Dummiez Cracks the Code with the Unique, Unpredictable Quarry

January

10, 2015

by Andrew Haak


Archive

When you first spawn into The Quarry, you see nicely decorated terraces leading to a hole. The environment is pretty, you might bump into one of the other nine players, and there are a few friendly NPCs with which to interact, but it doesn’t look like a game – not in the traditional sense, at least. You wouldn’t be in the wrong for wondering why, then, this title has been played about five million times in less than a year and even chosen as a community favorite more than any other game in a recent survey. Dummiez, the game’s creator, has an answer.

“It is different,” he says. “It doesn’t fit neatly into any category, making it unique from the current popular games.”

He’s telling the truth. There are no explosions, no weapons, and no vehicles (save for a lone crane). Instead, there’s a seemingly endless mine, which players explore by carving (mostly) vertical paths in search of precious and valuable ores. The game mechanics are simple: you and every other player are equipped with a pickaxe, and you use it to break down cubes and advance deeper into the mine. As you break down cubes, the materials of which they are composed are added to your inventory – eventually, your inventory will fill, meaning it’s time to teleport back to the surface and sell off what you’ve collected.

The allure is diving into unpredictable depths with friends and finding that super-rare gem, buried deep in a cavern but radiating colorful light. Dummiez mentions the “game experience, player interaction, and the fact that the gameplay is quite fun when you’re hanging out with friends” as the reasons people can’t seem to get enough of The Quarry.

The Quarry was originally inspired by a ROBLOX classic, Piedude777 and his Epic Mining game.

“This idea started back in late 2013, when I was playing Minecraft quite often (I guess it brought me into mining and block-y stuff),” Dummiez says. “At the time when I had thought of this, there [were] surprisingly no popular games with the concept of mining (and I took advantage of it).”

Dummiez started making games on ROBLOX in 2009. His first popular game allowed players to parachute down from an airplane and use weapons to destroy buildings. While The Quarry is a much calmer experience, he’s been experimenting with game projects on multiple platforms for the past six years. He says he spent roughly eight hours building, scripting, and making the user interface for the initial version of The Quarry. Despite the quick turnaround time, the gameplay has always been satisfying.

os123s_empty_mine

When asked to cite the craziest thing he’s ever spotted in his game, Dummiez mentioned os123 and his friends, who mined so far down that you can’t even see the bottom!

What makes the game satisfying is the procedural generation of the mine. This technique is used in many games to keep the experience fresh with each session. In The Quarry, it means you’ll probably never find the same precious stone in the same place. Dummiez explains his method for randomizing the mine:

The mines in The Quarry are indeed procedurally generated, in a simpler way than how other games work. As a player mines, new blocks are generated directly adjacent from the mined block, covering each side of the block. However, for each new block generated, the script creates a reference to the block to make sure those positions are not able to generate new blocks when a player mines around that position.

The right balance of rare and common ores is determined by the script checking the depth of the block (and random functions). Ores and basic blocks are generated using a weighted random selection, meaning that uncommon ores have a higher rate of being chosen compared to others. The deeper you go, the greater your chances of finding rare ores!

There might be tens of even hundreds of The Quarry servers running simultaneously at any given moment, but procedural generation means none of them are the same.

mining-in-the-quarry

Now that he’s just finished maintaining The Quarry as part of our ROBLOX Holiday site event, Dummiez says he isn’t sure what’s next for The Quarry aside from performance improvements. In the meantime, he’s finding continued success with the game as it stands. He’s earned thousands of dollars via the Developer Exchange, and continues to earn more with smart Game Pass sales.

There’s the Insta-mine Game Pass (286 ROBUX), which speeds up the mining speed, and the Place Ability Game Pass (814 ROBUX), which lets players create their own blocks and ores to share with friends and/or give valuable items to newcomers.

Both items are successful because they’re useful; the latter is noteworthy for being “valuable to players because it not only helps themselves, but others as well,” Dummiez says.

The Quarry is a simple game with two key hooks: it’s unlike anything else, and finding precious ores is really gratifying. Dummiez started small – long before the time of The Quarry – and learned the basics of ROBLOX building. He gives the following advice to other aspiring developers:

Get into ROBLOX Studio, take a look at some of the tutorials on the ROBLOX Wiki, videos around YouTube, and play around with free models! It’s free to use and edit!

And when you need a break from making your own game, get a group together and go mine The Quarry.