Making Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup with 253 cooks and no head chef

Brogue was created by one person. Rogue was created by two. Dwarf Fortress? Two people. Caves of Qud – three people. Desktop Dungeons: five. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup has had two hundred and fifty three contributors. Of these, fifty have been core developers. In the sixteen-year history of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, there has never been a lead. No design lead, no engineering lead, no art lead, no producer.

I spoke with David Ploog (dpeg) and Corin Buchanan-Howard (Lasty), two of the most prominent developers on the team, about how and why they make a game with such a sprawl of people. How many are working on the game right now? “That’s impossible to answer, I’m afraid,” David told me, laughing. Corin said, “almost certainly less than twenty, almost certainly more than five.”

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Best Crusader Kings 2 mods

Crusader Kings 2 [official site] is (somehow) now five years old. Adam raised a glass to its humour and humanity last month in celebration of its half-decade anniversary, so I thought I’d delve into its modding community to mark the occasion too.

Much like the digital empires depicted in-game, many of its mods have risen and fallen since my last visit, however the following list sends the best into battle. Given how involved CK 2 can be at times, I’ve tried my best to link videos where possible so as to properly showcase each mod’s worth. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

How Wadjet Eye’s Unavowed merges RPGs and point and click adventures

I’ll always be excited when a new Dave Gilbert game is on the horizon. Since I first played The Shivah [official site] in 2006, a murder mystery more concerned with the Jewish faith than gangsters and gumshoes, I’ve felt I’m in safe hands with almost anything Gilbert puts out under his Wadjet Eye label. That includes games that he publishes as well as those he creates, and while I haven’t adored every single release, I’ve always found something to admire. With Unavowed [official site], his next game, Gilbert is incorporating ideas from the RPG world into a point and click adventure, and the combination could lead to his most interesting release to date.

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Have You Played… Dream Quest?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Non-competitive roguelite-card game mash-up Dream Quest was my favourite game of 2014 – but that year I played it entirely on an iPad. The PC release came a year later and without fanfare. Fast forward further to last December and it finally scored a Steam release, though I fear that came too late to make the impact it needed.

Of course, it’s the art that’s to blame. Look past it, I beg you. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Oxygen Not Included

Every week we warp Brendan into the gaseous caverns of early access to see if he can find precious games worth playing in the gloom. This time, the subterranean space colonisation of Oxygen Not Included [official site]

Everything is covered in piss. When I branded my new space colony ‘Yellow Water Station’ I did so because I was prompted to come up with a suitable name for a settlement on the interstellar frontier. But all I could think of was how weird it is that astronauts drink their own recycled and purified urine. ‘Yellow Water Station’ was my puerile attempt at humour. I didn’t expect the new underground village I was building to accept its new moniker with such enthusiasm. Now everything is covered in piss, poisonous red gas is building up in the sleeping quarters, and there’s a dead body at the bottom of one of the aquifers.
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Camelot Unchained and Crowfall: MMOs’ best hope?

Massively multiplayer games are in a poor state. While there’s still plenty of money to be made, the current crop are having a rough time. WildStar [official site] is barely scraping an income, Black Desert Online [official site] saw a strong start but petered out not long after launch and Guild Wars 2 continues to see a decline in revenues. Even the resilient World of Warcraft [official site], despite buoyant Legion sales, still isn’t willing to divulge subscription numbers; a sign that things aren’t eternally rosey.

With a lengthy list of massively multiplayer casualties over the last few years, including Warhammer Online, City of Heroes, World of Darkness and EverQuest Next, it’s fair to say the genre is in need of an intervention.

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