AuthorTopic: Darkest Dungeon meets Artifacts with a dash of Dungeon of the endless  (Read 5604 times)

Offline daimadoushi

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Hello there !

So as I said before, by ultimate goal is to start an indie company, and so to Ive been hard at work learning various things and preparing for my first game.

So today I come to you to have a critic on a screen mockup I put together. Now keep in mind, most of the art is not from me, I just put that together to have an idea of the style I will pursue and how the final product may look like before investing precious hours developing the actual original art.

So the game might be something of a cross over between traditional JRPG and card games.

I pulled my inspiration mainly from Darkest dungeon, Artifact and dungeon of the endless for the mechanics.

So the idea is to form a group of heroes that you can train and customize, much like what can be found in darkest dungeon. You will find yourself exploring dungeons and beating monsters. Heres what it looks like

Explaination about the GAMEPLAY

So the main difference with darkest dungeon is that besides putting together a bunch of heroes, you will put together a deck of cards (like heartstone ect...)

Each hero can be equipped with a limited amount of skills. These skills have different minor effects but their main purpose is to generate mana on your hero so you have control over how much mana you want to earn VS how much utility you want to get from your free skills. (I thought draw mechanic might be very limited like in the witcher card game, you get a big hand at the begining and you have to be really strategic about when to use them)

This mana will then be used to cast powerful spell from your deck.

Once again, little twist, the map that you may find similar to darkest dungeon is actually a little more like the map in dungeon of the endless. Each time you advance in the dungeon, waves of enemies will appear. To defeat them you will have to split your party strategically on the map. Therefore, you will be able to cast certain spell only in a room where a hero with the right mana is. Therefore knowing which hero can generate which type of mana, which can really on backup spells and other powerful effect will be key.

In between dunguoneering, you will get back to town, spending your aquired fortune to tincker with your heroes and deck before the next adventure. Keep in mind that heroes permanently die as well.

Explaination about the interface
Now I explain a little bit the interface:

Top pane is a timeline, indicating who will act next. (you can only spend the mana of the active hero)

Left Pane is the active hero information : you get his current life\mana crystals ect ... as well as his four personal skills to generate mana, the crystals on top indicate which mana is going to be generated. (icons are temporary and has no meaning besides being pretty) Besides hovering over stuff will pop up some help of course, describing what does what in detail.

Middle pane is your hand : you can browse the available cards. The mana crystals indicate the cost of the card. If you hover a card, the right panel will indicate further information about it. Im currently thinking about how to show more information on the card itself without being too overhwelming and stay pretty.

right pane indicate the map, I havent figure out how to show the important information yet, like where each heroes are ect ... I reckon Ill use some kind of colored crystal for it. Right now, I repurposed the mana crystal for it as for many things, but havent really thought about what it actually mean yet. I will have different looking symbols to make it easier to read.

About mechanics of the map :
If you click on a room, the main screen changes to show the characters in the room as well as what can be done\found in that room

Criticism : Help GREATLY appreciated

Ok first of all, thank you for reading !!!
Now thats where you come in, if you want to help me out !

I want welcome any sorts of criticism and or comments \ encouragement ! But my main goal for posting this is to gauge the interest of the potential game :

Do you think the gameplay sounds interesting ???
Do you think the art style suits ??
Do you think the mock up is readable, pretty and not overwhelming ??

Imagine this game is finished and on steam ? Do you feel like buying it ?

Please let me know if you have any idea about how to make the gameplay more interesting, if you find any potential problem with it. Same for the art style, if there is some obvious flaws in the presentation, if you think I should definitely add\remove something in the art and or gameplay.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post ! And if you are going to participate to the conversation, then let me tell you how much I appreciate your help !

See you around !!!

PS : if this is against the rules as most of it isnt my art, I apologize deeply, I would put the sources but as I gathered the pictures I didnt really keep tabs on where they were coming from. Again this is JUST a mockup to try out my ideas quickly and by no means a final product.

Offline eishiya

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Re: Against the rules, I think you should be fine if you clearly provide the source of the art. "Not my art" is not adequate credit xP Also, why not use stock art for now, if you're not already?

It sounds interesting, but I'm not sure I understand the splitting-up mechanic, perhaps because I've never played Dungeon of the Endless. How does the player handle the different sub-parties when they encounter enemies? Does the game dictate the flow, or does the player choose which sub-party to move?
Whether I'd wishlist/buy this would depend a lot on the final artwork, and how strategic/synergistic the cards are. Any game mechanic can be done poorly, and with card-based games, it can be hard to gauge the quality of the system without playing it for a while since the meat of the gameplay is non-visual, so unless the art was gorgeous or the setting looked particularly up my alley, I'd probably want to read a few Steam reviews and the game's forums to see what, if anything, players are complaining about.

The UI is a bit overwhelming, I think there's too much text and you probably don't need the vast majority of it. The cards UI also doesn't feel very card-y, it feels more like a fixed set of skills and doesn't visually communicate that it's a temporary hand. Plus, squares aren't a shape typically associated with cards, I think. Maybe rectangles in a row that stick out of the UI slightly would feel better? They could have the art on top and mana and other info on the bottom. They could also animate upward when selected or hovered over :D That way you wouldn't even need the "Cards" label, that area would just read as cards all on its own. Perhaps you don't even need the separate info panel and can include the info on the cards, if they're redesigned to look more like cards.
Consider breaking out of that boring rectangle on the bottom, too. Just a slightly more interesting silhouette can make a big difference. The cards breaking out of it is one of many possibilities.

The black mana is hard to read, it looks like the empty slot at a glance. The grey mana also reads a bit like empty when there isn't an actual empty slot nearby to compare to.

The text looks really out of place. As I mentioned, there's too much of it, but it's also in a font that's at a completely different scale from the artwork (the health bars are, too). With pixel art, try to keep things on the same pixel scale and grid. Mixing scales looks like you didn't actually want pixel artwork or otherwise didn't communicate with your artist(s).

In the timeline, it's not immediately clear which characters are heroes and which are enemies. Consider having the portraits face the same direction as they do in battle, and colour-coding the frames. Is the triangle under the blue-haired hero an indicator that they're the active character? It's a very underwhelming/lazy-feeling way to do that, why not highlight the frame (and character in battle) instead? In general, try to avoid arrows as much as possible, treat them as a last resort. If you need arrows, then chances are you've failed to communicate what's important at the moment in more immediate ways.

I think that's the overall impression I have - the UI doesn't immediately communicate things, and requires arrows and labels. Try to find ways to show things that can read to most people without these aids, and the UI will look much less cluttered and overwhelming. You can always have more in-depth explanations as hover/click pop-ups, and if the UI is already self-explanatory, it'll be easier for people to not need to read those again after they read it once.

Your map is currently the most self-explanatory part of the UI, which works well! Since you have a lot of space between rooms, consider having little speech bubbles above each room with the faces of the characters in that room. I think that would be a pretty concise way to show that, and it's pretty common in JRPGs and such.

Offline daimadoushi

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First of all thank you so much for you input. It is invaluable !

For the credit, Icons I dont remember where they come from T_T but the characters comes from Dany Oliver, and finally background is from legend of mana on PS1.

I had an epiphany last night, so I want to rewrite the whole plot in a better more tight way, but as for now let me answer to you message.

overwhelming UI : You are right, I thought it might be cool to have a little bit of explaination like magic cards but I should be more straight to the point I guess.
As for it not looking very Card-y, is it a problem I wonder ? The intent is just that these are single use actions with strong impact that needs to be managed as a valuable resource.

By the way, I agree with the label and arrows, those were just meant to explain my thoughts about what was what but I dont intent to leave them like these. I intent to have animations ect to show which characters turn it is ect ... But for the sake of clarity for this still image I thought it might help understanding my ideas.

For the text, are you suggesting I should have the text in the same resolution as the pixel art ? If so it might be REALLY limiting as well as hard to read isnt ? Is that really so ugly ? Granted it might not be the best font. For the lifebar, youre right, I did put them together directly in unity, and I didnt realize I messed up the scale.

Thank you for your input ! really appreciate it !

Offline daimadoushi

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Ok so here's TAKE 2. Keep in mind the art is still not from me, the new picture I put together is from darkest dungeon. It is just to get an image going with what I say to help imagining the feeling of the game.


The game will be centered around protecting a town against various monsters that inhabit the dungeons in the vacinity. To do so you recruit heroes that you send on missions. The game mechanics will be as follow : upgrade a town which dictates the composition of your deck. Recruit heroes which serves as mana generator (like in artifact) and send them to cleanse the dungeons.

The gameplay will be divided into 3 phases.

  • Phase 1 - Development - Spending resources
    • develop town
    • upgrade deck
    • move heroes on the map
  • Phase 2 - Enemy movement
    • Enemy spawns on the map
    • Enemy moves
  • Phase 3 - Combat

Understanding the world

To fully grasp the game play, one must first understand how the map works. The map is a collection of point of interest connected by roads. As the game progress, areas of the map, called dungeons are going to get agitated and produce monsters. For example, a necromancer might arrive in the cimetery, when that happens, he will gradually gain power and send increasingly powerful undead minions to destroy your town.

Therefore, the minion spawn is linked to a specific area and follow a certain theme, so you get an idea of what theat you will face and how to best counter it.

Phase 1 - Development - Spending resources

During this phase, you get to spend the resources you acquired. To develop your town. As the town develops you get access to better pool of cards to include in your deck.

Most importantly, You will spend resource to add cards to your deck. You cannot remove cards from your deck but used cards are gone forever. So by building your deck in this phase, you essentially prepare for the battle to come. You will look at the map to see which regions are dangerous to have an idea of what to expect (necromancer in the cimetery = lots of undead = white magic pretty effective ect ...).

Lastly you can move your heroes on the map to try and quiet the threat that emerges from the different dungeons.

You have only one deck and one hand that is shared between all your heroes. So by splitting your parties you they become weaker but can cover more ground.

In other words,the game is about deck building to best counter your enemies based on the information you get from the map. You will get pressured by a tower defense mechanism, you need to protect your town and defeat the dungeons to get relieved from wave of monsters coming from this direction.

Phase 2 - Enemy movement

In the second phase, the enemy spawns from the dungeons. And move towards your town.

Phase 3 - Combat

Finally the combat phase. Every map area with enemies and heroes triggers a fight.

During a fight, each unit activate in order depending on their speed. Each turn each unit activates once.
When a unit activates it can spend its accumulated mana to cast spells from your hand.
Then it finish its action by using a skill.

Each units have a few (1-4) skills. Skill are much less powerful then spells, but are free to use and usually generate mana.

Each turn you can draw 1 card from your deck.

The battle ends when one of the party is defeated or after a few turns, in which case it will resume during the next combat phase.
Pending battles can have reinforcements later on.

The Combat phase ends when all the battles have played. Then we loop back to phase 1. During your next Phase 1, you get to fill your hand again (if you have enough cards left in your deck) and you get a mulligan.

As mentionned before, some of the influencial games for this ideas are :

  • darkest dungeon
  • dungeon of the endless
  • artifact

Hope that this time it is easy to understand. I think this idea is starting to get pretty solid, Im exited about playing it myself !!! Let me know what you think !!!