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Lone Spelunker

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A member registered Mar 05, 2016 · View creator page →

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Wow, what an incredible read! Glad you enjoyed it. Your comment came in right at a time of frustration for us so it was a great little pick-me-up that was well-timed and helpful. Thanks for taking the time to write it!  Tell your kids that I am jazzed they enjoyed these adventures!

To play it solo in the manner intended, yes, you'd need the app.  You can check it out here: Fable on your Table if you are curious as to what it entails.

But you could also use Fable on your Table as a miniatures skirmish system for a TTRPG experience, and make up your own scenarios.  The app is there to enable solo play, but the system itself doesn't rely on the app to work, any more than any other TTRPG combat system does.  For instance, you could write up your own adventures and share them with friends, and it would work perfectly fine.

Not sure what you mean exactly, but you don't need to cut out and assemble all the miniatures and terrain to play the game, if that's what you're asking.  For instance, you could instead use a pencil and some graph paper to track where your hero and your enemies are.  You'd still need the rules document and a character sheet, of course.

If you are asking if you can play the game directly with the app like a video game, then no; it is designed to facilitate the tabletop experience, not be a video game in its own right. There are plenty of roguelike games that do that sort of thing if that's what you're looking for.

Nice little game!

I have a few suggestions for making it even better:

I didn't pick up on the order being important at first, so it got a little confusing about why things weren't working. Maybe instead of using "(ingredient) + (ingredient)", have the recipes panel say, "(ingredient) THEN (ingredient)"?  And maybe have some kind of message that says "Bad Recipe" or something; when a potion didn't get made, I didn't realize it, and I was wondering how to pick it up and give it to the cat.

I also found myself "sticking" against the walls and obstacles a few times; might make the "hit boxes" for the things a little more forgiving and have them "funnel" the player towards the goal where appropriate.

The time we have to get the recipe ingredients doesn't seem to be enough in some cases; if the ingredients are in the far paddock, I don't see how one could read the letter, consult the recipe, and fetch the ingredients in time. A little more leeway, at least on the early requests, might help people new to the game get into it more easily.

Anyway, the above are just minor tweaks – the core of the gameplay is fun and solid.  The theme and the look of everything are nice, too.  Really quite attractive and engaging.  Great job!

Thanks!  Be sure to subscribe to get notified when it's released!

Saw your comment that you're open to a Mac version if you get enough interest.  Well, put me down as interested!  Watched the video and it looks like a fun puzzle game.

Nice work defeating the Necromancer! 

Glad you enjoyed the game, thanks for playing, and thanks for taking the time to say so.

Glad you're having fun with the code.

Did you really manage to make all this in time for the 7DRL?

Yes, but it's hardly my first game jam rodeo, so I have experience turning things like this around quickly. Also, I had been looking into HTML5 accessibility specs before the game jam as part of my day job - that's what gave me the idea to try to make a screen-reader game for 7DRL. It always helps when you already have some facility with the technologies you're going to use!

Also a correction: 7DRL was seven days, not two days like I said before (hence the name, "Seven Day Roguelike").  Sorry - most of the game jams I do are two-day game jams, so I had that in my head when I wrote 48 hours above.  So, no, I didn't actually do it all in 48 hours!  But I did do it in a week.

I was hoping to get more content into the game, but I ran out of time.  Originally, I was planning on a "stronghold" in each of the four compass directions in the forest, and you'd have to defeat all four bosses to win.  But I only got in the one.

As for repurposing / republishing, I feel like the "right" thing to do would be to open-source it, create a GitHub repository for it, set up version control for it, and start handling pull requests. That would keep it all in one codebase and any edits either of us make would improve the same product.

But to do that, I would have to also devote the time to be a proper steward of the repository, which I shouldn't take on if I'm not confident I'd do a good job. Which I'm not.

So yeah, you have my permission to make derivative works and publish them with the following caveats:

  • Give your version a new name, to avoid confusion.  If you'd like to use some variation of "Battle Weary" to retain the connection, propose something.
  • Non-commercial activities only.
  • Attribution back to this page, in the credits for your version and the web page is fine.

Also be aware I reserve the right to continue developing this myself, make sequels, give other people permission to use the code, etc. This is in no way an exclusive deal.

If the above is cool with you, have at it. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with to flesh it out.

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Glad you enjoyed it.  Nice catch on the Silver card - I'll try to get the fix up this weekend.

As for how things are implemented, well let me tell you, it wasn't easy.  The ARIA spec just doesn't seem to be cut out for interactive experiences like a game. It's best for the more one-sided "I decide how to navigate and consume largely static content" paradigm, and rather poor for other situations.

From a technical perspective, what's going on is that I'm using an aria-live region to speak things to the player and basically trying to structure things so that such a fragile speaking context works with the mechanics of the game.

One big problem is that you have very little control over what the aria-live region speaks, and in particular, you have no guarantee that it will speak anything, so you cannot reliably inform the player of anything!  It interrupts itself all the time, which is great for contexts in which most people use web browsers, like tabbing through items on a page; you don't want to have to sit there listening to things when you've moved on.  But in a game, the game needs to be able to exert information of its own.  It's not a passive thing you browse (generally), and that model isn't really supported with the ARIA spec.

As a result, you need something that, at any given time, is a browseable, static reality that WILL work with the ARIA spec, which basically means: turn-based.  I structured the game like a conversation – the game prompts you to make a decision, you make it, it tells you what you need to know to make the next decision.  This runs counter to how screen readers treat just about every other page on the internet AND you're fighting the learned conventions of the person playing the game, but at least it's workable if you can convey some concepts to the player on how to navigate it.  So the game has to establish some conventions of its own, and then hope that the ingrained behaviors of the player aren't so strong that they render them useless.

Because of the above, I came up with the concept of a "sentinel page" that explains some of this stuff on the front end, and some uniform conventions like always being able to type some keys for a recap of the current situation and context-sensitive help, but ultimately, there's not a lot of guidance out there regarding how to implement stuff like this.  What's here was cobbled together from reading lots of articles about more mundane screen reader support cases, which usually boil down to "how to make your web form accessible", which only gets you so far.

If you're interested in still more details, the code is unobfuscated; just use the developer console in your web browser to check it out. You'll have to open the iframe itchio puts the game in and then browse the sources for accessible-game-framework.js, which is the heart of the game.

Just keep in mind this was all made in 48 hours one week for a game jam (the #7DRL), so it might be a little messier under the hood than it otherwise would be!

I just uploaded a new build that fixes the "Wraith Wail" bug.  Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Hi, thanks for playing!  Glad you liked the game.

No expansion or follow-up is currently planned, but you never know.  The game hasn't gotten much traction so it didn't seem like there was much interest in it.

As for the Wraith Wail, yeah, that's probably a bug!  For now, just imagine a spooky wail and I'll see if I can get it fixed sometime this weekend.  Thanks for taking the time to report it!

Glad you enjoy it.

I am working with a publisher for some more adventures. Subscribe here to be notified when there is news.

(Also, love your username. Danzig kicks.)

Nice!  Glad you liked the game.  Sorry you got defeated ONE PARAGRAPH away from the end, but sometimes that sort of thing happens!

Thanks for taking the time to talk about it to others.  It's nice to hear about people's experiences with it.

Just tried it again, and it seems to be going much faster!  Nice.

Is there a way to get through flooded rooms?  I keep getting to the point where there's no place to go except through a flooded room, but I have yet to get across a flooded room and open a door without drowning. Am I missing something?

Nice! Looking forward to checking out the new builds.

Sounds good - looking forward to seeing this game develop. It's already got a lot of great atmosphere to it.

Awesome.  The sense of dread and claustrophobia from your scent being a lure for enemies is really effective.

I did notice that the stairs between levels 0 and 1 do not seem to be properly connected, but that's the only glitch I found.

Suggestions:

  • It would be nice to add some clues as to what happened to the other passengers that you can find along the way, or other effects that can build on the theme, like finding bodies or blood or encountering other survivors.
  • What if they can sense your smell, but you can hear them?  Close a door and listen at it, and you can tell where the zombies are shuffling by.  Maybe have other sound effects that you hear throughout the ship, like rustlings, bangings, screams.
  • I like that the passenger rooms are varied, but it does get a little tedious to search them all for painkillers.  Maybe reduce the number of them, or put some non-passenger rooms in there to break it up a bit, with interactable elements in them.
  • It would be nice to have clever opportunities to mask your scent somehow, or create distractions for the zombies.
  • Maybe have more zombies, but they move more slowly so you can actually outrun them?

Anyway, great work.  Really strong theme from this one!

This game seems like it's going to be fun.  I like the theme, and the ability to see other buildings across the water through the windows of the tubes is very cool and atmospheric. The "rescue people and then they help you" element sounds fun, too, although I never got to that part.

The reason I didn't get to that part is because, unfortunately, it's almost unplayably slow for me. I've tried it on Safari, Chrome, and Firefox, and it takes nearly a full second to move a single tile, sometimes longer. (All the other browser-based 7DRL's I've tried seem to run fine, so I don't think it's my particular box.)

In the JavaScript console window, I see a lot of errors that read, "[Error] TypeError: 'handleEvent' property of event listener should be callable (x2)" - maybe that gives a clue as to what's causing the slowdown.

Some other suggestions:

  • Some things you can discover what they represent by walking over them, but some symbols are impassible, and you can't seem to get info on what they are. A "look" function would be nice, or maybe state what the thing is if you bump into it.
  • Some laptop affordances would be nice, allowing you to use diagonals when you don't have a keypad or handy Home/PgUp/etc keys. One cool affordance I saw in another roguelike is to have shift and option modify the keyboard keys to move diagonally when using the left and right arrow keys.

I'd love to "dive" more into this game if the lag issue gets resolved - it seems like it has a lot of cool elements to it.

Nice. I enjoyed the hacking element.  I'd like to see more variety in what you can acquire and do with the terminals, if you decide to flesh this out!

This game is fantastic. I love the spell creation mechanic. Unfortunately, my awesome run was cut short when I accidentally targeted myself with an Earth/Hit/Hit/Hit/Hit...

Some suggestions for future improvements:

  • I can't seem to play it on the main itch.io display without the up and down arrow keys scrolling the web page - are you perhaps missing a preventDefault() in there or something? (Opening the game's frame in its own window fixes this issue, thankfully.)
  • Also, the Escape key breaks you out of fullscreen mode, so it would be nice to have a consistent key for closing the menus other than escape so the game could be played fullscreen.
  • Seems like most "choose an option" windows have an "X to inspect" aspect to them.  It would save some going-in-and-out to be able to select from the list and just always have the info displayed on the right.
  • If you target yourself, maybe an "are you sure?" window should pop up.
  • The minotaur level feels a little tedious. The cramped spaces are an interesting change of pace, but maybe make the total labyrinth size a little smaller...?
  • I got a rune of proliferation, but it didn't seem like I could incorporate it into a spell. If that's by design, and we need to do something in order to use it, like be a cerain level or combine it with a particular rune, it's not clear; currently, it just looks like a bug.
  • Spell hotkeys would be nice!
  • It would be fun to be able to combine the base runes, like making a spell that does both fire and ice!

Overall, a great little game. I hope you develop it further.

Just played a game as the rogue. It was a lot of fun, and felt like a good adventure. I've played several "draw cards to go through a dungeon" games, and this was certainly one of the better ones. Well done!

Really enjoyed this entry! Took a bit to get used to the mechanics, but once you figure out what you can get away with, you feel awesomely sneaky when you finally clear out that mansion and escape into the night! Well-polished, feels complete, with solid gameplay.  I also appreciated the arrow-key-diagonal affordance for playing on laptops - I hadn't seen that control scheme before. Well done!

Yes, there will be more coming.  In fact, I've signed a deal with a publisher to create some new adventures to support their original IP.  The system is getting some graphic design love, tweaks and improvements to the rules and presentation, and some professional art to go with it all.  Be sure to subscribe to get notified when those are available!

That map looks great!  Glad you're having fun with the game.

Yes, I'm working on some advanced games using this same system (subscribe to be notified when they drop!), but in the mean time, you might be interested in Fable on Your Table, which is a more-advanced solitaire fantasy dungeon crawler that uses this same system with printable miniatures (or minis you supply yourself).

Glad you enjoyed the game, and thanks for taking the time to say so!

We had a great time with this game this evening. This game is so charming and fun, a great activity for kids cooped up on Halloween due to Covid.  Thanks for making it!

Nice! Glad you are having fun with these adventures. Be sure to subscribe for news of future movement on these adventures!

No problem.  Enjoy your piratical adventure!

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Thanks for contacting us.

The reason they start at 1 is because the paragraphs often branch to other paragraphs.  For example, you might roll a 2-1 for the special paragraph, and paragraph 21 might say something like, "You see a ruined temple.  If you want to go in, read paragraph 1."

The "starting" paragraphs are 1-1 through 6-6 only, but all the rest are paragraphs branched-to from those paragraphs.

If you're referring to Dungeon Hero, then yes, that's me.  If you liked that game, you might also like Fable on Your Table, which is based on very similar mechanics.

Anyway, hope you enjoy Expedition to Skull Island!  May your sails be full of favorable winds and your chests full of glittering gold!

Outfit your ship and set sail for adventure in Expedition to Skull Island!

In this solitaire, print-and-play, roll-and-write adventure, you recruit a crew and sail to a randomly-generated island full of mysterious and dangerous locations in search of treasure and rollicking tales to tell when you return to Tortuga.

Featuring over 65 pages of content (of which you only need to print two to play), Expedition to Skull Island is packed with content. The "hex-crawl" island has several different terrain types – beaches, jungles, rivers, cliffs, water, and the mysterious "Skull Rock" – and each type of terrain has many pages of randomized adventures to be discovered within.

Be waylaid by enemy pirates! Be hunted by jungle cats! Explore crumbling jungle ruins! And even fight the mighty kracken!  All kinds of adventure is awaiting you and your crew of hearty sea dogs!

Annotate your map as you go, or even keep a journal for a truly immersive experience. When you're done, you'll have a treasure map to serve as a memento of your story...that is, if you survive!

Features cover art by Gerritt McGill.

Play Expedition to Skull Island today! https://lonespelunker.itch.io/skull-island

Cool.  Let me know how it feels.

One thing that works pretty well to mitigate that effect in Dungeon Hero, which is based on the mechanics of Fable on Your Table, is to allow the player to spend a point of Stamina to force the re-roll of any die in the contest. You can do this as many times as you need to as long as you can pay for it with Stamina.

Maybe I should add that as a general rule; that would help "even out" those particularly damaging rolls, and add another strategic element - do I burn stamina to boost damage, or should I keep some in reserve in case I suffer a catastrophic roll?

Glad you're enjoying the game!

You're not the first person to contact me about playing with two players, so yes, I have some co-op ideas in mind for the game.  Unfortunately, I don't have anything playtested and ready, but here are some untested, draft rules for playing with two players:

For every two "non-boss" enemies spawned, listed in order on the app, choose one of the following:

*  Double the health of the first enemy OR
*  Spawn another version of the furthest enemy adjacent to the nearest enemy, and drop a coin in its space.

For every "odd man out":

*  Double the health of the enemy and drop a coin in its space.

For every "boss" (any enemy with special rules or which acts as a quest target):

*  Increase the health of the enemy by half again, rounded up, and drop a coin in its space.

Coins represent ancillary treasure that can be picked up if you are adjacent to them as a long action.  They are one bulk and are worth 1 treasure back in town; imagine an appropriate treasure.  At the end of an adventure, divvy up the treasure as you see fit between your heroes who survive.

So, for instance, if you enter a room with the following enemies:

*  A skeleton archer
*  Two skeleton warriors
*  A wight
*  Two gravedigger beetles

...then you would:

*  Pair the skeleton archer with the first skeleton warrior and either double the health of the archer or spawn an extra skeleton with a coin.  (In the latter case, if the archer is closer, then you'll spawn a warrior next to it, and if the warrior is closer, then you'll spawn an archer next to it.)

*  Pair the second skeleton warrior with the first gravedigger beetle (since the wight is a "boss") and either double the health of the warrior or spawn an extra enemy with a coin (if the warrior is closer, spawn a beetle next to it, or if the beetle is closer, spawn a warrior next to it).

*  Since the last gravedigger beetle is "odd man out", double its health and drop a coin.

*  Increase the wight's health by half again, rounded up, and drop a coin there.

If you try playing with these rules, be sure to drop me a line and tell me how it goes. Eventually, I hope to get the option to select a number of heroes in the companion app, and have it generate rooms with appropriate difficulty, but I want to make sure I have the solo difficulty balanced first!

Cool.  Thanks. Glad to hear it's better.  Sounds like d6 levels might still be a little tough – was it the "standard" enemies that whittled you down, or was it a tough fight in the boss area, or both? (Those need to be balanced in different ways, since the bosses are unique.)

Yes, although it was a pretty long week and I had a lot of the mechanics worked out in my head and an art pipeline figured out ahead of that week. But all the content you see from the initial release was drawn / coded during that week. (This new realm I released this week was done more recently.)

I've updated the description of the tie-breaker rules in the hopes of making it more clear.

And yes, 10 damage is a pretty tough hit, but it's a lot better than 14+!  Also, don't forget abilities that can mitigate damage if you have them. Reducing a 10 to a 9 is a 10% reduction in damage, which is nothing to sneeze at.

The app has been released, which increases the "cost" of buying enemies that the dungeon generator "pays" to populate rooms, so you should also see a reduction in the number and total threat of enemies that you encounter in the dungeon, which should help as well.

Happy adventuring!  I'd be interested to hear how it goes if you delve in with the new app.

Also, let me clarify something.  If I understand what you wrote correctly, I think you might be making critical hits more powerful than they are supposed to be if you're taking 14+ damage from a single zombie attack.  A zombie at maximum can muster 10 damage with a critical hit.

Are you  adding the zombie's dice together, maybe? If so, that is not how it's intended to be played.  You take the highest die, not the sum, to compute the damage.

If there's no critical hit, then you subtract the highest die from the losing side to mitigate the damage.

If it is a crit, there are no dice on the losing side to mitigate the damage, so you subtract zero. The only other thing in play is that a crit allows both of the highest dice to apply their boons. Since zombies have boons on both of their attack dice, it would apply both.

Thus, a zombie which rolls a best-case critical hit of 8:8 would do 10 damage (8 for the highest die, minus zero for the crit, plus 1 for the Ragged Claws boon and 1 more for the Relentless boon). I don't see how it could muster 14+ damage unless you're referring to multiple attacks.

Thanks for the feedback. I’m going to roll out a new release of the web app this weekend that will address some of the difficulty issues on the app end, but that is a good point about health potions and access to healing. I may need to update those rules, too.

Okay, thanks!