2017 7DRL, PokemonRL…. FAILURE?

Alright… this year I just couldn’t make it. You can play the current version here if you want to take a look tho.

(Edit: Later on I decided the game was worth considering as a Finished entry, even if didn’t meet my whole expectations)

I made so many mistakes during the challenge that it seems I deliberately ignored every single piece of my own advise:

  • I created an almost complete roguelike engine from scratch instead of creating something lighter.
  • I didn’t have a clear goal and I spent too much time wondering what to do and switching plans.
  • I aimed blindly for an overwhelmingly big scope and didn’t think on an initial increment.
  • I didn’t make time to playtest the game nor gathered playtesters for the task.
  • I worked alone instead of building a team.
  • I didn’t have a plan!

And finally, the biggest mistake I made was not devoting enough time to add quality content to the game (a critical step of which Jeff Lait, another veteran 7DRL warrior, has warned about time and time again). This was basically what caused me to consider this a failure… I worked a lot on it, and it’s actually interesting, playable and it has a winning condition and some nice mechanics. There’s a pretty awesome empty cocoon which will require a lot of work to fill in order to provide a fun experience.

Sum all the mistakes above, and add up the “real life excuses” (Lost a day recovering from my trip to California and almost 2 full days in the release of Ananias 2.2, and it wasn’t an easy week at the office…).

I may have been able to pull a mediocre “successful” release if I had neglected my family even more, but I feel better I could spend some time with them and bring them some comfort in times of conflict. 

Enough crying… on the plus side, I managed to:

  • Create an interesting procedural generator for pokemon-like worlds.
  • Adapt elements from the widely known Pokemon universe into a roguelike format.
  • Create a simple command set, a friendly UI for new players.
  • Create a Javascript roguelike template (“JSBoilerRL”) anyone can use to create their own roguelike (I’ll have to write a tutorial for that)

And probably for the first time I feel good about the source code of the game! it’s mostly clean, readable and extensible. It’s now open source… I’ll come back to it soon if enough people cares about it, to make a proper first stable release.

One of the think I liked the most is how I made tall grass work in the “route” maps… you have to dive into it in order to find pokemon 🙂

In any case, here’s a gameplay video of PokemonRL, enjoy!

Here’s what I managed to do in day 7

  • Add Power Points to skills
  • Add Pokemon center to recover all HP and PP
  • Add Lab building to pick starter pokemon
  • Allow giving up on gym battles
  • Pokemon level up, learn new skills, evolve
  • Select random town names
  • Allow winning by getting 8 badges
  • Add inventory limit


2017 7DRL – PokemonRL – Day 6

Day 6! time’s almost over and I wonder what’ll be the best way to wrap up 😐

Today I managed to implement high level map generation (so it now generates both a random overall structure as well as the actual detailed maps). They are both simple, of course, since there’s no time to go in-deep. This includes assigning the gym data, pokemarts inventory as well as wild pokemon on the routes.

Sample metadata (Click to enlarge)

Spent a lot of time debugging an issue with the validations to prevent roads from overlapping not working.

Pokemons also respawn now on the routes, and I started implementing the actual skills and the damage calculation. (Based on the information from Bulbapedia)

I also implemented an alternate display mode which looks a bit like a gameboy color. At least to me 🙂

I’m less than 24 hours away from the end so… what’s the plan?

I don’t know.

It frankly looks grim, but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy (that’s why I hesitated). There’s enough material here for a seven years roguelike. The challenge will be wrapping up decently.

Pending stuff (not all of it will make it):

  • Lab building to pick starter pokemon
  • Pokemon Center buildings to heal pokemon
  • Pokemon “fainting” and losing gym battles
  • Pokemon level up, learn new skills, evolve
  • Place items randomly on map
  • Sell items to earn money
  • Adding a good chunk of data for pokemon and their skillsets.
  • Special attacks
  • Trainer battles to earn money
  • Restock stores

2017 7DRL, PokemonRL Day 5

Managed to advance a lot today! there’s still a long road but things are looking much better now:

  • Added simple “route” type map generation (A straight road with some patches of tall grass).
  • Ported my Cellular Automata classes to JavaScript and applied to route map in order to make the patches of grass look irregular
  • Semiopaque tiles so you can look a little into tall grass but must walk into it to find wild pokemon.

  • Pokemons slots, selecting, releasing and pulling back.
  • Make pokemon fight
  • Catch pokemon using pokeballs
  • Use potions on pokemons
  • Pokemarts where you can potions and stuff

  • Pokegyms: Single room with leader, door closes when entering. Badge appear when all pokemon defeated.

Next up

  • Metadata generator (for map)
  • Spawn wild poke
  • Use poke skills (Ranged attacks, special attacks)
  • Poke level up, learn new skills, evolve
  • Trainer battles to earn money
  • Place items randomly on map
  • Sell items to earn money
  • Restock stores
  • Lab building to pick starter pokemon
  • DATA!

2017 7DRL Day 4, PokemonRL again

Decided to go back to PokemonRL because IT WILL BE AWESOME. Tomorrow I’ll change my mind again.

Scribbled a rough plan in my notebook on the morning:

  • Deploy poke
  • Make poke fight wild poke
  • Catch poke
  • Use potions on poke
  • Buy potions
  • Generate map based on pokemon red
  • Spawn wild poke
  • Town maps: Simple building placement
  • Gym maps: Single room with leader, door closes when entering. Badge appear when all pokemon defeated.

Did a lot of boring work the whole day. But then managed to complete rudimentary inventory management, using and dropping items for JSBoilerRL.

Started tinkering around level generation. As usual will take a layered approach based on examples to generate a cool pokemap. Following is the generators cascade:

  1. World Metadata Generator: Towns to place, name and theme / weather
  2. World Grid Generator: Town and road positioning and linking.
  3. Map Generator: Town-Route maps
    1. Every town will have a gym where you battle the leader to get the badge.
    2. Wild pokemon will be placed on the routes.
    3. All locations will be accessible (no route blocking)

There will be no caves / dungeon / towers.

World grid generator will generate something similar to this (found on the internet, author unknown)

Managed to advance on map generation based on fixed metadata


This is the current status, next up is completing a first iteration of basic map generation (including routes), in order to jump into combat.


2017 7DRL: Concordia Reborn – ongoing

Day 1 – Tinkering with ideas

Didn’t manage to code anything. Was still recovering from my GDC trip, used the little energy I had to work in fixes for Ananias instead.

However, managed to tinker a bit around the idea of a generator for a classic cRPG scenario, generate a world using fractals, place some towns, generate some simple quests on each town and had the player complete them to get an artifact on each and win the game. Initial plans were to have this be a kind of sequel to Ananias, leaning more towards a classic cRPG similar to Ultima 4, but reutilizing the engine.

Day 2 – Change of plans, start work on JSBoilerRL

Came back to the office to find a lot of stuff going on so it’s not going to be an easy 7DRL week but when has it been? I’m also working on an update for Ananias at the same time by the way.

Ditched the original idea and instead thought on reviving a very old idea: a fully traditional classic roguelike with a Pokémon theme.

Checked some gameplay videos for the Mystery Dungeon tiles to make sure there’s no overlap. The game will be different, based on the first generation games and with little plot. you’ll be a trainer and you’ll catch pokemon and give them orders to combat in a tactical grid map.

Started work in JSBoilerRL, a template project other people will be able to use to create their roguelikes in JS. It’s powered by unicodetiles.js producing similar output as my 2013 7drl, Rodney. Managed to implement walk in the map with collisions, FOV, memory and enemies moving around.

Was stuck trying to debug an issue with transitions between levels with stairway tiles moving around weirdly.

Next up is fixing the bug and start working in the actual pokemon mechanics.


Day 3 – More change of plans, JSBoilerRL continued

Spent some time designing the game:

  • You are a pokemon trainer, your goal is to become a pokemon master by defeating the gym leaders on all 8 gyms and then challenging the elite four and the current pokemon master in the Indigo Plateau.
  • In order to do so, you’ll have to travel the land looking for powerful pokemon, capture and train them to become stronger.
  • You can have up to 6 pokemon in your team at the same time, you can command them to use their abilities against particular targets.
  • You can store your pokemon data in the computer in order to free slots for new pokemon.
  • You can use items in pokemon, either wild ones, these in your team or your opponent’s. Items can be bought from pokemarts or found in the map.
  • The following items types are available: pokeballs (used to capture pokemon), healing items (recover HP or PP), status recovery items

I realized the scope would be too big for a 7DRL, mainly because of the required data and balancing to make it good. So I changed plans again to the original idea, only using a traditional roguelike UI instead of reutilizing the Ananias engine.

  • Randomly generated map with towns and dungeons
  • Place a quest on each town which can be one of the following types
    • Kill x monsters on a given dungeon
    • Find item
    • Rescue NPC
  • Complete all quests to win the game
  • Simple roguelike gameplay, traditional fantasy setting

Listened to almost all the Roguelike Radio podcast made by Jeff and Darren… some pretty good points there not only related to 7DRL but roguelikes and game design in general. Decided to try and make a classic roguelike and then include an unique twist which may be the game being combat-less, with your character being an traveling scholar fixing the world with the pen instead of the sword. Still don’t know how that can be implemented.

Struggled hard to fix the issue with the level transitions on JSBoilerRL… turned out it was caused by myself defining the object attributes as part of the function prototype instead of them being defined for every object instance (d’oh!).

Decided to lay down a plan for the completion of JSBoilerRL so I can start working on the game itself, basically wanted to make sure I’m covered with the basic which leaves the following pending:

  • Items: including inventory handling, getting, dropping, wearing, using
  • Message box

Managed to advance on item handling and inventory. Still pending dropping, wearing and using items.

By now I’m getting close to Rodney, which makes me wonder… why didn’t I use Rodney as a base in first place? other than having a cleaner codebase there’s no advantage on what I’m doing and instead I’m wasting more dev time… a very non-practical choice :/

Going to the bed hoping tomorrow I can start working in the actual game.


Rise of Kramora, now available for Android (phone)

Well,  I just felt like I had to make the game available for phones as well because:

  • … not many people has Android Wear smartwatches these days
  • … specially, wanted the 7DRL jurors to be able to play.
  • … wanted to create a native android app
  • … wanted to test how hard it’d be to create an app to run in both type of devices.

This mean you can play the game now in your Android Phone! have in mind that this is STILL the original 7DRL edition. I haven’t made any enhancements to it! You can find more info about the 7DRL release here. Basically, don’t expect a revolutionary game, but I hope you can find it entertaining: The main goal (game-design-wise) was making something you could play any time, without any commitment, but still find challenging.

Play now for free!


In order to make it happen I had to move some things around, creating an Android Library module on Android Studio, moving all the generic code and resources into it and linking the wear and mobile modules with it. This module contains the game classes (the “model”), the sprite “engine” (i.e. the library for sprite management and tweens) and the generic view (based on an android.graphics.Canvas, and thus compatible with both the wear and mobile modules) and controller.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 7.53.42 PM

The wear module was then left with just the WatchfaceService (wired to the Game, View and Controller); since it has built-in messaging-based timing functionality, it could easily be wired to the sprite engine, to provide animations at a given frame rate (24FPS).

The mobile module, on the other hand, had none of this…. Fortunately I stumbled upon this tutorial, which was very helpful on creating a simple rendering engine backed by a SurfaceView, which in turn was wired to the game, view and controller. Lastly, there was a simple Activity which set the SurfaceView as its ContentView.

The hardest part however was memory management… because of its 7DRL nature I was pretty sloppy, loading all bitmaps (AND their scaled version) into memory. For some reason it went well on the initial Android Wear version, but the bitmaps on memory were just too big for the phone.

The first change I had to make was no longer storing the scaled versions, but rather using methods to scale them on the fly while drawing. It’s a balance of processing power vs. memory, but it seems to be able to handle it pretty well. However there’s still room for improvement, I may revisit this if I find out it’s a big problem.

After this, and adding a “wristwatch” border, the phone version  was almost working, then I wanted to double check the watch version and, weirdly, tons of memory errors happened.

Oddly, I spent lots of time just trying to get the Wear version working back again…  I did lots of changes, including loading bitmaps on request instead of caching them, but I did it on the main thread because I needed them available immediately (bad idea). It worked, but was pretty choppy so in the end I discarded that, and settled for manually downscaling all the game graphics from a 512×512 base to a 320×320 one, which made sense since in any case that’s what most Android Wear watches are up to now. (and in any case it should upscale for newer devices).

In any case, I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know if you run into any issues running it!

Rise of Kramora, 2016 7DRL Victory!

Yay! I managed to finish! many thanks to Giovanny Ramirez (artist for the project) for his outstanding work and commitment to the challenge deadline…


The results are much better than I thought they would be! I aimed for a simple game derived from the design of my roguelike in a tweet. What I ended up doing keeps the same spirit, but I added quite a bit of animations and simple 2D effects, as well as great artwork. In order to do so, I had to create a simple library for sprite management, animation and tweens for Android Wear. I hope you guys enjoy it!

Download now from Play Store! It’s a Watchface so you have to install it in your phone, then it’ll sync automatically to your watch and you can select it on the watchface selector.

You can check a video of it working ->here<-

So, I proudly present you, The Rise of Kramora

Months of meditation in the darkness of the Pits of the Dead have at least provided enlightenment: There is only one way to save this decadent world from itself: summoning the Great Serpent Kramora to exterminate all life, and let new life arise…

All of your life, you have studied scrolls of magic and ancient history which now point you towards your fate: You must climb the Tower of Sephira, the stronghold of the Holy Order of Ananias which relentlessly guards the Ancient Tome of Kramora. Will you be able to overcome the defenders of Order?


Rise of Kramora is a lightweight roguelike designed to be played on Android Wear smartwatches. Explore the Tower of Sephira finding weapons, armor and potions, and vanquish your enemies in melee combat or using magic spells.

As you climb the tower, enemies get more and more difficult but you’ll also get stronger. Can you reach Floor 25 and create a new world?

I only managed to work 5 days this year, this is what I did over the last day:

  • Added a simple and depressive endgame sequence. (Can you win the game?)
  • Added Spells (Fire/Thunder/Paralysis)
  • Adjust stats for item and monster generation
  • Adjust stats for items and monsters
  • Implement Magic points, and magic potions to recover them
  • Implemented vertical tweens when climbing the tower (check out the moon!)
  • Added 3 new different background shamelessly derived from the first and only one I had from Gio
  • Added explosions for Magic Spells (less than 2 hours before the deadline :|)
  • A lot of stuff over the last hour


I spent a lot of time tracking two elusive bugs:

  1. Sky background would randomly scroll out of view forever: caused by an issue with 0 frame tweens moving sprites to infinity.
  2. Entering into combat randomly doesn’t show action buttons: caused by a 4th “Climb Stairs” action being added, where the engine only supports 3 (so it showed none)

The last hour was particularly interesting, my most awesome feat was implementing the animation for the doors in less than 15 minutes… that’s the sort of thing that makes you feel alive 🙂

Victory for the 13th time!

Rise of Kramora, Day 4 7DRL 2016

Oh gosh, I did so many things today!

I started with a Huge refactor breaking the monolytic Watchface Service into a View and Controller model, in order to be able to send UI update commands from the Game and fire tweens and stuff.

I implemented a simple tweening library for Android Wear, and using it I added animations for combat as well as for exploration. Of course that brings a lot of life to the game, in exchange for higher CPU usage. I think it’s still OK, but of course I’d have to do a bit of optimizations for production deployment.


Giovanny finished drawing all the enemies and player graphics, they are awesome! He also managed to do the sky background and another one with a window for the tower… hopefully he’ll be able to do some more tomorrow.

I also worked hard implementing a parallax effect and added overlays for the weapons; right now it uses about 27MB of RAM, and quicks the CPU in 30% usage peaks

Should I add sprite group and group tweens? I doubt I have enough time inside the 7DRL timeframe, but if any further development should be pursued, it’s a no-brainer to keep the code simpler.

Check out the video on twitter.


  • Winning Condition
  • Spells
  • Fix Bug with some battles making the game hang
  • Fix Bug with parallax failing after a while.
  • Definitive data for enemy and item spawns. (Balance)
  • Playtesting

Rise of Kramora, day 3 7DRL 2016

Well, this is getting interesting 🙂

Looking forward to add simple animation, I am creating a simple sprite management engine for Android wear. I refactored the code and also changed the interaction model to be able to handle up to three actions per state.


Giovanny has been hard at work too illustrating the enemies (so far we have 4). They are looking great.


As you can see, I’ve also redesigned the game so there are more interactions now; in battle you will be able to use mind and elemental magic as well as doing basic attacks. The engine is flexible enough to add new actions as needed.

Things are looking for the release. This is a rough plan:
– Implement magic spells
– implement tweens for damage values, combat and movements.
– Add balanced content.
– Add pending graphics.

2016 7DRL – Rise of Kramora, Day 2

We have a new name and a new theme:

After much pondering you have come to a conclusion… there’s only one solution to save this decadent world: Summoning the Great Serpent Kramora to exterminate all life on the planet, and let new life arise…

Decades of studying scrolls of magic and history point you towards the path of your fate: You must climb the Tower of Sephira, battling the holy knights guarding the Ancient Tome of Kramora Summoning. Will you be able to overcome the defenders of Order?


In the small amount of time I managed to scrap today, I added support for graphics. It’s almost working.

The graphics are being drawn by Giovanny Ramirez, my cousin, who’s also done some quality Ananias work in the past. I hope we manage to have all required assets on time!