Sep 122013

Hey Dungeonfans,

The last two weeks have been a scattershot of development. Multiple things are happening at once, which is always a little chaotic but it’s necessary if you want to get the most value out of your time. Here’s some of the broad strokes:

UI Overhaul

There’s some brand new art on the way that will change both the look and feel of the UI as it exists. Easier to read and navigate, suitable for keyboard, mouse, or controller. I can build the skeleton of the new tech without art, but since UI is so much about positioning and specific functions tied to specific buttons, I can’t go in whole hog yet.

Mouse and Gamepad Control

Mouse control has lots of functionality now but it remains imperfect. Gamepad control exists for moving and fighting with Dungeonmans but not much else. The combat controls I continue to work on, however there’s an ever greater amount of work to be done making sure that the gamepad can navigate menus correctly.

Monster Creation Tool

All of the game data in Dungeonmans is stored in text files, because they’re the easiest to mess with and you can work quickly. Dungeonmans doesn’t really have any tools, but that’s changing now. For small projects, especially with a single developer, you have to be really careful about investing time into making tools. If you spend more time making the tool than you save from using it, you’ve wasted time. Monsters are the one case in Dungeonmans where I’d like to have something more than Notepad to gather, balance, and adjust them.

Using the tool, I can create baseline stats for monsters at any given level, then tweak and adjust them so that they fit the monster and feel right. For example, if the Bandit and Gelatinous Cube are both level 4 they can start with the same base stats, such as health, hit, melee damage, etc. But the Cube is a big slimy cube, so I can increase his health a touch, add some extra armor, and remove his block and parry scores. The Bandit gets no armor, but his parry and hit should be higher than average, nimble swordsmans that he is. Finally, the Cube will take extra damage from fire and ice. Done!

Now, let’s say later that I want to make those monsters level 6 instead. I can change the level, and the base stats will adjust to be level 6, keeping the modifications in mind. Later on, if the feedback from testing shows that 6th level monsters are too easy or too difficult, I can change the core values and all the monsters of that level will adapt. Tool writing isn’t glamorous work, but this one should prove useful.

What’s Next?

I know these updates have been lackluster but bear with me, I will have something great to show quite soon. In most cases I have no problem showing things in development, but I want to hold off on showing the art and UI updates until they are just right. It will be worth it!


  2 Responses to “Dev Update 27: Monster Tools”

  1. Hi guys.

    There’s something weird happening when I’m trying to download your game.
    When pressing the link you’ve posted the browser freezes (only this site, I can still jump to other, Youtube, Facebook etc).
    If I wait for like 20+ minutes the site fixes itself and the download begins.
    But after installing the game, the game doesn’t work. It just stops working and crashes at the startup.

    Any suggestions?

    • Probably best to right-click and Save As, that will make the download work. I do not know why it can’t just be clicked like every regular .zip, I think it’s this wordpress skin. As for your crash, did you remember to install the XNA binaries as well? The instructions for downloading both the game and XNA binaries are here:

      If you continue to get crashes, write to me at and I’ll see what I can do.

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