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Parasite, a modern-day survival horror roguelike

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by infidel, May 7, 2019.

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  1. infidel Arcane Developer

    infidel
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    [​IMG]

    Hey, all.

    I've been working for some time on a roguelike that is all about possession mechanics and learning. You play as this parasitic creature that can only survive while sitting on top of a host that is large enough to feed it with energy (i.e. a human or a dog). You can gain knowledge, evolve and grow stuff on hosts. Eventually the midgame opens up that is focused on piecing together the events that happened before the game start while staying below the radar and then the endgame starts, where you will have to
    Show Spoiler
    complete the mission you were given.


    Features include:
    • A fully generated modern-day city to explore and survive in.
    • A single story scenario that starts with the main protagonist alone, scared and without any memories in a hostile human world.
    • Possession mechanics that is critical to the player survival (see, you just die very fast without a host).
    • Robust host inventory, skills and knowledges system.
    • Player evolution unlocking new improvements and body features for the possessed hosts.
    • Building and improving habitat to rest and recuperate.
    • Separate difficulty settings for all key parts of the game that will be prompted organically during its course.
    • Event timeline investigation to piece together both what has happened before and what to do next.
    • A dangerous group of opponents that is tasked with finding and destroying threats to humanity (you).
    Play it here (the browser version is a full release without any limitations).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Druidpeter Literate

    Druidpeter
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    Oh wow, infidel , this looks really interesting! I'm going to be leaving a post right now so that I can subscribe to this thread, as it's kind of late where I am, but I'll be back and will definitely offer some more of my thoughts, and will definitely play this game! Looks awesome! :D
     
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  3. sputtering fart balloon Educated Patron

    sputtering fart balloon
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    Very cool concept, just died about a half hour in because I ran out of energy looking for a host. Is there not a skip turn button or am I just bad and you shouldn't even skip turns anyway?

    Will definitely try this again later.
     
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  4. Beastro Arcane

    Beastro
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    What is that in the left of this picture?

    ... is that a chimp in a cardigan?
     
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  5. infidel Arcane Developer

    infidel
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    That's a fireman. I'll probably remove some NPC icons or make them location-specific later on.
     
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  6. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    This looks interesting, although it doesn't seem to be possible to save in the browser version.
     
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  7. Covenant Learned

    Covenant
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    Gave this a few attempts but I couldn't get past the early stages without being killed. Hosts run out of energy/degrade and die almost as soon as I put any biological adaptions on them, if I get that far, and if I focus on upgrading my brain probe I go through enough hosts and attract enough attention that SWAT teams are following me around before I reach the 'Full knowledge' level.

    Given the parasite motif, one would think stealth would be the way to go, but I'm not sure how to make it work. When the heat is on, switching into a dog, running to the other end of the map and then switching to a new body doesn't seem to do anything to reduce aforementioned heat.

    EDIT: So apparently it's all about using the sewers to go to new maps. Got a lot further once I learned that trick. Managed to escape after returning to my habitat and finding it full of SWAT, which was exciting, but lost all my progress when I hit F5 to check my time-line and it refreshed the page (if I use Alt-num instead of the F keys, I then can't select anything in the evolution menu).
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  8. infidel Arcane Developer

    infidel
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    It's not possible to save at all :) Currently the game session should take a couple of hours to finish it (if you didn't select the hard difficulty for the timeline). If it extends to beyond that I'll probably have to make a save system of some kind.

    In general, try to follow the first chain of goals (they're not marked as such but they're an extended tutorial). That should lead you up until the midgame phase. When the Group sets up an ambush in your habitat, you should get a message "They are waiting for me." At that point going inside is almost a certain death but the ambushers go away after some time. Did you get the group difficulty selection screen? It might be that group found you out before you've had a chance of knowing about them.

    Yeah, F5 is a pain in browsers, I don't have any control over that. Tell me more about the evolution screen problem. What browser/OS do you use? Do you mean that number keys stop working on evolution screen?

    If you have any more feedback or questions, don't hesitate to post. I'm especially interested in things that are confusing to first-time players.
     
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  9. infidel Arcane Developer

    infidel
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    Sorry, missed your message earlier. Yes, there is and it's definitely useful while you're waiting for evolution to complete, for example. Once you enable NumLock to get diagonal movement, Numpad 5 is the skip turn key.
     
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  10. Covenant Learned

    Covenant
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    Using Firefox and Win 7 64-bit, though it's ESR Firefox so it's likely more on my end than yours. But yes, if I use alt-6 to get to the evolution screen, pressing the regular number keys then has no effect. If I get onto it from F6, it works normally. Similarly, space doesn't work for skipping a turn in the browser version (for me, at least). Dunno about the Numpad, haven't tried that.

    I didn't get a message about them waiting for me, or at least I didn't notice one. I have had my habitats destroyed a few times while I was away - if anything, it seemed a bit of an inevitable time limit, whittling down my max energy, and I had to finish the game before it got too low for me to find new hosts. I thought I was being relatively stealthy - if I ever got the 'You are being watched' message, I'd turn around, head to some sewers out of sight, and move to a new area.

    In my last attempt I had a few clues and entries in the time-line, but hit a weird freeze (I just couldn't do anything) when exploring a location of interest that seemed to be outside the borders of the city. I was just about to finish invading a new host, and then none of the commands did anything. I could move the mouse around and the displayed path would change, but couldn't either finish getting into the host or get off of him.

    In terms of things that are confusing to new players, I'll confess that I only skimmed the manual on Github but I would say perhaps emphasise that you need to use the sewers to bring up the regional map in the ingame goal/tips thing. I repeatedly reached 'Head to this location you remember' in the starting area and had no idea what to do then, though admittedly it only took a bit of time to find out the sewers could be traversed.

    It's a cute little game. Reminds me of Rogue Survivor, for some reason. The NPCs could use some more differentation, and the combat side of things could maybe stand to be fleshed out, but it's interesting.
     
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  11. infidel Arcane Developer

    infidel
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    Try to press Esc a couple of times when you get onto that screen, I'm curious whether that helps. Space is not a pause key, it toggles hiding the UI.

    Sorry, I was mistaken, it only pops up on easy group difficulty. I'll add an intruder detection growth. This will also remove the "cheat" that the ambush is not actually habitat-specific :)

    If you have that again, open the browser console and grab an exception log from there if you can, I'll try to fix it.

    Don't worry, one of my goals is to make the game playable without a manual (for example, the group mechanics is not explained at all in the game, unfortunately). Thanks for pointing that out, I will insert a clarifying goal of finding the sewer hatch before that one.

    Thanks! You're not wrong here, either. I'm planning on separating combat and stealth builds into a choice at the start of the game and adding specific changes to make combat gameplay more viable. Currently, even though you can shoot and attack people, it's always detrimental to your survivability and combat-related organs are not that useful. As for differing NPCs, that's a more long term goal related to future skills and their acquiring in specific locations from specific NPCs.
     
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  12. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    I tried playing. Concept is great, but I really couldn't manage to play it. A few things:
    (1) I couldn't get waiting to work (numpad enabled or otherwise).
    (2) Using arrows/numpad both scrolled the window and moved my character, making it hard to play.
    (3) I frequently had the problem that UI elements blocked much of the already small viewport.
    (4) It was hard to figure out how I was moving, I guess maybe the host was resisting and moving differently from how I wanted, but it just felt like the viewport was bouncing around without any logic.
    (5) After the brainprobe evolution, I had a recurrent problem of my next host dying quickly, then I couldn't find a new host and died.

    Seems like this will be great, but needs some tweaks.
     
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  13. infidel Arcane Developer

    infidel
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    Thanks. Hmm, looks like you have a very small window resolution. What is it? Have you tried enabling the fullscreen mode (button in the lower right corner of game window)? Also tell me which browser are you using just in case.
    I've probably needed to add this to my original post but there's a free Windows binary version available with ASCII graphics here: https://github.com/infidel-/parasite/releases/download/v0.5/parasite-0.5-win-free.zip

    Point 4 could be related to the small window. Once you tell me your window size I'll see if I can make it work. I think I've tested it on 1024x768 before but I could be wrong. At the very least I can add options for small font and you can already scale tile size up and down through the console (; to open it, then "cfg mapScale 0.3", for example)
    Point 5 is most likely either you have evolution enabled or growing an organ or you press brain probe too much (each probe eats energy significantly). First two can be stopped manually. Keeping track of energy and having hosts ready is part of the early survival.
     
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  14. Giauz Ragnacock Scholar

    Giauz Ragnacock
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    infidel So this game will have

    [​IMG]

    Body horror?
     
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  15. infidel Arcane Developer

    infidel
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    Of course. It already does. Parasite has to gain access to nervous and other systems of its host and growing organs is all pretty much body horror stuff (that's also part of game mechanics). As to actual graphic depiction, sorry, that's mostly out of my budget.
     
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  16. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    The game is fun, but not being able to save in the browser version is annoying. Can you save in the paid version, or is this meant to be completed in one sitting?
     
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  17. infidel Arcane Developer

    infidel
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    Sorry, you can't save in the game yet. It's kind of a pain to implement so I'm always pushing it back. As of now the game should be completable in a few hours of play time (like 1-2, not more unless you pick the hard difficulty for timeline which slows it down).
     
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  18. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    Alright, finally managed to finish this. I couldn't find the parasite's original host and the not-MIB crushed my chances to complete my mission, but I made it out of Earth alive, so it's still a victory IMO.
     
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  19. infidel Arcane Developer

    infidel
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    Good job. Any feedback you want to share? Thoughts, problems you'd like addressed, etc. Also, two days ago I've found out by chance that you can't actually find the original host yet, I forgot to implement that while the goal still appears.
     
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  20. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    Well, a save feature I already mentioned.
    Perhaps being able to choose your mutations instead of having to rely on a list of 4 random ones would be better: I rarely used any mutation besides the stealth one. Also, entering buildings to do stuff would be cool.
    Moreover, the Parasite clearly needs melee mutations such as giant pincers, bone scythes, heads that turn into giant maws and the like for the cool factor, if they're not here already. :P

    Lastly, is there a way from recovering from the permanent energy loss from losing a lair?
     
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  21. infidel Arcane Developer

    infidel
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    All the cool combat mutations will go into the different gameplay mode when I get to it :) Also currently they're underdeveloped and not very useful apart from health/energy buffs as you've noticed. Entering buildings is planned for later (I finally understood how and where I want it, took me literally years, man).

    No, you can't recover from permanent energy loss, it acts as a clock ticking for the player to focus on winning the game.

    BTW, the next release is almost done, it will feature more mouse support in GUI, sound, music and new habitat growth that will warn the player about ambushes.
     
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  22. infidel Arcane Developer

    infidel
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    Well, everything was almost ready for the release but I started playing WoW Classic. Two months later...
    v0.6 is finally out!

    The main focus of this release is the addition of music and sounds into the game. It now includes four types of ambience along with many sound effects for things like attacks, deaths, confusion, alerts, and so on. There are four music tracks included for a start; expect more later on. The work on mouse support in the GUI continues and now all actions and menu items in the HUD are clickable. There are still actions in sub-windows that aren't, but they will have to wait for redesigns in future releases. Since a lot of people don't want to hear music or sounds, there's now an options window that allows adjusting the volume.

    And finally, onto the gameplay. There's a new growth for your habitat. It's called the Watcher and it can detect ambushes when they happen, notifying you when they occur. The ambushed habitat will also be marked with a red icon on the region map. When upgraded to level two, the Watcher will attract ambushes to its habitat. To grow the Watcher, the parasite needs to both learn about the group and have a habitat. Then the goal is added and the improvement is unlocked in the Evolution window. In a related change, when you previously selected the Easy group difficulty, you were automatically notified about ambushes. This notification has been removed. Another small addition is the police radio. Each officer now carries one and uses it to call for backup. If this radio is disabled or removed (currently you can only drop the radio from the inventory screen when the officer is a host), no backup will be called.

    You can find the game here as usual: https://starinfidel.itch.io/parasite/
    The web version includes all sounds but only a part of the first music track due to engine limitations.

    Full changelog:

    • Sound effects, sound ambience and music
    • Options GUI window
      • Separate volumes for music, effects, and ambience
      • Movement delay on mouse clicks
      • Tilemap scale
      • Multiple font sizes
    • Watcher habitat growth, evolution improvement, related goals and messages
    • Easy group difficulty ambush notification removed
    • Ambush is now spawned in a concrete habitat (was just in "the one you enter" before)
    • Mouse support for HUD menus
    • Added confirmation dialog for exiting the game
    • Added "Enter sewers" goal into the tutorial
    • Made smartphones more common to better match reality
    • Police officers now carry radios and use them to call for backup; drop the radio and they can't
    • Added another "wait a turn" shortcut (Z) that is also shown in the HUD
    • Team member spawn notification now has red blinking text and sound
    Here's a music track to get the feeling of what to expect:


    And some free keys on first come first serve basis:
    itch.io/get-YztR6yGeZXbs
    itch.io/get-bcy5zsWrK6d2
    itch.io/get-YUbPty7bNcXs
    itch.io/get-6nNPqMz62c4a
    itch.io/get-asMfcFScZAn6
     
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  23. CryptRat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Developer

    CryptRat
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    Thanks, I grabbed a key.
     
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