Lava Walker – post mortem

Hi, I’m Volute, and with my partner Ygwee, who does the gamedesign, we’ve participated in the 7DRL for the second time. Last time we did Depths of Tuzua, an attempt of a multiplayer rogue-like. Implementing the multiplayer aspect took a lot of time and we weren’t able to add the features we had in mind. We didn’t do a multiplayer game this time.

The other thing that was different from last time is that we worked with Pixelatedcrown, who did the pixel art. I usually do the graphics and it was awesome not to have to worry about them at all and focus only on adding features. It saved us a lot of time.

Here’s the game we did: Lava Walker

Lava Walker

It’s a rogue-like with RPG elements where you play on an hex grid. You have a quest: you need to save your village from an evil dragon who’s raising an army in a volcano. The volcano is surrounded by lava, and the only way to go there and fight the dragon is to find an ancient relic that enables humans to walk on lava. Your quest will take you to 4 areas, 3 of them being ancient worlds populated by several families dangerous beings. You’ll loot more and more powerful stuff. You’ll be able to trade for arrows and potions with the locals, and also for magic spells. There are 9 of them, but you can equip only 3 at the same time, so you have to make a choice.

Lava Walker

We initially wanted to have a world that changes depending on what the player does, we wanted to implement a minimal artificial intelligence for the NPC so that they’re affected by the player’s decisions, but we quickly realized that it wouldn’t be possible in such a short time frame. Maybe in an extended version 🙂

Other than that, everything went very well. We try to participate in a lot of jams and it’s starting to pay off. My developpment speed has vastly improved and I’m able to keep my focus over longer periods of time. In the last 7DRL, I learned how to make a basic procedural dungeon generation, and it saved me a lot of time this year. In another jam (Ludum Dare), I learned how to make a procedural map generation based on perlin noise, which also helped me.

Lava Walker
a funny bug at the beginning of the jam

I used a lot of collaborative diffusion. It was quick and helpful in many ways: pathfinding, light diffusion, spawn of monsters around a dungeon, NPC placement… I wish there was more to read about it on the internet, it seems like an interesting concept. I’ve only been able to use it for basic stuff so far.

Lava Walker
another funny bug

Another thing that saved development time is using Flash. It’s a great prototyping tool. Building UI is something I don’t like to do, because there’s a lot of graphic assets manipulation and placement, but Flash makes it quick and painless. Put everything in a Movieclip and you’re good to go 🙂

Lava Walker
the big UI movieclip

A thing that went wrong is that I develop a custom system for managing the tilemap in order to avoid lag and memory issues on big maps, and this system proved tedious when I wanted to add small animations for the spells that move the player (sprint, charge…).

It was a great experience to participate in the 7DRL again and we hope you’ll like the game!

Play Lava Walker

Author: StormAlligator

Hi ! We’re Isabelle (Volute) and Thomas (Ygwee). StormAlligator is our indie game studio. We’ve made Mission in Space, Tinysasters, Lucas’s Quest Backwards and Demons vs Fairyland, and we’re working on a new game ! Website | Facebook | Twitter

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