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Growing pains

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What a weird week. After having released the Heroes of Loot as a desktop beta version and part of my OneGameAMonth.com challenge. I got a lot of positive feedback, so this gave me the energy to continue working on the game and improving it.

I decided to work on the ideas I had, this mainly included a quest system and some changes to the shops.

However, while adding all this stuff I came to realize that the focus of the game was slowly disappearing. The action game I set out to create was fading away and these Quests didn’t fit in with the gameplay at all.

Besides that the core gameplay was also lacking some progression and challenge. Collecting extra keys and skipping various levels was fun, but it also means you found yourself in a dungeon that throws a lot of difficult stuff at you while your character was far from leveled up to the right experience.

Another problem was the rune system, I had some chests give you a rune, which then fired once and that was it.. mostly a useless thing cause often it would fire without having any monsters near you.

All these things combined, and various outside factors, gave me some serious developers block.

I gave it some thought and a few days to do other things.. but the game kept calling me. This is probably my 100th attempt at doing a dungeon game, and so far all those attempts have been dumped onto an external HD never to be seen again.. this one has to make it!

My first decision to turn things around was removing all the fluff again (quests, shops, etc) and going back to the basic gameplay.  A fast action packed game.  Some of the characters had very slow movements as part of their uniqueness, but this simply didn’t feel right for me, so I made them all move as fast as the Elf character (maximum run speed).

I reworked the key/door mechanism. The door is now locked until you clear out the dungeon (kill everything that moves) and then a key is given to you to continue to the next level. I made sure the maximum of monsters in each level isn’t too high, cause it would quickly feel like grinding to make it to the next level.

This turned the action back into the game. I added a lot more loot to the level, turning the game-mechanic back to a high-score style game.

I felt bad about the awesome graphics I did for the shops and quests.. so I started putting the shops back in. These doors are optional, so you don’t HAVE to enter them but they can often give you some breathing room.  This worked nicely, so I then decided to use this optional door system for the quests.

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Previously I had quests forced on you at the start of a level when your previous quest was completed.. this completely broke the speed and flow of the action. So now sometimes you have a shop door in a level, but sometimes there is a quest-door in the level, and you decide to enter it or ignore it.

The quests are now generated randomly consisting of basic things like: kill X amount for Y coins; or grab X amount for Y points.

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I also added a solution for the rune-system. When you pick up a rune it adds the rune to your statusbar, including an energy bar, as long as this bar isn’t empty your Rune shoots automatically besides your normal weapon.  The speed of decreasing depends on your character class and the rune-type.   I added a fire-rune besides the existing lightning-rune and they are really cool if you happen to run into them. Just need a few more rune types!

Still a lot of stuff I need to work on, shop items need work, adding runes as purchasable, tweaking quests and awards, adding weapon-upgrades.   I also want to see if I can somehow add a “boss-level” which would be very cool to have, and I got some ideas for other monster-types.

But the game is back on track, as mentioned a weird week where I went from almost dumping the game to having a huge amount of ideas and energy to work on it!

ps: the cool artwork you see at the top of this post is done by the talented Scott Tykoski !

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