Archive for the '7drl' Category

Rolling in the Deep

Hello! I made a game for this year’s 7 Day Roguelike. It’s called Dicey Dungeons and you can go play it right now!

Only… well, it’s a bit broken. So much so that I freaked out a little bit about sharing it publicly at first. These days, I usually keep pretty quiet about prototypes – it’s been a long time since I shared something this rough.

The thing is, I really like this game. I think with a bit more work, this currently broken idea of a game could be really, really great. So I’m going to spend a little more time on it. Give it another two weeks. See where it goes.

This does means putting State Machine on hold for a few weeks, but I think that’s probably a good thing. Ruari and I have been working solidly on that for close to two and a half years, and I think we’re overdue a little creative break. (Ruari’s actually working on a very cool sideproject of his own that he should have some news about soon…)

I plan to be a bit more open about the development of this, so I’ve set up a discord? Yeah, I dunno, I just thought I’d try it! DICE PLANET.


Right! What’s next?


Yay! So, the week’s over, and my seven day roguelike is now just a roguelike. What happens next?

I’m still planning to keep this game pretty small – it may not be a 7 day roguelike anymore, but I’m not planning to let it get too far into double digits. It’s definitely tempting to let this grow into a big elaborate thing – but this is literally my first ever roguelike, and I feel like I’d learn more by finishing it than by endlessly tweaking it. I have bigger ideas for future things. This was just a warm up!

Here’s what I’m gonna work on next:

Better level generation!

The current dungeon level generator is a thing I hacked together in day one – sometimes it kinda works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m gonna do a lot of work on making that better. I think a lot of problems in the game (guards getting trapped in little rooms, corridors that you can’t see the end of) aren’t problems with the enemy design; they’re problems with the level design. And they’re very fixable.

More enemies!

I basically can’t have enough enemies in the game, I think. If I want this to be longer, then I need a lot more enemy variety – also, bosses!

More items? Possibly also less items!

There’s definitely room for more interesting weapons and items, but also probably less? Having a bigger selection of stuff to try out will give me a better idea of the stuff that just isn’t any fun. Like, the dagger, for example – it’s way too overpowered, and using it makes the game a lot less fun to play. I’m also not so sure about the sniper rifle – although I think the pistol is great!

A better inventory system!

I think part of playing the larger, framing game around the levels is going to be making decisions about what’s in your inventory – so I’ll probably make that whole system better – and by better, I mean more restrictive. I want people to make decisions like having to leave behind first aid kits so they have enough room to bring a fire extinguisher, etc etc. Also, playing around with a hunger mechanic…

Finish the overworld!

In theory, the overworld should be difficult to transverse, and somewhere you spend as little time on as possible. It should also be as varied and fun as the levels themselves. The fire people are the start of that, I think.

Overall structure stuff!

I wanna quickly get this to a point where you can play through from start to finish – which means having some concrete GOALS. There’s a bunch of work to be done in making sure all that works…


Er, *cough*, forget I said that. There will definitely not be any secrets in this game.


7DRL 2015, Day 7


So, that’s that! Here’s my build at the end of day 7:

[Play Online]

It’s not finished. Today, I added FIRE.

I’m still working on this. Tomorrow I’ll talk a bit about that. Enjoy the build! If you’ve got any feedback, it’s very welcome!


7DRL 2015, Day 5


Here’s day five’s build!

[Play Online]

Today didn’t go quite as well as the last few, but progress is being made! I made a start on the framing world around the levels – a lot of that was background structural work, so there’s not a lot of exciting new content to see today – but I can fill things out with real content tomorrow.

Nearly at the point where I’ll admit to myself that this will take longer than seven days to finish. Not there yet, though.


7DRL 2015, Day 4


Yesterday’s build was pretty rough. Today’s is much better!

[Play Online]

Today I mostly worked on enemies! Yesterday there was only one – today there’s seven! I also fixed a bunch of inventory bugs, and massively improved the level generator. It’s getting to the point where you can sorta play it!

It’s tempting to stick with enemy and item design for the next few days, since that’s most of what makes the game fun, but I think I wanna change direction a bit and work on making a larger world for the game. I see this as a bigger thing with a hub world, shops, and some overall missions… That’s a lot with just three days to go, but things are going pretty well so far, so…


7DRL 2015, Day 3


Yay, here’s a build!

[Play Online]

There’s a lot of work to do, obviously – there’s no real goal yet, there’s only one type of enemy, and sometimes it just randomly generates a doorless windowless room for you to reside in. But I feel like it’s going somewhere! Let me know what you think!

Tomorrow: Better enemies!


7DRL 2015, Day 2


This is going well! This whole zero polish ASCII graphics approach is refreshing – it’s really nice to be able to just have an idea for a thing to add and then, 10 minutes later, it’s in the game and I’m playing with it.

Alright, as promised: a brief overview of what this is: I’m really into roguelike design, but I’ve actually done very little of it. Figured it was time to change that.

One particular idea I’ve wanted to play with for a long time now is turn based stealth – it’s a thing that sounds really good in theory, but I’ve never really been able to get it to work in practice. So, this game is all about trying out stuff in that direction, and seeing what works.

Should have a playable build tomorrow, all going well!

* 1 Comment

7DRL 2015, Day 1


Back from GDC! I’m so sleepy D:

So, I’m working on a new thing! I’ve kinda left it too late to do anything “official” for this year’s seven day roguelike (which, annoyingly, almost always clashes with GDC – or in this case, GDC jetlag), but I feel like making a roguelike, and I feel like spending about seven days doing it, so who cares about the jam deadline?

I don’t have a good track record for finishing roguelikes – I always get caught up on stupid unimportant details. This time, I’m trying a different approach – zero polish. I’m using ASCII, I’m doing a rough implementation of everything, and just trying to get as many ideas down as possible – if I discover anything fun, I’ll poke at it a bit further.

Will talk about the actual mechanics I’m trying tomorrow, once I’ve made a bit more progress. Don’t want any ideas to crystallise just yet.

* 1 Comment

Busy making other plans

Hello 2014! Don’t worry, I’m not making any public new year’s resolutions – I never keep em anyway.

I was just thinking that I haven’t been posting much here recently, you know? Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve said much at all about what I’ve been working on. So, here we go: a snapshot of projects I’ve been working on recently, projects I’ve been thinking about working on, and projects I’m planning to come back to:

Untitled DarkSoulslike

Last time I mentioned this, I was looking for an artist. Well, I found one! A very talented London based comic artist called Cristian Ortiz, aka CROM, creator of Golden Campaign.

Collaborations have a way of getting a little out of hand, but I’m still hoping that this one will come together as a small, contained world to experience. Realistically, I think it’ll take another month or so.

Halting Problem

I took a complete break from this game just before the IGF submission deadline last year. I haven’t worked on it since. I needed some time away from it. Still do. I wanna finish a few small things before I take this on again.

Halting Problem is a big, scary game. There are a few ideas at its heart that I think have potential to be very, very special, if I’m good enough to bring them to life. I haven’t forgotten about this game. It feels the way Super Hexagon did, the way VVVVVV did, and the way At a Distance and Nexus City did – that idea that won’t go away.

When I come back to this game, I don’t want there to be any distractions – I can feel that working on this one is going to be all consuming, that’s it’s going to take everything I have.

Untitled Roguelike

I worked on a game for last year’s 7DRL that I still think about a lot. I dunno when I’m going to find time for it. Maybe it’ll resurface at some point, as something else.

NewCity RPG

I moved to London at the end of last year, and spent my first month here making an RPG about it. It’s a game about a place, and mostly about getting across what that place is like – lots of distinct areas with their own personality, based on whatever alien impression a brief visit with them left me with. There’s a shoreditch level, an islington level, a few other places – and an underground system that links it all together.

I’m long enough here now that it doesn’t feel alien to me anymore, so I’m not sure where to take it. Maybe that’ll come to me, as I get to know the city a bit better.

Vector thing

Really, it’s just tech at this point, and an idea. I owe Stephen a fan game…

VVVVVV’s last hurrah

VVVVVV is always going to be really damn important to me. It’s my final fantasy, the game that changed everything for me.

I’ve had an incomplete iOS version of the game working for over a year now, but other projects have kept me from finishing it up. I’d really like to get that out soon, though. Over Christmas I spent a little time finishing up the port, and I’m happy to say that the really hard stuff is done, now. I just need a week or two to sort out the details.

In addition, Nicalis have been porting the 3DS version of the game to PS Vita, and it feels wonderful on it.

So here’s an announcement of sorts, then.

This year, I’m going to release VVVVVV on PS Vita, on iPad, on iPhone, on Android, on Ouya. And, if I can manage it, all at the same time. This will very likely be the last thing I ever do with VVVVVV, and I wanna go out with a bang!



Seven Day Roguelike, Last day

Phew! Day seven, that’s it. I figured for the last day I should show a video that’s longer than 6 seconds, so I recorded a session of the game.

That bit in the video above is just randomly spawning a new enemy every 6 turns or so, against a player with a dagger (just attacks directly ahead) and a bow (ranged weapon with a reload time of three turns). There’s more than that in the game, but I don’t have graphics for everything yet so I kept it simple. The combat’s feeling fun already, which is a very good sign, I think.

Was a bit more laid back today – spent some time thinking through more game elements – more weapons, more enemies, more areas. I’m super into where this game is going, and I haven’t even gotten to the stuff that I’m REALLY excited about yet.

Right so, I’m off to IGF next week, so this will probably go on hold till I get back!


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