Into Danger - Post Mortem

March 15, 2017 | Posted in Development | View comments

Into Danger Day 7 Screenshot

My first entry for the 7DRL Challenge, Into Danger, is half-finished after 7 days of development. I consider the entry, although playable, a failure. You can play it here. It has the following features:

  • Randomly generated (well, decorated and named) levels
  • 4 types of monster with unique behaviour
  • The ability to pick up and drop items (although only placeholder items exist)
  • The ability to kill and be killed

Assorted Into Danger assets Assorted assets created for Into Danger (but not used)

There was an element of life getting in the way, but for the most part, the game's original vision wasn't really achievable in 7 days (well, certainly not the 4 full days I was able to work on it). The development timeline was something like:

Day 1
Set up UI, rudimentary framework for changing colours of monsters, and display of player and monsters on map.
Day 2
Added simple combat mechanic and inventory management.
Day 4
Added more graphics, ability to travel between levels. Development slowed at this point, and it became clear the variety of planned content would be difficult to complete in the time remaining. At this point, I should have changed the plan, but this was difficult given the time pressure.
Day 6
Added some animations and began implementing content (unique monsters). Some disruptions (eg. car breaking down).

As originally planned, Saga was meant to be a 1-dimensional roguelike. In it, the player would proceed through randomly generated levels, moving left and right along a straight line. It was to take advantage of special effects possible with CSS3 to create a variety of monsters and items with a small number of graphical assets, as shown below (may not work with older browsers):

Rainbow TreeStretching TreeGhostly TreeGlowing Tree

Monsters, items and locations/biomes were to be randomly generated by attaching adjectives to them. So the player might fight a "Drooling Hyena" in "The Caves of Freezing Slime" with a "Blessed Sword of Chaos", with all those adjectives (like "Drooling" or "Freezing") modifying the thing attached to them in some way.

I had a lot of ideas for content and how the player would interact with it (eg, needing corrosion resistant weapons before entering slime biomes), but creating that depth of gameplay in 7 days wasn't feasible. In hindsight, the emphasis on random content should have been dropped entirely. Into Danger should have focussed solely on demonstrating the concept of a 1-dimensional roguelike with just a small handful of monsters and items.