Monday, August 11, 2014

Resource Management

Managing your resources is one of the core gameplay elements of most Roguelikes. Resource management in major Roguelikes typically involves keeping a close eye on one's hit points, spell/mana points, ammo, scrolls, and potions. Both of my previous games have featured very limited resource management and I think this is one of their major flaws. Thus, in WWRL, I'm working on creating more interesting and valuable resources.

In Dead Man Walking the only real resource to manage were hit points. However, thanks to a combination of passive regeneration and the willpower system, players could just simply retreat from most fights and the one resource solved itself. That was an interesting system, but overall flawed because it never really imposed a permanent cost on the player. Resource management in Dead Man Walking was very transient, its impact could only be felt for maybe 20 turns.

In AndroidLovesKitty I tried to make resource management slightly more interesting. There is no willpower and no passive health regeneration, so damage has a lasting impact. Unfortunately, AndroidLovesKitty was very generous in giving out health packs and it was very possible to avoid ~90-95% of all damage in the game. Both of those are arguably acceptable, but not when its the only real resource the player has to manage in the game. There was also the bombs "resource", but the player had 99 bombs for every level. The limitation was only really put in to prevent the player from blowing up every wall of every floor - it does not function as a resource nor was it really meant to.

In WWRL I'm trying to find a nice balance of both games plus adding in more resources overall. There are currently five core resources in the game: hit points, stamina points, money, bombs, and arrows. Hit points currently function pretty similarly to how they work in AndroidLovesKitty: no passive regeneration, health packs, and the player can avoid most damage with clever positioning. Stamina is a new resource for WWRL that is deliberately meant to be transient - the player can easily spend an entire pool of Stamina and regenerate it back in ~20 turns. Stamina is required to attack and the cost goes up as the distance between the player and the target increases (think of it as a cost for lunging). 

Money will primarily be used at randomly discovered merchants that will sell bombs, arrows, miscellaneous things, and a variety of equipment. Bombs function as they do in AndroidLovesKitty - they can be used as a burst of high damage and as a way to destroy walls. Unlike in AndroidLovesKitty, bombs are actually quite rare and the player starts with few of them. Arrows (along with a bow) give the player an attack option if the foe is out of melee range. Because of the game's focus on positioning and melee arrows are incredibly valuable as they can simplify dangerous situations. Arrows are, deservedly, quite rare - players should not expect to be able to play as a fully ranged character.

The goal of resource management in WWRL is to reward the player for being adaptive and create unique situations for each playthrough. Consider the hypothetical player that has been playing quite well in melee until recently - they encountered a dangerous enemy they weren't prepared for and are now one hit from death. However, thanks to this player's melee ability and a bit of fortune, they have a considerable number of bombs available. If the player now adapts to the situation, they should be able to recover their run by defeating the next several foes with bombs while searching for health packs. Thus, the resource management in WWRL will allow for tense situations to arise and also allow for crafty players to defuse those same situations.


No comments:

Post a Comment