One of the design choices for the 7DRL prototype meant to keep it simple and very focused on robots was the complete absence of anything in the environment besides parts and robots. The only other interactive element of your surroundings were doors, and even those would slide open automatically when you neared them.
Cogmind is now beginning to include a whole new range of objects that will provide various methods of interaction and deepen the gameplay: machines.
Though left unexplained when the original mockup was posted, you could see a bunch of these machines across the map:
Mockup map showing machines; not representative of placement or frequency, merely showing at least one of each type of interactive machine.
Gray machines are non-interactive, while interactive machines appear in color and their control panel is identified by a black letter on a colored background. Machines could be sprite-enabled, but I rather like their ASCII art look for now.
Machines are drawn in REXPaint. Right now the game can already import the art files and place them on the map, but they aren't functional yet.
So what exactly do machines do?
The design doc describes the following types:
- Terminals (T): Allow access to information and manipulation of the map area and its inhabitants. The story is told mostly through data records accessed by terminals, but a wealth of useful information directly related to gameplay is also available.
- Fabricators (F): Build parts, or even entire robots.
- Repair Stations (R): Restore item integrity.
- Scanalyzer (S): Analyzes items and provides schematics for replicating them.
- Recycling Unit (Y): Break down parts into matter.
There will be more posts discussing each machine type individually as they are implemented later on. (Update 6/15/14: Added links to posts.)
Most machine types can also be subdivided into multiple levels, with higher levels providing more powerful functions.
Since Cogmind does not have authorization to be using these machines, almost any kind of interaction with them requires hacking.
There will likely be no "hacking mini-game" since machine use will be fairly common and that would slow the game down and interject a different kind of gameplay potentially boring to some players. Instead, hacking is handled through a simple system based on percentages so you can quickly see your chances of success and (sometimes) the expected results.
Hacking has not been implemented yet, and it's used for more than just machine access, so a future post will explore this feature in greater detail.
Next: Robots with chainsaws (a.k.a. Cogmind gets melee weapons).