Saturday, March 17, 2012

Developing Kerkerkruip 2

I have been asked to say a little about the current development of Kerkerkruip, so I will. Once it is released, the new version will be called Kerkerkruip 2, following the version numbering conventions that have been popularised by Chrome and Firefox: it's not a new game, it's just the next version of the current game.

What has changed? My two biggest priorities have been to (a) make the code more robust by rewriting specific interactions as general interactions, and (b) to make the existing content more interesting.

The former is mostly behind-the-scenes, though it allowed me to fix some bugs. For instance, I made a specific interaction between the "striking a blow" routine and the Power of the Bomb: if someone hit you for so much damage that you died, and you had the Power of the Bomb, you would explode. But because of this, the power did not get triggered if someone killed you in another way: the tentacle squeezing you to death, for instance. There is now a general "X killed Y" event that gets triggered by all the code in which someone kills someone else, and in turn triggers stuff like the Power of the Bomb. (I hope. There are probably a lot of bugs left.)

The latter should definitely be noticeable to players. Rather than just add a lot of new content, I wanted to deepen the existing content. The hiding system, for instance, has become much more powerful. You can now perform whatever action you want while you are hidden, but some of them (like concentrating or reading a scroll) greatly increase the probability of you being detected. There are environmental features, inventory items and special properties of the player that may help the player remain hidden. You can even try to become hidden in the presence of enemies, although this is not very likely to succeed.

Some other things that have received love are the smoke system (smoke now has more effects, more items interacting with it, and you may even find a portal to the dreaded elemental plane of smoke), the undead (there are more items and environmental features that interact with them, and a new way and interesting for the player to become undead), and the teleportation system (there are now more ways for the rest of the game to interact with it, as the new "teleportation beacon" will show you).

Of course, we will also have other new content. There already are some new items and scrolls to be found, and there are now scenery objects that are randomly distributed through the dungeon and that have effects on the game (thus spicing up the various locations a bit -- for instance, by making hiding easier in that location, or by boosting the undead). Some new monsters are also planned but not yet implemented.

Stay tuned for more news.

20 comments:

  1. Very good stuff.. any options of playing a previously generated game in the works?

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  2. No, not yet -- and I'm not sure I want to add that option. (Though anyone who would like to have that option could easily program it. Or, in fact, you can just quit after you start the game, and then backup the save file and replace it every time you'd like to start the same game anew.)

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  3. I look forward to all the new stuff, but I've been wondering - will adding more stuff increase the probability of configurations that are excessively hard (or easy)? With such a short game (which I love), the combinatoric explosion could have a dramatic effect.

    I've already noticed that certain combinations of monsters can sway the game by a lot - I don't think I've been able to defeat Bodmall in a game that also includes the tentacle, for example. But then, there's always the possibility that I missed another option, like skipping Bodmall completely and heading straight for Malygris. As long as there's a clear path to him, or a digging tool, or the opportunity to hide...

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  4. On another note: Earlier you mentioned that you'd like to leave less up to chance. I think you were mainly talking about dungeon construction, but it got me thinking about whether one could build a combat system without dice. Here's what I imagined:

    Quite similar to Kerkerkruip, but there would be two ways to concentrate. Rather than simple attack and defense bonuses, each player would have a separate strength and mobility bonus. When concentrating, you choose one and the current tension is added to that number. Mobility increases your chances of hitting and strength increases damage. Your opponent cannot see your choice.

    After you attack, both of your numbers are reset to zero. But...

    If you dodge, your mobility is subtracted from the attacker's mobility. If your mobility is greater, you get to keep the difference in mobility, and the attack does not hit. Your strength is not reduced unless you are damaged, in which case both numbers are reset to zero.

    If you parry, your strength is subtracted from the attacker's mobility. Once again, you get to keep the difference unless you're damaged. BUT - if the sum of the attacker's and defender's strength is greater than your weapon's threshold, it breaks.

    Apologies if this is not a new idea - I haven't been involved in RPGs for quite a while...

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  5. Adding more stuff will increase the probability of configurations that are excessively hard or easy, yes. Which is fine with me: sometimes you are lucky, and sometimes you are not. In a short game like Kerkerkruip, that should not be a problem -- it is only in longer games that it can be frustrating to be either overpowered for an entire game, or suddenly die because of excessive bad luck.

    I tend to think that the tentacle is a bit too easy, actually?

    By the way, I believe that the new version of the game will probably be somewhat easier than the current version. As systems become more powerful, there are more options open to the player, which should make the game easier (for the experienced player).

    When I was talking about leaving less up to chance, I was NOT speaking of dungeon construction, but of combat. What I've done is that I've tweaked the distribution of outcomes. While we still get a number between 1 and 10 (I'm going to change that slightly as well, I think), the distribution is now weighed away from the extreme values and toward the middle values (4, 5, 6, and 7). This makes combat somewhat less random.

    Your idea sounds cool. I'd say: take ATTACK, change the to-hit rolls, and check whether it is fun. :)

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  6. This sounds cool. I really enjoyed Kerkerkruip, but I haven't played it in a while. I'd love to try it out with the new changes when it's ready.

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  7. Well, Kerkerkruip 2 already is available: http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=f7zdhxmiraht53d1

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  8. I'm playing Release 5 now and i sometimes unable to reap characters i've seen on the painting in the drawing room. It worked with Blood Ape, bot when i tried it with golem, mindslug and mindslug's slaves it reported "you haven't seen ... yet"

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  9. Oh, sorry, i figured it out. You have to examine them on the painting before beuing able to reap them.

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  10. If I quit in the middle of the game, I do not get the continue option. It does not save my progress. I'm using WinGlulxe.

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  11. With Gargoyle I do get the continue option.

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  12. And now Glulxe has the continue option too! Using the save file created by Gargoyle in the same directory. Weird.

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  13. Borabosna, does WinGlulxe create a save game at all?

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  14. It does, but it appends .glksave to it, and that makes it not work. If I delete that, it continues the game.

    By the way there are some bugs. When I lose the game, it keeps telling me that I unlocked the thing that I unlocked the last time I won.

    Also there are statements like "You attempt to attack the giant tentacle, but find yourself attacking the giant tentacle instead."

    Also, after defeating an opponent, I wanted to go north, but the game told me that I cannot move as a reaction and I should try to survive and move on my own turn. It got stuck in an infinite "React" status.

    These might all be because of Winglulx, though I always played Kerkerkruip 1 on Winglulxe without any problems for months.

    I'm gonna switch to Gargoyle and see if these continue, though I want to play on Winglulxe.

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  15. Now I am on Spatterlight on Mac. I killed the Aite trio, and after that the minotaur. The status bar on top of the screen shows a special power called "axe proficiency" but that does not show when I use the Status command (even after readying the minotaur's axe).

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  16. Borabosna, thanks for those bug reports! I believe all of them have already been fixed in the current beta build; I hope to publish a new release somewhere in the coming two or three weeks. (If you want to, you can find the newest beta build in this topic: http://www.intfiction.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=5697&start=140 )

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  17. On Hard difficulty my status shows "Axe Proficiency (level 3)" even though I haven't killed the level 3 minotaur. In fact the drawing shows the giant tentacle, the minotaur isn't even in the dungeon. I suppose this is fixed too, then? I'll start using the beta build I guess, thanks a lot!

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  18. Yes, that too has been fixed -- it was a stupid bug where the power of the demon of rage accidentally showed the text for the power of the minotaur...

    Normally, I'd publish a bug fix release sooner, but we've been making some major changes for version 6, so it's taking some more time than is usual.

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  20. The changes do seem major. The points system is horrible though. I cannot assign points separately, it's all or nothing. So if I don't spend points immediately after defeating a monster, they pile up, for example I could use all 9 points only on one of body/mind/spirit. Even if they pile up, we should be able to use them in the smaller chunks they came in. You can display a points distribution, like "you have 9=1+2+3+3 points" and there can be commands like "body 1" etc.

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