Dig This: Dig-N-Rig

Robots plus mining = my day gone, basically.
Digipen – which is a pen into which students are herded and then forced to make digital entertainment for their sinister cowled overlords – produces some excellent games. 8-bittest among these is the superb Dig-N-Rig, in which you control a mining robot who can dig and then hoover up the minerals he has discovered. A familiar motif, but the rig part is more interesting: you have to construct a series of horizontal and vertical conveyors to send your mineral loot back up your factory-HQ on the surface. Mining therefore becomes self-perpetuating, as you have to pay for bits and pieces to expand the rig, and to upgrade your robot with things like better wifi, so he can dig deeper and further from his base.

Dig-N-Rig is, as games about digging and mining tend to be, rather compulsive. But combine the building, the surprising complexity, and the glorious 8-bit 2D execution, and you have something that is going to eat time like some kind of desktop-based black hole. I blame Indiegames for digging this one up, now you can too.


  1. Meat Circus says:

    Are they allowed to commercialize DigiPen games?

    The evidence of Minecraft and Terraria suggest there might be another opportunity to make ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.

    • Mike says:

      Most of the time, in the UK at least, the creation of a student is the student’s property (the university doesn’t employ them). Once they become researchers, or anyone employed with a salary (anything beyond PhD, basically) then the institution owns it. Even then, most institutions are keen to spin off possible money-making schemes into side companies or products!

      This sounds like a curious combination of SpaceChem and Minecraft! Lovely.

    • TaroYamada says:

      DigiPen owns it, but they can make a clone and market that. Or something based on the core gameplay components, ala Narbacular Drop.

    • CMaster says:

      I wouldn’t be so sure. At my university (Leeds) the student agreement says that any work you do at University is the intellectual property of the University. I shouldn’t imagine that its very non-standard. (Although I’ve been told they might find it difficult to commercialize something you’ve done and not give anything to you legally, on the grounds that they weren’t paying you in the first place.)

    • bowl of snakes says:

      DigiPen is a For Profit University, so if any school is going to own or have a peice of students in-class work it’s going to be them. At the public University I went to, student work is the property of the student unless it is part of a grant, contract or other sponsored project.

    • Agrona says:

      DigiPen’s lawyer is a pretty standard NW software lawyer, which is to say the most paranoid dude in the world.

      Rather than trying to deal with 1) the use of educational license software 2) the possibility that not all students want to take their game for-profit 3) the possibility that some students may contribute more than others and demand a larger share of the remuneration (and probably a few other half-decent reasons) they claim ownership of the code.

      As the rights holders, they aim to 1) prevent the distribution of the game from anywhere other than digipen.edu (lol, good luck) and 2) prevent the commercial distribution of the game.

  2. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    I blame you Jim. seriously, as if I needed this, right now, I need to go to bed sometime. Or I may wake up after passing out on my keyboard, again.

  3. Ondrej says:

    I made a good progress, but then it crashed :(

    It’s rather fun, though :)

    • Out Reach says:

      Think it crashes whenever you vacuum up the far right side of the map :\

    • simonh says:

      Yep :

    • ChumpyCheese says:

      Hey guys I’m one of the devs of Dig-n-Rig. Sorry about the crashes, we didn’t find this one in testing. It’s an easy fix so we should have a new version up sometime soon. If you find any more bugs you can email them to: SyntacticSugarGames@gmail.com

      Thanks for playing!

    • Meatloaf says:

      Wooohoo bug fixes. Yeah I was going to say “This is a really good game and I would play a ton of it if it would stop crashing on me”

      Also, please let us dig the area around us without moving. Making a flat plane for a conveyor belt is hard when you keep climbing the slope you’re trying to flatten.

  4. Jumwa says:

    Ohh, but I’m already tired today from staying up too late playing Terraria last night! And I’m still meaning to get back to Minecraft!

  5. Scythe says:

    So when is Digipen going to get a steam “channel” or somesuch? It would be awesome to be able to try out all these wicked-crazy concept games in steam’s hassle-free environment.

    • TaroYamada says:

      Wow, this is a fantastic idea. Somebody should write Valve.

    • drlemon says:

      So the steam users get massive amounts of free,great games, and it opens the games up to valve (theoretically) for potential games! If TAG and Narbacular Drop could do it, so could the others (possibly), and this would make it alot more easy!

  6. mollemannen says:

    finished it. it was fun while it lasted. only irritating thing was that everything looked the same damage so i had no idea what tools to use after i bombed a little.

  7. Spacewalk says:

    I’ve found that it’s helpful to stand on a conveyor and aim downwards before you expel all the bits that you’ve vacuumed up to keep them from flying over the edge of said conveyor. Also there’s some stuff hidden above ground that you can mine which is easy to overlook.

  8. Kelron says:

    Had some fun digging a shaft with a conveyor at the bottom then strip mining out everything above it. Then I managed to quit without saving and can’t be bothered.

    • simonh says:

      Yeah I basically did the same thing, stripmined a huge chunk of the level with explosives and with a conveyor at the bottom, got near infinite resources :)
      I was rigorous with my saving though so the crashes weren’t so bad.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, blast-mining and just ferrying the huge piles of loot back up to base is the way to go. Dead easy. All it takes to win is time, sadly.

      It’s a great concept, and the vibe is totally late 80s/early 90s chunky EGA games. I’m surprised to see it come out of a new generation of student – it feels so charmingly archaic!

    • Coins says:

      There’s a save function? :(

  9. Eagle0600 says:

    Goddamnit two hours later!

  10. Walsh says:

    When will someone let me dig upwards, MINE THE CLOUDS NOT THE EARTH

    Mining downwards has jumped the shark

  11. jokomul says:

    When I first saw this post, I thought I would love the game but for some reason I can’t get into it… ohh well back to Terraria.

  12. Gonefornow says:

    Is it Motherload good?
    I’ll give it a spin anyways.

    Later on:

    Now that I’ve played it for some time, not yet completed as I have a strange compulsion to collect every single mineral there is, I can say that it’s quite a great game.
    The presentation is king and the coding, apart from the crash’nburn bug, is solid.

    All said I have to admit Motherload is still a better game when it comes to gameplay.
    Here there is really no challenge at the start as you can get so many minerals from the first few levels and upgrade your gear very fast.
    In Motherload you’ll be on your toes straight from the start as running out of fuel will result in a monumental catastrophe. Also rare minerals are only found very deep into the earth.

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here is a link.
    link to xgenstudios.com

    Still later on:

    I found a bug.
    I continued from my save and now my Diggit robot started taking damage from the rain even though I have the vs.rain&lava upgrade.

    • blueluke123 says:

      I have the same bug with the rain and lava upgrade not staying too. Please tell me if you’ve been able to find a way to fix it because its really annoying me.

  13. Abundant_Suede says:

    Are there rocket boots? I’m afraid I have to insist there always be rocket boots in my digging games now.

  14. Mellacita says:

    @TaroYamada Valve might already know… A member of this team (Syntactic Sugar) and the Portal team are brothers. It runs in the family. :)

    @Abundant_Suede – There’s a rad jet-pack! :D

    Can’t wait to play this at lunch!

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      Is there really a jet pack? Don’t pull my leg now, I’m far too gullible, and far too easily swayed by the promise of personal jet-propulsion.

    • Mellacita says:

      Hell yeah! And there should be upgrades for it too in the Lab. :]

  15. Squeeby says:

    I have had more fun playing this game than i have with any AAA title in the past 5 years.

    And i haven’t even finished Diggit v2.0 yet.

  16. Khann says:

    Pretty easy to game this game.

    Dig right down, place conveyor across screen. Scoop up to the top, ladder next to it.

    Buy a bunch of rockets and shoot from the ladder. Everything falls down to the conveyor belt.

    Browse while you wait for it all to go up to the top.



    You get something like this:

    link to iforce.co.nz

  17. Hypocee says:

    Yeah, after playing a bit of this…presentation’s lovely and I enjoyed the time I spent with it, so congratulations on achieving TOTAL SUCCESS in what you aimed for guys, but it needs more if you intend to make it a great game. Even without rockets there’s no actual ‘rig’ component to the game; your best approach is to just drop scoopers straight down, run a horizontal shaft, make a belt, mine everything onto the belt, recycle the belt and repeat forever.

    To make the rig feel like it’s ‘your’ rig the game needs some way for your rig to break if you’re careless (much more often near the working face), some way to make the terrain matter to your rig, and/or some way for the rig to be overloaded. Maybe some truly impassible blocks? Maybe restrictions on how far things can run through the air? Maybe some component that can fall? Maybe each rig block of a type could demand a certain amount of power? Geothermal power blocks that you dig’n’build?

  18. ChumpyCheese says:

    Hello everyone!

    The new version of Dig-N-Rig is now up on the Digipen game gallery!

    The following fixes have been added:
    1. Vacuum crash fixed
    2. Loss of Water/Lava Resistance upon save/load fixed
    3. Dig straight key. Makes player dig sideways without stepping up terrain. Defaulted to SHIFT (all keys can be customized from the options menu)

    We really appreciate all of the great feedback!
    Please continue to post or email us bugs and crashes!