What I Played, What I Made 2

What I Played

Solitairica - If you had told me just a few years ago that I would be into a solitaire combat game with RPG elements, I would have wondered how that game could possibly exist and also laughed at you. These days I am more open-minded when it comes to game selection...and I like stuff I can play on the couch while I watch TV.

Solitairica game board

A glance at the image above might lead you to think "Oh, Hearthstone but with Solitaire." That's not totally wrong. You are battling fantastical creatures that use a wall of cards for defense. But instead of launching attacks at them you uh, play Solitaire at them. When the card wall is gone, you win that battle. The strategy comes in with your spells. Each card you remove grants you energy points in one of four stats. This energy fuels spells that provide some advantage like healing you or destroying a card in the wall. Every time you draw a card and can't play, the enemy gets a turn to attack.

After each match you can shop for more spells and items with gold earned in battle. It's crucial to check the notes on your enemy before you challenge them so you can slot in the spells that help you counter their moves. One enemy has attacks that ignore armor, for instance. It's great getting a card streak going and then neutralizing what would have been a devastating attack with the right combination of spells.

What's that you say? RPG morsels aren't enough to satiate your trend hunger? Maybe a light sprinkling of Rogue will do the trick then. If you are ever defeated, the run ends and you are granted some amount of currency separate from gold. This allows you to buy extra item slots and power ups for certain cards to use in your next run. I have yet to make it past the first "deck" which is comprised of 18 enemies. There are 4 decks included, and another one you can buy for $0.99, at least on iOS.

While Solitairica is maybe the best take on Solitaire I've played, it suffers slightly from still being Solitaire. There are long sequences where I draw card after unplayable card while the enemy beats me down. This is boring at best but it frequently creeps into frustrating. Of course there is randomness to other CCGs, but it feels like you have much less power to plan around bad luck in Solitairica. You're not going to draw a Blue Eyes White Dragon and destroy the board. You're just praying for, like, a 7.

What I Made

Last time I mentioned I had an idea to save the mechanic where the game isn't over if you are caught without food in my 2D stealth game MMMbezzlement. The idea is that if you are seen without food, instead of enemies completely ignoring you, they walk towards you while you're in their Field of View (FOV). If they reach you game over, but if you leave their FOV for some amount of time, they go back to their path. In the context of an office, I see this as coworkers trying to talk your ear off while you've got important things to do like steal and eat their lunch.

Getting enemies to leave their path and chase the player in GameMaker was almost trivial. If the player was in an FOV without food, I just ended the path of the enemy that owned the FOV with path_end and called mp_potential_step_object. This moves them toward the x and y coordinates of the player and also tells them to avoid all instances of a certain object. In my case those objects are walls. This worked pretty well, although my level design choice of making connected cubicles (the 'H' things) really threw them off. We join the chase already in progress:

MMMbezzlement enemy chase glitch I think the angry eyes really sell the manic thrashing on the other side of the wall.

As you can see, every enemy but the bottom leftmost one is after me. While starting the chase is easy, ending it has proven to be a bit tricky. I think I'm almost there, but right now when enemies give up on the player they are not returning to their path. Instead they are returning to their spawn point and all enemies spawn at (0,0) because of the way I set paths. When the game starts they are instantly teleported to their path starting points, so that hasn't been a problem until now.

Having an enemy chase a player and then return to their patrol if they don't catch them is a common mechanic in stealth games and a lot of people online have asked how to do it in GameMaker. Once I have my method down I'll post it and include GML.