Those screenshots don't have anything exactly to do with this post, other than the second one showing off some of the random weather effects? The first one is just exploring the Rootworld Ruins, and I liked how it looked.
Anyway, so this game is randomish. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that it uses some randomness but still has a lot of planned out level design and functionality. It's not quite a roguelike, it's more rogue-ish, if that makes sense. Randomness as a part of game play has always interested me, and it's interesting that back in 2004 I was coming up with a zelda game idea where it was randomish (like this, but more so), and did in a way that's similar to how Spelunky would eventually do that. It even had random dungeon rooms, though the rooms themselves where pre-made, how they fit together into the levels was always random, making it unique and interesting. I think I was doing that game in PyGame, and then moved it into Allegro and C++ and creating a Lua wrapper to make designing the random code easier to test on the fly (without a build/make cycle, as fun as that can be).
This game doesn't use quite that level of randomness. Room/screen/map layouts are not random, they are made from scratch by yours truly. I love level design, so this is not going to change. The enemies and random debris for minor items and weapons are random in each room. The way this is set up, is that I lay out the map, I place a bunch of enemies and items I want to be randomly generated, and then each time the map is loaded/entered, it pulls randomly from what I've already created.
Important items that require use in order to unlock areas, overcome puzzles, defeat bosses, and etc, are not random. That's done on purpose, and in some areas a few of the enemies won't be random either. Especially if I think they provide a specific challenge to the player that makes the level interesting, or if I want to create an organic gate to keep people from going a certain way until they're powerful enough to beat a specific enemy.
That last one's important- I want this game to be completely nonlinear. You can get items out of order, beat bosses out of order, and attempt to go pretty much anywhere. Some places may be out of reach and require special items, others may require you to pass a powerful enemy...
But all of them have loopholes. All of them have ways around for clever players, speedrunners, and the like. I wanted to capture that Legend of Zelda feeling from the first game, or the old Ultimas, where you can really just go anywhere. Sure, you might get murdered, you might get lost, you might die...
But then you go back to the standing stones with full health and whatever items you had on you last. Zelda 1 did this, and I think it really forced the players to explore, to travel around and become intimate with the world. I want this game to have the same feeling, that feeling of discover, no hand holding, figure it out yourself through trial and error. There is something to gaming like this, and even though it takes a bit to master it, it can be way more rewarding.
So some other random bits will be the weather, as mentioned above, but also enemies that appear (randomly) when the weather changes. Also, random wandering bosses, and random secret areas. Doors that open up randomly on a foggy day. Doors that appear during a rainstorm only to vanish after a few moments. You step inside, go into a parallel world, and find treasures there that are more powerful than anything else.
To me, the randomness here is meant to make the world feel more alive. I want the island you're wandering on to feel like it exists outside of the player, that it doesn't care if you live or die or complete your quest or whatever. It's breathing, it exists. The weather changes, strange things appear in the mist, doors where there shouldn't be doors, and then they're gone. It's all meant to enhance the experience of the game's setting, which I think is the most important character here. The setting, and exploring it, will be the primary pull of the game.
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