I’ve worked on three things, mainly, this week. I started out by implementing NPCs the player can interact with. Under the hood they’re essentially just the same as monsters, only they have a dialogue system for their main action, instead of combat. But there’s no reason why in future you couldn’t fight NPCs or parley with monsters. I created a simple branching dialogue system, where you’re presented with what the NPC has to say, and then you have some pre-canned responses to choose from that can lead to further dialogue.
BONES of the LOST GOD is based on a play-by-mail Labyrinth Lord campaign I ran back in the day. At the centre of that campaign was the city of Rooksfoot, an economically-thriving but morally dubious city dominated by a magical arena where sell-swords and adventurous hopefuls would fight to the death for a cheering crowd and the promise of fame and riches. I’m both excited and nervous to be re-implementing the city in this game, and having some NPCs seemed like a good excuse to put the first hint of the city in-game:
Getting past that guard forms the opening segment of the game, and forces the player to go explore the surrounding area. I have two or three different ways in mind for the player to get into the city for the first time, and once they’re in, coming and going as they please will become much easier.
The next thing I worked on was items. I made the view item screen much more detailed and attractive, and made a bunch of new items to support initial character creation, so new characters now receive a set of starting gear better tailored to their rolled attributes. Here’s an example item:
It’s listed as a two-handed weapon, with a strength attribute, so performing basic melee attacks with it will use your strength attribute. Most weapons are strength based, but lighter, more finesse based weapons will use dexterity, instead.
But the main thing to note here is how wielding the item — a staff in this case — actually grants the character access to two actions: fireball and basic attack. For the first time, player characters can now perform different actions in combat, instead of just wailing away with basic melee attacks round-after-round. I’ve been wanting to implement this for weeks, and finally it’s here.
BotLG is a classless game, but characters have attributes and items available to them that are very much in the mould of the traditional fantasy RPG. How your character behaves in combat (and elsewhere) is very much decided by the items they choose to equip themselves with. You can load yourself up with heavy armour, sword and shield and play a strong warrior type, or wield a poisoned dagger and light armour and be the assassin-rogue. This also allows for some neat customisation. If you want to be something a little more unique — a necromancer-bard, perhaps — that’s fine! Get yourself some evil robes covered in death-magic runes, and equip the biggest, baddest trumpet you can find.
Note: neither evil necromancer robes nor trumpets of any size have been implemented (yet). But they could be! And you’d get different spells and actions from each, and they might even synergise a little, and you’d be the happiest necro-bard for miles around.
My next steps are to spruce up monsters, so there’s a bit of variety as you’re exploring dungeon-like locations. Monsters work mechanically the same as player characters, so they also benefit from equipment granting actions to use in combat, but so far none of them are wielding anything that provides anything other than a basic attack.
In tandem with improved monsters, I want to add some quests into the game, so there’s a bit of structure to the slaughter. I already have code written that tracks when you need to collect items for a quest, how many you have, and if a monster should have a chance to drop a quest item. All that’s missing is some UI to allow players to start and complete quests, which I can now tie into the NPC dialogue system.