Dragonhelm (Tactical roleplaying game)

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Post » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:05 am

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Here is a short presentation of the project im currently working on with the working title of Dragonhelm. Even though it quite some time before its finished.

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As I have always enjoyed playing roleplaying games and especially rogue style roleplaying games, where gameplay is in the driving seat and graphics and sound is of less important I decided to kick off my own project, which aim is to mix the things that I enjoyed the most from all these types of games, and add several new elements to expand on the areas that I thought was missing. This gave the idea to make this game.

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The game is designed to be primarily a roleplaying game, but also features strategic elements as the player are also the ruler of there own city and land. This is not just by title, the player is in full control of how they choose to rule the city and treat their citizens. Whether the player choose to use the treasury as a personal piggy bank or buy food for the starving citizens, the choice is theirs.

However Dragonhelm is only a small city and of little importance to the four huge empires who are all ruled by a supreme ruler chosen amongst one of these. And the laws chosen here also apply to the player, which will force them to maintain a good relationship with the supreme ruler, as he/she can also decide the fate of a disobedient player who choose not to follow the laws.

So besides just being a roleplaying game, the player will have a lot of choices to make regarding the political situation going on through out the land, and the game will evolve based on what the player decide to do in certain situations.
An example could be that one of the players trading caravans have been robbed in a foreign empire, and its very likely the work of the empire it self, but are trying to blame the lack of protection of the caravan on the player, How the player choose to solve it, will affect how the game plays out.

Since it is primarily a roleplaying game a huge part of game is about levelling and evolving the characters and as the rest of game it is based on freedom. So there are currently no level cap and only a few abilities have limits to how many skill points can be put into them.

Besides abilities the game also features skills, which range from a skill like "Guard" which will allow one character to absorb all damage done to another character for the remaining of the combat round, to skills such as "Riding" which will allow a character to use mount in combat.

The game is tactical turn based so the player will control each of there characters in combat the same way you will see it in a game like UFO - Enemy unknown.

So the overall idea is to make a game where the player is presented with choices and choose what to do rather than guided along a fix path chosen by the game, Which aims to make the game feel fresh each time and so the player never really knows what will happen next.

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These are a mixture of feature already in the game and those under consideration.
    - Open ended world.
    - Event driven world.
    - Skill system featuring currently 53 skills.
    - Random dungeon generator.
    - City management including wage, happiness and crime/judgement system.
    - Resource management current 8 types. These are material that are used by citizens and trading.
    - Extensive crafting system with weapon crafting, armor crafting, magic item crafting, spell crafting and poison and alchemy crafting.
    - 4 different races.
    - 6 different classes which can be customized as the player see fit. Which will add close to endless possibilities.
    - Individual relationship between empires and people.
    - Random generated quests.
    - 57 different types of weapons.
    - Real time system which feature day, week, month and year.
    - System handling ageing and behaviours of rulers.
    - Weather system.
    - System for handling diseases.
    - Counsellors that help advise the player what to do. (If not corrupted.)
    - Expanding empire.
    - Building construction.
    - Fame system that can help the player through rough times and help them influence the empires.

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It is currently a bit to early to show a lot of screenshots of the game as the graphics in the game is just working material.

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Screenshot of the map and the surrounding around Dragonhelm which are the city the player rules. (Map is not completed yet.)

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Character creation sheet.

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First attempt to make a character in inkscape to test out the program. Since I couldn't figure out how to make gradients I decided to just make the character as flat as a pancake and since the size of the characters ain't larger than 64x64 pixels i will have to check if its worth spending time on.
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Second character, went a bit better workflow wise, but still cant figure out how to add shadows correctly.

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For the third character I decided it was time to create a rogue and see if I could add some shadows and highlights to it. As I couldn't find any good way to do it automatically I decided to add them my self.

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Decided to save the priest character as there was still hope for that one and in the process change some of the things I didn't like with the first one.

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Dwarf - Druid with wolf companion

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    Give a rough estimate of how far each part is.

    Character creation
    |-----------------------X--|

    Skill system
    |-----X--------------------|

    Music/sound
    |X-------------------------|

    Graphics
    |X-------------------------|

    Tactical combat
    |-------X------------------|

    Map features
    |------------------X-------|

    Quest feature
    |----------X---------------|

    Dungeons
    |---------------X----------|

    Event system
    |----X---------------------|

    City management
    |----------------------X---|

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    22-05-14 - Have been working a lot on trying to get the tactical part working with focus on the AI of the enemy movement. Which is a lot harder than I expected. Which is mainly due to the path finding behavior being very limited and not very solid for tile based movement it seems, it have severe problems with directional movement and collision detection. So I have been forced to make workarounds for these things. But believe I have dealt with the main issues.

    05-05-14 - Finally finished working on the character sheet, at least for now. And also had to update the character creation with the new sprite lists, so it now works in both. Also did some updates as skills already bought would still show up in the lists. So fixed that as well. So now I have started working on the tactical combat part of the game, and so far made it so rooms themselves are randomly generated. And now im looking to make a generator that can place clutter in the rooms so they will look a bit more interesting and give the player some environment to work with which I hope will make the fights more tactical in the end.

    01-05-14 - Been working a bit on my character sheet, so It is now possible to open it from anywhere in the game. Besides that I replaced the skill lists with sprite lists instead which seems a lot better in my opinion, so very pleased with that.

    28-04-14 - After a request from the forum about a tutorial for the dungeon generator, I decided to spend some time making that. Which took a bit of time, but it let me go through the code in details step by step and I did find some garbage code that I could remove.
    However it took some time off from further developing my own generator, but I did manage to integrate it into my game and create an object layer, which will be used for dungeon clutter, ladders and so on. Which will help make the dungeons more unique and give them a more interesting environment. I also managed to integrate a full save and load functionality, so players can exit and re-enter any dungeon that they have former visited should they need to go to town to sell loot or revive a fallen group member and also managed to add depth levels to it so it now support any depth that I would like.
    Since I integrated it into the game, there will be no more demos of it, as the other ones were developed in separated projects and could easy be turned into demos.

    Tutorial for Dungeon generator Tutorial for Dungeon Generator

    25-04-14 - Yet another updated version of the dungeon generator, with player dummy object and light control. Demo of the dungeon generator version 2.2 - Alpha: Demo of the dungeon generator version 2.2 - Player dummy and light control

    25-04-14 - Updated version of the dungeon generator, which allow different sizes and room support. Demo of the dungeon generator version 2.1 - Alpha: Demo of the dungeon generator version 2.1 - Size and room support

    24-04-14 - Have been working on new design for a dungeon generator based on a node system rather than path finding. Also it doesn't use rooms the same way as the original, since I didn't really knew how to make it fit the game the way I wanted. But the generator is still in an early stage and still need to add a way to set the size of the dungeons. Demo of the dungeon generator version 2 - Alpha: Demo of the dungeon generator version 2

    17-04-14 - While C2 had some unexpected problems due to an update that made my game not work probably, I decided to update the character creation sheet a bit. Also tried Inkscape to make a trial character to test out the program. With some more experience with the program I think it will suit my needs fine.

    14-04-14 - Currently working on my random dungeon generator. Which is way harder than I thought, but its starting to work quite well even though there are some minor bugs. Demo of the dungeon generator - Alpha: Demo of the dungeon generator
Last edited by nimos100 on Fri Jun 06, 2014 4:17 pm, edited 27 times in total.
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Post » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:08 am

Wow! That looks awesome!

I like your gamedesign! It seems you have thought very well about what you want to do.

But you have a lot of features, I hope you find the motivation to keep on programming.
Are you doing this game all on your own?
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Post » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:21 am

Vuuv wrote:Wow! That looks awesome!

I like your gamedesign! It seems you have thought very well about what you want to do.

But you have a lot of features, I hope you find the motivation to keep on programming.
Are you doing this game all on your own?


Thanks a lot, its actually really really hard to explain the game in whole as there are actually a lot more than I presented here, but hopefully it will be added over time.

Yeah im working alone on it, so it take quite a long time to make as a lot of the feature I have never tried making before. But I hope I can get it to a playable state soon, so I can start test the flow of it.
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Post » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:36 pm

Really nice Demo on the Generator¬!
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Post » Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:07 am

Really nice Demo on the Generator¬!


Thanks, however im thinking of making a new one as im not really sure that one will fit the game the way I would like it to. and it is really slow :D

So im planning on trying to make one based on a "Node" system instead. Which I hope will make it faster and more easy to code and expand over time. However at the moment its only on a thought state, but the basic idea is that there are only so many options for how tiles can be connected. So each tile will have a fixed number of nodes or connections points.

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This would be all the halls tiles, then there would be rooms etc.

The idea is to choose a random tile as starting point, and from this one connect a new tile for each node.
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So next time it goes around it will go through each of these tiles and see what possibilities it have.
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And when its done hopefully there will be a dungeon with rooms and so on and there will be no need to use path finding to make it, and that way make it generate a lot faster than now. But as mentioned its only an idea at the moment and might run into some problems I didn't expect, that is normally how it turns out :D
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Post » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:42 am

Wow, what a creative workaround for a random dungeon generator!!
Thanks for taking the time to explain the concept so others can use the idea in their own games!
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Post » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:15 am

This is real promising :) just don't get stuck on all that great Features. Get it playable First. :)
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Post » Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:46 am

Beaverlicious wrote:This is real promising :) just don't get stuck on all that great Features. Get it playable First. :)


Yeah that's one of many things I keep an eye out for. My hope is to be able to implement a very basic version, where just the most overall feature works and then slowly expand it. Also trying to just implement more general version of things, so for instant when I create the skills, I will just implement one or two and make it so the rest can more or less be copy pasted based on these. But I have never worked on a project this big before, so its a bit shaky :D

Also found several things that I would do differently, if I was going to start over. Some of them I try to improve and some I just leave.

But my main issue is organization which is the number one thing that make it hard to code and even though I have spend a lot of time on it, its still the hardest thing to really get working. Its like something is missing, some way of keeping an overview of everything so you can easily see how things are connected in the game, not really sure how to explain it. But think anyone that have worked on big projects would know what I mean. :) But hopefully i can figure out a good system to do it. One way is to use lots of event sheets, but there are not really any good ways to search through them if you have a lot, but if you use to few, it quickly gets messy as well.
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Post » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:14 am

Yeah, i know that from my own experiences. It happens pretty fast, to get stuck in details.

This engine is called Construct, so you have to work like a constructor...first make the building, then fill the rooms :) hehe
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Post » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:32 pm

nimos100 wrote:
Beaverlicious wrote:This is real promising :) just don't get stuck on all that great Features. Get it playable First. :)


Yeah that's one of many things I keep an eye out for. My hope is to be able to implement a very basic version, where just the most overall feature works and then slowly expand it. Also trying to just implement more general version of things, so for instant when I create the skills, I will just implement one or two and make it so the rest can more or less be copy pasted based on these. But I have never worked on a project this big before, so its a bit shaky :D

Also found several things that I would do differently, if I was going to start over. Some of them I try to improve and some I just leave.

But my main issue is organization which is the number one thing that make it hard to code and even though I have spend a lot of time on it, its still the hardest thing to really get working. Its like something is missing, some way of keeping an overview of everything so you can easily see how things are connected in the game, not really sure how to explain it. But think anyone that have worked on big projects would know what I mean. :) But hopefully i can figure out a good system to do it. One way is to use lots of event sheets, but there are not really any good ways to search through them if you have a lot, but if you use to few, it quickly gets messy as well.


This is my experience and my methodology so take this with a grain of salt.
It's better to separate both logic and assets using layout and event sheets.
Basically you put your assets and group them in layouts with your own definitions.
Don't put them all in one layout or worst put them in layouts when they first see any use.
You won't remember which is where after two months working on your game since your game is big.
If it is possible, write the main code and functions regarding those assets on the event sheets tied to them.
This method allow you easy updating and maintenance on both assets and code.

Seperate both events and layouts using folders into global and game.
Global layouts and events are those that you know will be include in many of your other layouts such as player controls, transition effects, UI and others.
Game is obviously one time use such as the title screen, the intro and such.
If you have a lot of events and layouts, you can divide global and game into further subfolders.

Use functions whenever possible.
There is a lot of codes as you say. I believe you will reuse most of the code with little changes in most of your game.
Change them into functions with parameters to change them. This is allow you to code once and then fire and forget for the rest of your development.
Most importantly, if you want to change or improve on it, you need to update the function only and not copy and pasta the same codes everywhere in your event sheets.


I hope you all the best for your game :D
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