A first person permadeath arcade shooter with fog flasks.
I started out 7drl this year with high hopes. Just on the tail of nightmare cooperative, I was feeling pretty confident that I could get to the end of this jam without making a pile of garbage (like I did last year), or just completely fail to make anything (like I did the prior year).
Unfortunately, I got it into my head that the correct thing to do was to make a heist game that didn’t have any combat, and which was presented as a series of disconnected vignettes. A top down 30 flights of loving. I built out some nice graphics for it, and had ideas for some of the scenes that I wanted in it. Unfortunately, once I started thinking about it in terms of a game, I let “player agency” creep in. This was the death knell for this project, because I didn’t know how to handle a heist where the player could make choices about how it was going to proceed. I kept getting mixed up between the game I wanted to make and the expectations of what a roguelike should be.
I think I will come back to this idea at some point, or at least find a use for the graphics, because look at these graphics.
Two days into the 7drl, I decided to deep six that project and start on something new. I had the beginnings of a randomly generated fps, so I grabbed all that code and started actually making it into a thing. I ripped out all of the enemies that I had implemented, tore out all the graphics, and switched it so that it just generated a single empty square room. I had big plans for this dungeon generator, but moving things to the third dimension is always hard. Making it to a first person asteroids simplifies a bunch of the generation.
I then built out a few enemies. I probably picked the wrong art style for this, because it took me a few hours each to make the animations and art. I don’t know what I could have done different except just not had animations. Or maybe art is just costly always.
Finally, I hit on this idea of throwing potions around, and having the fog have different properties. I had some notes of a roguelike that would use potions as the only weapon, with about 30 ideas listed. I stripped these back to the most important and interesting three, and shoved them in the game. Up to this point the game was brutally difficult, but with the addition of the potions, it didn’t take much work to balance it into something more or less playable. Winning feels like you are exploiting the game, which is an interesting thing to have happen. I don’t know if it is good design or not, but I like that there is a secret way to win and that you have to track it down.