Devil’s Dictionaries: Tomes Of Mephistopheles

By Adam Smith on March 5th, 2012 at 4:20 pm.

SKELLYWOBBLE

A shocking missive landed on my desk this morning. Written by a ‘concerned gamer’, it informed me that “people are starting to wonder about you guys”. The reason given was that we haven’t taken a look at Tomes of Mephistopheles, a first-person dungeon crawler with randomly generated, Daggerfallesque environments to explore and bombs that can blow holes through walls to create new passages. Although the game is at an early stage of development, currently in alpha, what I have just described is clearly something that I would be interested in. So, as I watched the developer diary below, I started to wonder about myself as well. What kind of a monster am I?

I do like to go adventuring in dark places filled with danger and the improvisation required to press on could be entertaining, but I haven’t had a chance to play the alpha yet and although updates seem to have been fairly frequent, there probably needs to be more content, in terms of loot and enemies, before I’d want to delve deeper and deeper.

So perhaps that’s one reason why we haven’t written any coverage yet. There’s not quite enough there yet and, as always, we’re wary about pointing to a project that requires alpha funding when we have no idea whether it will fulfill at least part of its promise. Maybe we’re also but few men standing against the ever-swelling tide of PC gaming, with titles new and old clamouring for our attention every day. It could be that.

However, isn’t it much more likely that we simply haven’t received the requisite bottle of vintage port, or that the developer isn’t a personal friend of ours? Maybe that’s what people are starting to wonder about. Or maybe it’s worse and rumours have begun to circulate about how we really spend our time.

Can it be true that speculation has already begun that Mr Walker’s visit to America, supposedly to cover the GDC, will actually involve him hitting the campaign trail for one Rick Santorum? No, that’d be crazy. Or that Jim refuses to even consider installing any game on which the lead artist doesn’t have a handsome set of moustaches? Madness.

These men could kickstart my heart

And it would be downright odd to suggest that rather than covering indie titles I spend my time hurtling along temporal fissures using a device invented by my grandfather that looks like a cross between a brass monocle and a mechanical clock’s innards. The very idea that I’d use such a thing to perform historical heists and live off the ill-gotten proceeds is quite frankly offensive.

All that said, if you’ve been wondering whether Alec spends his weekends attempting to construct an army of robot slaves, that actually is the case.

As for Tomes of Mephistopheles, I’ve got an eye on it. Like the night, I have a thousand.

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46 Comments »

  1. NathanH says:

    The question is, if one of us kills you before you go back in time and invent economics, will the recession end?

    • mpasydg says:

      Adam: Thank you for covering this came. I have nothing to do with its development, but it represents practically everything I want in a game (i.e. the closest thing to Ultima Underworld 3), and it warms the heart to see it covered on RPS. http://yourl.ir/9848

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    Lambchops says:

    I did not expect the video for that song to be what it is!

  3. Antsy says:

    I wonder about the people that are starting to wonder and as a concerned gamer I worry about something awsome you missed telling me about while you pointed out there isn’t much to say about Tomes. I demand an article about what ever that is!

    Throwing links to Tomes Of Mephistopheles belligerently into the Legend of Grimrock article (as if this was trying to do the exact same thing) didn’t really pique my interest.

    Those whiskers are the real conversation piece though. Impressive!

  4. Bfox says:

    In his own words “Tomes of Mephistopheles already looks almost as good as Skyrim.”

    I think this guy needs to be a good bit more modest about what he’s producing here.

  5. Shrewsbury says:

    You’ve outdone yourself, Adam. This is the single most glorious individual post I’ve read on this website.

  6. RakeShark says:

    “So perhaps that’s one reason why we haven’t written any coverage yet. There’s not quite enough there yet and, as always, we’re wary about pointing to a project that requires alpha funding when we have no idea whether it will fulfill at least part of its promise.”

    The take-away phrase of this piece.

    Don’t feel bad about covering every indie game, Mr. Smith. RPS is charitable with attention, but it isn’t a charity.

  7. Inigo says:

    Daggerfallesque environments

    Oh dear.

    • Antsy says:

      Hey, screenshots of Daggerfall looked AWSOME in 1996. I bought a Pentium 2 based on some I saw in C&VG!

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I don’t know how much truth there is to that statement, but it would be a little concerning. Daggerfall had great RPG mechanics and tons of other good attributes, but the dull, confusing, and overly-large dungeons often made the game a chore to play.

      Hopefully these guys tighten it up a little, because I love a good first person dungeon crawl.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Oh dear.

      Wow, some people really don’t like a challenge. Not all games need to be linear shoot-fests, you know?

    • Nevard says:

      Whenever someone implies that the only two types of games that exist are ones made of straight corridors or ones made of sprawling and incomprehensible labyrinths composed of identical corridors I find someone else who isn’t really worth listening to

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      @Nevard

      Agreed.

      I’m gonna go ahead an guess that guy has never actually played Daggerfall. Or he’s a masochist.

      Challenge has nothing to do with it. Though literally NOT BEING ABLE TO COMPLETE A DUNGEON because the game didn’t generate you a way out of its 20 square km labyrinth is about as challenging as you can get. To my patience, anyway.

      Arena’s dungeons were still a little on the insane side, but at least all the ones I played were winnable. The other TES games chickened out and erred on the side of linearity. There’s gotta be a happy medium.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Daggerfall dungeons were nonsensical and you could easily get stuck or slip in the void outside because of glitches, but they were huge, mysterious and scary, three qualities I haven’t found in Morrowind’s or Oblivion’s dungeons (haven’t played Skyrim yet).

  8. BobsLawnService says:

    Just thought I’d stop by and say nice reference to Bierce Ambrose.

  9. sneetch says:

    Surely applying the bombs to the doors would make more sense than blowing up walls… still it looks promising.

  10. Khemm says:

    The animations need more “weight”, that applies to enemies and sword swinging. Hope it’s just an alpha issue.
    I like the concept, would prefer something more in the vein of Ultima Underworld and Arx Fatalis, but still – it sounds interesting.

  11. JackDandy says:

    Looks interesting. I have 2 problems with the game, though-

    1. At the current stage, it simply doesn’t look impressive enough.
    It has an interesting features list, but above it looms the threatening “If I don’t get 3000 pre-orders I won’t make this game” thing. I just don’t appreciate these kind of gestures- I realize indie devs don’t have it easy, but I still think they should have a program people would WANT TO PAY FOR, before making these kind of statements. Right now it’s in very rough alpha stages.

    2. Randomly-generated dungeons aren’t really my thing, unless it’s for Roguelikes. When it’s in this sort of game, the environments just end up repetitive and boring.

    I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on this, though.

    • uowaep says:

      Interesting article.

      We will continue to develop ToM regardless of sales. The factor here is that if we get 3000 sales we will be secure long enough to do full time development w/o jobs getting in the way. :) The game will be completed, as long as it takes.

      This is a roguelike in essence, and we will do our best to keep things from becoming boring and repetitive. We’re adding assets and features every day. There are more updates coming very soon, and we will continue to provide them frequently.

      To RPS: Thanks for posting this article guys! You guys are awesome. Give the game a shot. I’ll give you a copy for free so you can try it out. :)

      Also, btw, Legend of Grimrock looks awesome. I’ll definitely be making time to play it. Hope you guys don’t mind. ;)

    • JackDandy says:

      Well, it’s good to know that at least you guys are aiming to go with it all the way.
      I’ll keep my eye on it, and wish you luck with the project!

  12. MrDanke says:

    I’m sorry but…Brown walls, floors, and ceilings, with so much darkness around that a skeleton can’t be seen until you’re practically touching it, and a camera that appears to be hovering a few inches above the ground? I really like the idea of blowing up walls, but that appears to take several bombs to pull off, and thus likely won’t be worth the effort.

    I don’t have the money to spend on something that looks so boring right now. I’m hoping this evolves into something interesting, but going by the trailer right now, it’s an Oblivion dungeon emulator, with less variety and less interesting things in it.

    • RakeShark says:

      Actually when I first saw it, I thought it was a Quake mod.

    • uowaep says:

      Hey, it’s alpha. If you’re interested, support it. If you have suggestions, we welcome them. We are adding features in the order that players are requesting the most, so if there’s something that would perk your interest then we’d like to know.

      The lighting is not final, we’re actually working on making that a little better. I personally also do not like the fact that skeletons are so hard to see, and that is something that is going to change, so don’t let that deter you.

      As far as blowing up walls, some walls are already damaged and take less bombs to break though, there will be breakable doors (1 bomb), and really, the mechanic is more for a last resort if you don’t have a key, you just want to create a shortcut, if you want to do some dungeon clearing/rebuilding on your server, or for AI to bust through the wall to hunt you down.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Please ignore MrDanke, he is allowed his opinion, but his opinion is utterly wrong.

      Dark, oppressive, brown, dingy, confusing, maze-like dungeons are a staple of 80s-90s RPGs and they are MUCH MISSED by people such as I that want claustrophobic, uninviting, abstract, hand-crafted worlds that are NOT unfulfilling bland city sandboxes, and DO present unique and unpredictable challenges, be they weird puzzles, or oddball monsters.

      To the devs: please look at Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 for dungeon masterclass design 101. NO ONE BUILDS GAMES LIKE THIS ANY MORE and you effectively have the chance to change this. Please try! Also, Realms of the Haunting had some fascinating level design worth looking at.

      (And again, if you need someone to help with level design, textures and music, I’m very much up for it.)

    • equatorian says:

      Word on UW. I can’t say I’m a fan of deep, dank dungeons (deep, dank dungeons interspersed with some sunlight gets my vote for variety), but even so I gave out my heart to UW, years ago.

      ……….it’s kind of a pity that Tome is randomly generated, though. While I don’t doubt that you can make some nifty algorithms for good dungeons, we’re unlikely to see another UW there again either. They STILL don’t make games like that, sob.

      At least in Japan we get a ton of Wizardry clones on consoles, so I guess there’s small comforts and consolation to be had.

  13. Skabooga says:

    Admittedly, I am a sucker for skeletons with glowing eyes.

  14. superflat says:

    I’m liking the King’s Field / Shadow Tower vibes this is giving off…

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      YES YES YES

      More games like this please! MANY more! There are simply no where near enough single player FIRST PERSON dungeon crawlers out there. This is a fantastic project!

      And Daggerfall-style dungeons? SIGN ME UP

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      Harlander says:

      As long as the dungeons are constrained so that you don’t end up with the objective completely physically disconnected from the entrance and totally inaccessible, yeah, sign me up for some Daggerfall-esque dungeons.

  15. jonfitt says:

    He blows up a skeleton with a bomb, and it leaves…. a bomb! Videogames!

  16. 7rigger says:

    I think this looks really cool so far. Any chance of co-op play being added at a later date? I’d love some exploring with my mates. And also blowing them up

  17. Casimir's Blake says:

    Adam: Thank you for covering this came. I have nothing to do with its development, but it represents practically everything I want in a game (i.e. the closest thing to Ultima Underworld 3), and it warms the heart to see it covered on RPS.

    I’m looking forward to this and Grimrock far, far more than Mass Effect 3, for example.

  18. povu says:

    It’s good to see that developers still know how to make randomly generated landscapes that don’t consist of blocks.

  19. Fumarole says:

    Santorum? For the British among you who may not know, I’ll just like to this. Brain bleach may be required after reading, however.

  20. Isometric says:

    Reminds me very much of Arx Fatalis, looks good. Skellywobble.

  21. Nice Save says:

    At first I was amused by the moustache men’s shocked expressions, but then i had a thought. What if they are not shocked? What if that is just how people’s eyes looked before TV, computers, and fluorescent lighting? What if we are the ones who look wrong? What if I’m putting way too much thought into a picture of 3 moustacheers? I will never look at the world in the same way again.

  22. Shadowcat says:

    Did anyone else get flashbacks to “Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi” watching that footage?

  23. Phantoon says:

    What kind of monster are you?

    Well according to the thread on a certain website about it, also a skeleton. Probably just a placeholder, but even if you were to be, say, a human-

    You’d still have a skeleton inside you.