Jan 212013

A horde of horrible monsters, wicked weapons and giant explosions, piles upon immeasurable piles of loot, and strategic combat that will beat down your flabby war-brains until they look like that ripped dude from 300. Except he’s a brain now, and he’s got an armful of swords.


A true Dungeonmans works best in a crowd.

When you get right down to it, Dungeonmans is about stepping up to legions of terrible monsters and taking them apart. Shiny swords, explosions, magic tricks, arrows, whatever, just make sure when you’re done that all the baddies are separated into a smooth ankle-deep mush.

You’ve got the tools to do it. Dungeonmans lets you mix and match powers to create just the hero you want. How many times have you run in with your big sword, lucky to get in one or two swings before your wizard buddy in the robe and silly hat calls in snowstorms full of meteors made of bees and steals all the kills? No more of that. You’ll balance spell and steel, wear heavy armor while shooting a long bow, or maybe be full of sneaky tricks that get you in range to use that giant hammer you’re lugging around. Or maybe you just want to specialize? You go and become the best robe and silly hat wearer you can be, and leave the swords to the mooks on the stink end of your fireballs.


Surely you will always find easy to collect loot just like this.There’s plenty of gear just waiting to be recovered from the severed tentacles and headless lumps you leave in your wake. Weapons a-plenty: swords, axes, hammers, bows and arrows, spears, staves, all of varying quality and make. Walk out of the Academy with some raggedy boots and Yesterday’s Knife, strut back in with huge swords and glimmering shoulders that look like someone vajazzled a linebacker.

Don’t forget about the various other items of wonder. Bubbling fizzy potions, untested wands buzzing with power, and old scrolls scratched out by ancient demons with a D in handwriting. What they do is a mystery, a mystery you solve using knowledge and powerful research, or by crossing your fingers and chugging one of those potions down. Learn more about the mysterious items of the world, and stock up on the good ones for when things get really interesting.


Oh no he didn't. Well, wait, yes he did: here's the screenshot.Danger is everywhere in Dungeonmans, and once you’ve made your share of scrobold salsa you’ll be ready to take it to the Champions, serious monsters with powerful abilities and real trouble. Champs lurk everywhere you’ll find monsters, and are usually surrounded by lesser monster admirers, just waiting to be crushed. Did you do a good job lining up your powers and picking up loot? You’ll know one way or the other.

Sometimes the bad guys get the entrepreneurial spirit and form lairs of their very own. Maybe one of them got a lucky shot in on a Dungeonmans of yore and now is the big boss man of his own fancy dungeon. Use everything you’ve got! Set up a Decoymans to soak fire while you dash across the room unloading arrows. Hold up your shield and summon a whirling Coldnado before charging in to hack the opponent to bits. Tap into the Terrible Secrets of Necromansy and bring the once-crushed back into action, bravely holding the front line while you fling destruction from afar.


Fill the academy with trophies and arcane knowledge!The boldest heroes often end up parked six feet under a heroic statue with a pithy quote. As the graveyard grows at the Dungeonmans Academy, your new heroes will graduate with some of the strength and knowledge passed down by those who crushed before them. You’ll find rare tomes of knowledge or arcane equipment that can be used to expand the academy and give newer students a leg up. If you’re lucky, you’ll discover entire new fields of study to expand the monster fighting power of all your heroes, each generation better than the last.

The world grows as you play, with each hero coming back stronger than the last, all of them working together to forge a legacy of heroic adventure. The dungeon layouts are always new and different, but the villains who need some payback remain. Did some bandit get the drop on Sir Hardfight VIII, ending his career far too soon? Well Sir Hardfight IX can saunter right in and earn bloody revenge, assuming he too doesn’t get added to the pile of victims.


Push the boundaries of exploration! Fill that parchment!

Dynamic combat.

Player built classes.

Ever changing encounters.

Generations of Heroes from the Dungeonmans Academy.

Piles of outrageous loot guarded by hungry, terrible monsters.

A sprawling world of adventure, with high mountaintop fortresses, deep cavernous dungeons, and all the locations in between.


Jan 172013

This week’s update is another short one. Work continues on the effects and powers systems, and in recent days I’ve been making sure that jumping, dashing, and sliding (as a result of being hit) all work correctly and are easy to recognize when they happen. This is a blend of making sure the code runs each event in sequence as well as dressing up the characters on screen with puffs of smoke for landings and colorful dashing trails.

In particular, the Long Jump is an early skill in Dungeon Acrobatics that serves as a poor man’s Blink. Given one round to prepare, the player can leap up to eight squares away, even into places the player hasn’t seen yet. It doesn’t allow you to jump over walls but you can still jump over obstacles, enemies and other hazards. The jump now has a nice satisfying arc over the heads of confused monsters.

Stick and Move is a Skirmish Archer power learned in Combat Kinetics. It’s a three square jump that also fires an arrow at the nearest target. You’re trading a bit of stamina for the ability to clear yourself from danger and keep a little bit of damage pressure on the enemy.

The other big work related actions this week were business based and decidedly unexciting. Spreadsheets, contracts, and doing a very bad job with invoices. Totally professional.

Finally, I’d like to share a link for a game that has recently piqued my interest. It’s not a roguelike, rather it’s another take on the mining, exploring and building genre. Signs of Life is set on a far away planet full of things both exotic and familiar. I liked a lot of what I saw in the video, specifically the ability to build up automated defenses. One of my biggest pet peeves with terracraft style games is that when it’s night time you’re swarmed by enemies, so you either work underground or wait for the sun to rise. Being able to build up some perimeter defense is very appealing. The snowmen in Minecraft do not count.

Signs of Life is also on Greenlight, so give them a look. If you’re really interested, they have way in depth updates available on their site as well.

Stay tuned for next week when I will be updating from a car on the road during the move and likely just posting pictures of terrified cats.

Jan 102013

Since the last dev update, work has indeed continued on the implementation of the power system. I had a bit of a eureka moment earlier in the week which required a touch of refactoring but will end up making it much easier to do more permanent area effects, like a lake of fire or teleportation wall. I’m excited to have more to show there.

Greenlight trucks along, and I’m always happy to see a new comment, even the critical ones. While I can’t get much use out of “This game is fail” there’s been plenty of comments that help me see places where the game, or more accurately the Greenlight presentation of the game, falls short. The game is ever improving behind the scenes, and I need to make sure to keep the Greenlight up to date.

In other news, the Dungeonmans Development Headquarters Castle is making a cross country move in a couple of weeks, so development is not quite running at full speed. Preparations for that take up some time; can’t really code while packing boxes and hauling things, but the tile like array of packed goods does inspire dungeon based thinking while working.

I’d like to show off a couple of screenshots in the mean time. Here’s a first pass at a new dungeon style, an underground labyrinth walled by stone etchings and ancient shapes. I’m worried that the floor doesn’t contrast enough with the walls and blocked areas, but we’ll see.

Here’s an example of one of the desert cities. Adobe style huts and waving trees line stone streets, leading the way to… a tremor wurm ranch? Who in their right mind would ranch tremor wurms? Soon we shall find out!

Finally, here’s a showcase of work from the most excellent Westly LaFleur, who has created a great number of the character sprites on display in the screenshots and Greenlight video. You can see a number of different character appearances, shapes, and sizes; some truly creative work that has tightened in focus over time to really bring home the heroic Dungeonmans style. Click on the image to see the rest of Westly’s portfolio!

This is where I recommend you stay tuned for next week’s exciting update, but it may actually just be pictures of boxes. Boxes full of loot!

Jan 032013

My first order of business for the new year is to refine and harden the way Dungeonmans implements combat powers. They work quite well right now, but there’s more work that needs to be done in order to really deliver the interactions that make them interesting. Being able to build a hero out of many different masteries is great and all, but it feels pointless unless the powers can be used in combination to really put the screws to the monsters.

In this scenario, our hero has (foolishly) found himself against a wall, approached by a pair of Skelemens and a Bandit Assassin. To make matters worse, there’s a Brigand Sharpshooter chuckling in the back ranks, ready to fill our dungeonmans with arrows. Well now. Round by round, let’s see what we can do.

Our hero has a couple of points in Foominology, a mastery dedicated to blowing enemies to pieces with fire and explosions. He’s wielding a two handed axe, but can still use magical powers. They might not hit as hard as if he was carrying a staff, but they still get the job done. So for his first round, he’ll cast Foom Ripple, which lights three concentric explosions around him, one round at a time. Foom Ripple uses Mana, which this hero doesn’t have a ton of but maybe that will change as he trains up his Applied Wizardry. This first round, it hits the trio of bad guys in front of him for a solid amount of damage. He might have been able to do more damage with his axe to a single target, but not enough to kill them. Unfortunately, this means he takes hits from all three of the enemies.

Round two: He’ll use his two handed weapon power called Crowd Control. This power uses Stamina to hit three enemies within one tile, knock them backwards, and stun them. Not only is he dealing damage with the axe this round, he’s also sending the bad guys back into the fire for a second hit! The stun gives him a round of breathing room, otherwise the enemies would just close right back in. This damage is enough to kill the Skelemans on the top. The Brigand Sharpshooter can shoot this round, and he does, tagging the hero for a small but annoying bit of health.

Third round: The enemies are no longer stunned, so after the hero acts they’ll move in on him. Our hero decides to use a power he picked up in Dungeon Acrobatics, using Razor Slide to dash up to 5 spaces and cut the first enemy he encounters. That would be the Bandit Assassin, who is dropped by the attack. Also, the Foom Ripple expends its last explosion, damaging the Sharpshooter. The Skelemans can act, and he’ll step towards the hero. He is *not* hit by the fire though, since that explosion happened at the end of the hero’s turn.

Round four: The Hero can now take an action to melee down the Skelemans next to him before he gets in a hit. The Brigand Sharpshooter was too close to the hero, so he takes a step back. Keeping the pressure on ranged attackers is important, because they usually can’t shoot and move at the same time. That melee hit drops the Skelemans, and now it is just the Brigand and a furious Dungeonmans, one and one. I know where my money’s going.

A fine show of force, but there’s a few things to consider. First, is all this hooplah more effective than just jamming melee attacks against the nearby foes? In this case yes, the hero only gets hit a few times where as if he just tried to tank those foes and box them down he’d take considerably more damage. As any roguelike player knows, you want the enemies to come to you. If they spend their round moving, you spend yours hitting, and against softer foes that can mean one hit kills without getting touched.

Second, is it worth it to use different powers? It’s often wise to step back and forth between Mana and Stamina based powers. Generally speaking, Mana based powers, spells, will either do damage to enemies or provide a defensive effect, but not both. Stamina powers can do both, but they have multi-round cooldowns, and Stamina doesn’t regenerate naturally during combat. Fortunately, this means good things for all sorts of builds. If you focus on martial fighting and melee attacks, you’ll have a broad collection of Stamina attacks to cycle through. If you concentrate on magic, you might be able to stop most threats through sheer force of Foom and Science. Hybrid builds can do both, and though it might take more thinking, you may find ways to survive longer and do more damage.

That’s it for this update. What sort of powers do you expect out of this system? Is there anything in particular you’d like to see in a development update? Leave a note in the comments!