Forbidden Lore Design Diary #12: Leveling Up To Levels

Back to copy-paste mode with Part 11 of the tutorial, which turns the dungeon into a proper dungeon.

Except … kinda not really. I already implemented the code representing the stairs, and I think I like my implementation better. At least, I think I do. Typing at this, I’m not so sure; perhaps implementing the stairs as terrain instead of a specific kind of object might make more logical sense and have some baked-in features I had to figure out for myself. (Namely, once you find the stairs, the stairs should always be visible on your map.) Hmm. May need to come back for some refactoring.

And I actually already had a bunch of this code in place from a prior round of copying code out of the final version of the git repository. Just didn’t have ALL of it, so I wound up commenting most of it out to keep from breaking my own game.

Whatever. Now, you can go to the NEXT level of the dungeon! So now, instead of “winning,” you can do the proper roguelike thing of just plunging deeper and deeper into this hell-spawned hole in the ground until you finally die. So that’s good.

Also, you can level yourself up after you murder enough things! The game I actually want to make will not do this; Forbidden Lore is going to be all about finding, you know, forbidden lore. Want to get better at wizard shit? Find some ancient texts of wizard shit. Blowing up orcs isn’t going to give you any particular insights into the nature of applied thaumaturgy. But, that’s for later-Pete to deal with, as is taking advantage of the space I intentionally set aside for an XP bar. For the time being, murdering shit is indeed your path to power.

The game is already broken — as the developer gladly points out. At second level, you can make yourself completely invulnerable to the game’s orcs, so that’s a bit of a balance thing. Still. Give the tutorial credit, I have the tools I need to address it. Figuring out HOW to address balance issues is my problem — as it should be.

Also, I now have a “Character Status” window I can pull-up! I’m still a little put-off by the bespoke nature of all the UI elements; I feel like there really ought to be some sort of centralized method I can feed all the relevant variables into. Again, that’s a problem for Future Pete to deal with.

As is the question of how much deeper I wish to delve into the ASCII-game rabbit hole. IS this actually going to be the foundational level of Forbidden Lore, making the very generous assumption that something resembling my version of that game will ever come to exist? Mayyyyyybe. On the plus side, I can see a path to implement a lot of my core ideas using this framework. But I also know that implementing this with, say, Unity would make the final product VASTLY more accessible.

More importantly, the version of Forbidden Lore in my head is going to be all about finding the weak spots in game’s mechanics and exploiting the living shit out of them. To make that work, I’m going to have to make those mechanics as transparent as humanly possible. The game coming out of this tutorial does NOT offer a lot of mechanisms for communicating to the player just WTF is happening and why. I suppose I can address that, if I’m clever enough, but I’ll be swimming against the current.

Still. I have a totally playable game in front of me. It’s not a GOOD game, but it’s totally a game that, as I’m testing features, I still sometimes catch myself having fun with. I think I’ll go as far down this path as feels interesting. If that gives me a game that’s completely opaque to anybody who isn’t me, well, what the hell, the Unity engine will still be right there waiting for me to figure it out.

Still have some tutorial in front of me, though. Onward to the next chapter.