One Game a Month – August

Hey all, been a long time, hasn’t it? I’ve been inactive on the site, for the most part, but I haven’t been idle. I started doing One Game A Month in mid July, just to warm up, and have a fun little project in the works this month which I’d like to carry over into September as well.

Because of long class days and other Marine Corps-tastic happenings, I don’t really have time to work on graphics or animation, the two things that have locked up all of my recent development efforts. So, I did what I’ve been wanting to try and ditched any visuals beyond what the console output gives me.
My project for August is a text-based, command line interface (CLI) role-playing game. Plans for now are to make character creation very expedient in the beginning, limiting the amount of details the player must procure for their character in the early stages of his or her life. As the game starts, the player takes control of their character, now a young adult who is out to start their life. The player doesn’t fill a pre-built role or class, but instead writes a new story for their character by interacting with the world, meeting other characters and by learning and advancing through a trade.

The combat is going to be mostly based on knowing how different armors and weapons act against each other. Riveted mail will stop most weapons, even arrows. However, a gambeson or non-riveted mail will often let a thrust or arrow through easily. Layering cloth, mail and plates or armor will greatly improve the characters defenses. Some ideas for how magic works and designs for the different methods of deploying that are in the works, as well as discovering that writing a fair, interesting and balanced algorithm for character damage is pretty tough. A lot of hours just poring over revision upon revision of a single algorithm.

I’ve already got some fun stuff going with custom string parsing and the ability for different menus to be displayed is functional. As is, you can only progress through the title screen and the ‘NEW’ menu option, going through the entire character creation process in all of its minimalist glory. The point at which you confirm your character is where I am in writing. Got a document that will allow me to write a scene featuring the basic functions of gameplay including interacting with items and props, NPCs that can be talked to or fought and doors to go through, as well as other features to tack on to this basic scene later.

Some other ideas I have in my pocket are such things as allowing saved characters to be handled as NPCs when playing a different file. So, if a player has characters named John and Marshall and saves the John file in one city and then visits that city in the Marshall file, he can encounter and interact with his other character like any other, including convincing him to follow the player.
As well as having comrades who will travel with the player, the player can become a follower them self, under the command of an NPC. The whole idea of this setup is to allow the game to feel less lonely, even if it is only single player. I always hated that so many RPGs glorify the lone warrior who saves the world. I’d played with some mods for Skyrim that allowed me to have up to 5 companions, and it really changes the feel of the game, as well as allowing me to ramp up the difficulty without it becoming unbalanced. Your companions would make a lot of kills alongside your own and the mod was designed so that even your companion’s kills would count towards your own progression, which I’d like to play with in my own project. There were a lot of cool moments where my little group would volley crossbow bolts or be teaming up on a tough enemy that really redefined the play experience.

Time’s up, back to school for me!

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