My rpg finally releasing a demo this month?

Posted 2023-05-08

A user on the chatroom announced that he will accept entries for a game jam. If I can find the time in between the hundred other things I have to do, I might slap together a short playable demo of my rpg. Some thoughts on it below.

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Thoughts on my game

I've been wanting on-and-off to make a game since I started programming back in 1999. I made quick progress on it once I got my own computer in 2002/2003 and had a playable DOS game, but then got sidetracked by the second system syndrome, then day job, then other life things since then. Nevertheless, over the years, I have something almost playable again, and maybe this game jam "deadline" can be something to kick me into making it happen. If the day job, child, and other obligations let me... but still, a looming deadline can be a good antidote to the second system syndrome.

Here's what I have in mind: I'm going to just create a really basic fetch quest story, limited to 10 locations, possibly cut to 8 if I'm really low on time. Corny story is fine. Takes some pressure off the game design part...

... but the code still has to work, and the UI has to be at least usable. I did a basic ui with my code some time ago, but actually trying to play it quickly surfaced some issues.

One of these issues relates back to D's TLS by default behavior. I have a static Thing thing; which is behind a mutex... but since it is static, it is unshared anyway and was messing up my UI for the longest time. I thought it was my code being hard to follow since I couldn't find it, but then I finally remembered static = thread local. I really think this is a mistaken design.

But anyway, the bigger problem has to do with how the UI actually works. The battle screen in the game has three main pieces: a game board showing everybody's position, a text box where you can input things on menus and read descriptions of the actions, and a stats box showing your character's HP and MP.

My first thought was that you'd spend most the time looking at the text box - this style of game is really text and menu driven through much of it - but since positioning on the board is supposed to be (and hopefully actually will be) important to strategy, trying to actually play it puts my attention up there often.

One major difference I need to make is right now, the arrow keys move selection around the menu in the text box. But if my attention is on the board, they should probably select things in the order they are in up there.

At that point, the menu in the text area is probably unnecessary and maybe I can use that space to display detailed information about the thing under the cursor instead or something.

Everything else I think works adequately with the menu system. So maybe once I do these fixes, I can just slap in a few maps and item things and call it good enough to play.

But it took me 4 days to find the time to write this short post. So bleh, who knows.