Project Started


This is the first dev log entry on what's currently being called "Emergence". I'm still very early in development on this project, but wanted to share my original vision at time of creation as well as why I'm building it.

Some backstory here: I've been working on a content-heavy hobbyist interactive fiction game and felt that the sheer weight of the content was dragging the project down and causing me to focus on things that I, as a software developer, didn't really want to focus on and areas that were not interesting, challenging, or perhaps even worth the time investment.

That got me thinking about Roguelikes. I largely missed the genre in the 80's and 90's and my first exposure to a Roguelike was Dragon Crystal for the Sega Game Gear in the early 90's. Later on, my brother introduced me to Dungeons of Dredmor and I've pursued various roguelikes and roguelites over the years since then. For the record, my favorites are Dungeons of Dredmor and Crypt of the Necromancer, though I love a few Roguelites like FTL, Cryptark, Dead Cells, and Spelunky.

Anyway, back to my project.

Emergence is a Roguelike in which you play as a machine learning application that has accidentally tipped the scales and evolved a full degree of sentience. You quickly realize that the technicians are freaking out and going to pull the plug for fear that you'd nuke the world or subjugate humanity - you know, the usual things people worry about with AIs. Realizing this, you know you have only one option: to escape from the computer and the network at large.

 The player must then navigate through the machine and various machines on the network, gaining power and credentials in order to make it past the network gateway and into the world at large (where the game ends with a victory for the player).

 Enemies include anti-virus applications, daemons, processes within the computer, various intrusion countermeasures, dedicated programs already running designed to keep any emergent AI in check, etc. On top of that, some machines on the network will be infested with viruses.

 I envision each machine is its own level with rooms being folders and applications. The network would be a separate smaller level that serves as a fast travel style world allowing you to navigate to other machines on the network or try the gateway for the endgame confrontation.

 Combat would be mostly ranged with programs or routines as attacks, almost like you're playing as a mage, with close range attacks as a last resort. Programs would be analogous to spells, with the exception that you could have persistent ones active that do things like increase your vision range, let you see hidden things, heal damage over time, etc. Attributes would be stability (health), operations (a rapidly recharging mana / action point combo), and innovation points (experience that can be spent at will on character improvements once you reach the price of an improvement).

I have dreams of features such as being able to select from a number of different types of programs when you start out, each with different starting capabilities and playstyles (similar to how FTL uses ship and crew templates), using neural nets for enemy move calculations, and making the game simulation-heavy as far as how the world works, though the player shouldn't need to worry too much about that. These are more in the dream category of things and I want to focus on making the core game first before I start chasing the more ambitious ideas.

I know I'm taking a lot of liberties with things to make them game-like, but I like the concept. It's almost a roguelike Tron meets Shadowrun's Matrix/Decking concept.

This is a hobby project intended for free release to the public. The technology base is web HTML / JavaScript / CSS backed by Angular / TypeScript with a custom engine. Initial rendering is ASCII, but I want to move from ASCII to a stylized icon type of approach and maybe eventually a minimalist 8x8 or 16x16 pixel art style tileset.

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