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Feedback on my Game Idea (randomly generated dungeon RPG)

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[u][b]General Question[/b][/u]
[SPOILER]Would you play a game that had an RDG(Random Dungeon Generator), Binding of Isaac feel, Castle Crasher mechanics and over 100 levels of non-stop rpg action?[/SPOILER]

[u][b]General Idea[/b][/u]
[SPOILER]I am currently beginning the production of a game that I have my heart set on, "Boy KNIGHT!". The story is about a little boy living in a village with his mother, but they soon face problems when a mysterious stranger shows up to their door. She offers them ritches, enough money to tear down the village and build a city. The mother says yes and the mysterious stranger takes her, leaving a note that says "...For a price." The little boy is frightended by this sudden unfourtunate event, and soon decides that he must bring his mother back from the evil stranger...but he must face obsticles that scare even the bravest of knights.[/SPOILER]

So you basically start out at a village, you must fight your way though different rooms and progress through 100 levels, 20 stages with 5 levels each. Once you get to the last level and find the boss, you fight her and win your mother back, along with even more riches than promised before. Along the way though, you will find items, trinkets, weapons and companions to help you with your quest.

[u][b]Game Mechanics[/b][/u]
[SPOILER]If you have ever played, or seen, the Binding of Isaac, you will know how it's gameplay is. Each level is randomly generated, rooms will offer items, making you stronger or weaker and you can gain companions to help you fight. But it also has some Castle Crasher fighting style, allow you to perform a simple slash, spell attack, or shield bash. You will have a health system, and when that health reaches 0 you lose the game and must start again, like Binding of Isaac.[/SPOILER]

My question to you guys is, what are some things you think would go well in this game? I understand that I don't quite have the hardware and tools to create this game, which is why I am asking for some questions, suggestions, feed back so that when I able to create this game, I can be ready. This will also help me with whether it's a good game idea or not, and if I should go through with it. I am also 15 so sorry if this sounds like some fan boy dream.

This thread will be updated with new things to explain, or suggestions you have made, along with artwork if I ever get along to creating some(currently I have only 3 pieces of art work).

[u][b]Updates[/b][/u]
[SPOILER]v1.1 - After reading the feedback I have gotten, I am pleased to say that I have made some changes. I am keeping the 100 levels, but your game will save at the start of each stage, so if you die at level 100, you just have to start back at leve 95 instead of level 1.[/SPOILER]

Thanks for at least READING this.

-NoLifeNerds Edited by NoLifeNerds

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Disclaimer: I have not played "Binding of Isaac"

Doing random dungeons is pretty easy. Doing 100 levels of random dungeons is pretty hard if you want to keep gameplay interesting.
I suggest studying the "one and only roguelike" Nethack. It contains many example both how to keep randomly generated dungeons exciting and how to add constant progress into such environment.

As of your main story - do you plan to keep the story only as a generic frame (i.e. opening and ending plus few references) or do you plan to make the story actually relevant in gameplay? In the latter case you have to plan your dungeon design, enemies and progression around it.

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I think you might need to either offer checkpoints between sets of levels or reduce the number of levels in the game.

Restarting every time you die works alright in The Binding of Isaac (and similar games) because there aren't that many levels. It can still be frustrating to die and have to start over, but it isn't [i]too[/i] frustrating because [i]at most[/i] you've lost around 10 levels of progress. Imagine having to start from scratch after 99 levels! I'd suggest check-points between each of your stages so that you can retain the low frustration factor.


If you're going to have the large number of levels you might also want to consider offering a save-game option. In The Binding of Isaac this isn't really necessary because you can quite easily complete the game within a single sitting -- even taking my time and carefully visiting every room in the dungeon a complete play-through doesn't take more than about two hours, and the average play-through is only between 30-60 minutes. Unless your game plays very quickly a lot of people simply won't have the time for a single game play session long enough to complete the game. You can solve this by offering the ability to save, or by reducing the number of levels to something playable in a single session.


My other comment on having a large number of levels -- especially if they're divided into separate stages -- is that you need to have a lot of variety. There's no point having a huge set of levels if they're all the same or very similar; even in The Binding of Isaac you might have noticed that there are stylistic changes every second level or so -- the graphics change, and there are different obstacles and different sets of monsters to provide variety. Rather than deciding up-front that you want to have 20 different stages, I would think about what will be different in each stage and then have as many (within limits) as you have interesting ideas for; there's no point having all 20 if lots of them are the same or are overly similar.


Hope that helps! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

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Thank you for the feed back.

I'm still keeping the 100 levels, but I will add a check point function to when you first start a new stage, you can be at level 99 and if you die, you can start back at 95, much better than restarting the whole game. The stages will change though, the more you progress through the story, the level designs will change, considering that you won't stay in the village for long.

As for the story line, it will stay on point with the game, a boy fighting to save his mother and village. It will have comedic references though, such as meme references, parodies on certain famous people, things like that.

I also have a few artwork and designs incase you wish to view them, I haven't gotten around to creating more though.

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Level generation is not content generation is not game design generation, that seems to be a weak point in your concept.

You are approaching the game design from the wrong direction (I made the same misstake [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img] ), the right way would be to design the game, then design the interesting content and eventually use a level generation approach to design the [i]details [/i]. The important part is, that you can't generate interesting game play by generating 100 different levels, because it would be like playing the first level 100 times.

So, design your core content first (different enemy types, puzzels , challenges, boss fights, item progression, skills etc.) and look how to map them to levels later on, this is much easier and less frustrating.

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[quote name='Ashaman73' timestamp='1351508213' post='4995010']
Level generation is not content generation is not game design generation, that seems to be a weak point in your concept.

You are approaching the game design from the wrong direction (I made the same misstake [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img] ), the right way would be to design the game, then design the interesting content and eventually use a level generation approach to design the [i]details [/i]. The important part is, that you can't generate interesting game play by generating 100 different levels, because it would be like playing the first level 100 times.

So, design your core content first (different enemy types, puzzels , challenges, boss fights, item progression, skills etc.) and look how to map them to levels later on, this is much easier and less frustrating.
[/quote]Thank you for the help. That made me laugh though, because everytime I had a game idea and "tried" to plan it, I always started the way you advised me to do, this time I tried taking it another way haha. I am taking a break on the game for now so I can get certain things out of they, and the instant I am done I shall get back to it going the way you have told me.

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I've quite seriously have a soft spot for "random generation". I feel like it adds tremendously to the replayability factor if done right. One of my personal favorite dungeon crawler games is Recettear. That has randomly generated dungeons and generally holds to the same concept of what you're doing. (Mind you recettear is not ONLY dungeon crawling, but w.e.) Again I say if done right. I feel like it doesn't matter if it IS randomly generated if it doesn't feel so. Like if on some floors the "exit" is 200 rooms away with respawning enemies blocking my path, and on some floors its in the next room and I have no battle at all. Would something like that kill the game overall? No, the gameplay could still safe it easily if it was fun enough. Just my two cents.

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[quote name='SherrelE' timestamp='1351556105' post='4995214']
I've quite seriously have a soft spot for "random generation". I feel like it adds tremendously to the replayability factor if done right. One of my personal favorite dungeon crawler games is Recettear. That has randomly generated dungeons and generally holds to the same concept of what you're doing. (Mind you recettear is not ONLY dungeon crawling, but w.e.) Again I say if done right. I feel like it doesn't matter if it IS randomly generated if it doesn't feel so. Like if on some floors the "exit" is 200 rooms away with respawning enemies blocking my path, and on some floors its in the next room and I have no battle at all. Would something like that kill the game overall? No, the gameplay could still safe it easily if it was fun enough. Just my two cents.
[/quote]Thanks for the feed back. I am pretty new to RDG(Random Dungeon Generation), which is why I am currently not trying to tackle that function first. If I find my self stuck, I will look for people that are willing to help me.

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Procedural content is totally viable and has in my opinion, the potential for much bigger usage in todays gaming market.

As for ur 100 dungeons idea, id think about the set pieces, and thematic change as u progress.

Lets say 5 big set pieces, and 10 thematic changes in the dungeons, arching from Ice caverns to Medievil prison to arcane fortress etc...

Basically anything that gives the player the idea that he is progressing, storyline and simple change of scenery is vitally important. As someone else said, u dont want 1 lvl played 100 times, but rather an action filled, replayable pulsepounding adventure

-Exo Edited by Exodus111

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I enjoy randomness programmed into a game. It is one of my favorite game features.

Randomness can be programmed with relatively small hit on performance, but big impact on gameplay fun. There are some things which are fairly simple to make random, too. In a broader sense, almost anything can have randomness programmed into it.


Clinton

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[quote name='3Ddreamer' timestamp='1351826054' post='4996408']
In a broader sense, almost anything can have randomness programmed into it.
[/quote]
I would be more careful about using this term in context with procedural content generation. For sure, adding some "x*random()" in your code isn't the big deal, but generating random content, is often less random then you might think.

Take a look out of the window, either looking at a skyline or nature scene, in both cases you are not really looking at randomness. Even nature follows rules and these rules are extremely complex and have huge amount of parameters. The easy part is to make a parameter random, the incredible hard part is to delevop a system which generates something meaningful und useful out of these parameters.

I'm using procedural content generation in my game, but only a small part is really random. At least I've learned that random procedural content geneartion often produce ugly, unlogical, incomprehensible,boring, unbalanced, and eventually unplayable content. I've increased the scripted part of the content generation continuously in the last few years to beat useless content generation.

This depends heavily on the rule set in which content lives. I.e. a rogue-like game have not many or hard rules when it comes down to visual representation, therefore generating content which is visual representable in a rogue-like game is quite easy. When you consider the visual representation of an game like gears of war, PGC is no longer feasable (beyond maybe terrain generation).

The next generation of consoles and AAA titles will try to beat visual presention, physics and AI of the current gen, introducing more rules than any game in the last decade. The effect for PCG will be crushing.

Which [i]modern game[/i] comes in mind when you think about PCG in game ? When you now think of minecraft, you just need to look at the level of abstraction and rule limitation to see what it needs to use PCG in games.

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I just would like to go on record as saying this is a good idea. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img]

Also, I like the idea of having no check points in the game, but can understand the frustration one would have from playing 100 levels only to lose everything. There is a decent market for rogue-like games (examples:The Binding of Isaac, Dungeons of Dredmor, FTL, XCOM, Don't Starve) and I for one love playing games were your actions have game-ending consequences. Maybe for the market that enjoys the difficulty like this you could have a "hardcore" mode?

Oh, and another thought I had. What if instead of getting a pile of treasure from the end boss, you just have the gold you collect from playing? So it's like the stranger knew you would come for your mother, forcing you build up the wealth she had promised you. She filled her promise for huge stacks-o-cash by taking your mother.

[center][b]Mind blown, huh?![/b][/center]
[center][b]Yeah...[/b][/center]

Anyway, where is that art you were talking about? I wanna see. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img] Edited by DaveTroyer

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Sounds good, but make sure that each level introduces something new to it. This could be a new mechanic, enemy etc.

For example, my favorite random dungeon game is [i]Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon[/i].
I love it because it brings many things to the table.
New themes, enemies, classes, abilities, power ups, and hazards as the dungeons progress.

So, if your mind is set on the 20 stages, they really have to be set apart from each other. Edited by Burrowing Owl

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