Archive for the ‘Dungeon’s Fortune’ Category

Breaking Block is RTM

posted by Duke
Jun 28

Planet Level Today I put the last of the finishing touches on Breaking Block, ensured one last time that everything is in good working order on both platforms, and submitted to the Appstore for approval. I’m actually a couple of days late with this, so I’m hoping that since this is my third Appstore game, the approval process will be quick. The Android side of things is all ready to go.

Now, I am at a crossroads. There are several viable projects that I could choose take up next. I still have more ideas for mobile games, however, Steam has also caught my attention and I have a couple of game ideas that would work really well there. Whichever way I go, I’d like to have something to show in time for OGDE in October.

Here is my short list of potential projects, in no particular order:

  • A 2.5D, tiled 3rd-person puzzle game for mobile platforms
  • A vocabulary/word puzzle game for mobile platforms
  • A tycoon-style sim/builder for Steam/PC (including Steam Early Access)
  • Dungeon’s Fortune – An episodic JRPG for Steam/PC with procedurally generated dungeons
  • Dehoarder 2 – First person decluttering mayhem (Yes, I’ve noticed that y’all are still talking about the original game!)

As you can see, this is enough work to keep me busy for at least the next 3 years. If you have any thoughts as to which project I should work on next, please let me know! I’ll be deciding in the next couple of weeks.



This week, refactoring and rearchitecting has been the order of the day.

Coming back around to Dungeon’s Fortune, I have been away from the design long enough to be able to make meaningful adjustments to the architecture so that it is a more well-ordered machine. Boundaries between subsystems are being forged, which will allow design and development to proceed in a more sane fashion, and allow more reuse of components between projects. Also, having strong boundaries opens up the possibility of allowing customization of the game.

One component that was totally scrapped and re-written was the encounter scripting system. The new incarnation is cheekily called VardoScript, and its main improvements include eliminating reliance on code generation, and improved handling of script timing and parallelization. This new incarnation also supports serializing the entire state of the scripting machine, which will be handy when writing games for suspend-and-resume platforms.

As I write this, Dungeon’s Fortune is being upgraded to Unity 4, mainly to gain some of the code organization features that have been added. I’ll probably take a look at some of the DirectX 11 support. Hopefully texture arrays are there, I could really use that for the voxel engine.


Jul 28

For the first time in a few weeks, I was able to devote an entire Saturday to developing features for Dungeon’s Fortune. Basic inventory management is working. Equipped items are contributing stat bonuses in combat. Mobs are able to be defeated, granting experience points. Items can appear within the encounter map and can be picked up by the player.
This is subject to change, but right now the inventory model is a shared party model with individual equipment slots for each character. The available inventory size will depend on a number of bag slots (right now four). You don’t put items in individual bags, rather, the number and type of bags you have determines the total number of inventory slots available.
Items will be able to be stacked to some degree. Equippable items are currently not stackable.
I’m also planning to use what I like to call the pinata loot system. When a mob is defeated, the items it drops will go flying in all directions. I think that will be a lot of fun.


Fortune’s Progress

posted by Duke
Jul 7

Dungeon's Fortune Development Title Background

Since my last update, a LOT of progress has been made on Dungeon’s Fortune. It is still far from finished, but at least now the game is in some sort of playable state. My focus right now has been on making the main game cycle completable – moving from your base camp to a fortune telling session to a dungeon and then back to the base camp. I’m very close to this goal – I’ve completed up to the going to the dungeon step, and just need to implement exiting the dungeon back to the camp. Once that is done, everything else can flow from there.

Other major areas worked on include:

  • XML Dialog Scripting
  • XML Game Database
  • Prologue scene with progressing character dialog
  • Rough layout of first camp
  • Rough layout of first dungeon
  • Beginnings of combat – unarmed attacks only, no AI

Unfortunately, no screenshots yet, as the game graphics still look very ugly and placeholderish. If only there were an artist out there that would be willing to help with that…

On a more in-depth development note, I’ve been really excited about some of the technologies I’ve been creating during this project. I can see a lot of them getting some heavy re-use in future projects.

For starters, there is my Geometry Manager library. Work on this component actually started long ago during some of my early prototyping after Thrust or Bust was first released. One of my lessons learned from that game was that I had to go back to taking a more active role in managing the game’s drawing. Thrust or Bust is kind of a pig resource-wise, with some areas pushing 1,000 draw calls and half a million vertexes, which is why it will never be mobile without a full overhaul. I took some of my old XNA-based vertex buffer management code, and made it usable in Unity, which gives me a solid basis for both 2D AND 3D efficient sprite and texture atlas management. This has become a solid foundation for several other components.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Unity’s offerings for rendering a GUI. So, another component I’ve been working on is a more declarative UI system. It fits quite nicely with the Geometry Manager component, making drawing UI extremely efficient, since most window-type UI components can be drawn with as few as 3 draw calls (background image, foreground images, text). I’m not quite declaring my UI in XML yet, but that is a planned next step.

There are a lot of other technologies that I can go into, such as the voxel engine, the dialog scripting engine, and the game database component, for example, but that will have to wait until another post. It’s time to work on getting the main character from the dungeon back to the camp, completing the gameplay cycle.


Voxels and Vardos

posted by Duke
Apr 16


Here is a screenshot of a voxel-based gypsy wagon (more officially known as a vardo) which will be appearing in the new game I’ve been talking about, which I’ve decided to call “Dungeon’s Fortune”. Much work has been going into the voxel graphics engine lately. So far, 14 different block shapes (rotatable/mirrorable to any cardinal orientation) are implemented, as is multicolored lighting (precalculated or real-time). For purposes of this game, I’m using a scale of one voxel or block being 9 inches on each side. I like this scale because it seems convenient for building representations of real-world objects.

Now that I have a working engine and editor, after the editor gets a few more features, it will be time to begin looking at a combat system.

I’m also creating a Game page for the game. It should be up shortly.


Mid-Winter Update

posted by Duke
Feb 4

Over the last few weekends, I have been designing the encounter engine for the fortune-telling dungeon explorer game that I mentioned in my last update. While all I have so far graphically are some placeholders, I’m pleased with how the encounter engine is coming together. I’ve also been working on the story, and I think I have the major plot points of the first episode all worked out.

Despite all of this progress, though, I still need a good graphic artist to make this project succeed. Someone who can do 3D modeling, texturing, rigging, and the lot, as well as 2D artwork. If anyone out there is willing to work on this project in that capacity on a contingency basis (if it makes money, you make money), please give me a shout.

Today I finally get to fix my file server, now that the hard drive shortage is passing. Its RAID has been in failover mode for some time, leaving me with that not-so-secure feeling. Once that is done, it’s back to the encounter engine.

As for the Good Gaming Initiative, so far we have not received any contributions. I am still hoping to use my games to somehow give back to the community at large. For now, the Good Gaming Initiative will continue. Since I’ve not yet done my part by posting about the Crohns & Colitis Foundation of America, I am extending sponsorship of that charity for another month, until March 31, and will post about it right now.

Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are both debilitating diseases that severely affects the quality of life of over a million people worldwide. The Crohns & Colitis Foundation of America is dedicated to finding cures for both diseases, as well as improving the quality of life of people suffering from those diseases. Over a third of the money contributed to them funds medical research, with nearly 80% of donations overall going to programs. They consistently meet the standards of the American Institute of Philanthropy as well as other charity watchdogs. For these reasons, I chose the Crohns & Colitis Foundation of America as Smiling Cat’s first sponsored charity for 2012.

Please remember to get out there on Kongregate and rate up my games. Your support is very much appreciated!