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Chapters in Roguelike Games

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Anonymous
July 4, 2005 11:13:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

I have just started the development/designing of my own roguelike. I
have come up with what I believe to be a fairly original idea in
roguelike development and am wondering what some other developers think
of it before I attempt to implement it.

The concept is to divide the roguelike into Chapters. So, instead of
having one large story line, you divide the story into chapters.

The first real difference is that the first thing that you create in
the game is a Profile. Your profile contains all of the different PC's
in the game. Then you create the PC for the first chapter. The ending
of this chapter determines which chapter(s) you can access afterwards.
Playing and finishing that same chapter again in a different way would
allow you to access another chapter - chapters can be played and
re-played.

The next set of chapters, may or may not be a straight continous run.
For example, in some chapters, you may continue playing with the
previous character. Permadeath in these situations would only send the
PC back to the start of the chapter - because it could be used in
very-long games which would get irritating if permadeath dropped your
character back to L1 in a chapter designed for L35 characters. However,
the chapter may involve you creating a second PC which may have to at
some stage defeat PC1.

This could facilitate having large, story driven roguelikes without the
irritation of permadeath in the later levels. My opinion on permadeath
is that it is good for a game of up to about 20 hours but a
chapter-based game could have a potential playtime of 100+ hours
without becoming irritating. You could split the game into 20 hour
segments. This also means that you could feature a few 'ultra' chapters
which you would get access to for example if you had completed every
ending. I'm thinking of adding the 'Passage to the Gods' which you will
be able to access from the first chapter after you have completed a few
of the other possible endings from the 2 different third chapters.

Also - what happens in one chapter could effect another. If in Ch.1 the
PC has to either return something to the ancient god of chaos or kill,
and become the ancient god of chaos, in Ch. 3 where the PC (another
one) has to retrieve something from the ancient god of chaos, they
would fight either the original god, or PC #1 (who has gained a fair
bit more experience since to avoid scumming). It would also fairly
easily facilitate having a short, optional'Introduction' chapter which
would teach a new player how to play the game and introduce the basic
storyline - something that every time you play, you shouldn't have to
sit through.

I won't be able to check any responses for this for a few days - so
don't bust your boiler but I'm really wondering what other people think
of this concept.



Cheers,



The Lochok
July 4, 2005 11:27:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

lochok wrote:
> I have just started the development/designing of my own roguelike. I
> have come up with what I believe to be a fairly original idea in
> roguelike development and am wondering what some other developers think
> of it before I attempt to implement it.
>
> The concept is to divide the roguelike into Chapters. So, instead of
> having one large story line, you divide the story into chapters.
>
> The first real difference is that the first thing that you create in
> the game is a Profile. Your profile contains all of the different PC's
> in the game. Then you create the PC for the first chapter. The ending
> of this chapter determines which chapter(s) you can access afterwards.
> Playing and finishing that same chapter again in a different way would
> allow you to access another chapter - chapters can be played and
> re-played.
>
> The next set of chapters, may or may not be a straight continous run.
> For example, in some chapters, you may continue playing with the
> previous character. Permadeath in these situations would only send the
> PC back to the start of the chapter - because it could be used in
> very-long games which would get irritating if permadeath dropped your
> character back to L1 in a chapter designed for L35 characters. However,
> the chapter may involve you creating a second PC which may have to at
> some stage defeat PC1.
>
> This could facilitate having large, story driven roguelikes without the
> irritation of permadeath in the later levels. My opinion on permadeath
> is that it is good for a game of up to about 20 hours but a
> chapter-based game could have a potential playtime of 100+ hours
> without becoming irritating. You could split the game into 20 hour
> segments. This also means that you could feature a few 'ultra' chapters
> which you would get access to for example if you had completed every
> ending. I'm thinking of adding the 'Passage to the Gods' which you will
> be able to access from the first chapter after you have completed a few
> of the other possible endings from the 2 different third chapters.
>
> Also - what happens in one chapter could effect another. If in Ch.1 the
> PC has to either return something to the ancient god of chaos or kill,
> and become the ancient god of chaos, in Ch. 3 where the PC (another
> one) has to retrieve something from the ancient god of chaos, they
> would fight either the original god, or PC #1 (who has gained a fair
> bit more experience since to avoid scumming). It would also fairly
> easily facilitate having a short, optional'Introduction' chapter which
> would teach a new player how to play the game and introduce the basic
> storyline - something that every time you play, you shouldn't have to
> sit through.

My advice is to not try to implement any of these meta-narrative ideas
until you have a playable, enjoyable and popular game. Just keep in
mind that you might want to implement them later and code accordingly.

A.
Anonymous
July 4, 2005 11:56:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

I've just found in the past that long-term planning on any project can
help a lot. I heard an old builders saying recently 'Anything that is
put on the plan is 4x cheaper then putting it in on the day' - I think
that if I plan ahead, I can tailor my code ready for it. But to get a
working game is my first priority. I've been away from computers for
the past week and will be most of next week but before then I've
already got a basic (slightly broken...) map generator for 256x256 maps
and you can explore them, crash into walls and doors and open and close
doors. I've also implemented FOV using Pythagoras and circle theorums
to determine if you can see past something. Plus its being worked on in
FP!
Related resources
July 5, 2005 12:13:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

lochok wrote:
> I've just found in the past that long-term planning on any project can
> help a lot. I heard an old builders saying recently 'Anything that is
> put on the plan is 4x cheaper then putting it in on the day' - I think
> that if I plan ahead, I can tailor my code ready for it. But to get a
> working game is my first priority. I've been away from computers for
> the past week and will be most of next week but before then I've
> already got a basic (slightly broken...) map generator for 256x256 maps

What's broken about it?

A.
Anonymous
July 5, 2005 12:50:50 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Antoine wrote:
> lochok wrote:
> > I've just found in the past that long-term planning on any project can
> > help a lot. I heard an old builders saying recently 'Anything that is
> > put on the plan is 4x cheaper then putting it in on the day' - I think
> > that if I plan ahead, I can tailor my code ready for it. But to get a
> > working game is my first priority. I've been away from computers for
> > the past week and will be most of next week but before then I've
> > already got a basic (slightly broken...) map generator for 256x256 maps
>
> What's broken about it?
>
> A.

I'm using the kind-of process where you choose a feature (room and
size), choose a wall, check a space and build the feature if clear
(repeat as necessary). For some reason it occasionally builds
disconnected rooms - which becomes a problem when they contain either
the entry or exit. It also occasionally wraps around on the edges. I'm
certain there is not much code to fix to fix both problems and I'm
going to have a better look at it when I get home next week.

>From memory, it kindof ends up doing something like this

###########
#.........######
#.........+....#
#.........#....#
#.........#....#
#.........######
#######+###


#######
#.....#
#.....#
#######
Anonymous
July 5, 2005 1:36:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Lochock said:

> I have just started the development/designing of my
> own roguelike. I have come up with what I believe to
> be a fairly original idea in roguelike development
> and am wondering what some other developers think
> of it before I attempt to implement it.

> The concept is to divide the roguelike into Chapters.
> So, instead of having one large story line, you divide
> the story into chapters.

Pretty rad idea. Jeff Lait's "You Only Live Once" featured
a short stand-alone story. It wasn't deep, or anything, but
it was interesting to see some permanence in a roguelike,
as well as narrowly-defined characters rather than the usual
roguelike "I-can-be-anything-as-long-as-I-repeat-an-action-ad-
infinitum-to-boost-my-skill" sort of character. It had an
interesting solution to permadeth (you got to play as other
characters in town when one died), and it seemed very much
like a feat that could be repeated using most of the same code.

I think chapter roguelikes would work great. You could even
work on adding new styles of play to chapters, so that each
one feels different. Rather than making some cumbersome
game with every feature you ever wanted, you could create
a focused experience to go along with each part of your
story. Or not.

-B.A.M.
Anonymous
July 5, 2005 5:29:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

<SNIP>
The first real difference is that the first thing that you create in
> > the game is a Profile. Your profile contains all of the different PC's
> > in the game. Then you create the PC for the first chapter. The ending
> > of this chapter determines which chapter(s) you can access afterwards.
> > Playing and finishing that same chapter again in a different way would
> > allow you to access another chapter - chapters can be played and
> > re-played.
>
> When you say re-played, do you mean that you can start the chapter over
> with the same character at any time?
>
For a Linear chapter - I was thinking you could restart but the ideas
later on about playing another player could work to. It'd work well in
a Guild-like setup too
> >
> > The next set of chapters, may or may not be a straight continous run.
> > For example, in some chapters, you may continue playing with the
> > previous character. Permadeath in these situations would only send the
> > PC back to the start of the chapter - because it could be used in
> > very-long games which would get irritating if permadeath dropped your
> > character back to L1 in a chapter designed for L35 characters. However,
> > the chapter may involve you creating a second PC which may have to at
> > some stage defeat PC1.
>
> If the chapters are going to be non-linear anyway, I think permadeath
> should be permadeath - but instead of going on to the "success" chapter,
> you might go on to a different chapter (the "failure" chapter, or even
> different failure chapters for different levels of progress within a
> given chapter). This way, a lost character isn't a lost game - but it
> might be a lost chance at a specific ending.
>
Imagine how deep the story arc could go... How many chapters would you
be thinking (from start to finish - not including alternative chapters)
would you need to tcomplete to finish the game in any basic sense?
> >
> > This could facilitate having large, story driven roguelikes without the
> > irritation of permadeath in the later levels. My opinion on permadeath
> > is that it is good for a game of up to about 20 hours but a
> > chapter-based game could have a potential playtime of 100+ hours
> > without becoming irritating. You could split the game into 20 hour
> > segments. This also means that you could feature a few 'ultra' chapters
> > which you would get access to for example if you had completed every
> > ending. I'm thinking of adding the 'Passage to the Gods' which you will
> > be able to access from the first chapter after you have completed a few
> > of the other possible endings from the 2 different third chapters.
>
> Personally, I would like shorter chapters with the feature I proposed
> above... 6-10 hours long, maybe. This would serve to divide the game
> into "manageable chunks" like the different dungeons and temples do in
> ADOM, and the different branches and stash locations do in Crawl.
Shorter chapters would work - and it would do away with Dusk till Dawn
till School plays to divide in x amount of Time you get home to
midnight games
>
> >
> > Also - what happens in one chapter could effect another. If in Ch.1 the
> > PC has to either return something to the ancient god of chaos or kill,
> > and become the ancient god of chaos, in Ch. 3 where the PC (another
> > one) has to retrieve something from the ancient god of chaos, they
> > would fight either the original god, or PC #1 (who has gained a fair
> > bit more experience since to avoid scumming). It would also fairly
> > easily facilitate having a short, optional'Introduction' chapter which
> > would teach a new player how to play the game and introduce the basic
> > storyline - something that every time you play, you shouldn't have to
> > sit through.
>
> To build on your example - If the original PC failed, the ancient god of
> chaos became angry that the item that was supposed to be returned
> wasn't, and decided to gather power by other means. In this instance,
> the ancient god of chaos is more powerful and has more influence
> throughout the world... so chapter 3 would be more difficult to complete
> successfully. This could scale to how long the PC survived in chapter 1
> - the longer the PC survived (or rather, the further the PC progressed),
> the less time the ancient god of chaos has had to become angry and start
> gathering power.
>
Kewl...
> > I won't be able to check any responses for this for a few days - so
> > don't bust your boiler but I'm really wondering what other people think
> > of this concept.
>
> I think it's a great concept, though your proposal of several 20 hour
> chapters sounds a bit much for my plate. Better to have shorter chapters
> and more replayability (and this also lets you develop a higher number
> of different chapters in the same time), in my opinion.

Cheers - thanks for the suggestion. It will be considered...


Lochok
Anonymous
July 5, 2005 5:33:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

I was intending on having the first chapter and-a-bit in my fantasy
world of Eugor and then bringing chapter 3 to the real world in a big
city and linking it through a portal or something. Therefore - the real
world (in early sections at least) would include gun-play to a much
higher level and much less killing of many more civilians to avoid
being arrested as opposed to the more traditional hack and slash of the
fantasy levels
Anonymous
July 5, 2005 6:32:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

bamcquern@yahoo.com wrote:
> I think chapter roguelikes would work great. You could even
> work on adding new styles of play to chapters, so that each
> one feels different.

Chapters are much like level themes for the dungeon. They make
the game more focused, moving away from general sandbox playing.
July 5, 2005 7:35:41 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

lochok wrote:
> I have just started the development/designing of my own roguelike. I
> have come up with what I believe to be a fairly original idea in
> roguelike development and am wondering what some other developers think
> of it before I attempt to implement it.
>
> The concept is to divide the roguelike into Chapters. So, instead of
> having one large story line, you divide the story into chapters.

Incidentally, I view the current Guild release as the first chapter of
a multi-chapter game - with the current chapters to be completed at a
later stage (perhaps).

I guess Diablo 2 was my inspiration here...?

A.
Anonymous
July 5, 2005 11:24:07 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

At 4 Jul 2005 19:13:31 -0700,
lochok wrote:

The idea seems to be pretty good.

> It would also fairly
> easily facilitate having a short, optional'Introduction' chapter which
> would teach a new player how to play the game and introduce the basic
> storyline - something that every time you play, you shouldn't have to
> sit through.

I was planning on something like this. You start as a child in a special
level, where you can learn the basic mechanics of the game, learn some
details about the game world, even get involved with some of the NPCs.

Then, a certain action (an obvious one) would trigger a series of events
that will start the plot of the game. Then the player has to go to one of
several NPCs available and join him, selecting his character class this
way. Then there's a fade out and you start the normal play.

I think this kind of an introduction has several advantages:
- It serves as a tutorial for the basic mechanics;
- It serves as a sandbox for experimenting;
- It gives you an option to investigate the world in detail;
- It doesn't force you do read all background text;
- Increases immersion by moving metagame actions into the game itself;
- When the story unfolds, it's already presented in the form it will be
presented in the game -- the player doesn't have to guess "Ah, so this
is the priest that was mentioned in the intro!";
- The player can talk to the NPCs responsible for selecting the class
before activating the event trigger, and they will teach him some
important things about their class;
- If you really want to, you could place some hidden NPCs for hidden
classes;

It has disadvantages too:
- You have to, at least, activate the event trigger and go talk to the NPC
every time you start a new game, as opposed to two keypresses in
standard approach;
- The 'series of events' has to be programmed;
- The whole intorduction must be prepared, dialogues written, world
designed, etc. Well, you don't get content for free, do you?

--
Radomir `The Sheep' Dopieralski @**@_
(Qq) 3 Sob?
. . . ..v.vVvVVvVvv.v.. .
Anonymous
July 5, 2005 12:47:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

I think it's an interesting idea. There's one serious problem you face,
however. If your storyline is like a tree - with a single starting place
which branches out to other chapters, which branch out to other chapters,
ect ect, you are going to need to put in a huge amount of effort developing
enough content for each additional branching point in your narrative. The
problem with this is that you will spend a lot of time developing content
that most people won't see in any particular run through your game. Of
course, you can tame this exponential complexity like other RPGs do - only
give the illusion that the player's past actions have made any difference in
the story - but I don't think that would be satisfying here (if it is
anywhere).

I'm not saying don't try it - it does sound cool - just beware of deeply
branching storylines. Maybe you could set up several less-branching stories
and let the play work through all of them - giving you a longer game with
less effort.

--
Blog:
Shedletsky's Bits: A Random Walk Through Manifold Space
http://www.stanford.edu/~jjshed/blog
"lochok" <lochok@optusnet.com.au> wrote in message
news:1120529611.483202.75210@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
Anonymous
July 5, 2005 1:17:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

lochok wrote:
> I have just started the development/designing of my own roguelike. I
> have come up with what I believe to be a fairly original idea in
> roguelike development and am wondering what some other developers think
> of it before I attempt to implement it.
>
> The concept is to divide the roguelike into Chapters. So, instead of
> having one large story line, you divide the story into chapters.

I think this is a great idea!

>
> The first real difference is that the first thing that you create in
> the game is a Profile. Your profile contains all of the different PC's
> in the game. Then you create the PC for the first chapter. The ending
> of this chapter determines which chapter(s) you can access afterwards.
> Playing and finishing that same chapter again in a different way would
> allow you to access another chapter - chapters can be played and
> re-played.

When you say re-played, do you mean that you can start the chapter over
with the same character at any time?

>
> The next set of chapters, may or may not be a straight continous run.
> For example, in some chapters, you may continue playing with the
> previous character. Permadeath in these situations would only send the
> PC back to the start of the chapter - because it could be used in
> very-long games which would get irritating if permadeath dropped your
> character back to L1 in a chapter designed for L35 characters. However,
> the chapter may involve you creating a second PC which may have to at
> some stage defeat PC1.

If the chapters are going to be non-linear anyway, I think permadeath
should be permadeath - but instead of going on to the "success" chapter,
you might go on to a different chapter (the "failure" chapter, or even
different failure chapters for different levels of progress within a
given chapter). This way, a lost character isn't a lost game - but it
might be a lost chance at a specific ending.

>
> This could facilitate having large, story driven roguelikes without the
> irritation of permadeath in the later levels. My opinion on permadeath
> is that it is good for a game of up to about 20 hours but a
> chapter-based game could have a potential playtime of 100+ hours
> without becoming irritating. You could split the game into 20 hour
> segments. This also means that you could feature a few 'ultra' chapters
> which you would get access to for example if you had completed every
> ending. I'm thinking of adding the 'Passage to the Gods' which you will
> be able to access from the first chapter after you have completed a few
> of the other possible endings from the 2 different third chapters.

Personally, I would like shorter chapters with the feature I proposed
above... 6-10 hours long, maybe. This would serve to divide the game
into "manageable chunks" like the different dungeons and temples do in
ADOM, and the different branches and stash locations do in Crawl.

>
> Also - what happens in one chapter could effect another. If in Ch.1 the
> PC has to either return something to the ancient god of chaos or kill,
> and become the ancient god of chaos, in Ch. 3 where the PC (another
> one) has to retrieve something from the ancient god of chaos, they
> would fight either the original god, or PC #1 (who has gained a fair
> bit more experience since to avoid scumming). It would also fairly
> easily facilitate having a short, optional'Introduction' chapter which
> would teach a new player how to play the game and introduce the basic
> storyline - something that every time you play, you shouldn't have to
> sit through.

To build on your example - If the original PC failed, the ancient god of
chaos became angry that the item that was supposed to be returned
wasn't, and decided to gather power by other means. In this instance,
the ancient god of chaos is more powerful and has more influence
throughout the world... so chapter 3 would be more difficult to complete
successfully. This could scale to how long the PC survived in chapter 1
- the longer the PC survived (or rather, the further the PC progressed),
the less time the ancient god of chaos has had to become angry and start
gathering power.

> I won't be able to check any responses for this for a few days - so
> don't bust your boiler but I'm really wondering what other people think
> of this concept.

I think it's a great concept, though your proposal of several 20 hour
chapters sounds a bit much for my plate. Better to have shorter chapters
and more replayability (and this also lets you develop a higher number
of different chapters in the same time), in my opinion.
Anonymous
July 5, 2005 1:24:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Elethiomel wrote:
<snip>
>
> To build on your example - If the original PC failed, the ancient god of
> chaos became angry that the item that was supposed to be returned
> wasn't, and decided to gather power by other means. In this instance,
> the ancient god of chaos is more powerful and has more influence
> throughout the world... so chapter 3 would be more difficult to complete
> successfully. This could scale to how long the PC survived in chapter 1
> - the longer the PC survived (or rather, the further the PC progressed),
> the less time the ancient god of chaos has had to become angry and start
> gathering power.
<snip>

Oh, and I forgot to mention:
In the "failure" case, chapter 2 might be completely different than with
any of the successful completions of chapter 1. Or the failure to return
the object migth have completely different consequences, for instance
that the ancient god of chaos falls in favour in the pantheon, starting
a downwards spiral for the poor god and making any items obtained from
it next to useless (since all the items are drained of power in
desperate bids to regain some favour) -- so the PC must find a different
way to solve whatever problem the item obtained from the ancient god of
chaos would obliterate.
Anonymous
July 5, 2005 4:25:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

lochok wrote:
> <SNIP>
<snip>
>>If the chapters are going to be non-linear anyway, I think permadeath
>>should be permadeath - but instead of going on to the "success" chapter,
>>you might go on to a different chapter (the "failure" chapter, or even
>>different failure chapters for different levels of progress within a
>>given chapter). This way, a lost character isn't a lost game - but it
>>might be a lost chance at a specific ending.
>>
>
> Imagine how deep the story arc could go... How many chapters would you
> be thinking (from start to finish - not including alternative chapters)
> would you need to tcomplete to finish the game in any basic sense?
>

Hmm, good question. I don't really have a good answer. By gut instinct
(in other words, numbers pulled out of my ass), no more than five or six.

<snip>
>>Personally, I would like shorter chapters with the feature I proposed
>>above... 6-10 hours long, maybe. This would serve to divide the game
>>into "manageable chunks" like the different dungeons and temples do in
>>ADOM, and the different branches and stash locations do in Crawl.
>
> Shorter chapters would work - and it would do away with Dusk till Dawn
> till School plays to divide in x amount of Time you get home to
> midnight games
<snip>

Indeed. Also, it helps to wrap one's mind around an entire game when it
doesn't take long; a previously completed chapter is a closed book, a
completed story, and can be summarised easily in the mind. If you see
what I mean.
Anonymous
July 6, 2005 3:55:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

lochok wrote:
*SNIP*
> This could facilitate having large, story driven roguelikes without the
> irritation of permadeath in the later levels. My opinion on permadeath
> is that it is good for a game of up to about 20 hours but a
> chapter-based game could have a potential playtime of 100+ hours
> without becoming irritating.
*SNIP*

RLs have a longer play time than chapter based games. Permadeath
is an irritation in chapter games because they are linear and
repetitive to replay - while RLs are not meant to be. Indeed I
find not having permadeath in a RL to be an "irritation" as I
quickly lose interest in playing them at all. Reloading a dead
character feels like playing a pale imitation of its previous
self.

--
ABCGi ---- (abcgi@yahoo.com) ---- http://codemonkey.sunsite.dk
..Hajo's H-World - RogueLike/RPG Engine SourceForge Project...
.......Downloads - https://sourceforge.net/projects/h-world...
............Home - http://h-world.simugraph.com...............
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 6:18:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

The Sheep wrote:
> At 4 Jul 2005 19:13:31 -0700,
> lochok wrote:

> It has disadvantages too:
> - You have to, at least, activate the event trigger and go talk to the NPC
> every time you start a new game, as opposed to two keypresses in
> standard approach;

"What's the password? If you don't know, say nothing; I'll let you
through anyway."

[Enter]

[...]

"I'll train you to be a fighter. [...] By the way, the password is
"fruitcake."

[One YASD later...]

"What's the password? If you don't know, say nothing; I'll let you
through anyway."

[Fruitcake]

You are now a fighter...

Erik

(Probably a silly idea as presented, but perhaps could be adapted to be
useful?)
!