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Master the frantic physics-based combat, lure enemies into traps or make them fight each other for dominance in this procedurally generated dungeon escape game.
Master the frantic physics-based combat, lure enemies into traps or make them fight each other for dominance in this procedurally generated dungeon escape game.
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802 backers pledged £25,675 to help bring this project to life.

Talking about Stats, Weapons and Loot

Posted by Phi Dinh (Creator)

Hi again everyone! Hope I'm not bugging you guys too much with these regular updates :) Today I thought I'd take a respite from all the AI business and talk about something that's been requested a lot by our current and potential backers.

There are 3 distinct features which characterise many hardcore RPG games. These are stats (in the form of attributes, experience and levelling), inventory management, and a wide range of active and passive skills. Many players love the number crunching aspects, and the sheer amount of depth of customization that these types of games offer. Others love the opportunities for loot - powerful weapons and the interesting game mechanics that come with them. Mastering these games requires not only hard work as you progress to more and more difficult levels, but also learning how to efficiently customize your stats so that you are able to create the kind of heroes you love to play.

The TinyKeep HUD showing Health and Effort. The blue bar runs down when casting spells, and  is also used for maintaining some kinds of special items.

The Pocket Inventory System

For TinyKeep, our goal is to condense all of these features into one tidy package. We want the game to be as accessible as possible for players new to the genre, but also retain the level of depth and customization that RPG gamers love.

We've spent a lot of time designing a system that hopefully will do just that! TinyKeep combines player stats & customization, inventory & equipment and skills into a single game mechanic. We call this, The Pocket Inventory.

At its simplest, the Pocket Inventory is a 3x3 grid representing the layout of the keyboard's numpad. Slots 4 and 6 will be left and right handed items (such as sword and shield), and slots 2, 5 & 8 are for other equipment. The remaining 4 corners contain unequipped items - this is your storage/bag space. So in total, you can only carry 9 items around with you at one time - yes, that's right, so choose your items wisely!

When you start a new dungeon instance, you are given the option to take and equip some of your items from The Stash. This Stash is a persistent area that contains of all your items retrieved from previous games. You could fill up the entire grid with equipment if you wanted to, but it might be a good idea to leave a couple free for items you might find in the dungeon to take home with you.

Activating Slots

The Pocket Inventory will remain on the corner of your screen at all times, as a visual reminder for what you are currently carrying. Hitting the numkeys on your keyboard, or clicking the left/right mouse buttons (representing left and right hand items) will activate their respective items in their slots. Activating a storage slot (the 4 corners) equips the item, moving it to one of the other non-storage slots.

So for the example above, hitting 4 (or clicking the left mouse button) will cause your player to attack with his sword, and hitting 6 (or clicking the right mouse button) will block an attack. Hitting the 8, 5 and 2 keys will respectively activate the rune, spell book and fireball. In the storage slots are a magic staff and short sword, which may be equipped at any time replacing one of the other items.

Passive Effects

We've done away with character stats and attributes completely, all customization of your hero will take place in the Pocket Inventory. Each item you equip may have a corresponding attribute or passive effect. For example, the rune may inbue the user with incredible strength and thus enable powerful melee attacks, the spell book granting intelligence to increase the effectiveness of your spell casting.

Bonus Effects and Further Customization

In addition to activating skills and equipping passive effects, the combination of items that you equip in the Pocket Inventory will also affect the player. Having all slots equipped with flaming items for example will give you elemental fire resistance and damage, but with the caveat that you also become extremely vulnerable to water attacks. Or perhaps carrying a complete set of certain named items, for example equipping all of Maca's (a randomly generated name) weapons and equipment could grant you Assassin status, an increased stealth effect.

In conclusion, we hope that the Pocket Inventory will offer the level of customization and depth that you guys crave, while keeping the game accessible and intuitive to play.

Loot Generation

Finally, we want to touch on a bit of weapons and loot generation. As you might have already guessed, we absolutely love procedural generation, so all our loot is randomly and procedurally generated too! Every monster drop, chest loot and boss weapon is unique both visually and functionally.

Every weapon and item has a level that is based on the difficulty of the dungeon and where it came from. In general, monster drops are low level, chests medium level, and bosses high level items. A weapon's level ultimately determines its characteristics, for example there will be a range of stats such as sharpness, elemental damage, rustiness (which detracts from how good the sword is), vampirism, poisoning damage, range and so on. In rare cases a high level weapon may turn out to be Legendary. These weapons have names and were once owned by infamous warriors of old. Finally the size, shape, colour and texture of the weapon will be randomly generated too.

Here's a few examples of some interesting swords we've generated:

Slicing bastard sword - 13 sharpness, 91 melee damage

Sleek hungry sword - 9 sharpness , 73 melee damage, 18% vampirism effect

Supple bone-cracking scimitar of flames - 0 sharpness, 53 melee damage + 10 fire damage, bonebane effect

Ukufi's gleaming arming sword of chill - 12 sharpness, 72 melee damage + 10 ice damage

And finally, this last one was actually randomly (and unintentionally) generated!

Oquem's razor-sharp mortuary sword of writhing bolts, 12 sharpness, 65 melee damage + 2 electric damage

Once the loot is obtained, these items are only yours if you manage to complete the level while holding them in your inventory. The question is - which items do you take and which do you leave behind?

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Gikes on

      Are these features in the main game as I have not found them yet.

    2. Phi Dinh Creator on

      Thanks for the feedback, we'll definitely keep these kind of issues in mind during playtesting. But we're very confident our system will give the effect we would like for game :)

    3. Missing avatar

      Icefire on

      I will wait and see how this actually plays out, but this "inventory" system doesnt sound like much fun to me. One of the biggest allures in the h&s genre is loot collecting and character customizing. You are removing both. D3 did this also, and the results were less than spectacular. Only 9 inventory spaces, including your equipped items, and NO stats or attributes?? Like I said, I will wait and see, but I have to admit I am not thrilled at the sound of that.

    4. Missing avatar

      Tye Kelly on

      That is great to hear!

    5. Ben Jones on

      Thanks, Dean! I try to keep everyone informed! I'll have a video up about dungeon seeding soon. Very excited for that.

    6. Dean Thrasher
      Superbacker
      on

      Thanks for the details, Ben. I think you're headed in the right direction. I think having to make decisions about what to take and what to equip add to the gameplay and tactics. And it's not called TinyKeep for nothing. :)

    7. Ben Jones on

      Hello, dungeoneers! Ben Jones here, concept and game designer for Tinykeep. Just want to clarify and expand on a few things that Phi has said in the post.

      The aim of the pocket system is to reduce the amount of grab-and-go and to force the player to make more tactical decisions on gathering items. It is at the player's discretion to take what he or she sees fit and leave behind the less valuable stuff.

      Switching gear is intended to be difficult, which puts more pressure on the hardcore player to utilise the inventory and manage it better. Maintaining two sets of gear is difficult, but not impossible, which is why the player is encouraged to build a decent set of all-round armour.

      The items themselves have stats and attributes which change the base statistics of the player.The reduced inventory space is intended to make this clearer and easier to manage while still allowing the player to examine how each piece interacts with each other. I think a viable question would be, "Besides loot, does the player leave the dungeon with anything else to mark his journey? Does a more experienced dungeoneer have anything to show for his work?"

      The answer to this is "I'm still looking into it". Perhaps some sort of badge or similar. Maybe an aesthetic levelling system.

      All in all, the pocket inventory works to actually make things harder for hardcore players and easier for newcomers to the genre - which is the opposite to what games in this genre have provided thus far.

    8. Phi Dinh Creator on

      Hey Tye! Yes that's always a risk - however we're not against revising our game mechanics if they prove to be problematic during playtesting. We're planning on testing often as possible - with any game development project it's always about iterating on ideas as early as possible, and we'll always go with the solution that makes sense for gameplay over our own ideologies!

      Thanks for the comment!

    9. Missing avatar

      Tye Kelly on

      I like the idea of the simplified inventory but every time I've seen a game that ties stat and skills purely to equipment it hasn't worked out very well. Hopefully TinyKeep can overcome this.

    10. Phi Dinh Creator on

      Great idea Dean, however we have to be careful not to make the game unwinnable or frustrating to play so we're not 100% sure about things like keys to locked doors. It comes down to playtesting I think! I am considering separating out keys into their own keyring, but thank you for your kind comments!

    11. Dean Thrasher
      Superbacker
      on

      I really like using the number pad as inventory. It's simple and elegant to use.

      Will there be items like keys or monster bait that you can carry with you and use to open doors, solve puzzles or distract monsters? It could make for some tough decisions about what to keep and what to leave behind.

    12. RayZ ***H-Hour: World's Elite*** on

      Yes, keep the updates coming!

    13. Joshua Villines
      Superbacker
      on

      These updates are awesome. You're making me want to up my pledge!