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Lost Coastlines

Here you can share your "work in progress" with your fellow Drifters.

Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby The0didactus » Sun May 19, 2019 3:54 am

If you name a location %char% (or whatever, with % around it)
and you create a text variable called %char%, the location will have the name of whatever the text inside the variable is.
You can then make an action that is like "set variable char = "A COOL MOUNTAIN RANGE" and the location will now read "A COOL MOUNTAIN RANGE"

That, plus arrays, is the magic secret here. Have an array like "A cool, A tall, A rocky, An ugly" and another array like "forest, jungle, mountain range, ocean" and now the command "set variable char = %Array1[RAND (1, 10)]%+%Array2[RAND (1, 20)]% will end up creating locations like "A ROCKY FOREST"

Now the lost coastlines system is much more sophisticated than this (because my pattern places jungles next to jungles, mountains next to mountains, etc) but that's really all there is to it.

The only downside is you need to make one of these actions for every single location in the whole game. In the case of Lost Coastlines that's hundreds of commands (and hundreds more to populate each location)
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Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby Lumin » Tue May 21, 2019 1:06 am

Really cool to see somebody pushing what ADRIFT can do in all these zany complicated ways, and I was happy you got working on Lost Coastlines again even for just a couple days. I know you said it's going to be a long time before you can touch it again, but you also said you'd use Python. And yet here we are. I know that deep down inside you really do want to make it in Adrift, and very soon, and also that you'll break and do it because you're all squishy and weak inside.
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Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby The0didactus » Tue May 21, 2019 5:16 am

The sole advantage ADRIFT has over python is the automapper, which for a game like this is nice bordering on essential
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Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby Lumin » Tue May 21, 2019 7:07 am

At first glance at 2am that map totally appeared to contain a Methlover Rock. No doubt a mountain in Fantasy South Carolina.
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Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby The0didactus » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:51 pm

Now that we have online play again, my interest in developing ADRIFT games Post-skybreak has renewed. I'm really burnt out on law school stuff, and to recharge, I'm going to discuss some blue-sky mechanics for Lost Coastlines. This is a long-term project, so it'll probably take many years to make, but when done it will be at least as big as Skybreak if not bigger.


* Scoring and Goals: In Lost Coastlines, you play yourself, having a dream. You can end the game at any time by typing "wake up",whereupon you will receive a score. The goal is to get as high a score as possible, but the player will encounter many bizarre and counter-intuitive ways to alter their score. Your score, always displayed by a notation at the bottom of the page, is determined by the following formula
[Pleasance]-[Sadness]-[Madness]-[Fury]-[Worry]=[Score]
"Pleasance", the game's currency, is generally awarded by succeeding in encounters, and lost by purchasing things. The other four variables are "penalties" for failing encounters...but many characters have an incentive to rack up various forms of "unpleasance"...because there are landmarks that, for example, let you exchange Fury for Pleasance on a 2 for 1 basis. A player that has accrued a huge amount of one form of unpleasance will then be strongly incentivized to keep exploring until they find a way to "use" it.

* Landmarks: Previous posts here have demonstrated how the game map is essentially procedurally generated. This is fundamentally an exploration game. Most of the objects found on the map are pedestrian: harbors and towers, native villages and libraries...but a small number are consequential as hell. Three categories are relevant here.
- Seven landmarks that represent the seven wonders of the dream-world. Each gives you a way to end the game with a multiple of your final score if you accomplish some mighty deed there (IE "cross the hottest desert"). This means players will be strongly encouraged to seek these out, and ultimately end their game at one.
- twenty places of interest that allow you to exchange procedurally generated items for a large addition to your final score (see my note on procedurally generated items below). There are 5 temples to good gods, 5 libraries, 5 taverns, 5 markets, and 5 academies. The location of each is essentially random, and will heavily determine the "route" the player takes through the dream (see procedurally generated items below).
- Goals: every player begins play with 5 surreal goals, randomly generated based on the ability scores the player has in each of 5 abilities (see below). These goals are hidden somewhere out in the world and afford a huge boost to the final score. Players will begin their exploration largely to locate these goals. The procgen system is designed to give an off-putting mix of truly epic goals ("find the man who killed your best friend") and weird dreamlike ones ("capture a mouse").

* Procedurally generated items: Lost Coastlines will be a perfect mix of a CYOA and an IF. Most interactions will be choice-based, but you'll be able to look at the locations like an IF, and interact with procedurally generated inventory items. These items come in four categories:
* Possessions: clothing and rings and stuff.
* Weapons: self-explanatory
* Stories: tales of adventure, wonder, and horror
* Secrets: self-explanatory
* Discoveries: self-explanatory

The descriptions for these items, and many of their properties, will be procedurally generated. A possession might say basically "this is a pair of beautiful stiletto heels with black ribbons and onyx bangles at the tip". The procedurally generated description will give some hint about the item's ultimate "value." Items will give small bonuses to the 5 skills a character has. You can wear items, or store them aboard your ship.

...but the ultimate purpose of each and every procgen item is to simply give it away. Your character is told, early on, that the goal of every explorer of the dream world is to "record all your discoveries, share all your secrets, tell all your stories, surrender all your weapons, and give away all your possessions". Indeed, the character has the ability to do each of these things...once. This trades ALL worn items of that category in for a bonus to your final score, multiplied by the "level" of the location where you choose to do the action. So recording all your discoveries at a dirt-poor academy on some distant island town will give you far less, at the end of it all, than recording all your discoveries at the largest and most advanced academy in the world. This will strongly encourage players to keep playing until they find the best place to give all their stuff away...

* Skills/Abilities: Currently, the character-creation system looks a lot like skybreak: at the start of the game (as you begin dreaming) you pick, in order
- What kind of person you are in real life
- Where you fall asleep
- What kind of person you want to be in the dream
- A strange talent or special ability
- A single skill your character is amazingly good at

Each of these has a increasing effect on how your character ultimately looks...so the fact that you might be a shy and bookish person in life doesn't matter that much, if in the dream you want to be a terrible pirate king. (in fact, your real life background as a scientist matters less than the fact that you happened to have fallen asleep in a forest)

unlike skybreak, there are only 5 skills in Lost Coastlines: Strength, Talent, Natural Philosophy, Shadowcraft, and Dreamcraft. Also (and this is highly experimental) the "roller" will be a number between 1 and 100, not 1 and 10...meaning there will be lots of small bonuses. Normally, I Hate hate hate systems like this, but it seemed a natural fit with the procgen item system so I'm giving it a try.
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Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby The0didactus » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:05 am

Hey! I just turned in a game to IFCOMP a few minutes ago...and here I am, posting mechanics for *another* game.

Navigation : This is tricky. I don't want to gate the player too much by having them have to manage resources and stuff (this isn't a survival game). At the same time, maintenance of supplies was such a critical factor of real life sailing that it's hard to imagine a game that doesn't keep track of this in some way. The added difficulty is that this game is procedurally generated: there is no guarantee that locations with food and stuff are nicely spaced out.

Here's my proposal:

Your crew eats figment fruit, a commodity that can also be traded. Every time you move to a new location, your crew eats one figment fruit. If they can't eat figment fruit, they start breaking into other supplies: fish...then whale blubber...then sugar...then exotic spices.

If you're out of even that, you will start racking up Worry (discussed above) every turn, the number squares: 2...4...16...256...66563...after that, your score will be so low it won't generally be worth playing anymore.

This system will assure a player loses expendable trade goods long before they start to suffer serious penalties. It will also sharply punish the player if they push beyond their crew's limits, while also allowing players to press on if they have to.
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Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby The0didactus » Fri May 15, 2020 3:06 am

I'm posting a big list of general updates here, just to give hope to all the other people making "big dumb RPGs"...because they absolutely can get done, it just takes a lot of work.

Lost Coastlines now has all the following features:

* the Procgeneration system described in previous posts, which places 300 unique places of interest across 300 unique locations, it also provides appropriate names for the location in question.
* A character creation system very similar to the one I did for Skybreak!, where you build a character from the ground up by essentially selecting, in order: a genre that shapes the "mood" of the whole story, a magic item of special significance, a personality trait, and a "class" (IE Pirate, mystic).
* A ragdoll item system which equips items to one of eight body "slots", increasing the "stats" of the character by the appropriate amount when equipped. (So if you put on the cloak of invisibility, your stealth skill goes up a lot)
* a procedural generation system that generates 120 unique items you can find in the course of play. I've attached examples. This last effort took about 30 hours of work over 2 months.

I'm now about to begin work on the encounter generation system. This game is still nowhere near done, but it's starting to feel more like a real game, rather than an interesting way to procedurally generate island chains.

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Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby The0didactus » Fri May 15, 2020 3:09 am

Here's an example of the same three items on another runthrough. note the change in values, descriptions, and even what attributes they give to the player (to a small extent)
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Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby rovarsson » Fri May 15, 2020 12:11 pm

Wow... Just wow... I stand in awe to your ADRIFT-wizarding powers. What a behemoth of a project this is. I will keep "Lost Coastlines" in the back of my mind for years to come, waiting to play it. Seriously, wow...
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Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby The0didactus » Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:40 pm

While this summer has been largely shot, thanks to the Bar exam and other stresses relating to law school, I have made more progress on Lost Coastlines so I thought I'd share it.

Specifically, I've now got a working adventure system. This is *very* similar to the system I implemented in Skybreak!, but a bit more sophisticated. Like Skybreak!, each location has a random stack of adventures that come up when you visit that location. Here we have three separate encounters that can trigger at the procedurally-placed "lighthouse" location. Unlike in Skybreak, I tried to make the text of each encounter extremely brief, surreal, and dreamlike. None will be more than a paragraph or so in length.

You'll see I've done some stuff with colored text. Encounters come in 8 "genres" and test one of 5 "skills", and characters can get bonuses in both (so two characters could have the same "might" but one could be better specialized in dealing with action/adventure type encounters, while another could be better specialized in dealing with horror encounters). Encounter Genres are indicated in part with colored text and options in an encounter include colored text indicating how likely a particular character is to succeed at that option.

You'll notice I've gone back to using word-based option designation rather than a menu like in skybreak. I felt this was more in the spirit of a mixed parser/CYOA, which this definitely is (you have an inventory, equip items, move along directions, etc. Hopefully this will not cause too many complaints.
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Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby The0didactus » Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:59 pm

I've also designed the character creation system. As mentioned above, the system includes bonuses to 8 "genres" of encounters, as well as 5 "skills."

Unlike a normal RPG, Lost Coastlines encourages you to play yourself (having a dream). The character creator prompts you to select where you fell asleep (as in the image below), a salient personality trait, an item from your life that you bring into the dream, and the role you wish to play in the dream.

The first decision is the most important. Not only will this determine a bonus you receive in all encounters of a particular genre, it also increases the probability of encounters of that genre occurring.
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Re: Lost Coastlines

Postby The0didactus » Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:08 pm

Finally, the procedurally generated item creation system now includes intangible inventory items. To my knowledge, a parser game has never done this (but tell me if I'm wrong). Lost Coastlines involves collecting, and using, secrets, stories, questions, and other intangible things. Like all items, these intangibles have different descriptions in each game.
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