Sunday, January 18, 2015

[CW] Caves of Mars - Victory!

While my starting point technically support win and lose conditions, there wasn't really much of a game there. After putting in about 12 hours over the last 4 days I have actual winning and losing, as well as a much richer set of mechanics and improved UI. I didn't get done everything I'd hoped (though my goal list was unrealistic for the timeframe), but I accomplished more than enough to feel comfortable calling this a victory! The enjoyment of playing it is now one of the things that slows my development :)

Mechanically, I managed:
- system for cross-game narrative state management
- multiple map realms
- improved map generation
- healing over time, and eating helps
- fairly extensible system for alternate key bindings
- detailed world/inventory look/examine text
- ranged attacks (by the player only, though the underpinnings for ranged monsters are in place, just not the AI)
- inventory based actions (wear, wield, fling, eat, examine) useable directly from inventory listing
- story sequence for the win condition
- a number of new entity abilities (e.g. if you hit quiescent fungus it has a chance to awaken into spreading fungus)
- an AI framework that supports a mix of behaviors and state-based evaluation, plus a couple of new AI styles in that framework
- much richer system for digging

The final narrative line and theme ended up as something of a bittersweet sci-fi horror story, and I'm pretty pleased with it.

This was a blast, and I'm really glad I made time to participate! I got a lot done and learned a lot about building this kind of game. I still have a lot more things I want to add to Caves of Mars. Though rate of progress will be much slower, I will definitely continue to work on it.

The next major pieces (post-jam) are:
- more monsters, including ranged ones
- richer combat system (i.e. separate to-hit and damage)
- crafting system


  1. This is amazing! There's so much depth in here for a jam game.

    If you polish this, can you put the keys and a legend of different characters at the bottom of the page? I couldn't remember most of them when playing.

    1. The latest version on github now has a fancier UI, which shows (among other things) key bindings.

  2. Thanks :) There have been many really, really good games from this jam session!

    One of my todo dev pieces is adding a separate screen/section for messages and help, and I'd show keybindings there by default. Also, it currently uses the traditional 80x24 screen size, so instead of a separate html element I might just increase the screen size to give room for that kind of thing.

    1. If you're messing with the HTML anyway, a "full-screen" option would be cool. I want to go back to 1980 and have nothing but ASCII on my screen.