August 26, 2013 10:55 PM | John Polson
Nick Donnelly on The Dungeoning, with a playable alpha and a hint of Mos Speedrun getting a sequel
The hook: A difficult procedural platforming RPG with roguelike elements and permadeath, inspired by my love of Dark Souls.
Release info: The game is called The Dungeoning, it will be available on Windows and OSX, and possibly Unix if I can figure out how. The game is approaching completion so I think it should be released in a month or two. As for where it will be available, I'm not sure yet. Desura has been good to us in the past with Mos Speedrun, so maybe there. I'm considering Steam Greenlight but that seems to be a bit of a caustic experience for a lot of developers, I'd need to get an idea of interest in the game first. I'd love to play it on the PS3 and Vita too, but that's another story!
An alpha version is available: what can we experience in that, what can we expect to change?
The Alpha is a snapshot of development from a week or two ago, it features a slice of levels throughout the game but is condensed to 5 levels, the player gets cursed and will die after 10 minutes in game though. I'm constantly improving the game so it's a bit out of date already. I accidentally turned the procedural music generation off in the demo too.
The finished game will have more monsters, and weapons and a shrines, where the player can trade money or resources for certain gains, I hope to make these tough decisions for the player. I also hope to keep adding to the game after it's released so there will be more rings, weapons and monsters etc later. Ask any developer - they hate seeing any build of their game that doesn't have their latest little feature or tweak!
Screenshot info: There's quite a lot going on here. The player has just fired some magic (from a powerful witches wand) at the red guy, who got hit and warped away. The player is suffering from some poison as he got hit by a droplet from those blue roof hanging things, and up above there are some thieves patrolling. You can see bars representing the energy, stamina and magic power and a minimap that gets filled out as you explore.
Any earlier iterations?
This is one of the first screenshots I took when I had just started messing around with Java (April 2012). You can see the beginnings of the lighting system I was experimenting with. The character was a little red devil sprite at that time, there was no procedural level generation or even scrolling, so I've added a lot since then!
Here's my latest video:
The devs and tech behind the screens: I am the sole developer on this game so all graphics, design, programming and sound are by me. I usually work with @physmotone as designer and artist for our iPhone games as Physmo, but I wanted to experience creating a whole game myself, so this is the first game I've coded. It's been a real eye opener, and it's given me a new-found respect for what I've put Tone through in the past. After this, we plan to work together again, most likely on Mos Speedrun 2.
The tools I've been using for The Dungeoning are the following:
Adobe Photoshop [for the main graphics]
Graphics gale [pixel animation]
Audacity [audio editor]
Subversion [source control]
SFXR [some sound effects]
Fraps [Video capture]
Eclipse [java programming IDE]
Slick2D [java wrapper for OpenGL)
And I'm lucky enough to have a MacBook Air, bootcamped with windows 7 which is a delightful machine to code on.
The selection process: I take a LOT of screenshots. Every time I quit the game, it takes a screenshot (so I usually get an image of what I was testing - or a picture of my corpse). I post a lot of screenshots on Twitter and forums during development, so I usually chose one to show a new feature I'm working on or something I think looks cool. I have screenshots from the first time the game was run where it looked nothing like it does now.
The screenshots go to my Dropbox so after a coding session I can go through them later when I'm away from the computer and find something that looks interesting. For a bit more finesse, if the screenshot is important, I'll record some gameplay with Fraps and take screenshots of individual frames.
Pay it forward. What game caught your eye this week?
He hasn't posted a picture this week, but I really like the look of Chroma by @ClawhammerMark. It's got an excellent 2D lighting system and a really interesting shadow based dynamic. I'm looking forward to trying it out, and I think we'll be hearing much more about this game.