This One’s A: KeeperRL Greenlit, Development Extended

It used to be standard procedure to celebrate the milestones of development for games you were looking forward to: announcement, going gold, getting released. Now I find myself celebrating the indefinite delay of those milestones. KeeperRL is an “open-source dungeon simulator inspired by Dungeon Keeper and Dwarf Fortress” which has been in-development for some time and was due to be finished before the end of the year.

But after the game improved this past year and was Greenlit last month, its developer has announced instead that he’s going to continue working on it for at least another year – and probably much longer.

Here’s what designer Michal Brzozowski wrote on the game’s website:

I was also pessimistic while setting the release date, as I didn’t expect huge success from the project. My plan was to finish it as a minimal complete game, release and be done with it. I’m a beginner game developer, so I anticipated that my first project would be very far from perfect. It made more sense to finish it quickly, then use that experience to work on something new and better.

Recently though, I changed my mind. The game has improved a ton since April, even though it still has lots of problems. I’m starting to like it so much that I just want to continue working on it. I think it will keep getting better with age, like good wine. I feel that finishing now would waste a lot of its potential.

Getting to the point, I’m going to work on KeeperRL for at least one more year, and most likely for longer than that. This will let me do everything that I have in my mind without any unnecessary time pressure.

And isn’t that just lovely? The plan now is to work towards making the game as stable and bug-free as possible ahead of an Early Access release at the start of 2015. The game has previously been available to backers of an IndieGogo campaign or to those who bought the alpha via itch.io.

10 Comments

  1. Haborym says:

    A Dungeon Keeper inspired game eh? Nice.

    It’s a shame DK3 never got made. I was looking forward to that game :(

  2. Shardz says:

    This seems pretty cool; however, when you fuse the ideals of open source with retail marketing, it gets a bit confusing. Basically, the game is free unless you want graphics and music; then it becomes a $15 purchase, which is steep considering Dungeon Keeper 2 in all its 3D glory is $6 at GoG.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The other interesting quirk will be if it actually gets Steam-integrated; last I knew, the story for GPL software + Steamworks was “no can do, Valve’s licensing is incompatible”.

      I mean, nothing’s to say he can’t have his only little private non-free fork that does the dirty with Valve’s proprietary library…up until the point he accepts someone else’s contributions without a copyright assignment or permission from them to also license that contribution non-GPL.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        He shouldn’t accept contributions without copyright assignment, period, unless he wants to give up on stuff like porting his app to iOS and the app store, stuff like Steamworks integration, and much more. I love free software ideals but locking yourself to a single license or losing full control of your project is a bad idea… see also the Bukkit debacle.

        Regarding the license he should go with GPL with exception to allow distributing without the Steamworks source, or LGPL (but that isn’t as good because people can circumvent the obligation to share their own work if they build a game based on his source).

        Or else just restrict the source use to non-commercial applications with the appropriate Creative Commons license… some people adopt GPL without realizing it gives full rights to someone to sell your software as-is or modified under a different name as long as they give credit somewhere.

    • Baboonanza says:

      I think it’s a really nice model actually. The code is remains open-source and he has something to make some income on. Also I don’t know if he also does the art but it allows him to justify spending money on contracting it out.

      And why the comparison with Dungeon Keeper 2? If somebody wanted to play that then sure, they could buy it for less, but anybody interested has already played it and wants something modern/new/different.

  3. socrate says:

    i tried this a long time ago and it wasnt even close to dungeon keeper inspired really…it just look like a really dumbed down and boring predictable dwarf fortress game really with some unit much more useful then other instead of dungeon keeper which every creature had its fun factor.

    Its sad cause i was really hyped before actually trying the game and then what i saw was just a really bad take on that genre that become obsolete after 10 min

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I think the key phrase here is “a long time ago”, dear.

  4. AngoraFish says:

    I’m a backer, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with this development. Great job Mr Brzozowski!