I suppose it's about time I became a bit more open about where this game is going in the future and what features I have in store. Up until now I was mostly disclosing this stuff in private conversations and of course upon new version releases, but something more transparent should definitely be available, especially for those who plan to stick around for longer, especially if you can suggest any changes to what you see here or what should be here and is missing.
The Big Picture
Currently the format of Dungeonlike can be described as "one dungeon, one town, one boss to kill". Also, if you read through the story, you might get an impression that there is not much depth and that is - in a way - by design. I want Dungeonlike to eventually become an open world fantasy adventurer simulator... or something along these lines. I do not have the exact shape of that end-result in my head, mostly because I have a long list of features that in theory sound nice, but in practice they might not work well together. But details aside, open world will come at some point and a lot of work will go into the transition from current "town + dungeon" mode into "huge map with towns and dungeons" mode.
So what currently is the entire game, will at some point become a repeatable sidequest of clearing a dungeon from a location (will have some kind of bounty board for these things probably). That open world will also allow for some other activities beyond dungeon crawling, as I want to have some elements of trade and faction warfare (inspired by Mount & Blade), along with less dungeon-oriented missions, but all of these cool additional features are subject to being thrown out the the window if they become more of a pain than a source of fun. This is one of the reasons why I try to have regular updates, so that the community can have a say about any feature that is going out.
The Feature List
Here I will list all the stuff that I am currently considering, some might be half-done already. Take everything below with a grain of salt, especially if it is not really a fleshed out idea yet. I am not sure how will I manage this list over time, but I will try to keep it updated as much as I can. Here we go:
Currently all you get in the game is an orcish fortress, which is ok and all, but becomes very dull early on. So I plan on having some other dungeon types that will be able to house totally different types of creatures. Now, in many roguelikes this could exist in form of branching dungeons, but if my game is going to have multiple dungeons in an open world setting anyway, it would probably make more sense to just have more than one dungeon already. I will probably achieve that by having more dungeon entrances from the Town Level for now, till I get open world up and running.
This is actually quite tightly related to the "more dungeons" point and I think that this lack of variety in enemies is the main con of the game at the moment, making it a very repeatable and unsurprising. I have a ton of enemies designed on paper already, and some of them might actually make their way into the orcish fortress, before I start creating new dungeon types.
- Tough enemies with no armor. I am thinking Ogres and maybe Trolls, but the point behind such enemy type is to make swords and axes a bit more viable as the game goes on. I have a feeling that due to armor being much less effective against blunt weaponry makes cutting weapons much less attractive. Those big beasts would actually go against this rule, as Ogre would be much easier to bleed out than to have his bones broken. These could actually appear in current dungeon, as they fit the horde quite well.
- Undead. Yep, undead are definitely coming to the game and will be much much trickier to defeat than orcs. Orcs bleed, orcs run, orcs have stamina and get tired, orcs die when you remove their heads and an be poisoned. Skeletons, not really. So undead would be a much more threatening enemy group in general (as they should be!). Apart from skeletons, this would also include some zombies (and those would die when their heads are gone!), ghouls, vampires and lich-wizards.
- Once I get open world or some forest-like locations, I could also have some beasts and animals. Didn't put much thought into this yet, although such a body part based game is really asking for a hydra with multiple heads to be in it.
- Summoners. So this would be more of an enemy archetype that could probably be found in many variants across multiple dungeons, but that would require some AI tweaks to allow more "squad oriented" behaviour so that the summons follow their source. At that point I would probably introduce summoning spells into the game in general, so that the player can also try that.
More item enchants
One of the things I've been thinking about was to get a new batch of enchants that can be rolled for the items, as there are many mechanics which do not get influenced by enchants at the moment: Poison-countering, Healing, Speed boost, Movement speed boost, Aiming/Spell Effect boost... and probably more. On top of that I could add some more interesting enchants, like "Massive Arming Sword" having a big bonus to damage, but a (smaller) penalty to aiming.
This can mean many things, but having taken a lot of inspiration for Diablo, I will have some more powerful items for the player to find, with some rarity system. Will probably have both items which are a result of multiple enchants being applied randomly, as well as some more pre-defined items which will not divert too far from some schema. Nothing too fancy, as ToME does the same thing already, but it's definitely something I want to have.
These guys will be more powerful versions of normal enemies, and will also work nicely if I am going to implement those rare items mentioned above. Best chance of getting said items would be rare enemies, and they would feel even more powerful due to the way item drops work in Dungeonlike - enemies drop the items they are using. So to get an "armor of immortality" you would first need to kill its previous owner.
This is a bit more in-depth kind of thing, but I think it can add a lot to the game and it is partially finished. For a long time, all enemies were spawned by placing them randomly on a finished level map. This was very sub-optimal as RNG would sometimes give you a level which mostly has empty rooms and crowded rooms, so you get odds stacked incredibly against you. Current implementation already uses the concept of a room for spawning, but I want to push that further. I want to have "themed" rooms which might have different shape (not every room needs to be a square), or some specific enemies and loot (eg. Armory room or Granary room), or maybe even be a seat for this level's captain (and that could hold rare enemies mentioned above). This could also allow stuff like trap rooms or rooms with puzzles, and of course vaults with some deadly monsters and really cool loot.
AI using consumables
That one is pretty obious. AI does not use consumables at the moment, which is primary reason for why they don't drop consumables as well, apart from non-combat ones. I really don't like the idea of an Orc Infernalist dying due to having no mana, with a mana potion in his bag. Once I get the AI to actually use stuff like potions and scrolls, it will make way more sense for them to have those in the first place. It should also make them far more surprising, if that half-tired warrior suddenly pops a potion of vigor and starts to pummel you mercilessly.
The game already features a spell designer, but its functionality is quite limited. I based that entire idea off what I recall existing in TES: Morrowind, and one of the cooler things you could do with spells in there was to actually combine multiple spells into a single one to save time. This would be even more useful in a turn-based game as this one, so it's definitely a must-have. The game already expects to encounter such situation, but having this work without buggy behaviour will probably be a big adventure in coding. I think I'd rather get more dungeons and enemies first and worry about such gimmicks a bit later on.
Stealth, rogues, traps and hidden rooms
I've had this in the back of my head for a long time, and I probably get to it soon. So I already have a semi-finished visiblity system which i scrapped on the last second before release due to missing features and horrible imbalance. But the game definitely needs some sneaking mechanics. I also think that this entire area of "stealth", once introduce, will pull traps into the game, as this would be something that a rogue would be very good at detecting and countering in general. And once I get those done properly, I can also do something about all the hidden rooms that are practically impossible to find at the moment, unless you aimlessly try to "Search" from any possible position within the dungeon. And of course, once you can sneak and backstab your enemies, you can rest assured that I would already have implemented enemies who can treat you the same way.
To make life of the abovementioned rogues easier, I was thinking about introducing consumables which can be used directly within combat. At the moment we got semi-functional poison darts, but I was thinking about some stuff like vials of dragonfire, blinding powder, thrown knives/shurikens and so on. Maybe even scrolls which contain aggressive spells, to add even more variety. This would of course mean that the AI would also be able to use those, making combat far more unpredictable.
I kind of dislike the fact that once you get all the items you want, eg. all the high-tier armor, there really isn't anything to do with your gold anymore. So, in a way, you are "done". Something I am considering (but not really convinced myself) is to make items require repairs after being used for a time, so that wearing expensive armor when going into a dungeon is sort of an investment, because if things go south, the armor would require a lot of money to repair, which sucks if you went to a low-level dungeon with low rewards. This of course is taken from the perspective of open world + many dungeons, where every dungeon is an expedition, but it could work even in current setting, considering how easy it is now to just sell all loot from a given dungeon level and become rich quickly.