Dicey Dungeons places the Michael Barrymore magic again into dungeon crawling.
It’s the ultimate day of EGX Rezzed. Everybody – attendees, press, builders exhibiting off their video games – is able to collapse right into a heap. My final appointment for the present, the rogue-like, turn-based dungeon crawling, blackjack-influenced Dicey Dungeons, has somebody taking part in on it earlier than I get a go, somebody who couldn’t have been older than six or seven years previous.
He’s the sport’s largest fan, in line with each designer Terry Cavanagh and sound designer/composer Niamh ‘Chipzel’ Houston, identified collectively for his or her earlier work on Tremendous Hexagon, to the purpose that not solely did he end the showfloor demo of it a number of occasions, however bought Cavanagh to tug out the Early Entry Alpha construct for him to proceed taking part in.
“Is it good?” I ask him. “Yeah.” I ask then, “Is that this your favorite recreation of the present?” He responds, “Yeah!” earlier than trying to get on and play the sport once more.
Rezzed was one in every of three weeks’ price of exhibits that Cavanagh and Houston demoed the sport back-to-back-to-back within the Spring between GDC, PAX East and EGX Rezzed. Now as the sport will get set to go away alpha forward of a full launch later this summer time, they each speak of how the sport adapts to completely different playstyles and the way they tailored its working theme of primetime 90s quiz exhibits like Strike It Wealthy or Irish quiz present Profitable Streak (if that final one goes over your head, it’s since you’re about to see questions and solutions from a trio of Irish people right here between Monaghan-born Cavanagh, Tyrone-born Houston and me, a Derry-born-and-based fool).
The very first thing that involves thoughts after I performed this was, and I stated this to Niamh, how adaptive it was to many playstyles. There was one playstyle that would go well with me, but when I attempted one thing else, it could not essentially tickle me. How do you adapt for therefore many playstyles for the sport?
Terry Cavanagh: That’s a great query. Once I’m placing the character collectively, I attempt to ensure that there are sufficient combos of kit that curiosity you as a lot as doable, no matter what you discover. You’ll be able to lean into sure playstyles and they need to work, as long as you make the right performs. Greatest instance within the recreation might be the robotic’s stage upwards. That is going to be very concerned and require that you simply play Dicey Dungeons, however the concept is, if you first stage up as a robotic, you get provided two items of kit.
One is named the ‘Buster Sword’, which makes it secure to go over your goal. The opposite is named ‘Ultima Weapon’ and clearly there are Last Fantasy references right here. It means you do double harm if you hit the jackpot precisely. What which means is that it branches into two completely different instructions and also you’ve bought a playstyle the place you actually care about hitting your jackpot as usually as doable and also you select different items of kit that make that simpler or work with that, or perhaps you choose a playstyle the place you don’t need to have to consider the blackjack component of that character an excessive amount of. So, the Buster Sword means you could simply go for harm and issues that may work no matter what you roll. That additionally works. And the entire characters have one thing like this happening.
The ‘Religion’ has a crowbar and a poison possibility at their stage up rewards, so you possibly can lean into having to do a poison pistol, which works fairly properly in case you occur to get the gadgets. Likewise, the crowbar playstyle can work fairly properly, in case you get sure issues which can be… I’m dropping my prepare of thought right here, however the level is giving individuals attention-grabbing selections and letting them put collectively builds that make sense with the gear that they discovered or occur to search out within the dungeon.
I suppose it’s time for me handy it again to you then, Niamh. How do you make a soundtrack that’s simply so in tune with a recreation like Dicey Dungeons and the sound design as properly, the way it suits, what works with the theme of the sport and its gameplay?
Niamh Houston: We’ve been in Early Entry, so it was slightly bit tough firstly as a result of it was like looking for what’s it about this recreation that should actually shine. Largely, I’ve targeted on sound design and thru that, we got here up with the story. [Whenever] I used to be taking part in the early variations, I actually bought the sense of 90’s recreation exhibits as a result of it’s all this luck of the draw.
Like Michael Barrymore’s Strike It Wealthy or one thing like that?
Niamh Houston: Sure, precisely. So I used to be like, “I’m getting the sense of a recreation present,” after which I put this into the Discord that we had after which Terry got here again a day or two later being like, “I’m caught on this recreation present concept and I believe we should always do one thing with that.” So then, after all, the sound results and stuff… I sort of had a little bit of course there to go, “it must have this type of cartoony, recreation present, type of like attention-grabbing vibe.”
Then we simply cherished chiptune and the soundtrack is now really going to be modified barely to try to type of trace extra on the recreation present component. I like the concept of it being a chiptune on the forefront, however with layers of funk, and disco, and home, and jazz. A few of them, I’ve managed to mix all of the concepts I’ve had…
Niamh Houston: Yeah. Which hasn’t been… the brand new type isn’t really within the recreation that we’ve been showcasing, however it’s going to be coming very quickly.
What’s it about you two that you simply discover yourselves so fascinated to collaborate with one another, since you’ve clearly bought a number of video games collectively. What’s it concerning the common relationship between you two that makes it work?
Terry Cavanagh: Very robust query.
Niamh Houston: As a result of we’re each Irish.
Terry Cavanagh: Sure, that’s mainly it. All Irish individuals can like collaborate with none problem by any means, you realize?
We simply work and drink.
Terry Cavanagh: Yeah.
Niamh Houston: I like Terry’s work as the sport’s designer and I consider that you simply love my work too.
Terry Cavanagh: Sure, I don’t must work as a musician. I’ve listened to her albums on repeat whereas engaged on numerous tasks. Like, Tremendous Hexagon got here collectively simply from listening to her albums again and again and she or he’s simply the proper particular person for that recreation. She’s been implausible for Dicey Dungeons as properly.
Niamh Houston: I’m gonna cry.
Terry Cavanagh: So captivated with making the sport sound the best way she desires it to sound after which making that simply come throughout like, I don’t know, we simply…
Niamh Houston: …we get one another.
Terry Cavanagh: Sure, we each respect one another. Artists and creatives work very onerous to make one of the best work we’ve can.
It’s simply this excellent mesh of doing design, music and sound, mesh all of them collectively and simply go, “right here’s the massive Irish large bang?”
Niamh Houston: Now we have now Marlowe [Marlowe Dobbe, the game’s artist] within the equation and she or he’s simply slotted in completely and she or he’s simply accomplished completely phenomenal work for the challenge. It’s the explanation why persons are drawn to the sport.
Terry Cavanagh: Sure. Marlowe is extremely gifted. We’re very fortunate to have her.
Niamh Houston: She’s good. Such a great, good, good particular person.
It’s fascinating that that is really my final recreation of the present and the factor that basically caught with me is the child arising and desirous to play the sport after taking part in it so many occasions.
Niamh Houston: He’s my finest good friend… I like that child. He has performed each single character. He solely died as soon as and he accomplished the demo with each character with out dying.
Terry Cavanagh: He not solely did all the degrees that he can do in our showfloor construct, he needed to play extra, so I needed to dig out the precise Alpha construct for him on the pc so he might play stuff that wasn’t within the demo.
Niamh Houston: He’s bought the sport and he bought all of the pins. Each character and I swear to God, he’s our primary fan. I like him. He’s nice. He’s so cute!
Terry Cavanagh: Numerous good questions as properly. “What occurs in case you do that?” I’m like, “God, I don’t know, give it a go and see what occurs!”
Niamh Houston: I’m wanting ahead to taking part in his video games.
I suppose lastly then if you do go away for Early Entry, I don’t know when that’s going to be, however if you do go away it, how do you are taking it ahead from there? As a result of there are lots of components of potential there. Like including new characters, and since it’s such a roguelike state of play for the sport and the truth that the characters of the sport have completely different playstyles, there’s positively potential there. How do you see the sport going ahead after that preliminary launch?
Terry Cavanagh: Nicely, we have now a really clear imaginative and prescient of what we would like the ultimate recreation to be. So there’s an enormous quantity of content material within the recreation. Not all of it’s within the Alpha simply but. Our subsequent launch is definitely going to be our final. So as soon as we’ve accomplished that, we’re going to cease doing the Alpha, and we’re simply going to deal with getting the ultimate model out. We have already got six characters within the recreation and every character has six completely different recreation modes. So in complete, there are 36 completely different recreation modes you could play.
We now have a really clear concept of what we would like the ultimate model of the sport to be. I’m an enormous believer in video games feeling completed. That’s been the conflicting factor about doing Early Entry for me as a result of video games in Early Entry are by no means actually completed, proper? You might be all the time including extra to them and I like video games to be accomplished. I like video games to have…
Terry Cavanagh: Sure. Precisely. I believe it’s higher than diluting it with infinite content material as a result of at a sure level you type of begin to scrape the barrel and your audio sounds good and I would like the whole lot in there to be tremendous strong and everybody there to like taking part in.
In some unspecified time in the future you simply need to carry the whole lot over to the subsequent factor. No matter that’s going to be.
Terry Cavanagh: Yeah.
Like several concepts you consider for Dicey Dungeons, you simply assume, “no, no, no, cease, cease. Subsequent factor. Subsequent factor.”
Terry Cavanagh: [laughs] To be sincere, I’m actually on the level the place I’m working out of issues to place within the recreation. I’m working very onerous to assume by each avenue that may be explored mechanically. Yeah, I’m very proud of how in depth issues are and other people have performed the sport for a whole bunch of hours already. There’s a ton of content material there.
What about you, Niamh, you say you need to re-tweak the soundtrack. How completely happy are you with how issues have progressed?
Niamh Houston: It’s superb. We’ve come thus far in such a brief house of time. It’s just like the three [of us], me, Marlowe, Terry, have been working collectively for like ten months?
Terry Cavanagh: Yeah, a few yr.
Niamh Houston: It’s not even a yr but. It’s simply come collectively so properly and we’ve been demoing for 3 weeks now. Actually. It’s simply bought such a great reception and everyone appears to essentially adore it. All of us actually adore it as properly, as a recreation. We’re actually excited to play it nonetheless in spite of everything this time and it simply retains getting higher and higher. It’s been superb.
The Dicey Dungeons Alpha has just lately closed, you possibly can play the ultimate model of this Alpha forward of launch by way of the Dicey Dungeons itch.io web page. Keep on prime of developments by following the group at @diceydungeons!
Johnny Cullen is a contract author and creator from Derry, Northern Eire who has written for Eurogamer, VG247, Official PlayStation Journal UK, GameDaily.biz and so many extra since July 2009. Come @ him about The Final of Us, Metallic Gear Stable 3, Jonsi and Alex or the 4 Horsewomen of WWE on Twitter @JohnnyCullen.