Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Freshly Squeezed Progress Report: Stamina, Energy, and Resting

In my last report, I added the concept of time plus a watch on the HUD that allows the player to track that time in The Dungeon Under My House, my non-violent, first-person role-playing game and my second Freshly Squeezed Entertainment project.

Sprint 2024-23: Stamina and resting mechanics

Planned and incomplete:

  • Friends have stamina

As I said in the previous report:

I decided a core part of the game would involve managing time. While the game is turn-based and wouldn’t require dexterity and perfect timing of button presses to do well, it will require the player to pay attention to the clock and to manage time as a valuable and scarce resource.

Why? Because I decided that the major theme of the game is the idea that there is too much to do and not enough time to do it all.

And with a concrete concept of time, the rest of the mechanics can work to either directly or indirectly involve time somehow.

I decided that another major resource to manage is the stamina of your party members. Taking certain actions should use up stamina, and so should walking in the dungeon.

First, I needed to show a party member’s stamina in the HUD. I spent some time thinking through how to represent it in a way that communicates everything useful to the player.

Having a meter alone tells you how much current energy exists relative to the maximum amount, such as:
“(======____)”, but I felt like it left out important information such as how much energy exactly exists. Someone with half of 10 total energy would look the same as someone with half of 100 total energy.

Having just numbers will give that information, such as “ENERGY: 3/10”, but you lose the ability to see at a glance how much energy the party member has relative to their maximum amount.

I could have both a meter and numbers, and that seems like the best of both worlds, but it risked crowding the HUD.

I eventually came up with the idea of using a row of orbs to represent energy, with smaller orbs underneath to show how much the last filled orb has left in it. The challenge right now is that I still don’t know what magnitude/scale makes sense for stamina. I didn’t want to spend time making a pretty UI widget only to find out that it doesn’t make sense when I have to change the general range of values that you can have for stamina.

Having a max of 10 energy can be represented by 10 bars in a meter or 10 orbs, but what if I decide that 5 makes sense? Or 1000 to give the player more flexibility with how they use their energy?

So for now, I went with using simple numbers, knowing I’ll want to revisit this stamina HUD representation question later when the game’s numbers are more nailed down.

The Dungeon Under My House - stamina shown in HUD

Next, I needed to use stamina when walking in the dungeon. I already had a way to add 5 minutes to the time when you walk 30 steps, so I just piggybacked off of that code to also decrease the stamina of the party members by 1.

Then, I added the ability to rest in order to recover stamina.

The Dungeon Under My House - resting

As you can see, you can choose to rest for 10 minutes in exchange for gaining back +1 energy for each party member. I also considered adding other options, such as resting for longer periods of time in exchange for more energy, but I’ll start with this one option.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out where the Rest button should live, though. I originally envisioned it being part of the watch’s functionality. If you click on the watch, perhaps you can set an alarm, and one choice you can make is to rest 10 minutes.

But managing time was conceptually different from managing stamina, and I realized it would be counterintuitive to lump it in with watch utilities.

I don’t like it on the main HUD, because I think choosing to Rest won’t be as common an action as what the navigation controls provide, but similar to the choice to represent stamina with simple numbers for now, I’ll revisit this HUD question once more of the game is working together.

The last thing I needed to do was handle the situation in which the party’s stamina hits 0 energy, forcing them to rest.

If the entire party is at 0, it makes sense for force a 10 minute rest. But what happens when at least one party member isn’t at 0?

I’m thinking about being somewhat forgiving here. Maybe some dialogue pops up, offering the chance to rest or to continue on, knowing that the other party members now need to use more of then own energy to make up for it.

So for each party member at 0, the remaining party members might use up 1 extra energy when moving around. So if one party member is at 0, the other two members each use up 2 energy instead of 1 for every 30 steps. And if two members are at 0 stamina, then the remaining party member uses 3 energy. Maybe. I’ll toy with this idea for the future.

For now, though, I decided to implement one idea I came up with while sketching out some of these mechanics: Exhaustion status.

If a party member hits 0 energy, they get an “Exhausted” status, which will create a bit of scripted dialogue to that effect. If all members are similarly exhausted and out of energy, then the only option is to rest for 10 minutes.

Otherwise, if there is at least one party member who has energy, then a second option to continue without resting is available.

I’m not finished with this part. I still need to indicate on the HUD that a party member is exhausted, and I’m trying to figure out how to best convey the consequences of continuing without resting.

I’m also trying to figure out what consequences make sense for having the Exhausted status. Maybe all actions take an extra energy to perform, or twice as much energy for perform while Exhausted? Perhaps, upon returning back to the house, party members who are Exhausted cannot return to the dungeon for a day (they need to rest, after all), forcing the player to choose other party members. I like this idea because eventually I want the player to have reasons to choose some party members at different times, and avoiding exhausting your party becomes important in its own right to avoid being without a key party member for a particular task.

Since time plays such an important role, using the option to Rest should be something the player doesn’t want to do unless they have to. But I’ll need more of the game in place to see how it all plays out.

Thanks for reading!

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