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The Unique Puzzles of Road Not Taken on PS4


How would possibly a roguelike seem like if it featured a thinker and explorer, as a substitute of a standard warrior? If being suave was once extra essential than being robust? That’s a design problem we’ve tried to deal with with Road Not Taken.

You play a ranger in a frigid, enchanted forest, trying to save lost children. You start with a few easy-to-learn abilities. You can pick up any adjacent objects, you can carry them around, and you can throw them. Trees, boulders, bears — they all float at your command. But you need to be careful; whenever you carry things, it costs you stamina. If you run out of stamina, you collapse face-first into the snow. No checkpoints, no reloads. It’s over.

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The Environment is the Threat

In Road Not Taken, both the challenge and the exciting moments come from the setting itself. You’ll be intrigued by strange objects that you haven’t encountered before, and whose characteristics are never fully explained. There are wild creatures running about, spiky plants that hurt you if you pick them up, and blizzards that sap your strength.

There isn’t a clear way into or out of the heart of the forest, and to make matters worse, the exit to every area is blocked. It’s a chaotic and dangerous mess, and you’ll feel the intensity ratchet upwards as your stamina decreases step-by-carefully-planned step.

You unlock the exits to a section of the forest by organizing the chaos with your powers. Say, for example, that you’ve got an exit blocked by rocks, and you notice that it requires five trees to open. You look over the map and spot a bunch of trees blocked behind various rocks and creatures. Being incredibly smart, you start moving things around and eventually collect the trees together into a single, connected set. Voila! The exit rumbles open.

Road Not Taken on PS4 and PS Vita

Unique Objects with Unique Behaviors

Organizing the chaos is trickier than it looks. You could simply lug trees into position, but you’d end up draining your energy and eventually succumb to the winter storm. And on top of that, you have to deal with all the unique creatures and objects in your way, each of which has its own unexpected ways of moving, combining, and/or draining your stamina.

In Road Not Taken, you improve mainly by learning how things work and learning to play more strategically. For example, moles burrow under things. That doesn’t seem very useful until you figure out that this lets you shift otherwise-immoveable stones around. Forest spirits hurt you if you walk into them, then they vanish. But spirits can also help you… if you learn to unlock their secrets.

And speaking of secrets: they’re everywhere. Sometimes I think of Road Not Taken as this giant treasure box of secrets. Some objects magically combine into new objects that restore your stamina or serve as powerful tools for you. Other objects seem totally useless until you discover the context that makes them helpful (What’s up with that goat, and why is he pooping all over the place?).

Road Not Taken on PS4 and PS VitaRoad Not Taken on PS4 and PS Vita

The Behavior System

Behind the scenes, the objects in Road Not Taken use what’s called a component based architecture. This lets us as game developers combine behaviors in incredibly flexible ways.

To see why this is useful, it helps to understand that many games rely on object-oriented programming methods. You might have a monster class that defines general movement, hit points, etc. Then you create an archer sub-class that has all the properties of the monster, but also adds the abilities to shoot arrows. This is a great technique, but you run into some problems. Say you have an archer sub-class, and also a warrior sub-class that can use a shield. It can be tricky to then create a new creature that can both fire a missile and use a shield. You could move both those abilities back up into the base monster class, but with dozens of abilities and billions of combinations, it can get messy very quickly.

Road Not Taken on PS4 and PS Vita

In a element-based totally device, the behaviors like missile and protect are totally separate. That lets the fashion designer (That’s me!) mix ‘n match them collectively. As soon as I’ve a collection of a pair dozen behaviors, the boundaries to what I will be able to do are largely my creativeness. Do I need a timid wolf that runs from individuals however eats deer and turns into a large ghost wolf if a percent of 5 are accrued collectively? I will be able to do this with only some strains of code!

That lets me test sooner, in order that we are able to construct all kinds of attention-grabbing and distinctive objects (and it lets me disguise all varieties of secrets and techniques within the sport!).

Random Era

Right here’s the opposite factor about Highway No longer Taken: like several excellent roguelike, its playfields are procedurally generated. That you can’t memorize an answer. You want to analyze the behaviors of every animal or object within the setting and be suave about the usage of these in each and every new context. Enjoying Highway No longer Taken is extra like improv jazz than repetitive follow.

Failure is Mastery

You’ll fail lots firstly. The primary time the darkish spirits emerge and suck your heat away, you most likely received’t get better. The primary time you’re compelled to desert a baby as a result of you understand you could’t attain them with out passing out, you most likely received’t really feel so nice.

However sooner or later, with quite a lot of cleverness, you’ll grasp the woodland. You’ll rescue the entire kids. And you then wish to take care of the remainder of your existence, which because it seems isn’t really easy. What does “victory” imply while you’re nonetheless coming dwelling to a ailing family member, or a troubled buddy who can’t be helped?

However that’s a weblog put up for every other day.