Force of Nature – 7DRL 2016 Success & Postmortem

Force of nature is a fast-paced bump-and-run combat roguelike with added mechanic where you regrow burned forest tiles to get healing (so terrain serves as somewhat limited resource).

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Play in browser or download

 

What went good:

  • Some preparation: 1-page long feature list was prepared during a week before the start of the challenge. Also, I extracted level generation, FOV/LOS and AI/pathfinding modules from some of my derelict projects.
  • Unity 2D and C#: I’m in no way professional with either, but I had absolutely no problems with getting things done the way I wanted them to be done. Also, Unity offers almost seamless ability to build your project for the variety of platforms, with most important of them being WebGL.

 

What went bad:

  • 64×64 tiles: They are just too big. In order to have sight range of 6 for your PC you need to have a vertical row of at least 13 tiles – which is 832 pixels, taking most of available vertical space on most popular displays (even more critical for web version). I should have gone with 48×48.
  • Balance: This is what you get by leaving important stuff until the last 2 days. Random bosses are too random and on early levels they can become almost unbeatable. Stumbling into level boss too early, combined with huge difficulty spike between levels could spell certain doom for the player early in the game. Unfortunately, most of these problems could not be guessed from calculations alone and require intensive playtesting to find.

 

What went ugly:

  • Hand-drawn and scanned sprites: I wanted to create a game with graphic tiles and I have absolutely no experience with digital art. So I just drew almost all the tiles and sprites on paper and scanned them.

 

What was left on cutting room floor:

  • Some decorations to make levels a bit less boring, like tree stumps, flowers and mushrooms.
  • “Oh shit!” active ability (either full heal or teleport to the start of the level or something like this)
  • Wearable items in the form of beads.
  • Passive ability to summon friendly mobs to assist you in combat. Not just mobs, but bees. Angry bees. SUMMONED ANGRY TROLL-EATING BEES FROM HELL. This one I miss the most.

 

I’m generally happy with what I managed to implement, although in the future I need to spend less time on the UI and much more on balance and content.

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