11 Oct 13
Nandrew

Score!

ScoreScreenWIPThis week sees a juicy visual update with the introduction of a brand-new score screen, iterating on the basic improvements shown in the last update. Now players can take after-dungeon screenshots to be truly proud of, showing off their adventuring prowess without the burden of an all-encompassing inky void, ugly stats and text in odd places. Hooray!

People waiting for the official full release of Desktop Dungeons will be excited to know that this is the last significant overhaul of a temporary graphics scene, meaning that visual adjustments from here will only concern themselves with smaller game elements (and maybe a tasty-looking splash screen for good measure). Minus the juice that we still want to add with animations and additional UI tweaks, this is pretty much starting to *look* like the product we’d originally envisioned. Additional background work should soon have it *sounding* like the product we’d envisioned, and significant advancements in haptics and Goat Cheese Over IP technology should also mean that we’ll get it *tasting* just like we imagined.

Or something.

We’re frantically working through an ever-dwindling checklist of “Stuff That Still Needs The Doing” and there’s an aura of excitement in the air strong enough to trigger a fainting goat reflex. Changelog follows: More…

04 Oct 13
Nandrew

All Of Our Rage

2013-10-04blogImageWe’re pretty stoked about the presence of Desktop Dungeons and Make Games SA at this year’s rAge expo in Johannesburg. Our game is just one entry in an exciting list of local games forming the pretty respectable setup seen over here. This is probably MGSA’s most impressive showing at rAge so far and we’re actually kinda jealous that we can’t make it up there this time around.

If you feel like dropping by the expo itself, be sure to try out our unique build of DD featuring a never-before-heard selection of the orchestral music track from Danny Baranowsky and Grant Kirkhope. That’s some special incentive right there! Sadly, we’re not putting the audio into DD’s online version just yet (yeaaah, file sizes), but we have our regular weekly offering uploaded and ready for your consumption with some animation improvements, bugfixes, the beginnings of our revised score screen (you didn’t think that was going to be its final version, didya?).

This week has seen a smattering of improvements in various areas of the game. Surprise bonus: if your DD profile was created relatively recently, chances are that you’ve only just earned access to a quest or two that were unwittingly orphaned a little while back. Think of it as the game content equivalent of finding a few forgotten bank notes stashed in one of your pockets! Changelog follows:

Fixes:

  • Dragging a glyph/item, and then replacing it in the inventory should no longer trigger its use.
  • Added footprint trails.
  • Fixed a bug where using WONAFYT in the Yin/Yang subdungeon could summon and enemy into a wall.
  • Changed toast interaction to only happen when toast ribbon is near it’s final position.
  • Changed score screen kill list to activity list.
  • Changed score screen money description to sales/income list.
  • Vicious Halls of Steel quest only shows up after at least one victory in the regular dungeon
  • Clarified exit removal in Banker fight
  • Adjusted Crusader Bronze for clarity
  • Fixed Transmuter quest description and flags
  • Restored some orphaned quests on certain profiles
  • Selecting a preparation during step 1 of the advisor prep tutorial is now optional
  • Fixed building name tooltip overlap
  • Reworded IMAWAL description
  • Updated Codex numbers
  • Updated wall destruction animation.
  • Updated PISORF knockback animation.
  • Added cursor animations for ENDISWAL and PISORF.
  • Added slow effect animation.
  • Fixed bug with looping animation playback missing frames.
27 Sep 13
Nandrew

Chest Bugs and Vapour Rubs

achestThere’s nothing that says “still in active development” quite like a healthy colony of interface, progression and mechanical errors popping up every week. We have mixed feelings about the number of these little guys that are still cropping up, but at the very least it means that we have a regular bunch of sharp-eyed forum users who have nothing but our best interests at heart (at least until we finally discover what secret agenda has kept them playing the beta for all this time).

So, this week’s changelog is a nice chunky example of what happens when we panic and realise that a three-update-buildup of game issues is busy glaring at us more furiously than a level 10 Meat Man’s death prediction glow.

We’ve been inserting more graphics and animation tweaks this week while gaining steam on more behind-the-scenes stuff (hint: a certain Danny “Lithuanian and proud” Baranowsky and Grant Kirkhope are really excited about the version of DD they’ll be seeing this weekend).

Prepare to read the word “fixed” a lot if you dare gaze any further! Here’s this week’s changelog: More…

20 Sep 13
Nandrew

The map is here!

2013-09-20blogImage

Okay, technically the map has been in for a really long time already. But now it actually looks the way we want it to.

That’s right, the realms of Desktop Dungeons are no longer a barren waste of parchment-coloured desert and dirty brown dungeon buttons. The same treatment that our Kingdom screen recently enjoyed now extends to the full game world, revealing a magical adventurescape of vibrant colour and custom-drawn hazards. Hooray for that!

Woot! Short blogpost this week because the fancy new mapscreen has been the crux of our playerside output. We’ve also worked up the first iteration of a somewhat more spiffing login screen, and done more of that recent behind-the-scenes stuff. For additional details on some of the mild bugfixes and design tweaks we made on the side, changelog follows: More…

13 Sep 13
Nandrew

Gold Star Stickers

somemoremap

Our new Kingdom map is nearly ready for in-game awesomeness! We just need to finish up the different states required for all of the dungeon graphics (yep, they have different appearances based on completion criteria), then it’s off to plugging them in and watching them go.

In the meantime, open up the in-dungeon menu when you have a moment and check out the cool new badge graphics we’ve got for you! Finally, your unique and hard-earned dungeon achievements have been honoured with equally unique and hard-drawn dungeon badges from our unique and hard-pressed dungeon artists!

This has been another week of text fixing, with a bit of narrative improvement and some flesh-out-ness when it comes to lore and Exclusive Edition content (several EE characters so far being dispensers of this additional lore, so keep an eye out for them). From a UI perspective, we should have dealt with that pesky bottom cut-off problem that’s been plaguing the Kingdom’s dialog boxes for a few weeks. Please send us a report via e-mail or our gigantic thread o’ bugs if you still encounter graphical glitches. Screenshots are always helpful in these cases.

Aside from that, there’s been a few minor in-dungeon tweaks including a BLUDTUPOWA / Goatperson nerf. Not our idea, honest. This one’s on you guys.

A rather incremental week, though it has been filled with content and adjustments that we’re not allowed to talk about. Is that a valid carrot to dangle or not? Either way, changelog follows with the stuff we DO get to divulge: More…

06 Sep 13
Nandrew

Army of Heroes

blogArmyGood news! We’ve made some sweeping, game-wide tweaks this week and players of all levels and Kingdom progressions should see some improvement in today’s update.

The new animation system is gaining momentum and we’ve been focusing on making everyday dungeon interactions like fighting, killing and piety gain that much more visceral and satisfying. It takes time, but the effort has been well worth it so far.

The general dialogue went through a considerable overhaul. Most of it is subtle reorganisation and condensation. Portraits, icons and character sprites have been corrected and updated. A few more advanced tutorials have been put into place. Lore and codex adjustments have been made. Et cetera et cetera. These past few days have really been an eye-opener regarding just how much text exists throughout the game.

(Oh, and female characters finally have their own name lists populated!)

We’ve also done our best to improve information flow, particularly with player gold. Two important changes in this regard are the new once-off advisor tutorial replacing the annoying gold cap popup in the Kingdom, and the ability to preview monster trophy values in-dungeon.

Finally, for those of you plugging through the Special Edition campaign: yep, slightly easier again. Particularly the third one. Maybe. Though we don’t know whether or not we went overboard in throwing an entire Kingdom’s worth of heroes at those final dungeons to help you along …

The changes this week are subtle. Profound. Powerful. Occasionally generous. Now would be a pretty decent time to fire up a new profile and test out Kingdom progression if you want to look at how much better it’s doing nowadays. Just saying. Otherwise, changelog follows: More…

30 Aug 13
Nandrew

Further Scrubbing

tut4-bleatAnd that’s another pass on the early game progress done.

In our neverending quest to streamline the learning experience for new players (and cram as many lessons into as small a space as possible without sacrificing everyone to the vengeful god Waloftext), we’ve added more icons, helpful pointers, concept explanations and aesthetic improvements to make stuff “pop”. The map isn’t in just yet, but that’ll be in as soon as our artists come out the other end of the UI spam that they’re being forced to endure.

From a bug (and performance) perspective, we’ve made a few important optimisations which should improve the game radically on systems that previously suffered! Even our less oppressed players should notice fewer halts and hiccups in their overall game experience.

Be on the lookout for weird hiccups in the progress if you decide to play through this week. We discovered and squashed a surprising number of long-standing gremlins towards the end of this cycle, but we tend to fall into a horrible habit of playing the game absolutely perfectly every time we go through it and that doesn’t really do much for exploit catching. So annoying.

For those concerned about balance, some of the Goat Glade quests are subtly easier this week – though for the most part they remain resolute in their difficulty. Sorry. But look at this lovely changelog! Isn’t it just lovely? Yeeeess. Yes it is. Precious. Things below: More…

29 Aug 13
Aequitas

Sequencing

Anyone who has played the early parts of Desktop Dungeons recently will have noticed the new cadence of the toasts, advisor hands, and building spawn animations. The systems that control these elements were built at different times, and sometimes by different team members, so getting them all to get in line was a real challenge.

The event system that the whole game runs off was actually very helpful in terms of controlling what appears when, with no overlap. I was able to create a handler that listens for all the events in charge of firing off these disparate pieces. It intercepts all the events, and adds them to a queue, waiting for some event to fire notifying the handler that the next event in the queue can be sent out. Some extra code was added to the pieces themselves, to let the handler know when they are ‘done’ and the next piece can be activated.

This all allows the user to move through the messages at their own pace, and it allows us to set the order that we want things appearing in. This is really important for new players, as they’re being asked to absorb all the basic DD systems in just a few short messages.

23 Aug 13
Nandrew

Map Tease

2013-08-23blogImageIn our everlasting Quest for Pretty, we’ve continued improving the flow and animation of early game progression. Sit back and marvel as the Kingdom animates and builds upon itself using the architecturally-patented Smoke And Nonsense Effect.

The image you see accompanying this blog post is sadly not in the game yet. But it is the game your game could look like.

One day.

Soon.

Yep, that’s right, our crosshairs are set on the map screen up next, and we want it to be bee-yoo-ti-ful by the end of the whole process (click on the image for a larger size of the current draft). We’re also sprucing up seemingly unimportant stuff like the profile switching panels, the typeface and size on toast announcements, and a bunch of other little things which do their bit to improve the player’s suspension of disbelief. Soon, there won’t be any loose ends left at all.

Aside from cosmetic and interface issues, we’ve also tackled one or two bugs (those have finally been getting rarer). Then there’s smoothing out the questline in the Goat Glade (the first one is much easier and more stable than it was a few weeks ago). You should check the changelog for other bits ‘n bobs, you know?

Fixes:

  • Added sequencing queue to early game tutorial events.
  • Changes to early game tutorial content.
  • Replaced many text buttons ingame with paper text buttons.
  • Replaced many older style panels with paper panels/speech bubbles.
  • Fixed a bug where PQI would send players to tutorial 4.
  • Fixed a bug where applying poison to an already poisoned enemy would not play the poison sound.
  • Fixed a bug in score screen where a gold value could be negative.
  • Changed the panel order on Goat Glade to stop some odd looking panel shuffling.
  • Updated sliders/scrollbars with new graphics. Implemented dragable scrollbars.
  • Fixed bug with JJ deaths related to hit order in Spider Script 3
  • Spider Script 2 druids now move out of the way and don’t drop wall crushers
  • Converting between gods ignores Indulgence
  • Added building destruction and addition animations
  • Optimised particle systems slightly

 

21 Aug 13
Nandrew

An Attempt At Game Stories

Narrative concerns in Desktop Dungeons have always been a little weird. Its short-session, rotating door of one-shot characters doesn’t lend itself to extended storylines. Its semi-linear nature makes it difficult to have a “main” storyline (we ended up dressing one tale out of several as the “campaign” because we needed a solid backbone for metagame progress). Its random nature means that it’s difficult to ensure that all parts of the story are heard at the right times.

In other words, conventional storytelling is out.

At some point, I became thoroughly gripped by Dark Souls and marvelled at its perfection of “fuzzy storytelling”. The game world was fully equipped with bits and pieces of information about what the hell was going on, and as you discovered more of these pieces you were able to start forming theories about where you were, what you were doing and why the world was so dark and messed up. More…

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