Dig Dastardly – A Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @luke161)
December 21st, 2012 10:05 am

Go Dig, Go!

What the heck is this?

Dig Dastardly is an arcadey-ish digging game where you play Dig, a master thief who also has a penchant for burrowing underground. Attempt to dig the perfect route to the bank, get the loot from the safe and return with your spoils.

We had a very VERY loose one page GDD we scribbled all over to outline the game in the opening hours of the comp. A lot of features popped up as we got going, ideas were cut and compromises were made. The base concept was that you could burrow through a maze of blocks with varying properties, get the the bank, get the loot, and burrow back.

A major challenge was making sure the player couldn’t just dig a single route and run back and forth racking up points. How could we add jeopardy to the game? The answer was the police.

Get around that without exploding or being arrested, burrowing and thieving is tough work.

We had an idea that every time you make it to the bank and get the loot, Police spawn in your tunnels and arrest you on contact. The idea was to spice up the return trip and add a bit of jeopardy to the experience.

They turned out pretty simple, spawning in a space you had excavated, and pacing back and forth until you’re stupid or careless enough to run into one. We had a plan that they would speed up upon seeing the player, and then engage in a little scuffle. Turns out we only had time to cause the player to explode, so they’re essentially walking bombs.

Can he dig it? Yes, most of the time

Most of Dig’s time is spent destroying blocks. We wanted this to be as fun for the player as possible, so we devised a number of different block types. Originally planned as gas mains, we added a bomb block, containing a live bomb. This joined the standard dirt block, fragile sand block, the tough block and the indestructable block.


The blocks with exploding skull faces on are bomb blocks, in case you hadn’t noticed.

The idea was to give the player variety on the way to their goal, and make it so that they couldn’t just dig a path directly to the bank. mixing indestructable blocks in with the other types forces the player to craft alternative routes and improvise based on what’s ahead. Do they take the risk of digging into a bomb block, or play it safe by persevering through a cluster of tough blocks.

What went good?

  • People generally seemed to enjoy the game’s arcadey pace and simplicity.
  • Even though some features ended up being pretty simple (like the police) pretty much everything we wanted got in the game.
  • The art style was well received, pretty happy with where we got to considering it was a 3D game.

What went not good?

  • Some player’s seemed a bit stumped about what to do when getting to the bank, we weren’t clear enough.
  • Weak messaging of player milestones or success.
  • The game lacked jeopardy, too easy to exploit.

What next then?

We were pretty happy with where we got to but there are some holes that definitely need patching up. We plan on giving Dig a lick of paint and some key tweaks to make it a more complete experience. Tougher enemies, new block types, entire streets to raid and more.

If you’ve not done so already please play and vote for the game here

Chris (@papercaves)

Feedback to me or @luke161 about the game and any features you’d like to see in the full release.

2 Responses to “Dig Dastardly – A Post Mortem”

  1. Blooperly says:

    This was one of my favorite games! Good job!

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