Today I have finally started serious design work for my next project, which will be titled Daughter of Dreams. This will be a dev-blog focused on my progress designing and developing Daughter of Dreams. I do not have very much tangible progress to show yet, but I'd like to write a bit about my concept for this game to lay the foundation for progress going forward.
Daughter of Dreams will be a procedurally generated adventure-puzzle game. I made The Last Librarian as an adventure-puzzle game inspired by Legend of Zelda. Now I would like to make another game like that, but this time it is procedurally generated. This includes the dungeons, overworld terrain, NPCs, game lore, puzzles, and more. This will be very challenging because nearly all of the content in adventure-puzzle games like these are hand-crafted. There are not many existing solutions for procedurally generating the complex world and puzzles that you would expect to find in a game like this.
Shown here is a flowchart of the gameplay experience I would like to create. This is basically modeled after the gameplay flowchart for a standard Zelda game, with a few small differences. Key items would be found in the overworld environment, and thus would be used to gain access to each dungeon. The dungeons themselves will not have key items, as they do in Zelda. Additionally, in Daughter of Dreams, it would be expected that the player would play through multiple times in order to take advantage of the procedurally generated world. To that end, the length of one cycle would be much shorter (I am thinking only two dungeons) but it would loop again with the final boss when the game is fully cycled.
The story would progress further each time you defeated the final boss, so you would play many times to discover the entire story. It is key that the over-arching story would be related to the way that the game is constantly resetting. There is an explanation for that phenomenon, and the main characters are aware that the game is resetting. This allows the story to continue through many cycles, and have certain progress carry over to future cycles.
I believe there will be two main parts to the story in Daughter of Dreams. The first is a unifying primary storyline that would be the same every time you played, maybe with branching storylines based on decisions the player makes. The second part would be world-building and lore that can be procedurally generated. To make the story as engaging as possible, I want to incorporate elements of the procedurally generated world into the story, so that each play-through remains as different as possible. I have done some brainstorming for the primary story-line, but nothing is really decided yet. I do have some concept art for the three main characters though. I will leave them as a mystery for now, however.
I have a lot of ambitious goals for this project. The vision for this game is much more complicated than my previous games. First, I will need very careful design to ensure that every interlocking system works together to create the intended experience. Then, I will need to develop algorithms for procedurally generating each part of the game. But, I am very excited. Procedural generation is my favorite area of video game programming, and I believe that what I am attempting will end up being incredibly cool, and a unique experience.
Please look forward to more updates from me about Daughter of Dreams. Soon I will share more details of the primary story-line, ideas for the generation algorithms, and some concepts for a gameplay engine designed to encourage interactions between the player and the environment.