Fringe Improvements

A procedural game might be measured in how different it can be every time. You can’t escape your core loop, so having one you can add lots of fiddly little bits to without breaking it helps you fulfill that goal. You might think I’m about to say OW is great and I can add stuff to it for days, true I can. The fun part for me is in not breaking my own rules like low integers and real-world mechanics mapping.

Anyway, I’ve added two things. The first was a vignette system for inns. Now when you walk into an inn, there’s a 50/50 chance of an animal being in there. Something not uncommon in the human world, like a cat or a dog. And the inn is only like, a dozen walkable tiles mind you. The fun part is that the new animal is integrated with everything: Other things in the inn, scripted messages from the innkeeper, even its behavioral rules for interacting with you. It’s also balanced mechanically with gameplay. So the frog gets your bed all slimy and the innkeeper lowers the price, the dog can scare the horses out of the stable so you can quietly murder them for items, stuff like that. Even if you were circumstantially ambivalent, walking into the inn to see what’s up might now be worth your while. I also tweaked shop item regen rates, and libraries will now slowly regenerate low level scrolls when empty. Go wizards!

The second is a “post quest” system. Background: After you’ve finished the quests, you’re meant to hasten to the gatekeeper. If you don’t, all the creatures of the world will start to move towards you. Slowly at first, then more quickly. It feels a bit weird, the creatures movements don’t jive with their moves through the rest of the game (eg. you’ll unexpectedly be unable to run away). It’s also very vulnerable to creatures getting snagged navigationally, depending on what kind of map the player draws.

That gravitation is now switched off. Instead, every several turns, an event will generate a group of creatures in the world. The creatures are aware of you, not forgetful, and have tracking. They usually spawn 3-10 tiles away. A cutscene heralds them, à la:

  • You hear wolves howling in the distance…
  • The archmage vows to end your quest!
  • King Caveman says it’s clobbering time again.

So you know what’s coming, and you have a few ticks to prepare for it. It might not be tuned just right yet, but hopefully users will still be able to escape and finish the game for the most part. Play times are still coming in under 10 minutes, which is great. (Oh, I also fixed the clock, so it won’t track time your browser is out of focus.)

Unrelated, I found the interaction of a scroll of earth with a scythe pretty hilarious. Enjoy!

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