Random Dungeon Creation

The tunnels are snaking away under the earth, growing as you explore them, so what’s next?

Random Dungeon Generation of course!

This is the first draft where I try to set up rules and just write down ideas about how it might/will/can function so comments are welcome!

Dungeons will be harder if they are generated at deeper levels than on shallower levels and they will contain and be built with one or more of those ‘things’:

  • Maze
  • Door opening when a particular enemy is beaten
  • Doors closing when player walks on a trigger
  • Dart-traps
  • Teleport traps (unique usage or not)
  • Hidden traps makes you fall down one level
  • Monster generators
  • Timed Bombs (ticks only when you ‘feed’ time to it)
  • Toxic walls (you take damage if you are close)
  • Levers to pull, can have more or less any effect
  • Rising water
  • Fake traps (to scare you)
  • Triggered rolling stones (Rick Dangerous style)
  • Rooms filled with evil trashmobs
  • Treasure!
  • Pushable walls (with hidden traps under?)
  • The shadow trap (you’ll see for yourselves)
  • Mimics (monsters disguising as nice loot)
  • Moving walls (nice for the maze or the toxic walls)
  • Moving traps

For it all to work I guess I’ll have to englobe the whole dungeon (except the entry and possible exits) with some sort of indestructible wall/floor/ceiling so you can’t just dig your way directly to the treasure. Some dungeons could be in the sky (don’t fall off!) or in another dimension or on top of something toxic. On the other hand, one type of dungeon could be made so ju Can dig through different parts / around impossible enemies…

The AI for the bosses and also for its minions will be different from the ordinary basic AI and might include

  • Pushing
  • Using offensive spells
  • Ordinary bashing
  • Self healing
  • Healing minions
  • Fleeing (he might open a locked door to flee)
  • Lower players characteristics (like a bonus)
  • Teleport (itself)
  • Teleport players
  • Invisibility
  • Glueing (“Slow”)
  • Poisoning
  • Invoking enemies
  • Invoking hordes of enemies you have to (successfully) flee from
  • Dropping Time Bombs
  • Locking doors locking you in
  • Break walls or invoke new walls
  • And I guess a lot more…

there might also be friendly NPC:s who wants to get escorted to safety or to some special place where something will happen like map-alteration, reduced boss-powers or why not loot or the NPC becomes the boss.

Maybe sometimes you can find a shop in there too?

Alpha Version 0.2

All the points in the Pre-Alpha Todo list has been terminated except one that I have to think a bit more about (the old list is here somewhere) so it seems the game is ready to go Alpha (is now version? 0.2)!

So what do we need to go Beta?

A new todo list of course! Here it is (it might get updated):

  • Magical system(how we gain power, how it’s used, damage etc. )
  • Bonus system (that useful Attack+3 bonus from a potion and so on)
  • Defining the universes (Cellars, Tunnels, Castle, Prison, Forbidden forest,…)
  • Monsters and possible templates (big list from level 1 monsters and up)
  • Monster AI
  • Dungeon Generation with traps and evil bosses
  • Create the most items and their Templates
  • Generic Action system with actions (they will level-up too) action-xp gain, GUI…
  • Targeted Actions (Bows & arrows, fire bolt, heal…)
  • Graphic effects: fire bolt, explosion, talk-bubble, …
  • Chat system
  • Crafting system
  • Line of sight (at the moment you can see through walls)
  • Money
  • Shops?(updated: 22/10/2012)
  • Factions(updated with reputations: 19/10/2012)
  • Reputation (for the factions so you can finally be friends with the city guards)
  • Quests and rewards
  • Create a lot of graphic assets
  • Moderation and surveillance tools

As you can see this list is bigger and every point is more generic as I wanted it to be as short as possible (I’m talking about the list, I think my length is perfectly ok thank you!). Some points are also (heavily) dependent on other points. For example, I can start programming the AI (pathfinding and so on) but I will need to terminate the Magic characteristics before I can make the monsters use it. That is of course the same for item creation, item templates and crafting, bonus system for the snakes snake venom etc.

Some points will be done in parallel like (hopefully) graphic creation, monsters, items, the world, the magic system and the craft system and other might be a one-shot development like the chat system and the quest system but creating quests will be done in parallel and so on.

In the pre-Alpha I did each point and checked it off, I won’t be able to do that (except maybe for the chat system) so each entry will be given different advancements, something like:

For mechanics needed to be programmed (ie. Bonus system, Chat,…)

  • Not started (Black color)
  • In progress : It doesn’t work yet, maybe some parts do work though (Orange)
  • Operational : It works but the it is not automatized, some parts missing (missing item web-creation interface for example) (Yellow)
  • Done (Green)

For content creation (Items, Graphics,…

  • Most probably a percentage or part (start, middle, 50%, 90%, …)

Some points have both mechanics and content like the templates and the quests, they will have first the mechanics and then the content flags.

No Perma-Death

One of the most classic rules in a Rogue-like is that if (or most usually when) you die, you loose everything. Everything down to your name including level, xp, items, everything! This is known as permadeath or PD as in Permanent Death.

As Imbroglio Online is a multiplayer game not solely based on Co-op (cooperative) and that has PvP (players can kill each other), I feel it would be just too much, the whole play would be about hiding/protecting from player killers or be that evil guy and go out gank newbies.

A bit like a normal roguelike with some level 100 monsters zooming around randomly, if they see you then you die and death is final… No Fun !

That is why I decided to go breaking the Rogue-like paradigm and not have perma death. The problen is that perma death is good so I will have several downsides which I must? try to design around / design away.

Problems (things Roguelikes have because of perma death) :

  • New play each time
  • Scary, on the edge gameplay where choices matter.
  • Player Wipe
  • Item Wipe

In Imbroglio Online, when you die, you will be teleported ‘home’ and you can just continue playing, so death will be quite painless, especially at the surface close to the starting village, at worst you have to ‘walk back’ to where you were killed but the farther you travel, the worse it will be because of the distance.

That doesn’t seem to be a lot of fun though as you know what you are walking back to (when you die in a rogue like, the next play is usually completely different).

Remedies :

If you go down the stairs in a house to check out the cellar, find a tunnel going down, the tunnel will divide and change type often, to the left the sewer, to the right old ruin like tunnels, down the sewer a hole entering another type of underworld and so on ending up, 15 levels lower and a lot of different surroundings later, in the secret anti-chamber of Hootoh and his minions.

That should be different each time you play, making it feel like a ‘new’ game each time you get deep enough. That might also have you on the edge because as you enters the Forgotten Crypt of Anxara you know you won’t find it again if you die…

About knowledge wipes and item wipes, I don’t really have a solution to it today, well I do have a start and at the moment it goes a bit like this :

Make so many different spells, actions and competences that it will take really long time until you “know it all”. There might also be nice combinations to explore and so on…

Only let the player bring a certain number of them with him, say 5 Spell/Action ‘slots’ that you can change only at home. That will present the possibility for the change of player style.

The same goes for items but I have to think about it so I won’t end up with items only having a lot of different random characteristics… Spells and procs might come in handy though and a lot of (useful, not only damage enhancing) characteristics will make item differentiation possible without having 90% of everything useless.

Well, until next time I’ll continue my search for the Multiplayer Rogue-like-esque Graal, see ya soon!