Crashes, Cynical Brit, Feature Request FAQ

First: Crashes

There is known crashing due to problems with the SDL sound library or something. Nicholas is chained to his work station with a coffee IV (Foul Liqueur of Yog Sothoth!) and is enjoying the effects of The Motivation Stick. Ye shall receive another patch post-haste.

Cynical Brit / Total Biscuit

… did a lovely video for Dredmor. Check it out:

Wonderful stuff! (By the way, his Blade Being spell kept going to random squares because he targeted a monster directly – if you do that, the spell will get pushed off to a random tile.)

Feature Request FAQ and Other Nonsense

Priority #1 is fixing crash bugs so that everyone can enjoy the game. Full stop.

Moving along, someone [MisterS42; thanks!] set up up a “uservoice” page thing for people to bug us and vote on what they most want from Dredmor. Check it out here.

I shall address the issues raised there, in order of votes, as best I can now.

1: Change the appearance of the Player’s sprite based on what they have equipped

This is absolutely nontrivial and a nearly ubiquitous point raised.

The short answer: I’m very sorry, but it is nearly impossible.

The long answer: Well, let me explain  how the animation works.

The player sprite was beautifully drawn by Bryan Rathman and has around 250 unique frames of animation. To repeat, every frame was drawn by (digital) hand by one guy in the old Lucasarts style – they were not generated from a 3d model like all the sprites in the Diablo series, back to Diablo 1 (which only had 3 unique armour sprite sets per character plus weapon variations). Similarly I believe Ultima Online also generated the base art for sprites from 3d models then had a team of artists touch them up by hand, and these would be assembled paperdoll style by the game.

Terraria, by contrast, uses an extremely lo-fi style with sprites about 1/2th the size of Dredmor and a side view — this means they cover roughly 1/4th the area and they only need to draw one directional variation (which is mirrored for left vs. right movement) rather than three direction variations (up, down, left/right) like Dredmor. Further, each animation sequence in Terraria is perhaps 4 frames rather than the 6 to 12 that each Dredmor sequence is.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this means they’ve only got to do about 1/24th the work that we require for a sprite — and due to the low-fi early Final Fantasy style, even less because they can overlay an object or hat without having to have it match the motion of the character in-frame.

Okay: So I’ve established that Dredmor sprites are a lot of work.

We’ve also got  hundred of unique equipment items. If we made a unique sprite set for each one, even using paperdolling effects, we’re looking at upwards of a hundred thousand frames of animation. Tell that to an artist and watch their head explode. Tell it to an animation studio and you’ll get a quote for millions of dollars. The best solution would be to cut down item categories to a few generic sets of animation like Diablo 1/2 did – for example, a light/medium/heavy/robe armour, and maybe two or three levels per weapon. We’re still looking at a sub-optimal solution along with tens of thousands frames of animation. For that budget, you might as well make a new game which just uses 3d models for the character. And if we did it all again (with funding behind the game this time), maybe we would.

(Whether using the animation style we used was a good idea in the first place might be a good issue to discuss in a post-mortem, but at least I can blame Nicholas for that decision: All the monster and hero animation was done before I was involved in Dredmor. It’s every single other thing in the game that I drew. But I don’t mean to be too hard on him; the nature of Dredmor changed radically over the course of its development. There should be a blog post on this soon if Nicholas isn’t driven mad by crash fixes.)

I would, however, like to get at least a sprite for a female player character in an expansion.

2: UI Scaling

We’ll look into a quick way to double the UI size for super high resolutions. The max resolution I personally tested on was generally 1600ish wide (you can see this in many of the Dredmor screenshots I’ve posted). We intentionally developed the game to hit a minimum display size of 1024×600, for netbook users, and Dredmor was even initially targeting a fixed 800×600 size (gods help us). This focus on hitting the min spec means we missed out a bit on what the high-end gamers would choose to play the game on.

3. Add more skill trees

Will do! We’ve got lots planned, and have plans to expand existing skill lines.

4. Add More Achievements

We’re on it. From the art side, I believe 36 icons are ready to go and a bunch more are planned. These are a piece of cake.

5. Hot Keys for quick Item Management [and general UI upgrades]

After killing the crashes and easier feature requests, we’ll get started on a list of UI upgrades that have been brought up. Using items off the ground, a quick-sell button, numpad movement, walking-to-use/attack/open, crafting tool hotkeys, more moveable UI windows, and other things are quite reasonable.

6. Add More Loot

Easy. I plan to add tons of loot – we just need to do the modding system first.

And a couple more points:

  • Multiplayer: Dredmor was coded from the ground up to be a single player game. The entire game would need to be redone to support multiplayer, and the game mechanics themselves cannot support multiplayer without either being really annoying to play or requiring massive changes. This would be a different game. Maybe for Gaslamp’s next game.
  • Wall Transparency: Dredmor’s renderer/tile system/map system would require a massive overhaul to support this. It’s simply not reasonable, but we’re willing to investigate similar solutions. It’s a known design flaw.
  • Modding: It’s coming soon. And I’m going to start writing some guides on here for all you modders out there.
  • Minimap: Is going to receive an upgrade to show shrines, uberchest, and other important things better.
  • The Combat Log: Should be scrollable and more informative when we get to upgrading it.
  • Steam Overlay: Looking in to this one. It’d be quite ideal to get this working.

But hey, keep letting us know what you’d like us to add to Dredmor! (And what we ought to fix, too.)

Oh, boy. Okay. All that said, I certainly don’t have time to do a comic today, and I doubt I can write that post on modding — the success of Dredmor and followup this requires from the Gaslamp team is throwing our schedules off track. But then don’t take that as a complaint – massive success is just the sort of problem we want to have!

I’d also like to give a huge thank you to all you fans who bought the game – you’ve made our dreams come true. And I thank you for your patience as we work through the issues with launch. We’ll definitely be doing lots of free content releases for you to enjoy.

So go have fun, and beware the Diggles.

Posted in Dungeons of Dredmor, Gaslamp | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
43 Comments

43 Responses to “Crashes, Cynical Brit, Feature Request FAQ”

  1. Lekon says:

    Only 100,000 frames of animation? But you’re the great one! You can knock that out in one evening.

    I keed. Congrats, and can’t wait to see some of the new content packs after release.

    { reply }
    • Lord Blade says:

      Well, it’s their own fault for making the animations so intricate. But you know the players will never be satisfied until they see their nice shiny bits and bobs on their character.

      Maybe the Diablo approach could be a workable solution until you stop being utterly lazy and get the full animations done for every unique item. :p

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  2. Josh J says:

    Would the female character still have gigantic eyebrows?

    If not, I’m not interested.

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  3. Marcin Manek says:

    Great post. Thanks to us listening to bitch about the UI upgrades and general kvetching. Be assured that it’s because we dig the game so much, and just want MORE of it! :D

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  4. Walnut says:

    AWESOME read! Loving the game. This is why I love indie devs – most of them work hard on the game even after release. I look forward to all the changes too! The only thing I can think of (outside of what was mentioned already) is a combat/action log that can be scrolled through? That would be a nifty feature.

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    • AdminDavid Baumgart says:

      Oh yeah, forgot that one. I definitely want some improvements there. Shall add it to the post.

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  5. rascalpuppyjay says:

    Its funny because I’ve yet to have any issues with d/cing.

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  6. Tau22 says:

    TotalBiscuit certainly helped me with deciding whether to buy this game and did so immediately. My wallet may have been drained by the summer sale, but this game is worth every penny.

    That reminds me, need to recommend it myself on Steam. Keep up the great work, GasLamp, I hope to see more terrific games from you in the future.

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  7. Peter says:

    How does your map generation work? Would it be possible to tell it to generate every tile that borders with a wall to the south to generate a different tile. You make this tile a transparent wall, or a much lower wall, so the square can be seen.

    Also needed, rest. Till health/mana regens or something approaches.
    Also, is it possible to have the savefile delete only if you die? Allows for crash recovery.

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  8. getter77 says:

    This is definitely heading in a fine direction—the Dredmor we’ll all be ringing in the New Year to 2012 with will be SUCH a THING!

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  9. MisterS42 says:

    Any chance of those animation frames being opened to the public / modders? I’ve read on some forums that some folks would be interested in designing item artworks as a labor or love. That way it won’t be a burden on your team and we could get a mention in the credits or something. Just an idea.

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    • AdminDavid Baumgart says:

      Animation will be opened up to modding eventually – first comes item/spell/skill/room modding.

      Opening the player to animation changes based on items equipped? That might be messy, but maybe Nicholas can be persuaded that it’s worthwhile if people want it badly enough. This would be quite troublesome, but we’ll have to see.

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      • MisterS42 says:

        It is nice to see the commitment you have to the fans. It is still the number one issue on the uservoice website I set up. Thank you for being open to ideas. Your game rocks!

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  10. Damon says:

    Really enjoying this game! Keep up the great work and support

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  11. al says:

    Maybe you could show an outline of enmies/etc above the wall tiles.

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  12. Ed Brannin says:

    1. On my Macbook, I’m seeing excessive CPU usage (it’s basically pegging one core all the time) whenever Dredmor is running.

    I have an Intel Core Duo with Intel GMA 950 graphics, running Snow Leopard 10.6.8.

    I tried posting this to the uservoice forum, but nothing happened when I hit enter to submit.

    (I also said this on Twitter this morning, but I’m sure you’re swamped there)

    2. I have no idea how to update a game through Steam. It doesn’t say I have updates, and the Install/Play button says Play. Is it automagic, or am I missing something?

    Thanks again for the great game!

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  13. J Brian says:

    So happy for you guys seeing it still sitting at #2 on the top sellers list today. Congrats. :)

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  14. oldbob says:

    I do not need to see the equipment on my char. I do not understand why people are demanding it.

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    • Darren Grey says:

      I agree completely. It adds nothings to the gameplay, and ultimately can interfere with the luscious graphics already in place. It would also slow down any additions significantly. I say just stick with the main character as is (he looks great!) and concentrate on more important gameplay and UI features.

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  15. Jajusha says:

    Noooooooooo! Finishing my first zoo and crash! *Cries* I’ll get you next time 5th legion of crying bedposts!

    If the crash fix is ready, would it be possible to release it already in the form of a beta patch? Don’t think i’ll try a zoo again without the crash fix, lost a 2 hours total game on that CTD…

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  16. Silvador says:

    Forgive me if this has already been suggested, but I’m going ot put it out there anyway. I understand that this would still be a lot of work, but perhaps it could be considered something of a comprimise in regards to the “armour sprites” request.

    I, personally, have no problems with playing a character who never changes his outfit as he equips new pieces of clothing/armour. However, I know that some people would really love to have their guy decked out in a suit of armour, or a wizard’s robe. Now, above, a “solution” was mentioned (I use the word “solution” loosely and realise the suggestion was not suggested as an actual solution to the matter I am currently adressing) that potentially reduced the amount of items in the game significantly. I would like to suggest an alternative. Instead of making alternate sprites to change ingame, when the character equips different items, perhaps a small number (3 or 4) of alternative sprites could be drawn and added to the game as an option. When starting a new game, the player could choose from a set of sprites like an armour clad warrior or a robed wizard and play through the game with that sprite in place of the standard sprite.

    TL;DR You could make some extra sprites to choose to play as when starting a new game.

    That aside, would it be at all possible for a key remapping option to be added?

    { reply }
    • Julian says:

      I was thinking about sprites too – but having a sword sprite, traffic cone sprite etc so a cone sprite would waddle depending on which direction was walking. Then just mash the combo of sprite on to a ‘naked’ character. Technically this should be possible but it might be a lot of work to add it in.

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  17. Alfred says:

    If the crashing problems are related to the sound, would it help to turn the sound off?

    Still better than the crashes…

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  18. Bell says:

    The blog mentions a possible expansion. Is it possible we can get the expansion for free or at a discount? I know the price of the game is cheap (I got mine at launch) but well I love a sale ^-^

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  19. Jeffrey says:

    Mr. David. Like I commented on a previous blog article of yours, congratulations on your games launch! I’ve already convinced friends to download and play. Consider them hooked! I love these suggestions and even left a few on the forum suggestion voting poll. The ones I really think need to be added are seeing the stats/use of crafted items BEFORE you craft them. Secondly, and to me most importantly, would be a MUCH more detailed highscore screen. I’ve played the roguelike Dungeon Crawl religiously over the years and it’s one of my favorites. What I love is how after a game you can see all your stats, gear, items, kills, etc. etc.. Right now the highscore screen is really vague and bland in detail. I think it’d be informative and fun to be able to click on a highscore and it bring up a ingame window showing all kinds of fun stats and your gear and skill build out. It’s always nice to look back on what you had on your best run! Just a helpful suggestion. I know you can only do so much in a given amount of time, just thought i’d give my feedback! Keep up the great work, and I’ll continue to play/support/promote DoD.

    { reply }
    • AdminDavid Baumgart says:

      More info for craft output: Yeah, that’s reasonable.

      More stats shown for death would be nice too. We do indeed track a lot of stuff for the player and I believe it’s relatively easy to add more. I think displaying more of this could go hand-in-hand with adding some of the achievements which are based around some of these statistics anyway.

      { reply }
      • Jeffrey says:

        Excellent! I think it would greatly spiff up the high score screen if you could actually see all these statistics. There’s really just a score just about

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  20. Matt says:

    It’s so cute when users think they know how to solve complicated technical problems better than developers do.

    { reply }
  21. Pingback: Dungeons of Dredmor – erste Eindrücke « Nachtfischers Innenleben

  22. Shmoozen says:

    Hey there, I LOVE your game! However, there’s a small thing I would suggest adding. I livestreamed for a couple hours last night to show my friends DoD, and they really enjoyed it and are now buying it. I saved and quit and planned to resume later on. To test audio levels, I resumed my save game and ran around a bit. I then quit without saving, assuming it would just keep the old save. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I guess it makes sense, since I was on permadeath mode, but in every game I’ve ever played not saving does not equal deleting your old save file.

    Solution? Just add a confirmation notification that alerts player that it would delete their previous save. I feel like others might make this mistake, so doing this would save them a lot of anguish.

    Thanks!
    ~Shmoo

    { reply }
    • Done, as of the patch that just went up this morning.

      { reply }
      • Shmoozen says:

        Oh awesome, thanks! I would, however, mention in the prompt that the previous save file will be deleted.

        { reply }
        • Wallach says:

          Actually I think the wiser solution would be to put in a prompt upon attempting to *load* a Permadeath file that the save file will be deleted once the game is loaded. By the time the user gets to quitting out of a game in-progress the save file is already gone, is it not?

          { reply }
  23. Speedhoven says:

    I really hope you come up with a solution to getting a paper doll equipment in to the game. For me it’s the only thing stopping me from completely enjoying the game. I don’t know how the enging is coded but some sort of naked character with equipment sprites seems to be the best choice. It’s still a lot of work to make the spirtes for every frame but even having let’s say one type of heavy armor, some leather armor and a robe would make huge difference. That way you could maybe leave the community the chance to draw the rest of the armors. Or maybe give the modders chance to decide the amount of frames for each animation so creating the sprites for each weapon wouldn’t be such a huge work. Judging by the animation pic, creating the sprites wouldn’t all that hard since even thought there’s plenty of frames, with a simple mock-up from the shirt from each frame creating the armor shouldn’t prove all that hard.

    The next thing I would like is to have the option to choose your character or to be able mod more character types into the game. This is exactly the type of game that makes we want to experiment with different character which is something I never bothered in WoW and hardly even in Oblivion. But having a character that always looks the same kind of ruins it for me, even though the inventory sprites are beatiful. I hope you create more than just a one female character(a typical sexed up fantasy cliche I hope :P ).

    As for the UI, I think it’s breathtakingly beatiful even with 24″ screen on 1920×1080, but having the option to scale it to 2x would be nice. The combat log on the other hand looks a bit off. It’s not in the corner and there are no borders or the option to move it.

    Some variation to the environment would be brilliant too, like ice-themed places with unique enemy/item types for that area etc.

    With a bit of tweaking and adding the paper doll, this game would certainly near GOTY for me. I hope the modding is easy but complex enough so I can tweak the game just the way I want it to be. No crashes for me yet either and even with the large resolution the game looks stunning.

    -SH

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  24. Speedhoven says:

    Oh and a quicksave and working Alt-F4 would be great too.

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  25. Hardimonster says:

    Cloud support would be awesome :) Sometimes I play at lunch and then I would like to go home and continue my adventures, or visa versa.

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  26. Retloc20 says:

    Fantastic stuff, guys. I know this isn’t the forum for it, but I would love to see some of the player-suggested skills from the Design A Skill thread in the forum come to the game. There’s a lot of creativity in there!

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  27. Aon says:

    First off, wonderful game. I was wondering whether it might be possible either now or through patches to use an item without first putting it into your inventory? I was thinking in terms of food and drink.

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  28. Per Edman says:

    > “I would, however, like to get at least a sprite for a female player character in an expansion.”

    Thank you! This will help including a huge chunk of gamers. Plus women with huge eyebrows are impressive! :)

    { reply }
  29. Per Edman says:

    Wow, it seems like a lot of people read the short explanation to “Change the appearance of the Player’s sprite”, ignored the long explanation and then forgot the short explanation again before they posted. :)

    Multiple animated sprites = HUGE AMOUNTS OF WORK.

    But perhaps a paper doll on the inventory screen? Maybe? Please? Daggerfall-style? :)

    { reply }
  30. Christopher says:

    Id rather have poorer animation and more appearance of clothings/armour on the avatar.
    Maybe you could add some other avatars that are not as well animated but have the armour and clothing sprites on top?

    And please allow the option to zoom out.

    Id rather play a game than look at pretty graphics.

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  31. josh says:

    I agree a paper doll on the inventory screen would be nice.

    { reply }
  32. Tom says:

    Love the game so far! You’ve made a roguelike with a lot of complexity while keeping the interface straightforward and easy to use. Well done!

    I just wish that I could see more to the south of my character. He’s so low in the window that you can really only see one or two rows of tiles, and when that’s where a horde of monsters is pouring in from, it makes fighting them difficult. D: Could you adjust the viewport so the character is closer to the middle of the window, or maybe include limited view panning?

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