Announcing DarkDale: Betrayal
Hey, Ho! Let’s Go!
Welcome to darkdale.net, home of DarkDale: Betrayal.
What is DarkDale? Well, here we are to announce it: an indie computer role-playing game developed by Montreal-based See Roman Play. Inspired by oldschool classics such as Dungeon Master, Might & Magic or Wizardry, as well as new reincarnations of the genre such as the formidable Legend of Grimrock, the game will feature a storyline/quest-driven gameplay set in an original medieval fantasy universe. While true to the tile-based spirit of the dungeon crawler genre, the game is developed in 3D with modern platforms in mind.
This is the first of many blog posts to come. We’ll say a few words about why we are here and what are our goals with this project… but don’t worry, many of the features mentioned here will merit their own full post in due time.
Why tile based? Well, we fundamentally believe that restrictions stimulate creativity rather than impede it. Constrained movement allows gameplay to articulate itself around a set amount of easily comprehensible basic rules, yet opening near-infinite design space by the combinatorial possibilities of those basic building blocks. A system that is simple and complex at once, and which has proven its value in the past. We believe it still remains relevant today, and refreshing in a video-game world obsessed with the idea of giving the player more and more freedom. Do not forget that sometimes less is more, as they say.
Also, while the dungeon crawler genre has been frequently associated with an experience centered around exploration and puzzle-solving at the expense of a storyline, this is by no means a necessary design trade-off. Many games have shown that both are possible and we aim to be one more on the list. DarkDale will feature cities, NPCs, quests and role-playing decisions in a kingdom where – you’ve guessed it – betrayal has changed the nature of the game.
Modding has become an essential component of modern video-game industry. At See Roman Play, we believe that playing games is fun, but making them is even more fun (that’s why we’re here after all…). As such, DarkDale is being designed from the ground up with modding capabilities in mind. We have developed an in-house level editor that will obviously be available for players to use – if it is powerful and flexible enough for us to build the entire game, it should we hope satisfy your creative needs.
We obviously cannot pretend to ignore the existing Legend of Grimrock modding community, of which the people involved in the DarkDale project are themselves forefront members. Why then do a whole new game instead of another mod? Well, we found the Grimrock engine too limiting in terms of story design, role-playing and character development for our artistic vision. This, and then the fun of creating our own contribution to the revival of the vintage cRPG genre.
We announce this in a spirit of friendship, not competition, to offer the old-school aficionados another – different – adventure to chew on. In an effort to not eventually divide the existing community, the design of our modding architecture follows some basic (and good) principles laid down but the talented people at Almost Human. Of course, we will improve things where we can and change them where needed ! Core elements (such as using the Lua language for all scripting purposes) are maintained however, and modders introduced to either game should be able to switch to the other one with a minimal learning curve.
Touring the Country
DarkDale will feature both exterior and interior environments, in many different settings, from sewers to high towers, from forests to icy mountains, from caverns to towns. Level size is flexible, allowing either an 8 level 10 x 10 squares narrow tower, or a long 64×12 map following a road. The game itself will be made of numerous such “scenes” where only part of the world is loaded at a time, allowing us to build a large gaming environment while keeping performance requirements in check.
So, what’s next? The project is still in early stages of development, but we hope to get it ready by the first quarter of 2014. We have a functional level editor, a component architecture set-up, the start of an interior and an exterior tilesets, a gui, many many ideas, and even more enthusiasm to implement them. For updates, follow our developer’s blog!