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“Progress Or Die”: Changes in Game Design


Beautiful, aint it?


In the time between the writings of this and the last blog posts, the game design was revised several times due to the constraints of time. As a refresher, the project, called “Progress or Die”, is a 2D top down turn based strategy game built around killing Boss Monsters with 1 warrior. The warrior is up against superhuman enemies and if they die they are dead forever. They have to become more powerful by defeating weaker monsters and leveling their stats before they have any chance of beating the Boss Monsters. To reach opponents the warrior will have to navigate a dynamic tile based map and positions themselves strategically to have the edge on their foe. So, with that in mind, what were some of the cutbacks, changes, and new additions that were made, you may ask? The following are just a few. Of the symbols used, + denote additions to the game and – denote a subtraction, or cutting, of a part of the game.

  • + Health potions: Players start with five (5) consumable health potions displayed in the UI. These can be consumed in place of an attack to restore the player to full health. Health potions are not replenished between levels, and once the player has consumed them all they will have no way to heal. They can only be used on the player’s turn. This addition was made so that we could cover any gameplay need for health replenishing in as simple a way as possible while still complementing our design goal of a difficult game requiring careful thought to play.
  • Speed Check: Originally, the game design had a system where if a player tried to go through a tile already occupied by a monster, the game would check their speed stats to determine a result for the encounter. The character with the lower stat got the worst of the encounter and took damage. This feature was considered fun, but not crucial enough to the experience to keep. Time was better spent on things like making sure the monsters existed and had rules for movement patterns in the first place (see below).
  • + Specific States of Monsters: This refers essentially to simple enemy AI. The monsters had three behavior patterns. Inactive – By default, monsters don’t move until they see the player. Patrol – Monster moves semi-randomly within a pre-determined territory. Aggro – Monster is actively searching out a target that they have been alerted to (usually the player). This mode can be triggered either by damaging the monster or by coming too close to it. Such a system was considered important to the minimum experience we wanted to deliver, and something we could scale down in simplicity.
  • Abilities:  Initially, the player had access to abilities and spells to help them traverse the levels and fight monsters. While this would have added a lot of variety to the experience, it was unfortunately too expensive in terms of programming time when compared to its priority, so we had to shelve it.
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