Cellsweeper.xlsm: Dungeon Crawler RPG based on Minesweeper

Hello,

New game is Cellsweeper.xlsm, a dungeon crawling RPG. The link below contains two files – the Excel itself and the “Cellsweeper” font. You could play the game without it, but it would depend on your tolerance for fighting alphanumeric characters instead of monsters. ūüôā

Here’s a link to the game – Cellsweeper 1.1 (last updated 9/2/2015)

v1.1 Changes:

  • Fixed the assassin bug that hurts you for every cell opened if you mis-backstab on a wide open space
  • Emphasized that backstab only works on monsters of the *exact* same level

Design Notes:

The game is inspired by Mamono Sweeper, and attempts to improve some¬†design elements in Mamono I didn’t like:

  1. The game is a bit too abstract.  
    • I felt that the game didn’t fully embrace the “RPG” aspect, and could easily be an abstract minesweeper version with multiple mine levels.
  2. The difficulty curve is reversed.
    • Since there are many more low level monsters than high level ones, it starts off hard and becomes easier at the end, not the other way around.
  3. There’s no point to the level 1 monsters.
    • It’s obvious that the player can immediately click on any cell adjacent to a “1”, and it just costs the player additional clicks.
  4. The game becomes rote at player level 5 (and to an extent, 4).  
    • At high levels, it becomes¬†clear which cells are clickable, giving the last part of the game less tension. The game ends on a low note by having to click all remaining cells.
  5. The “Second click” problem
    • The first cell is always free, but the player can frequently get a huge damage hit on the second click.
    • Also, players usually play by jumping around for the first few clicks to try to open a large space.
  6. A cell with a monster also has a helper number “underneath” that monster.
    • It’s frustrating to keep switching between the “number view” and the “monster view”, since the cell can’t represent both at the same time.
  7. The player has to keep referring to the legend to remember the monster levels.
  8. There’s little replayability¬†once you’ve figured out the optimal strategy.

mamono


For Cellsweeper, I tried to tie my solutions to a strong “dungeon crawling” theme. ¬†I find the result much more fun to play (hopefully you do too!):

  1. Difficulty curve:
    • When the hero levels up, there’s a 50% chance for weaker hidden¬†monsters to level up as well. ¬†The difficulty curve is now balanced – the player first explores an “easy” area, with the areas becoming more difficult as he becomes stronger.
  2. Little point to level 1 and level 5 monsters
    • Introduced a win condition: The player wins by defeating the necromancer, not by clearing out the board.
    • Fighting an enemy of the same level also damages the hero. ¬†This means that bats (LV1) pose a threat at the start, and wraiths (LV5) are still a threat at max level.
    • The hero gains XP from exploring the dungeon.
  3. “Second click” problem:
    • The player can only explore cells adjacent to open ones, like a hero navigating an actual dungeon. ¬†This also prevents information overload, as the player only concentrates on small parts of the map at a time.
    • The first cell is automatically selected for the hero and is always a “1”. ¬†This prevents him from cavorting off and getting killed immediately.
    • Changed borders to look like the player is “carving out” the dungeon.
  4. Helper number underneath the monster
    • Removed this feature.
  5. Need to keep referring to the legend
    • Monsters are color coded with increasing color warmth; the legend is still needed, but it’s a bit more intuitive.
    • Originally, I thought of adding a subscript to the monster showing its¬†level, but was worried that players might confuse this for a helper number.
  6. Replayability
    • Added high scores.
    • Added multiple character classes with different abilities – three basic characters (fighter wizard rogue), and three “advanced” classes (barbarian monk assassin).
    • Significantly tweaked the difficulty of the classes – now people of different skill levels can play.
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Buzzword.xlsm: A word game where your greed is your own worst enemy

Hello!

Today’s game is¬†Buzzword. ¬†The premise is simiple – you have a limited number of letters, which appear one at a time. ¬†Use the letters to form words – the longer and more complex the word, the higher the score.

The problem is that you have limited space for the letters that arrive. ¬†Should you go for the smaller, safer words? Should you wait for more letters but at the risk of overflowing your rack? ¬†Should you risk words you’re not sure exist? Do you want to use low scoring words to get rid of the harder letters? Why is your¬†rack full of J’s, V’s and U’s??

Also for this version please don’t play with sound. ¬†It’s annoying.

Buzzword.xlsm v1.0 – Link here, two files for both 32-and 64-bit versions of Excel.

Battle Snake.xlsm: A 1-3 player snake game on a single keyboard

Hello, Please feel free to play my first game, Battle Snake! ¬†If you’re looking for games that start out fun end up destroying friendships by the end, look no further. ¬†It’s like a Mario Party you can play on your work PC.

Get the file here. (Version 1.1 – Updated 150806). ¬†There are two files there; if the 32-bit version doesn’t work try the other one.

Features:

  1. Same-keyboard co-op! Up to three people can play at once, squeezing together uncomfortably in the chair.
  2. Customizable features, such as snake speed and initial snake length. ¬†Keyboard mapping isn’t allowed, though. ūüė¶

Some additional hints:

  1. Doesn’t work in Open Office, needs Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). VBA code is currently unlocked, so you can see there’s nothing malicious in it.
  2. When you press “start”, the snake doesn’t actually start moving until you press an initial arrow key.
  3. Once a snake crashes, that player is out of the game – but he isn’t necessarily the loser! For example, in a two player game, if the If he’s in the lead, the game will continue until either the other player has overtaken him or they’ve crashed with less points. ¬†Of course, now that one player is out of the picture, his opponent can take their sweet time.

Please feel free to leave comments or email feedback to wilhelm.su@gmail.com. Thanks!

The Wrong Tools for the Right Job

Hi all, This site is meant to document me trying to make games in what could probably be the craziest gamedev choice ever ‚Äď Microsoft Excel. ¬†Inspired by the likes of Dzikosoft¬†(which hasn’t been updated in forever)¬†and Cary Walkin‚Äôs Arena.xlsm, I‚Äôll use this site to post my games and design process.

Why?

  1. For the challenge, I guess. ¬†Restrictions breed creativity. ¬†Let’s see how far we can take this.
  2. I also use Excel heavily at work so I’m pretty sure this will allow me to learn some new stuff.

I’ll keep adding games below as I make them. Let’s do this!