Heroic Fisticuffs!

Here's a place where I talk about games, applications, websites, and other things that I make for fun. Mostly roguelikes. And pirates. And robots. Since my domain is hard to spell you probably came here on purpose.

Welcome to my underground lair

Hardpointe is set on the asteroid lair of an evil robotic overlord - conveniently enough these lairs are surprisingly similar to dungeons. A bit.

Level design is the great time sink of every roguelike developer. I have a system that I've developed over the years (mostly for my 2014 7DRL dungeon dual) that I call the floorplan approach, which basically smashes a bunch of rectangles together. Once you have rectangles, you can easily convert them into rectangular rooms, or other shapes (cross-rooms, ovals, etc.) that will still fit within that bounding rectangle.

For Hardpointe, I have brushed off this algorithm and cleaned it up a bit to make it less wasteful. I am rather liking the results so far.

While level design is great, what I really want to get to is 'lock and key' style puzzle rooms. Think of the key rooms in brogue, or the linked challenges in Unexplored. Or zelda. In any event, Tom Ford did a lot of work around this in his 2014 7DRL TraumaRL and then did a great talk on his approach.

In order to accomplish this, I first needed a more intelligent level designer - one that kept track of separate rooms as if they were nodes on a graph. I had to brush off a part of my brain that hadn't been used since CS classes many years ago, but got a working tree structure that should suit my needs.

I used treant.js to display the resulting graphs.



This first one corresponds with the above dungeon output.

Red nodes/rooms represent the longest (or one of the longest) paths in the level. In most cases, the entrance point will be at the top of the tree and the ending point will be at the deepest node of the tree.

Gray nodes are flagged as "dead ends" in that they have only one connecting room. This makes them great candidates for locked rooms, special challenges (and rewards) that will give the player a reason to explore the entirety of the level, should they choose to.

Here are a few more because I like them:






Heads up

Finally have a working heads up display (HUD) - one of my requirements for releasing an actual playable version of the game. I really want to keep the screen as uncluttered as possible, but at the same time allow players to get the tactical information they need. In general, all monsters have 1 hp and the behaviors are unique, so there is a lot of information that should be conveyed just from playing a few times.




Other important things to know are status effects, and whatever items or unique terrain is near you. (e.g. is that radiation?)


The code to get this working was actually really fun to write.

Other things tackled this week were 'conveyed' flags. Certain powers can now convey flags such as flight, or radiation resistance. In earlier versions I was doing this quite messily - lots of room for error when power systems were being installed or uninstalled. Now it flows quite naturally.

This is important because at some point I plan on adding 'challenge rooms' that require you to sacrifice one of your power slots for an otherwise useless power. For example, there is a really amazing item inside the next system of rooms, but the rooms are irradiated. Fortunately, there is a system near-by that conveys radiation resistance - but you'll have to temporarily sacrifice something else in order to install it. What you choose to do away will may make the next couple rooms harder, depending on what's inside of them.