Undeath and Taxis: Success

Dropping off a militia member to fortify a house
Dropping off a militia member to fortify a house

Drive militia members from headquarters to fortify farm houses around the countryside. Run over hordes of zombies on the way. Don’t slow down in reach of them! A damaged car can be replaced by looking for other abandoned vehicles, or repaired by following radio beacons to hidden supply bunkers.

2017 is my third 7DRL challenge. I have so much fun doing this! It’s turning into a highlight of my year. In many ways this is a continuation of the Goblin Gold 7DRL I did two years ago. I started from that code and several mechanics remain (the bunkers are a straightforward reskin, for instance). One big change is the switch from a wrapping hex grid to a non-wrapping square grid.

For a long time I have wanted to make a game based on Steve Jackson’s Triplanetary board game, which has you flying a spaceship around the solar system. It has an acceleration mechanic, where each turn you modify last turn’s move by up to one hex in any direction. Really it’s the same thing as the old graph-paper racetrack game.

Approaching an abandoned cabin surrounded by zombies
Approaching an abandoned cabin surrounded by zombies

After having trouble figuring out how to make space fun, I went with the car-driving angle. That took a fair amount of work to make usable; it still didn’t do great with my testers. Since I did not have time to make NPC drivers I reworked the enemies from the Goblin Gold game, which suggested a zombie theme. They collect into hordes but they avoid the path of the oncoming car, so you have to swerve to hit them. There are curving roads to support fast driving and different vehicles that handle on-road and off-road driving in various ways.

ThiefRL 2: Success

You are a thief raiding courtyard mansions. Avoid the guards, steal the loot, get out. Download the Windows executable or read the dev blog.


You cannot hurt the guards so you have to avoid them. They have senses of sight and hearing. You gain distance from pursuing guards by either leaping out of one-way windows, or cutting diagonally around corners. Guards cannot do either of those things.

I had a travel conflict the first part of the week so I started Wednesday morning and finished Sunday night. Because of the shortened schedule I used some existing stealth gameplay I’d developed previously and focused on two goals: coming up with a random level generator to support it, and doing some story-telling. I completely failed at the latter goal, but I did manage to come up with a reasonable level generator.

This game largely reuses code. The engine is shared with last year’s entry, Goblin Gold, and the dungeon generator started from one I’d developed when trying to come up with random starships. The gameplay came from ThiefRL; I stripped a lot of features out to try and streamline the game though. No lock-picking mini-game, for instance.

Goblin Gold (success)


My first 7DRL. Goblins guard treasure chests in the wilderness; retrieve them.

The game is primarily built around a single mechanic: the goblins will not stand alone against you. They gather around out of your range until there are two or more of them who can rush you, to try to guarantee they can do some damage.

To attack them without being injured in return you have to arrange things so that, when you kill one of the goblins attacking you the remaining one will not have any reinforcements ready to move in. Finding himself in danger, he will scamper back out of range instead of attacking.

This is on the puzzle-game end of the Roguelike spectrum. I was inspired heavily by Hoplite. Monsters are one-hit kills and move in fairly deterministic ways, so it’s about recognizing monster patterns that are and aren’t dangerous.

The game is a 240 KB Windows executable; the tileset and font are embedded in it so that’s the only thing you need.

I started from a roguelike engine I’d written years ago; the big changes to it this time around were using a hex grid, a proportional font, animation, and whole-group pathfinding. Icons come from the Dawnlike tileset, a fantastic resource.