In its place, a different idea has sprung anew: a roguelike deckbuilding idea.
The podcast I do with my friend Matt recently explored Slay the Spire, a roguelike deckbuilder available for most gaming platforms that exist. It came out several years ago, but I finally got sucked into it via Apple Arcade. Since then, I’ve put 40-50 hours into dozens and dozens and dozens of runs (still no wins yet -_-).
In the episode, we discuss how we think StS is made, from a gamedev viewpoint. I’m not one of the developers, and neither is Matt, but we both have made simple games before, so we have an educated guess on how StS might be constructed from component parts.
That being said, I’ve never made a game like it. That doesn’t mean I’m not now inspired to do so, though :-D
My preferred game engines tend to be retro consoles, mainly because they have all the parts you need to make simple games with proper gameplay, sprite graphics, and synth sounds. I’ve made a few finished games in PICO-8 and Lowres NX thus far (and at least poked at LÖVE), but there’s one I learned about a year ago or so that I have not actually attempted to use yet: TIC-80.
Much like the other retro consoles, TIC-80 features a command-line interface that can load and run applications, kind of like an old Commodore 64 or something. They are viewed through a low resolution display, and there are apps you can use to construct graphics, sound, and game logic for them. My main reason for using it is just to try something new, but there some significant points in TIC-80’s favor: slightly larger resolution than PICO-8, support for more than just the Lua scripting language, support for more button inputs, and completely open-source (PICO-8 is still very cheap to purchase).
My first goal is to make a working TIC-80 cartridge, i.e. will load, print some text to the screen, and react to button presses. Next, I will create a player sprite, an enemy sprite, and display them. Then I will create an attack card, and display that to the screen, as well. Then I will create some kind of state logic for the enemy so it knows what to do on its turn. If I get that far, I think that’s some significant progress!
My end goal is to get the bare-bones, turn-based event loop of “there is a player, an enemy, some cards, and the ability for the player to use them against the enemy” working, followed by a win state if you beat the enemy, and a fail state if the enemy beats you. Beyond that, it’s a matter of making more enemies, more cards, and some kind of chain of battles that lead somewhere.
If I’m still interested in the game after all of that, then it would behoove me to make better graphics for everything, a title screen, and some sound effects and background music. There’s no way it’ll be anywhere near as cool as Slay the Spire, but RogueyooDeck could still be a cool thing to add to my portfolio.
FOR THE ROAD
Learning a new system and all of its quirks is always fun, so even if this doesn’t go anywhere, I can still say I learned TIC-80. Who knows, maybe this will blossom into something bigger and I’ll try Godot someday!