Thursday, March 9, 2017

Mid-week progress on "Arkham After Midnight"

Sadly, I haven't gotten as much done on Arkham After Midnight as I was hoping.  Despite taking several days off of work, I still have found myself with precious little time thanks to other pressures.  But it hasn't stopped me completely - I am making progress!

Here are some screenies:


Part of what ate up my time was having to go back to the drawing board a few times on the "ploxel" engine that undergirds the mystery generation.  I think I have a pretty workable, modular system now, but it took some doing to get it right.

It's taking me longer to create content than I had hoped, as well.  The sprite sheets are going quickly, and I think they look good, but the coding that goes behind them gets a little complicated to allow them to "play nice" with the generator.  For instance, I can't just create a gate to R'Lyeh that is opened with the opening ritual at the Standing Stones, because I want it so that as I add more ploxels, the gate can go to a different realm, the ritual comes from other places, and the location you open the gate can change.  Which means absolutely everything has a layer of abstraction on it that makes it a little hard to wrap your head around sometimes.

But it's working!  And it's powerful.  I can do things like spawn entire set pieces into maps.  For instance, I can have a ploxel add a whole ship to the harbor location, complete with bad guys, loot drops, etc., embedded in the sub-map in the same way I draw regular maps.

The main problem is that content is taking a long time to craft.  I think I'll have a playable mystery for the end of the seven days, but the mysteries it generates will be pretty uniform.  But with the modular setup, I should be able to flesh out the system with many more ploxels in the weeks following the 7DRL.  Like Lone Spelunker, I think I have a pretty good game on my hands that is passable as a 7DRL, but will really shine if I put some more work into it post-compo.  We'll see what the response is like - if people seem to be enjoying it and see its potential, then I will probably flesh it out more.

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