Are You A Wizard
A roguelike video game about terrible wizards and crazy spells.
Are You A Wizard
A roguelike video game about terrible wizards and crazy spells.
Wizards are totally sweet. Flinging flashy spells this way and that, defeating monsters, who doesn't want to be a wizard? But learning magic is hard! Most of the wizards out there are just wannabes and pretenders. As it turns out, there's only one place where you can really learn it, but it's super dangerous: The Labyrinth! Once inside, you'll be able to use all kinds of magic -- probably long before figuring out what it does! Listen, just use it; it'll probably be fine. That's why you're here, right? What's the worst that could happen...?
Are You a Wizard (working title) is a game about dangerously mysterious spells and the wizards who cast them recklessly. In essence, it is a roguelike of the classic, turn-based variety, but with a heavier focus on finding, identifying, and using spells with a wide range of effects.
The inspiration for this game comes from a few games I used to love playing, namely Azure Dreams, Phantom Dust, and even The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. But the influences definitely dip into more recent roguelikes and roguelites as well, such as The Binding of Isaac, Slay the Spire, Rogue Legacy, and Enter the Gungeon. I hope to do all of these inspirations justice by the time I am finished.
This is a game I have been working on in my spare time for years, but in order to complete the last leg of development, I would like to spend my time solely dedicated to it. That means I will need your help to make this my full-time job!
As for myself, I have been a professional computer programmer for over a decade, and I have made games as a hobby for twice as long. Obviously, I have also loved playing video games since I was a kid. I know what I'm doing here quite well, though I have never publicly released a game before. I am fed up with spending all of my energy and time making boring business apps! Please help me to pursue my passion for making games with my full attention.
I believe that I can get this game into a releasable state in 6 months if I am able to work on it full time. With your help, I will also be able to hire an artist and sound designer to do a better job than I have been able to so far. In fact, this is the main reason for the Kickstarter! The composer who made the music and sounds on the video above, Andy Frank, has agreed to come on board as the composer for the project should it be funded. I am still on the hunt for an artist (or two) to join us, but I expect that I will have found someone by the end of the campaign.
The art is currently all developed by myself and includes many placeholders, and the music currently in place is by my friend, Deborah Proaño. The sound effects were either created by me or borrowed online, and the fonts were all borrowed online.
To reiterate, I've been working on this game for years, so it is already playable! The main gameplay loop is there, and you can see for yourself and play this game right now by downloading my most recent build from here:
~*~ Game Features ~*~
The hallmark of the roguelike genre is procedural generation. Every level is generated procedurally, making anything from a snaking maze of tunnels and rooms to one large, open space to an intricate forest of walls and paths around them. Items and enemies are produced semi-randomly around these levels, and the spells are also procedurally generated.
The spell system is modular, sort of like Legos, and each spell consists of multiple different components that might be swapped out or added. Who does the spell hit? What does it do to the target when it hits? Does it explode? Does it bounce around? Can it destroy terrain? All possible parts of a spell are represented in the names they are given. So if you know what chosko kaddar does, can you figure out what choyi kadla does before you cast it? Or can you afford to just try it and find out? Not all spells are safe, mind you...
Spell Casting System
The spell system relies on a mix of owning spells (semi-)permanently and finding them on the ground in the form of scrolls. Scrolls run out after using them a certain number of times, but are otherwise "free" to cast. You can eventually memorize spell scrolls if you want to keep them forever, but then you will have to start paying for them with your own mana (called "energy" in this game). To memorize a spell, you have to spend a currency called Ether that you get while leveling up, so the decision to memorize a spell is also something that can't be rushed.
Starting From the Beginning
In traditional roguelike form, every time you play, you start over from the first floor and try to make your way to the end. You will unlock some things as you make it deeper, meaning that your successive plays will become more varied and interesting. If you've played modern roguelikes or "roguelites", then I'm sure you're familiar with this concept.
You will sometimes get to choose an Upgrade for your character that makes you more powerful in varied ways. Sometimes you will just want more health, sometimes an immunity to certain effects, and sometimes an alteration to all of your spells, etc. These will last until you die or beat the game!
Along with the standard health and energy restoring items, and the aforementioned spells embedded in scrolls, you will find many different interesting items: bombs, magic runes with randomized effects, power stones that give you a free upgrade, and artifacts that give you constant advantages just for holding on to them.
The game uses a unique style for displaying visibility in the grid-based world. It's a little bit like "fog of war" in RTS games, but adjusted to be more blocky. Things that happen out of your current view are invisible and unknown to the player, but you can see all of the terrain you've previously seen. You can clearly see which squares are visible and which ones may contain unseen surprises, and you can see from a distance where you have yet to explore at all. It's very similar to what was done in The Crypt of the Necrodancer, but the inspiration was actually from Monaco!
As a more traditional roguelike, this game is turn-based. You will always have all the time you need to strategize and plan your next move. (However, to the untrained eye, it looks very much like a real-time game: when you move, everyone else moves simultaneously!) Everything you encounter will be designed to be learnable, which is to say that you can eventually predict what will happen next with some accuracy: what attacks enemies will use and how much health they have, when you are more likely to find certain items, what the precise effects of a spell will be, etc. This is a major component of the turn-based strategy side of the game, as reliable predictions will get you much deeper into the labyrinth. A good player will be able to accurately pinpoint when they are or will be in danger and what risks it will take to achieve victory. Until you have learned them, however, the mystery of a new enemy or spell type will throw many a wrench in your well-conceived plans!
~*~ Examples ~*~
Here are some gifs to display the kind of creative insanity you can expect in this game:
~*~ What About the Future ~*~
By the deadline 6 months from now, I hope to have the following things completed:
A Real Name
I don't know, maybe Are You A Wizard is a good title, but I'm not sure about it yet. If you've played the current build, you probably saw a different title than that show up, and that's because there's actually a rotating list of titles in the game, just for fun. Maybe one of them strikes your fancy or funnybone more? I'll have it figured out eventually.
The current graphics are not great. As the artist involved, I can fully admit that. Most of the enemy sprites are even placeholders as a result of my not wanting to spend too long working in areas where I am weakest. I will have the graphics mostly, if not entirely, redone by a professional artist. This includes the character sprites and UI for sure, and probably will also include items and backgrounds as well.
There is currently only a single music track, which from the start was intended as a work-in-progress. The sound effects are either generated by me using a simple program like bfxr, or they were borrowed online with intent to eventually replace them. By the deadline, I expect to have a fully fleshed out soundtrack done by Andy Frank, the professional musician who did the music for the video above, as well as a better and more complete set of menu and in-game sounds.
I'm still adding spell components (such as beam spells, aura spells, various defensive effects such as damage absorption or reflection, and compound spells that have multiple effects at once), item types (spell modifiers, unique items), upgrades (such as Elemental Specialization, Critical Hits, Blob Friendship, and Spell "Charging"), enemies, and even character customization.
Content is king in roguelikes, and I intend to put as much effort as possible into ensuring that the game has replayability.
~*~ Budget ~*~
I know. $30,000 sounds like a lot of money to complete a half-finished game. Here's my budget, so that you know where I'm getting this number from.
The amounts listed here for sound, graphic, and art design are all based on estimates given to me by other parties, and they are a large part of the expenses. Some of the others are based on safe worst cases, such as the processing fees, and others are simply the best guess I have right now (that hopefully will not go over the amount listed). To lower the funding amount would be to put the project in increasing risk of falling prey to unforeseen difficulties or failing to provide for one or more parties' expenses. The remainder amount, listed as "Emergency Funds", is my safety net for any such things, but as you can see, unless I go over the funding goal it is a small provision. Hopefully this makes the goal make more sense.
Risks and challenges
Getting a good artist on board with the project is a priority of mine, but it is an ongoing process. Being able to pay up front will be helpful to finding that person who's just right for the job, though it still will likely not happen immediately.
The timeline is contingent on a few things, but Steam approval will definitely be required. I don't expect any problems with this, as it is pretty straightforward these days, but it is good to be aware of outside dependencies.
I expect that I can make the deadline I have set with an initial release that cuts out some less crucial features. Afterwards, if I still have the means to (i.e., if I run under budget or this kickstarter or initial sales go well), I can regularly update to add in those features piece by piece. Otherwise, I expect that I will still be updating with those features eventually, but much less frequently.
I have set the funding goal for this project quite close to what I consider an optimistic outcome for my financial future. In the event that this is disrupted, it is possible for the release of the game to be delayed by further fundraising efforts, though I don't anticipate longer than about another month.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)