The annual Seven Day Roguelike competition was going on last week. I made an incomplete game called “Forest Story” about foraging and trying not to poison yourself, but didn’t finish to my satisfaction. Regardless, I thought I’d write something about how I felt it went, what I’m thinking of doing with this idea in future and naturally to make the “7 days” build available to download.

First: If you have no idea what a roguelike is, check out this amazing primer and list of fine examples on Indie Statik.

Second: Here’s what I had at the end of seven days, in all it’s wonky unfinishedness:

(Getting to the edge of the map is probably the closest thing it has to an objective in this state)

This is actually one of a family of prototypes investigating this same idea of exploration, survival, expedition-planning and dying alone on a mountainside with a broken leg after eating the wrong plant whilst cornered by a bear. Clearly none of this would make sense in Proteus, but equally there’s more to explorating and figuring out a relationship with the natural world than just carefree wandering. Here’s an old version that was inspired by Lords of Midnight.  Here’s a more recent pen-and-paper iteration. There’s not much in common except the general theme. Here’s something that looks like the Giant’s Causeway. I often feel like I’m designing stuff just to scratch an itch, and I’m still not sure if this is the best way to do things. The current specimen (the 7DRL linked above) is rather indulgent and over-literal, and was feeling a bit lost (ha!)

However something just happened which rekindled my enthusiasm for this: I played Adam Kałuża’s new game “The Cave,” a strangely peaceful game of competitive cave exploration. I’m not sure how it stacks up as a regular game for groups (we were playing 2 player) but it absolutely nails some things that were cumbersome or ill thought-out in my previous paper version. The way it deals with food and inventory management is so similar but much neater than what I had, but also I feel like I had some dynamic stuff going on that could have added a lot. Now I’m convinced that I should make a mash-up of 2 of my previous versions whilst learning some design lessons from The Cave. I’m undecided about whether this should be a physical board/card game first, or another digital iteration. Either way, it’s not going to be my main focus again for a while until various Proteus-related tasks are out of the way.

Normal Proteus service will be resumed this week. If you’re waiting for an email or other reply from me I’ll try and get on that in the next few days! Apart from communication backlog, I’ll be trying (with Jon and Alex) to get the 1.1 patch out before the end of the month.