Skool Eskape (7DRL 2013) New Version

Hi there!

My friend Jay and I made the Skool Eskape, one of the completed 7DRL 2013 entries. Some of you may have heard of it (It got an average score of 2.11, so not too shabby.)

Anyway, we’ve gone back to it now and then over the last few months, making some tweaks here and there and we’re interested in getting some feedback on the changes we’ve made. If any of you would be interested in playing it and letting us know what you think it would be much appreciated. You can access the game at:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8938070/Games/SE/index.html

The game is playable on desktop or mobile devices. Some info you might need to play: You have to make your way through 20 levels to beat the game. As you progress through the game, new enemies are gradually added in, making for a total of 3 enemies (Principal, Vice Principal and Janitor) you have to contend with to reach the exit.

There are now 3 items in total, including the chalk. Using chalk creates a chalk clound in a 1 square radius around you that will stun any enemy it touches for 5 turns, allowing you to pass through them to sneak by. Invisibility is fairly self explanatory, as the enemies will be unable to see you for I think it’s 10 turns (can’t remember off the top of my head, lol). Stink bombs create a cloud in a 5 square radius that will cause enemies to run away from the smell, and won’t enter the cloud. I believe this item lasts for 5 turns as well. You can pickup new items by walking over the chests placed randomly in the levels, but can only carry a maximum of 3 of each item.

Keyboard controls are arrow/numpad keys. You can move diagonally, but the enemies can’t. We are thinking about removing the diagonal movement which is why it’s not mentioned in the controls. You press ‘c’ to use chalk, ‘i’ for invisibility and ‘b’ for stink bombs. You can also press ‘f’ for full screen, and ‘s’ to turn sound on/off.

For mobile controls, you move by swiping up/down/left/right on the screen. To use items or turn sound on/off, touch the name on the status bar at the bottom of the screen. The audio might not work on Android. We’ve been having problems with that, so if someone has some experience in developing HTML5 games on Android and have some suggestions, they are most welcome. 🙂

Anyway, sorry for the long post. If you’d care to leave feedback, please leave it here or email me at scott [dot] greig [at] gmail [dot] com or message me on g+ I guess. Thanks for your time!

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the game won’t work in Internet Explorer. You just get the Loading screen and nothing happens. It does work in Chrome and Safari however, so please use one of those browsers instead. The standalone version will work just fine on any computer, but we’re not releasing that until we’ve had some more playtester feedback.

7DRL Evaluation Results released!

Many moons it has been since the 154 7DRLs were released, but slavering in the background have been an army of 39 reviewers desperately playing these labours of love and scribbling little notes on sheets. After this long process we have finally collated a set of reviews and scores for almost every 7DRL made this year. I present you with our glorious offering:

http://www.roguetemple.com/7drl/2013/

Some notes on using the site:

  • Reviews are subjective and based on personal opinion – take them with a pinch of salt! As a rule of thumb anything with a 2+ is considered good.
  • Click on column heading to re-sort by that value
  • Click on score values to see detailed review/justification information in the bottom pane
  • Some of the game links may be outdated – let us know if you find any errors
  • 75% of games have 3 reviews, and 33% have 2 reviews, 423 reviews total
  • No one was able to get 10bar Roguelike or Random Chance running 🙁

Special thanks go out to Jo Bradshaw and Xecutor who did 40 and 39 reviews respectively! Also thanks to GameHunter for doing videos of almost every 7DRL – links to specific game videos are next to the reviews.

There are a lot of real gems in here, and a huge amount of variety, showing the roguelike scene is as fresh as vibrant as it has ever been. Do go try some of these great games, and give feedback to the devs after their hard work.

Quadropus Rampage Fleshed Out for Mobile

Hey gang! Seth Coster of Butterscotch Shenanigans here. Our 7DRL game from this year was Quadropus Rampage, and we liked the concept so much we decided to take it further and flesh it out into a full-fledged game for iOS and Android. We’ll be launching around June 6th as a free title, so PEEL YOUR EYEBALLS! Here’s a little teaser trailer we threw together last week:

And here’s the original version from the 7-day roguelike!

Possession Post-Comp Version 1.1

Version 1.1 is released!
Mostly interface changes and fixes, the only real gameplay change is that monsters won’t cast spells on you when you’re a ghost (because it’s basically an unavoidable insta-kill).

Mac Executable
Windows Executable
If you’re using Linux (or have the LÖVE interpreter installed), you can download the .love file (requires the LÖVE interpreter to play). You could also try running the Windows Executable under WINE.

Full list of changes:
– Friendly and enemy summoned mushroom men are now different colors.
– A new “options” menu, which lets you switch the game to/from fullscreen, change the resolution, and change the keyboard refresh rate.
– You can set your name and gender when starting a new game.
– Clicking an adjacent enemy now attacks it as well as targeting it.
– Gameplay tweak: Creatures will not cast spells on you if you’re a ghost (it was just too cheap otherwise).
– Fixes:
– Changed the pathfinding algorithm so that monsters will move through diagonal spaces.
– Fixed various typos and inaccuracies.
– Moving into a wall no longer wastes a turn.
– Allied monsters now attack enemies next to them. They still won’t chase them unless the player sets the enemy as a target (this is intended).
– Trying to move the targeting cursor through an unseen area no longer resets the cursor.

Swift Swurd post-mortem

On this week’s Roguelike Radio podcast Darren Grey mentioned that it would be interesting to hear from the authors of some of the 7DRL successes, as well as the failures. I had been leaving my game to speak for itself, but I think it does a couple of interesting things, so will say a little bit about them. Mild spoilers, in that some things in the game are slightly mysterious, in what I hope is a fun way — play it!

(Download here, Windows and Linux)

Background

My history with roguelikes is that I’ve messed with Nethack now and then, and more recently played quite a lot of Brogue, and some Dwarf Fortress. I’ve never made one before. Two things have bugged me about them, that I thought I could try to address: bumping into things and watching health bars go down doesn’t feel like fighting (although of course it gets better at deeper levels with more stuff happening), and they trivialize killing.

I started thinking last year about how to do a tile- and turn-based swordfighting game that felt more like a swashbuckling movie, possibly arising from very simple mechanics, like in the old Prince of Persia. Then I played Dark Souls, and thought that I could borrow its mechanic of a recharging stamina bar. I made a mockup:

Since the graphics would be plain ASCII, I wanted another way to spice up the visual presentation, and had the idea of changing the language. Based on vague memories of Robert Louis Stevenson historical novels, and of d’Artagnan being a Gascon, I made the hero a 17th or 18th century Scotsman, with in-game text to suit. I got as far as getting the libtcod tutorial running in Python, then put the idea aside, coming back to it for the 7DRL.

What went right – combat

This achieved the feeling I wanted. Guards retreat and advance as they lose and gain breath, so each fight moves back and forth across the dungeon, making the geometry matter tactically. Facing matters, but doesn’t get in the way when you’re not fighting. The enemies move predictably, but you usually meet them in pairs, which keeps it interesting a bit longer. The pistols give you options if you get overwhelmed (and I’m very happy with the shot effects). You die in one hit, so need to pay attention from the start. The guards are not nameless, and do not drop out of play immediately if they are mortally wounded – you have to fight around them (however a lot of the things I wanted to do with this side of the game got cut).

What went right – language

I thought of time spent on this as equivalent to time spent on graphics, as a way of giving the game some extra flavour. Scots is a descendant of Middle English, very widely spoken in Scotland but terminally unfashionable as a written language for most of the last 300 years. In particular, there’s no standard way of spelling it. The main sources I used were the Dictionary of the Scots Language and Wir Ain Leed. As I understand it, the first of these is a record of Scots as people have (haphazardly) written it, while the second tries to regularize the spelling, as part of creating a written form of the language that people can learn. The first has “swurd” and 11 variants, the second “swuird”.

It works for me at making the game feel richer and a bit different, and I’ve had some positive responses. I hope I didn’t make too many mistakes. During the competition, it occurred to me that it also serves as a version of the roguelike item-identification subgame. Finally, it had the (deliberate) effect of stopping me from writing too much — I wanted to keep to matter-of-fact descriptions of what was happening in the game.

What went right – technology

I used libtcod and Python. I found Python fun and fast to code in once I got going. libtcod is easy to set up, has good documentation, and is simple (from the user’s point of view). It was an enormous help to have the tutorial available as a guide on how to structure the game. My worst technical moments were running into an input bug in libtcod (fixed in newer builds) and spending hours working out how to set up py2exe. So, as these things go, I got off very lightly.

What went wrong

The dungeon is bare. I had planned to make it look more like the mockup, with chairs and bottles to throw, things to trip over, and lighted areas to stay out of. (Although I worked on this a little after the competition, and found that the smaller rooms in the actual game look too cluttered very quickly.) More importantly, I didn’t leave myself time to think properly about the distribution and number of guards in a level, and I suspect that the game is currently much too easy, especially once you have combat figured out. I had plans for more kinds of enemy, dogs and big guards, but they didn’t make it.

I had a story worked out about rescuing a young lady (who would reject you if you had killed people dishonourably) and escaping past your opponents’ ghosts, but this would have been hard to play straight and I felt an enormous relief when I cut it on day five. I put in a replacement (collect three pieces of treasure!) late enough that it doesn’t get explained anywhere.

Overall though, I’m pretty happy with how things turned out, and am looking forward to trying something new next year.

Rogue’s Eye v1.1

After a bit of poking, prodding and hitting things with a hammer, I’ve released an update to Rogue’s Eye. You can get it here: http://www.vitruality.com/2013/04/rogues-eye-v1-1/

There is no new content here beyond what was in the original 7DRL version, but a lot of tweaking and re-balancing has gone on to make what was there play a bit better. This new version should be a bit more of a challenge.

I’m also working on an android port, but that needs a little bit more love and attention before it sees the light of day.