C:\raft

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C:\raft
Beta Project
Developer Nicholas Hydock
Theme Fantasy
Influences Rogue, Monster Rancher, Atelier (series), Elona
Released July 4, 2014
Updated July 16, 2017
Licensing Shareware, Paid
P. Language Java
Platforms Linux, Windows, Mac
Interface Graphical
Game Length 2-4 hours (Low Difficulty)
48-100 hours (High Difficulty)
Official site of C:\raft


C:\raft is a satirical homage to the Rogue genre, while being an easily accessible and ironic experience. Within minutes you can already be collecting tons of loot, exploring your hard drive, taking on quests, and dying. The game features practically no story, and it's crafting experience is no more than a glorified fetch quest. That said, there's still plenty to sink tons of time into, as it's a lightweight experience that's great for playing during a coffeebreak.

First showcased as a 7DRL at Too Many Games 2014 with the Shippensburg Videogame Development Club, and then subsequently released after some spit and polish onto Desura, the game has evolved slowly over time as a test-bed of gameplay ideas. It places a large emphasis on procedurally generating as many aspects of the game as possible in order to induce an artificial degree of challenge, with all additional features being added to ease the difficulty.

C:\raft was formerly known as StoryMode - A Game About Crafting. The rebranding effort started to take effect as of June 26, 2017, starting first with the Steam store listing.

Contents

Story

The game features minimal story, but what is understood is that you play as a random adventurer that has been drafted by the Crafting Goddess/God Joann/Michael to make items for them. The items can range from anything like a sword or pair of pants to gumbo to obscure concepts like politics and ensembles. You exist in the world of the hard drive, where you may search through files which become dungeons full of enemies and resources that you can kill and harvest loot from. What you find depends on where you go, or more precisely what you go into. The deeper dungeons you explore, the more you may find out about the world.

Screenshot of the crafting interface. Notice the stupid amount of items

Unique Mechanics

One of the driving features of the game is its naming system. The game functions by using multiple dictionaries and mixing and matching words and names to create entities. It follows a general adjective - noun naming scheme for items and monsters, but quest prompts may also have randomly generated values inserted them, much like you would see with Mad Libs. While the adjective has no effect on the properties of an item, and can even be disregarded when it comes to crafting, adjectives do have an effect on the stats and difficulty of fighting monsters. Over time the player will collect detailed information about adjectives and monsters within their "Page File" (much like a pokedex) that may help them understand what they're up against.

Due to the frequency of which items are dropped, the dependence on them for crafting, and the sheer variety of items in the game (due to the adjective - noun naming there are over 1000 "unique" items to collect), there is no currency. Instead, items may be sacrificed in dungeons to the goddess in order to recover or escape, may be used in bartering with enemies to make them go away or join your party, and may be sacrificed to other gods in order to raise your stats or better your equipment. Barter amounts are never a flat rate, instead the values increase over time dependent on how far down into a dungeon you are, how many times you've already requested help from the goddess, and how high your stats are.

Additionally, the game was designed around having a limited set of controls so it's easy to pick up and play with only one hand. All controls can be remapped to up to 3 different layouts that can be used at one time, and each button may have multiple functions according to the state of the game. It can be played either solely with a keyboard or a mouse, but if you want to use two hands and both at the same time that's fine. However, some interfaces are more intuitive to one input mechanic than the other.

The influence of JRPGs has become more apparent in later updates of the game, as there's been an increased focus on harvesting supplies and forming parties with other characters. As of December 25th, 2015 the game has featured a mechanic that allows you to add monsters to your party by trading with them. These party members all have their own play-style abilities randomly assigned to them, allowing you to explore dungeons with a different set of features than the character you made at the beginning of the game. On May 21, 2016, the party mechanic was expanded to allow hiring human mercenaries with their own leveling to form a persistent party. These members can also be sent out to gather items on their own in a micromanaging style of gameplay. While exploring dungeons you may only control one character at a time, while when in boss fights you can control your entire party in an order determined by the speed of the characters over time, equivalent to the Active-Time Battle System used frequently in Final Fantasy. Boss fights also implement additional mechanics such as a timing-based minigame for manual attacking in a manner much like what is found in Legend of Dragoon and are based on dice roll calculations, as influenced by Battle Hunter.

C:\raft's boss fight combat system is reminiscent of JRPGs of the 90s, like Final Fantasy 6.

The July 23, 2016 update expands upon the game world mechanics by adding in a Lunar calendar and seasons. The developer has stated that he has plans to implement a farming system that utilizes the seasonal calendar, but until then it serves no purpose. The Lunar calendar provides a predictable scaling difficulty over time in-game, as the closer to a full moon the calendar says it is, the stronger the enemies in dungeons will be. Additionally, the update added temporary leveling within dungeon contexts, allowing your main character and party members to level up traditionally with XP instead of relying entirely on item sacrificing. The levels gained in a dungeon, however, revert as soon as you leave the dungeon, making it still important to train the main character's base stats, especially if you want to focus on a specific stat build.

Networking

The game is capable of connecting to a hosted server that can deal up a randomly generated seed that's created at midnight every day. Everyone who pulls down the seed will end up playing the same dungeon layout by nature of the random generator, providing a shared community experience that users may participate in. While a continuous connection is not required while playing the dungeon, as the connection is closed as soon as the dungeon is downloaded, it's recommended to maintain a internet connection for a more immersive experience. When changing floors, additional calls will be made to the daily dungeon server to fetch information about who died on the floor and to what. Of course that means upon dying a connection is also made if possible. Tombstones will be placed accordingly, allowing the player to mouse over them to see associated information. If playing the steam version of the game, the user's profile name will be reported to the server when they die.

An open-source implementation of the daily dungeon server is provided on gist and is a simple python flask application. By manually editing the settings.json file in the game's preferences folder the location of the daily dungeon server may be changed, allowing users to host their own to play with friends.

As the daily dungeon feature is the only part of the game that requires a network connection, and it only requires a network connection upon request instead of continuously, it does not act as a form of DRM. With the ability to run your own daily dungeon server, you could even connect to one on a localhost to experience the game without a network connection, though playing by yourself kind of defeats the purpose of the dungeon.

Modding

As of July 16th, C:\raft features a simple way of modding the game by providing the entire assets directory for free on github in plain editable file formats. While the game's code is not directly available to mod, it's possible to override and hook into existing classes since it is just a simple java app.

To create mods for the game, users may go and fork the Assets repository on Github. The client leverages jGit to pull and merge repositories locally as a way to apply mods. In the settings menu, users can install mods and change their load order. The mods displayed as available for download are nothing more than any fork that exists remotely on Github. Modders can change the name of their repository and its description to change the appearance of its listing in game. Users may also use their favourite git client or the git cli to manage their mods. When the client starts up after installing or changing the load order of the mods, it'll reapply them, which may take some time depending on the user's internet connection and the size of the mod.

In the event that an installed mod may be causing issues with booting up the game or is causing crashes, it is possible to disable all mods from the command line by adding the -disableMods flag when starting the game.

There is also a Content Manager in development that will make it easier to mod the game's content that has strict formatting requirements.

Features

  • Randomly generated dungeons based on your files
  • Randomly generated items
  • Randomly generated quests
  • Randomly generated crafting recipes
  • Bump combat in dungeons, JRPG-styled encounters for Boss Fights
  • Being able to play with one hand with a beer in the other
  • In-game Readmes are the most it holds your hand

Related links

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