[This post will contain spoilers about RogueQuest. You were warned!]

Previous – Dev Log #7: Picking Up the Pieces

Yesterday, we took the plunge and decided to begin some initial playtests of RogueQuest (thanks marhjo, RetroVibe and ShinyBonsly!). We’d managed to scrape together a playthrough from the beginning of Kryantis (level 1) to the end of Kactera (level 2) and into the minishop. Pyralia’s tiles aren’t implemented into the dungeon generation system yet, so that was as far as we could afford to test. 

It was certainly a productive test run, even if it didn’t all necessarily go to plan. Some of the redstone was hiccuping and causing the game to skip entire levels, some of the villagers weren’t spawning or despawning properly, some teleports were misaligned, etc. This is how we usually expect playtests to go – after all, that’s why we test! We managed to pinpoint all of the problems encountered so far and fix them. It turned out it was just a problem with how the game checks which level you are on which was throwing the game into disarray – changing 2 or 3 command blocks seemed to fix the entire problem, despite it causing about 10 different symptoms in the game. Just goes to show how even the tiniest errors can throw the whole system off! (If, per chance, you want to join our team of testers, simply get in touch! Comment below, tweet us at @MentalBlockGame, message us on Facebook, or email us on mentalblockgaming [at] gmail [dot] com. :D)

Outside of fixing up redstone problems, Duskreaper also spent some time yesterday implementing a boss practice system. Since the game can only be played from start to finish, practising the final boss could become an absolute nightmare – playing for 30 minutes just to reach a boss that you don’t understand and instantly die to is nobody’s idea of fun. As soon as you’ve encountered a boss – whether you die or not – you are able to practise the fight using portals in the back of Freddie’s Shop in Lycia.

Design-wise, it was only yesterday that I had my first concern about balance. Although it’s been on my mind throughout the process, balance can be quite difficult to achieve until we’ve had a fair few runs of the game. At the moment, the ranger seems particularly strong since you barely ever take damage thanks to just shooting from afar. I think the solution to making life a bit tougher for rangers is adding more ‘swarm’ style rooms – the new 1.9 combat means that swords swipe for a pretty big aoe attack. Bows, however, are always single target. Either fast mobs or swarmy mobs will make the ranger’s life a hell of a lot tougher, so I’ll look at switching up some of the rooms to maintain the challenge. Of course, rangers hate skeletons just as much as the rest of the classes (with the exception of the shieldbearer) so they don’t have any advantage there. I won’t do anything drastic just yet, but it is definitely on my radar.

Difficulty ramp is another concern of mine – strangely enough, level 1 with its skeletons is proving more difficult than level 2’s creepers which kind of defies any sort of difficulty curve. As much as I don’t want to change every skeleton and creeper in the two levels, it’s something I’ll have to consider. Another separate but related problem is the difficulty of the game overall – although we did have a team of 4, the speed at which the testers blazed through the map was pretty incredible! I want the game to have some sort of longevity without feeling grindy – it’s just a matter of finding where to strike the balance.

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Next – Dev Log #9: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

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