for spreading the Gospel, but was too busy with work). I didn't participate in 2012 because I didn't have any good ideas for games that year.

But this year I've got an idea! A bit ambitious, but if I plan it out, I think I can accomplish it. My idea is called TriQuest, and basically it's a hybrid roguelike and turn based tactics game. Instead of controlling one character, you control three - a Warrior, a Mage, and a Priest. Now there have been other roguelikes where you control multiple characters, but these have always either had you controlling one character directly, with an AI controlling the others, or required you to move each character in turn. My idea simplifies the mechanics a bit, while adding a new level of tactics to the genre.

You know how in roguelikes, it's one character or monster per tile? Well, in TriQuest, this rule no longer holds. Each tile will be split up into nine subtiles arranged in a 3x3 grid (hmm, like the numpad? how convenient!), and you can arrange your three heroes in a formation in any way you like (using the numpad of course). Monsters, too, will appear in formation. You might run up against a squad of up to nine goblins!

I haven't got all the mechanics worked out quite yet, but I do have a few ideas on how they will work. For instance, I think that weapons will have a "length" or "range" attribute. This range will be measured in subtiles, and attacking a monster outside of your weapon's range (say, from the back of the formation) will reduce your accuracy and/or damage. Of course, hanging out at the back of the formation will protect you from monsters' attacks in the same way (assuming they don't have long-range weapons), so it's sort of like Final Fantasy with the front and back rows. Except that monsters can attack you from all four sides, so you'll have to adjust your formation on the fly to deal with threats from every direction! I'm thinking there might also be an additional penalty (or maybe even inability to attack, but also inability to be attacked except by area of effect spells) for hiding directly behind another character.

Also, I was thinking of having not the traditional "dungeon levels", but instead a sprawling Zelda-style overworld with a gradient noise mapped "threat level", with the final boss lurking at the maximal point on the noise map. You might be fleeing from some level 3 monsters, and unwittingly stumble into a level 4 zone... eek!

So, what's the plan? Well, here it is:

  1. Saturday: Map generation
  2. Sunday: Heroes and movement
  3. Monday: Monsters
  4. Tuesday: Combat
  5. Wednesday: Magic and skills
  6. Thursday: Items and weapons
  7. Friday: Polish, testing, and bugfixes
Oh, and technically I guess this post should be titled "day -1", since today's Thursday, but whatever... :)