workingggggg on hell game
so uh one of the things i'm digging into now is changing the encounter generation from ad-hoc scattering randomly-rolled encounters across the map at map generation time to making a population list of randomly-selected encounters, which are then populated into the map randomly. which. maybe doesn't sound like a big change but it involves a lot of stuff getting moved around.
like for example: something i'd like is to show off all variants of a given encounter. right now i roll a random encounter, so it's quite possible to end up with five identical versions of the same encounter. (this would get extra awkward once i add names, since duplicate names would be superrrr confusing.) what i'd like
to do is get something like a card deck -- each card having a different permutation of the encounter -- and then pulling however many cards i need from the deck. this would guarantee that each encounter would, at the very least, not be IDENTICAL to any others. but right now all i have is "generate a random encounter" code; i have to tweak it slightly to have it make decks and draw from them.
in general, there are three major concerns w/ encounter generation:
- duplicate names / bodies: if we combine name and body decks, then it would consider "name A and body 1" and "name A and body 2" to be different cards, even though they have the same name. ditto with "name A and body 1" / "name B and body 1". so i should have different decks for each of name, body, and mental state (talk trees, quest triggers, etc). this complicates the encounter data and generation a little
- locational variants: sons of hamar-tabal appear both in the factory and at farms (and in the new maps, they'll show up in a bunch of different factory locations). but they should both use the same basic data structure, with only minor differences. so this means i should have different decks for them, with 'suits' that vary by location.
- moving encounters: in the sense of appearing and disappearing, and maybe that will mean being in a new map zone. so, if a son of hamar-tabal moves from the factory processing plant to the mining tunnels, the game should have a framework to be like "oh okay that means this bit of data should be changed since it's location-dependent", so that e.g., the sex scene can say if you push him up against the tunnel walls or up against the side of a building. this means the backend needs to explain to the map generator which of the encounter's data is location-based, and how to tweak it.
any one of those things isn't really a big issue, but the work to satisfy all three of them without any super awkward kludges is a little bit of work.
also i'm still kinda struggling to write quests. i've been trying to do this legend of mana-style, by which i mean, each quest should actually have a goal and accomplish something for the plot and characters, not just be "kill 10 rats" "fetch 20 wolf pelts" filler. basically: quests should be the things that both answer and ask questions about the setting, and they should do that via introducing characters that interact w/ the setting.
so the design process is like "how do i explain what's going on w/ cerberus and the feral hellhounds?" "well, what's a situation that would lead to somebody engaging w/ cerberus and the feral hellhounds?" and then trying turn some abstract setting consideration into, you know, a plot. (in this case it's that you run into a hellhound knight who's considering defecting to the feral hellhound side, and you end up having to get him to some location and then around a blockade and then back to the gates of hell, and performing this process explains things like "what is the difference between a feral hellhound and a non-feral hellhound" and "what is cerberus' actual goal".)
so i've been coming up with stuff like that, but uh slowly, since plotting has never really been my strong suit -- there's lots of CONCEPTS floating around here, but i haven't figured out ways to make them all concrete yet.
one of the weird things with hell game so far is that i don't have the clearest picture of how the game will actually PLAY. right now it's just like, "make your body" "read a sex scene" "tweak your body" "read another sex scene", until you get bored or run out of sex scenes. and that's fine, but as i add more stuff to the game it's not solely going to add more ways to tweak your body and more sex scenes to read. there will be whole new sections of gameplay. and so much of that depends, not just on how the engine works (combat, skills, events, etc) but on what specific content i put into it -- how frequent are fights? how rare are the items you need to make new bodyparts? are there bottleneck points where you have to do certain things in order to progress? how in-depth are npc interactions? -- and it's super weird to me to basically just be building in the dark, only rarely getting these vague flashes of insight as to how this might play when it's more complete.