Spry Fox has just updated its blog with some new information, screens and footage from the upcoming Road Not Taken.
Road Not Taken is a puzzle driven rogue-like game about life’s surprises, pitting you against a vast, ever-changing forest in the aftermath of a brutal winter storm. Developed based on the ideas given in Robert Frost’s favourite poem, this one’s set to be unique every time.
David from Spry Fox has posted on their blog about the terrain and setpieces in the title, as well as giving a look at some screenshots and game footage – let’s go through the important bits together, shall we? 🙂
“[A] purely random system, even a very rich one, can start to feel repetitive over time. Every snowflake might be unique, but after you’ve looked at a thousand snowflakes it’s easy to stop appreciating them! Our roguelike developer ancestors have invented a few solutions to this problem, one of which is to change the look and feel of the environment to signal when something new/important/dangerous is happening. Sewers transition into dungeons, dungeons become underground caverns, etc. And in Road Not Taken, peaceful glades might lead to blizzard-ravaged woods, haunted glades and dangerous ice caverns! The changing terrain is both a marker of your progress as well as a warning of new challenges to come.”
So it looks like they’re trying to skirt the whole “there’s only so many ways you can cook an egg” idea with variable environments. While other games stuck to areas and solid settings, Road Not Taken is content to switch up the entire setting when something new or important comes along – pushing the number of variations in the setting WAY up.
Next they take a look at the hand-crafted elements of their roguelike title;
“Another classic component of roguelikes (and other procedurally-generated games) are hand-crafted encounters and setpieces. These uncommon encounters stick out like a sore thumb precisely because they’re not 100% randomly generated. They’re specialized, memorable moments that punctuate the gameplay experience. The Chess Biome in Don’t Starve is an example of a setpiece. The major boss encounters in Diablo are another example.
In Road Not Taken, pretty much all of the setpieces that we’ve recently created are hand-crafted puzzles that demand careful planning if you want to solve them efficiently (and remember, in this game, inefficiency equals death!) They aren’t completely non-random puzzles, since that would limit their replay value, but they’re non-random enough to be very distinctive.
We’re hoping to launch with a healthy variety of these setpieces. Some might have that good-old “boss encounter” feeling to them. And more often than not, those bosses won’t just be coming after you — they’ll be hunting the children you’re sworn to rescue. Protecting others from harm can often feel more intense than just trying to save yourself.”
In the realm of hand-crafted setpieces, it’s clear they’ve taken the middle road; altering their puzzles to be somewhere between random and pre-set. This allows a variety of puzzles to be generated while still keeping the general idea of the puzzle from straying into the too-hard or too-easy. They also note that you’ll be responsible for more than your own well being – a simple idea that creates so many possible areas for failure.
Along with the post were a few screenshots of terrain and setpieces, check them out below;
…and last (but certainly not least), we get a look at some footage of the procedurally generated puzzles and setpieces;
Road Not Taken is a unique title to say the least, the developers trying to think outside the box for solutions to their issues and yet not wanting to stray too much from their original ideas. Spry Fox are clearly hard at work to deliver a unique title which stands out among the slough of roguelikes that seem to be slowly building as of late, and if what they’ve got to say on their blog is any indication, they’re doing a hell of a job.