Cash Castle: Success but maybe Fail?

PICO-8_10

Sooo, I totally got the dates of this year’s 7drl wrong. I got the 12th – 15th off thinking the last of 7drl was the 15th! I submitted my game anyway for the heck of it.

I got a lot of stuff accomplished, including getting a menu system working for dialogue, getting a procedural system that makes use of both random and pre-designed chunks of map, creatures that have different likes/dislikes and will go after either cash or the creatures they hate, depending on how they feel, and a sort of fog of war visual effect that I really like. Plus I made a sweet title screen with music 🙂

It is a high score game, you must get as much cash as possible.

 

Cash Castle Day 1

PICO-8_1 (4)

Today is my first day officially working on Cash Castle for 7DRL! I’m making it in pico8, the beautiful, limited fantasy console made by lexaloffle.

Cash Castle is going to be a weird roguelike about feelings, in which you hire interns to go make cash for you in the deadly and wildly varied environments around the Cash Castle. It is going to broadly procedural. The enemies and terrain and flavour text and just about everything will be generated at the start of the game. One of the challenges when playing the game will be figuring out the behaviour and appearances of the generated enemies.

I spent the last couple weeks getting a basic roguelike engine up and running in pico8 to form a good base to start from.  It has a grid system that loads pre-designed chunks of map from the ROM, simple text graphics, movement, collision, basic attacks, and a few other essential roguelike features.

Today I implemented an inventory system.

PICO-8_6

When completed the inventory will be fairly simple, basically just a stack that keeps piling items up on top of each other. Only the last item you picked up will be available for use.

I also implemented an exit item, which transports the player to a new level when they step on it.

Stuff I have to do:

  • Implement more enemy and item types. You will be able to buy potions and maybe other stuff with your cash and use them for abilities based on your feelings.
  • Design the levels. Most of the rooms in the game will be hand-designed, with a few randomly generated elements, so I’m going to have to put some work into that to make the rooms at least a bit interesting.
  • Implement a system for using items in your inventory. Right now you can only pick up items, but can’t use them.
  • Organize code. At the moment the code for generating and controlling actors is a bit of a mess, and will only get messier as I develop. I’ll need to figure out a system that will be a bit more modular.
  • A bunch of other stuff I can’t think of.

Anyways, I’m excited, because this is my second 7DRL and I feel like I’ve learned a lot since last year, and I have a fairly clear idea of how the game is going to be, so it will be a fun process!

Ashley Pringle

Stay Strong (Success!)

THE GAME

Here’s the game: http://devarnodick.itch.io/stay-strong

staystrong

(This is a gif, click on it to see the game in action)

It’s an experimental, minimalist survival roguelike with a few simple mechanics. You can move with the arrow keys, and you can smash walls and enemies by collecting exclamation points and bumping into them. The goal is to escape the deadly forest without being killed by its bloodthirsty inhabitants.

BACKGROUND

I hadn’t planned on making a 7DRL. In fact, I didn’t even know the event was upcoming. By sheer luck I happened to be working on an ASCII game called Road Drivin’ in GameMaker (which I may still finish) and it made the perfect base for a roguelike. When I found out about 7DRL I decided to backburner Road Drivin’ for a week and crank out a quick game.

I had been messing around with Road Drivin’ for a while, implementing mechanics like blood pools that leave a trail when you walk through them, basic chase AI, smashable terrain, and so on, so I had a pretty good foundation to work from.

ROUGH DEV STAGES

  1. Added a bit of code to convert the game from real time to turn based
  2. Added the exclamation point pickups
  3. Put in a few debug features so I could quickly test new features
  4. Added randomly placed enemies and items
  5. Added an endgame feature with a rudimentary scoring system.

If you’d like to see the actual development of the code, I uploaded each feature commit to github: https://github.com/arnodick/staystrong

FINAL IMPRESSIONS

The dev stages above don’t sound like much, but the devil is in the details as they say. There were a few nights where I was up late trying to get procedural enemy generation working without crazy crashes, and even one night where I stayed up until 3:30AM trying to implement an external file system for loading levels from text files, only to fail. As a result, the static rooms are completely hard coded with conditionals.

There were a lot of ideas I didn’t get to implement that I think would make Stay Strong into a pretty deep game, but I’ll have to wait and see if it gets any positive feedback before I commit myself to it.

Making Stay Strong for 7DRL was a lot of hard work in a short time, but it was a great experience. I had been feeling a bit guilty about just cleaning up the engine code of Road Drivin’ without actually making a game, and 7DRL was the perfect motivator for getting a game done without too much worry about polish.

Hope you enjoy it!

Love, Ashley Pringle