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A topic by razorsharpsmile created Jul 14, 2018 Views: 237 Replies: 12
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Hi! This is my second time doing a MFGJ (the last being Winter 2017, which was successful!) and I'm going to try making a roguelike with a focus on evading enemies rather than fighting them. This won't be a true roguelike because I probably won't have time to sort out procedurally generated levels within the time limit of the jam, but it's a potential stretch goal or something to work on after the jam is over. The only roguelike I've really played is Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup so that's a big influence. I also had a housemate who was obsessed with Crypt of the Necrodancer when I was at uni so that's something of an influence too. :P


The PC is a water mage returning to the ancient halls of their forebears where there is rumoured to exist the legendary Wellspring: an everflowing source of magic. However, it was abandoned when a ritual went wrong and unspeakable monsters overran the place. The water mages created guardians to stem the tide of creatures. Both guardians and monsters still inhabit the halls to this day.


The PC has to evade various enemies on their way to the bottom of the dungeon where the Wellspring lies. Various challenges they encounter will include:

  • Monsters: I'd like to have a few different types of enemy. I'd like to include two at minimum: Stone Guardians, which can break through ice, doors and blocks after a couple of turns, and Spirit Guardians, which are incorporeal and can pass through doors and blocks but are affected more strongly by spells.
  • Traps: when the water mages were fleeing they left behind various traps to slow down any creatures that might be following. These will manifest as various debuffs, such as Slow, Weakness (can't push blocks or close gates/doors) and Magicka Drain.
  • Boss Fights/Levels??? This is something that would be neat to include but I haven't done much design work on yet and is pretty much just a stretch goal at this point.

However, the PC also has a number of things to help them:

  • Magic: they have three spells that use various amounts of magicka, which regens slowly. Water Jet pushes enemies back a certain number of spaces. Ice Wall creates a temporary barrier between the PC and enemies. Water Walk lets them walk over areas of deep water for a limited time, which most monsters can't pass over or through. 
  • Environment: there are gates and doors which the PC can use to block the path of pursuing enemies, as well as blocks they can push to the same effect. Enemies will also stop pursuit if the PC goes up or down a dungeon level.
  • Loot! Treasure chests will contain temporary buffs such as Double Speed,  Map Reveal,  and Second Chance (if the PC gets caught by a monster, instead of an instant Game Over they are warped to a random location on that level and lose the buff).

A lot of these things aren't set in stone and may very well change as I playtest what I've got and get a feel for what works and what doesn't. Difficulty is something that I'm going to be thinking about a lot.

My plan is implement everything listed above, as well as a single handbuilt level and possibly a tutorial, then see what I can add or change to improve the game! 


Day 1

I made a test room with the three basic kinds of tiles (wall, floor and water) to develop the core mechanics in. I also made an enemy object and a player object. The player object can now move around the room and cast the Water Jet spell to push the oblivious enemy object around. Here's a gif!

I'm going to keep working on the magic system for now. This includes the Ice Wall spell, the Water Walk spell, a magicka bar that regens over time and UI buttons to let you pick spells. (At the moment the image of the book is all I've got in terms of UI).

Looks really cool. Liking the emphasis on positioning and movement!

Thanks! I'm hoping I can actually do the concept justice.

Day 2

Didn't make as much progress as I would have liked today, but I got the UI and magicka bar bits of the magic system working at least. The magicka bar will deplete as you cast spells and regenerate a little each 'turn' when you are not casting a spell (which at the moment means every time you make a move). If you don't have enough magicka, you can't cast the spell (as you would expect!).

You can also select the two spells other than Water Jet but this won't actually do anything visible yet. Hoping to get Ice Wall and Water Walk implemented tomorrow so I can move on to enemies. (And also, at some point, make walls be solid.)


(Question: did you go on a Fantasy Town Name Generator for your title? The only reason I ask is because that's the exact name I ended up getting for one of the towns in my own game. I saw this and was all, "AH I HAVE TO CHANGE IT NOW!")

(It looks pretty good so far, especially the UI and the movement controls.)

Haha, nope. Wellspring is just a water-themed name I grabbed at random so I didn't have a nameless game. It also serves as the name of the McGuffin that the player is delving for. Unless you were planning on naming your game after that particular town you should be fine to just leave it as it is. :P

Thanks for the kind words!


This looks super neat, and the premise is cool! I'm bad at roguelikes and can't wait to fail miserably at this. 

Thanks! I hope I can make a game you enjoy failing at! :P

Day 4

Been kind of tired (Turns out it's harder to make games on a day when you have work than on a weekend. Who knew?) but I've managed to get a bit of work in every day.

Unfortunately I'm still working on the spells, but I'm very close to being done! Ice Wall now makes walls of ice that melt after 5 turns. Walls, ice walls and water now can't be walked into and will stop enemies being pushed back by Water Jet if an enemy is knocked into them. I just need to add a bit more code and Water Walk should let you pass over water!


whoa i like that you already have a functional and descriptive UI--the icons remind me a lot of classic point and click games with their detail. id love to see the different spells in action!

Thanks! :D I didn't want to spend too much time on art because there was so much to do, but doodling the little UI icons was fun. 

I really wish I'd done more gifs of the spells but I guess you'll be able to try it out for yourself soon? :P

This devlog has been very silent because while I've been working hard, I've been working on trying to implement pathfinding for my enemies. As something I'd never done before, this took much, much longer than I anticipated. I wasted at least a day trying to figure it out on my own before realising there were algorithms for this sort of thing already worked out. Another day was lost trying to figure out how to translate A* into actual code. Then there was a lot of time spent writing hundreds of lines of code and trying to fix all the bugs that hundreds of lines of code will throw up.

The good news: I learnt a lot about pathfinding! It works exactly as I want it to and now I have it there is actually gameplay that can occur.

The bad news: I still don't have a 'game', as such, and strictly speaking two weeks from the start of the jam will have passed by the time I wake up. This is my priority list of stuff to work on during the last day:

  1.  Stairs, aka the goal at the end of the level. 
  2.  Doors. I would really like for there to be some delaying tactics that aren't just spells.
  3.  Wait button. At the moment you can choose to do nothing on your turn by pressing 'T', but without a tutorial there won't be any indication of that as is. It's a good way to restore your magicka if nothing is currently chasing you, so it seems important to include.
  4.  Spirit Guardians. At the minute the only enemy type in the game is Stone Guardians, and they don't even have their door/block smashing ability. Enemies that call for a different approach seems like a good addition to a currently very sparse game.
  5.  Level map! This is the really important one, and is likely to get bumped up the list if I can't finish the previous items quickly enough. Having an actual level to play through would go a long way to making this a game rather than just an uninteresting prototype. (It's still absolutely a prototype though.)
  6.  Treasure/buffs. Loot is a big part of roguelikes so it would be nice to have some temporary buffs that the player can pick up throughout the level.
  7.  Movable blocks. A companion to doors in that they're environmental ways of delaying enemies. 
  8.  The Stone Guardians' Break ability. I originally planned for Stone Guardians to be able to break through doors and blocks after a few turns. 

I have absolutely no idea how much of that is feasible (probably less than I think) but I would really like to be able to submit something vaguely game-like! I intend to keep working on this after the jam so it's not a huge loss if I can't make something playable in time. Would still be kind of disappointing.

Good luck to anyone still working on their game! I'm really looking forward to seeing what people have come up with once the deadline has passed. :D