I managed to complete my 7DRL #18. Rainy Day!
I reached the final day with a semi-working game, glad to at least had invested quite a bit in advance in content generation, but with a lot of tweaking to do.
The first thing I tackled was making sure there was some kind of progression both in the difficulty of the levels but also in the development of the player character. This including moving a lot of the monster stats and doing some playtesting to see how it felt, and also incorporating a lot more skills from Rodney that the player could acquire by using “Wallemite Chambers” found within the levels.
The “active” melee skills I included were: Charge, Assault, Corner, Counter, and Rage. These demanded a lot of work to integrate them from the old Rodney code (which is actually the basis for JSRL but is super outdated now). Then I also had the “stats upgrade” skills for HP, Attack, Sight Range, and Carry capacity; each one required refactoring stuff at some level in the combat code or the UI.
At one point in the day, I decided to stop adding skills and disabled the rest of the Rodney list. However, I added some new skills to improve the ranged attack as well.
I also invested some time trying to fix the “overflow” of the messages textbox; I imported the one I had for Emerald Woods, but it didn’t work that well here mainly because Emerald Woods has no combat and thus has much fewer concurrent messages. Ideally, I wanted to make it so that a [More] prompt was displayed on overflow, and the game would stop until the player had read and pressed Space, but for this to work, it seems some more stuff needs to be streamlined into an async flow and time was just not enough.
Another important thing I added was populating the items in the levels. Funnily there was a game a couple of years ago (Heroes of Noresskia) where I completely forgot about healing! so it was probably impossible to win. In the end, I went a bit overboard with this, adding too many healing items.
I also added another facet of inventory management with ammunition for ranged attacks, so you have to balance your inventory between healing items and ammo.
About 30 minutes before the deadline, I got a pack of sound effects and music from QuietGecko. I hesitated on integrating them since I still had to work a bit in the balance of the game, but in the end, decided they were important enough to set the mood of the game. I managed to integrate just one of the three tracks he provided (the one for the Wallemite Reactors), as well as a single SFX for walking, and the plasma shots for ranged attacks.
The final 5 minutes were me frantically trying to address the balancing issues because the game was still too hard! so I nerfed enemies to 25% of their power, and buffed the healing items to 200%. A lot of testing is still required but at least it proved to be enough to make it playable.