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I'm making an Idle RPG with a roguelite element.

I want this game to be a true idle game and not like most other idle games where you have to click an upgrade every 10 seconds to keep progressing. It's also not going to be an incremental game.

I have a very basic demo right now that consists of:

My primary game loop:

  • start adventure
  • watch as your character kills monsters and gathers resources
  • go back to town to use the found resources to become stronger

Every 5/10/25/100 zones you will encounter a boss that is a lot harder to kill 5: mini-boss (again at 15, 35, 45, ...) 10: medium-boss (again at 20, 30, ...) 25: big-boss (again at 50 & 75) 100: major boss

You need to kill 5 monsters in each zone to (automatically) progress to the next zone. There is no going back, the only action you can take is going back to town, which will force you to start again from zone 1. Each zone the monsters become slightly stronger.

At some point during the adventure, the character will run out of health and will be forced to go back to town. At the beginning of the game this is very fast, less than a minute. But as you upgrade your character this takes longer and longer. You can choose to go back at any point, for example: if you have enough resources for an upgrade you want.

There's a store in town that allows you to buy new items with the coins you found from killing monsters.

Each time you restart the adventure you start again from the first zone. I'm not sure this is a good mechanic. It feels really boring to have to progress through all the zones again. I can easily add mechanics to speed this up or even skip it though.

Ideas I'm thinking about:

  • Remove health and just allow players to choose when to go back to town when it becomes too slow to kill the monsters
  • Add healing items or respawn items that allow you to continue
  • Add teleport items that allow you to continue from a specific zone instead of having to start from 1
  • Add boss fight items that allow you to fight a boss
  • Add items that require you to kill 1 less monsters each zone to progress (min 1)
  • Add items that let you skip zones - optionally up to a maximum zone where it would stop working
  • Or just plain let players continue where they stopped, or near there?

I've been playing a lot of Clicker Heroes and though it's an "idle" game, you're constantly clicking upgrades, which is what keeps the game fun and engaging.

How would I do this for my game, I actually want to make it so you don't have to interact with it for hours and so it's a true idle game that you can have open while playing other games.

It feels like something important is missing or I'm doing something wrong. Any tips?

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    \$\begingroup\$ you should play test your game and find some people who play test it. Any game can be fun is made correctly by either art, story, user interaction and/ or mechanics. The best idea can be boring to play if the UI is horrible to interact. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zibelas
    Oct 26, 2023 at 16:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ An important step is to identify what "kind" of fun you want to craft. What specific emotions/feelings of play do you want to evoke, what sorts of skills do you want to challenge? The "eight kinds of fun" or the skills of "rational game design" might be useful taxonomies to consult for some starting points to prompt your thinking, though neither is exhaustive, and you can further refine them to zero in on the experience you want your game to be about. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Oct 26, 2023 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Will the game have excellent story telling and art? \$\endgroup\$
    – Evorlor
    Oct 27, 2023 at 0:58

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Key points for any idle game are;

  1. It must be idle and running even when not being interacted with. In a browser setting that means that even when switched to another tab the game should still run.
  2. Great art and polish will make any game better and more fun to look at. Polish is like explosions, shaking, lighting and shadows.
  3. The best idle games are ones with the least amount of interaction and yet keep the player into it, many values constantly seen going up helps this.

With what you described I would not make many zones, but rather one giant arena, that you can leave to go to town. And so the only mechanic would be walking, the player would be able to walk into the arena and just stand there auto attacking, all kinds of different attacks based on upgrades, walk if they want to, and walk out to town and up to shops when ready. In town magic power could recharge, go up, perhaps indefinitely, and in the arena, the player uses magic power until it is up, and also swings a sword or whatever physical attack. That way something would happen both in town and in the arena, even if they just stood still.

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