Some thoughts on Last Man Standing


If you had been following this blog you would know that “Last Man Standing” was originally intended to be a simple game with a very limited scope. The original scope did not really cater for any game play other than killing all the monsters or being killed. In order to release the game, I felt that I needed a few extra features, and so “Last Man Standing” was born.

To make it a game I added the following features:

  • the ability for actors to gain health and damage from their victims,
  • all actors are enemies i.e. it is a free-for-all,
  • and a user interface showing player stats, current threats, opponents and game messages

Overall I was happy with the end result, especially considering the amount of time I spent implementing these features (about 8 hours). But even as I put it all together I realised there were some flaws in the design. I’ve listed the main flaws below and included some discussion on how I propose to fix them.

  1. The end game is really boring. I often found myself running around in the empty dungeon (for a long time) looking for the last opponent. I tried to remedy this by letting the computer AI seek you out if it is just the two of you, but it wasn’t enough. I have a few ideas on how to fix this situation.

    • The first would be to make the last opponent immediately visible on the map no matter where he is. You can then just run up to him without the whole hide and seek factor. I am, however, worried that this approach would take away some of the tactical combat elements and might be a bit silly.
    • A review on cymonsgames suggested directional cues, these could be visual or in the form of context sensitive game messages e.g. “You hear some movement to the west”. I’m not sure to what extent it would eliminate the hide and seek problem, but it’s worth a shot. I think this feature will enhance the general game play and is well worth implementing.

  2. Combat is very basic at the moment. All you can do is run up to a monster and hit it. There are a few options for me to implement.

    • I can implement ranged combat and spells. This would add immediate variety in how you engage with the monsters. My concern is that I don’t really want to implement ranged combat and spells in the traditional sense. Ranged combat would require a different weapon type and potentially an inventory system. Spells would require all kinds of different effects and not to mention a complete magic system.
    • Another technique would be to implement different abilities. These could include swap life, spirit walk, phase door etc. I guess they’re could be seen as spells. My implementation, however, would limit these abilities to different races, or hero types. You pick a hero or race at the start of the game and then have one or more abilities available. This would provide you with completely different playing styles depending on what hero you choose.

  3. The UI is hardcoded to a specific resolution. I propose to implement some kind of variable layout that would keep the standard output fixed, but scale the portion of viewable map area. I would have to implement map scrolling, but this isn’t a big deal.

I am sure there are a lot more flaws in the game, but I feel the above list is a good place to start.

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One thought on “Some thoughts on Last Man Standing

  1. I’m glad that my review is being considered. My suggestions, I hope were clear enough, were more than just directional, but suggested a major re-write. Unfortunately I don’t see any other way. Call the 7DRL version a prototype and start over.

    I think you’ve got a good idea here, just a bad implementation of it.

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