The Wait For Dungeon Of The Endless Is At An End

By Nathan Grayson on December 12th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

If they had waited for the final version of that ship instead of picking up the alpha on Steam Early Access, I bet it wouldn't have crashed.

I’ve had my eye on Dungeon of the Endless ever since its mysterrrrrrrrrious “what’s behind the door” reveal campaign (which actually ended up being rather clever). The randomized roguelike-like dungeon defender is about preparation and exploration, with players defending a generator using all sorts of tools and emplacements while cautiously edging through doors that hide writhing horrors of increasing power. You also meet and team up with all sorts of deranged sci-fi/fantasy prisoners along the way. Basically, it’s RPS Advent Calendar: The Game, only less fatal. Oh, and it’s a really pretty, highly unexpected offshoot of Endless Space, a wonderful 4X strategy. I can play it right now via Steam Early Access, and so I shall.

As with all other Early Access releases since the Dawn of Existence (which, itself, was released on Early Access by an all-knowing deity conglomerate to surprisingly tepid reviews; clearly, they abandoned development midway through), Dungeon of the Endless is still a wriggly little videogame larva. For the moment, here’s what you’ll be getting if you decide to pony up $9.47 or $14.99 for the founder’s pack:

“What can you expect from that Alpha? A lot of fun with the core game mechanics. You can also expect bugs obviously, although the game is definitely tested, but as we add new content every day, things can’t be as stable or polished as the finished product.”

“What will you miss from the final game? In this Alpha version, many features are not available yet: the complete list of levels (you only get the first 3 levels out of 12) and their different environments including the final ending sequence, the complete list of monsters, the complete list of heroes including their abilities and objectives, Endless ruins and technologies and the use of science, a potential multiplayer co-op mode, online persistency and unlockables, as well as the final balancing of the game.”

Amplitude is hoping to have the final game polished and ready for release sometime next year, but for now it’s obviously still lacking glue between its many easily swallowed pieces. If you’re OK with that, then by all means give it a go. If not, however, you’re probably better off waiting.

Here, for your convenience, is the Steam Early Access link. Will you take a furtive peek behind its door?

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31 Comments »

  1. AshRolls says:

    I’m really looking forward to this one, Endless Space was excellent and the developers commitment to improving and supporting it was admirable. As with all early access games though I’ll wait for the final / balanced / polished / feature complete version to come out before investing my time in it.

    • Dog Pants says:

      Agreed, I really enjoyed Endless Space and while the two are very difference it does inspire confidence in Dungeons. But I’ll also probably be steering clear of the Early Access for a bit, not because I avoid them as a rule, but because I don’t want to burn through much of the content in beta and not appreciate the finished game. That isn’t too bad with most roguelikes due to their random nature, but I don’t imagine they have an endless number of rooms to encounter.

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      Yes, I love the fact that you can go back to it in a few months and they’ll have added more stuff. My last game was a really tense fight for the core of a 4-armed spiral, with my main fleet dashing between fights, trying to hold my front together, and my planets trying to pump out new ships as far as they could. Eventually I pulled ahead and the game wound down to sitting over the enemy worlds one my one until they joined me (except the Sophons, who nicely gave me all of their planets a turn after declaring war on me).

  2. Awesumo says:

    ‘Procedural generation’ is the new ‘zombie game’

    • The Random One says:

      Yes: an interesting genre full of promise that is dismissed outright by those who want to feel like clever, smug critics but are too lazy to actually give any thought to the things they dismiss.

      • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

        PCG isn’t a genre (and in any case I can be bored of zombies while admitting that L4D is good). But sure.

        • Taerdin says:

          If you want to be a hypocrite, sure.

          • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

            How so? That you can’t appreciate a game but be ambivalent about its setting?

        • The Random One says:

          Well, zombies aren’t a genre either, so my analogy remains correct by being equally wrong about both.

      • Awesumo says:

        What are you talking about? I was referring to the Gazillion games of this type being released this year of this type, not their quality.

    • geldonyetich says:

      “Procedural generation” is sort of a strange buzz term, really. Technically speaking, all games are procedurally generated, because the very code they run on is a procedure that generates what shows up on the screen. What we tend to refer to with “Procedural generation” has more to do with actual content of the game being randomized in some way, which essentially creates additional replay value.

      Now, you might rightly point out that hand-crafted content has a certain benefit over procedural generated content. However, what you might not realize is that procedurally generated content does have the potential to go beyond just being random. If you provide enough instructions to the generation routine, you can generate content procedurally that rivals, or even exceeds, the quality of most hand-crafted content, and generates a lot faster; it’s ever been the case that a comprehensively instructed computer can beat a novice at performing the same task. It’s just a matter of how much time and talent the programmers are able to put into the routines since, after all, computers take a long time to instruct to do anything!

      So, overall, zombies versus procedural generation is not even an apples vs oranges comparison. It’s comparing a spanner to shade of paint; procedural generation is a useful tool, not a backdrop.

      Saying, “Oh my goodness, there seems to be an excessive trend to buildings being built with tools” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, either. They’ve always been built with tools. But if you’re that sick of spanners, you might be a bit of a nut… [completely deliberate pun]

  3. Swabbleflange says:

    I had a few goes on this last night. It’s tough! Once it clicks what you’re supposed to be doing you have a little moment of impressed satisfaction, and then you lose again.

  4. RaoulDuke says:

    Rogue-likes/Games with permadeath seem to be [Almost] as popular as MOBAs right now, so I feel like I should try some of them so I hope they implement the Co-op sooner rather than later.

    My mate’s been onto me about Legend of Dungeon for a while too and both have a nice aesthetic to me. For some reason I don’t get frustrated by permadeath in Co-op, probably because I know everyone else has to start over too ha.

    • UncleLou says:

      You could always try the free Path of Exile in hardcore mode (if you haven’t), it ‘s brilliant in coop, and action-RPGs are arguably the rogue-like genre’s most lavish representetives.. One caveat though: if you die, the others won’t have to start over. :)

  5. aardvarked says:

    Do we know how likely it is that multiplayer will be implemented eventually?

  6. jarowdowsky says:

    I’m really, really enjoying this. Soon as I realised to approach it as a boardgame it all clicked into place. Great stuff.

  7. geldonyetich says:

    I played v0.1.1, and Dungeon Of The Endless is rather good. It’s a tad short – if you manage to survive the first three or four levels of the map, it ends on a splash screen telling you too look froward to new versions. But, despite the lack of hero skills and tech tree, it holds together as a reasonably coherent product even in its current version. It’s certainly better than some “early access” games I played, which either would be crash-prone or lacking certain features that make for a playable game.

    So, if you don’t mind paying $10-$15 for a game that lasts maybe an hour or so per randomly-generated session, you won’t miss out on much to snap it up.

  8. Stan Lee Cube Rick says:

    Why in the world they had to tie in content for Endless Space into this game is beyond me. I’m interested in Dungeon of the Endless on its own merits but that deal leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Am I going to have to buy yet another game if I want to enjoy the content for either or both of these releases?

    • Vinraith says:

      What exactly did they do?

      • Stan Lee Cube Rick says:

        I apologize, I should have been more clear in my post. My problem is that there is a faction for Endless Space which is unlockable only by purchasing the pricier founder pack version of DotE.

        • SillyWizard says:

          I sincerely doubt the faction is going to be exclusive to the handful of people that buy this one thing. Perhaps Founders or whatever will get early access to it, but there’s no way they’re not going to give people the option to purchase the Vaulters DLC a la carte at some point.

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      I’m assuming the links will be light, unless someone who’s played it can comment?

    • dE says:

      I’m actually on the opposite side of this. They wrote all that fiction for their Endless Space Series, yet so few of it actually found its way into the original 4X Game. If this proves as another outlet for them to try that fiction in a game, I’m all for it.
      That said, you don’t have to buy Endless Space if they really do implement that fiction. They really kinda didn’t include an awful lot within the game. You can get all of that by reading their forums, where most of the fiction is found.

      • ZephyrSB says:

        I think the OP was on about the some of the perks given for early access being content for Endless Space, but I need to agree with this sentiment about the lore anayway. I think that the lore is a hugely underappreciated side of Endless Space, and I loved all the mysterious tidbits of info dropped about the Endless as your progressed through the game’s tech tree. I pretty much jumped on this hoping to delve deeper into the history of the Endless…

  9. SillyWizard says:

    Okay! I tried to resist getting this as an Early Access title, but to no avail. A perfect storm has forced my hand. (I’m weak-willed; haven’t been that interested in other recent roguelike-likes for a variety of reasons; and I was so annoyed at what SotS: The Pit turned out to be, I’m really hoping this is better.) Anyway, long story slightly shorter than it could be, I picked it up a short time ago.

    This game is different. Mostly I’m just confused so far.

    Likes
    I don’t seem to have to micro-manage my mans.
    The aesthetic.
    It vaguely seems like it’s going to be awesome. Someday.
    Tower-defense roguelike. Yeah…I’m gonna be loading it back up as soon as I post this.

    Dislikes
    No clue wtf is going on.
    It’s in alpha! Why can’t it be done already?!

    • SillyWizard says:

      Okay I have a better idea what I’m doing now.

      Likes
      So far it’s a lot of fun. Seems like a lot of pretty basic stuff hasn’t been implemented yet, so it’s going to be neat seeing how things get fleshed out.

      The logic is already head and shoulders above SotS: The Pit. So that’s a huge relief.

      The way they blend tower defense with roguelike here is quite clever. I’m really looking forward to seeing what clever things they end up doing with it. Have your mans stretched thin among a dozen rooms or so as the monsters inexorably push on to your power source…or group everyone together in a bottleneck of goremurder hatekill?

      I think it’ll be tough for them to really nail it, but I’m sure it can be done. They’re certainly off to a solid start.

      Dislikes
      It’s not done yet!

  10. Darkhorse says:

    Thx for the tip