PebbleQuest

A mage in the PebbleQuest game as seen on a red Pebble watch.

Introduction

Evil wizards stole the Elderstone and sundered it, creating a hundred Pebbles of Power. You have entered the wizards’ vast underground lair to recover the Pebbles and save the realm.


 

Welcome, hero, to PebbleQuest: a 3D action-RPG for your Pebble, the first of its kind ever developed for a smartwatch! Built on the foundation provided by MazeCrawler and SpaceMerc, this full-fledged dungeon crawler combines the random-level replay value and “permanent death” intensity of a classic roguelike with the immersion and real-time combat of a first-person action-RPG. PebbleQuest is the closest thing we currently have to playing an Elder Scrolls game on a watch and it’s now available for free through MyPebbleFaces and the official Pebble App Store!

Character Stats

There’s no need to choose a “class” for your character. Instead, simply choose how your character develops as you go along. At the outset, all characters have a value of “1” in three major attributes:

  • Agility: Speed, nimbleness, and skillful movement contribute to physical and magical defense as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of physical and magical attacks.
  • Strength: Brawn and overall vim and vigor contribute significantly to max. health (hit points) along with physical powerphysical defense, and max. energy.
  • Intellect: Knowledge and mental fortitude are the primary determinants of magical power, whether through direct spells or weapon enchantments, and also contribute to magical defense and max. energy.

Energy is consumed each time you attack, whether by sword or spell, and is displayed in the lower-right corner of the screen. Health, of course, decreases when others attack you and is displayed in the lower-left. Fortunately, both health and energy replenish gradually over time. They’re also fully restored each time you level up, at which point you can also increase one major attribute.

PebbleQuest's "level up" screen.

PebbleQuest‘s “level up” screen, an homage to The Elder Scrolls: Arena.

As alluded to earlier, death is permanent in PebbleQuest. When the health meter reaches zero, you must bid your old character farewell and start fresh with a new one. Nonetheless, with a little caution (and more than a little luck), an adventurer may enjoy a long career of monster-slaying and loot-gathering, even in the perilous underworld of PebbleQuest!

Weapons & Armor

Starting out, your character has naught but a robe. (Why, you might ask, would any adventurer embark on a dangerous quest so ill-equipped? Well, perhaps you’re a monk, or you’re terribly impoverished, or you just had an unfortunate run-in with a highwayman, or…I don’t know, stop asking questions!) Soon, however, you will come across various items left lying around or dropped by your felled foes. These show up in the game as white rectangles, or “treasure chests.”

Loot

A pile of loot lies before you, just waiting to be picked up!

Walking onto these treasure chests causes the “Loot Menu” to appear, allowing you to claim items of interest (unclaimed items disappear forever). Only five of the heavier, bulkier items (i.e., everything except Pebbles) may be carried at one time, so if you’ve already reached the limit and then try to pick up another one you’ll be asked which item you wish to drop to make room for the new one. Dropped items disappear forever, so choose carefully! (And, yes, you can still press the “Back” button at that point if you decide you’d rather stick with your current belongings.)

So, which items should your character focus on? For starters, here’s some information on weapons:

Weapon Power Fatigue Special Effect
Dagger +2 +1 Wound
Sword +4 +2 Wound
Axe +6 +3 Wound
Staff +2 +1 Stun
Mace +4 +2 Stun
Flail +6 +3 Stun

As you can see, sharp weapons provide a chance of inflicting wounds (damaging enemies over time) whereas blunt weapons provide a chance of stunning your foes (briefly preventing them from moving or attacking). In addition, although heavier weapons deal more damage per hit, they also cause more fatigue, or energy loss per attack. Lighter weapons—or no weapon at all—may be preferable, especially at the beginning or anytime your character’s exhausted, backed into a corner, and desperately waiting for the energy meter to rise.

There is no ranged weaponry in PebbleQuest, but all spells are ranged, giving mages a distinct advantage in long-range combat. Spells are cast by wielding Pebbles of Power, as we’ll see shortly, but first, here are the details for clothing and armor:

Clothing/Armor Defense Fatigue Magical Power
Robe +0 +0 -0
Light Armor +2 +1 -1
Heavy Armor +4 +2 -2
Shield +2 +1 -1

Once again, there are pros and cons to the heavier items. A high-level character needn’t worry too much about fatigue, but it can be a fatal hindrance at lower levels. Also, spellcasters may wish to stick with a robe rather than suffering penalties to their arcane power by donning armor.

Speaking of robes, don’t let the table above fool you: a robe doesn’t have to be useless. Like all other items, it can be infused with a Pebble of Power!

Pebbles of Power

Each Pebble of Power holds a tiny fraction of the incredible potency once exhibited by the Elderstone. There are seven different types: fire, icethunder, lightshadow, life, and death.

Pebbles may be equipped, allowing you to cast spells. They can also be permanently infused into clothing, armor, shields, and weapons, imbuing them with magical properties. Just be aware that while enchanted weapons will inflict extra damage (and possibly status effects) on your enemies, they will also drain your energy slightly faster than mundane weapons.

Enchanted items as seen in PebbleQuest's inventory menu.

Enchanted items as seen in PebbleQuest‘s inventory menu.

The effects of each Pebble are as follows:

Pebble Spell/Weapon Effect Robe/Armor/Shield Effect
Pebble of Fire Flame
(extra damage over time)
Strength +1
Pebble of Ice Frost
(slows the enemy)
Intellect +1
Pebble of Thunder Lightning
(weakens the enemy)
Agility +1
Pebble of Light Holy Light
(chance to make enemies flee)
Energy Regen. +1
Pebble of Shadow Darkness
(chance of paralyzation)
Spell Absorption
(chance to absorb spells as energy)
Pebble of Life Life Drain
(absorbs health)
Health Regen. +1
Pebble of Death Disintegration
(chance of instant death)
Backlash Damage
(when physically attacked)

All status effects are cumulative. In other words, (a) equipping both Heavy Armor of Thunder and a Shield of Thunder will result in a total boost of +2 to Agility, (b) a Sword of Fire may cause both “wounding” and “burning” damage over time, and (c) a Mace of Shadow will have two chances to apply a “stun/paralyze” effect (and if both are successful the effect will last longer than it would have by either alone).

Directly wielding a Pebble to cast spells has three significant advantages: (a) you can attack from a distance, (b) magical effects from spells are twice as potent as those from enchanted weapons, and (c) spells drain less energy than physical attacks. On the other hand, enchanted weapons inflict both magical and physical damage, and donning armor won’t decrease your physical power like it will your magical power. Just remember, even if you play more as a warrior than a wizard you may still want to invest some points in your Intellect attribute so as to better resist spells and more effectively channel your will through the magical enchantment of your favorite weapon.

Enemies

The dungeons of PebbleQuest are populated by power-hungry wizards, ruthless brigands, bloodthirsty goblins, and other nasty sorts. The deeper one delves, the stronger these foes become. Know their strengths and weaknesses well, brave adventurer, for your life depends on it!

Mage

Mage

Mages are the masters of this realm. Each of the dungeon’s 100 levels is ruled by a single mage wielding one of the coveted Pebbles of Power. They cast spells from a distance and are resistant (though not invulnerable) to spells cast on them. Little is known of their history, but these wizards have demonstrated an unscrupulous lust for power and must be stopped!

Warrior

Warrior

Warriors of various sorts and sizes have been hired by the mages as bodyguards. Well armed and armored, they are formidable opponents. Some are of human or elvish ancestry. Others are dwarves, gnomes, or members of other diminutive races. The largest and most fearsome are orcs, hobgoblins, and half-giants. Do not underestimate any of them!

Pale Goblin

Pale Goblin

The mages have allied themselves with other denizens of the deep as well: goblins, trolls, and ogres. These monsters look similar, differing only in size, and each come in pale-skinned and dark-skinned varieties. Originally all were dark-skinned, but some gradually lost pigmentation following many generations in the deep recesses of the earth, far from any trace of sun, moon, or stars. (That’s right, Dungeons & Dragons: subterranean races are more likely to be pale-skinned, not the other way around! But I digress.)

Dark Ogre

Dark Ogre

For reasons not fully understood, the pale-skinned goblins, trolls, and ogres are also more resistant to magic, whereas those of darker complexion are more resistant to physical attacks. The same correlation holds for the white and black varieties of one-eyed floating monsters known to haunt these ancient, cavernous depths.

Floating Monster (White)

Floating Monster (White)

Be ever on your guard, brave champion, and you may prevail!

Actions & Controls

Your character is capable of three actions:

  1. Move forward/backward
  2. Turn left/right
  3. Attack via weapon/spell

Moving immediately places you one “cell” forward or back and turning abruptly shifts the point of view 90°, just like some of the old (okay, really old) CRPG classics. Attacking with a weapon (or bare fists) causes a white line to streak across the screen, representing the path of your attack. Attacking with a spell causes the screen to flash (this is true for enemy mages as well). Naturally, attacking with an enchanted weapon causes both visual effects.

Pro tip: You can move and attack much faster than your opponents. Take full advantage of this fact by backing away or escaping down a side tunnel when you need a little time to recover health or energy. Of course, this advice is useless if you’re already backed into a dead end, so avoid that scenario as much as possible!

Without further ado, here’s the button breakdown:

The Pebble's four buttons: "Back" on the left side and "Up," "Select," and "Down" on the right side.

The Pebble’s four buttons: “Back” on the left side and “Up,” “Select,” and “Down” on the right side.

  • “Up” button: Press/hold to step forward. Press twice to turn left.
  • “Select” button: Press to use your current weapon or spell.
  • “Down” button: Press/hold to step back. Press twice to turn right.

Feedback

If you’d like to report an issue or have any other feedback, advice, or questions you’d like to share, please leave a comment below, post a comment on PebbleQuest‘s Google+ or Facebook page, or send me an email: david [at] davidcdrake [dot] com. Please also feel free to support my ongoing work by sending a contribution to my email address via PayPal. Finally, remember to check out my other Pebble game projects: MazeCrawler and SpaceMerc!

Interested in creating your own Pebble apps? Check out the official Develop for Pebble website and feel free to peruse PebbleQuest‘s source code on GitHub.

34 thoughts on “PebbleQuest

  1. Pingback: Pebble Programming | David C. Drake

    1. David Post author

      Thanks for the offer! I’ve still got a few things to iron out before I’ll be ready for beta-testing, however. I’ll keep you posted! :)

      Reply
  2. Jericho

    When you do get to the point of needing beta testers, I’m available as well. Also, I’m really excited about this project! I can’t wait to see it come to life.

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Glad to hear it, Jericho! I’ve been making a lot of progress lately, so it should be coming along very soon, along with SpaceMerc. Stay tuned!

      Reply
  3. Sean Watt

    I’m really excited for this game, what’s the latest news on it?

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Glad you’re looking forward to it! The slightly simpler sci-fi game SpaceMerc will be released this weekend (and submitted to the Pebble App Challenge), but I want to spend more time fitting as many features as I can into PebbleQuest before its debut. I estimate it will be available within the next few months.

      Reply
  4. Pingback: SpaceMerc: FPS Gaming on a Smartwatch | David C. Drake

    1. David Post author

      As PebbleQuest enters its later stages of development, I’ve chosen to still handle most of the testing myself. I hope to have it polished and ready for release within a few more weeks!

      Reply
  5. jrod

    I realllllly loved spacemercs! I can’t wait for pebble quest to come out! Do you have an estimated release date?

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Thanks, jrod, that’s wonderful to hear! PebbleQuest is already far more fun than SpaceMerc and will continue getting better over the next few weeks. I plan to release it in late November or early December.

      Reply
  6. jrod

    And one question, if you had trouble fitting all the features in spacemerc, how in the world do you fit all this into pebble quest?

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Ha! Not gonna lie, it’s been an interesting challenge. I just keep hunting for more ways to streamline the code and eliminate features that aren’t crucial to the overall experience. In the end, will I be able to incorporate all the NPCs, weapons, spells, status effects, etc., that I’d like to? Of course not, but I’m endeavoring to squeeze as much content as I can into every precious byte.

      Reply
    1. David Post author

      Thanks for the offer! My testing needs are already being met, but the game’s almost 100% complete, so you’ll be able to experience it for yourself very soon. When that time comes, I’d appreciate hearing your feedback!

      Reply
  7. Jrod

    When do you think you will finish? I cant wait! I recently got android wear watch (which is awesome), but i will still use the pebble to play this.

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      I’m happy to say I finally put the finishing touches on the game just this morning (Christmas morning, no less)! You can now download the game right here through my site. Enjoy!

      Reply
    1. David Post author

      Uh oh, sorry to hear that! Do you mean when clicking the “Buy Now” button, or when clicking the link you’re provided after making a purchase? Either way, let me know if the problem persists and I’ll send you the game as an email attachment.

      Reply
  8. shane poon

    I bought the game through paypal. Now how do you get it on the watch?

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Thanks for buying my game! After purchasing it, you should have received an email with a link allowing you to download the install file, which ends in a “.pbw” extension. I’ve sent you a copy of the file by email just in case you never received that link.

      To install the game on your Pebble, simply open the “.pbw” file on your phone (which should already have the Pebble phone app installed and should be connected to your watch via Bluetooth, of course). After a brief delay, the Pebble phone app will open and ask if you’re sure you want to load this external app. Press “OK” and PebbleQuest will be installed! Just remember that if you later remove PebbleQuest from your watch, it won’t be stored in your locker since it isn’t offered through the official Pebble App Store.

      If you have any further questions or encounter any issues, please let me know!

      Reply
  9. Jrod

    I figured It out! I proably wont buy the game YET. But i definatly will

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      For now, the only way to purchase PebbleQuest is through the payment options offered by PayPal. According to my records, it looks like you ended up successfully setting up a PayPal account and purchased the game! Thank you very much!

      Reply
  10. Connor

    Hey there it’s Connor from December 6th I’m loving the game it’s really like I’m play elder scrolls on my watch BUT ONLY BETTER THE CONTROLS I LOVE SO MUCH THE PEBBLES OF POWER MAKE THE GAME VERY INTRESTING AND THE FACT THAT WHEN YOU DIE YOU GET TO START A WHOLE NEW ADVENTURE IS INCREDIBLE here’s some suggestions: add save points could add one to each level , add shops or storage could be a way of retrieving items after you die also storage/shops could be on a certain floor that’s all from me keep up the good work this is the best thing ever since the pebble itself~Connor Volavongsa
    Twitter:connorxcon
    Instagram:con_vola
    That’s ways of contacting me :)

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Ah, yes, I remember your kind offer to provide beta testing back in December! And now that you’ve played the game, I appreciate your enthusiastic feedback. 😀

      Your progress is automatically saved after each playing session, but yes, when your character dies I chose to make that death “permanent,” taking you back to the beginning with a new character rather than restoring a recent save point. This is a style of “hardcore” roleplaying that some gamers love to employ even in deeper RPGs like Fallout 3 or Skyrim. I generally don’t do that, but I do think permanent death adds an extra layer of intensity that’s enjoyable in simpler, more casual RPGs such as PebbleQuest. Nonetheless, if I hear enough complaints about this design choice, I might change it in a future version of the game.

      Yes, a store for buying/selling items is an excellent idea and I originally hoped to include one in the game. Memory is quite limited on these devices, however, and I ended up not having enough space to include that feature. I mean, I could include it, but that would mean cutting back a little on other features that I consider more important, such as item variety, NPC variety, complexity of character stats, etc.

      Keep in touch and let me know if you have any more feedback!

      Reply
  11. dan

    add more pebbles, enemies, and gear. the game gets boring after a while

    Reply
  12. dan

    also, you can make an extended version which requires Bluetooth to the phone and save data on the internet

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      I appreciate all your feedback and advice! I would love to have added more content, but it’s quite difficult given the device’s memory constraints. Having said that, and going along with your suggestion regarding Bluetooth connection, taking advantage of the connected phone’s memory could allow inclusion of more content, not to mention more extensive and more permanent save data (as you alluded to). I’m more focused on other projects for now, but I welcome other developers to check out PebbleQuest‘s source code and modify it, improve it, or use it as they will (with appropriate acknowledgements). Here’s to the Pebble Dev community!

      Reply
  13. dan

    I shall certainly look into the source code. Also, I really like all the rpgs you make, pebblequest is one of the only good games for pebble

    Reply
  14. Pingback: PebbleQuest: 25kB of Awesome | David C. Drake

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