Technical Designer

Game Design and Review

Roguish Riches: Development Update #2

New Logo for Roguish Riches!

Polish, Polish, Polish!

The release of Roguish Riches is getting ever closer and closer!  We've been spending time polish, and doing a hell of a lot of it.  Reworks here and there, the short and sweet list consists of:

  • New Tutorial Screen
    • People picked up the game and didn't know how to play it, that's quite an issue.
  • New Customize Screen
    • Makes more logical sense and better fits the mobile style.
  • Game Play Balance and Progression Identification
    • Sounds a lot more fancy than it really is.
  • Skills Recharge Rework
    • Skills recharge by the Player gathering coins, not over time.
  • UI Asset Touch Up
    • No more black outlines, we realize those took away from the pixely aesthetic.
 

Tutorial Game

Roguish Riches is a fast-paced infinite platformer which focuses on simple mechanics to let the Player skill dictate how well they can progress up the tower.  That stated, if people go into the game with that in mind and instantly die it feels really bad.  To fix that issue we have a initial tutorial state which a new Player first downloading the game will experience, then never again.  

The Tutorial Game is a limited version of the normal Roguish Riches, where the Player can freely move around and jump safely without the water chasing them.  The Player is prompted to get used to the controls and how they feel, and once comfortable to progress to the 50m mark.  When reaching the 50m mark, they are congratulated and are brought to the normal Menu screen where they will play the game as normal. 

The idea with the Tutorial Game is to allow new Players to safely understand the game mechanics without throwing a bunch of text at them at the start of the game.  The Tutorial Game is focused on being as minimally intrusive as possible, because we know how unfortunate most tutorials can be.

 

Customize Screen Update

In the previous build of Roguish Riches the way in which a Player would change their skin and skill would be to navigate to the Menu, open the Customize panel, and switch between skins/skills.  For a game revolving around the idea of quick game play, there was an immediate disconnect between game play and the Menu systems.

The update to the Customize Screen removes that old Customize Button and instead allows the Player to pick their Skin and Skill before beginning a climb.  This allows the Player to visually see what their new skin looks like.  More importantly, it gives the Menu a connection with the game which is so important for any mobile game.

Players also have the ability to swipe between skins and skills, as well as unlock new skills from the same screen!

 

Game Play Balance 

 

The title for this portion is quite a mouthful, but means exactly what it says.  I've been doing a lot of balancing, especially since the new Platforms variants have been implemented (Sticky, Icy, Moving).  The way we currently create the Tower is by ranges which I dictate the start of.  In each range the chance of enemies and specific platforms spawning is controlled on my end as well. 

So when balancing Roguish Riches I have to think to myself what the difficulty curve should look like.  How far should a first time Player get?  How far can we expect a veteran Roguish Riches Player to get?  Through iteration I've slowly figured out a lot about the game.  More specifically, which skills are more helpful than others, which platform types make for fun game play, and how many small platforms does it take in a row to demolish a Players "groove".

 

What I've found is that a new Player can be expected to climb between 100m and 400m.  The speed of the water increases after the 50m mark, so it is reasonable to think that it could catch up to a Player between that range.  While in theory a veteran Player can go infinitely, it becomes quite difficult.  Currently as it stands, the final range of difficulty hits at the 5,000m mark.  At this point my current high score is 2,500m, which means that the difficulty spikes a little too fast.  At this point, many small platforms start to spawn which take some time to navigate around.  As it currently stands, progression isn't as fun.  Instead, I have leaned towards increasing the spawn rate of platform variants over more smaller platforms.  Specifically because the Player should never have a moment where the game feels tedious, and the first time you come across 4 small platforms in a row you will know exactly what I mean.

 

Progression Identification

Through our first round of beta testing I found that most people had little clue of how far they had climbed up on the tower until they died.  Which at surface level is no issue, it means that the game play is engaging enough to keep their attention.  But that still created a problem of progression, and how a Player experiences progression.  As an infinite-based game, progression is important as it is what keeps Player's coming back to the game.  Outside of game progression is shown by unlocking skins and purchasing skills with coins.  But in the previous build, there was no easy way of visualizing progression while climbing the tower.

The change being made really push the idea of tower progression is a "checkpoint" of sorts once the Player progresses to a new tower range.  This will be visualized by a large circling platform which completely covers the tower.  As well, once progressing to a new range the color of brick will change to a subtle new color.  While small changes overall, they will help the Player quickly understand that they've progressed and the game is going to increase in difficulty.  And as a small reward, once progressing to a new range the large platform will be covered in coins!

 

Skill Recharge Rework

I don't think I mentioned it in the previous Development Update, and if I did it was only brief but in the current build Skills recharge on their own and almost have nothing to do with Player interaction.  That specifically goes against what Roguish Riches aspires to be when referring to game feel.  So instead of having the skills charge themselves, each skill has a value of coins that need to be collected to use it!  For example, the Cloud Travel takes 75 coin value to use.  That isn't 75 coins, its the value of 75 coins together.  

This change hopes to give Players more of a reason to go out of their way to get coins while climbing, as well as make the Player feel as though they have earned their use of the skill every single time.  Where previously the Player would only feel accomplished when first purchasing the skill.

 

UI Asset Touch Up

As mentioned previously, the UI has gone through some visual changes to feel more in-line with what is expected of a mobile game interface.  For starters, the UI and skills no longer have any black outlines.  This was done in hopes of unifying the game world (which has no black outlines) with the interface.

Some animations were sped up, and variuos small touch ups have happened for the same purpose.

 

Almost There!

More details on a release day soon! Currently we're shooting for a release next weekend (May 5th about) for the Android release!  We're super excited to share Roguish Riches with you!

-Zach McCormick