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I'm officially starting work on my 7DRL now. (an experimental real-time Unity project)

A topic by WraithGlade created Feb 29, 2020 Views: 290 Replies: 3
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(3 edits)

I wanted to post that I've officially started work on my project as of this moment (2020-02-29 11:30 am Saturday, Eastern Standard Time, United States), so that the start time is visible publicly for proper accountability.

It appears highly likely that this isn't actually necessary, since most participants appear to not be doing so. I figured I'd do it anyway though.

This will be my first year actually participating, although I've wanted to for years and I'm also a big fan of the Roguelike Radio podcast etc.

I'll be doing a real-time (not turn based) Unity project, although I know this is a riskier choice, but I feel like being experimental in these regards. I have a general idea of what I'm going for but I will be bringing very little existing assets and only a small amount of code from before the official 7 day challenge window. So, maybe 80%+ of the work will be purely from these 7 days. Hopefully that won't come back to bite me, but I think it should go fine. My art asset requirements aren't that much.

What I already have pre-made partly:

- some code for physics based movement that I wrote a while back

- some code for a basic PCG grid setup that I may (or may not) use to create the game

- a small bunch of sound effect audio clips that I've already prepared to be usable to fill in some basic sounds

- a very rough idea of what kind of game I'm going to make, although still a lot left to be defined

Anyway, best of luck to everyone on your projects. Happy coding/art/design/etc everyone!

I'm interested to see what people come up with. There's always some really interesting ones.

I would also like to publicly timestamp the start of my own participation at this moment: 2020-03-01 (Sunday) 17:30 GMT+8.

Game concept

I've been designing a Rogue-lite game in my head in recent weeks. I think it is going to be a procedurally generated browser-based 3D game. You have crash-landed on a randomly generated planet and you must escape before your oxygen runs out.

To put it in terms of the original BSD Rogue, oxygen will be akin to food in that game, and game play will take place on an equivalent of a single level from the original Rogue. So play time will be quick and will result in either death or success. Aside from the core mechanic of finding a new space ship to escape the planet in before your oxygen runs out, I hope to also add items, loot, and enemies in the form of roving droids.

Technology and art stack

You CAN use external libraries, game engines, pre-existing  code/algorithms, pre-existing  art, etc. You can even start your game from an existing game, if you are planning to turn it into something unique. If in doubt, be clear what resources were reused.

I am building on the following pre-existing resources:


Unfortunately, my project has ended up incomplete. It was a decent exercise at least, and enough to indicate I could do it in the future, but it turns out I didn't plan well enough. 

I'm still glad I participated. It helped shake off some of my analysis paralysis problems partially. I won't be posting the incomplete project though, because I might want to save the idea for a later project and because people's time is better spent on projects that are more complete. I don't want to take away time from more worthy entrants. I also may reuse the idea. I messed up this time, so oh well. I'll be more careful in the future.

Several problems account for most of the reason why my project got derailed:

(1) I was trying to do physics-based pathfinding. I came to the 7DRL with a script for part of my physics stuff already partially done, thinking I wouldn't need to do much more to make it work for my plans, but I was quite wrong. Physics-based pathing is hard, and I even knew that from past experience doing it, but I still miscalculated regardless. I ended up spending most of my work just trying to get the physics based movement for the AI to work and it still didn't end up looking acceptable even despite sinking most of my time in it.

(2) For the past few years I've suffered from terrible insomnia and analysis paralysis problems and have had a mental block on game dev that has been frustrating me a lot. For 3 of the 7 days I was so tired from poor sleep that I was already struggling not to fall asleep by 1:00pm in the day. These 3 days ended up with me accomplishing almost nothing on them. I need to take my health more seriously going forward...

(3) I was also struggling with some negative feelings from working in a toxic AAA game dev environment years ago that I've had a really hard time overcoming in recent years. Before that time, I used to be much more free flowing and productive in game dev work, but since then I've struggled with freezing up and having negative associations with game dev that make it harder for me to focus sometimes. Me joining this event was partly just because I love roguelikes so much and partly because I wanted to try to overcome my mental blocks on game dev work. I've at least made partial progress in that respect, so I'll call that a win overall.

Oh, and I did indeed get a simple random map generator working, and also had some potentially interesting ideas I wanted to try with it, but ended up not having time to flesh it out and polish it up to anything near what I had in mind. I also didn't have time for the game mechanics either. Physics ate up all my time.

I'm going to not mention the specific of my game design idea more than I already have, since I may use it again in the future (with better preparation).

I apologize for the incomplete project.

Also, in hindsight I should have posted my announcement elsewhere than in this general discussion section, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to call the project yet so I didn't want to put it with the others until then.

Anyway though, it was a good exercise, even if incomplete.

Congratulations to all the other participants for their projects! I hope everyone had a good time and had better planning than me. This community is always really great at producing some interesting things, and I've always been happy to have found the community.

Next thing in my plans: I'm going to stop procrastinating about my insomnia problems, since it clearly is damaging my productivity too much.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend and upcoming week everyone.

Thank you for posting of your experience!

No need to apologize for the incomplete project.   If you never fail, you aren't trying hard enough.  As you reflect in your analysis, the exercise is good.  There is no such thing as a wasted push-up.

I totally agree with the tendency for technical issues to overwhelm game design issues.  I don't want to think how many hours I spent this week trying to fix key-repeat issues with libtcod.

My planning process:

1) Identify the core minimal product that would achieve my vision.   You want this done as early as possible.  When it is done; it is playtesting & refinement.

2) Identify riskiest tech stopping your minimal product, and address that first.

So if physics based path finding was a pre-req for your game design idea, you really did nothing wrong for planning.  If the game design could have worked with crappy path finding?  Then better planning would have focused on other tech first.

But I feel for your path finding pain.  I was lucky my Smart Kobold systems got me pretty close; it was more about finding proper tie breaker rules than any base tech.