Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Alpha Aftermath

It would seem that the Alpha release went rather smoothly, which I'm grateful for. Showing something to the public that you've poured your heart into is a stressful thing.

I got some great feedback from Reddit's Gamedev Community and from the comments it would seem that the major issues currently are:
  • Crashes when looting Flowers / Spikes.
  • Accidentally pressing escape which closes the game.
  • Movement is arduous (Delay before moving in a direction when holding down a key).
  • Crashes from the main menu.

The last point is largely due to my horrible lack of memory management. I'll get that, as well as the other issues fixed by Saturday at which time I'll release a new minor version. I'll also try and work in a few small enhancements and some new functionality.

That said, here's a list (in no particular order) of what the future holds for VH. Please note that a lot of this is just speculation and will probably be altered and augmented heavily in the coming months.

  • Towns
    • Every x levels will be a town which will be randomly generated based on a random theme / building style.
    • Towns will contain 
      • NPCs that will have random conversations with the player.
      • Merchants that can buy and sell items.
      • A place for the player to 'unlock' his items (See 'Item Unlocking').
      • Trainers for professions / abilities.
      • Rooms where the player can practice his professions (blacksmithing, alchemy, etc...).
  • Item Unlocking
    • Towns will feature rooms (Name undecided) where the user can spend his gold to 'unlock' items. This means that the item can be used by future characters that are created. The price to unlock the item will be based on the quality and level of the item.
    • Unlocking items should be something the player decides on as doing so will cost a lot of money that could have been spent at merchants for consumables and gear.
    • When a new player is created, he starts out in the University (Name undecided).
  • The University
    • Voxel Heroes will not have a conventional start menu. Instead, players will start out in the game in a special location.
    • The University is a Hero University that trains people in the art of hacking, slashing and dungeon crawling. They send out students into the dungeons below as a sort of final assignment.
    • There will be a special room in the University with shelves featuring the items that have been unlocked that the player can choose from.
    • Using an item might have an additional cost (on top of the initial cost to unlock it). I might make the university have funds that can be used for this and will be based off some other mechanic.
  • Magic
    • The plan is to implement a complete magic system.
    • Spells will be learned from scrolls that drop off boss creatures.
    • Spell scrolls can be combined in towns to possibly form new spells. These spells may be stronger than the original spells but could also lead to both spells being destroyed.
  • Abilities
    • Even though I'm not planning on featuring a class system, some NPCs (or perhaps items in dungeons) can be used to gain knowledge of new abilities.
    • Offensive Abilities
      • With this, as well as the magic system, I plan on making combat more tactical and decision based. You might use a bash ability to send the mob back a few spaces or a freeze spell to keep the mob from moving for a few moves.
    • Defensive Abilities
      • Think things like absorption shields, healing spells and barriers.
    • Utility Abilities
      • Far Sight, Trap Detection and Disarming, Extra Mob Loot, etc...
  • Professions
    • Alchemy
      • Looting flowers will have a chance (based on Alchemy skill) to yield herbs that can be used to make potions.
    • Enchanting
      • Enchant items with rare materials dropped by boss mobs.
    • Blacksmithing
      • Craft powerful items from materials and runes dropped by mobs and bosses.
  • Environments
    • Currently, the game only features the green, grassy environment. I plan to implement many more.
    • Swamp-like, Underwater, Cavernous, Woodlands, Netherworld, etc...
  • Multiplayer
    • I really don't know much about how I'm going to make this work nicely, but we'll see.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Equipping items will actually show the items on the player model.
    • When hovering over an item name, the tooltip will also display the item model.
    • The UI system will be enhanced quite a lot, allowing for scaling, dragging and scrolling.
    • The UI will be made much more intuitive and user friendly.
    • Some mobs will be able to walk diagonally or be allowed to make two moves per turn.
    • An autowalk function that will allow the player to easily traverse long passages.
    • Mobs will also be generated with stats (Strength, Armor, Abilities, etc...).
    • When fighting a mob, a popup window will be shown with a model of the enemy, his stats and a description.
    • Decorations for walls.
    • Local lighting (Torches and other light sources that will flicker and give the whole environment a much more immersive feel).
    • Free look camera (Both for first and third person).
    • Saving (Multiple character slots).
    • Difficulty levels.
    • A whole lot of new items and monsters.
    • Music and sounds.
    • Fullscreen / Widowed Modes.


  1. The following idea is dependent on there being a finite number of random levels, so that given a large enough population of players (~1000), you will encounter levels that other players have visited in the past.

    I really like how Demon's Souls and Dark Souls does multiplayer. I feel like it would be interesting to push that into a roguelike environment. A player could write messages on the ground that future players would see. He/she could also leave items or traps - possibly corpses in some manner as well. You would need to have various ways for dealing with what happens, such as getting experience if someone recommends your message. This could tie in in some way to your University idea.

    Whatever happens with your game, I am sure it will be great. I'm very excited for the future of this.

    1. This sounds awesome in my opinion.

    2. Could you please expand on your idea a little bit? What would the purpose of the messages serve? Also, by leaving items and traps for other players, do you mean for it to sort of become kind of like an MMORPG (with only one player playing at a time except he is able to see changes made to the world by other players in previous games)?

    3. The messages could be used to warn about an upcoming tough part, or hidden thing. They could be a hint on the game itself. I could see that they could be unnecessary, though, since the world might be too dynamic with monster placements and items.

      I feel like it would be more expanding on the feel of NetHack's bones files than becoming like an MMORPG, as well as increasing the difficulty a lot. There would have to be a lock system somehow (or multiple versions of a level).

      An example situation:
      Player A gets to the level and is reduced to next to nothing for health. A will die in the next few turns, so A puts down a rock trap for the next person in order to get rid of the feeling of helplessness. A dies. B comes along and is killed by the rock trap. A gets a message that someone has fallen to their trap.

      To be honest, I was just giving an idea that I'd had in my head for a while to make a multiplayer roguelike work. I'm a huge fan of difficult games and influencing the gameplay of others indirectly. I have a feeling that there would be far more traps being set than players dropping their items for others.

  2. I'm really liking the ideas you've outlined. It's also great to hear that you got so much quality feedback from your /r/gamedev post. I haven't seen that many comments on a topic there in a while :)