It's about time for a new development diary. I am sorry for the delay, but I got good excuses:
1) I got married ;).
2) I tried to keep up with development as much as possible (that's why a couple of releases for the prelude came out).
Today I wanted to focus on 1 aspect of the game: The world map. Just to be clear the world map is featured only in the main campaign, not in the prelude (An alpha release will be out soon for supporters).
My hope for the world map in Rogue Empire is to give it a unique feeling and improve the clasic formula in most roguelikes where at most you would have random encounters.
So lets see what I am taking about:
World Map Features
Type of terrains.
Closing Comments & Thanks
In Rogue Empire as in other roguelike games, the concept of in-game time is used as a resource the player must manage. This can come in the way of getting hungry as time passes or some mayor catastrophe if the player lets to much time pass.
Having this said, it makes sense that when moving on the world map time passes much faster than in a dungeon. For the moment this is set to 5 minutes in dungeons and 2 hours in the world map per turn. This time dilatation is fairly common across roguelike games with a world map.
On the other hand something not seen much is something I call terrain knowledge dilatation. When in a dungeon you see a tile/location, because of the scale of things you pretty much know all there is to know about it (unless there is a trap or something similar ;)). Now when on the world map each tile/location spawns several miles at least, meaning that as a player initially passing by you really don't know much about the place. This is what I will try to address in Rogue Empire.
World Map Features
Type of terrains
Let's start this simple by previewing some of the basics of the world map terrains:
Water: Impassable terrain. Does not block line of sight.
Icy Plains: Player can move on it. Very cold location. Does not block line of sight.
Snowy Forest: Player can move on it. Very cold location. Blocks line of sight.
Icy Mountains: Impassable terrain. Very cold location. Blocks line of sight.
Hills: Player can move on it. Blocks line of sight.
Forest: Player can move on it. Blocks line of sight.
Plains: Player can move on it. Does not block line of sight.
Mountains: Impassable terrain. Blocks line of sight.
Dessert: Player can move on it. Very hot location. Does not block line of sight.
Jungle: Player can move on it. Very hot location. Blocks line of sight.
Swamps: Player can move on it. Does not block line of sight.
These concepts ties the time spent traversing or staying at tiles/locations with how well you know them. The more you know a place the better you move on them. This is especially important on places like forest or hills.
As an example, let's say you move through a Forest while going to a dungeon. The first time you pass through the forest, you hardly know anything about the place. This means moving through it will take up a lot of energy and time. Now when you come back from the dungeon through the same forest you already know some of the place features and pass through it faster.
While exploration of terrains is initially slow as the character stats increase you will get better and better at getting to know the terrain. There are some items o traits that might also help you out in this regard.
The later it is in the game the better a character will explore the game and it will spent less and less time traversing through know locations.
Another important concept is the concept of exploration. As you know more and more about a tile/location you might discover interesting thinks in them.
This means that as a player moving through the world map you might find surprises just by moving to a dungeon. I hope this makes the world map game instance more interesting and engaging. To add to the diversity, most of the discoveries you might make depend on the terrain type.
Some of the thinks you might discover:
A dead dear that holds some yet usable meat.
A secrete stash full of coins.
A hidden dungeon!
A clue about where to find a powerful item.
A small oasis in the dessert that refreshes your character!
Now, the idea is not turn the game into a exploring game, so there are some mechanisms to prevent you from going on an exploration spree! For example, you will probably starve to dead if you spent to much time exploring :P.
Closing comments & Thanks
I wanted to start this closing comment by giving a big thanks to the reddit roguelikedevand roguelikescommunities for the great brainstorming session about the world map we had!
I would also like to hear your comments about this! I answer everywhere: IndieDB Rogue Empire forums, Reddit in Roguelikes channel, Steam, itch.io, Twitter and Facebook!
In case you wonder, you can get the download the latest version of the prelude (Note: nothing of today's diary will be there) at itch.io for free or donate to the cause!