January 14, 2005

The Ramble Chronicles: Ramble 0.2

I decided that I'd done enough work since Ramble 0.1 to make it worth taking a snapshot; and if I were going to take a snapshot, I figured I might as well put it on the web. You can download Ramble 0.2 as a Windows or Mac OS X executable, or you can get a Tcl starkit. Read on for a description of the changes; you might also want to (re)read the description of Ramble 0.1.

The point of the game is still fundamentally the same as Ramble 0.1: you have to retrieve the treasure from the dungeon while not getting killed by the skeletons. However, there have been a number of improvements:

Inventory: You can now carry a maximum of 20 missiles; you get 10 when you receive the crossbow. Chests in the dungeon can now contain additional missiles and gold, along with the usual rubbish. There's still no real inventory model, though.

Status Display: There's a new status display on the right hand side of the window. It shows the level you're one, the amount of experience you've accumulated, the amount of gold you've accumulated, and the number of missiles you have left. Note that gold and experience aren't good for anything yet, but you do accumulate them.

Levels: There have been a few minor changes to the town level, and there are now three different kinds of dungeon level, chosen randomly at dungeon creation. Also, the dungeon used to only be one level deep; now it's three levels deep, and the treasure you're looking for is on the third level.

Also, some levels (including the town level) have doors which can be opened and closed. Visit the help spots in the Trouserville Public Library to learn how to open and close doors.

There are a few other surprises in the dungeon levels which I'm not going to tell you about; you'll have to take a look.

Movement: You can now use the movement keys I talked about in Key Sequences, which means that you can now move and shoot on the diagonals.

Game Menu: When the game ends, you can now start over by selecting New Game from the Game menu.

Things I might work on next: Ramble development proceeds in a rather drunken fashion, lurching this way and that as I figure out how to do things and as my whim takes me. But here are some of the things I might work on over the next few days:

  • Reduced Viewport. At present, all levels are 31 rows by 47 columns in size, which (given complete visibility) is also the size of the viewport. I want to reduce the viewport size and increase the level size. This is really why I released Ramble 0.2; the game's going to start looking rather different than it does now, and I wanted to capture the current version. It's fun to be able to go back and see what things were like before.
  • Shopkeepers. I've got shopkeepers, but they can't sell you anything. I want to build at least a preliminary interface for interacting with shopkeepers, so that at the very least you can buy missiles with the gold you find in the dungeon.
  • Better Combat. The current One-Touch-And-You're-Dead model is annoying. That means that the player and the creatures need hitpoints.
  • Additional Monsters. I'd like a few more monster types with different behaviors.
  • Level Regeneration. At present, if you kill all of the monsters on a level they never come back. It seems like at least a few of them should, possibly depending on how long you've been gone.
  • Treasure Drops. When you kill a monster, it should possibly drop some treasure. Which reminds me: I need to write an essay on Dungeon Economics.
  • Multiple Quests. The quest for the Golden Underpants of Timbucktoo is a slender reed on which to hang an entire game. Rather than winning the game when you bring them back to the King, he should probably set you another quest, probably in an entirely different dungeon.

We'll see what happens.

Posted by Will Duquette at January 14, 2005 09:49 AM