7DRL 2017: Slashcards [Jam Mini Post-Mortem]

My attempt at the Seven Day Roguelike competition (7DRL) this year was to take another crack at an old project of mine, Slashcards.

The concept of Slashcards is to use the variety and depth of roguelike mechanics to teach language.  The thousands of monsters and varieties of loot plus the freshness of randomized levels offers a great way to go through the rote learning.

The action-y nature of Slashcards is a response to the  existing language learning games.  This is a game that keeps your eyes on the action and, except for equipping items, hands on the keyboard.  Going from exploring to battle to unlocking treasure to casting spells is seamless.  Maybe it’s even possible for the language challenges to be even more exciting than the exploration.

My ambitions were a bit too much to pack into the 7DRL this year — I did give it a good try, spending time each day of the week on the project.  Unfortunately, the game isn’t really playable yet.  But the bones of a really exciting project are there, and I’m definitely thinking about what to do with it next!

I got lost down various non-roguelike rabbit holes.  I drew some facial features, wrote an eye mask shader, and whipped up a FSM for facial expressions:

I also messed around with an interface-free inventory.

I designed and built a first take on the eponymous collectible character/vocab cards…

I worked up a shader that (ahem) uses the entity’s object space to anchor a billboard that is then masked by the fresnel of the model.  It only kinda works in context given inevitable and difficult occlusion issues.

The idea is that you can eventually prioritize enemies by whether or not you know the character/word they’re associated with — among other possibilities.

Anyway, it’s notable that I modeled, textured and rigged everything above, so there was plenty of time not spent on 7DRLish things.   One entire day was spent on a multi-story dungeon generator, but that went nowhere.

Whew… Next year I’m sticking to ASCII, I swear!