Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hungry Forest

I'm not really sure what this is, but it's got some nice pixel art, and that can often be enough :-) The game really lacks instructions, but it seems like you are supposed to grow a forest and make sure it's inhabitants eat the villagers who come to forage.


Gunpoint is a stealth puzzle game currently in development by indie developer Tom Francis. In the game you need to infiltrate buildings, incapacitate guards, short circuit alarms, ltghting and elevators to reach your goal and escape with whatever it is that you are set to steal. The most innovative feature of the game is the crosslink tool. With this tool you can see how things like doors, elevators, lights and cameras are wired and rewire them to get passed guards and locked doors. Check out the video where Tom show case some of the levels. It looks really interesting and fun!

Nitromen did it again! Nitrome must Die!

Nitrome, the studio behind a lot of smash hits such as Steamlands and Test Subject Green, have released another really well made Flash game featuring the same Nitrome style pixel graphics. In the co-op platformer Nitrome Must Die you take on the role of a kid fed up with too difficult Nitrome games and head over to Nitrome HQ with your gun to set things right. It's a slightly unnerving story, but it is as always when it comes to Nitrome beautifully executed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Legend of Grimrock

Legend of Grimrock has finally reached beta status! If you like me spent hours upon hours playing Dungeon Master, The Bards Tale and similar games back in the day Legend of Grimrock will be right up your alley. It has the same grid based game play and dungeon crawling but with nice graphics and sound. I'm really looking forward to giving this game a shot!

Roguelike Radio - Shiren the Wanderer

In episode 13 of Roguelike Radio John Harris and Keith Burgun discuss one of John's favorite games, Shiren the Wanderer. Shiren is a Japanese roguelike from the 16-bit era with really nice graphics and many innovative features. I haven't played it myself but I have to try and get my hands on a translated ROM.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dweller - new version soon!

I've put in quite a few hours of Dweller development these last two weeks and I hope to be able to release a new version within a few days. I've written a framework to handle quests and I've moved the Goblin King quest to the new framework. I've also started adding some minor side quests that will give you some extra gold and experience and some useful items should you care to pick those quests up. I do not intend for Dweller to be quest driven, but I do think that a few side quests will enhance the game.

I've also done work on how the level files are defined and made it easier for me to control the depth, the themes and how the dungeon will branch out. Now there's full support for actual dungeon branches, much like in Crawl. I've always found the random per level theme (sewer, cave and dungeon) in Dweller a bit odd. I would much rather prefer to have a series of levels using the same theme. In the next version there will be only one theme, the dungeon. I do not want to delay the release more so I decided to throw out the caves and sewers for now. They will come back really soon, but more along the lines of fully designed side branches. The new system also allowed me to add a custom level for The Halls of the Goblin King and I can imagine branch end levels such as Lair of the Spider Queen and Crypt of the Arch Lich and similar.

If you didn't know it already it is possible to donate some money to support the development of Dweller. One player did so recently and he was, as will all future donors, rewarded with a unique in-game item of his choice. So, in the next version you will be able to find The Horned Helm of Yngar The Wise, with custom graphics and all.

Stay tuned for a new release in a few days!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Star Wars - The Old Republic

I'm installing Star Wars - The Old Republic to give it a shot during the beta testing weekend. I'm kinda looking forward to trying something new. I've been playing World of Warcraft for way too long now. I still enjoy it but it's not the same thing as it was back in the day.

Even though I don't normally enjoy sci-fi games as much as I enjoy games in a fantasy setting I have high hopes for SWTOR. My initial reaction now while waiting for the thing to install is... Required disk space 20GB! Come on!? That's ridiculous... storage is cheap nowadays but 20GB is a hell of a lot of data.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sideway New York

Sideway New York is a PSN platformer that is now also available via Steam for the PC. In the game you play a young kid who gets sucked into the graffiti art on the buildings around you. The game is a 2D platformer on 3D objects (houses, walls etc) and the graphical style reminds me a lot of the awesome real life counterparts:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dweller - coffebreak game vs big game?

In a recent comment to a Dweller post a request was made to make Dweller into something more than a coffebreak roguelike. The commenter asked for a deity system (you can see some of my thought regarding that here), a big overworld with several locations to explore, more monsters and the ability to eat corpses. Some thoughts on this and other things that could be added to Dweller:

Coffebreak vs big game
Dweller is primarily a game intended to be played in short bursts, while waiting for the bus, in-between meetings or any other time when you have a couple of minutes to spare. The game must be easy to pick-up and leave, and as such it can't be too complex and take too long to play. There are several features in other RPGs and roguelikes that would contradict the goal of Dweller being easy to pick up and play for a few minutes. A big overworld, a deity system and a class and skill system are examples of such features.

Deity system
As I mentioned in my other blog post a deity system should be a well thought through thing to add, preferably from the start, and not something tacked on to the game just because other games has it. With the risk of disappointing some players I will most likely never add a deity system in Dweller. Sure, there's a reference to a God that aids you when you go down to a never before visited level, but that was just a way to obfuscate a game design decision to reward a player for exploring further. I might expand upon this and let the player heal as he explores previously non visited parts of a level (as is done in Desktop Dungeons).

A big overworld
This is a tempting one, but it will not happen. What may happen is that the overworld/forest level will include more things than the healer and the merchant. I'm thinking entrances to different dungeons and more NPCs. There could be a noob/tutorial dungeon for new players and low level players to get to know the game. There could be themed dungeons spanning several levels, like The Caves, The Sewers, The Necropolis and The Dungeons of the Goblin King. This would replace the random theme you get each time you descend to a new level. It would also force me into making the cave and sewer theme a lot more appealing than it is today, with more variation and monsters specific to the level theme.

Improved magic system
Yes, this will happen. Playing a wizard is boring and needs a lot more variation. More spells and above all interesting spells that force the player to make tactical decisions.

Perks and character advancement
Yes, this will happen, and it is described a bit more here.

Yes, this will happen to some extent. I'd like to add a few quests to give the player a bunch of goals on his way towards the Goblin King.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Roguelike Radio - Roguelike features in other games

A new episode of Roguelike Radio was released yesterday. This time Andrew Doull, John Harris, Darren Grey, Ido Yehieli and Keith Burgun (author of 100 Rogues) discuss the use of what is typically perceived as the corner-stones of roguelike gamedesign in other types of games. Some people refer, quite fittingly, to these games with roguelike elements as roguelike-likes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Roguelike Radio - The Binding of Isaac

The guys over at roguelike radio are churning out new episodes like there's no tomorrow. Last week they dedicated episode #11 to a review of and interview with the developer of The Binding of Isaac. I bought the game myself as a part of the Humble Voxatron Bundle and while it is a real-time game it has many similarities to a roguelike and it was a well chosen topic for a Roguelike Radio episode. The game has received some critique for being a bit gory and disturbing as the player takes on the role of a small boy who escapes down the basement in an attempt to gt away from his mother who is about to sacrifice her son to show her devotion to God. Once Isaac is down in the basement the true nightmare begins with a lot of nasty nightmarish creatures doing their best to kill him.


It seems like there aren't many classic games and genres that have been spared from being roguelikeified. This time it's the Namco classic Pacman who meets Rogue. In Netpack you move your little @ around a pacman style maze picking up pellets and power-ups while dodging ghosts.


FEIST is an acclaimed (IGF Finalist, Unity Awards winner) 2D platformer made using Unity. It has the same silhouetted style of graphics as titles such as Super Goblin War Machine and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet but it stands out even more visually than other similar titles. The game is scheduled for summer 2012 and despite being at least 6 or 7 months away from a release it looks really polished and fun. The physics, enemies and the little furry hero look really beautiful. Can't wait to give it a try!

Red Rogue

What if you took a roguelike and turned it into a sidescrolling platformer/explorer with randomly generated levels? Well, you'd get Red Rogue and a pretty nice game. Red Rogue definitely has some potential, but it is still a bit rough around the edges.

Friday, November 11, 2011


SIN CAR is an arcade racer with a very different control scheme. Your car moves in a sine pattern at a constant vertical speed and the only thing you can control is the frequency by moving your mouse up and down the screen. Using this method of movement you need to dodge walls and pick up items for bonus points. It's a very simple game but it works really well and it's fun.

Serious Sam - The Random Encounter

When I first saw the video of Serious Sam The Random Encounter on Steam I thought "jesus christ, a cool co-op side scrolling shooter with some RPG elements", but when I read further I realized that this is a turn based game. Yet, the video seems to indicate other wise. Has anyone bought it and care to share some insights? I guess I'll have to buy it and check myself...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

ifttt - If This Then That

ifttt is a really nifty site for web-service scripting using simple conditionals. With ifttt it's possible to do things like  sending all your starred Google Reader posts to Read It Later, saving all Facebook photos where you are tagged to Dropbox and send you an SMS to remind you to buy some cold beer if the temperature is above 30 degrees Celsius.

It is really easy to create your own scripted tasks. You chose a Trigger Channel, a Trigger, an Action Channel and an Action. A channel can be anything from Facebook, Twitter, Weather, RSS, LinkedIn, flickr, Gmail, Dropbox to YouTube or SoundCloud.

Available Triggers depend on the Trigger Channel. For Facebook it could be "New Facebook status message by you", for Gmail "New email from a specific address" and for Dropbox "New file added to public folder".

As with Triggers the available Actions depend on the Action Channel. For Gmail there's an action to "Send an e-mail" and for Dropbox "Save file from URL". The input data for the action can be taken from the Trigger, be it the e-mail subject or the Facebook status message.

You are also able to share your tasks with other users. When you share a task it becomes known as a Recipe. Before creating your own task make sure to check the list of recipes as chances are high that someone has already made a recipe for it.

I've started using ifttt myself to propagate all Dweller related blog posts to the Dweller Facebook page. Now that the Google+ API has been released I sure hope there will be a Google+ channel as well so I can get Dweller posts automatically put up on G+ as well.

Dweller - the quest for more content

I am now fairly happy with the changes made to the UI and I feel that I can finally focus on adding more content to Dweller. There are several things I'd like to improve:

The map
The maps need a lot more variation. On the top of my list: More variation to the rooms, room features that can be used tactically in combat and rooms with puzzles. The caves and sewers need a lot more love as they are pretty dull levels at the moment.

I really need to improve the repertoire of spells and the way spells work. It is pretty boring to play a Wizard at the moment. Some spell ideas:

  • Leaping flames - fire spell that leaps from the target to a chain of adjacent targets
  • Blink - teleport in a straight line
  • Tornado - knocks back opponents
  • Icetomb - encase and paralyze target in ice
  • Mass sleep
  • Summon elemental

Character advancement - perks/abilities
I would like to provide the player with more choices on level up. I'm thinking along the lines of passive perks/abilities/talents to chose from. Some of the perks that may make it into the game:

  • Silent Death: Increased damage against sleeping monsters
  • Light Step: Reduced chance to trigger unseen trap or waking up monsters
  • Sewer child: Increased poison resistance
  • Shield wall: Increased chance to parry if wielding a shield
  • Marksman: Reduced penalty for missile attacks at a large distance
  • Magic insulation: Increased chance to resist magic attacks
  • Lock-pick: Automatically pick locks
  • Pack mule: Increased carrying capacity
  • Eagle eyes: Increased sight radius (the Ranger already got this one)
  • Conserve magic: Wands deplete slower
  • Barter: Merchant buy price increased and sell prices decreased
  • Piety: Increased healing by your god
  • Steady hands: Reduced chance of triggering traps when disarming them
  • Increased effectiveness of healing, decreased penalty when using heavy weapons, increased effectiveness of scrolls and wands etc etc
If you have ideas on how to improve Dweller, then please don't hesitate to share them with me! I really appreciate all the feedback I get from players.

Friday, November 4, 2011

ffflood and DotWar

I've been toying with the idea of writing a tower defense style game with use of swarming and influence fields for the surging attackers to make them flow and swarm around your defensive positions in a manner that seems intelligent and constantly forces the player to adapt his defensive positions. The graphics can be kept simple without ruining any of the fun. Have a look at ffflood and DotWar for two games that use simple graphics while still being really fun:

ffflood is a tower defense game with simple graphics, a lot of swarming attackers, powerups and research in between swarms. Simple yet a lot of fun:

DotWar transforms twitter avatars into swarming armies of soldiers, one per pixel. Depending on pixel color the soldier gets different properties. Black pixels are stationary, red are slow but strong and so on. Really fun!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dweller 1.11.4 - fixes, fixes, fixes...

Time for yet another batch of fixes for the 1.11 release. I think I've managed to solve the last issues related to the recent changes made to the user interface. I also managed to fix a few quirks and minor bugs that will increase playability. Give the new version a try and let me know what you think!


  • The stats of missile weapons and ammo wasn't shown on the Examine screen. Since the stats are important to determine attack effiency they have been added.
  • Going back from the buy/sell menu brings you to the inventory category you came from and not to the start of the inventory
  • The character menu button will show the correct character class and not always the warrior


  • Your carried gold is now properly displayed when buying/selling items
  • The map wasn't properly centered (it was off by one both horizontally and vertically)
  • Cursor movement using mouse/touch wasn't working as expected
  • You can now disarm a trap even if there's an item on the same cell
  • The message box at the top of the screen started to scroll after scrolling on the map
  • Sometimes the width of menu items were too long and didn't wrap properly causing text to go off the screen
  • Your gold will not show up in the inventory when selling to a merchant
  • The desktop version didn't redraw the screen after being brought back from a minimized state
  • Scrolls of Enchant were broken

Roguelike Radio - Deity systems

The latest episode of Roguelike Radio was released a few days ago. The entire episode was dedicated to the use of deity systems in various roguelikes. I like the idea of having gods in a game, though it has to be well thought through and should preferably be added as a central part of the game right from the start or not at all. There are many features a roguelike developer could be tempted to add just because they are cool or because one of the major roguelikes does it. Adding gods and a deity system is one of these things you might be tempted to add without giving it too much thought.

I also prefer having a range of active gods giving passive perks rather than in some other games where you pick a single god and actively have to [P]ray to trigger the god and the system. In the latter, gods and the abilities they grant almost becomes an extension to a spell system and something you can use when you need it. Gods should not be under the player's direct control, rather a thing that could help you in a tough situation if you have been playing by the rules of the gods (be it wearing certain items or killing certain monsters).