It all started back in end of 2008, when I grew tired of developing tennis games. I then thought of a list of games I could create. Several games came to mind, but my real favourite was an Ultima Underworld style of game (ie: an RPG with a single playable character in First Person View, in a dungeon). But I also thought about a classic square based Dungeon Crawler ; it seemed to be a good choice as the square by square movement and simpler settings made it possible for a 1-man team to create it.1
Time & years passed by, where I created updates & extensions for my tennis games, and also later on, I created a couple of game prototypes. One was a simple multiplayer RTS game, and another one was a puzzle game. Both didn’t motivate me too much, even if the RTS one had some interesting concepts in it, I felt I didn’t have the fire in me to spend 2 or 3 years working on it.
In the meantime, I also played a lot at World of Warcraft (the most popular subscription-based MMORPG ever at this date) and had been fascinated by its gameplay mechanisms, especially the tank/damage dealer/healer interaction & its replay value, and really thought it could work well in a single player RPG party game. I looked for a game like that, and couldn’t find any back in early 2011 (except for Dragon Age, but the concept wasn’t really similar as there was almost no healing during combat, nor any strong threat mechanisms).
So the idea of the Dungeon Crawler came back to me, but this time with a combat system inspired from World of Warcraft. My vision was even more enforced after I had discovered Legend of Grimrock (LoG) in middle of 2011, who was also a Dungeon Crawler inspired by Dungeon Master (but with many fundamental differences with Dungeon Guardians, we’ll probably come back to that in a future post). I thought the cautious way to proceed was to wait for LoG to be released and see if its sales were any good, but after a few months waiting, I had finished all my current work, and grew really excited by the idea of creating my own Dungeon Crawler, so I started to work on it on February 2012, just a few months before LoG release which turned out to be quite a success and confirmed that my choice of game was relevant (yes, I hope to sell it, I’m trying to make a living here ).
A few months of work passed by, which brought a lot of good stuff : a powerful map editor, a prototype with basic gameplay ; everything was going smoothly and falling into place, and the concepts I wanted in my game were playing nicely together. In October 2012, I had finished an “Alpha 0″ which was containing most of the dungeon mechanisms (door, trap, etc…) and was ready to move on more advanced gameplay parts of the party management.
Unfortunately, some (bad) stuff happened in end of 2012, so I had to put the development of the game more or less on pause for almost a year.
I got back to it on end of 2013, motivation came back strongly, and on end of December, I released the 1st Alpha for public testing2 to be sure the game had a chance to be fun for other people than myself !
Feedback was good, but as the game was still lacking some important stuff, I did a 2nd Alpha a few months later, in April 2014, with almost all the game features (but missing most of content), which shown that the gameplay direction was good.3
So since then, I have been mostly working on adding content to the game : levels, creatures, loot, abilities, etc… A 1st Beta featuring 4 levels was tested by a few selected Beta testers, although it was not a real Beta, as only a small part of the game was actually near Beta state.4
Now, the Beta 2 of the game, featuring 8 levels, is almost done, and it might be released within the next few days. Stay tuned as I’ll be looking for a couple of additional Beta testers !