ROGUE MACHINE – CHARACTER DESIGN, LEVELING UP AND UPGRADES
The character you play in Rogue Machine is a nameless robot fighting the forces of oppression in the universe. As you play the game, you will earn experience points and find weapons and equipment to upgrade and modify your character.
The character sheet is split into three areas: stats, weapons and gear.
There are five stats:
- melee – melee attack speed and damage
- shooting – shooting accuracy and rate of fire
- speed – running and turning speed
- armour – reduces damage from weapons and defences
- energy – amount of rechargeable weapon energy
The level value shown above the stats is the current level of the character. The amount of points that the player can allocate to the character's stats is equal to their current level and the character's level is equal to the amount of experience points the player has earned divided by a hundred.
There are two ways to earn experience points: completing levels and collecting coins. Each level is worth ten experience points and each coin is currently worth two (I might change this). That means to advance one level the player need to complete at least ten levels (don't worry, most of the levels are short and there are other collectables spread out in the game that allow the player to upgrade their character).
I did not want the player gaining experience through killing enemies mainly because in some levels the enemies will respawn indefinitely which would allow a player to farm a level for experience points and theortically max out their character.
The level of the character in the alpha build was supposed to be maybe two or three levels above the starting character but I've realised that this would make the starting character too slow and too weak in combat. So the character you play in the alpha is now the starting character.
At the start of the game the character starts off with basic bullets and a single type of melee attack.
The weapons and melee attacks the player can collect are:
- Beam – higher damager than a bullet, instantly hit the opponent but uses more energy than a bullet
- Rocket – higher damage than a bullet, area effect but uses more energy than a bullet or beam.
- Dash attack – lower damage than a normal strike but faster and the player dashes forward when attacking.
- Double strike – higher damage but slower than a normal attack, also uses more energy.
New ammo types and melee attacks are collected throughout the game. Once the player has them there are no restrictions on how they can be allocated as they are not based on the character's current rank or number of experience points
It's always been the case with shooting the there are two shoot controls, with one being shooting with a single gun and the other shooting with both guns. Firing both guns increases rate of fire but decreases accuracy and firing a single gun does the opposite. The ammo types have now been allocated to A and B, A being both guns and B being a single gun which allows the player to allocate two different ammo types.
The thinking behind the melee attacks is that the player sets up what is essentially a combo attack. When attacking the player holds down the melee attack control and the character will go through their melee attack cycle.
Gear is basically a miscellaneous category for all the things the player can collect that aren't weapons or stats. I decided to use the word "gear" rather than "equipment" simply because it fitted the screen better.
There are sixteen piece of gear to collect ranging from force fields, to longer range radar, force fields and upgrades for weapons. The player will be restricted to how many pieces of gear they can equip, which is based on the character's current level. Some gear require the use of energy and in these case a third bar will appear underneath the weapon energy bar. Gear energy will also be replenished along with weapon energy in the level when betteries are collected.
It's taken me a while to work out how the game is structured overall, which is something I'll be discussing in another article, but in simplistic terms the game is split into stages, with each stage comprising a number of levels.
Between each stage the player will be allowed to reconfigure their character how they wish, limited only by their player's current level and what weapons and gear they have collected.
The player can even reconfigure their character's stats as they see fit so they don't have to worry about upgrading their character in a way they're not happy with. I realised that even though the player character is a robot it doesn't really affect the game play. I then thought that seeing as the character is a robot they would be able to reconfigure themselves as they saw fit.
Once playing the stage the player will not be able to change any of their stats, weapons or gear. They will also not be able to immediately use any weapons or gear that they find during a level. Because of this, during the levels weapon or gear pickups are called “artefacts” and the player will only be told what they are once the stage is over. In this way the character only has what they take with them.
You've probably noticed that as part of the character sheet there is a title called "map" and if you're really paying attention then you'll notice that there is kind of star scape graphic in the background. Anyone whose played the alpha demo will have seen the star scape before and this will be the topic of my next feature.