In a previous post, I mentioned that The Curse Of Yendor (tCoY for short!) was primarily inspired by 4 games: Brogue, Borderlands 2, Powder, and Random Realms. Today, I’ll talk about what I’ve taken from each one, and how I’ve used it.
With Brogue, I was always inspired by the level design. It was one of the first games to have beautiful ascii graphics, but that’s not what I mean. Brogue’s levels are carefully designed. True, they are procedural, so I suppose it’s better to say that the level designing AI is very carefully designed 🙂
Brogue has lots of little puzzles and traps. Everything interacts in subtle ways to create this overall organic level feel. I definitely wanted to incorporate this sort of thoughtful design into my game.
tCoY has many standard kinds of puzzles available: lock and key, gate and lever, sokoban, etc. But since terrain deformation is a major game mechanic, there are also puzzles that revolve around changing your surroundings to fit your needs.
For example, you might see a pool of lava with a treasure-filled island in the middle. How to get there? Freeze a path across the lava with your ice magic! And there are more complicated examples, that require different combinations of elemental powers, or the application of your trusty pick-axe.
From Borderlands 2, I took the idea of leveled monsters and items. It’s not the first game to use this concept, but it’s one of my top 5 favorite games of all time.
The point is, you can face a level 5 bullymong (or whatever creature), and when you’re level 3, it’s quite a challenge. But when you’re level 10, it’s basically a “windshield kill”. So that’s when you start encountering level 12 enemies. And so on, ad infinitum (approaching infinity).
Items are the same way. A level 12 shotgun is always going to be better that a level 1 shotgun. Unless of course that level 1 shotgun happens to be some sort of legendary artifact with unique powers…
Anyway, what Borderlands does is to show you the level of enemies right there on the screen. They’re not shy about it. And that way, when you see that “1” above an enemy, you know you can walk up and punch it to death. But if you see a “20”, you are instantly terrified, and start to run away. It really works as a system, and never feels distracting or forced. I can level up, and so can you.
Monsters and items in tCoY all have levels. Additionally, items have “rarity” (common to legendary), and monsters can have “size” modifiers (small to massive). So you’re constantly facing tougher opponents, and you’re also being challenged to make sure your gear stays up to date.
Powder remains one of the best roguelikes ever designed for mobile devices. And after meeting Jeff Lait at IRDC 2015, I played it extensively. I tried to use Powder’s example of mobile user interface as an inspiration.
When you search for “roguelikes” on mobile device, the choices are very few. Sure, you get hundreds of hits, but how many of those are actually, really, ROGUE LIKES ?
I want The Curse Of Yendor to be there for you in your time of procedural, turn-based, grid-based, hack-and-slash, inventory-management need!
Finally, I mention Random Realms. It’s not terribly well known. It probably doesn’t even work on modern computers. But it does have its fans. And it’s one of my games!
The thing I took from Random Realms is the basis for the magic system. It is, in fact, something I’ve never been able to shake; I’ve used it in many games. The idea of there being 3 schools of elemental magic: Fire, Ice, and Stone, and 3 schools of spiritual magic: Light, Dark, and Gray.
These types of magic interact with each other in a rock/paper/scissors fashion: Fire beats Ice, Ice beats Stone, and Stone beats Fire. Similarly, Light defeats Dark, Dark defeats Gray, and Gray defeats Light.
So monsters and magic and weapons can have these various characteristics, and then they all start interacting, and damages and resistances go up and down, and things can get pretty complicated 🙂