Heliconian Dev Log 05: The Event System

February 26, 2020
Antti Lehtinen
Demonstration of the event happening in the Heliconian game

To keep things interesting and to add more rogue-like elements I decided to create an event system. Every once in a while a text based event happens. The event can be anything for example an asteroid hitting the Heliconian, discovering an abandoned spacecraft, or a crew member loosing his temper. The event system was inspired by the excellent Dead of Winter board game.

Variety

The biggest challenge with the event system was variety. I wouldn’t want situation where the events start to repeat themselves and the player gets bored. Any event system needs a lot of events. Or does it? An another way to keep things fresh is to add variation to the events itself. Sometimes, because of the nature of the event, it is something that just happens for example an asteroid hit. But often there can be a choice for the player. The player can decide how to handle the event.

To keep things simple I decided to limit the amount of options to two. Each multiple choice event will have two choices for the player and both choices can lead to two different randomly chosen outcomes. This way one single event can play out in four different ways. This greatly ads variety, but in the end I’m still going to need a lot of events to avoid the player encountering the same event multiple times.

Event System Depth

To make the events more interesting I added the possibility for the events to depend on each other. For example in Event 1 the crew saves an alien spaceship in distress and in Event 2 the aliens return the favor. Event 2 can only happen if the player has already encountered Event 1 and made a specific choice. This system allows for some small continuing story lines to emerge when the player goes far in the game.

Rogue-like Fairness

In a rogue-like fashion the events are different in each game and appear at different times. The player never knows what comes next. This kind of system can sometimes lead to a streak of bad luck and even to an impossible situation. To keep things fair I added some cleverness to the event system. The event system observes the current game situation and delivers event that is suitable. It takes into account things such as the health of the crew members and the health of the Heliconian. The game is still hard and events can lead to a very difficult situations, but it tries to avoid being totally unfair.

There are still things that could be improved, but this is my system for now and hopefully it’ll serve the game well. Now I just need lots and lots of events. Thanks for reading and please leave your suggestions below!

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