December 13th-16th 2013 :: Theme: You Only Get One

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One Spell at a Time

by dopplex - 48 Hour Compo Entry

Controls: WASD for movement.
X to pickup/switch spells.
E casts the current spell at the target under the mouse.
G uses stairs.

One of the first place my mind went with this theme were roguelikes - their permadeath inherently gets at the idea that you only have one shot to get things right, and if you don't then you are starting over.

Since the design was necessarily simplified from most roguelikes, I added two other 'only get one' portions to keep some urgency/intensity - You only get one minute per floor, and you only get to carry one spell at a time.

The game is in javascript, entirely from scratch (other than a tiny tiny bit of requirejs and jquery, but those are irrelevant to the game parts).

And now should be live on the attached link! ... Hopefully my last set of notes didn't go away *sigh* (It did. Argh).

Anyway, as this was my first Ludum Dare my goal was mostly to finish. I'm not sure if I did - it's a working entry, but there's SO MUCH MORE I would have done with more time. But I have a feeling that if that's the criteria for finishing, nobody did...

Downloads and Links




mtinkerhess says ...
Dec 16, 2013 @ 3:42am

I kept dying! One time I managed to get to the second level, but every other time was just impossible.

gman1012 says ...
Dec 16, 2013 @ 4:54am

The Game Was Okay, But you really just sit in one place and shoot for the most part, because if you move, the monsters get too close for you to kill before they get to you.

dopplex says ...
Dec 16, 2013 @ 5:01am

Yeah, game balance is something that I really ran out of time on. While it's possible to get to level 8 or so, you're forced to play very defensively, and it relies on exploiting my terribad pathing. I had hoped that the time limit would provide some pressure to be aggressive, but I think that getting close to the monsters is so punishing that that didn't end up happening.

tiffi says ...
Dec 16, 2013 @ 5:01am

the monsters are a bit too strong (too much lifes). But cool game though

madjackmcmad says ...
Dec 16, 2013 @ 5:21am

Really tough to make even the slightest progress! Good work getting the game done for the deadline. I wish I could get further.

Microfrog says ...
Dec 16, 2013 @ 5:24am

This seems like it would be fun to get into, but unfortunately I think I may just be bad at it (or not understanding something). Spells will never kill the monsters, and I always end up getting killed.

ParaPup says ...
Dec 16, 2013 @ 5:24am

Very hard game and I also killed myself using a spell.

dopplex says ...
Dec 16, 2013 @ 5:34am

Well, the killing yourself with a spell is actually intended. The game is supposed to be difficult, but... probably not quite this difficult.

One thing that would improve it (but I ran out of time) is having more monsters - then I could ramp the monster difficulty over time. As is, the 'only one health point' piece may have been theme over game design here, as it punishes bad luck or misclicks quite severely.

Masadow says ...
Dec 16, 2013 @ 5:41am

The concept is very good.

However, some parts are badly designed and make it somehow frustrating.

The pathfinding is terrible, which make it more balance in a certain way :D

You don't really have spells information, I though I had a bug with fireball whereas it is just because it has a limited range.

As others said, you mostly sit on place and shoot to everybody before move on.

Not sure if the time limit bring something to the game.

Anyway, don't stop here, implement/fix everything you wanted and I'm pretty sure you will have a great game !

Bogden says ...
Dec 16, 2013 @ 5:56am

Just kept dying!

bugninja says ...
Dec 16, 2013 @ 9:56pm

Ack! Those creepy dragon-spider-bunnies keep getting me.

pkenney says ...
Dec 18, 2013 @ 12:30am

Interesting concept and some good stuff, but a few snags got in the way of having a lot of fun. Two points of feedback here:

- It took me quite a while to realize I could shoot through the walls. My first five deaths or so, I kept thinking I had to get line-of-sight before I could shoot the monsters. If you do try to get in view to shoot, you're too close by then and you are dead meat.

- The monster AI I think just moves to the absolute-value closest to the player, without regard for whether there is a wall in the way. I know that fancy AI and pathfinding can be a real problem. I cut "walls" as a feature before I even started for this reason, and I *still* spent more time on AI than anything else in my game. My point is that your monsters got totally stuck, and as a player exploiting this was my main means of killing enemies harmlessly, which is no doubt not your intended feature. I think that if you add walls and enemies, you are almost forced to use basic pathfinding. Try Dijkstra's algorithm for a really simple one that is easy to implement and probably would have been enough for this game. A* is the other biggie I guess, but you can use "Dijkstra Maps" to solve the pathfinding problem for ALL the monsters at once.

dopplex says ...
Dec 21, 2013 @ 10:44pm

Thanks for the pathfinding suggestion - you're right about the way it was implemented, and I just didn't have time to figure out anything else. Planning on doing better pathfinding on a more polished version of this (mostly to get myself more familiar with it, because I recognize it as a serious shortcoming in the game.)

haveric says ...
Dec 22, 2013 @ 5:32pm

As others are saying, the game starts out way too difficult. A gradual progression of health increasing per level would make this a lot more fun.

Finally made it to level 7 once I realized the spells could go through walls. Otherwise, I was stuck on level 1.

shard123 says ...
Dec 24, 2013 @ 7:48pm

Cool idea but it mostly came down to luck to defeat the enemies.

foumart says ...
Dec 28, 2013 @ 2:20am

I like the concept and in that case don't think the game need pathfinding - in later levels using fire spell with range 4 is mandatory, making pathfining not so neccessary. Its obvious that the first goal is to take the fire spell and advance with it. I suggest to prevent it from appearing on first 5-6 levels and leave the ice for them. The game also need an ending, reached level 13 where was just impossible to play - too many enemies that lagged alot. You can add a spell power-up when the same tome of magic is taken. Good luck on improving :)

ashen says ...
Jan 1, 2014 @ 12:51pm

Good first effort at LD. I found the game a bit too difficult but reading some of the comments here helped. Well done!

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