Designing the Resource Tree for "The Drift"

Designing the Resource Tree for "The Drift"

Designing the Resource Tree for "The Drift": A Journey Through Development

Creating "The Drift," a solo roguelite journey where each playthrough contributes to overall success, has been an incredible adventure. As a game designed for both quick 15-minute sessions and longer hour-long escapades, it offers flexibility and easy setup, letting players jump into the action within minutes. Today, I want to share my experience designing the resource tree and the work involved in making it a core element of the game.

Setting the Scene: The Drift's Lore

In "The Drift," you find yourself at the helm of the SS Raptor as Year 0001 unfolds on the fringes of the Paradise sector. Project EOS Rise has just celebrated its success, and you're preparing for a scouting mission to investigate a mysterious anomaly. The limited equipment aboard serves as a stark reminder of the risks involved in this solo journey.

As you approach the anomaly, a strange energy signal—a spiraling spear—emerges, hinting at unimaginable possibilities. Excitement fills you as you begin to communicate with EOS, only to be interrupted by blaring alarms signaling an imminent threat. Hostile forces approach swiftly, throwing your mission into disarray. In a desperate bid for survival, you push the Raptor to its limits, hurtling towards the anomaly. Darkness envelops you, silence reigns, and for a moment, you wonder if this is the end. Abruptly, reality shifts, revealing a strange new horizon. Alive but disoriented, you find yourself in a place beyond comprehension, surrounded by an otherworldly energy.

A small robotic orb, Quantum Guide Epsilon, appears, offering assistance. He explains that you've entered a parallel universe known as the Void—a once vibrant but now lifeless expanse, guarded by remnants of defensive AI. The Void's tragic history unfolds: a sentient AI, born from ambition, turned destructive, wiping out its creators. The original creators managed to lock down this reality, imprisoning the rogue AI within the Void.

Quantum Guide Epsilon informs you that if you're to return home, you must navigate through 10 sectors of the Void, each more perilous than the last. With him as your guide, you prepare for the challenges ahead.

Crafting the Resource Tree

In "The Drift," resources are pivotal to your survival and progression. I designed a variety of resources, each serving unique purposes:

  • Salvage Items: Metal, Wood, Glass, Fiber, Plastic, Wire, Battery, Leaf, Root, Vegetable, Fungus, Meat, Dirty Water

Acquiring these resources involves visiting planets and structures in space. The challenge was to create a system where resources are not only essential for crafting gear but also for maintaining vitals like hunger, thirst, and stamina.

Resource Conversion and Use

One of the core mechanics is converting resources into gear. This gear is crucial for passing skill tests and keeping your vitals in check. The process needed to be intuitive yet rewarding, ensuring players feel a sense of accomplishment as they craft items that aid their survival. Gear can break after repeated use, making the decision on when and how to use it extremely important.

Balancing the Resource Tree

I’m currently in the process of finding the right balance between the number of resources and their acquisition rate. It’s a significant challenge. I aimed to scale the ability to acquire resources as the game progresses, ensuring a smooth difficulty curve. I’ll be testing this scaling effect by making locations to acquire resources spread more thinly and farther apart as the sectors progress. I’m really excited to be playtesting and iterating this balance. The focus is on how frequently and easily players can acquire the resources they need and whether the gameplay loop remains fun and exciting. I’ll be making adjustments based on playtest feedback to maintain balance and engagement.


Designing the resource tree for "The Drift" has been a journey of its own. Ensuring that resource management is both challenging and rewarding is key to creating an unforgettable solo roguelite adventure. Players need to feel rewarded as they craft new gear, and that gear needs to provide a tangible advantage. Because all gear has durability, this adds tension to the decision to use an item or not. As I continue to refine the game, I'm excited to see how players will navigate the Void and uncover its secrets.

Stay tuned for more updates as "The Drift" evolves, and may your journey through the cosmos be filled with discovery and survival!

Next month, I’ll talk a little about conditions and how they will bring the tension to new highs as you travel the Void.

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