Ok, deep breaths! Next Tuesday, I’m launching Dicey Dungeons. This is my third commercial game – my last one, Super Hexagon, was seven years ago. I’m excited, but also: pretty anxious!
I feel like I have a lot on my mind right now, so, I wanna try something this week! I’m going to write little blog posts every day about various things related to the game, to maybe try and explain why this thing turned into such a big project, why I think so much of this game, and why my team and I have been working so hard on it.
So, here we go. I’ll update this with links as they go up!
7 – What’s changed since the last alpha?
6 – How big is this game anyway?
5 – Who are all these enemies you’re fighting anyway?
4 – What inspired Dicey Dungeons?
3 – What’s it like working with a team?
2 – Have you ever made a game like this before?
1 – Launch day
So, today! What’s changed in Dicey Dungeons since the last alpha?
Well. Kind-of a lot.
A new soundtrack
Niamh felt pretty strongly the the music from the alpha versions of the game was only meant as unfinished placeholders: just early sketches of what she really wanted to do. Which, over the past couple of months, has really come together and developed into something spectacular. You can check out a few clips of the new soundtrack here:
[Another new song]
[A new version of “Combat 7”]
We’re also adding voices! These aren’t line readings – they’re more characters sounds, Simlish-style, providing extra personality and inflection for every single character and enemy in the game. We’ve got new sounds too – in general, audio has just *massively* levelled up since the last alpha.
Loads of new art and animation
Thanks to a lot of hard work from Marlowe, things have really come together on the visual side of the game too! All the placeholders in the game are gone now, with every screen given care and attention. There’s new stuff too! More backgrounds, lots of extra polish, more enemies…
Yep! The final version of the game has 11 completely new enemies, and re-adds 3 that were dropped in the v0.16 enemy design audit.
Parallel Universes and Bonus Rounds
Parallel Universes are one of the highlights of the game now: a substantial new episode for every character, with totally new equipment and rule changes to how every status effects works. These might be the best episodes in the game – I really felt I was pushing myself harder as a designer than I ever have before, and I”m so proud of them.
There’s also a new episode 6 for every character: the Bonus Rounds, where you start out with normal rules but as you continue through the dungeons, more and more weird and awkward rules are added to it, different every time. These episodes kind-of take all the best stuff from the game and put it in one place – so Parallel Universe and Vanilla equipment in one episode, along with random rules that widely change how you play. They’re the game’s “infinitely replayable” mode!
No spoilers, but: I’m super excited for people to see the game’s ending. It’s a whole extra episode that unlocks once you’ve beaten the Bonus Rounds – big and ambitious and very different from anything else in the game. Honestly we probably all got a bit carried away on this one. I’m super proud of this.
Loads of new writing
The last alpha had three short cut scenes, two of which weren’t animated. The game now has, er, eighteen short cut scenes, plus short outros when you beat an episode, a load more lines that enemies might say when you defeat them, and lines from the shopkeeper characters – none of these are long, often it’s just one sentence at a time, but they really bring the whole game together. I really love where we ended up with our story! (I wrote a little bit more about this last week.)
Lots of other little things
Too many to list, honestly. But as well as all of the above, the final version of the game has:
- A challenge system: As you progress through the game and complete certain challenges, you unlock a gallery of enemies with tiny profiles for each!
- Shopkeepers: We’ve had the art for these around for a while now! Finally, they’re implemented and in the game!
- Improvements to existing episodes: I’ve done a design pass on all of the episodes and tweaked most of them, and made very substantial changes and improvements on a few.
- Loads of bug fixes: So many fewer bugs. Lots of extra little polish things too!
Nearly there now. I can’t wait to share this with everyone <3