Monday, May 27, 2019

100 Stages

Sometimes it is better not to take shortcuts with design. I want this game to have 100 stages. At first I was just generating random permutations of enemies. Instead I am going to author each stage manually, and provide a name. Most of these 100 stages will unlock something, as a reward and to gradually increase complexity.

Example 1

"Green Pasture" will consist only of goblin archers, that do less damage but have a reduced turn counter (so they attack more quickly). The stage will permit the maximum number of simultaneous enemies, which is 5.

Example 2

An ice stage that only has one completely overpowered golem. Like a mini-boss fight, where different heroes and skills need to be chosen. Specifically, increasing the turn-counter of the golem to delay its turn. What if the stage can only be played with one hero instead of 3 or 4?

Example 3

Enemies completely immune to certain elements. Some creepy dungeon of ghosts, that can only be killed with fire? Things like this, to keep the game interesting, but hopefully not annoying.

More thoughts

Some stages will have many enemies, and others fewer. It will be necessary to choose suitable skills for each hero, like ones that target all or just one. Replaying the same stage repeatedly for experience and coins will be expected. I do not expect any player to just plow through all these stages in one sitting.

I can defer this kind of creative work to moments when I am in transit, like on a bus or train for many hours. Programming is a bit more involved, so I need a desk and decent chair without distractions of my surroundings.

Here is the long map I have arranged, to place the 100 stages. I will paint and adjust the seams later. For now, they are just rectangles naively copy-and-pasted without continuity.

The vertical dimension of this map is insanely high. After I author the stages, and then adjust the seams, I will split up this image into pieces. I think some phones will force a texture like this to be square, so that would waste a lot of memory by extending the horizontal to match the vertical by adding unused space.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Unity assets

The Unity asset store is showcasing a collection of top quality assets for another couple days. Many of these packages are ones I already considered.

I like to poke around and contemplate possibilities. Just like when I was about 12, I listened to a CD of a thousand sound effects and let my imagination take over. It only takes one tiny source of inspiration to consider a large project, and, only one night to sleep on the idea to confirm it.

It is easy to just drag and drop these into a Unity workspace, then add a bunch of components.

Low-poly zombies

Minimal UI
I instantly bought the post-process effects package. The minimal UI package seems really useful too, made by one of my favorite artists on there. The low-poly zombie and simple apocalypse caught my eye too. Plenty of audio and music to choose from too.

Simple Apocalypse pack

The low-poly is a unique look, and better for performance on mobile phones. Combined with post-process effects and amazing particle effects, so many possibilities can emerge. Good audio and music is easier to come by these days.

Monday, May 6, 2019


In traditional RPGs, stunning a creature prevents any actions from taking place. But can a stun be interrupted? Once a stun wears off, can the creature immediately take its turn, or does removing the stun count as its turn?

Take for instance the panda, which can "stun" a creature with the bamboo strike skill. Rather than apply a stun debuff that temporarily prevents actions, perhaps denoted with an icon or persistent particle effect, the game instead just increments the turn counter with a conspicuous animation. A stun particle effect does not need to be persistent either, because the only important information is the turn counter.

This change actually makes a lot more sense. To me the challenge of game design is about simplification by removing ambiguity and anything unnecessary.

Tip info about the panda, by tapping and holding

Also I am reverting back to a simpler upgrade system for all weapons and skills. I have extended beyond five stars, to eight. These upgrades not only cost in-game currency, but require the hero to be a specific level. This requirement prevents the player from maxing out just one weapon or skill early on while neglecting everything else.

New upgrades screen

I am actually having fun with this. And if I am having fun, then surely I am onto something.