This year I’ve been taking part in the One Game a Month challenge in which participants are to create 12 games in one year. The system so far has kept interest well using gamification to keep developers incentivised, with rewards for completing monthly challenges, submitting games in monthly succession, and also linking to various other indie social activities.
My previous entries include Form of the Destructor and 60 Second Click Challenge (HTML). However for the month of March I challenged myself to go along with the optional theme of ‘rogue’. I wouldn’t normally aim to make a game of this genre as I have very little experience playing them, however one has to explore from time to time.
I immediately started consuming as much information about roguelikes as I could. Finding existing roguelikes, general rules of roguelikes, speaking to friends at work, and playing some roguelikes. I was surprised to find that most roguelikes were very complex (due to the screen spam of ASCII art) and that the intuitive access I often desire as a user was severely lacking. So the first thing I wanted to achieve with my roguelike was to make it intuitive and accessible to a wider audience.
Secondly I needed a theme. Most roguelikes are set in dungeons. I believe this is largely due to the random room generation which works better with textures if the setting is an enclosed space. I didn’t really fancy creating dungeon scenes as they’re very common and I want to make something new that stands out. So I considered my option and came up with the idea of setting my roguelike in the Wild West.
Those two points for me were enough to work with. I listed out as many things I could think of from the Wild West which could be used as items, enemies, scenery, etc. The list got pretty big and unfortunately I barely had time to implement any of it. What I did manage to implement however was the simplistic UI I had been desiring to aid new users into the genre. I kept it simple, due to the end of month deadline and went for square tiles to form each room, and added the ability to click tiles / enemies to move to or attack. However on implementation I found clicking quite slow and tedious so I also added keyboard support which was a massive improvement.
There is a map generator which determines how many rooms are available. In the current build it is never brought to the front. It simply defines how many rooms the user has to go through before they reach the end. Given time I might actually get around to adding a world map and modifying the room exits to reflect the path the generator creates the rooms in.