Blackfeather — unfinished

I failed to make what I consider a finished game this year. I had only about two coding sessions, much of which involved getting my basic engine to work the way I wanted it to. Despite starting with the excellent ROT.js, I spent more time getting the basics working than actually developing the more novel concepts I’d envisioned.

Hits: easy-to-play, web-based play, data-based monster manual, satisfying FOV and map display, functional leveling up, display art of monsters that are in FOV.

Misses: no ranged combat, no equipping, no real win condition, no character swapping, no merchants.

I’m having fun working on it though, so I’m going to keep working on it. You can check it out on GitHub in the Starstew/Blackfeather repository. Just download the ZIP and open the index.html in your favorite browser. Should work. Use arrow keys to explore maps and bump-attack monsters.

If you see this before March 23rd, 2015, you should check out the “Elf” KickStarter, and see the baudy silly fantasy that inspired the theme for this game.

7DR-Elf : Blackfeather

For this year’s 7DRL, I’ll be making another RL using rot.js. For inspiration, I’ve turned to the web-comic Elf, by Songgu Kwon. I’m caught up in the drama of the KickStarter campaign to print a book of those comics, so I thought I’d channel that energy into a RL.



My time is limited (multiple family obligations, blah blah), so I’m keeping it as simple as possible with a fantasy setting, tried-and-true weapon types, dungeon crawling, etc. There are a few things I’ll be experimenting with:

  • Flash-back challenges — in the comic, there are some humorous asides and flashbacks that happen, I’d like to have items in the dungeon “remind” characters of past exploits, which will translate into solo peripheral dungeon levels with a limited skill and item set. Rewards would be “remembered” skills, spells, or locations of secrets in “current timeline”.
  • Multiple characters, stacked — I want to include all the characters from the Elf comic, but not create a squad-based game, so they’ll all travel together “stacked” and only one can be active at a time. Each will have its own skills, equipment, abilities, and perception (traps, tracks, danger, etc).
  • Illustrated examines — Songgu Kwon’s art is amazing and I’d like to use it in the UI as much as possible. The game itself will be ASCII, but there’ll be an area of the UI to show bitmap excerpts of the comic (and maybe original artwork…?).
  • Conditional dispositions — Certain NPCs in the game will have their attitudes toward the player’s characters change based on interaction. Potential dispositions: friendly, neutral, aggressive, fearful, curious.

I’ve started one day late, so I’d best shut up and get to work.

Starship Rex is playable and winnable

I’m calling it a non-fail — game is playable and winnable. Had to scope out a lot of what I wanted to do, but it still works as a game. I’ll have to take a few steps back from it to assess whether it is much fun.

You can get it here:


EDIT: I’ve since been able to post it to a webserver, you can play Starship Rex here —

Spent way more time tracking down bugs than I thought I would. Isn’t that always the case? As I iterated, I developed the energy-swapping concept more and more, and it seems to work pretty well. The stasis pods the robot is carrying are draining their own batteries as you transport them, and then start to drain your batteries. You can pick up more pods as “extra batteries”, but that carries a risk.

I’ll probably continue to develop this game, so please feel free to share feedback, bug reports, suggestions, etc.

And here’s a video of it being played, by me, in a code-addled stupor — not winning.

Starship Rex (Day 3)

Did some coding during lunch break and after work. Mostly tracking down issues with erratic draw behavior and (well, because of) rebuilding the entity-mapping system. Got it all working now. Next steps — actual play mechanics of rescuing humans from stasis pods, a message display system, more enemies… you know, an actual game.

Starship Rex – Day 2

So far, I’ve spent most of my time implementing map, navigation, FOV, and a workable “entities” system — entities being all the actors in/on the map, including portals to the next level and colonist stasis pods in the walls. I’ll be frank, most of my coding time has been learning the nuances of rot.js and devising the best way to track/draw actors. I’ve really only had about 8 hours total to work due to cascading social obligations over the weekend. Will be coding during lunch hours and after work through the week. Hopefully it will be playable by Saturday.

Here’s a video I made after day 1.

Starship Rex

For my first 7DRL, I’ll be using rot.js to create a game in which your @ is a robot on a starship that’s in decaying orbit around its destination planet. Your goal is to traverse the decks (floors) of the ship rescuing human colonists from stasis-sleep. Problem is, not all the humans have survived — not as humans at least.

The same technobabble space anomaly that threw the ship off course has interacted with the stasis fields to create creepy monsters. Some of these monsters are roaming free, some are gestating in stasis pods. Problem is, you don’t know until you extract a pod from its enclosure whether the human inside is alive, dead, or “creeped”. The status of the human determines where you must deliver the pod — medbay, morgue, or airlock respectively.

The robot (rexbot, a robot St. Bernard) can only withstand one hit to start with, but carried items will act as shielding (HP). The creeps (zombies, spaceghosts, etc) will only “see” stasis fields — so if you’re not carrying pods, you’ll be invisible to them. Conversely, they will attack you while carrying pods and destroy you once they’ve destroyed all your pods. Of course, there will be a number of mitigating items and abilities to use to combat these monstrosities.

The colonists themselves have traits that interact with each other to offer rewards when you rescue sets of them (e.g. three biologists can give you a “spell” to rescue a live colonist on the spot). I have notes about all this, but the particulars will be worked out next week.

The whole concept is a version of a board game I was working on last year, which itself started as an idea for a “space roguelike”. So it’s an ouroboroguelike in that sense, I guess.

I work full time and have a family, so it will be tough to accomplish anything too epic. I plan to get a playable “rescue the humans” game working first, then dig deeper on colonist traits, items, hazards, AI, etc. once I have the basics in place. I’ll release the latest “working” version at the end of the 7DRL.

I’ll be hanging out in IRC (Starstew) and tweeting (@Starstew) while working, to keep up with whatever everyone’s working on.