Go On :: keep your head on a swivel

Let's start off with the death mechanic: If you land on a tile that is not above ground or adjacent to a ground tile you will fall and die. The red and white tiles explain which are safe to move to and which are not.

so there is no hp?

There are more than a few games that I've criticized (rightfully or wrongfully so) for harshly punishing a player who takes risks. My argument (more a wager than a hypothesis) is that this incentivizes defensive play and in turn offers less opportunity for surprises and other memorable moments.

One of the first questions I asked myself when I began designing this project was "how will I approach risk taking and failure?" This question is especially important when it comes to combat - the most exciting part of the game.

zero is zero

In my previous post I explained that I didn't want my characters to have HP because it made death a certainty. When their health reaches 0 they die. Even with the "Death's Door" mechanic in The Darkest Dungeon 0 hp is a hard and fast rule with a die roll in between.

In the Super Smash Brothers series, death is something you come close to quite often but have ways of recovering. Because of this it's not uncommon that you put yourself in a risky position because you spot an advantage and believe you can recover if the shit hit's the fan. This adds an element of mastery to the game as experienced players will use seemingly dangerous play to take unexpected positional advantage.

with this in mind...

let's take a look at another gif.

![Hang in there](http://i.imgur.com/bdcfRWR.gif)

In this case I (the highlighted squad) didn't even try to recover even though I was vulnerable(the exclamation points). As I explained in my previous post being vulnerable means that the next hit will push you back according to the direction of the hit.

Well since the death rules is that you can't fall off the stage unless there are no adjacent ground tiles I knew that I could take damage, get knocked, but not die. In fact it would push me to an interesting position that I may have been unable to reach on my own.

this is starting to look like an action game

I'm afraid you are right. The more I go down this path the more it feels like I should change the genre. I'm completely open to that direction and will be testing gamepad and keyboard control.

design notes - polish

If you look at the gif in my last post you will notice a few new additions.

  1. A red highlight when a character was hit. A visual queue for a successful strike. This is basically a shader with a vertex animation.
  2. Units shake when they are hit. The shaking is small but goes a long way to make the combat seem physical.
  3. The red and white stripe tiles when floating in mid-air. My hope is that these will help teach the rules without explaining them explicitly. Also, it may make it more obvious to observers when you are in danger.

Brandon Catcho

Senior Software Engineer at TechSmith Corporation. I write/record music and explore game development on the side. All views expressed here are my own.

Lansing Michigan