So hey, I made another Roblox game! In this one, everyone’s on a little rainy island and occasionally someone is picked at random to be struck by lightning. It’s one of the… dumbest things I’ve ever made. I’m so happy with it.
Unlike my Giant Man, this one came together in just 48 hours or so. I’m still figuring out where my new-found interest in Roblox fits into what I do, but right now, I’m just excited to be able to play around with multiplayer design, at long last.
I’ve been interested in making online multiplayer games for a while, but the barrier to making them is so high that it really wasn’t possible for me. I don’t know if these kind of experiments will lead anywhere – maybe not? But I’d be pretty happy if I end up having a body of Roblox work filled with things like this.
For the past year or so, I’ve been kinda fascinated by Roblox – a massively popular multiplayer game platform, mostly aimed at kids. So recently, I decided to try making a game for it!
I expected this to be a week long side project, and set out to make an “Obby” – a style of 3D platformer that’s popular on Roblox. But I didn’t expect how much I was going to love working in Roblox Studio. I’ve been working on this on-and-off for about three months, which makes it one of my biggest freeware projects ever.
This is probably not going to be my last Roblox game! While I was working on this, I documented my Roblox discoveries in a big twitter thread here! Might be of interest to other developers who are curious about the platform.
Hey! Welcome back to my series of seven daily blog posts on the run up to Dicey Dungeon’s launch! This one’s a bit overdue, as the game actually launched, uh, *checks watch* three months ago. Ah. Well, let’s have a news update and catch up on everything that’s happened! I barely know where to start.
…I still don’t really know how to talk about all this. That’s actually why this blog post is so late. I kept trying to write it and getting nowhere.
I tried to keep my expectations low – I’m really proud of this game, but there have been so many indiepocalypse stories in the last few years that I was nervous that it all might go wrong. And I, uh, took some risks. I blew a huge chunk of my Super Hexagon and VVVVVV savings to make this. I was quietly hoping it would do ok, but really I was just hoping that at the very least it wouldn’t end up being a total disaster.
What actually ended up happening is that it shot right past those quiet hopes, and massively exceeded my wildest ones – it’s been by far the biggest and most successful launch of my career. Within just its first month, Dicey Dungeons outsold the lifetime sales of my previous two games on Steam combined.
I might have more to say about all this when more time has passed. I’m probably not the best person to talk about business stuff, to be honest. I do think we did a lot of things right – going to expos, reaching out to press and streamers, cultivating a community on our discord. I think it’s worth talking about that and sharing that knowledge, and I hope to do it at some point in the future. But also, we owe a lot to Lady Luck. We’re really, really lucky to have been this successful, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully explain how we did it.
We won the Indiecade Grand Jury prize
This came as a pretty huge shock, to say the least. We were all really, really honoured by this, and it meant a lot to me personally <3 This was my third time as an Indiecade finalist – VVVVVV won the “Most Fun and Compelling Game” award in 2010, which was huge for me, and At a Distance was a finalist in 2011 – but winning the grand prize? That’s something I thought would never happen.
We’ve been updating the game, like, a lot
Since the game came out three months ago, we’ve released six updates, and we’ve also released a free DLC, the Halloween Special!
When Super Hexagon came out in 2012, I immediately moved on to a different project, and I really regret doing that. It was bad for Super Hexagon, and it was bad for the other project too – I was too exhausted from the stress of releasing that game to really get into anything else, and I ended up just resenting the amount of time it was taking to work on necessary things like bug fix updates and ports. That period of working on the PC port and fixing iphone bugs was actually more stressful than the launch.
With Dicey Dungeons, I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve decided to do what I wish I’d done with Super Hexagon: to have a long cool down period of maintenance work. For the foreseeable future, I’m gonna try to work normal hours, and just focus on making sure that this game is as good as it can be. I wanna start taking more time off, to actually play games and to relax and take care of myself and rest up a bit and actually figure out what’s next for me, instead of rushing into something new. I’m basically planning to keep working like this, making Dicey Dungeons as good as I can, until I can’t think of anything else that needs to be done.
The next update planned is v1.7, which will be shifting focus to modding support for a while (which is already pretty cool, as the Halloween Special shows!). As well as that, I’m also thinking about how we can do some more big updates… We’re not doing anything for Christmas – it’s too soon, and we need a break – but hopefully we’ll be doing more stuff like the Halloween Special in future. I’ll be sharing more about all of this in the coming weeks and months!
We’re planning ports
I’m really happy to announce that both Switch and Mobile ports of Dicey Dungeons are underway!
It’s worth saying that these things can take some time to come together, and there’s currently no release date planned. I think we’re talking probably next summer at the earliest. It’s really, really important to me that every port of the game be at an extremely high standard – I don’t want there to be any bad version of the game.
There’s not really much more to say at this point, but when I have something to share, I will! Probably the first step towards this that people will see will be improved touch controls on the PC version, and well as keyboard and joypad controls as we figure out the best way to make this work on a Switch! Am really excited to see this all come together!
I think that’s everything for now. Thanks so much to everyone reading for your support! Excited about the next steps <3
This will probably be my last flash game. Oh well! Flash had a good run for me – 2008 to 2017 is a long time for a technology to stick around these days! In future, I plan to release my games primarily as HTML5 and desktop versions.
On that note, you can try out an experimental HTML5 version of Tiny Heist here! It’s still a little buggy and runs slower than it should, so I’m not including it “officially” above. I built Tiny Heist in my own framework Haxegon, which I’m actively working on, and which should hopefully speed up a lot as time goes on.
One of the big things I wanted out of this game was to learn about roguelike design first hand, and it’s definitely a success on that front. I learnt a lot making this. There’s a lot of stuff in this game that’s kind of a mess – things like timing, level generation, enemy design – but at a certain point it became more important to just finish the thing. Next time I try my hand at this genre should be a lot better, I think.
OMG it feels good to have this game finished! It’s been so long since I finished a substantial free game. Recently I’ve been knuckling down pretty hard on a big, serious project, so it was nice to vent and work on something lighter for a while.
I scaled this game down a lot to get it finished for the end of the year, but a lot of what I love about the project is still in there, though some of it buried very deep. I hope you enjoy playing it and discovering its secrets!
This took a lot longer than planned, and over the last couple of weeks I’ve had some extremely helpful feedback from lots of people. Special thanks especially to Holly Gramazio, Josh Hadley, Stephen Lavelle, and Sophie Sampson for feedback and chats, and Robert Yang, Andrew Yoder, Richard Perrin, Guilherme Töws, James Andrews, Farbs, Jonathan Whiting, Bennett Foddy, Bean, Bateleur, Jonathan Prior, ellaguro, and Harry Giles for playtesting and suggestions!
Hey everyone! I have lots of big annoucements about VVVVVV today, so let’s get to it!
VVVVVV: Make and Play Edition
Let’s start with what I consider the really important thing – inspired by things like Knytt Stories and DROD: Architect’s Edition, I’m releasing a special build of VVVVVV on Windows, Mac and Linux today. It’s called VVVVVV: Make and Play Edition, and it’s completely free. This version of the game only includes the player levels and the level editor – which means that, from now on, the tools to make and play VVVVVV player levels are completely free.
People have done some really incredible things with the VVVVVV editor. I want to share that work as far and wide as I can!
Lots of new VVVVVV ports
VVVVVV is now available on iPhone, iPad, Android, and OUYA!
These ports have been quite a long time coming! Actually, I originally started the iPhone port before I started Super Hexagon, way back in 2012. So it feels very, very good to finally have it finished, and released. This is something I felt I really had to take on myself – VVVVVV’s important to me, and it was really important to me that this be done right. I wanted the game to be as good as it could be on mobile. I feel very good about how it’s turned out!
Thanks to Ethan Lee, VVVVVV on desktop has finally gotten an update! Version 2.2 fixes a bunch of long standing bugs (for example, player level warp lines) and makes the 2.1 changes official (like player maps, coloured text in player levels, editor direct mode, etc).
If you’re on steam, this update also adds achievements! They’re the same ones that VVVVVV always had, except now they’re recognised by steam. If you’ve already got them, log into today and you should get awarded a bunch of them at once, which is extremely satisfying!