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Karl G

Penult RPG (Atari 2600)

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I've been working hard on the dungeon code, and I have just the very beginnings of dungeon combat now. The tricky part is that I can't leave the dungeon view for combats for technical reasons involving RAM (see The Problem of 2048 Treasure Chests if you are curious). I'm not loving the look of the pillars, so I'll have to play with them a bit more. I think the cramped combat screen and random pillars will give dungeon combat a different feel to it, though - not to mention treasure drops being in chests.

 

penult_25.thumb.png.32988902159ea9d4501693e78687feec.png

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3 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Sounds cool! Will there be another demo soon?

 

Thanks! I figured I would do another demo once all of the dungeon code is done, which may be a bit. It has been going more quickly than I expected it to, though.

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Can't wait to try out the new demo 👍I was thinking about the pillars and just a suggestion you can take as you will. But if the pillar is in between the player and enemy you cannot select that enemy to attack and vice versa? Atleast until the exposed enemy is is eradicated then they take the other enemies position. Like i said just some food for thought that you may like

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4 hours ago, TwentySixHundred said:

I was thinking about the pillars and just a suggestion you can take as you will. But if the pillar is in between the player and enemy you cannot select that enemy to attack and vice versa?

You have the general idea of the purpose of the pillars. There are two that are randomly placed, and they block movement and ranged attacks. I've had to alter a lot of code to accommodate them so that monsters will try to dodge around them, etc, but I think they make dungeon combat more interesting and varied given the smaller combat arena. 

 

Speaking of dungeon combat, I have also been adding a collection of new monsters that are dungeon-specific. The monster difficulty will be based on the dungeon level rather than character level. 

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51 minutes ago, Karl G said:

You have the general idea of the purpose of the pillars. There are two that are randomly placed, and they block movement and ranged attacks. I've had to alter a lot of code to accommodate them so that monsters will try to dodge around them, etc, but I think they make dungeon combat more interesting and varied given the smaller combat arena. 

 

Speaking of dungeon combat, I have also been adding a collection of new monsters that are dungeon-specific. The monster difficulty will be based on the dungeon level rather than character level. 

Nice, sounds like it will really spice up gameplay, i like it. It makes sense if the pillar is in the way that it will block their movement and ranged attacks. This could also work as strategic gameplay for the player, as sometimes they maybe forced to battle the stronger opponent rather then choosing (not sure if you have variance in their abilities). Either way it's coming along nicely 👍

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Demo 7 has been added to the first post.

 

While I've been working on dungeon code, I've also been working on playing a game working my way to level 6 on my Unocart (meaning - no cheating!). I've discovered that Shadow Orbs are a bit too powerful.

 

I didn't think I'd be releasing another demo until I had a fully-working dungeon, but I am to fix the above:

 

Demo 7 changes:

  • Shadow orbs blast less often, and therefore are less deadly
  • Greatly improved vision/visibility code
  • Cute signs outside of shoppes
  • Misc bugfixes

 

Note that I also fixed a game saving bug, but I'm not sure if it was present in the last demo version.  If it was, then it's not in this version, anyway.

 

 

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Demo 7 accidentally gave away some spells that I had in for debugging purposes.  One you can find on your own in the demo, and the other is only useful in dungeons (which are not yet part of the demo).  Demo 8 takes out this debug code. 

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Development has been going quickly, with most of the major dungeon features working. There's not many visual changes to show, but here's a few screenshots showing some progress:

 

Shop signs in Stoneheart:

penult_26.thumb.png.73da737de4efa8c34041ac68d9fb8490.png

 

 

Looted vs not looted chests in the dungeon:

penult_27.thumb.png.2c39a7b23091269c78e94092921f76a3.png

 

 

Fighting slimes in the dungeon:

penult_31.thumb.png.81cf8acc30377d6de253d524eb472599.png

 

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Played a little today . Will play more over the next week while trapped at home . Incredible work . 

 

 

Couple of things I noticed . Some of these might be intentional I realize . I played ultima on NES but it has been along time . Also I did not reread all the older posts so forgive me if you have addressed this.  By the way this has the exact same feel as those ( a compliment🙂

 

—in castle avaline , the bartender says 

“E your Worth human “ ??

 

—the heading seems to change even if you are not moving . Also What is the character next to the heading ?

 

- skeletons can attack you at diagonal but you cannot attack them 😕

 

- in battle if you choose an action that is not valid then you lose your turn .  Again this might be consistent with this type of game . 

 

— why not start out with a few more hit points ?  I remember thinking when I played these games that too much of the games were spent on fighting battles in order to increase abilities, or like Zelda having to kill enemies to accumulate gold , instead of exploring and progressing. But that is just personal taste I guess .

I realize that gaining experience is a main part of this style game but it is frustrating to die quickly, even though I realize you can be resurrected. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, easmith said:

Couple of things I noticed . Some of these might be intentional I realize . I played ultima on NES but it has been along time . Also I did not reread all the older posts so forgive me if you have addressed this.  By the way this has the exact same feel as those ( a compliment🙂

Thanks.  High praise indeed!

 

1 hour ago, easmith said:

—in castle avaline , the bartender says 

“E your Worth human “ ??

I noticed and fixed this bug today, actually, as I'm in the middle of a redesign of the castle.

 

1 hour ago, easmith said:

—the heading seems to change even if you are not moving . Also What is the character next to the heading ?

That's the wind direction (WD), which is only really relevant if you are in a ship (disabled for now in the demo). Showing the wind the rest of the time is just for flavor, in the style of the older Ultime games.  Probably it will help when I have an actual manual.

 

1 hour ago, easmith said:

- skeletons can attack you at diagonal but you cannot attack them 😕

Yup. It's not fair, just like the original as well.  ;-) I kept it mainly for simplicity of the interface, and for the tactical challenge.

 

1 hour ago, easmith said:

- in battle if you choose an action that is not valid then you lose your turn .  Again this might be consistent with this type of game .

Yeah; again consistent with the original. I may decide to change this down the road, though.

 

1 hour ago, easmith said:

— why not start out with a few more hit points ?  I remember thinking when I played these games that too much of the games were spent on fighting battles in order to increase abilities, or like Zelda having to kill enemies to accumulate gold , instead of exploring and progressing. But that is just personal taste I guess .

I realize that gaining experience is a main part of this style game but it is frustrating to die quickly, even though I realize you can be resurrected.

Yes, it's a matter of style, but the early levels should be pretty easy once you get the hang of things.  Pick up a sling after a couple of battles, make good use of your spell and your dragon's breath to weaken foes before they get to you.  Let them come to you where possible. Make use of your dragon's heal ability, and go to the castle regularly for free healing.

 

Also, in case it's not obvious, your starting stats make a big impact on your abilities.  Your hitpoints (and your dragon's) are your starting strength + 1, so you can start with anywhere between 6 and 21. Similarly, starting intelligence adds to stating spell points, and affects the power of your dragon's breath, and the effectiveness of his healing ability.  Dexterity affects your and your dragon's chance to hit with ranged weapons, and becomes more important later in the game in helping determine of you dodge certain dungeon hazards.

 

For testing, I usually start with 15 STR, 10 DEX and 10 INT.  I should probably test some other combinations to see how viable they are.

 

Anyway thank you for your feedback.  It is much appreciated!

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I am getting closer to being able to release a demo that includes a winnable dungeon, but in the meantime I have made enough improvements to other parts of the game that a new demo seemed warranted.  Notable changes in Demo 9 include:

 

  • Redesigned and greatly expanded castle with new NPCs, secrets and areas to explore
  • Castle music
  • Fixed an obscure saving issue for a new game overwriting an existing game
  • PAL60 version

 

Note that if you are using the PAL60 version and are loading a game saved with the NTSC version, the outdoor map color will still be wrong, but the colors for the rest of the game should be correct.

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We have an EXCLUSIVE look at the new build of Penult now with DUNGEONS LIVE on tomorrow's (Wed Apr 15) ZeroPage Homebrew stream on Twitch at 6PM PT | 9PM ET | 1AM GMT! Hope everyone can watch!


Games:

 

 (SET VIDEO TO 1080P60 FOR FULL QUALITY)

NOTE: Skip to 3:07:35 to see the dungeon in action!

 

 

 

Edited by ZeroPage Homebrew
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Cool!

 

BTW: How about renaming this thread?

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8 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Cool!

 

BTW: How about renaming this thread?

I'm not sure why I didn't think of that before, but it's a good idea.  🙂

 

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Demo 10 is now uploaded to the first post of the topic.  Changes include:

 

  • A revised and greatly expanded castle
  • A fully playable and winnable dungeon with new foes to face ("borrowed" from Ultima 3 for this demo)
  • A slightly revised demo outdoor map
  • A new spell to be found, for a total of two spells that need to be found, in order, to be able to navigate the dungeon
  • A greatly expanded manual available for download

 

I'm very interested in feedback on my dungeon interface, as it differs visually from the view for the remainder of the game. In particular, I want to know if the indistinct "torchlight effect" works for people. The view in a dungeon should be limited, but I need to go if I've hit the sweet spot with that or not.

 

Please give the new version a try!

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1 hour ago, Karl G said:

I'm very interested in feedback on my dungeon interface, as it differs visually from the view for the remainder of the game. In particular, I want to know if the indistinct "torchlight effect" works for people. The view in a dungeon should be limited, but I need to go if I've hit the sweet spot with that or not.

Thanks so much Karl G for allowing ZPH the exclusive first look at the new demo with 'The Dungeon of the Snake' last night! Some notes:

 

- The torchlight effect works really well and provides a great simulated effect of darkness within the dungeon maze. It's enough to navigate through the dungeon but not enough to make it too easy to see too far.

- The combat arena in the dungeon is a ton of fun with the addition of the pillars that block movement and shots. It really provided another level of strategy that I was able to quickly adapt to and use to my advantage.

- The yellow and brown colour scheme chosen is nice as it feels like you're lit by torchlight in the dungeon.

- The only thing I think that is troubling is the the random encounters with traps in the dungeon really made me want to pull out a piece of paper and map the whole thing as there's no indicator once you've stepped on it that it's there. I'll definitely be doing that on the next playthrough unless there's a marker placed there after you encounter it.

 

Looking forward to playing it some more!!

- James

 

 

 

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I'm trying to remember now if U3 would mark traps visually after you triggered them. Regardless, I don't know if I realistically have a good way to do that, unfortunately. I had to do something like this to track the state of treasure chests throughout the dungeon (looted or not yet looted), and I don't have enough RAM to do so for traps as well. 

 

I think you will probably have to do some mapping to be able to successfully navigate the dungeon, anyway. My solution when playing the older Ultimas nowadays is to cheat shamelessly by looking at existing dungeon maps.  :P  Since the dungeon in the demo came is based on 37 year old dungeon data, that remains an option for now in the demo, too. More specifics in the spoiler tag if anyone wants them:

 

 

The dungeon is nearly identical to the Ultima III dungeon that doesn't have a name in the original version, but is the only dungeon to have the Mark of the Snake, so some walkthroughs call it "The Dungeon of the Snake".  The NES port called it "The Cave of Sol".

The main differences are that the dungeon goes up instead of down (you ascend to new levels), and that you "win" the dungeon by ascending from the last level, once you discover a means of doing so.

 

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Tried the latest demo, definitely buying this when you make physical copies, I'm in, and I know I've said it before, but I hope you mention the large size on the box if you make one.

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I just checked, and Ultima 3 doesn't make traps you have already triggered visible. I would probably do it if I had a good way to do so, but at least I know that my version isn't any more cruel than the game that inspired it.  :-D

 

1467941818_ScreenShot2020-04-16at4_48_51PM.thumb.png.541906dd6d1c22fa45c4a0aa597e6c0f.png

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11 hours ago, zoggins said:

I literally bought an Encore for this!!

Wow! High praise indeed. :)

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For those who didn't know, ZPH took another look at the dungeon in the latest demo of Penult on Wednesday.  Here's the archive of the show on YouTube.  They start playing Penult at around the 1:20 mark:

 

 

I noticed a minor bug with one of the dungeon monsters - ice devils shouldn't be immune to non-magical attacks.  I'll upload a new demo shortly.

 

@ZeroPage Homebrew - James, did you notice any other issues while you were playing, or have any feedback about the dungeon experience?  Thanks for giving it another go on your show!  🙂 

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1 hour ago, Karl G said:

I noticed a minor bug with one of the dungeon monsters - ice devil's shouldn't be immune to non-magical attacks.  I'll upload a new demo shortly.
 

@ZeroPage Homebrew - James, did you notice any other issues while you were playing, or have any feedback about the dungeon experience?  Thanks for giving it another go on your show!  🙂 

Thanks for linking the stream, I didn't want to spam your thread every time I play the game, hahah. The next game I play will probably be after I've built up my character off-stream with all the weapons, armour and healing potions I can and then descend down into the dungeon, nobody wants to see me grind away at fight after fight for hours.

I'm glad that the Ice Devil was a bug, as I thought they could only be hit with magic and I wasn't powerful enough!

 

I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, all the traps, doors, stairs/ladders, wind, monsters acted perfectly in the game. Tanya said that she thought she was poisoned at one point but I think she may have mistaken herself running out of food for being poisoned.  When I was playing I was doing a speed run to the top of the dungeon, until I was rightly destroyed by monsters, so I didn't fully explore everything except the first level, so I can't say for certain I explored everywhere yet. I expect on my next journey in there I'll be able to search around without as much fear of being killed as quickly and will be able to do a more thorough job of checking things out.

 

- James

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