Dev Update: A Fork in the (Hero)path

Heropath is still far from release and I’ve come to a fork in the road. I have to make a decision that in deciding to recode everything, I need to also include decisions on:

  1. Finding Immersion: I’ve decided that I need to convert the Perspective of the game to first person from top-down. Adding a 3rd dimension makes the game much more complicated and I’ve found that just getting acquainted with the Godot UI is taking me some time. I think it will be the right decision as I want Heropath to be a surreal, immersive simulation that has adventure and strategy elements. A first person/3D perspective will help with conveying that.
  2. Design Direction: I need to clearly map out my Design and Logic. I have another project that is much less complicated that has the next three steps mapped out because the design builds on earlier features. I need to figure out how to do the same thing with Heropath. Currently my design is too nebulous and any coding I do will be wasted.

These decisions will take me time to implement. There have also been other factors that have impacted on my development that you can read about at my personal blog.

I want to also mention two new influences that I will integrate into Heropath. One is an indie developer who has released a set of idle play games and the other is blockbuster AAA title. The development process, styles, Play Elements, for these two influences are almost diametrically opposed but I am seeing where each creates depth of skill development. This has really caught my attention and I am now pondering ways to make Heropath more about developing the player’s skill, culminating in the level of mastery where the game becomes toy play. This would fit beautifully with Heropath’s theme of lucid dreaming in an AI’s dream realm.

Grump Rhino Games

The indie developer is Grumpy Rhino Games. An amazing solo developer who creates devious, deep idle games that have gotten me to open my wallet. The games are charming, funny, and contain a long game that I find mesmerizing. Here is his list of games:

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) by Monolith is a AAA epic, expansive third person action adventure. This game is dark, disturbing, and requires hours of play to advance due to its ruthless opponents. It is opposite of the games mentioned above. This is so much I love about this game:

  • Set in Middle-earth with a focus on Mordor and the Uruk-hai society.
  • Amazing animation and sound that emphasizes the brutal assassinations and combat.
  • The Nemesis system is brilliant, allowing for emergence and game stakes to reveal themselves dynamically.
  • The open-world is vibrant with its interplay of Outcast/Slaves, Uruk-hai, Caragors, Graug, and Ghuls. Watching these groups play out their agendas against each other is riveting.
  • The mix of the Wraith-world and Real-worlds is an mechanical inspiration for a my concept for Heropath.
  • You start off having to stealthily make your way in beginning, but as you advance in power you eventually become a warrior-wizard that allows you to compel your enemies, be they beast or orc, to fight for you.

Such different gaming experiences, yet both of these experiences have given me additional inspiration and ideas. It will help my concept become more solid.

Heropath is evolving as I get more experience with designing and coding. The raw concept that I had two years ago is still present but has become more refined. This is exciting to me as the vision is coming more into focus, the path forward is becoming more clear.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Chase the Chalice

I am releasing a new small incremental alpha demo for Heropath. I should have released this more quickly but coding has been infrequent because of full-time work, other projects, and some vacation time away. When I was not coding, I was world building and writing on game development.

This new version of Heropath is the third version using Godot and is alpha build version It represents a vertical slice of the game (inspired by Atari’s Adventure) that I am building towards. I started to learn coding in October 2021 and the previous alpha demo versions are listed here.

With version we have a simple arcade-adventure game moving around a map where you can unlock a door with a key and kill the enemies with sword. The game’s win condition has changed to requiring the player to find and carry the chalice to the altar. Game length is about three to four minutes.

This version is thanks to Heartbeast’s Demo 2D Action RPG game tutorial titled Godot Action RPG series found on YouTube. Heartbeast’s Demo provided the following critical mechanics: 1) Draws a tilemap for the player to move in, 2) Move the player’s character around, 3) Monsters are placed across the map and chase the player if detected, 4) The player must avoid being killed with collision detection being implemented, 5) The player must find the sword and use it to kill the monsters, 6) A basic HUD with intro and stat keeping.

Below you see a screen shot of Heartbeast’s Demo 2D Action RPG game which is the code base for this version of Heropath. Heartbeast has developed an excellent YouTube tutorial titled Godot Action RPG series.

Heartbeast’s Action RPG

Using HeartBeast’s Action RPG game as a base, I added new items that expanded that game’s function which was brand new territory for me. The character and item graphics come from this outstanding homage/update to Atari 2600 Adventure. The world graphics and effects come from Heartbeast’s Godot Action RPG. Sounds and music comes from and This version will be the last using Heartbeast’s codebase as I have now run into too many issues with his code being beyond my comprehension and I need to rewrite the code to be my own.

Heropath Chase the Chalice screenshot
Heropath Chase the Chalice

The above screenshot is for Heropath alpha version titled ‘Chase the Chalice’! This alpha demo is an exceedingly simple action-adventure game with a fantasy theme. You can play Heropath version with a web browser, keyboard, and mouse here:

Instructions: You control Sir Bloc with the keyboard WASD/arrow keys. You must recover the chalice and bring it to the altar. You must find the the key to get past the gate, and the sword to destroy the Duck-Dragons. You need to bump into items to pick them up and then drop the item using the space bar.

The dreaded Atari Adventure (duck) Dragon

Version currently has the following features:

– Load small world and environmental objects
– Load character
– Load monsters
– Load items (sword, key, chalice)
– Load environmental objects (altar, gate)
– Logic for character movement
– Logic for monster movement and chase behavior
– Logic for monster-player collision
– Logic for monster-sword collision
– Logic for item pick-up and drop
– Logic for gate open with key
– Logic for altar and chalice win condition
– Logic for intro, win, and lose states
– Some updated graphics with the Duck-Dragons having an animated biting attack (3 new assets)
– Some updated music / sound with sword sound cutting the grasses and slicing the dragon
– Some tweaking of object placement on the previous 600 x 600 pixels map with cliffs, brush, dirt, and grass.
– Drawing and updating the placement of Player, Duck-Dragons, Sword, Gate, Key, Altar, and Chalice. (4 new assets)
– Updates of Intro, Win, and Lose screens

The next steps for future versions in order of priority:

  • Upgrade to Godot 4.0 from Godot 3.4.3
  • Complete a full re-write of the code. The physics and object detection has become very janky as I have piled on new game objects on the original code and it is not working well. I will employ game programming patterns to help me structure my code.
  • Add randomizing elements to move the map, player, monsters, and items round. Currently the demo becomes quickly repetitive.
  • Add enhanced Duck-Dragon intelligence which flees, guards, and chases as Warren Robinette wrote in his book.
  • Remove Player HP so the game plays the same as Atari Adventure. I left the HP in place from Heartbeast’s demo as they are useful for testing.
  • Add a UI-HUD with a character traits panel.
  • Add more items like Atari Adventure’s Magnet and Bridge.
  • Add more characters like the Atari Adventure’s Bat.
  • Add encumbrance so when the character picks up an item the character’s movement slows down.
  • Add a ‘instill’ mechanic that will centre the plot and story.
  • Add The Dremiurge, The Devai, and The Heropath characters to the game to frame and narrate the plot and story.

Working with Godot remains very enjoyable and its many features such as built-in collision detection, physics, animation, editor, tile-mapper, and more has allowed me to accomplish so much in a short period of time. Godot Forums and Git have also been very helpful with coding.

I anticipate that the next release will take me quite a while to do and would estimate to have the next release by end of December 2023. Game Development is exceedingly challenging as it takes a lot of work to deliver a small amount of play. But there is a delight in getting the code to work and immerse ownership in conceptual challenges like this.

“One of the most difficult tasks people can perform, however much others may despise it, is the invention of good games.” – C.G. Jung