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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Disarming Traps

So after much thought and consideration, we decided that it wouldn't be fair to make trap disarming based on a skill number. Malevolence is an infinite game, so people will eventually get their skill levels up to ludicrous levels. So instead, we wanted to make it have a more natural feel. And how better to do that than with a challenging mini-game!
Here's a VERY early example of what you'll encounter when you locate and attempt to disarm a mechanical trap in a dungeon:

So basically, the aim will be to successfully move one of the blue gems from one end of the trench to the other, and insert it into the socket WITHOUT the gem getting crushed by one of the pincers in the mechanism. The mechanism will also be linked in with the procedural level generation, so some traps will be easier to disarm than others. The number of gems is also important. You only need to get ONE of the blue gems to the other end of the chute to disarm the trap, but sometimes you will get 2 or 3 chances to do it, whereas other times you'll just get the one. If you fail to disarm the trap, then it is forever locked in an active state and the only way to pass it is to go through it. But then again, you may be lucky and have a scroll or spell to do the job for you...

But yeah, this way, it's based on luck and skill of the player, and not points that can be buffed.

We'll also be coming up with a separate mini-game for picking locks on some doors and chests! The difference of course being that to pick a lock, you need to have lockpicks, but to disarm the trap you just need your wits about you, and a quick mouse-hand!

We'd love to know what you think of this system! Just keep in mind that what you see in the video is a VERY early example of what it will be like. More a proof of concept than anything...

But we think it'd make a swell smartphone game!

Until next time!


  1. My opinion is that you really have to be careful with minigames. They may be fun at first but if there's a lot of traps for example here they'll become extremely tedious real quick. While your example is not a bad minigame at all, I'm not sure how long it would take to hate it. Kind of like the lockpick minigame in Oblivion or in Mass Effect.

    I suggest some kind of hybrid system (though I admit I didn't think much about it yet) where if your skill is much higher than the trap requires it you simply disarm it without a minigame. Same for locks.

  2. Hmm... You're the second person to say they hate the lock picking in Oblivion... I've always enjoyed it. I must be odd haha
    You raise a good point, however, traps won't be too prolific in dungeons and the player will be able to buy/collect scrolls and learn spells that automate the process for them. Would you consider that to be enough of a hybrid system? I'm quite keen to avoid it being a points-game.

  3. Actually I enjoyed the lock picking, and the minigames in Mass Effect too, but if you play say a rogue and you end up lockpicking every 2 minutes it gets annoying extremely quick. Most minigames are like that.

    Yes, if the scrolls are decently available and the traps not too prolific I think it'd be fine. I know it's hard to balance a game between (oh god so many traps all the time) and (oh let me just buy 10 scrolls and traps are irrelevant).

    For what it's worth your minigame looks enjoyable as long as it's not too frequent.

  4. Thanks :) Yes, the average floor of a dungeon will have between 4 to 8 traps on it, however, 80% of these are generally avoidable (if you know where they are) but every so often one will actually be protecting a specific part of the dungeon and will need to be sorted out. A full size, 10 floor dungeon will probably have 3 situations like this at most. Of course, due to the procedural generation, there may be dungeons that are just trap pits of death, but that will be quite infrequent. Others will be trap-free.