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Adventures in Dungeon Crawling (Map Spoilers, maybe NSFW)

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by Grauken, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    I played cryptrat's dungeon crawler demo earlier this year. I believe this is just a sample of a larger project in the works. The levels are indeed deviously designed. I mapped on graph paper, and found it to be challenging and fun.
     
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  2. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    This looks pretty cool! I wasn't aware of CryptRat's project - hope he finishes it.

    Also, solid and sage, heh.
     
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  3. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    Wow, japanese language seems pretty easy.
     
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  4. abnaxus Arcane

    abnaxus
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    Dragon Knight I & II need dungeon mapping but the maps are not very complex. Still some fun puzzles and cute gurls.
     
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  5. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    Are they in english?
     
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  6. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    And I realized the doors are a full block in the game, not just a simple wall. Also found a treasure chest which gave me some EXP and a chakhram. Actually haven't fought any battles yet, but it seems that it's somewhat similar to Dragon Wars, first few rounds both groups try to get close to each other. Not sure I like that. Also the scrolling speed was too fast to really follow what was going on in the battle

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  7. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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  8. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    I've forgotten how much of a crutch the tracking in GridCartographer is and how much easier it makes playing old blobbers. THWG does not give any cues when the direction has changed or even when you went up a ladder or not. Watching the directions info and x/y/z is paramount and pumping points into the orientation skill of at least one character essential, otherwise you'll get hopelessly lost.

    Also found a console behind a secret wall that allowed me to change the direction of the forward/block fields and allowed me to proceed further

    [​IMG]

    Third level. I'm getting seriously encumbered, mostly because I'm horting stuff and combat has been few and far between.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    Found the Dark Overlord and his posse. I think I lasted two rounds

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    So, now I have to grind a bit to get my chars up to beat the dark overlord. I have a nice selection of weapons (chainsaw, rocket launcher, flame thrower, feels like I'm playing Doom), but my initiative sucks and I get massacred in a few rounds

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
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  11. CryptRat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Developer

    CryptRat
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    Those maps are beautiful, especially compared with my austere map editor :
     
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  12. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    Finished. That final fight was sheer murder, took me a few tries to get it. Nobody died, although CryptRat took a few hits for the team.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    Some final words. THWG is a niche title in a niche. It's a blobber for people who are really into making their own maps and like getting lost in a dungeon. I'm not sure whether it's due to the time constraints of the gaming jam or completely intentional, but the lack of movement feedback (even lots of older title mirrored walls when you moved to show you took a step or turned) allows to confuse the mapmaking a lot, which is something I really admire, but few people these days will be willing to put up with it. If you add movement feedback, or even something like a simple automap, all of its three levels would likely be mapped in a fraction of the time it took me to map all of it, but it would severely diminish the challenge and the fun in doing so.

    Also, the game is finished as it is and doesn't feel like a demo. Yes, it's three levels only, but these are highly compressed levels with challenging moments on every corridor, there's no tutorial, no slow parts to pace out more difficult ones. If CryptRat would make something longer, he would need to space out existing content over more levels, or he would need to seriously crank up the difficulty (reaching for W4 levels of insanity), otherwise it would feel odd to have later levels less densely packed as the early three.

    Good blobbers often are about equal challenge from both the dungeon design and combat, and this is probably the weakest link of the game, as the combat and the dungeon exploration doesn't feel well integrated. Combat is the usual phase-based, albeit with a tactical element seen in the likes of Wasteland or Dragon Wars, where your party and enemies have to move forward toward each other to engage in melee combat. I thought it was okay in WL, but I didn't care much for it in DW as it seemed to make combat last longer than it should have. So instead of going through the same here, I usually avoided fights (easy to do), which meant when I reached the final boss, who presents an extreme difficulty spike, I was seriously under-leveled. To be honest, combat in the game isn't much fun, but given the time constraints under which this was done I can understand why CryptRat focused on the dungeon design.

    Given the lackluster combat, the chardev is actually quite good. Basic attributes, useful skills, this already trumps lots of AAA-games in complexity (which is insane when you think about it) and its fun to see your characters grow. Finding treasures gives lots of EXP by the way, so even with avoiding fights you can level up quite a bit just by going for treasure, which was neat.

    Overall, it had a lot of fun with the game, despite its flaws. I hope CryptRat does something longer, because as good as this was, I want to see a 10-level monster by him, or something even larger. Most modern (western) devs seem to have forgotten how to design a good, exiting dungeon that keeps you absorbed by killing you in inventive ways on every level, but damn I wish it weren't so.
     
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  14. CryptRat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Developer

    CryptRat
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    Glad you liked it, still working on something bigger. It's not worth working on a game if we (I am not doing the art) are ever afraid or ashamed of showing or sharing anything and can't even set a full finished one hour long game, the engine was in a quickly fixable state at the moment of the jam so we made this.

    The dungeon is indeed very compact and dense with a trap or a treasure every two steps and they'll be sparser in a bigger game. Combat being secondary to exploration with especially a lot of XPs gained outside combat is intentional. In the dungeon I'm currently designing there are more than only one fixed encounter but there are all avoidable so far and I'm working as much on non-combat skills/spells (jump, slow time, disintegrate walls, this last one costs a lot gems) as on combat ones.

    About combat I really get your point about moving forward, I want distance management to be an important factor regarding choosing your weapons (and spells) and I hope the real problem in THWG is that you get from hobo to god in one hour so balance is totally out of the place and you never have to shoot some monsters before being in their weapons' range. Range mustn't be the only factor and I'm working on resistances and saving throws although it's currently a bit of mess because of using guns and spells.
    Show Spoiler
    The difficulty spike at the end is intentional to reward searching in every corner but the lack of any other challenging fight does not help to figure out you'll need high armor as well as basically laser guns (the chakhram works I think) to make significant damage to the big daddy and that melee weapons will be useless here. He can be killed without any more XP than what you got from chests, although you need to have found most of them then.


    The total lack of sound is lack of time even really thinking about what we want in the game regarding sound.
     
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  15. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    It's fascinating to see your work with Grid Cartographer. I've always enjoyed cRPG cartography, though I can make a mess of things sometimes. For comparison sake, these are the maps I made by hand of the three levels. The section with the invisible walls really threw me.

    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]


    In the final battle, I had a snoop character throwing the chakhram at the end boss and launched rockets to open the first round. Then closed in with the chainsaw to mop up the rest.
     
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  16. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    I didn't even think about using the Chakhram, just let Blaine burn the first row with a flamethrower, CryptRat throw his two heavy bombs and CrookedBee use the rocket launcher. Not the best tactic, as usually by the end of round two CryptRat was dead and while I often killed everything other than the Dark Overlord, he easily took care of my other two chars. Just got lucky in one try.

    Also, love your maps, there's something about hand-drawn maps that's just cool
     
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  17. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    I was planning to play Dark Spire, and then I saw this was released and looked at the price. Damn, that's hefty if you're in Europe. Thankfully I'm not

    [​IMG]

    Our, eh, let's call her the protagonist. Definitely not a hero. Kills her small apprentice's little sheep a few minutes into the game to test a theory.

    [​IMG]

    Don't get attached to these guys, they're just here to show you the basic controls of how to move around in the dungeon and fight, then it's down a deadly trap and they're history

    [​IMG]

    Cool, stylish intro that reminds me of some of paper silhouette animated movies I saw as a kid

    [​IMG]

    You wake up in a non-combat area for plot-related reasons (you're a disembodied soul lead to a book which you possess, and which turns out to be the very magic book of the witch from the intro).
    The area looks damn beautiful, this is how you make a blobber shine, not with advanced graphics effects, but raw skill

    [​IMG]

    First three characters I could make. These aren't humans, but puppets that can survive in the labyrinth below the city where the witch from the intro is currently residing. You can choose between various classes, tank, healer, fighter, assassin and two more I forgot. Then you put them into group slots. I assume you can build much more later. I heard the developers of the game like numbers going up crazy, let's see how big our party can get

    [​IMG]

    Also, automap, minimap and later you get the ability to see enemies move on the map and can even surprise them, quite nice

    [​IMG]

    So far, it's been pretty addictive
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
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  18. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    I have to a say, so far I find the story bits not as annoying as those from Mary Skelter. It's still visual novel style, but since you're not out to get a harem of pedo bait, there's less inane discussions and instead more plot developments. The town we're in seems more disturbing by the minute, with threats at night, people regularly dying and then put on notice the next day, and other stuff, but our protagonist fits right in there, given that her cover story as a provider of puppetry theatre gives her lots of space to be just as creepy. Then there's the nun that wants to get it on with the protag, that stuff just came out of left field, but I should have expected nothing less from jap-games.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Monster design is quite nifty

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So far the biggest change has been the addition to knock through standard dungeon level walls. Never seen that feature before and it's such a simple but brilliant addition. Allows for hiding stuff behind walls, but also allows you to make your own path on each floor (within limits, as you can only knock out a certain number of walls, and some walls are indestructible) and gives you a higher degree of freedom for how you move around. That said, as enemies can also freely move through those passages, just knocking out walls is not as smart and soon you learn to rearrange the layout by looking for passages that increase your mobility but also allow you to still retreat easily. Also, the walls are back once you leave the dungeon and come back.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    With the ability to knock over walls you can easily map most of the parts of the early floors, although some parts are effectively gated off by enemies that do an incredibly high amount of damage followed by the inevitably PK.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Said party killing monsters. Look harmless

    [​IMG]

    The third floor of the first dungeon requires falling from a hole on the 2nd floor to talk to an NPC to proceed further. Actually, I spent too much time not able to proceed here, as I didn't realize plot progression was blocked by getting 10 saltpeter items from random enemies and I was looking for something more meaningful to do than just collect the stuff. Once you've collected them you can go back to the witch and get the language decryption upgrade.

    [​IMG]

    From this bog witch you get an item that you need to convince the boat guy (behind a wall) ton cross the river, to finally arrive at a new part of the 3rd floor and see this thing, which is basically a gateway that opens the entry to a completely new dungeon, a sort of fairy realm with lots of little gnomes attacking you.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, in town, there's a lot of stuff to spent your hard-earned mana and cash on, getting rewards for random filler side-quest and overall just making sure the game is a proper skinner box with countless little upgrades that aren't all that meaningful but compel you to do them anyway.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  19. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    The pastoral landscape is deceiving, you're Gulliver in the land of the little gnomes and they attack you at every corner. Kinda cute, but not much of a threat

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Also, found a statue that told me to devote myself to some worship, or find some kingly words to proceed further.

    [​IMG]

    Contrarian that I am, I just attacked and destroyed it. I don't follow advice from random level architecture. Also found a key in the rubble

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. zwanzig_zwoelf Stargazer Developer

    zwanzig_zwoelf
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    where's jcd so he can write a bot to brofist grauken's posts in advance
     
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  21. abnaxus Arcane

    abnaxus
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    Haven't played waifu dungeon crawler since Raidy 3.

    [​IMG]
     
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  22. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    Is it worth playing?
     
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  23. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    At the beginning I didn't pay much attention to weapon types, just stuffed my chars with the best available ones for their strongest proficiency. Alas, then I met manastones, and chipping away damage in single- or low double-digit numbers isn't much fun, especially when you meet one with almost 1k HP. Also, in many dungeon crawlers, I rarely use the guard option, since most of my damage dealers have strong enough armor anyway, and my mages are usually far away from the action, doing their spells. Here, actually guarding often makes sense, either weaker chars or the whole party when the enemy signals that he is about to unleash a heavy attack

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Just a small, but neat detail. You can either surprise enemies, or they see you from afar and follow you to attack, or later on, when you're too strong, they try to flee. Good use of the minimap
    Also, when you get stuffed too much with mana, some heavy hitters appear in the level (at least it happened once to me, not sure if that's typical or not) that can do a PK in seconds. When they're on the map, their enemy icon shows little spikes and I think its slightly bigger than the common enemies

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Anyway, the second dungeon was cute. Not a lot of strong enemies, except the occasional hard-hitting variant, but I just liked the visual design and fighting lots of little gnomes and their creative sprites

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    "Are we the enemies here" that actually popped into my head far too often when stomping little gnomes villages to the ground.

    [​IMG]

    Finally reached this place with lots of statues to fight (major enemies are show with little devil horns on the mini-map). I still hadn't equipped any blunt weaponry, which made these fights more cumbersome than they should have been

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And the boss fight. I think only two of my people survived to the end. Given how easy the rest of the dungeon was by that point, I'm wondering whether I've gimped my chars somewhat or not yet figured out the ideal formation/char mix.

    [​IMG]

    Basically, a flat plane partitioned into 4 connected maps. The green walls are hedges you can jump, which was kinda funny. The level really gave you the feeling of being a giant stomping through a tiny world

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  24. abnaxus Arcane

    abnaxus
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    I noticed I put this on my list.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    Softhouse Chara has made quite a few eroge dungeon crawlers/strategy rpgs that tend to be super grindy and have awful to mediocre art style. But this one seems alright.

    I was disappointed with it. They turned p. much the only reason to play the game (unlocking hentai scenes) into a boring slog. And as a normal game it is mediocre at best.
     
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  25. abnaxus Arcane

    abnaxus
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    Wish I had these when I was going through the low res PC88 chit.

    [​IMG]
     
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