Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Layered Content


One of the cooler and mostly unintentional achievements of Dead Man Walking is the new player experience. Starting a new character in a Roguelike is often times a daunting experience: what class should I play? What race should I pick? Does it matter? In Dead Man Walking, you can pretty much just press start and go.

This is fun and dumps the player right into the action, but it does have the unfortunate side effect of leaving a bit to be desired in terms of depth for veteran players. I don't really want to add in classes or races though because I think it would clutter up the new player experience. So what's the solution?

  1. Gated progression (think Binding of Isaac).
  2. New ways to plays with certain hefty restrictions.
Both of these will be unlocked once you defeat the game for the first time. Without spoiling too terribly much, defeating the game will unlock new stuff within the dungeon the next time you go into it and it will also allow you to play "challenge paths".

If you've been following my twitter you probably know that I've been working on expanding the size of the dungeon. I've also written a system allowing me to save information related to the player that goes beyond a given character's life. This means I can effectively keep the original new player experience (i.e., the first five floors and the game ending with the death of the Necromancer) while still adding new stuff in for veteran players.

Challenge paths are alterations of the basic game rules that add in some new content relevant to that path and restrict the player in someway. There is currently one challenge path which could be compared to playing a Monk in other games. You are not allowed to wield weapons but slowly receive numerous bonuses for unarmed combat. 

Even though I did warn about spoilers, I still don't want to talk too much about the layered content coming in 1.3 (or that is currently available in the trunk build) because it's really meant to be discovered. I think this has been an adequate preview and showcases my basic plan and goals.


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