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James McNeill

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A member registered Dec 15, 2016 · View creator page →

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After thinking a bit, here's some advice from me specifically:

  • Deadlines are good. 7DRL, that sort of thing. To encourage finishing.
  • Testers are good. If you can rope a friend or two into playing the game for you it helps a ton. I put a keystroke logging and playback system into ThiefRL and got play session recordings from my brother and a friend, and it really helped me find spots where the game was confusing.
  • If making a game is your goal, always ask yourself what the simplest solution that could possibly work would be.
  • Make sure that AI systems are focused on the player experience. If there is a complex simulation that isn't communicated well to the player, it just looks like random things happening, or worse, is never noticed at all.
  • Making games is an endurance sport. It takes years of effort, each piece built on the ones that came before. A lot of the indie hits of recent years are 5-7 year projects, which is a bit of a slog.

Cool! Always great to have another Roguelike developer. It's a genre that really helps to focus development effort on gameplay, systems, and imagination.

I have been working on this stuff for decades so I'm not always sure what advice is relevant. But here's a shot at it.

Josh "Kyzrati" Ge is the developer of Cogmind and tireless pillar of the Roguelike-development sub-reddit. He wrote an article, How to Make a Roguelike, that has some good general advice.

Another thing they do on that sub-reddit is an annual communal working-through of the LibTCOD Roguelike tutorial. Roguelike developers being what they are, people will often work alongside in some new language they want to try. For instance, this one from Lokathor, in Rust. I've learned quite a bit from Lokathor's Haskell attempt from the year before the Rust one.

If YouTube videos are your jam, the annual Roguelike Celebration generates some good ones. I enjoyed Bob Nystrom's talk about how he architects his Roguelike, for instance. I'm still kicking myself for not going to the Roguelike Celebration yet; maybe next year.

For Javascript there's rot.js, a Roguelike development toolkit that might be of interest, for educational purposes if nothing else.

Hope this helps!

Thanks! I've been a fan of the Looking Glass style of games since Ultima Underworld and on into Dishonored. I love the emphasis on creating an immersive atmosphere; on giving the player a bunch of fun systems to play with, even if they're not balanced; and the exploration of non-combat interactions with enemies.

There's an older ThiefRL I did that's available elsewhere (https://sites.google.com/site/mcneja/thiefrl) that is much more explicitly trying to ape Thief. It has a few more features (a friendly NPC, lock-picking, secret doors, extinguishable lights) but is a single hand-made map.

This game (ThiefRL2) was primarily an attempt to come up with a random map generator for that style of stealth gameplay in the space of a few days. It turned out pretty well; my wife still plays it. I'm working on some follow-ups.

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Glad you enjoyed it! I have added a left-hand control scheme, like you described. It's the version 8 download above.

Hey, thanks for including my game in your video!

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Ah, good point. I collected a whole bunch of Julian-day-number-to-date conversion functions off the internet and then ended up having to write my own from scratch because they all relied on 32-bit integer arithmetic. I imagine there are probably other problems with my converter as well. For instance, the Gregorian calendar started in the 1500s; before that it was the Julian calendar, which differed by a couple of days at the 1AD mark. Probably better to use the Gregorian to go back in time, though, because it matches the solar year better.

Also the planet positions are unlikely to be accurate more than a few hundred years out. Mercury, in particular, has a large first derivative on its orbital elements. It would be fairly easy to add the first derivatives of the orbital elements in; JPL provides those.

It's a complete game and I think it's a bit fun to play; it's just very short and not Roguelike.

Sorry for the delay! I had some time before starting this year's 7DRL so I put in a zoom feature on this game. You can press 2 to get 2X tile size, 3 for 3X, and 4 for 4X if you want them ridiculously large.

Thanks! Glad you enjoy it. For full screen are you thinking of something that scales up? Or changing the screen resolution? What resolution and screen size are you using?

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I love the look of these tiles!

I'm not using RPG Maker; if I use these it'll be in a procedurally-generated game. I did some research to learn how RPG Maker tiles are set up, though. (Here's an explanation.)

I had a question about the tree and mountain tiles in the right half of the A2 sheet. My understanding is that the four tiles in the upper-right of each set (next to the thumbnail) are supposed to be the inside corners of the transition edge, but it doesn't seem like any of the sets on the right half of the sheet work this way. How are inside corners constructed with those tiles?

(Edit: Figured it out; never mind!)