The RogueWare Project

"Game Recklessly"

Dev. Blog

2/5: Systems, Meta-Systems, and Playing God

Posted by Chris Crooks on February 5, 2013 at 10:10 AM

As more and more of the (albeit incomplete) systems of our game slot into place, predicting precisely how they're going to interact is never easy, and I don't mean simply from a technical, programming perspective. it's a bit like playing God and trying to make a habitable planet by throwing meteors at it. Here you are with this great idea (Earth) and you can see the blue jewel proudly shining out in the inky blackness of your mind. In reality, it's a molten lump of rock right now, and somehow you have to create that beautiful planet from the bottom up when all you can visualize is the top down. So you can try a few meteors. Maybe a few bounce off harmlessly. Maybe one gets lodged in a particular place, and all of a sudden it's clear that that is where that particular meteor belongs. Sometimes, you have to rely on that intuitive sense of where your game is trying to take you. Sometimes, you try a meteor when a comet is what's required. You only learn when that promising planetoid is once again blasted into oblivion by your poorly aimed solar storm. It was just supposed to graze it.

Iterative design is an interesting phenomenon. I've experienced it before but not at such a rapid pace (thanks to Construct 2 for that). Matt and I turned a corner where we were able to see every piece of the puzzle before us - a new experience for me. Once enough of the game was tested and implemented, it immediately sort of "filtered" our vision and made a lot of previously completely unthought-of systems apparent to us. Suddenly I could see what had to be done to get us where we wanted to go.

The only problem is, although I know what has to be done, I'm not sure how it will all come together in the end. I sincererely doubt that this will be the roguelike perfectly balanced ballet of death that we want it to be right off the bat. At least, not without strong community support and playtesting. This will be a lot more exciting for y'all when you're digging into 2014 Strategy Game of the Year Freeholder in alpha form. :D We are looking forward to showing you a game that should get you excited about playing it. Repeatedly. To look for bugs. Ahem.

Categories: Prototype, Game Design

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1 Comment

Reply Matt Crooks
11:37 AM on February 5, 2013 
Astronomical metaphors aside, this really has been an informative experience so far. I should note, because of the ambitious nature of our Q1 goals, we will be delaying the public play-testing until we're confident all of the systems we mentioned are in at least mostly working order. Then the public bug hunting can begin.

I expect that the forums will become a much more active place when our Rogues finally have something to sink their teeth into.