Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dead Man Walking: 7DRL release & download

Dead Man Walking is officially a 7DRL success in my book. Here's a download and a postmortem.

Download for Windows!

Dead Man Walking was thought up actually very shortly after the 7DRL started officially. My basic hope going into this 7DRL was to take one idea and roll with it. The idea for this game is the dual HP system. Everything else was built around that idea.

I knew going when I started the project that large-scale content development was an unrealistic goal for me to strive for, so I went with a very coffebreak setup. The game should take between ten and fifteen minutes, if not a little less.

Combat was an area I felt needed to be changed from the @Star Wars way. I removed dodging completely and made armor a static value (in @Star Wars, your armor is rolled when attacked). There are now only two random elements on a given fight: how hard you actually hit and whether or not you trigger an effect.

I didn't want to have massive item tiers because I knew the game was going to be short. The only tier visible at all is in armor (leather armor vs. chainmail cuirass). Instead of tiers, I decided to make three distinctive types of weapons (swords: highest base damage, rapiers: bleed effect, axes: area-of-effect attack). I'm a fan of efficient content creation, so I decided to make five different brands that can be found on all three weapon types. With fairly minimal effort, I turned three weapons into fifteen without creating multiple tiers. This did require some new code. In @Star Wars, brands just give a simple stats up and the game doesn't keep track of what type of brand you wearing. In Dead Man Walking, the brand your wearing is kept track of which allows me to make some pretty cool weapon effects (chaotic rapiers are probably my favorite weapon in the game).

Enemies were not overwhelmingly challenging. The short nature of the game means that stat scaling isn't really necessary. The very first basic enemy (not boss) you encounter, the zombie, is in fact the most outright difficult to kill (again, bosses not included). The other enemy types you encounter later on use improved AI, massive damage output, or special effects to make your life harder.

Bosses were the majority of my time spent on the tail end of the week. My favorite boss is Yreek the Invincible, though I enjoyed working on all four of them. I encountered a number of technical difficulties I wasn't expecting while working on the bosses, such as the game crashing because I decided there shouldn't be a boss on the first floor.

On a technical level, this challenge was not too bad. I chose to work with the @Star Wars 0.7a trunk source as a base and chopped that down and built around it as needed. This gave me the advantage of not needing to worry about things like dungeon generation or FOV, which weren't my intended focus of the game at all. This let me focus on the key concepts of the game and I'm not sure if I could make the game as it is today if I started from scratch.

At the end of the week, I really enjoyed working on Dead Man Walking and am now enjoying playing it. I have every intention of releasing a balance & polish patch in a few days, though I will leave the original 7DRL edition available for completeness. Beyond that, I have some ideas to expand upon it. I'd like to make alternative bosses, add another weapon type or two, and increase the length of the game.




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