Wednesday 9 July 2008


Let's first go back to discussion about traps. The first problem is that even if not harmful random traps are just too random. They make the game world look like a random generic place which I think it not good. Then Numeron said something interesting: "even damage traps can be used to get monsters to walk over when chasing the player."

Then why monsters can't set traps for the player, making the same mechanism work against the player? It's because setting traps is hero exclusive. The traditional or high fantasy design is based on the myth of hero, who is some way more gifted than anyone else in the world. In fact this design is familiar from the first computer games like Pacman who can eat pills and use the magic power of that big special pill. And how about Link from Zelda-series? He can use the master sword to beat evil monsters. That design is like a lock and key, they both must exist.

But what if the hero didn't have any special skills? It would pretty much also remove the lock or high fantasy evil & big monsters. Well, maybe not if there are other ways to defeat them, but I guess it requires more original design and therefore rarely used in games.

One of the important hero exclusives is magic. It's probably the most commonly used exclusive and that's why many role-playing games can't be won without magic. Sometimes wizards become more powerful than fighter characters, because magic in entire form is hero exclusive. Some monsters can use magic, but it's usually restricted for tactical reasons, so that the player can prepare for the spells and have a key for them.

The obvious problem in low fantasy is then how to make the player character survive in the first place? It's an interesting question and from my point of view it's so much better than following the same old road of high fantasy. Everything feels new and you can expect to have gameplay balance issues that need to be solved in some clever way.

Wednesday 2 July 2008

Frozen Depths 1.03

Frozen Depths is a roguelike written by Glowie. It has a cold world theme, but I didn't have time to notice the effect of cold since I died in the first level. I think the coldness is a gameplay clock, but I'm not sure.

A distinctive feature is the large number of floor traps. This I always thought was bad design, because you usually can't avoid traps unless you search after every step. Searching while moving is so annoying that I never do that. Floor traps make you wonder how the native inhabitans of the level ever survive. Do they all know where the traps are?

In my main project Kaduria game objects are trapped, so when you handle something you can be sure that it's your fault if you didn't check for traps. There are floor traps also but I plan to create them on specific levels that are trapped for a reason so you know there are traps. Or if traps are found elsewhere they are in obvious places (guarding something etc.) I believe that only the player's wrong actions should lead to death and there should be less random accidents that has nothing to do with how good you are as player.

Tuesday 1 July 2008

The cave

New screenshot from Teemu:

It's a cave. But, there is something different in this cave. It's not just any cave, it's there for a reason. The inhabitants of the cave made it like that. It's a functional cave and a real part of the game world. This small difference made me think "why, of course..." If you create a random level with random monsters that has no other function than be a level, it's going to be poor.

A new feature is unexplored tiles shown in dark grey color. It makes navigating easier when you see what areas you have visited and makes a clear distinction between floors and walls that are obstructed by the field of vision.