But wait! I haven't given up. I just needed some time and some ideas to remake my vision in to something that:
A: I can finish.
B: Is actually fun.
So read on for the next chapter in the development hell of:
TREASURES OF THE DEEP DWELLERS!
This time last year I took a break from this project since it was wearing me down.
I realized I was making a game for me, with stuff that I liked. But which I would probably never play.
What I really wanted to do was capture some of the excitement and joy of playing an RPG / Roguelike for the first time...
And package that as something that modern players would actually find enjoyable.
So it's clearly time to start over.
Where do I go from here then?
Well, one idea I had was for making the game real time, and grid based.
I've made two complete games lately using this system, so it seems to improve my productivity anyway. Everything is just so much simpler.
But single tile grids give too much of a blocky feeling that real world players complained about. I decided to make the grids more granular.
So now a default agent takes up a 2x2 chunk of the grid. They still move one square at a time though. You can see the debug function showing which squares are occupied by the agent. I talked a little about how I did this in an earlier blog post.
The system makes it easy to scale up agents to 3x3 or even 4x4. A giant spider, a dragon or daemon perhaps? This is something I've wanted in the game from the very beginning. Different size monsters really add a great deal to an RPG. If everyone is human sized it gets boring fast.
Pathfinding has also been greatly simplified. I found a nice form of dumb AI which makes for quite interesting encounters, as the characters spend behave more unpredictably.
The basic premise is that monsters will try to get closer to a seen enemy and will not backtrack until they get stuck. It's like water running downhill. It just keeps draining down until it gets blocked and then it tries to find a way around. Eventually it can overflow and fill backwards.
The most important point is that it allows for a large number of agents working in real time with no noticeable logic drain. So it's great for a python based game.
You might wonder why I chose 2x2 as the default character size. Why not 1x1? Well I'm saving that size for smaller creatures, like rats or insects which can swarm through small gaps... You can imagine the small creatures darting in, making an attack and running away again. Better pack a crossbow on this adventure!
Overall the game is going to be simpler. It's aimed at teenagers or kids playing a classic RPG for the first time. I want to make it fun. I want the thrill of an arcade game with some of the deeper options of an RPG.
Essentially though I want to get it finished! I'm going to be focusing on game play and functionality. No more wasted time on graphics which I might or might not use!
(Final last words of an artist!!)