Fate is an action-rpg I have been working on that incorporates some of the highly randomized 'bite-sized' play of classic games like Telengard and Hack with the streamlined UI and improvements of Diablo and other more recent RPGs.
Unlike Diablo, it is fully 3D from an isometric perspective, and allows you to 'look around' walls.
The entire gameworld is randomly generated, except for the town, which was prebuilt and lit in 3dsMax.
Quests, items, and dungeon geometry are all randomly created based upon a root number seed which is different for each game created. Each level type has a template, which defines rules for the generation of the level itself (deadendedness, sparseness, room size ranges, pit ranges, etc. ) and prop placement ( torches, tables, boxes, chests, etc. ). Templates are distributed randomly throughout the depth of the dungeon.
Pathfinding is a modified A*, and the passability map is generated based upon a collision pass, so that it works on any arbitrary geometry set.
Difficulty automatically scales based upon depth, so you can in theory, play forever, continually going deeper and deeper, while monsters automatically 'level up' to meet the challenge.
Monsters can wield and wear the same items you can, which keeps them from feeling too cookie cutter - they can also have unique and superunique items, the same spells you can cast, etc.
I wanted to make an action RPG that I could sit down and play for 15 minutes at a time, and then come back to a week later without having to pick up any threads - but I still wanted it to have the depth of bigger, retail-store RPGs. The random generation allows me to build and test a vast quantity of content, and as long as I keep on top of the rules system, I can make a big game with a lot less time. Quests are randomly generated as well, to give the game some 'focus' - although they are obviously not character driven quests.
Development started in October of 2004, and I should be shipping in roughly 2 months. Overall development time will have been about 5 months total, not counting QA.
I use projective texture shadowing for all objects and creatures in the game, combined with a 'glow' pass for illuminated objects that is factored into the shadow pass. Characters are skinned or tweened, depending upon the demands of their monster type, and can have arbitrary attachments and particles/glow systems.
Other gameplay features include a pet ( cat or dog ) that fights with you and has its own inventory, and can take your loot back to town. The pet can be transformed into more powerful monsters for varying durations by feeding it fish that you can catch in fishing holes.
This uses a save-anywhere system, so you can come back and start playing right where you left off. If you die, Fate approaches you and provides you with 3 choices to resurrect your character...
This is probably going to sell for 19.95 online as a downloadable game
The website is at http://www.fatethegame.com if you'd like to check it out...