Death and Rebirth
Turns out I was wrong about dead ends. After building many rooms I realised that a lot of them didn't require you to engage with them unless you had to backtrack through them. And what causes backtracking?
So I've worked on a new basic dungeon structure, incorporating a key at a dead end, a loop, and a gate leading to the next loop. A lot simpler than before, but you always backtrack which increases the threat of monster rooms.
Like any roguelike interested in consistency, death is a part of the narrative. Your kobold experiences resurrection at the hands of the priests who want the dungeon to fail. Sending you back in to finish the job, but always through a new entrance to face a different selection of traps. The game now draws only fresh stories. Unlike normal roguelikes I can't repeat the same content. It just sounds weird and robotic. It means the game has a limited life span (unless you take a break for a few months), but it makes it a lot easier to write.
I have an outline for the full story, which can be seen in the redrafts of certain rooms. The quest room will go in the dungeon that is traversed after the demo-dungeon. When a player starts Kobold Dungeon Tester they don't know how big a dungeon can be. Escaping a small dungeon gives them an idea of the risks involved. It tells the player how much stamina is worth and perhaps how long their luck can last. The bigger story doesn't need to get involved at this stage. I've already started drafting the main quest, but it's a big job. Best to focus on more important things like saving progress and maybe some nice things like customising the layout.
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Very nice improvements! The presentation of the text on the left of the window is much better than on the top. Also easier to scroll to see previous text. After all this is mostly a text game!
A few suggegions/questions:
- show a numeric representation of stamina. Now I must scroll to the last encounter requiring a stamina "check" to see my current stamina, which can mean scrolling the text just to see my actual stamina.
- don't put exit (the word) as an option (with a bullet on front). Just leave the arrows at the bottom. Everyone known what arrows do ;-) I have clicked quite a few times by mistake on the word exit.
Leave the bullets only for the choices that must be made by the player.
- how the stamina check is made? How it's affected by the player or any items it carriers? It's completely random? If you don't what to have that ingame at least put it on the bottom of the game page description for thoose of us that like to know such things.
I'm going to switch to numeric soon, it would look a lot neater in the corner on the map. The side by side layout is just for PC, I need to set up adapting to different screens.
A bullet point means an option is being executed. The arrows are actually options and have the same currency as a choice, so they must have a bullet point near them. Without the word "exit" the player has no context for the arrows - do they scroll the text or move the player within the room? Some rooms don't use the word exit, giving further context to how you leave. I understand the problems with it, but if I redesigned it there would still be the need for a bullet and text.
There is no stamina "check". It is a resource you spend to solve rooms. If an option says it costs stamina points, that is the maximum amount of stamina the action will cost - that is the rule. The reason is that there are many ways in which an option could cost less:
Therefore if the game says 2-4sp, it may be mitigated by luck, it may be a trick, or it could even be a series of costly actions (eg: the chugging the barrel of beer challenge in the drinks room).
Excellent choice about the numeric stamina! This would be my choice also! As far the different layouts are they really necessary? After all there are max 2 different layouts needed for a game. A desktop layout and a mobile layout. The current layout (desktop layout) can easily be used for the mobile version in landscape mode. As a fellow developer (I know the cost of different layout for different devices all too well) I think it is best to stick to one (current) layout.
Maybe I didn't explains correctly about the "exit" bullet (sorry, English isn't my native language). Let's me give you an example instead about the "action menu":
* do action 1
* do action 2
or choose a exit to move
[directions icons here]
if no actions except exit are available simply show "choose a exit to move" and the icons
In any case the exit bullet is a minor thing so...
As far the stamina cost it look to me like too many variables outside the player control that can affect the actual cost. I personally don't like at all the second reason you refer (the one about being a trick). Since this is a text game with minimal graphics how the player can deduce it's a "trick" cost instead of an actual one? In the first version of your game (which now that I remember it has a few of those trick costs) I always consider myself lucky of passing some check instead of realizing that is a trick cost.
I hope my questions/suggestions haven't offended you in any way. I really like your game.
Most people don't like using a phone in landscape mode - we make mobile games at my place of work. Offering a choice is best.
Stating "choose exit to move" conflicts with the exit text not always being "exit". Sometimes it needs to say other things. I'll need to ask others how they feel about the exit option.
Stamina is meant to be a boring cost to exit a room. I describe that cost in many ways, but it's basically what it says on the option. If it costs less, you were lucky. There is no strategy, you are meant to treat it as a timer. Sometimes I try to make the timer go down slower because I want to tell a story. And ultimately, telling a story is all I want to do. I don't know how to make a room sound scary or telling surprising encounters without the ability to misdirect. If a particular room feels unfair, then maybe that's something I can address, but I don't want to create an RPG system that you can pull apart and cheese. It's just meant to be a hunger clock, I don't want to write a deep system for this particular game.