D is for Dungeon (A dungeon crawler starring a baby)

dinkledaberry

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Hello and salutations! D is for Dungeon is my first completed RPG Maker game. 
It is a story of Love and Betrayal. Of Good and Evil. Of Life and Death. Of Truth and Lies. 
At least it would be. But it was made in a month for the Humble Bundle Contest. 
It should take you a good afternoon to finish on the harder difficulties.
Have fun! I know I had a lot of fun making it.
 
Download Links: (Version 2.0 is live!!!)
 
With RTP: Get it while it's hot. 42.77 MB

Without RTP: For those who like to save computer memory. 8.88 MB
 
Story Synopsis:
In a world of monsters and kings there is a legend of a great evil that appears every 500 years to ravage the countryside. It is at this time that a hero appears bearing the mark of light to quell the darkness and return peace to the lands. It is an ancient tale that has been repeated time and time again without change. Until one day the evil returns...20 years earlier than normal. The search for the hero begins and the people scour the lands until they find their champion with the mark of light...in a crib. Can the hero of light stand a chance against the forces of darkness in this state? That all depends on you.
Characters:
Hero of Light:

This is you. Born into a time of evil it is your task to conquer the dungeons and defeat The Darkness. He uses telekinesis. It's quite useful.
 
Pimp Fandango:

The shopkeep of the dungeon. A mysterious businessman that comes and goes as he pleases. He sells you equipment, items, skill scrolls and souls to summon ancient heroes to join your party. Pretty useful guy to have around.
 
Attack Classes:

Armsmaster. Master of arms, armament and armor. Can equip nearly all equipment and her various strike skills give her an edge in battle.
 

Marksman. Who's actually a markswoman if you think about it. She excels with ranged weapons and skills to ignore enemy's defense.
 

Pitfighter. A bull of a man that fights dirty but effectively. Mainly equips clubs he specializes in status effects and vicious attacks.
 

Swordace. A master of the blade and slicing arts. Uses speedy skills to give himself the edge over the competition.
 
Magik Classes:

Acolyte. A mountain of a man that sold his soul for great power. Casts curse-element magik that deals great damage as well as death and status magik.
 

Magus. A devotee of the magik arts that sought immortality. A master of brains he casts numerous magik-element attacks as all shapes and sizes.
 

Pyrolancer. Master of lance and flames. Hence the name. She is able to wield both with great efficiency and burns all with her fire-elemental skills.
 

Spellslinger. Whose quick dances zap the enemy in their tracks. A very quick caster who can renew her MP easily to keep the damage coming.
 
Support Classes:

Ascended. His soul was devoted to the great healing deities. Wields healing magik of all kinds for great support. Just keep him brainy.
 

Mantrist. Her mastery of chi once helped her lead vast armies. Master of group buffs and unique support skills.
 

Peddler. A master of coin that once bought the world. An eccentric class that has its uses and will help any hero get back on their feet financially.
 

Sentinel. A knight sworn to protect those he deems loyal. A bulky juggernaut that specializes in keeping physical damage down.
 
Screenshots:

Wolves. An RPG staple.
 

Mmmmm. Stats.
 

I ain't afraid of no ghosts.
 

Just a baby soul shopping.
 

Hacking into the matrix.
 

Lens-flare hoooooo!
 

Spoilers. This is the final area.
 
Features:
  • Active Time Battle System with up to 4 party members. Use your wits to act before the monsters do.
  • 3 different difficulties. Choose "Casual", "Hardcore" or "Grinder" to fit your play-style.
  • Make the characters all your own by customizing all the parameters each level and choosing up to 66 skills to equip.
  • Choose your allies wisely from among 12 unique classes from "Armsmaster" to "Pyrolancer" to "Sentinel".
  • Traverse 25 floors in 4 unique locales crawling with treasures, monsters and puzzles.
  • No random encounters. Monsters roam the floors and chase the player when they spot them.
If you like what you see you can always throw me a vote his way for the indie contest. :)

http://contest.rpgmakerweb.com/game/view/id/402#.U7O87fldXuN
 
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Amanda Jackson

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Seems like a nice game, very unique theme :rock-left:
 

Tegan

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Wow, this actually looks great! Downloaded :)
 

dinkledaberry

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Thanks guys! I appreciate the good words! Hope you like the game. 
 

Housekeeping

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Whew, I finished D is for Dungeon--it was quite a bit longer than I expected!  You've got a competent little dungeon crawler here.  Here's some detailed feedback:

-The absurd ground situation was a bit of a barrier of entry for me, but that's probably because talking babies is a pet peeve of mine.  Thank you for not making the baby talk.  Anyway, the frame story is a cute little riff on the destined hero trope, and I think that it worked.  Maybe a stronger title screen would have been able to convey your game better; the current one makes it seem like it's going to be a much worse game than it is.-The active time system with the cast bars worked really well for me.  I like how useful the bustle stat is, as most games kind of ignore agility.

-Loot-hunting felt like it could use a bit of a jump start.  I wasn't really happy with treasure chests until the final section.  If you had fun with more unique equipment that could only be found in treasures, that would make exploration much more rewarding.  I explored mainly as an excuse to level, which began to get old.  I did like how, later in the game, monsters would drop more interesting gear, especially those Pandora's Boxes.  I kind of wish that some of the other things--tower shields, angelic bracelets, etc.--weren't available in the final shop so that those drops would have felt more special.

-I also would have preferred monsters to be added gradually instead of being separated by tiers.  Several floors of basically the same monster pool had two problems: 1) the lack of variance made the gameplay start to drag, and 2) there were difficulty spikes in the early floors of each new section, and then the later floors in each section became too easy.  The final floors of the game were really easy for me, and the early floors of the lab area were incredibly difficult.  I would have liked to see a smooth progression of difficulty.

-I don't know if I liked or disliked allocating my own stats.  You did a great job balancing the importance of the stats, so I ended up keeping my stats pretty balanced (though I tended to skip on mp and capped my hp at 500).  Brains became important for physical attackers in the mid-late game area, and getting almost wiped by spells wasn't a rarity since I hadn't been building it with anyone other than my healer.  I feel like stat-building systems work when you can have a clear division of labor.  So, if a sentinel could tank for me, for example, I could be free to cut bulk out of everyone else's builds.  Since it's so balanced, I feel like stat progression might as well just be dealt out to the player.  Since you're focused on long-term gameplay, though, I understand why you want to give control to the character.  I think there might have been a better way to do this, and maybe it's the class system.  Building up classes like in Dragon Warrior would have allowed for more experimentation with classes and would have provided a character progression system.

-Considering the large amount of battles players have to go through, the battles should probably be streamlined more.  This is why roguelikes tend to involve quick hit tradeoffs rather than a separate battle screen, I imagine.  I was happy with the early game and the late game after I had started maxing some parameters, but in the middle battles tended to drag.  Clockwork golems were one of the worst offenders.  Evasion was another contributing factor.  I think you could have removed monster evasions entirely to speed up battles a bit, and if you had weapons with variable evasion (which looks like it might have been the case, but I didn't see any specifics regarding this), then you should look into other stat tradeoffs instead.

-You should show more detailed stats for the equipment, even if you have to sacrifice some description space to list out non-attack/defense modifiers.  I hate not knowing what I'm buying, not that gold was really an issue.

-I feel like you could have cut the number of monsters down by 25-50 percent and increased the xp curve accordingly.  You're making the player fight the same battles frequently, and without good loot incentives or story to break up the battles, the game can slog a lot, especially in the middle.

-The last boss seems to have a behavior where he buffs himself whenever he has no buffs.  I just debuffed him and he would rebuff himself, so I kept doing that with my healer and beat on him with everyone else until he died.

-The boss prior to that--eternal king or something--should probably change his behavior as more of his subjects die.  When I got it down to just him, he was still guarding most of the time, which made for an overly long battle that lost its tension after the subjects died, which was fairly quick.

-The puzzles were a smart way to add some dimension to your game, and the strategy guide provided an easy out for people who aren't very puzzle savvy.  That said, your Simon says puzzle was pretty unfairly difficult since you had to restart from its first iteration after a failure, and the puzzle that combined the crystals and the disappearing platforms is problematic for people who don't know they're operating a puzzle when they begin it since you have to trek back to the shop for it to reset.  The strategy guide sort of nullifies this complaint, but if you're going to have puzzles, you need to make sure they're as player-friendly as possible, because people tend to get frustrated by even well-designed puzzles.

-Additionally, I like having enemies on the map, but I really dislike the following scenarios: 1) two enemies running right by each other that forces back-to-back battles, 2) sneaking past an enemy to get a treasure chest only for the enemy to attack you while you're opening the chest, and 3) enemies that attack you during puzzles. 

-I like being able to give the baby abilities from other classes, but I would have liked to be able to use those scrolls on the other classes as well, even if this was just one free extra skill slot for them; this could have produced some fun class combinations.

Alright, so I wrote a lot, but your game really wasn't bad.  Like I said, I think it's a competent dungeon crawler, and by the end I felt accomplished when my characters were spiraling out of control.  I think the main issue, though, is that you're dealing with a genre in which repetition is sort of a requirement, so you want to provide several dynamics that makes the repetition feel rewarding and consistently interesting in spite of itself.  Good luck on the contest--you seem to be doing pretty well in the vote department!
 

Merlandese

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A lot of what Housekeeping said was how I felt. I'm not a big fan of dungeon crawling, but this was easy to get into and pretty easy to hold me. The premise is really my favorite part! XD It's funny, quick, and easy to digest because it works off of a common trope.

Bustle was my favorite stat, and, again, Housekeeping said it best about it being appropriately utilized. I dumped a lot of points in Bustle and I'm pretty sure it's the only reason Wee Lad (that's what I named him) wasn't shuffled off to daycare every time I fought a witch creature. I also love the heavy-handed attempt to make all of your stats start with the same letter. :D

The areas were a bit bland. Having Wee Lad crawl around was exciting, though, because the absurd contrast never wore off, although it might for some people. Having teammates made it even funnier.

Great work, and good luck in the contest!
 

dinkledaberry

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Whew, I finished D is for Dungeon--it was quite a bit longer than I expected!  You've got a competent little dungeon crawler here.  Here's some detailed feedback:

-The absurd ground situation was a bit of a barrier of entry for me, but that's probably because talking babies is a pet peeve of mine.  Thank you for not making the baby talk.  Anyway, the frame story is a cute little riff on the destined hero trope, and I think that it worked.  Maybe a stronger title screen would have been able to convey your game better; the current one makes it seem like it's going to be a much worse game than it is.-The active time system with the cast bars worked really well for me.  I like how useful the bustle stat is, as most games kind of ignore agility.

-Loot-hunting felt like it could use a bit of a jump start.  I wasn't really happy with treasure chests until the final section.  If you had fun with more unique equipment that could only be found in treasures, that would make exploration much more rewarding.  I explored mainly as an excuse to level, which began to get old.  I did like how, later in the game, monsters would drop more interesting gear, especially those Pandora's Boxes.  I kind of wish that some of the other things--tower shields, angelic bracelets, etc.--weren't available in the final shop so that those drops would have felt more special.

-I also would have preferred monsters to be added gradually instead of being separated by tiers.  Several floors of basically the same monster pool had two problems: 1) the lack of variance made the gameplay start to drag, and 2) there were difficulty spikes in the early floors of each new section, and then the later floors in each section became too easy.  The final floors of the game were really easy for me, and the early floors of the lab area were incredibly difficult.  I would have liked to see a smooth progression of difficulty.

-I don't know if I liked or disliked allocating my own stats.  You did a great job balancing the importance of the stats, so I ended up keeping my stats pretty balanced (though I tended to skip on mp and capped my hp at 500).  Brains became important for physical attackers in the mid-late game area, and getting almost wiped by spells wasn't a rarity since I hadn't been building it with anyone other than my healer.  I feel like stat-building systems work when you can have a clear division of labor.  So, if a sentinel could tank for me, for example, I could be free to cut bulk out of everyone else's builds.  Since it's so balanced, I feel like stat progression might as well just be dealt out to the player.  Since you're focused on long-term gameplay, though, I understand why you want to give control to the character.  I think there might have been a better way to do this, and maybe it's the class system.  Building up classes like in Dragon Warrior would have allowed for more experimentation with classes and would have provided a character progression system.

-Considering the large amount of battles players have to go through, the battles should probably be streamlined more.  This is why roguelikes tend to involve quick hit tradeoffs rather than a separate battle screen, I imagine.  I was happy with the early game and the late game after I had started maxing some parameters, but in the middle battles tended to drag.  Clockwork golems were one of the worst offenders.  Evasion was another contributing factor.  I think you could have removed monster evasions entirely to speed up battles a bit, and if you had weapons with variable evasion (which looks like it might have been the case, but I didn't see any specifics regarding this), then you should look into other stat tradeoffs instead.

-You should show more detailed stats for the equipment, even if you have to sacrifice some description space to list out non-attack/defense modifiers.  I hate not knowing what I'm buying, not that gold was really an issue.

-I feel like you could have cut the number of monsters down by 25-50 percent and increased the xp curve accordingly.  You're making the player fight the same battles frequently, and without good loot incentives or story to break up the battles, the game can slog a lot, especially in the middle.

-The last boss seems to have a behavior where he buffs himself whenever he has no buffs.  I just debuffed him and he would rebuff himself, so I kept doing that with my healer and beat on him with everyone else until he died.

-The boss prior to that--eternal king or something--should probably change his behavior as more of his subjects die.  When I got it down to just him, he was still guarding most of the time, which made for an overly long battle that lost its tension after the subjects died, which was fairly quick.

-The puzzles were a smart way to add some dimension to your game, and the strategy guide provided an easy out for people who aren't very puzzle savvy.  That said, your Simon says puzzle was pretty unfairly difficult since you had to restart from its first iteration after a failure, and the puzzle that combined the crystals and the disappearing platforms is problematic for people who don't know they're operating a puzzle when they begin it since you have to trek back to the shop for it to reset.  The strategy guide sort of nullifies this complaint, but if you're going to have puzzles, you need to make sure they're as player-friendly as possible, because people tend to get frustrated by even well-designed puzzles.

-Additionally, I like having enemies on the map, but I really dislike the following scenarios: 1) two enemies running right by each other that forces back-to-back battles, 2) sneaking past an enemy to get a treasure chest only for the enemy to attack you while you're opening the chest, and 3) enemies that attack you during puzzles. 

-I like being able to give the baby abilities from other classes, but I would have liked to be able to use those scrolls on the other classes as well, even if this was just one free extra skill slot for them; this could have produced some fun class combinations.

Alright, so I wrote a lot, but your game really wasn't bad.  Like I said, I think it's a competent dungeon crawler, and by the end I felt accomplished when my characters were spiraling out of control.  I think the main issue, though, is that you're dealing with a genre in which repetition is sort of a requirement, so you want to provide several dynamics that makes the repetition feel rewarding and consistently interesting in spite of itself.  Good luck on the contest--you seem to be doing pretty well in the vote department!

Woohoo! Constructive criticism! I'm glad you played through and enjoyed yourself! I'm also glad because nearly everyone of your points are ones I ran over in my head while developing the game but couldn't address because I either ran out of time or was too inexperienced to fix. Makes me feel like I'm on the right track you know?

You're definitely right about the title screen. I was having it commissioned but unfortunately that fell out at the last moment so I had to throw something together in Photoshop best I could. You know how it is. :) Additionally I was going to have it so you could use scrolls, books and reset buttons on any character but an unforeseeable glitch in the script I used rendered that dream dead. Sigh... I totally need to learn Ruby. At least enough to keep things organized. Once I get that commission done I think I'll release a version 2.0 with new title screen, showing all stats on shop screens, new boss pattern for the final boss (I was never happy with it but time it was a wasting), improved credits and better-integrated battles for a more streamlined experience. Just because I had to compromise so much to meet the deadline. Thanks for the feedback Housekeeping. :) Exactly the type I need.

 

A lot of what Housekeeping said was how I felt. I'm not a big fan of dungeon crawling, but this was easy to get into and pretty easy to hold me. The premise is really my favorite part! XD It's funny, quick, and easy to digest because it works off of a common trope.

Bustle was my favorite stat, and, again, Housekeeping said it best about it being appropriately utilized. I dumped a lot of points in Bustle and I'm pretty sure it's the only reason Wee Lad (that's what I named him) wasn't shuffled off to daycare every time I fought a witch creature. I also love the heavy-handed attempt to make all of your stats start with the same letter.  :D

The areas were a bit bland. Having Wee Lad crawl around was exciting, though, because the absurd contrast never wore off, although it might for some people. Having teammates made it even funnier.

Great work, and good luck in the contest!

 

Glad you and Wee Lad were able to save the day. It was pretty heavy-handed huh?  :D  Happy you noticed the 4 B's.

My mapping skills are getting better but still have a ways to go. I was trying to keep things simple with the dungeon design but with games like Unraveled out there? Makes me look baaaadddd.

A tip of my hat to you good sir, good sir.
 

dinkledaberry

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So I figure I should bump my topic with a shot of my awesome new title screen.



It's not in the game yet but it will be in a few days when I finish the rest of version 2.0. I just...loooooooovvvvveeeeee iiiiiittttttt. I can't even look at my old one anymore. Ugh.

And of course, I'm always looking for more opinions on my game. :)
 
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Cinnamon

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Amazing title screen! But you should move the F a bit to the left so it's more readable and can't be a P. :)
 

kartersaint

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I'll play your game. I don't like random encounter. And your game is not.
 

Cinnamon

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I wish I could like this game more but I hate frequent battles, which is the whole idea behind this game. :p  If it was more action-based it'd be cool, though, but then you'd be changing the genre so meh. XD
 
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kartersaint

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The game was more complicated than my thought. :D  

I like the custom graphic you did. Which program did you use for that? 
 

XPKobold

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So far the game does a good job at the dungeon crawler genre. Been playing on grinder and the normal encounters are brutal but very fair.

I really like how each dungeon area has a different puzzle mechanic to solve.
 

dinkledaberry

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I wish I could like this game more but I hate frequent battles, which is the whole idea behind this game. :p  If it was more action-based it'd be cool, though, but then you'd be changing the genre so meh. XD
Completely understandable! This game is a straight-up dungeon crawler at its core after all. Appreciate the play through at least. :)

The game was more complicated than my thought. :D

I like the custom graphic you did. Which program did you use for that? 
Complicated in a good way I hope! :)

Sadly I can't take credit for the graphics. They're straight-up RPG Maker 2000 RTP for the most part. (Which I own a physical copy of! Woohoo Buyee Yahoo!) I made edits in photoshop for a few sprites though. (Pitfighter, Pyrolancer, Acolyte, a few enemies.) 

So far the game does a good job at the dungeon crawler genre. Been playing on grinder and the normal encounters are brutal but very fair.

I really like how each dungeon area has a different puzzle mechanic to solve.
Thanks! Yeah I like the way the puzzles came along. Good to hear you're enjoying grinder!
 

dinkledaberry

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Version 2.0 is now out. Feel free to update any links you may have.
 

dinkledaberry

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Thanks for the video Indrah! It was fun to watch. Looks like you were enjoying yourself even though it wasn't your kind of game. :)
 

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