This week we discuss the topic of content creation and how we approached procedural progression in a new manner. We introduce our approach to developing a tech-tree in a rogue-like game and how it aids us in promoting replayability.
We are Meteorbyte Studios, an indie developer from Asturias, a small and rainy region in the North of Spain. We’ve been developing our first game WOODPUNK for a couple years now, and we are planning to launch the PC version in mid-November of this year. Now that development is in its final stages, we would like to share some insights about some of the issues and solutions we found in several key aspects of our game development regarding content and optimization. Think of this as a “pre-lifem” of sorts!
When we first started planning WOODPUNK, we had the clear idea of developing a game which allowed for a wide array of content without sacrificing optimization or game experience. A rogue-like game would be the perfect style, but some issues were found and we had to deeply think of how to provide a lot of content, in a “simple” manner.
There’re already several rogue-likes available and some of them are really successful (The Binding of Isaac, Enter the Gungeon…), so how could we achieve the goal of offering something new with a lot of content?
One way we approached this was by applying the procedural system you can see in everyday rogue-likes in a new way.
In WOODPUNK, weapons are crafted in a random fashion. Each ranged weapon is composed of three parts:
- The Cannon, which specifies the type of ammunition the gun uses. These include: shrapnel, arrow, fire, ice, bombs and light ammunition.
- The Grip, which determines the frequency at which each weapon can shoot. There is single shot, automatic shot and spread shot (shotgun).
- Lastly, the weapons also contain the Chamber. Small, mid and large chambers exist, which have different amounts of ammo, different reload times and varying degrees of precision.
This system allows for hundreds of different combinations of weapons. The player will always have at his disposal one ranged weapon and one melee weapon. By including 4 different kinds of melee weapons (swords, spears, hammers and chainsaws), we have more than 1400 different weapon combinations in the game. This will extend the replayability and game experience of WOODPUNK as the player will never feel he is fighting under the same conditions!
To promote replayability and to allow the player to choose between different playing styles, we have developed a tech-tree that allows players to improve many of Aquinas’ stats with regards to his mobility and ammunition, as well as Theo’s abilities. Theo is Aquinas’ robot companion, he has special abilities that allow Aquinas under certain conditions (at the start of each phase and during combat) to change his weapon, and they can also support him in combat. By allowing Theo to change Aquinas’ weapons, the player will never run into a situation where he feels “doomed” by the random weapon generation system supplying him with a particularly unlucky combination of weapon features. Also, if players invest into the correct branches of the tech tree, they can receive new weapons like the Chain Blade.
In future post we will describe optimization issues, dive deeper into the tech tree and discuss the different game modes players can find in WOODPUNK!
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