Category Archives: Dungeons of Dredmor

Technical Debt

Since nobody has commented on various matters: yes, we are still working towards a beta, yes it will be soon, but right now I’m sticking with the “When It’s Done” line. When we have a beta, we have a beta. Also, for the record: the Dwarven Panini Press did make it into Dungeons of Dredmor. Right now, it’s a throwing weapon. I’m not sure *where* I’m going with that. Anyhow, the coffee is on, Miles Davis is playing on the speakers, and it’s a long night of work ahead to get my TODO list whittled back to the state where it needs to be.

I keep saying that I’m going to make a post on this blog about some of the more interesting code that we’ve written for Dredmor, but – again – a lot of the Dredmor code isn’t that interesting. Instead, I think you get rambly thoughts on software engineering for the next little while. I was inspired by reading a post over at the IMVU engineering blog on how they expanded their business model. (Well, actually, it was a set of presentation slides.) I know many of the IMVU folks – a few of them were involved in the original seed work that turned into Dungeons of Dredmor, and they do a lot of very interesting work with continual deployment and Agile that is interesting if you’re interested in continuous deployment and Agile. Their CEO person, Eric Reis, also writes a lot about Agile Startups and how to bootstrap yourself via continually listening to what your customer has to say and then integrating that, continually, into your software deployment process. This is very similar to a Valve-style design-by-playtesting model, and I think that the game development community can either a) learn a lot from this, or b) has been doing it all along, and the rest of the world is just now playing catch-up.  Eric’s blog is fascinating, and you should all go read it.

Many moons ago I was invited to interview for IMVU. I flew into Palo Alto, via a red-eye flight, and was treated to a fascinating hiring process. In fact, it was the most fascinating hiring process that I’ve ever been involved with. The sleep deprivation was cool, too, although I’m pretty sure it was accidental. Anyhow, I highly recommend applying for a job there simply so that you can check out how they hire people. Seriously. Go do it.

At the end of the day, I was offered a job. I declined to take that job, for a number of reasons, some of which are between me and IMVU and some of which are between me and myself. One of the more interesting reasons was that the company was struggling under the volume of significant technical debt in the area that I was interested in working on (the character rendering system and various other parts of the rendering pipeline), as well as all over. To actually read what they’ve been doing to try and deal with the technical debt, go hit up their weblog. I don’t know how well their approach to dealing with technical debt has panned out; that’s for them to talk about. But I can talk about technical debt with respect to how it affects myself, and I think that this will make interesting reading material this week.

{ read this article }

Posted in Dungeons of Dredmor | 1 Comment

Tools of the trade

As we run around like madmen trying to get everything in a state that we’re all comfortable with, I thought that I could share some information on the tools that I use to do my job here designing and balancing game-play systems.  What I have worked on most recently is the economic system of Dredmor, so I’ll share with you guys my design process through to implementation

My money per dungeon level plot.

{ read this article }

Posted in Dungeons of Dredmor | 3 Comments

“Why is the Dwarven Panini Press a rejected weapon idea?”

A spur of the moment call to a few rushed, jammed-together Gaslamp meeting-type things saw me with a lot of time to blow on the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, so please enjoy the fruit of my sketch pad:

Top: Sword skill icons. Bottom: “Mystic Mines” tileset revision & dungeon objects.

Not pictured: List of weapons rejected from Dredmor. All credit to Nicholas for the Dwarven Panini Press. The downside is that I might have to actually draw an icon for it now.

Posted in Dungeons of Dredmor | Tagged
Leave a comment

Painter’s Progress: The Dredmor Title Screen

It’s been a fairly brutal crunch of art-making for the Dredmor beta, so pardon me if I part with the greatest part of my usual verbosity [edit: Who am I kidding, I’m going to ramble on and on for the fun of it].

I knew it was serious when I started being able to walk into the Tim Horton’s down the block and they knew my order — extra large coffee, black — without me having to say anything.

Part of the polish I’ve been wrapping up to make Dredmor presentable is the Very Important title screen art. First impressions are important; the opening screen has to be /totally cool/ and show off the spirit of the game.

I present to you the evolution of the title screen painting and, in turn, my growth as an artist over the last year and a half.

{ read this article }

Posted in Dungeons of Dredmor | Tagged
Leave a comment

Hark! A new Dredmor trailer appears!

We are still working on our Dredmor beta aspirations. My lungs are now full of coffee, and David hasn’t seen the light of day now for… okay, five years, but who’s counting?

While we wait for the last of the skills to be implemented, and for the eighty-seventh window closing button to get its new, fresh coat of gold paint, here’s another Dredmor gameplay trailer for your enjoyment. Music by Mr. Ludwig van Beethoven, lovingly arranged by Mr. Matthew Steele.

Posted in Dungeons of Dredmor, Games, Gaslamp, Website | Leave a comment

Old Magic, New Magic – And the crunch.

Begin ye, my week of Dredmor crunching!

I shall drink the black liqueor of Yog-sothoth; yea, that odious brew which gives unlife to that-which-lived-not shall give me life that I may make all the art for which Dredmor thirsts in this week.

(We’re off to a good start, aren’t we? Imagine how crazy I’ll feel by the end of it.)

Anyway, I’ve been drawing some icons for our recently revised and renewed spell list. The art direction has changed: All spells will be drawn, like skills, at a larger size because bigger pictures are more fun to look at (though they still size down to 32×32 for use in the old spell slots). Some spells are new, some spells are old. Some are all new graphics, some are old graphics redrawn. See here:

My, I’ve got an awful lot of work to do. Sixty spells, thirty-one rogue skills,  twenty-five warrior skills. And that’s not including the menu art, new and revised UI elements (hey, we have an experience bar now!), new and revised tilesets (including animated liquids), and uh, some more items, a few status icons, spell effects, random things …  stuff … and things …

I’ve even got a great idea for a comic for the beta release written down somewhere; hope I can find time to draw it out.

Posted in Dungeons of Dredmor | Tagged , ,
Leave a comment

Nitpicking Lockpicking

As part of the Dredmor beta crunchening process we’ve been making executive decisions about various pieces of game content. Among these are the various abilities granted by the seven starting skills a player selects when beginning a game of Dredmor. These skills are roughly classified by the three traditional RPG archetypes: Warrior, Rogue, and Wizard.

Let us then enter the shadowy world of the Rogue.

The Rogue is a strange one in Dredmor and possibly my favorite for being a bit of an underdog. It’s ended up as the class that’s received all the skills that were not explicitly spell-casting (Wizard) or direct-combat related (Warrior) and therefore range from the obvious (“Stealth”) to utility (“Alchemy”) to the rather random (“Archaeology”). A player who chooses pure Rogue skills will be in for a session of Dredmor that shall often revolve around manipulating the more periphery systems at work in the game.

{ read this article }

Posted in Dungeons of Dredmor | Tagged , ,
1 Comment

Sweeping the Dust Under the Rug

…if under the rug means out of the game.

As promised, a lot has been happening in the world of Dungeons of Dredmor over the last few days.  The unfortunately necessary sabbatical had the team approaching the game with a fresh set of eyes this week, and many bad ideas have been done away with.  Overly complex systems have either been given the axe or (more favorably) been reduced to their essential (fun) components.  Don’t worry.  As far as content is concerned there’s still just as much of it, but we’re making sure we put just enough water in the Kool-Aid.

{ read this article }

Posted in Dungeons of Dredmor | Leave a comment