31 Jan 11

The Almost Mandatory Global Game Jam Write-up

What do strawberries, traffic and games have in common?

That’s right, they’re all varieties of jam.

I’m quite sure that this joke very nearly worked on some people.

This past weekend, the boys at QCF Design took part in the Global Game Jam, an IGDA-organised event which has been running since 2009. All over the world, people gathered to create games centred around a particular theme, armed with nothing more than a humble 48 hours to consider, conceive and complete their creations.

Many of you have probably heard about the GGJ at some point, or even participated. If you’re pretty familiar with the Jam itself, I’ll waste no further time in showing off our submissions: The Last Fleet (Game Jam Page) and Lextinction. More details on these projects and the Jam follow after the jump.


25 Jan 11

Easy dungeons for the veteran

It feels a bit odd writing a post about tutorial progression and the easier dungeons, mainly because most of this blog’s readership consists of dedicated fans who already know a thing or two about clicking around single-screen dungeons. Still, it’s a game aspect which we find absolutely vital — keeping both beginners AND veterans in mind.

The freeware version of DD didn’t sport much more than a rather basic tutorial, quickly introducing core concepts and murdering the player a few times with some goats before tossing them into the deep end of a “normal” dungeon. Even when they’re provided with a quiet 20% monster strength reduction (at least until the first victory), some beginners still feel rather overwhelmed by the whole experience. So obviously we have to make things a little easier in the commercial version.

But how do we do this without boring experienced players too much? It’s a tricky situation which we think we have a solution for. More…

18 Jan 11

A writey-thing about the gods

Programmers often ask me if I know any Python. Proof that I do.

Oh man, this one’s a doozy. Gods were added relatively late in Desktop Dungeons’ design cycle (after a couple of freeware releases, they still appeared in only a very rudimentary form) and they have always been something that we wanted to swell and make comparable to the excellently-designed religion system in Crawl.

Unfortunately, we’ve enjoyed only limited success before now: the gods are packed with a fair amount of detail in comparison to some of the other core game elements, and trying to balance these divine buggers while maintaining their distinct personalities and (hopefully) interesting play styles has been quite a mission.

Bearing this in mind, the glyph system isn’t going to be the only game balance overhaul we perform in Unity DD. We’ve got a few ideas on where our beloved deities need improvement — here’s some of the tweaks we’ve catered for so far:


17 Jan 11

Indiegames Podcast #15

Rodain took a couple of hours last week to chat to the guys from the IndieGames Blog and the resulting podcast is both nutritious and available here! Enjoy responsibly.

15 Jan 11

So wait, are we douchebags now?

This email arrived yesterday:

Hi Danny,

Just wanted to let you know that as of today, I’ve removed LoEH for sale in all countries, following the copyright infringement notice I received from your lawyer.

I apologize for all the issues this has caused, and wish you best of luck on your IGF nomination.  Looking forward to the full version of Desktop Dungeons on iPhone.

Best REgards,

Um. Yay? I guess we won? Well, no. Not really. Maybe we didn’t lose quite as much, but when cloning’s involved it’s never really something anyone can “win”. There’s a lot of stuff that we’ve been wanting to talk about, having spent a lot of time thinking about cloning recently, so here goes: More…

13 Jan 11

How to make spells NOT crap

The goat pictures are delightful, Lekonish. Keep sending them. :3

I sometimes go into mini-spasms of self-righteous Internet fury when I hear the occasional Internet citizen complaining about Minecraft’s Technical Excellence nomination in the IGF (supposedly because a game in the Alpha/Beta phase cannot possibly justify the existence of minor bugs and whatnot).

I think, more than anything, it makes me incredibly self-conscious about the fact that our own game has an Excellence in Design nomination when — to be quite frank — the existing freeware has some horrendous game design screw-ups in quite a lot of areas.

Today, I’ll highlight the well-known whoopsie-doodles in the glyph system: you know, those endearing spells like IMAWAL, ENDISWAL and the various teleport magics which most veterans arguably convert on sight. It’s nice that even these crappy offerings serve a purpose as conversion fodder, but for the upcoming commercial version of DD we want to iron out absolutely every crease possible in order to make the game even more swollen with interesting decisions and creative tactics.

We want to perform most of this ironing by doing two things: (a) taking advantage of some fancy new Unity DD features including totems, auras, swamp maps and resurrecting enemies which actually make conventional play tactics incredibly ineffective and (b) altering the game’s weaker spells to become more deterministic and actually serve a unique function.

Here’s a few of the glyph changes that have gone into the new design:


06 Jan 11

Meet the Dwarves

Lurk’s been churning on more concepts for the full version, among them a veritable ton of portraits for the different race and class combos in the game (yes, this means we’ll have unique sprites for them all too). Meet the Dwarves:

Those of you that enjoyed the Human portraits a while back might notice that there are three more portraits here. Those are the challenge classes, unlocked by completing slightly more difficult quests.

04 Jan 11

WTF is Desktop Dungeons? A brit investigates

One of my favorite SC2 casters, TotalBiscuit, has aimed his wry wit squarely at Desktop Dungeons and taken the game for a spin on youtube:

Granted, he’s a bit of a nub: You can totally move diagonally and using the damage previews is really helpful; But it’s great watching someone discover the game and laughing at our references. It doesn’t hurt that he’s as likely to launch into horrible puns as we are…

03 Jan 11




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