Gameplay Element

Gameplay Element: Chamber Blueprints

One thing I really like about Dwarf Fortress is laying out the perfect fortress. But it’s a time consuming job, so I added the ability to create chamber templates to see how it affects gameplay.

The process is really simple:
1. (B) Blueprint
2. select a square area to use as a blueprint.
3. Use (+) and (-) to rotate the blueprint, (enter) and cursor keys to place.

Some other ideas for later:

  • When doors and furniture become available we can add them to the blueprints, so when the room has been dug, it automatically creates placement orders.
  • Store blueprints in a library for easy placement.
  • It would be nice to tie this in to any thrall or illithid with architectural insight, more skill meaning bigger blueprints.
  • Make the selection area blue with white. they are blueprints after all!

Sucking out brains

Jummy, brains! When one of your min defeats an enemy, it becomes prone, allowing any flayer to enslave, slay or devour the target’s brain. I’ve also bumped creature life so fights take a bit longer than a single strike.

Right now the only desirable options are enslave or devour, as devour heals a wounded flayer, and there is no penalty for enslaving. We will mend this in the future, when the player will have to balance thrall against resources and available flayers.

Die gnomes dieeeeee!

Just a little update here. Enjoying their first victory, my flayer and its trusted frogman thrall wade in the heaps of gnome (and some flayer) corpses. The battle was intense.. and pretty boring. I miss some splatters of blood.

I think we’ve got the exterminate part covered. Now to allow an in-between step. By adding a ‘dying’ state we can provide a window of opportunity to enslave.

Progress Report: Slavesssssssss

Lets inspect the main elements of mindflayer economy that center around interaction with outsiders:

  • enslave: some creatures will rather fight to the death, while others will accept subjugation without complaints. In all cases, the creatures must be in a vulnerable or obedient state before they can be enslaved.
  • impregnate: same preconditions as enslave, just needs to be in the brain chamber.
  • eat: Flayers eat brains. Thralls are fed other thralls. I’ll allow flayers eating severed brains to survive, but to avoid a negative thought they’ll have to eat directly out of a skull ever so often. Same preconditions as enslave, with the side note just harvesting the brain would provide some sustenance as well.
  • trade/diplomacy: Hey, wanna trade this brain for your mirror? 😀 Or: gimme 100 gold or I’ll eat your brain. Needs at least a non-hostile creature.
  • exterminate: requires swatting a target until it is dead.

Translated into building blocks:

  • Approach a Thing (creature or object) [until in weapon range].
  • Attack a creature [until dead] [until incapacitated] [until scared away] [until mentally beaten] [with weapon].
  • Transport a Thing to location.
  • Order a creature to location.
  • Take thing into inventory.
  • Consume thing

We’ll also need to provide systems for:

  • Relationships between Flayers and the various towns and species. Some species are natural enemies, others tolerate flayers or collapse into crying heaps of brain the moment Flayers appear.
  • Basic object and inventories. If possible the first stockpiles.
  • Basic combat. I’ll keep it simple for now (x hitpoints, y damage per second). We’ll replace this later
  • Blood splatter and corpses!
  • Better system to handle actor-centric (timmy pick up that stone) or target-centric (someone attack that dwarf) orders.

Chaaaaaaaarge.

Progress Report: Slavesssssssss

Fresh cubes of slaves await!

  • Several barebone cave towns near the brain chamber are awaiting conquest.
  • Towns can be populated by Humans, Elves, Dark Elves, Grimlocks, Gnolls and Orcs, (which can be impregnated), and Halflings, Dwarves, Dark Dwarves, Gnomes, Dark Gnomes, Giants ands Centaurs.
  • Players start with four members of random species, from which /at least/ two allow impregnation. As the plan is to bestow the flayer with its bodies old powers, this will give each play a slightly different experience.
  • When chambers grow too big, they automatically become hallways (the brain chamber started to bleed into every single nook and cranny).

Soon our Flayers can enslave, impregnate, eat, trade, and exterminate, but to get there, the potential slaves need a brain, and a way to fight.

Gameplay Elements: Slavesssss

Besides impregnating the unlucky spelunkers who end up as your first flayers, and digging in dirt, the player does not have a lot to do yet. Not very exciting, so lets spice it up a little.

Some randomly placed nearby villages and an underground cave were travelers pass should provide the basis for entertainment. For this we’re going to add:

  • Some villages.
  • A dozen races, each with their own initial feeling towards Flayers.

After that is in place, we can start add ways to interact with the villages. (Be it enslave, impregnate, eat, trade, or exterminate).

Time to get to work!

Completed: Ceremorphosis

Finished! Just point at the master brain, (S)elect -> (I) Impregnate, hover over a slave in the green sludge, and type enter. This will instantly transform the slave into a Flayer!

Chamber function now functions too, as you can see on the picture to the right. The chamber with the master brain is filled with a green sludge, while all other chambers are flagged as hallways.

There is a lot we can improve here, like balancing the number of flayers, slowing and animating the impregnation (flotch! blood, wheee!), adding some crawling vulnerable Larvae in the chamber, etc, but lets keep that for later and focus on adding some more things to do.

Gameplay Element: Ceremorphosis

Time to get some basic game elements into Elder Brain.

The game starts with Mind Flayer reproduction: Ceremorphosis. Larvae are inserted into the brain of a sapient creature, consume the brain of their host and become sapient on their own.

In effect, the player chooses the bodies of the Flayers, and the powers that come with that body.

To achieve this I’ll add:

  • Brain Chamber, from which the master brain can impregnate slaves or thralls.
  • A couple of potential slaves, that happen to stumble into the Brain Chamber, to start the game.
  • Menu, so the player can tell a being (in this case, the master brain) to perform certain actions.

Time to get to work!