Preview Roundup & Beta Thoughts

These are exciting days at Gaslamp Games. Publicity is kicking up momentum and the game is nearing completion. A handful of sites have been writing previews for Dungeons of Dredmor (hey, if you’re a writer, drop us a line to the contact email in the sidebar). Our beta testers have been furiously breaking things as well and I’ve got a few thoughts on that to share.

And here’s a diggle.

But let’s have a look at those previews first eh?

From TIGSource, Preview: Dungeons of Dredmor

“But aside from the overall charm of the game, does Dungeons of Dredmor still maintain focus and have a good gameplay system? Yes. And I think this is what roguelikes have needed now for years to bring in fresh new players: a shiny, humorous, and unique coat built atop of the proven gameplay of the genre.”

I’m really happy that the mechanics hold up, but I must say that it’s heavy to be weighed with the mantle of “bringing roguelikes to the masses”. Or is it “bringing graphics to the roguelike”? Either way, we got into this to make the best game we possibly could within the humble means we possess. I do hope we can live up to the aspirations projected onto us.

From Rampant Games, Preview: Dungeons of Dredmor

“I have died dozens of times now.  Many times in the first or second room of the dungeon. I’m not so much rolling up new characters as creating the latest incarnation of my last dead character. But those bird-like Diggles who taunt with the creativity of the French knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail have been having a field day at my expense. I feel like the world’s worst dungeon delver.

Yet I keep coming back for more punishment. And laughs.”

We’ve really got to do something about that second-room Diggle horde issue. I swear, we’ll fix that one for the 1.0 game release!

I’ll say again that I’m fascinated by the perspective that writers are bringing on how Dredmor fits in with the greater whole of rpg/roguelike design traditions and genres, what the design of Dredmor means. (Yes, I love theory-wank!) Because – to speak for myself – I’ve been buried in this game for what feels like forever and almost certainly lack any kind of objective perspective on exactly what it is we’ve done here.

I’m assured that more writeups are coming soon. I’ll be sure to post them along with any thoughts they raise.

Beta Testing

Keeping in touch with testers via twitter has been wildly successful. I didn’t think it could be done, but it turns out that twitter is one of the most effective means to harass Nicholas about errors in Dredmor. Progress has been fantastic and builds have been released every day or two — sometimes multiple in one night. So if you like please do check out Gaslamp Games on Twitter. And keep harassing Nicholas. He likes it.

I ought to share a bit of insight that Nicholas mentioned about testers; paraphrased: “Hardcore players help us fix mechanics, newbies help us fix UI.”

So true. If anything we probably need more newbie/casual testing — getting the UI feeling right and intuitive is a bigger problem than fixing mechanics (which is easy) because they set the first impression of the game. Hardcore roguelike players are used to dealing with interface quirks, but players new to the genre don’t have that set of experience/madness that allows them to negotiate obtuse interfaces.

If Dredmor is to be about introducing new players to the roguelike experience then we need to win on the accessibility front. (And to the hardcore who might worry: good accessibility is not “dumbed down” design; it is elegant design.)

“Can I Beta Test?”

Maybe. But probably not.

We’ve received a ton of beta testing requests and it’s difficult to keep up with responding to them; I apologize if anyone has not received some kind of response. But so far we’re keeping it mostly to people we know as well as doing previews for some game media outlets. If this opens up, we’ll let you know.

We’re keeping a somewhat tight reign on beta copies until – and if – we get a more secure means for running the beta. We don’t want to have a Terraria happen to us! … I mean, we do in the sense of the outrageous day-1 sales frenzy, but we don’t want to be forced to release an incomplete product early due to a major leak of the beta [Edit: Or such is the impression I got. Not sure of their official position on the matter]. (Congrats to the Terraria team on the successful launch, by the way!)

I think that wraps it up. I’ll try to keep the blog here regularly updated on developments on the run up ’til release.

Posted in Dungeons of Dredmor | Tagged , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “Preview Roundup & Beta Thoughts”

  1. truekaiser says:

    it’s not a good rouge-like if you don’t die at least a dozen times before you manage to get past the first 5 or so floors.

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  2. d32 says:

    I’m sure people would _pay_ for beta access (I would) with later update to full version.

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    • AdminDavid Baumgart says:

      True, people might very well paid for beta access. And that’s a fascinating business model which has been working well for many indie games like Minecraft, Mount & Blade, Terraria … SPAZ, Starfarer … and it’s one we want to investigate in the future. But not this time.

      We did not develop Dredmor with the paid beta access model in mind. To be honest Dredmor did not come together as a very enjoyable game experience until very recently. I think a paid beta 3 or 6 months ago would have been disappointing to fans and possibly have done more damage to impressions of the game than it would have been worth.

      We’ve come this far without any income, we may as well make it to the finish line (which should be coming up very soon now).

      Next game we’re thinking of something more iterative and community-involved.

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