I spent most of the day today drawing. I started with rocks:
Then I drew a page of trees:
I like some of the more complex designs, but I think simpler trees and rocks will fit the game’s atmosphere better. I used my favorite rock and tree designs to make a board sketch:
Here it is cleaned up:
I think it’s headed in the right direction, but I’m not ready to start on final artwork yet. One of my design goals is to be able to communicate everything to the player with only a single color (black). To get a sense for how my single color approach is falling short, here’s a color-coded version of the board:
With color, the board is more legible. There’s clear emphasis on the red tiles, which represent available moves, and the purple tile, which contains a possessed monster and is critical to solving the board. In order for a monochrome board to work, I need to refine and clarify the artwork and introduce animation for emphasizing certain tiles.
On an unrelated note, I spent some time today investigating procedural generation. At the end of the day, I feel confident that I’ll hand-craft levels for this game but I’d love to use procedural generation for things that don’t directly impact gameplay. I like the idea of using creepy Markov chain-based text for dialogue.
Procedurally generating levels does sound super fun. I listened to an episode of the The Spelunky Showlike podcast on the design of Spelunky, and it was really insightful. One thing mentioned in the podcast was this article by Darius Kazemi that describes how Spelunky’s level generation works. Spelunky is a watershed “roguelike” game that relies heavily on procedural generation. I’ve never played it before. I should do that.
I also watched the talk Procedural Level Design in Eldritch – it’s worth a watch if you’re interested in this kind of thing.