Dungeon Delver Creators Bring New Life to an Old Formula
Dungeon Delver is somewhat of an anomaly within the context of ROBLOX. While it’s a re-imagining of the brand of RPG made popular by Diablo, Everquest and the like, it features things we don’t often see: a fixed camera system, a click-to-walk interface, and different classes with different abilities that can be upgraded and enhanced. I got the chance to talk to the developers of the title, Gl0in and Gl0in2 to get the inside scoop on creating a game of such magnitude.
Dungeon Delver is still in its Alpha testing stage, but it’s stable and open to the public. Already, this unfinished title has amassed over 100,000 visits, thanks in part to its striking visual aesthetic. It first manifests itself in the character creation system, which uses a nifty graphic user interface to customize your look and abilities. Once you look the way you like, you find yourself in a lifelike tavern surrounded by wizards with long staffs and warriors with steel swords. Here, you can mingle with other players, purchase items and generally find reprieve from the dungeons you’re otherwise exploring.
Part of the what makes the gameplay so fun and varied in Dungeon Delver is that every time you hit that Enter Dungeon button, there is no way to be truly prepared for what you’re about to face. That’s because the dungeons are loaded completely at random, putting you in a different environment with different enemies to face at varying levels of difficulty. The toughness of your foes is also dynamic, in that it’s based on the party you enter the game with. The system that Gl0in and Gl0in2 developed to accomplish this is very clever.
Every monster in any given dungeon has a level of strength and dexterity that is based on the median of the levels of all the players occupying that particular dungeon. This, coupled with the fact that many enemies have elemental resistances, means that teamwork is of paramount importance. The highest ranking player in the dungeon will be pivotal in doing the most damage to enemies, while other players who have elemental abilities have to step in and use their powers to damage enemies who are more prone to, say, fire attacks. If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Gl0in and Gl0in2 have crafted an intricate core gameplay experience that is both dynamic and challenging.
Each class in the game is created specifically for different purposes, and can do different things. The goal is to utilize attributes of different team members’ respective class. Gl0in explains:
“The Warrior is basically a tank–he can deal and take a lot of damage. The Paladin, on the other hand, plays more of a supporting role–they focus on keeping the team healthy. Hunters are a total mixed bag–they have traps to disable enemies and they pack quite a punch. Necromancers use followers and spells to distract and immobilize enemies. Finally, Mages are glass cannons that focus solely on doing damage.”
“We want all abilities, all classes and all items to be completely valid, and to directly affect the way the game is played,” says Gl0in. “Making Dungeon Delver as balanced as possible is still a very challenging aspect.”
Having been real-life friends since the ages of six, the two 15-year-olds grew up with ROBLOX, but went in different directions. Gl0in had been working in animation and general building skills, while Gl0in2 spent a lot of time familiarizing himself with scripting and GUIs. The combination of these skills sets is what brought Dungeon Delver to life.
“Even though this is our first project together, we’ve known each other for nine years. The teamwork part comes very easy to us. We always knew we wanted to collaborate on something together, and try to make something new and original,” says Gl0in.
From a visual perspective, Dungeon Delver is consistently beautiful. From the opening of the game, where the “Warrior” class humanoid is being gently illuminated by the dynamically lit fire off to his left, the game is ripe with details. Gl0in tells me that utilizing dynamic lighting helped set the tone and overall look they were looking for.
“Dynamic lighting was still very new when we started working on the game, but we knew we had to have it. We knew it would greatly improve the overall experience. We really wanted our dungeons to feel dark and hostile.”
Another interesting visual aspect of the game is its fixed camera system. This sort of technique was utilized in many early action RPGs–and is perhaps the reason why this particular game transported me back to my childhood. In many ways Dungeon Delver is an ode to a time where games like these filled Computer Cafes (remember those? No? I’m old.) with teenagers ready to spend hours battling their friends.
Ultimately, Dungeon Delver is shaping up to be an absolutely killer title. It’s refreshing to watch a group of builders post their Alpha work so early on–but they did it for a reason. Gl0in tells me that their best asset in building a better game is feedback from the community. They also have hired several testers who report bugs and minor fixes to them. With the basic structural architecture in place, these two old friends are ready to start implementing some major changes that will rocket Dungeon Delver into Beta.
“You should see our to-do list,” says Gl0in. “We have to: raise the level-cap, get the tiers for extra levels to work, implement a PvP-system, add small minigames and events to dungeons, and we’ve got 20 new abilities planned that we need to implement,” he says.
“Then, we’ll be ready for Beta.”