I made a dungeon crawler!

Posted by
August 22nd, 2011 3:17 am

See, this is why I love Ludum Dare. I’ve worked on sooo many dungeon crawlers before, but I’ve never quite gotten around to finishing any of them. This time, the theme seemed to fit the gameplay, so I went for it. Here’s the end result:

Prelude of the Chambered

Play it! | Game entry

I recorded the entire process at one screenshot every other second, and streamed it all live. I didn’t do as much talking as I hoped I would. It’s very difficult to stay interesting when concentrating..

The first several hours were spent making the game renderer from scratch. I chose a low resolution screen with simple four bit images that can be tinted to any color, which sets the graphical tone in a nice way while still letting me draw art fast. Levels are designed as images with each color representing a different block, and the alpha channel containing the “id” information. For example, a pressure plate with id (alpha) 200 will open all doors with id (alpha) 200. I can override this default trigger behavior in the code to do more advanced pressure plate logic.

One major inspiration for this game was Link’s Awakening, which I’m currently replaying again on my 3DS, so the game world is based on a central hub with a few different dungeons you need to complete in order. In each dungeon, you find a unique item that lets you access the next dungeon, and a boss monster that drops a key. Once you have four keys, you can open the final door and win the game.

The game play ended up being slightly more action oriented than I originally thought, but that is probably a good thing. Except for a few places where you can get yourself stuck, I think it actually plays fairly well. I tried to design the levels so that there were very few wasted blocks to make the game feel tight and complex. There are two hidden trinkets per level. and usually two hidden powerups as well. All-in-all, there are six levels in the game, and even something that actually feels like a boss fight.

In the last couple of hours, I added stuff like sound (SFXR, woo) and title screens, while trying to play test the game as much as I could. I got in bed at about 5 am or so, feeling exhausted and happy.

12 Responses to “I made a dungeon crawler!”

  1. ointment says:

    I wasn’t actively watching all the time because I had my own game to make, but the music you were playing motivated me. I recognized the Analord series, and you were apparently tuned into some electro house stream at one point?

    And yeah, it’s a successful game, one of my favorites this LD. Getting a Dungeon Master vibe from this. PUNCHING BOULDERS

  2. cr says:

    Was a great experience watching Notch code in real-time. Gotta love the speed and mastery in his Java programming.

    I like the game, it’s simple yet plays well.

  3. migimunz says:

    I actually had notch’s stream on the left half of my screen, and did my own programming work on the right side. What I was doing was completely boring and tedious, so occasionally glancing at your progress made it more fun. Anyway, congrats on the game, it’s awesome.

  4. SamuraiForever says:

    This is a pretty great accomplishment, I wasn’t able to attend this LD but I found this live stream inspiring to check in on when I could.

  5. EternalDeiwos says:

    … don’t suppose that I can get that live stream from anywhere?
    Upload to mediafire or some other file server?

  6. KaeElBee says:

    I got absolutely destroyed at the end of the Temple… Half Opaque Ghost blocks are super trolls.

    Anyhow, I can’t believe this was done in 48 hours (Or probably less). Well done!

  7. rolo says:

    It was very interesting to watch Notch coding and building his assets.
    A C# port of the game is available here :

  8. LpSamuelm says:

    Ther’s a very easy way to cheat in this game, and get the cutters before you’re supposed to. When you’re supposed to slide over the ice to get to the Frost Cave, if you get hit by one of the blue eye-enemies while sliding, you stop. And then you can quite easily slide into where the cutters are before you even have the skates!

  9. GhostID says:

    You, my sir, are one heck of a programmer. :) I mean, making a pseudo 3d engine for a competition from scratch, woah! XD

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