Keith Burgun's picture

Hey all! Sorry I haven't posted much these days, it's because I've been working so hard on my new turn-based strategy game, AURO. I've got you guys on my google reader though, so I have been keeping up with my lurking.

I just wanted to let you guys know about the progress of AURO, and in case some of you don't know, what AURO is.

AURO is a turn-based, tactical, hex-based game with nice pixel art animation. Its design is driven by a strong philosophy: basically, that games are all about making decisions. If the decisions presented to you are interesting, that's a good thing.

I think that most video games are really, really bad at delivering these decision-situtaions. 99% of the time you're playing a modern video game you are doing one of the following things:

- Waiting through a cutscene
- Waiting through a loading screen
- Running down a linear corridor of some sort
- Following instructions on a tutorial

or, and this is the biggest one:

- executing trivially obvious actions.

Now, no game is totally without SOME trivially obvious actions, but videogames don't seem very concerned about avoiding them.

AURO is different. AURO is all about being super-efficient. Even in my last game, 100 Rogues, the game took about 30-45 minutes to play a single game. In that time, you probably had maybe 10 or 15 situations crop up that were actually interesting and caused you to have to think for a second before taking action.

We're really trying to boil that down with AURO. That's the goal. The core mechanism of AURO is "using your special abilities against those of monsters".

So, the closest thing, framework wise, to AURO, are the Roguelike genre, although I don't think it's fair to call AURO a roguelike. Here are some key differences between AURO and the normal roguelike.

- No experience points. Characters do not get stronger as they go. Instead, you gain new abilities. These new abilities do indeed give you more options, but they also make decisions more difficult (as choosing between 5 skills is harder than choosing between 2).

- Score based game. Roguelikes tend to "have" a score, but they also have an ending, implying that the goal might be to actually beat the game, not get a high score. Like Tetris, AURO has no ending. You win in AURO by beating a high score. We might even have some cool modes where you can challenge other players online to see who can get the highest score in a week.

- No minimap. Our game is not about exploration - the maps are linear "courses" and you get bonus-points for completing levels quickly

- No D&Dish "stats". Your character starts with 10 HP, and it refills at the start of every new level. It never gets bigger. There's no % to-hit or random criticals.

- Random layout, non-random gameplay. There's no "loot" system (or equipment of any kind), there's no random criticals or misses. The levels are randomly generated (as well as monster placement), but the actual gameplay is totally non-random.

These are just a few things. Of course, we also will have a story mode that doubles as a tutorial, but it's meant to be played just once and then you move on to the real game.

Check out the Kickstarter video to see the game in action.

What do you guys think?


Rowdy Rob
Rowdy Rob's picture
Joined: 09/04/2006
It looks good. I am intrigued.

Based on what you've posted, and what I saw on the Kickstarter page, Auro looks like a potentially excellent game. I'm glad to see that it won't be iOS only, giving me a chance to check it out when it's completed. The video did justice to the concept.

It looks like a cross between "Rogue" and a tactical board game, such as "Settlers of Caitan" or something of the sort. Not deep tactical, such as a war game, but simple enough to pick up and play. That's a good thing.

The concept and execution appears to be solid. I am intrigued.

davyK's picture
Joined: 05/21/2006
I totally agree re decisions

I totally agree re decisions and enjoyable games. I have a design for a game I have been kicking about on paper for a couple of years now and have started preliminary work on developing it by creating parts of it as Java applets to teach myself the language. It will be some time before it is ready and I won't release it until it is complete - but it is really for my own enjoyment as it is a game I want to play and haven't found anywhere yet - so maybe when I finally finish it other people will enjoy it too. One of the main features of the game is the idea of giving the player several decisions to make at each "turn" which will hopefully be very challenging with the player continually balancing different elements within the game.

It is a quite abstract puzzle based game that has elements of luck but the imagery will be based on familiar objects within games that already exist. I hope I can make the time to progress from the encouraging start I have made on the development of it.

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
Love the concepts, Keith!

Love the concepts, Keith! Looking forward to trying it out.


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