Hullo fellow druidsters! It’s time for another Dev update. As always, we’ve been busy with the game getting a lot of stuff done. We’re giving a last push before the well earned summer vacation time, so it will be a bit more quiet in the Druidstone’s forest during July.
In the last Dev update, we told that we started working the game synopsis into a script and that we also split the game into acts. The acts will help pacing the game, but they can also help the development: We can focus on them one at a time as they are sort of isolated entities and each has its own theme going on. We’ll do a pass on all of them to get the basic structure of the game complete with the story and gameplay elements blocked in. After that it’s an iteration after iteration until the game is done. Past couple of weeks we’ve been working on Act 1 and it’s pretty much playable right through. Of course it still needs a lot of polishing and balancing but it’s already really fun to play. We get to meet new party members, monsters and at the end explore the smoke scented Blimmur cave.
To our surprise, there has been some heated discussion about Druidstone being procedural. We didn’t really expect that but in hindsight it’s easy to see that we should have communicated more clearly what it means when we say Druidstone has procedurally generated content. Otherwise it’s way too easy to get the wrong idea.
So let’s talk about proceduralism in Druidstone. Procedural games can be roughly split in the following categories:
1. Fully procedural games like Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress and No Man’s Sky, which generate the whole world procedurally. Most of them have sandbox type of gameplay.
2. Procedural games with some predefined content. For example, most roguelikes have special rooms that are handmade (often called “vaults” in roguelike jargon).
3. Games with handmade, predefined content in randomized order. E.g. FTL has designed encounters but their order is randomized and Binding of Isaac has handmade rooms whose order is also randomized.
So, which category does Druidstone fall into? Druidstone has a story that unfolds as your progress in the game, so option 1 would not work. Telling a predefined story in a fully procedural generated world would be almost impossible. Technically options 2 and 3 would both work but in the end we picked option 3 because it just fits better into the game design and is just so much easier to accomplish.