My first ever 7drl. My first ever game. Heck, my first ever major programming project!
The Ring of Spirits is my attempt to bring meaningful storytelling to roguelikes while preserving the principal focus on combat and exploration. To this end, I will be ditching ASCII, as well as graphics in favour of text. But wait! Before you write my game off as ‘another IF-Roguelike hybrid’, here is the design I have come up with:
- A Schematic map
Having grown up reading fantasy novels, parchment maps have always enamored me, communicating the mystery and the feel of a magical world, while stimulating the imagination. The Ring of Spirits will too sport a parchment style map, saving the trouble of remembering where exactly you were at the moment. While originally I had planned on implementing a full scale overworld, I have now pared down the idea to the scope of a 7drl, settling down on caves and dungeons only to begin with.
- No parser
I have never been a fan of parser based games that force you to guess the valid actions in every situation. The game will feature clickable actions instead, providing a more streamlined experience.
- No Micromanagement
I absolutely hate micromanagement. I mean, why do I have to instruct each and every action of the character? There will be no explicit inventory management, food pickups, tile by tile movement….. et cetera. You will be responsible for only high level decisions, like which place to visit, which enemy to target, and the game will take care of the rest.
- No Keyboard
This is going to hurt a lot of veterans. I totally dislike the idea of a complex UI that necessitates the memorization of a bunch of keys to be able to interact with speedily enough. Instead, I will have a minimalistic set of mouse (or touch) controls, keeping in with the overall simplicity of the game.
- Combat is not a numbers game
I like the way books treat combat- “He brought down his sword in a wide arc, ripping through the orc’s chest” as opposed to “You hit the orc. 10 points of damage! The orc dies.” This will be me approach in the game: Whatever number crunching will be performed, will happen under the hood, exposing only the results to the player in the form of narrative.
- Magic feels like Magic
This is one of my strongest motivations in making this game. Most games treat magic is just another fancy way of dealing damage, or causing buffs. Magic has been stripped of all its wonder, and reduced to numbers. Magic in Rings of Spirits will be more wonderful, yet delightfully subtle.
- Items are not just stat sheets
First up, if you are looking for tons of items, you will not find it here. Since the inventory management is supposed to be mostly automatic, mundane items like the armor and the common place iron swords will be intrinsically acquired. The items you find in the secret places of the world will be unique artifacts of ancient heroes, with their own stories, names, and powers. These items will be persistent, and obtainable by successive incarnations of the player.
- The World will not wait for you
A thing you take for granted in most RPGs is the linearity of the narrative; the town you have to save will conveniently totter on the brink of destruction indefinitely, until you see it fit to pay a visit. Not in this game. The events of the game, and characters driving them, are self sufficient, and would proceed forward while you are engrossed elsewhere. Likewise, the death of a character will not spell a gameover, or as in a roguelike, be irrelevant, but rather have dire ramifications for the storytelling and the world. Likewise, the victories of each character too have an effect on the world even after their death, allowing for the continuity through permadeath.
That’s all for now. While I originally planned for an overworld spanning multiple continents, twenty-five classes including a Dragon rider and a summoner, I have cut down on my objectives for this 7drl. Even then, I am not really sure I will be able to complete the challenge in time, given my inexpertise and lack of time to devote to it. Even so, I had to begin somewhere, and even if the project turns into a seventy day challenge, I will make it!