03: Gameplay: what, how and why? (2/2)

Hello there, agents!

Welcome to the second post about our gameplay mechanics. What mechanics we selected, how do we use them in the game and why did we choose those and not others.

In this second post, we are going to go further into the description of the gameplay of the game, so by the end of this post you will understand fairly accurately what will the game be once it’s out.

Let’s continue!

Second: Game session description

I do reckon the best way to fully understand something is to describe it “in action”. The theory is good and all, but you don’t fathom every single detail because it lacks some context.

So, in order to help you understand how the game is played… what better than describing a game session?

“Control Room” gameplay

When the player starts the game, it will always land in the “hub” portion of the game. Not only the main menu (duh!), but the “pre-gaming” part when you actually load a game and take some decisions before actually playing.

In Lethal Honor: Essence we call this “The Control Room”.  This is common for a lot of games. The fantastic “Enter the gungeon” has “The breach”, “Dead cells” has the first room with all the hanging bottles with the unlocks you’ve achieved, and so on.

The Breach is the “hub” gameplay of “Enter the Gungeon”.

In LH:E this Control Room is used to pre-select some gameplay modifications. You will select which character to play with (it is, the main weapon and moveset), some difficulty options, the timeline in which you want to start, craft new unlockable gear… Most of these options will be added as we see fit, considering what the community demands.

In LH:E you can play as a “Lost agent” or a “Core agent”.  “Lost agents” are randomly generated agents that will have a random set of (synergizing) abilities and a selected main weapon (and moveset). They can unlock almost everything in the game: new weapons, runes, abilities, bosses, … And they add to the completion of the 100% of the game.

Lost agent ^^

Meanwhile, “Core agents” are agents that we will be releasing little by little (as we progress in the game development), that will radically change the game each time we update the game including a new Core Agent.

Firstly, they will be specific agents with their name, backstory, personality, and events. They will make (if the correct things are done) the game progress with customized events, conversations, texts, enemies… and unlock new zones, bosses, and story arcs. What they do “remains” in the game for the future.

The order in which the Core Agents will be released is not correlative in the game story, so we may release a new Core Agent in which timeline there are things that “have been done” by another Core Agent that will be released months later. This will lead to a lot of “Oohh!” moments.

A rough version of the timeline is this one: it spans six months in total of in-game time.  It is: since we play the tutorial until we finish the game with the 7th Core Agent six months will be passed in the game. We edited some “unlock order” (and some, or all,  may change!!). So first, we will patch the game with a new update with the Core Agent 1, which is actually the THIRD in the timeline. Further on we will release another patch with another new Core Agent, and later the third one, which will be just some time after the timeline of the first.

Each one will bring a new weapon, which means that the game will have a new way of playing it, because each weapon will bring a new moveset and actions. This new weapon may be selecte dto be used by the “Lost Agents” when the story arc of this Core Agent is finished. They will also have a determined set of abilities (not random).

So, to sum up: New patch with Core Agent = new playable character, new weapon type, lore, events, zones, traps, enemies, bosses…

This is the reason why we plan to unlock them little by little… to give us time to develop all that!!

Run description

As in any roguelike/roguelite, it is common knowledge to call a full game session a “run”. A “run” is the time between you start playing with a fresh new character and the moment you inevitably die in the most gruesome way.

I think the best way to understand how the game is played is to describe a “run”, so let’s do it!

First, you will wake up as a new random agent (if you select to play as a “Lost Agent”) or a predefined one (if you want to play as a “Core Agent”). Your moveset is determined by the weapon type you are wielding, and you have a single offensive ability, which is randomized (o predefined, if you are playing with a Core Agent).

The first map is the laboratory, which is swarmed with demons and other (so far) unknown creatures. Each map consists of a series of different “rooms”. When you finish all the rooms, you may proceed to the next map.

A “room” is an enclosed space in which there is “something to do” in order to pass. There are dozens of room types. The most simple to explain is the room in which you have to kill all enemies to unlock the doors and move to the next room. But there are many, many more room types: challenge, event, puzzle, store, safe, teleport, chest, minigame… And a lot of those may be combined.

A lot of roguelites has these different types of rooms, for example, the pioneer Binding of Isaac.

This gives the player a lot of variance in their game session: they never know what to expect.

In each run and map, there is always some fixed rooms that will always spawn in the map. There are always 1-2 chest rooms (with or without minigames to unlock them), some teleport rooms to other maps (if the player posseses the required items or have followed the required steps in this run)…

Besides, there is always some “event” rooms, which will give the player a challenge and, if succeeded, will tell more about the map/zone lore and help him understand what happened there. It may be a survivor to talk to, some data inside a computer or clues to look for. Each map will have a dozen of these events, and they are (almost) randomly spawned, so the player has to play over and over to unlock the all. Remember that the game is heavily story-based! We want to tell you an interesting, vast, dark story… and these events are part of it!

The most interesting fixed room is, obviously, the boss room.

The boss room is usually the last one and features a boss battle. Each map will have different bosses to fight with, and they will appear randomly or the player can “force” the game to spawn one by doing some specific things on the map.

Once the boss is finished, you get to choose a new ability until you have all three: offensive, defensive and ultimate. Then, you can move to the next map, which is defined by the current map and “exit zone”.

This goes on and on and on until you die or you kill the last (available) boss 😉

There are in total 14 designed zones/maps, each one with different visual aspect, enemies, bosses, events, traps, minigames, chests… These will be developed and patches along with the new Core Agents during the development process.

Very early zone progression example. This may (and WILL) change!

Between Runs

There are a LOT of things that “remain” in between runs or give any run some meaning, even if we are defeated by the third small, simple and easiest enemy.

Firstly, there are “materials” to collect.

Each enemy will drop a defined set of items. Some of these items are “useless” in the run, but will play a huge role in the whole scheme of things. These items are called “materials”, and are used in the “Control Room” (remember, our own ‘hub’) to craft new items, weapons or runes, or to improve the current ones. This will unlock them and make them available to future runs (they will appear in chests, drops and such).

There are also quests that persist between runs. These quests involve killing enemies, unlock items, or do some specific deeds. If we cannot finish some quest in a single run, we can continue them in another run.

A lot of other things may give a single, failed run some meaning: new unlocks (weapons, runes, items, …), “money”, general score… and insight and experience for future runs!

 

This is all for the third post. I hope these explanations are enough for you to get a fairly full picture of how the game is played! We are excited to share this information with you all!

The next posts will start explaining more technical things: game engine, project organization, design pattern, assets, classes…

Thanks for reading!!

 

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