Roguelike design

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Roguelike design

Postby hallsofvallhalla » Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:20 pm

I am working on a multiplayer "Roguelike" game and have been working on design. It probably won't end up be considered Roguelike due to the features I am adding. I know one definition is turn based style combat and movement. Basically the creatures do not move or act until you do. How to do this with multiplayer? I was thinking of a tick based system where they move after so many ticks but then to make it more rogue like they will auto move after every player on the board as went once before their ticks are up. However if a player decides not to do anything while another player moves then the tick system comes into play. Not sure yet.

The other thing is to add more than just combat. Maybe add some material gathering and crafting. Just curious on everyone's thoughts on it and if there is already a multiplayer Rouglike out there that does it differently.

What else makes Roguelike fun?
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Re: Roguelike design

Postby Jackolantern » Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:38 pm

I have thought about multiplayer Roguelikes, too. I think the way to go is to have the mobs move around on a tick timer, and if they get into aggro range (which depends on the mob type, level and player level), they will automatically close in and start combat. That way players can move around freely and the mobs will still be a threat to the players, all without really having to make a CPU-intensive server loop and meticulously sync the state for full real-time movements. In fact, if you make the player movement click-to-move, I believe you could make the whole game event-based in Socket.io, rather than needing to make a server loop and finely-tune state synchronization. You could do it with some JS timers, and essentially it could run like a MUD (which also do not specifically require a server loop).

Another important aspect of Roguelikes are random dungeon maps. This is a bit harder for multiplayer, but I think I did come up with a solution for it. The dungeon floors will stay the same when there are players in it, but if all of the players leave, everyone in the area could get a message like "The evil dragon Hoogamabob casts a spell and changes the world" or something like that, and the vacant dungeon map is re-generated to something different. That way as players play, parts of the world that they are not in are slowly changing. If a player takes a couple of days off from the game, then all the maps could be different when they come back.

Permadeath is of course the biggest design aspect to Roguelikes, and this is kind of a delicate matter when it comes to multiplayer RPGs. Most Roguelikes can be beaten in under 2 hours by a very skilled (and sometimes lucky) player. So you are never set too far back when you die. But the general idea of an online RPG game is to make steady progress over many sessions, which is directly opposed to permadeath. If you did try to set the game up where it could be "beaten" (get to level cap, get the best gear and kill the biggest monster) in the same time span as a single-player Roguelike, then you have a problem of what those skilled players do after reaching this quickly-attainable end-game goal. The best I could come up with for this problem was to go ahead and structure it like a normal online RPG, where progress towards an end goal takes many sessions, and do have permadeath, but use the multiplayer aspect to mitigate permadeath without being completely obvious that it is being mitigated. For example, say when a player's HP hit 0, they pass out. In this state, they can still communicate, but they can't move and they can't cast spells or really act at all. Other players could be playing Priests or other healer classes that could be persuaded to come to the KO'd player's aid and resurrect them, thus saving them from permadeath. As they wait to be saved, the player's HP will count down over a timer, and if they reach -20, they completely die and the character is lost. This way the fear and intensity of permadeath is still there, since it is still an ever-present situation lurking in the background, but it just wouldn't happen as often. Something like that would keep permadeath in, but not make it as constant as in many single-player RLs, where death is as constant as in Super Mario Bros. Player would seriously have to screw-up to really lose their character, unlike in single-player RLs where you die repeatedly to learn more about the game.

And that is really the crux of it: in single-player RLs, players actually make progress by dying, since they learn about the world that way. They learn what they can and cannot do to survive. But that has to be relaxed in a multiplayer RL. Instead, death needs to truly be a punishment for doing something foolish or not planning ahead well enough, and even then, the player should still be able to be bailed-out.

Those are a few of my thoughts on the subject. I have thought quite a bit about multiplayer Roguelikes, and still may make one in the future :)
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Re: Roguelike design

Postby hallsofvallhalla » Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:16 am

very nice ideas!

I was thinking for the permadeath is to have level stages where once you get to level 5 you can respawn as level 5, 10 , 15, and so on.
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Re: Roguelike design

Postby Jackolantern » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:49 am

True, but then it really isn't permadeath anymore; it is just a huge death penalty.

I think it just depends on the rest of the game's design. I think most multiplayer RLs are actually structured fairly similarly to single-player RLs, where most of the world can be experienced within a day's play (by a skilled player), but then at max level cap the player can begin "epic quests" that take considerable time to accumulate wealth, rare items, etc. These games have straight permadeath, where one death and you are gone. Then the end-game basically becomes "how long can you survive to collect the end-game bonuses?"
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Re: Roguelike design

Postby hallsofvallhalla » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:20 pm

hmm good points.
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