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RuneSword 2.6.0 Release! Tue 2009.12.22 21:30    
Redesigned. Improved. Given a good de-lousing. RSII 2.6.0. New pieces have been added on, other pieces have increased functionality. Stronger, bigger, and more powerful than ever, RSII has been given new life with the release of 2.6.0!!!

The Creator software has been greatly improved and stabilized again. Creator now supports Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V shortcuts. The Creature Explorer has been given an ‘Insert’ button, so you can look at a beastie and then stick it straight into an encounter in the active tome. An Item Explorer has also been added in with the same functionality. Lots of minor and major improvements to the search function, map use and tile use. Encounters are now sorted alphabetically in the treeview, making it a little easier to find things. A ‘Browse’ button has been added to certain windows, making it simpler to insert items, creatures and triggers from the library. Combat wallpapers now show their picture in the Creator, so you can see what they look like without having to leave Creator. The treeview is now updated after the "replace" function is used (and several other bugs with search have been fixed as well) and when an item is selected in the center of the screen, it is also automatically selected in the treeview. Trigger code windows are now horizontally resizable. This makes it easier to see all of the code that you are working on.

Maps and map-making have been greatly enhanced. The Move Map right-click command was fixed. It used to leave out areas that were not previously loaded. A major improvement was the move to drop down lists for the CopyTile and TargetEncounter statements. No more typing in the names of tiles or encounters and maybe getting them wrong! A new statement was added also: "TargetEncounterInArea". This is an improved "TargetEncounter", valid for the whole tome and not the current map only. You can also now place your mouse over the right or left edges of the map to move the map in that direction. New tile graphics (Right-click on the tile area of the treeview to create new tiles) are now updated when they are created, instead of waiting until the active map was opened again or another new tile was created. The Find Tile function was improved as well.

Conversations have been enhanced, allowing Creators to use CreatureTarget.Name and CreatureNow.Name to personalize dialogues between players and NPCs. A new statement: RemoveTopic, has been added to the trigger functions, making conversations much more meaningful and easier to build. So now if a player makes a merchant uunhappy, Creators can set it up so that the merchant topic is removed from him and he will no longer sell goods.

Also, the picture to display when a creature dies can now be world or even creature dependent. So, your blobs won’t show bones when they die if you take the time and specify a new graphic!

Tome Creator Several new capabilities have been added to the tome creator. Right-clicking on a map will create an entrypoint (or an encounter if Shift is pressed) if no encounter/entrypoint already exists at the clicked location. Getting easier and easier to Create! On the individual maps, creators can now select a set of wandering monsters for each map straight from the map properties. These wandering monsters only attack in encounters that are classified as "None" or "Dangerous Area" on the encounter properties. So you can have your map, dangerous as you want it to be with a selection of monsters to encounter at random, and mark safe havens in there as well. You can also tag an entire map as a Camping area, with a chance for monsters intruding as well as setting the time needed between rests. Talking about monsters, Creators now have more options when it comes to body parts for opponents. Besides the standard arm, leg and other basic body parts, there are new parts including hull, cabin, deck, mast and turret for boats and spaceships! Creators can also specify (for a world or individual creature) a different picture than the standard bones bitmap for when a creature dies.

Tome Packager The tome packager, one of the best additions to the core software, has been improved again! It now checks creatures, items, and triggers attached at the tome level and packages them correctly. It also generates an .rsp file instead of an executable, making emailing tomes a breeze!

World Creator
Creating a personalized world has never been easier. Each world can now be assigned an appropriate interface that will change the screen display to more accurately reflect your world. So when a player changes worlds, their interface will portray the new world automatically. The way Creator handles race pictures has also been improved. Creators can now select a separate set of female pictures for their races! World Creators can also change, remove or add race pictures in a kingdom by right-clicking on the picture. Brand new to Frankenstein is a World Packager! It works the same as the Tome Packager, creating a file that can be shared with others via email. Each world now has its own random tome as well! This is a big addition. Creators can put random tome(s) created specifically for their world under Library\\ and it will show up in the player for random tome creation. So no more Calm Village random tomes in Colony Prime.

A lot of new things are in the Player as well, both to provide a smoother, less buggy playing experience as well as improving overall play. The most obvious change is the new interface. There are now submenus for tomes and characters. The character submenu allows you access to your characters outside of picking them for tomes. You can scan through your roster, checking to see who you have ready to play. Another one of the bigger additions is support for mouse wheels, improved drag & drop capabilities, and more double-clicking! Want to change weapons in combat? Double-click on the weapon you want to use and voila! The weapons swap places (as long as both have been previously examined). Tired of having to drag treasure over to your characters one by one when you don’t want to “Take All”? Double-click on the desired booty and it will go as quick as Uncle Darryl with diarrhea to the active character’s inventory! Want to open a container? Double-click on the chest and it will display its contents (except of course if it’s locked or unexamined). Want to go down the list of goods for sale at the merchant shop? Use your mousewheel to stroll down the list.

By the way, merchants no longer crash if you buy their last item and then try to buy more. We also fixed an error with tomes that contained journal entries, and stopped characters from being able to search in areas that they had already left (when you were transported somewhere else, you could search the previous area). The health bar has undergone a facelift. Instead of the green and red colors, yellow has been added in. Now green shows you are in the top third of your health total, yellow the middle third, and red only shows when you have dropped down to 33% or less of your hit point total. If the world uses a magic bar, then this color scheme works for that as well.

Rune names alongside of the screen have been fixed so that they can be read in all screen resolutions. Last update introduced several new features, including a Home Tome for characters. This update fixes a few of the problems found. For example, when characters visited their home tome, Player used to save the tome as many times as there were characters in the party living in it. Not any more, now it saves only once. Monsters got smarter too in Player too. They will switch weapons if needed, and they no longer check the size or level of their items. If the Creator was dumb enough to give them the wrong sized armor, then the monster will still be able to use it! But don’t worry, characters got smarter as well: now, when they search an area, they also look for traps (and when found, they try to remove them!). The RT 91 error that used to happen when closing the Player is a thing of the past as well.

Almost every single tome available since RSI has undergone a facelift. Rewritten to take advantage of all the changes in the new version, tomes now have wandering monsters, camp areas, and increased playing areas. For example, the original Dragon Merchant tome was a quick sample tome to catch and trap a dragon. Now the tome has a redesigned town map, more encounters, and a realistic set of NPC’s instead of the generic library critters.

Several things were done to improve combat... Players now get to play with stats for their characters. On the Status page, there is a new section that lists all sorts of goodies like hit percentages, kills, tomes played, etc. There is also a new Combat log in the Log display that lists the hits and misses of melees. The infamous Combat Freeze bug is now a thing of the past. We have been hunting this bad boy for many versions now, finding causes here and there and this time we put the final nail in its coffin! Players now have access (through Shift +right-click on a monster) to view the capabilities of opponents. Not everything is in there, but you get a good idea of what you are facing. There is also a new Guard option which allows characters with some Action Points left to attack enemies that come within range. Speaking of Action Points: when the active creature has more than 20 left, the exact figure is displayed just after the AP globes. Also, at the end of combat, there used to be some confusion as to who was the active player. Well, no longer. Now whenever combat is finished, the active player’s name and the highlighted box agree on who is in the lead and doing the talking, searching, etc.... We also added in an ‘End conversation’ topic for "Can't ignore" creatures when they have no such topic, to prevent games from locking up.

Players, did you have trouble looking through a long list of skills for the one skill that you wanted? Now you can filter your skills list! See only spells, etc... And just for the ladies (and those guys who like to play female characters –you know who you are!), making a female character improved as well. Now, when you click on the female button during character creation, you switch to a screen of female graphics to choose! We updated the graphics library as well, adding in some sci-fi graphics, creature graphics, and character graphics.

Camp (Yes, CAMP!)
The biggest thing is -wait for it- the NEW CAMP BUTTON! The first topic new players ask about on the boards is HOW DO I @!#% CAMP! The "Camp" button makes its debut in this release, hopefully forever ending questions about how to camp. New statements Encounter.CanCamp and Map.CanCamp properties can be used by Creators to make it active or not. Creators can set whole maps for camping (such as an indoor residence, a small druid grove, etc...) or encounters (a safe rest area, room at the inn, etc...) as safe to camp within hostile areas. Creators can also set wandering monster encounters in supposedly safe maps by setting an encounter as ‘Danger’.

GENCON 2009 Mon 2009.08.09 14:30    
The banners are hung high and game geeks from all over are on the way to Indy for the absolute best four days in gaming! I'm there too as always - ready to play and purchase.

I'm extra excited this year! We're running Galactic Emperor (2 events on Thursday night) and trying to get folks to play test our new game Ninjato. Maybe you'd like to get a sneak peek at our new game? Maybe you'd just like to play GE? We'll be in the open gaming room off and on. I hope to have buckets of free doo-dads too for give-aways. If you're around, drop me an e-mail here or find Dan and I in the dashing CrossCut Games 2009 t-shirts sporting the thrilling CrossCut logo.

RuneSword 2.6.0 Sun 2009.05.10 15:15    
An update on the upcoming RS 2.6.0 release: Still pinging away on all of the tomes, getting ready actually to start sending Titi the final drafts of the tomes for the various worlds. Telluria looks like it will be moving back to Eternia, and hopefully some updates will be added into the tome. Most of the tomes still belong to the world of Eternia, but the Mines of Mintor is shaping up nicely, adding to the world of Colony Prime. The Supers world has some awesome tomes in it, by the RuneMaster Phule. So those two worlds are good. The other worlds still need work. Middle Earth and Glorantha both have only one tome each to play in but both worlds have been expanded, with larger libraries, and future plans for other tomes. The most work has been done on the Colony Prime world. The interfaces are still needing some work, an artist has been approached about working on the interface files, but no progress has been made. All of the interfaces currently work however, so that is another step in the right direction. Several beta testers now have a chop version of the 2.6.0, so we are seeing a few new bugs after a quiet last month pretty much bug-free. The code is very stable at this stage, which is awesome for gameplay. All of the changes just make the game play so much smoother and better in every way. The library is still growing, with new races like the Gunjot for Colony Prime getting in there, and new items in all worlds as well. Overall, I see great progress on all fronts. We just need to keep plugging away!!

To keep up on the latest, drop in on the forums!

Another Quick Update Thr 2009.03.17 21:30    
A bit of geeky game news: I recently was cleaning out my massive bookshelf and came upon my old 'magenta' cover D&D book - the 1981 softcover edition. Maybe a few of you remember this. I flipped through it and alot of fond memories came flooding back - a great grin split my face. Stuck in between the pages was a single piece of graph paper. Underneath? Keep on the Borderlands! Pretty fun.

But anyhow, Dan and I are also working on Dungeon Delvers. We've got the inventory clicky stuff mapped out - but I haven't coded it up just yet. I do have a nifty chest picture opening and closing. The goal of inventory was to make a single click all you needed to do to activate an item - or use it in solving a plot card. Dan had the grand idea of including masterwork items that are permanent fixtures to a Delver. I like that too - gives you some gold plating on the character for long term appeal (and it's easy too).

The other part to it is when you smash a monster, it spills out the items right away. Sure, that's arcady and all, but I really like the thought and it should work well in the game. After all the items are spilled, you click on them to shuttle them off to the chest. If you don't click 'em, the items fade off screen. After combat is over (and you're victorious), you can divide the items up amongst your delvers. So that's all pretty clean.

I just need to get coding!

Developing Dungeon Delvers Thr 2009.02.12 23:15    
Just got the new game health bar working. I decided to not change the interface set graphics too much just yet - I'll get back to that later - because I want to make sure what we're doing is what we want. I did the same with the recharge bars next to the Delver portraits which tracks how fast they are recharging their weapon and smart bomb. I don't have those bars working just yet (maybe I'll go do that yet tonight). I think I like the over all effect right now. It makes sense because things move at the same time - the game health bar drains as all Delvers are healed. I'm still deciding exactly how to make it look. Some times the interface feels a bit cluttered (I'm such a minimalist).

One thing it definitely does: you now really do care about how much you get hit during combat - how far down your Delvers really go. Every hit is important. That's a great thing for the feel in the game.

Dungeon Delvers Update Tue 2009.02.10 21:45    
Dan and I are pouring some serious time into Dungeon Delvers again. Just to catch you up (if you haven't seen my posts in the forum here), we've reworked the maze to be ala Wizardry and Bard's Tale - and that's really pretty cool. It's all in text files too, so you can (just as before) edit everything in a text editor. The bigger update is with combat which is now very frenetic and fast paced. I really like it - it gives the entire game a significant lift in pacing and play. It's flat out fun. And it looks good too which just furthers the fun. So I like.

Inventory is servicable now - at least you can move things around and trade them. What I just got working was the weapon and smart bomb placement so you can see them. And weapons now work as they should. Magic items (like scrolls and spells or what have you) can now be seen. I also just got multiple special effects explosions working too and that's quite a relief (although there's a problem with one of them - it's not dying right). I'm running out of time tonight, but I hope to get the main health guage in place next along with the refresh bars for the weapon and smart bomb.

Galactic Emperor Upgrade Kits SOLD OUT! Tue 2009.01.27 21:45    
I'm sorry to report that all our Upgrade Kits for Galactic Emperor are now sold out!

Merry Christmas! Wed 2008.12.24 11:15    
I want to wish you and all of yours a most Merry and Joyous Christmas. May your holiday be filled with good things!

Order Galactic Emperor! Thr 2008.12.10 21:15    
Galactic Emperor is BACK IN STOCK!

Click to Order!

We now have the second print run available - and it's much improved with extra thick cardboard stock, a new reference card and several graphic improvements!

We're Number 1! Mon 2008.02.04 22:20    
Hey! Check it out. RuneSword 2 showed up on the 1up Top 101 Free Games. That's right - after countless years (well, 4-5 years anyhow) and zillions of man hours (no really - it's zillions), RS2 has gotten some proper hype! Congrats especially to the great folks who continue toiling away on the code base and thinking of new nifty things to do (and bugs to fix).

If you happen to have questions, comments, concerns or other conundrums, just post 'em here on the friendly forums. These folks can answer your common questions and offer up some helpful hints.

Well, THAT's Something! Thr 2008.01.31 21:45    
Hey! I opened up the Dungeon Delver's code and added a few lines! Isn't that something? And I played it a bit. It still needs alot of work.

I think I'll list out the tasks again. That generally gets me depressed and motivated at the same time. And I'll open up those data files. And maybe change the intro screen a bit - that always cheers me up! And then.... maybe I'll add a few more lines of code. Who knows? This may begin a whole new trend!

Top 10 Sun 2008.01.27 21:15    
I'm very pleased Galactic Emperor was named as one of the Top 10 Upcoming Games for 2008 by the Dice Tower. Thanks Tom and Sam! It's an honor to be considered and great to know we're above the radar a little bit.

I've also requested a special event at Origins Game Fair this year in Columnbus, Ohio for Galactic Emperor. We'll see if they accept it.

Another news note: I turned Forum Registration back on. It has been turned over for many months, but I think I've figured out a way to stop the pesky spam-bots from requesting access which was flooding my e-mail box in the past. Human spamers - I'll deal with them on a case by case.

In the mean time, if you have any trouble with the forum, you can always post a question or comment - I'm checking pretty much every single day (sometimes multiple times during a day).

A Small Update Tue 2008.01.22 23:20    
I reogranized the web site a little bit. I added a smallish page for Galactic Emperor, our new board game. No new info per se, but there is a direct link to the rules if you're interested.

If you have any other questions or comments, please send me an e-mail or post on the forums right here. And thanks for visiting the site!

Merry Chirstmas! Mon 2007.12.22 00:50    
I wanted to take a moment and wish you and all yours a very happy holiday and a Merry Christmas!

Ah Well Mon 2007.10.11 22:23    
Not much to report on the Delvers front. Yes, I have worked just a touch on it - but most of my effort has been directed toward Galactic Emperor. That game is now in manufacturing, so much of what I'm doing now is monitoring progress and waiting. Just now I'm waiting to get back the die cut patterns so I can finish up the final artwork. The box cover is absolutely fabulous and all done. The back of the box - that has to wait for photography which is at least a few months out.

Love and Delvers Mon 2007.08.31 22:13    
Alright. I haven't been working on Delvers much recently. I admit this. But today, when Dan and I were talking business, he said, "The next time we talk, it's going to be about Dungeon Delvers." And I hardily agreed. Not just talk, but serious effort again too. Dan's intent on finishing up content and I'm intent on getting the code base squared away. I know best intentions are not enough and I know we can't confuse activity with accomplishment. But the game needs to be done! So we're on it, believers, we're on it.

GENCON! Mon 2007.08.13 21:30    
It's beginning to look alot like GENCON - everywhere you go! Indy is feeling different this week - completely different. There's dancing geeks and zombies. There's special Ram brew and card-driven war games. There's Stormtroopers eatting at Steak-n-Shake. And I'm there too - right in the middle of it all. These are my people....

This year we're running Galactic Emperor and milling about. I hope to see many folks - friends and foes alike. Bring 'em all on! And if you're there, look for us in the Open Gaming Room (116) on Thursday and find us via the BG HQ on Friday. Else, I'll be doing what everyone else is doing: getting my game on!

Galactic Emperor Rules Sun 2007.08.03 21:10    
I posted the Galactic Emperor rules on our FTP site. You can snag a copy right here. The rules will only be there for a week leading up to Gencon - so get it while you can!

This isn't the final copy, but we hope it's close. If you have any questions or comments about the rules, please let us know! We'd really appreciate your opinion on how well it reads, how easy (or difficult) the game seems and any point that needs clarification.

Back from Origins! Sun 2007.07.22 14:40    
All went well at Origins. We had a couple of fantastic play tests and collected feedback - all plowed back into the game to improve it in numerous ways. Over all, we received very high scores in all categories - and everyone said they'd play again. Since then, I've been finding out about costs of production - manufacturing, shipping, distribution and licensing. There's so much more to do when you're bringing a game into retail markets. Much more than selling computer games through the internet. But it's fun!

Dungeon Delvers? It's sitting there for now at about 80% done. It will not be forgotten! But I'm sinking alot of time in Galactic Emperor now. Once I get that squared away and moving toward production, I can divert back to Delvers 100%. Just a question of bandwidth right now - only so many hours are available to me. So don't fret. Delvers will be finished!

Off to Origins! Tue 2007.07.05 22:15    
Off to Origins I go tomorrow! I won't actually be on site until Saturday, but the first leg of the trip is tomorrow. I finished up the new prototype of Galactic Emperor. Over all, I'm pretty pleased. I managed to build a quad-fold board for the game. It was unnerving because you have to cut the board in parts for it to fold right - and cuts are risky things since they're very much a one-way trip. Anyhow, it worked out great - even managed some book-binder folds for the boarder. As I was double checking all the bits this time, I noticed I've been playing demos the last few times with 18 food resources instead of the listed 16. Hmm. I hadn't noticed until I actually took a count. The games have played fine, so I guess this is one of those very minor things.

I'll post a session report (or whatever notes seem right) when I get back on Sunday (or maybe Monday). Wish me good fortune and good play testing!

Origins Tue 2007.06.28 23:10    
I've been a bad boy. Not bad as in rotten, bad as in remiss. I don't update enough any more! And one thing I hate more than anything else on a web page is the latest news that says "we just don't update enough." I'll endeavor to be more diligent.

So as for a subject, I've been most focused on and ramping up for the Origins show. I'm going to be there only on Saturday (that's all I could manage in my schedule this time), but I'll be there all day and into the early evening. The good news is if you find me, I'll have t-shirts to give away if you win a demo of GE (or if you convince me you need one). Anyone who is a regular here knows you have my attention and gratitude.

And if you're among the throngs who are grumbling, "So what! What's up with Delvers??" I can only say - we're on it! Dan and I talk about it almost every day (so that's something) and I even put some work in on it. Just today I was once again estimating the work remaining - a wearisome, wretched task. Suffice to say, we will get it done, but it won't be done until then.

Other tid bits. Let's see. I am of course working on other games - shouldn't be too much of a surprise - and figuring out a bigger business plan for CrossCut Games. I still have to maintain my work work (the full time job I have during the day), so can only devote so much to the task. But it is still quite fun and rewarding. I'm also playing games regular - the other night, I played Caylus with my wife and eldest daughter and truly enjoyed it - really, the most fun I've had with that game yet. And I'm reading a book on John Adams (David McCullough) - great book.

Delving! Tue 2007.06.02 12:20    
It's a calm, relaxing day here in the bowls of CrossCut Games, Inc. I'm intent on getting right to Delvers today - gotta keep working on content. Mainly I want to get the magic items working (again). You drop these critters on the action spot and after a bit of time elapse, it goes off. That seems easy enough (and it was working). But I need that running well in combat and out of combat - to impact the right stuff. I need it for testing now.

I've been playing
Etrian Odyssey on the DS over the last few weeks. It brings back all the wonderful memories of old - you even have to map the dungeon as you play (made very easy with the DS stylus). It's definitely fun and I really appreciate the passion put into it. So I was having fun until I got the first major boss monster on level 5 from which you cannot escape. So if you get into that battle, and you're not ready for it, you're sunk. Couple this with being unable to save your game in that spot (or anywhere near by), you have to replot the entire journey - smashing your way down to the 5th level and hope you can this time swat the baddie. I'm tired of it. Three times in, three times dead. I may try again, but man, it's not fun. And therein is the rub. I'm all for a throw back to days of yore, but let's be decent about it. Let's not suffer for it.

This of course all plays back into Devlers of course. All games are in some way research for Dungeon Delvers. We certainly do allow saving your game. And we have to stay completely focused on fun all the way through. That's a reason (excuse?) why we're still working on the game. Yes, I'm too close to it and overly critical - but I want to do the very best we can packing fun in every moment of play.

Galactic Emperor! Tue 2007.05.15 22:30    
We're going to Gencon! The CrossCut Games limo will be pulling up to the curb and strutting out with glittering games. Galactic Emperor, our first board game, is in full final testing now and we're on the prowl for distribution angles. If you want to play, just stop on by the board room at Gencon and shout for a seat at the table. We'll be happy to take you through the rules and play right along with you.

As for Delvers, it couldn't be better! The game is also in early testing (just us right now) and we're tuning up the adventures and turning on the excitement. Hopefully, we'll get this puppy out the door very soon! It's looking fine with actually *more* adventures that we originally planned. I love it!

And on the other front, we have yet another game almost ready for testing! Yes, this one is a Euro-style card game. More on that baby a bit later.

Runesword II 2.5.0 Released Sat 2007.04.21 21:20    
Runesword II (RSII), released into open source by Crosscut Games in 2004, is a free Computer Role-Playing Game (CRPG) and construction set designed to appeal to the "pen & paper" role-player. This release marks a significant change to the software. RSII 2.5.0 fixes several dozen minor and major bugs, adds in new capabilities, and expands the game content considerably.

RSII is composed of two elements: a 'Creator' for creating games (known as tomes), and a 'Player' to play the tomes. The Creator is an easy-to-use, completely flexible game construction set and world builder. The Player features turn-based, strategic combat, 50+ skills, races, a dozen small and full-length adventures, an instant random adventure generator, and different worlds to play in (fantasy and sci-fi).

Fixes in the Creator include updates to the tome wizard and tome packager, several fixes and improvements in searching, map-making and trigger-editing, and increased capabilities when designing worlds. Overall, the Creator has become more user-friendly with easier adventure sharing, additional stability and more options, especially in world construction and character archetypes. Creators can now assign additional stats to new characters, and design new magic systems based on those stats. Entire areas of maps may now be saved to the library as well, speeding up game creation and improving options for Creators.

Changes to the Player include improvements to game saves, items, creature graphics, the character screen, and the combat screen, and additions to the content library. A tray icon is included for the first time, useful for switching away from the game to another program. Players are now given more information about their characters and can see abilities change as armor and weapons are exchanged. The 'Greedy Merchant' Bug was fixed. Weight and bulk limitations have been added in for more realism. The ability to quickly change worlds was also added in, to take full advantage of the worlds now part of the standard download. Medium and long weapon ranges were also changed to extend further. Items in general have received a huge upgrade. Items in the game now have a size, and it must match the character's size to be used. Items also have a new experience level that can be checked against. Additions to the food family of items have enabled easier creation of useful and harmful food items. New items and spells that take advantage of these changes have been included in the library. Along with these changes to items, containers such as bags and backpacks must be at least as large as the items stored within. Problems with animations and creatures switching graphics during combat have been solved as well.

Several new adventures are also included in the standard DL, bringing the total number of ready-to-play adventures to almost three dozen spread across five different worlds. When you add in the random adventure generator, there are literally hundreds of hours of play in RSII without ever using the Creator to create your own adventures.

RSII is open source and completely free to use.
For more information: https://sourceforge.net/projects/runesword/ and https://www.crosscutgames.com/

Questing Wed 2007.04.15 15:45    
I'm plowing through the quests still. Basically building up content and testing each of the quests. There are 32 (or maybe 33) quests to complete in Delvers. Each lasts quite some time; so it's just time consuming to test each one out in turn. And with the added complexity of random encounter placement, I'm still finding some basic problems - like having a thug require gold, preventing you from progressing in the quest, but not having any gold to give him. Or having a hydra confront your first level characters - a slaughter ensues. Not good.

But this is why we push forward. You can't find the trouble unless you put the time in. And it also indicates where more work is needed - around the edges, finishing touches, polish. Anyhow, back to work!

Encounters! Wed 2007.03.07 18:50    
Good! I've completed my list of encounters. What does that mean? That means I had a list of encounters designed, but not completely 'coded' in the Delver text file format (which now that you've heard it, clearly needs a more compelling name). But now they are! So I have (let's see) 153 encounters put together and tested. Whoop! No really. This is a *big* thing. Because not only did I get all that text typed in (thousands of lines) but I also implemented capabilities along the way - like the previously mentioned Toadie! Very cool indeed. Couple that with the complete list of monster attack types, completed quest maps (well, completed might be a bit strong on that one) and we've got a game here! No, not done. But closer than before! That's always good surely.

What else? Not much. I'm now working on a floaty-text routine so one can see some special effect stuff going off. That's pretty easy. Just need to type a bit more in and we're good to go there. And then... hmm. Maybe I'll work on ramping up monsters or finish up those trophy pictures OR put together some completed quest maps. Lots of fun things to work on!

Toadie! Sat 2007.02.25 00:40    
What's a proper Talisman-like game without turning into at toad? So yes, I just finished up implementing the toad in Dungeon Delvers. You might encounter an evil witch who can, if you're particularlly unruly or unkempt, turn you into a TOAD! And this can be used in any other encounter, spell or even a monster attack. While a toad, you can't carry any inventory - you just ribbit along step by step with your miserable stats. It eventually wears off and - poof - you're back to normal. Ah, the life of a Delver.

Working Through Encounters Sat 2007.02.10 23:51    
Just a quick report. I'm cranking through several encounters right now. It's looking pretty nifty and it's very easy to do. Since the data is just in plain text, I can work them up in a simple editor, save, and test. Very nice indeed. Along the way, I'm adding new functionality as needed in the code base. Right now there are just slightly less than 80 command tokens. These are actions that can be activated by any adventure card in any combination. Things like health, damage, strength, craft, special effects, scare, freeze, steal, victory bonuses, etc. More to come!

DUNGEON DELVERS! Mon 2007.02.05 21:45    
It's back baby! Yes, I have taken a bit of time off from working on Delvers, but I booted it up yesterday and the game just looks like butter - very cool indeed. I just played for awhile and had fun! That's the way it should be when working on a game.

So. What to do? Why, just dive back in and get to it. It's all about content now. I have the levels plotted out, maps completed (I've gone over the original design of 30 different adventures), I have 165 encounter cards and I think Dan has several levels of monsters done (if not, I have several levels myself). Zoodles of items and spells done. Really much of it is about just finishing this stuff off and play testing. Lots of play testing.

There you go! We're back on it and I'm excited!

New Year - New Game? Tue 2007.01.09 21:33    
Ah! It's a fresh year - 2007. What wonder awaits us? Will Dungeon Delvers finally be completed? Good gravy - let's hope so! But I have another announcement right now. CrossCut Games has created a new game - and it's a board game! We'll be shopping it around to publishers soon (it's already in play testing). The game is called Galactic Emperor. It's a space exploration and conquest game that plays 3-6 players in about 120 minutes. Yes, it's fast paced and (from reports thus far) very fun to play. Cool planet tiles, resources, spaceships, and political intrigue. Very exciting stuff.

Another bit of new news - Talisman is going to be republished! Yes, the publisher is Black Industries. Not much more news than that, but still, I find this very exciting - especially since they are stating they have some new rules in place - and a new "speedy play rules written by the legendary Rick Priestley". We'll see if they can pull off a great re-release of a grand old game.

Ho Ho Ho Fri 2006.12.22 11:33    
Things are going along just fine here. I've been building up some of the levels in the game. I have it down to a pretty good process now. Made a change to how the levels can complete now. Instead of just having a single thing to locate (the 'treasure room'), now you have to locate one or more of those. This makes the levels more interesting and adds to variety. You have to 'solve' several parts of the level before you finish rather than a single path to victory. It's not a dramatic change, but I like it.

Also, I've decided to allow monsters to generate in place of normal encounter spots. This lets me focus on the key events on a level and lets the engine balance out everything else. Like other games I've made, you can tweak some parameters on the level that influences how the engine generates things. I'm always trying to balance hand made content and generated content. Think of it as a laziness slider.

The only other thing to report is I've made a board game. Yes, over Thanksgiving I got this idea in my head, turned it into a set of rules, alpha tested it and now have a working prototype with a board, cards, components - the works. Now to move on to a beta test and see what we have.

Monthly Update? Thr 2006.11.23 10:40    
I took a break for a few weeks from Delvers - so that's why there's been on updates. Just need to step back from things once in awhile. But the last few days, I'm back on it! I'm trying to get the encounter ratio correct and get the quest timing set up - so that's all good fun stuff.

And for those of you in the States - Happy Thanksgiving!

Special Combat Effects Sat 2006.10.28 12:10    
I've been researching (i.e. gawking) at a bunch of games lately. This has been distracting sure, but still fun. No, not computer games per se (although I do look at those too), but just alot of board games and card games. I recently played Brawl for the first time this past week. It's a fast, frenetic, simultaneous card game. Simple rules, really cool and plays in about 3-5 minutes. There's this whole set of what might be called casual board games. At least, that's how my mind works. I see these simple and fast games and think how the fundamental mechanics, theme, concept can be applied to a computer setting.

But back to Delvers, I'm still working there too. I just set up the individual combat damage effects seconds ago. I can always see the next thing to do. Right now, I'm moving through the individual Delver abilities one by one to make sure they all work right. After that's polished off, I just need to finalize some graphics, sound and combat spinning effects and combat should be about done. I think. Should take a few weeks yet.

Last on the task list right now (if we ignore zillions of little things) is the trophy room and the intro screens (plus the default quest pictures which I can't do until all the quest content is finished up). The 'zillion little things' won't be tackled until we are testing quests since they are just estimated problems based on the design document. I'm not inclined to implment (say) lose quest gold until we have a quest that needs to do that.

And I have to do something about a tutorial. But that might wait until we get some good testing in. I mean - what is hard about the game? I can guess (and make a pretty good guess), but really don't know until some newbie tries it out and starts to stumble on some point.

Rise and Shine Sat 2006.10.14 09:20    
A lovely crisp morning here at CrossCut Games. And I'm working on the team bonus special effect. In case you've forgotten, oh true believer, a big part of Delvers is putting together your Guild. You can attract new Delvers as you gain fame from Adventures. But who do you bring into the Guild? One option is to put together a team - like the Bluebloods or the Treehuggers. The more team members you have, the better they are - they like each other, they play well together and you get nice bonuses. Have 2 team members? Good. 3? Really good. 4? Perfect match - awesome bonuses! Extremely cool. And so I'm working up the special effects that happen when those bonuses are applied.

An Update! Ooohh! Thr 2006.10.12 19:10    
SO I still love Dungeon Delvers very much. Lots of hardwork, lots of love, lots of very cool adventures are getting ready for you. Maybe I should just post a 'Loading...' screen right here? I'm anxious to get back to polishing up the adventure maps with decorations - all the details that turns an adventure into an Adventure if you know what I mean. And even if you don't you could probably guess.

As far a serious update, I've really got to get back into special effects. But before I stroll over that way, I'm going to polish through the Delver abilities. I've had each one working before (save for one I think - the Stomp ability on one of them because I was never sure what it really should do - Dan designed that one). It shouldn't be too much work to get them all working again. Oh! And the ability to reroll on Fate. I never did have that one working. Hmm. But I think that's about it.

I'm just trying to get some serious time in each night so the game continues to make progress toward completion. Last few nights, I haven't had it in me to get much done (although I did do some research and implemented a new level in one adventure). Oh! Speaking of which, I'm kinda thinking about adding a few adventures now since I have more maps than I need. Anyhow, we'll see. The design was for 30 adventures - and that's how everything is plotted out. But maybe a few more side ones wouldn't hurt. More play time and all that. Also, we're originally plotted about 30-45 min per adventure for a single play through. But now, it's looking alot more like 60-90 min per adventure. And even more for some. There'll still be some fast ones for sure, but in the main, I think we're going for larger adventures in general. It all comes down to play testing.

Can I Hear You? Wed 2006.09.27 17:39    
I really should update the screen shots. I mean really. The game has changed enough since I posted those shots - I should show something new. But then again, I should just keep plugging along on the game too. I need to get the SFX ramped up a bit - at least finish rounding off all the effects we need. One thing that is recent and cool is in the attacks completed (see below) is the ability for a monster to call in other monsters for support. That can get out of hand of course - anyone remember the spell name you cast that just generates a monster that in turn generates a monster and so on? Ack!

But anyhow, back to work. I do like working on flashy effects, so maybe I can get a bunch of that done tonight.

Attack Complete Sun 2006.09.24 23:40    
Ah! I have the combat attacks finished. Well, at least all I had to do thus far. Dan says if I finished through these, I'm pretty much done. So I guess - I'm pretty much done! Now I get to work on all the special effects for each type of attack. And rehook the Delver special abilites up. Those were all working before, so that should all be fine still.

Still, this is pretty cool. Combat is very, very fun. Lots of variety, lots of strategy, wonderful pacing. I really like it!

Onward! Sun 2006.09.17 21:50    
Still working on combat. I'm going through each monster one at a time and it's going to take a bit. Just slogging now - it's plain hard work and not terribly fun. But it has to be done! One thing that is nice about it is combat is expanding nicely. Lots of variety without a doubt now. And it's nice to see things fit together with a wide variety of results, yet still remain a grouping of rather simple pieces. I was just finishing up some rules for the "death effects" - when a monster dies, it can have a last gasp impact on a single Delver or the entire party. Simple things like item drops are a natural, but other things can be done as well. Anything the engine allows.

Onward! Wed 2006.08.30 23:20    
Ah! Starting on combat full force now - and this is the last function point stop for the game. That's right - once I get past this, we're done with functionality. Then we'll be on to finishing content and test, test, test. There will be other more minor stuff to add - features for the game like turning into a toad and some other in-game encounter effects. There's a handful of things like that. But really, once combat is done, we're functionally there. Cool!

I'm excited about getting into combat. It works now by the way, but I have to go through each of the special abilities and attacks of delvers and monsters - building the features in that are missing. Each of the abilities and attacks are a combination of tokens - like Damage 2, SFX Snow, etc. Several tokens need implementation. And I need some interface tweaks as well. One of the more difficult things to do is getting monsters to be called in by other monsters - this is simply because the way I've implemented the turn queue. But I'll get it figured out. There are several combat special effects to put in place too - and they could take some time.

Anyhow, back to the code!

Map Touches Mon 2006.08.28 21:15    
Last night, I finally got the pit working right. They work like this: you can walk over a pit area (clearly visible on the map as a plank covered hole) three times. After that, you fall into the pit - and lose a minute of time off the clock. That could mean everything depending on where you are in the quest. But anyhow, the part that took me an evening to implement was what happens *after* you fall into the pit: you appear on the opposite side or, lacking that, a random side. It's an important mechanic because you can decide to jump into the pit, lose the minute, just to get to the other side and continue on your way. And it impacts quest designs because we can build up pits in a particular sequence. Combine them with darkness, teleporters, switches, portcullis - well, you might see where this could go.

The other map parts are all functional - and I think that's everything there is to do on the map. I could polish some more, and there are a few optional features we might add later, but I have to move on. I just need one more round of quick testing then I think I'm off to work on combat. Dan has nearly 100 monsters in the queue and I have to get all their attacks working. That's not nearly as bad as it might sound. The monsters fall into nice categories - again, that's all by design. Once you encounter a creature, you should have a good strategy developed so the next time, you can take them out faster (or know when to flee!) with less risk to your Delvers.

GenCon! Mon 2006.08.07 20:10    
Yes! This is probably my favorite week of the entire year. I love GenCon and everything about it. I'm anxious to meet new faces, learn about new games (I truly love that) and just hang out with my people. So that's where I'll be this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Delvers continues development. I'm in the throws of reworking some switch graphics on the map and then I have to get the timed portcullis working. Then I *should* be back in combat. Dan is cranking out monsters last I checked. But wow, still alot to do. Why is that? Well, a game just takes time my friends. I'm working every night and weekend, and every hour gets us closer and closer. It's looking fabulous I must say.

Just a reminder, we now have a blog running. Dan and I are posting there pretty often (it was every day, but we're slacking again), so please check it out.

Forums Resolved Tue 2006.07.18 22:22    
Due to some malicious behavior, I had to perform an emergency upgrade to the message forum. In the process, although I did save all topics, posts and users, I lost the association of posts to uploaded files. However, all the files are saved right here. Sorry about that. It's ridiculous that folks would hack a small place like us, but there you go.

As I said a few weeks back, we now have a blog running. I'm posting there nearly every day, so please check it out.

Cross Blog Wed 2006.07.05 21:30    
What, no updates you say? Nay. They exist alright. On the new CrossCut Games blog page! Boo-yah! Go check it out. And subscribe. Post comments. Get your RSS feed. Enjoy yourself by putting up your virtual feet. Heck, it's easy for us to post.

At some point, I'm going to work over this web page format and get something new in place. When Delvers is wrapped up that is.

Save Game Tue 2006.06.20 22:20    
Yes, Dear Reader. It has been over a week since the last update. But do not despair! I just now got save game working. That's a dandy thing. Suffice to say, the PopCap Framework has once again proven its mettle and delivered me from the cold clutches of old style C code. Yippy skippy! So things are working marvelous. Dan and I are coming to grips with the whole save game paradigm - save points or no save points? Save anytime or not? And again, fear not! We allow save anywhere, anytime. Go grab a gallon of milk down at the Piggly Wiggly and come back right where you left off.

We also have an Ironman mode. In this mode, you can't just leave a quest (but you can still save whenever you want). No, it's either find your goal or restart the whole thing! But if you complete the quest in Ironman mode, why, besides bragging rights, you'll have the fame you deserve in the form of bonus points. Hey, play a quest in Ironman mode on Hostile difficulty, and you'll get even more reward.

And what is the reward? Why, fame! Fame is used to 'buy' more Delvers and increase the power of your Delver's Guild. Delvers become available as you finish quests - because, of course, they are attracted to your prowess as a great Guild Master. But Fame is spent on bringing them into the Guild. You can complete your collection of Delver Teams like Wicked, Know-it-alls, Treehuggers and more. Delver Teams are more powerful on a quest than just bringing in random Delvers. Much more powerful. And more power means more riches and fame and the ability to take on the truly mindblowing later quests.

Ah, the life of adventure.

Wow. Just Wow. Wed 2006.06.10 11:00    
Alright. Some things to share. First, I'm completely knocked out of my socks right now. It isn't uncommon after months (years?) of work that one gets sick of looking at a game. Even if the design is beautiful - no matter what - one just gets sick of it. How long can you stare at a game? But Delvers has amazingly enough broken that curse. I'm actually more excited now than when we started. And that has alot to do with Andy Hopp. I knew he was right for Dungeon Delvers (he was our first choice!), but I had no idea exactly how much he would add to the feel and thrill of the game. The opening images will make everyone grin and anxious to play. What more could we ask for?

So that's that. But second, the game design has now become something more than we planned. I mean something great - way beyond what we envisioned. I look back on our original design document, original screen mock ups and concept art and what I have in my hands today is just so much more than that. It was scary about 9-10 months ago when we scrapped alot of the quest design in favor of total dungeon exploration. And moved from our home grown engine to PopCap's Framework. Yet right now, I am completely convinced that was not only the right decision for Dungeon Delvers, it was a great decision.

So I just have a feeling that we're going to blow the doors off expectations. Not just in wowza graphics (even though yes, we will do that), but in setting a standard for indie game developers. Is this all braggin' and blowing smoke? Just hype? You'll see, my friend. You'll see.

Third, I have some new screen shots coming. Give me a few weeks (I'll be on a vacation next week). And you'll see for yourself where we're at. Dungeon Delvers rocks. 'Nuff said.

Opening Magic Wed 2006.06.07 23:30    
Very cool stuff going on now. I'm completing the game loop. No, not the programmy thingy - the other thingy. The game loop in the sense of a completed game. The game loop in the sense of being able to save your game state and reload. Where you pick your save game - which in this case, is very cool because of the interface design. You pick your save game and your little avatar runs over to it. Kinda cool and fun loving. It's all that and a bag of chips.

And Andy. My man Andy - he turned in a fantastic piece of work for our opening sequence. A castle picture to rule them all. It is utterly cool - just what we're looking for and has once again raised the graphic bar to the stratosphere. Like way up. Delightful. Truly. So once he wraps up the last bits of that (there's the duke bit to do), we'll have an opening sequence for the game.

Now don't get your hopes up too much, dear reader. There's still lots of stuff to do. Like the trophy room for example. And I have to rehook the history tab for Delvers and Quests. It lets you keep track of your overall score in a dozen ways (roughly - don't hold me to these over-reaching, marketing spin estimates). And then there's all the polish still needed in combat. And - I dunno - lots of little stuff. I have that list around here somewhere.

But still.... Dungeon Delvers is looking sweet. Like chocolate and butter, brother. Like chocolate and butter.

Dialog Wed 2006.05.31 22:20    
Alrighty. Got the options dialog box working (dull but necessary stuff like music volume, quit and save, yield the quest, etc). Still more to do in scoring the quest and saving up the historical scores. Delvers tracks all kinds of scores (as I think I've mentioned before) - not just for the current quest, but for all quests and for all Delvers. So you can scroll back through time and see how things are going for you.

Yes, you can yield a quest too. That basically means you give up and want to start over. You still get a score (most likely lousy because hey, you gave up), but you won't get any quests unlocked or any new Delvers to hire. You might score a few fame points. Maybe - it all depends on how well you did up to that point.

But that's all yet to come. I've got to finish off normal scoring first and historical scoring. Again, it shouldn't be too bad - I've done this all before.

On To Scores Sun 2006.05.21 17:00    
Combat is about wrapped up (well - I could do much more and will add more attacks), so I'm on to computing the experience points and leveling up Delvers. That in itself is very fun to do. And then I think I'll move into the over all scoring system (which was completely working this time last year - so it shouldn't take much to get it done - but we've added a few touches like the trophy room, so there you go). And then.... well, lots left to do still. Truly amazing game. By the by, Andy is cranking up a new intro screen and Dan has written up the intro/framing story. Hilarious stuff! That should be available in the next few weeks.

The other bit of stuff is I've collected a list of all the fantasy board games I've researched - games like Sorcerer's Cave, Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Legend of Heroes and so many others. Some I know very little about, others I own and play. But in every case, I approach each with the eye of a game developer, learning about rules implementation and game dynamics. Grist for the mill of Dungeon Delvers!

Stuck or Careful? Sat 2006.05.06 09:40    
Still working on the combat interface. How long is this going to take? Am I stuck or just being careful? It is admittedly a critical part of the game. It just has to be fun and fast. Fast is easy of course - just crank up the speed. Fun - that's a bit more difficult. The interface has to communicate to the player. Since we're working through a phase-based combat system, there's a critical part: play back. When you say 'go' to fight, the play back just isn't there yet for me. Initially, there was a transition between selecting targets and seeing the combat play out. It was too difficult to follow in my opinion and took a bit too long to resolve between the two designs. So now it goes right to the 'resolution' combat design when you encounter monsters, I've moved the buttons down below the Delvers and cleaned up the over all look even more. That helps it play out faster and removes the transition. So hopefully that's the final change and I can now crank along on just combat effects.

On the other side, the weather outside is glorious. (Fear not! I'm still working on the game every day). And I signed up for GenCon this week. So this year is really shaping up!

Polish and Sparkle Mon 2006.04.24 23:20    
Working away on combat just now. It's looking *really* good - extremely cool! We're working the interface over and over again. Polish is important on this aspect of the game. It has to be fast, extremely easy to use and loads of fun. Because of course, you'll be pounding on alot of baddies in Delvers. Hundreds of monsters of all stripes, stations and sizes.

It's all phased based combat. So you click on the targeting cross-hairs, and drop it on the monster you want to attack. You do that for all your Delvers. It's kinda like calling the play book, the tactics, your strategy. It's visually cool because you can see where your attacks are going to hit and what you're setting up to do for all the Delvers at once. You can tweak around until everything is just so. Each Delver has a variety of possible attacks - not to mention your cadre of spells, magic items, explosives, healing potions, and the like. Lots of decisions.

Then you hit 'fight' and off you go. The screen transitions to combat and all the monsters and Delvers resolve their attacks in speed order. Flashy graphics galor zip around the screen - particle system slinging lightning, fire, energy, swords, claws, freezing, flying - it's all here. Then you transition back to tactics again. Do you flee (run like a pansy!) or continue on? Which attack to use now? Some attacks have to recharge - so don't waste your best stuff right away unless you know what you're facing.

So all that happens - and we have to resolve combat in just minutes because an important design element of Delvers is speed of the quest. You have to get through the quest fast - in a short sitting. We can't be hung up in combat. But those minutes you are in combat have to be memerable. They have to be thrilling, nail-biting, but all the time keeping you enganged and in the game - giving you loads of powerful, meaningful decisions.

And a Splash of Fate Sat 2006.04.15 00:30    
A lot of the game is built around this fast mechanic of resolving encounters. They need a bit of mystery so it's compelling when you play - just like in fantasy boardgames. Of course, encounters themselves can reveal all kinds of things - monsters of course, treasure, spells, magic items, puzzles, artifacts, teleporters, quests, traps, strangers - you get the idea. How do you get some mystery and energy into that? And how do you do it so it's resolved quickly - in a very frenetic and fun way? That's where splashing fate comes in and it's working really well.

You can see clearly how each Delver will respond to the possibility of fate. Their individual masks pause above each portrait, then zoom up with a splash of sparks, the target fate masks spread around and make room, one opposing fate mask explodes and everything else settles in again as your fate is revealed in a 'press your luck' kinda way. Lots of tension, but very clear interface. Fast, yet enough facts to make it clear what's about to happen. Madly replayable. And wildly cool!

Pop It Sat 2006.04.08 11:15    
Even with a great tool kit, games just take a long time to develop. We're using the wonderful PopCap Development Framework. Really, it works great - especially for tweaking around with things. But even with all that, it takes awhile.

Just now I have the fate modifiers working pretty well. That all sounds mundane, but its kinda cool - lots of animation going on. Fate in the game is really important. It determines the result of various encounters. And each delver can modify Fate with one or more Fate masks - either to give you a better result or a worse result. Every tile in the game has a type - and each Delver's reaction in that tile type is different. A Barbarian is crap in a Shrine, but not bad in a Crypt. What we're trying to tweak out here is making it very clear how well your Delvers modify fate - whether fate is for you or against you.

In fact, I'm just thinking how to make it every better.... back to the code!

Deails Fri 2006.03.24 22:40    
Ah! So where are we now? Still progressing. Dan is cranking on content and I'm working on encounter flow. That means how an encounter pops up, fate mask application from the party, plot items (putting pieces together to progress in the game), and the like. Good stuff. Also some minor interface tweaks continue. There are icons for tiles that have encounters on them - like a tent when there's a stranger to talk with. Just a visual indication to lead you along and warn you (like when there's monsters about). It's an important part of giving the game meaningful play. You have to ensure the player can make good and bad decisions while playing - or you end up breaking the magic circle and the fun disappears. Delvers is capturing the fun!

Touring Fri 2006.03.17 22:20    
Just finishing up the goal/touring code. When you step into a quest, it 'tours' over to your goal spot. And when you reach that one, it 'tours' to the next one. The idea is making sure you always know where your next goal is. Of course, you can completely ignore that noise and venture out on your own. After all, that's want true adventure is all about, right? Find your rewards, beat the 'easy' path by taking the path less traveled? And who knows what treasure you might find.... or terrors.

Also, I was browsing the web logs this afternoon. Last year, we got around 7,000 unique visitors each month. So far this year, we're around 7,600 per month - about 1.5 visits per visitor. That's around 48,000 unique visitors for the year. Last year, Google accounted for about 67% of our traffic from search engines. Most common phrase: 'runesword' followed by 'runesword 2'. The phrase 'dungeon delvers' accounted for 5% of our search traffic. We get quite a bit of traffic from RPGDot (thanks guys!). And Monday is our busiest day - but all the days are pretty much equal.

Anyhow, interesting tid bits I thought.

Tea and Toast Tue 2006.03.14 21:35    
Ah! What a beautiful thing to behold! Once again, Dan and I have spec'd out the number of features and content parts needed to bring Dungeon Delvers to completion. You know - all that preliminary marketing, launch and ramp up stuff has to be scheduled and to do that, well, you need to know about when you'll launch. Needless to say, the list is long and frightening. What madness overtakes us to consider making games like we make? No wonder nobody makes CRPGs anymore. They are fraught with peril. Deadly. The path to screaming and much angst.

But they are so cool!

In any event, the game continues moving ahead. Lately, I've been cranking in maps and more maps. Lots of nods to the old CRPGs. And now I'm working on the clicker thingy for stairs and teleporters. You know - so you can choose to go up and down stairs. Then on to keys, and pathfinding, and the new intro and combat polish and... well, there's lots to do.

But they are so cool!

Progress Wed 2006.03.01 21:50    
I've been building lots of maps. I'm sure how many I have completed now. Dozens anyhow. Maybe dozens and dozens. Plus a few. They are extremely cool as I've said. Lots of nifty tricks - I'd love to share the details, but I don't want to spoil the fun too much. Suffice to say, very, very, very cool. With sweet whipped topping. Oh, and the Relic room tile is done. Very nifty that. Gold scattered on the floor, shiny trinkets - all that a treasure room should be. Also, I've worked out some more iconics to indicate when an encounter card is in the room. So in general, lots of pixel slinging.

What else? I've added a few new features to the quest format. Like this: when you make a map, it's in a quest text file. Just simply edit the thing in a text editor - no big deal. When you're making a map, you can plop down what type of tile it is, drop down encounters and tricky tiles like teleporters, darkness, switches, etc. Or you can leave alot of that stuff out - and let the engine populate for you. It's a bit of a randomizer, but not completely. It doesn't make completely random maps. But you can say, "I want a 50% chance for dungeon tiles and 10% of those should have a dungeon encounter." So that's pretty cool in two ways: it makes it faster to build a quest because on one map, you can have it kinda random. And of course, it all adds to replayability.

Another thing: we have the overarching story line worked out - the intro to it is hilarious! You're definitely going to love it. Really sets the tone for the rest of the game and ties everything together - the whole purpose of Dungeon Delving. I was telling Dan the other day how much this game brings back all the old school RPG memories for me - but it really isn't an old school RPG. Ironic and perfect. Just what we were chasing after - all the emotions and engagement of role-playing games at a fast pace. Perfect!

Exit and Goal Sat 2006.02.18 23:10    
Most recently, I finished up the main entrance and exit to the quests. This is a special tile with a cool glowy door. I was stuck on this for awhile because I couldn't get a look that I really liked. But I'm pretty happy with the result now - and it's a critical piece to the quest. If you don't find an exit before the quest time runs out, you're toast. With no butter or jam! The minions close in around you and eat your party for breakfast. Yes, it's a grisly end and a sharp penalty (very sharp) later in the game (early on, we take it easy on you).

In any event, I'm off to the Relic room now. Yes, that all important central treasure vault where evil wizards store what is rightfully yours (or rightfully that other guy what hires you do his diry work). Get there, get away and you're the hero. That's what it's all about.

Tiny Bit Mon 2006.02.13 23:10    
Here's just a bit more progress to report. It's small - literally! I just got the mini-map working - and it's pretty cool. I like it! I need to get some details added yet - like dark spaces, altars and the like. Still, it's functional and works well, so I'm a happy camper.

With that and the new door switches (tweaking continues), we have alot of stuff functioning just fine. So much so that I was making a few fun maps just for fun. It's easy too because you just open up your text editor and type it in. Entire maps - just copy an old one and type over it. Put a wall here. Add a trap there. Set up a stranger. Put in an altar and locked door. No problem. Even set the chance for a certain style to drop (you know - just in case you get lazy and don't want to put every turn and twist in). Reminds me of just whipping out the graph paper and drawing the boxes. Yeah - I'm one of those old guys.

Which Switch Sat 2006.02.11 10:45    
Today I'm working on 'switch' doors - wherein you walk onto a floor symbol and one or more doors open. Once you step on the symbol, the map 'tours' over to each door and shows them opening. The symbol fizzles and shines. It's a pretty cool mechanic because it allows all sorts of nifty puzzly things. The end goal of every quest is to locate some special relic (well, most of the time). So this door mechanic (plus teleporters, darkness, locks, plot pieces, monsters, spells, magic items and more) guides you along the quest piece by piece. Hopefull I'll get the switch doors finished this weekend. Things are really moving along quite well - very, very satisfying!

Here's a few new screen shots (they're kinda heavy - about 400Kb apiece):
Oh! And GenCon is officially in Indy for the duration - to 2010 and beyond. I'm estatic about that and look forward to gaming with friends old and new for many years to come.

More Tiles Sat 2006.02.04 20:20    
Earlier today I added some effects to darkness on the map - a little question mark particle effect sparks out from your head - and it makes me chuckle. When you walk into darkness, it casues your little avatar to get confused and he wanders out a random direction. I also polished off the timer altars so they shoot a firework up to the timer when you step on it. Also, really nice. It takes a surprising amount of time to tweak a particle engine and I am (admittedly) very picky on this point. Then I have to pick out the right sound effect of course. But so far, EXTREMELY COOL! I'm loving this game! Off to work on the portcullis.

On another front, I finally switched over to Firefox 1.5 for my browser. It is truly all that. Having tabs to browse is wonderful. Why did I wait so long?

Here to There Sat 2006.01.28 17:10    
Cool! I have the first set of teleporters working - and it's fantastic! It took me the better part of three hours, but I've got it just like I was imagining it would work. Even with a cool teleport sound effect. This is the first of the new tiles that's working as we hoped. I'm going to proceed through the others: portculis, doors, fancy traps (normal traps already work), stairs, dark rooms, rotating rooms and a few more. This all adds loads of flavor to the dungeons for delving, giving the entire quest a flare for solid fun.

Right now, I couldn't be more pleased with the game. Every little bit is coming together well. I do wish we had all this nailed months ago, but the changes are definitely worth it. No doubt!

Effort Mon 2006.01.23 23:10    
I have the scoring screen up and running again. Need to finish connecting them into saving a game. Sigh. It's always something. Still, it's working - and that's all good!

But I am happier now with the particle system. Using some blending effects in the Popcap Engine just doesn't work terribly well. It's kinda slow for one and kinda blurry for another. I could write my own pixel blending system, but it's just too much to do right now. What I'm doing instead is using straight up animated pictures - stars and the like that sparkle and spin. It looks great and I think fits in even better with our art style in the game. Or I could just be rationalizing away.

I still have to trim back all the monster pictures since we've changed the backdrop in combat. That won't take too long at all, but I just don't want to forget about it. I'm debating about more animation in combat still. It might be needed to add some extra dazzle. We'll see.

Hmm. I think that's about it. Should get some more time in this week!

Blooming Sparks Sat 2006.01.14 09:30    
Not much more to report today, but I am continuing to work on the special effects. I have a very complete curve API now and I have some pretty nifty moves going on in combat - like a sword arching around and slamming into a target. I'm starting to build up the system so we can have particle explosions, fireworks and the like. Those parts pretty much work, so I'm just combining them in interesting ways. It's a tweaking exercise - like in the aforementioned example: should the sword spin this way or that?

I might just move on to the scoring mechanic for a bit. That's pretty easy to plug in and will get me a bit down the road. That's the part where it scores your quest and stores away the history by Delver and Quest. It also leads me to the Fame award that you use to invite new Delvers to your guild. You know - it makes a completed game loop.

On the quest front, Dan is cranking away. And he's also picking out his favorite sound effects from our rather extensive library of sounds. Once that's wrapped up, we'll be plugging it into the engine. By the way - that's all in an XML file, so you'll be able to mod around with it as you please.

Curves Mon 2006.01.09 23:00    
Tonight I've been working on the special effects (read: particle engine) again. I have to tune it up to match the pace of the engine - making sure particles sparkle, spin, cascade and fade just like they should. Nice little particles. See the pretty particles? They are pretty.

I'm also putting together some Bezier Curve and Catmull-Rom Spline routines. Now... for the uninitiated, you may think I'm making up words (again). Although in general you'd be right, here we have some real genuine mathematics stuff going on. It's not too bad given my ki-powered Google-fu abilities. After all, I did find an entire library in Java, some source code in Perl, and more than one mathematics/computer science homework assignment - why should I complain? My hope is the result will be some very cool visual effects in the game. The spicy and sassy way that will make you beg for one more minute of play.

Fight the Powers Sat 2006.01.07 10:00    
Alright! Dan and I have all the design ideas queued up for combat now. Things like swooping axes, special particle effects, slashing claws, glowy attacks and all kinds of cool stuff. I'm working on that today to get the flow of combat going. Combat is working, so this is just dressing up the experience. But it's all coming together really, really well.

This brings us almost back to a fully playable game again - I mean from start to finish. I still have to put together scoring and the tracking of completed quests (should just be a transfer over from the old engine). And then I'll have to work on the new map system. There'll be more dressing up with that stuff too of course since I can splurge a bit on special effects now without feeling any additional pain. The benefits keep coming with the new engine. Wonderful!

More Functionality Tue 2006.01.03 11:30    
Ah! Combat is now working - somewhat. Really, it goes by a bit fast. There's no special sizzle-fancy effects yet to show what's going on, so all you can see is your Delvers slowly dwindling down to death or monsters fizzling away. But hey! At least it's working and that's great! It took a bit longer than I anticipated, but I simplified along the way.

Now. Hmm. I think I'll get the victory screen working after combat (the one that spits out experience points and levels up Delvers) and get some fizzle effects running so we can see the pace of combat in real-time.

I also recently read a pretty good blog-article on game rewards. It makes me think about a concept of 'banking' experience points - making it very visual when you finish a quest and apply your experience points to a final score bonus. And it also reminds me of a very early design decision to have 'titles' declared as you increase your fame in the game. I think I have a file of great level names around here somewhere....

Wonder of Wonders Thr 2006.01.01 00:05    
Happy New Year! If all continues at pace, 2006 should be the year of Delvers! This past week has seen alot of progress on the game. I finished up the merchant functionality yesterday and today spent a good deal of time on combat. It's pretty far along and looking really good! I like the style of the new interface alot and am anxious to see it in full action - with all the special bells and whistles like the 'special' combat rules, abilities, special effects and attacks. Should be very cool indeed.

So I've achieved all my goals for the last two weeks - and more! Next up will be to continue back on the new map system (getting the new tile types workings like teleport, doors, portcullis, darkness, traps, etc.) while hooking up all the components to a completed quest system. Too cool!

Trade 'Em Thr 2005.12.29 00:35    
Inventory is up and running again! That wasn't so bad at all. It looks good and it works just fine. I don't have the merchants selling stuff again (yet), but that's another 'minor' thing to do. All the mechanics are there, so it's just a matter of setting the switches.

I should get that wrapped up in the next day or so and then (yes!) combat! If I can get that done this week, I'll have accomplished all my goals for this vacation time and set things up very nicely for the finishing stretch for the engine. We'll be back where we were prior to the port to the PopCap Framework - plus loads of new images, an entirely new map format (much, much improved with loads of nifty new features), and a (slightly) new interface design. It's looking very nice now. The added confidence we've gained has been well worth the effort - the game just hums now, is about 33% smaller in size and runs wonderfully with small video cards.

Bright Lights Thr 2005.12.22 15:30    
Alright. Got the particle system running (again). It's running about 75+ FPS on my box with a decent 3D card. That's pretty cool - and it opens up alot of possible new enhancements - which I am trying to resist. But just thinking about spinning-glowy explosion things gets my pixel painting power pent up.

Speaking of pixels, I've generated a few dozen icons for the game yesterday. I debated for awhile on style - how far should I go with colors? What we have done is changed the shape to be extremely clear about where things can be used - square for sitting in inventory and circle for 'usable' items - like spells and magic items. The new interface is showing its mettle now and it's looking really fine.

So anyhow, two major hurdles left: inventory itself (which *should* be pretty straight forward) and combat (which should also be a straight port). After those, it's on to minor but essential things to connect up all the parts - like the scoring and unlocking system (all this was pretty much working in the old engine). Then we'll be straight into tweak mode again for the levels. This time there's a bunch of new stuff to get working just right. It's funny - I realized this morning that I'm looking so closely at every single pixel of the game, every little movement, everything. I wonder how many square feet of pixels I've generated now?

If I don't post again until after December 25th, I want to wish all of you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Silver Bells Tue 2005.12.20 09:15    
Wow! Things are coming along very nicely now! Last night, I was inspired in the rework of our interface. A few months back, when we were listing things to improve, Dan and I noted some ways to improve clicking while using items and special abilities in combat. Along those lines, Dan came up with a simplification of buttons and using the shape of item icons to indicate where they are used. Anyhow - last night, I was browsing around an art store (which I do love to do) and came upon a book on how to make Celtic Knots. That stuck in my head last night as I was integrating in the new minimalist button configuration. It all came together wonderfully and looks great!

Now I'm off to work on the combat system again. You might remember we're rewriting the engine using Popcap's Framework. Truly cool and upon reflection, we can see it was the "right thing to do". But that meant working through the codebase again - now leading me up to combat.

The map is wonderful - graphically stronger and the entire game is much tighter when you play. Snappier if you know what I mean. Of course, the real acid test is when we have several levels built and you can play from start to finish - and that's not too far away now. The largest areas of work are combat (going to start on that today), inventory (up next or in combination with combat) and the particle system (which I have to now do without the benefit of 3D specific system calls - but not to worry!). The Framework hasn't failed me yet and I trust it'll see us to completion at 60 FPS+ in play.

More to Report Tue 2005.11.29 23:15    
Well! It has been a terrific week. Dan and I took some time off from our regular job and got to work on Delvers quite a bit. I got the new map routines working pretty well - and they look really, really cool! I'm very pleased. It all matches Andy's art work just right and gives it a wonderful feel of exploration and (wait for it....) delving. Yes, the change is all good.

To further prove the point, Dan previously ran the old engine on his kinda crappy laptop and was getting 18 FPS. Not deadly slow, but not great. With the new engine it's running at 60 FPS. That just knocks his socks off. Of course on my spiffy laptop with a 64 MB graphics cards, I run easily at 85-90 FPS and even top over 100 FPS when I shut everything else down but the game. This all adds up to me being very pleased with our difficult decision. It does seem to be paying off in spades. We're gaining a lower profile of hardware that will handle our game and that should turn into more people able to play.

Another thing: it is really easy to develop levels now. Much, much easier than before. Just open up a text editor and edit your map. Use little ASCII symbols for altars, teleporters, stairs, types of tiles, doors, and the like. Very fun and very fast! And the download size is about half what it was. What else? Man,I just like the feel of it. That's probably the biggest improvement. It feels exciting and has tension already - just like I was hoping it would.

So next up is getting the encounters, combat and inventory turned on again. I'm pretty far along with encounters already - so just a few more days and that should be running again. Dan recommended some changes to the combat interface (cosmetic mostly, but goes to making it cleaner to operate), so that'll take just a wee bit of pixel slinging. Yeah, that reminds me. We need some updates to the FAQ and some new screen shots. Lots of stuff to show now! Give me a few more weeks and we can really show it off.

By the way, we're still getting around 5,000 visits a month! So whoever you are, thanks for stopping by. Delvers is becoming reality. The wait will be worth it.

What's Happening? Sun 2005.10.30 14:40    
After declaring a "do-over" and significant delays in web site updates, you might have every reason to wonder what's up? What's going on around the House O' CrossCut? Loads! First off, some preliminary comments.

Why the change? As I said last time, the game just didn't have the punch it needed. It was lacking a sense of urgency, and a sense of meaningful decision points. The game base was good, the concept was solid - but the actual quests lacked something. They just felt a little lack-luster. So we've come up with some significant changes to the game - specifically focusing on the quests.

So what changes? For one thing, we've moved the game completely into dungeons. That was more in keeping with the theme of the game, but also gave us alot more focus and simplicity in design. Another thing is we've made these dungeons more interesting and meaningful - adding things like rotating rooms, dark areas, altars, crypts, pits, doors, teleporters, and more. We're reworked how Fate operates - basing it on a metaphor of masks and press-your-luck. It's really cool and feels more like you control your fate rather than just watching it unfold. We've also removed any ambiguities in the objective of a quest. Now it's all about getting the Relic and getting back out alive. That added tension to the game that makes everything more exiting.

There are many more changes too - fundamentally, we've rewritten the engine using Popcap's Framework. This gives us a lower profile - you no longer need a 3D card to run for example. And added stability. The framework has been tested on thousands of computers. This was a challenging decision, but it's paid off big - we're running at 100 FPS with a decent 3D card and at acceptable lower rates without. What's more, many things come right from the old engine with only a few minor tweaks. So the game is already well on the way to being back to where it was a month ago - with added features!

So I hope you get the idea. The changes have truly made the game even better - and it was already better than anything else we've ever done. The new release date is simply "when it's done". Yes, we hoped to be done months ago. But we want to release a game that is the best we can do - and Delvers is all that plus whipped-cream.

Redeux! Thr 2005.09.22 17:15    
I've been playing Delvers for some time now. Not bragging or gloating - this is just part of the development process. Anyhow, as I've been playing, I'm taking notes along the way - my impressions, how I feel about the game session, how long it takes to do things, etc. Lots of things to improve were piling up along the way and a couple weeks back, I collected them all into a few short themes of what needed to be done to give the game more punch. That has in turn resulted in some substantial changes to the quest part of Delvers - the map layout and purpose, ramping up tension and creating more meaningful decision points. After all, a game is essentially a series of choices and a reward/rebuke system. It all has to feel fun all the time - each moment along the way!

Also, I want to give credit to the game Dungeon Quest. It's an older board game from Games Workshop that I just picked up on eBay, but it has wonderful game mechanics and a great theme feel. It's a killer game - literally! But it inspired me to turn up Dungeon Delvers a couple of cranks. So thanks to you game makers out there - including all of the current workers of magic in RuneSword! You're always inspiring me to keep pushing ahead!

GenCon Done. Next! Tue 2005.08.30 17:15    
Just a quick drop to let you know we're still alive here. Yes, GenCon was a complete blast - wild fun continually. I even brought home several games to play with my family and friends. I think it's safe to say I'm a board gamer now and forever. Oh! And I played Talisman again - for the first time in a very long time. It was wonderful! Absolutely wonderful! I tried to be a diligent student for the sake of Delvers (if you don't know, Talisman is one of the key inspirations for our game) and pick out all the mechanics and other features that make Talisman great. But often while playing (about 4 hours total) I just got lost in the fun. Toadie! (Yes, Delvers can and does turn people into toads).

But that's not to say I'm only playing games. I'm making a game too! Delvers is moving along - but not as fast as any of us would like! I'm pushing through pure content right now, and also working in a few new design features here and there - there's a long list of suggested features. The last thing I did was work out randomizing Encounters into your quest - adding a new property to select if it should be in the random stack or not. This allows for putting together special "quest" Encounter cards that are randomized first and then a whole stack of other Encounter cards that are added second. One of my goals is always to make it fun for me - and different each time I play. After all, I'm playing some quests or parts of quests dozens if not hundreds of times! So although the quest is the same, where things are changes and what's between things changes completely.

GenCon 2005 is Near! Sun 2005.08.14 17:15    
CrossCut Games (in the form of Dan and Adam) will be at GenCon starting Thursday, August 14th. The local paper reports they're expecting 75,000 gamers this time out! I'm signed up for several games over a period of days and will be spending money like a drunken sailor. Look for the wild-eyed gamer with a Dungeon Delvers t-shirt. I'll be the third one on the left.

As for Delvers, believe it: we are working hard. If you'd have asked me this time last year if I'd still be working on it, I would've said no way - this one's a slam dunk! But all estimates to the contrary, Dungeon Delvers continues to progress. The engine is running fine and the game is humming along. What's left is all the content, tweaked to perfection, dialing in for delightful gaming. That's no easy task as we're finding out. Our goals are lofty and our standards for thrilling fun are continually spiraling upwards into the heavens!

Waggly Waggins Sun 2005.07.24 15:40    
You know, it seems like its been years in the making. But we are getting close. I've been building up a database of encounter cards, monsters and items and have created a script to auto-generate the data files. So sometimes, I'm just writing utilities - but all for the good. It makes building content so much faster. As of this writing, it contains 280 encounters, 52 speciality magic items and 94 different monsters.

All this content manipulation is also impacting the game engine in subtle ways - such as figuring out how to show the type of space on a card and allowing certain encounters to randomly appear in appropriate ways. It's like painting by building up the picture over time. And yeah, it is taking time - alot more time than I originally estimated. But heck, it's getting us to our goal of our best game yet. And best by far!

Progress Thr 2005.07.07 23:30    
Andy has finished all the artwork! I want to publicly thank him for the truly wonderful work. He's been terrific to work with over these past several months and I look foward to working with him again!

As for me, I'm working away on more encounters and the like. The interface is looking pretty good, so it's all about continuing on content and adding features. There's just *so* much to do here. We set out a pretty lofty goal on content in our original design and it's a long climb to the top. As I've said before in just pure numbers, this will be the largest game we've ever made. Not as complicated as having to write some scripted stuff for each tidbit as in RuneSword, but tons of different things in the game. Just boat loads of monsters and items, spells, characters, quests (lengthy, puzzly things!) and all out adventure.

And fun! Man, just looking through the list of features and quests - it's mindblowing and really, really fun. My girls were playing through things and laughing at all the wild and funny quest names. They also were loving putting together teams of Delvers - just like we hoped! Alright, so they're not our ultimate audience for the game, but it's good to know that your kids find your work fun.

More Touches Sun 2005.06.19 24:00    
Well, it's been a productive weekend. I've completed many enhancements to Delvers such as balancing out the rewards for Quests, tweaking a few interface elements (like showing the current selected quest and the like), storing the history of each Delver and game played so you can look back and how things have been. It also helps when building up a party - you can see the Barbarian usually gets the most kills for example. And many, many other things too - several new game tokens like Specials, new Death Effects when you kill a monster and just loads more. Too many to list here.

What's more I can 'cheat' through all the quests now and see how things unlock. That lead to a few play sessions with my kids to see what quests they chose, what Delvers they liked and why, and if they understood how to play without my prompting them. And that in turn lead to some pretty good interface tweaks like clearly saying how much a Quest was worth in Fame. Also, I need to ramp up the reward screen even more - more jazzy effects and sounds when you get a new Delver.

More Touches Tue 2005.06.09 19:30    
Sorry for the huge delay in news updates. Again, I have been working on Delvers nearly every waking moment (when I'm not doing my real job of course). The latest development is getting a quest completed. In working on that, I had to adjust the game balance and fix a few pesky bugs. It all came down to designing a single monster that could hold a party of four Delvers at bay! Yes, the creature is powerful - multiple attacks, special abilities and loads of damage dishing danger. Very cool indeed.

I've been also working on tweaking the scoring parameters - finding that sweet spot between generous, yet not so easy that you score so much that a score hardly scores at all. Still more to go on that count, but at least now I can play a quest and see how scores rack up. Game balance is the key here.

Andy has almost finished all our pictures. Just a few more encounter cards left, plus a handful of monsters and a dozen icons or so. Everything is shaping up!

And for a confession: I've been playing the game Fate. Indie games rule! This one has all the leveling goodness of Diablo, plus a dash of Hack/Rogue - all wrapped in great execution. I really hope the guys at Wild Tangent do well. Great stuff, guys!

Games and Wars Tue 2005.05.17 19:30    
YES! I'm all signed up for GenCon 2005 here in Indy. It wasn't easy - the web site was almost non-responsive yesterday, but this morning, I got through and scheduled all my events. I'm playing a new board game from Fantasy Flight, a few RPGs and - get this - a game of Talisman! Hey, I'm livin' la vida loca!

But that's only part of it. I'm also going to see Star Wars Episode III tomorrow at midnight. I'm pretty excited about that. Star Wars solidified by journey into geek-dom almost 30 years ago. Yes, I saw the original in 1977 on opening night and I haven't missed an opening of a Star Wars movie since. Whoop! It should be fun. I'm going to the theatre where the local Star Wars club goes - there'll be wookies galor. Really, they are MY people.

But what about Delvers you may ask? Oh, yes. I've been working. Picking your Delvers for the quest is now utterly finished. And I'm working on the special rules section for combat. This is a device we've installed in the design to make sure there's no pat way to beat the monsters back. And it also leads us to special monsters that take advantage of the rules. Ah, cool stuff to be sure.

Quest Construction Mon 2005.05.02 19:30    
Dan took a week off from his real life pay-the-bills job for the exclusive reason of pulling together our content. Just another part of our neverending dedication to bring you the best game we can. Sure, it takes a little longer. But aren't all good things worth the wait? You bet they are!

On the other hand, I have been refining the interface for gathering a party of Delvers. Now you can switch between listing Delvers by level or by team - making it a bit easier to get just the precise party you want. Also the team bonus flickers up as you add team members. Each member gets a bonus if you bring along their fellow team members. So the more Delvers from the same team, the better each Delver will be. It's the game around the game. Very cool!

In the Balance Sun 2005.04.10 18:00    
Another quick take: I've been working on game balance this weekend - mainly focused on monsters right now. So I've once again created loads of spreadsheets to compute and score, plot and plan just exactly what a perfect monster looks like for each level of Delver. Then we can stratify the list we have across the matrix. Of course, we'll also be breaking the rules by adding special attacks. Then the real test is from playing the game over and over and over again - from different points of view, by various people.

Soon, my friends. Soon.

Tons of Dungeons Sat 2005.03.26 10:00    
I'm in the thick of drawing up tons of dungeon maps. We've plotted out 30 different quests and they span all types of environments - twisty caves, dank halls, pools of evil water, sprawling caverns and loads more. And they are huge! Offering up loads of adventure in surprising ways. And also, for you role-players out there, these maps would make a great play mat for miniatures. Real cool!

Dan continues to put together the tutorial quest for Delvers as well. The idea is to guide you right into all the mechanics while you're playing. Coming out of it, you'll have finished your first adventure and be ready for all the horror and wild fun Dungeon Delvers will throw at you.

And for your enjoyment, I've added a few more pics to the screen shots page! So take a look!

Fog of War Sun 2005.03.13 23:15    
Not alot to say, but just a note that I'm now working on the 'fog of war' effect when you're exploring a dungeon. That way, you know, there's a bit of mystery to it all. It's really fun and puts a whole 'nother level of adventure on top of everything already there. I'm loving it all really - the game just feels very good!

An Aside Thr 2005.03.10 21:00    
The second part of our interview over at RPG Vault is up. All the while, things are going strong here! We're still working primarily on content - and I'm building plenty of twisty, wild, wonderful, colorful maps for exploration. As I've said before, there's a ton of content to fill in - and it's all glorious.

On an completely different tangent, I now have a Pocket PC and have been exploring different forms and features - including entertainment on that device. It's a haven for old school gaming and I'm struck by how new technology brings back the old gaming styles. Lately I've been grooving on a Wizardry/Bard's Tale/Might and Magic-esque game called "Legacy." Yeah, it's a distraction, but even a game developer has to play too.

Screen Shots Wed 2005.03.02 21:00    
You've seen the snips in the news updates. You've seen the eye-busting tiny screen shots. Yet still you long for something more. Well, now you've got it! Finally some actual images of Delvers in action! Check them out on the screen shots page! Scoot!

And as for more info, check out the lengthy interview of the reckless rum-runners of CrossCut at RPG Vault. It's more than we've ever said about Dungeon Delvers in one place. The entire cat is out of the bag now and it's got big, nasty claws.

Beyond those tasty tidbits, Delvers is coming along famously. I'm listening to the theme music right now and it's fantastic! Way better than I was thinking originally which is all very, very cool. While humming along with the tune, I'm drawing up some of the dungeon levels. I'm going for a particular style with the images - twisty caverns, flagstone floors, spooky lights - the works. This is all part and parcel of content creation and it's really fun to get my pixel slinging puck out, pushing around pounds of ponderous painting particulars. Whoop!

News! News! Mon 2005.02.21 19:45    
Man, I'm slipping. But my excuse is I've been distracted. I'm completely focused on Delvers to the point of neglecting this poor web site. But you already know all that. What you don't know is how we're moving along and we are moving! As I said before, we're focused on content and more content. Right now, Dan is wrapping up the tutorial material. And I'm working on the game options screen - turning off the music, yielding your quest, saving the game, difficulty rating, ironman mode and the like.

What else? Dan has cleaned up all the Delver descriptions, so that's all good. And we've been trying the game out on different systems to measure frame rate. Delvers will definitely require a 16Mb video card - probably 32Mb to run it well. And a machine around the 1-1.5 Ghz range. I hope to drive those requirements down a bit yet - we do want to support as many older machines as we can.

Anyhow, if you have any questions or comments, drop me a line!

MASSIVE Content Mon 2005.01.27 20:45    
Today I've been reflecting on the enormous amount of content in Dungeon Delvers. Truly, it's as much as Bronze Dragon, RuneSword I and RuneSword II combined. Tons of goodies. We've put together hundreds of encounters and it's only getting larger every day - getting stuffed to the gills, brimming over with glittery gaming glee. We have 30 adventures in this one. Depth, height, width - it's huge, it's overwhelming, but man oh man oh man - it is extremely cool.

The other thing that has me giddy is the game loop. I'm talking about how the game keeps you playing from quest to quest. You'll no sooner finish one, gather your bonuses, get your final score and want to dive right back into the next one. You'll be up all hours, weak in the knees, eyes blurry - but your grin grows.

What's this score stuff all about? We score virtually everything in the game - attack average, how many kills, how well your team works together, who's wearing what armor, how many rare items you retrieve, specials found, artifacts recovered, how long it takes you to finish, how well you do against traps, how you gain favor in shrines and way more than I can list here - everything piles into your rating while playing. And that rating in turn plays into your ability to hire in more Delvers. Your fame grows, and so does your guild. And there are always more quests to finish. Wonderful stuff.

Nearing Code Complete Mon 2005.01.10 09:30    
I'm almost code complete now! Yes, I'm now ahead of schedule again! Oh, man oh man! Very cool! The last touches are being put on the scoring screens - the entire system of tracking how well you did on a quest is very, very cool - including artifacts, specials and all kinds of bonuses. It also tracks scores at all levels - by individual Delver's stats and the history of every quest. Consider it a bit of encouragement to go back and play that quest again. And did I mention I'm all done with leveling and the Delver's Guild? And so much more!

So what's next? We're now ramping up content! Lots and lots of adventures are being created. As I've said before, this has way more focus on play than any previous game we've made. We're auto-targeting the fun machine, accurately making every bit filled to the brim and bursting over with frivolity! Add on top of that Andy's incredible talent for making pixels come together in fantastic ways, and you've got Game of the Year in the making. If you're feeling a little down about computer games this year, or maybe a bit blue with the grey clouds hanging about, hang on to your hair. Dungeon Delvers will fix a smile to your face and dazzle your senses!

Let It Snow! Wed 2004.12.22 11:30    
Ah, the Happy Holidays! I'm staring out at about 4-5 inches of snow right now and they're saying we'll have maybe 12 before tomorrow. I have some time off from my regular job to sit around the fire, drink some 'nog and listen to beautiful Christmas cheer from my sound system. And power-gram on Delver's code! Today, I'm polishing off the Merchant code base. Last week, I finished up all the fundamentals of combat - including proper range, multi-damage, magic items, spells, sound effects, particle effects, and zillions of different attacks. It's frightening to watch the flame guys burn your Delvers to a crisp! We've also been timing how long it takes to finish an adventure, fight a combat, solve puzzles and the like and thus far, it's pretty well balanced. Delver's will have at a bare minimum 30-40 hours of playtime, not including the replayability! It's the shizzle!

I'm Working! I'm Working! Wed 2004.11.17 20:50    
It's true! I AM working on Delvers almost every day. There's alot to show for the effort too. Like the new special effects engine lights up the screen with awesome flares and fireworks. Range selection is working in combat. And now I'm going through each of the over 50 abilites for our dozens of characters. Obvious stuff like Rage and Critical Hit. But really original stuff too like Witchy Heal, Feed and Scouting Report and tons more. And that's not even starting with all the spells and others items that are in the works. I love Sweet Contract for example. Or Buff 'Em, Hero's Aim and Outwit the Locals. They are all filled with chuckles and wonderful strategy. Some characters even come with special items like a Round of Grog or the Holy Hand Grenade and all kinds of nifty artifacts.

So Dan's been cranking out the ideas from the deep recesses of his genius and I've been working on all of these in the context of combat. It's all coming along wonderfully - far better than we imagined.

The Monster Mash Sat 2004.10.23 09:00    
In the spirit of All Hallow's Eve, Delvers has LOADS of beasties. Monsters of all kinds. Bizzare. Large. Wild. And good fun. Blade Faced Lions. Dark Clowns. Each has an incredible array of attacks. Explosions. Poison. Spells. All the monsters are of different types too so you can gear your attacks at them. Some are Spirits. Animal. Fiend. And more.

Believe me. You've never seen a game with a variety of creatures anything like this. Oh, and yeah, you can make your own too. Just edit a text file. Save it. Play it. Simple as that. Sweet!

Let's Do The Timewarp Again! Fri 2004.09.24 23:00    
Item: Work continues on Delvers. Frankly, I'm deep in the combat code again - adding all the additional features that are necessary for fun monster whomping. Everything is getting complicated, so I'm pushing code around like a crazy. But it's all good!

Item: I'm playing board games every week with a few friends. This week, we're playing Mage Knight again - and it's really a kick! I've built blocking terrain buildings, special hexagon boards and bought more than my share of figures. Hey, I never got into Magic the Gathering so I guess I'm due.

Item: I've of course ordered my copy of the Star Wars Trilogy DVD. Yeah, I know Lucas has fiddled with important scenes. I still pony up the money as I seem to remain a sucker for all things Star Wars - even after all these years! I even gave two glances at registering for the Star Wars convention next year. Yikes!

Item: I'm plowing through the old Fighting Fantasy books by Steve Jackson. It all started after a reading drought last week. I finished my standard books and magazines and found myself staring at my bookshelf. There was one of the old Steve Jackson books. I flipped through it and realized how it reminded me of the mold and method of Dungeon Delvers. So I'm off to Amazon to buy a few more. They arrived yesterday. And suddenly, I'm thirteen years old again!

Ye Gads, Man! Wed 2004.09.01 22:30    
It's already September! So, let's take a look at the old check list for Delvers. Hmm. Got map scrolling done. Inventory done. Combat roughed out. Encounter cards with the fantastic fateful fate bar done. Characters stats, abilities, items and really, really cool teams done. Picking your adventure team done (did I mention how cool they are?). Picking your adventure done. Adventures scoped out - including the double-super-secret reward levels. Moving around the adventure done - complete with the blinky-bob (every game needs a blinky-bob). So many other cool things are working wonderfully!

Now I'm working on magic items in particular - sweating the details of a smooth interface. And I'm making my way back to combat - but this time, adding all the touches of the fantastic. Then it's off to full-out particle-based, light spewing and dazzling special effects. And finally, the completed reward system and putting the bow on things (wherein our hero gets his fat fingers stuck whilst tying the pretty knot).

And dear reader, rest easy. I've located numerous ways to host our up coming game at reasonable rates. Thanks for all your advice and assistance! As always, you make the game!

Back from GenCon Mon 2004.08.23 22:30    
At GenCon here in Indy, I shook hands with Andy Hopp for the first time. He's just a terrific guy and wonderfully talented. We sat and talked awhile about Delvers, art and life in gaming. It was one of the high points of my time at the 'con. That and playing games until I couldn't see straight.

I played Evil Stevie's Pirate Game, Traveler d20, Twilight Imperium (3rd Edition), Game of Thrones, Texas Hold 'em Poker, Hex-Hex, SpyCraft, and yes, even True Dungeon - which was in itself an incredible thing. I was talking with Dan about how much gaming mechanics are in my head when I play. It's like a writer reading a book - all you can see are the styles and plot elements. In games, what I appreciate are the various methods used by game designers to balance things, how they try to work fun elements in and how, at times, they achive great things. GenCon is a huge game lab - thousands of people, thousands of games.

We're already counting down the days until next year!

GenCon Starts Tomorrow! Wed 2004.08.18 20:20    
On Dungeon Delvers news, I've updated the FAQ and added the banner to the top of the page. Check it out! As for coding and game development, it's coming along amazingly well! Items are now modifying character stats just fine and I'm marching toward activated items and then full out combat modifiers. This is really the core of the game. The fundamentals have been there for months, so now I'm just layering in the features now. Smothered with zesty, dazzling, dreamy fun - with sparks! All in all, this game just feels so much better than anything we've ever done.

On the pure gaming front, GenCon starts tomorrow! Whoop! Whoop! I dropped by the convention center around 4:00 PM and picked up the game listing for the next four days. There were about 2,000 people in line to register (the convention doesn't start until tomorrow!) - they're expecting around 28,000 in attendance. And we have NFL football on Saturday. This city will be jammed packed this weekened and I'll be in the thick of it.


T-Shirts and Such Sun 2004.08.15 20:15    
Item 1: We're finishing up the first run of official Dungeon Delvers t-shirts. And they are a beautiful sight to behold. About a dozen people will be sporting the look at GenCon this week. I may even throw some out to the poor sods waiting in line for tickets too, spreading good cheer in a humble CrossCut way. I love to make people smile.

Item 2: I was in deep coding this weekend as well. I'm putting together the internals for abilities, spells and magic items. Earlier, I was having fits with the code jamming up on me. I got kinda crazy and moved a bunch of code over from one structure to another to make saving the game easier. My fingers got in a twist and the result was a locked up render engine. Nasty that. All is well now and I'm back on the road to code completion - and scored an additional back up in the proces. It's funny how a close call can make you appreciate anew the prudence of reasonable caution....

A Game Long Ago.... Fri 2004.08.13 21:40    
We're looking around for good download sources for our new game, Dungeon Delvers. There are zoodles of lists in the world, but bandwidth flat out costs money. So I began to wonder: how many downloads were there for RuneSword? And when was that again? I began a journey down memory lane....

Here's some sobering facts:
  • The RuneSword website started in September 1996.
  • RuneSword Beta 0.9.0 was released on Feb 10th, 1999
  • RuneSword "Gold" Beta 0.9.90 was released on Feb 5th, 2000
  • Gold Beta had 1,000 downloads within 24 hours.
  • RuneSword 1.0 was released on Sept 1st, 2000.
  • RS 1 also had 1,000 downloads within 24 hours.
  • By March 30th, 2001 (7 months after release), RS 1 had 50,000 downloads on CNET alone, nearly 100,000 across all download sites.

  • We didn't advertise at all.

    Alright, that was over three years ago. That was then, this is now. Why live in the past? What's this all about? I'm just trying to guess at bandwidth needed for Dungeon Delvers. If Delvers tops out at 50 Mb in size and gets 1,000 downloads in 24 hours, that's 50 Gb of bandwidth in single a day. Yikes!

    So we're on the hunt for hosting sites.... again. This one issue killed us last time we pushed a game out as an independent. We are focused on not having that happen again.

    GenCon! Wed 2004.08.11 21:00    
    Point 1: All is well with our domain names. If you're still having trouble, let me know. Hmm. Come to think of it, if you can see this, chances are you're not having trouble. And if you can't see this, how would you know? (Note to self: work out formula for escaping Catch-22).

    Point 2: I'll be at GenCon starting August 19th - Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If you're in the area, stop in and we'll chat a bit. And yes, I do have new t-shirts this year featuring new artwork for Dungeon Delvers.

    Point 3: Andy Hopp will also be at GenCon, camping out in the artist's area. So please stop in, lay down a big stack of cash, and walk away with a personal, original print.

    Can You See Me Now? Fri 2004.08.06 21:30    
    We're having some difficulties with our domain names right now. If you're coming in as www.runesword.com, things might be touchy. As it turns out, www.crosscutgames.com is not doing much better. I've learned the important lesson of keeping your domain names in synch with one another. But, this should all be cleared up in the next 24-48 hours as the names once again propogate. Of course, if you're seeing this, you might be able to see more too! I never had a lick of trouble with my ISP, but Dan has had nothing but trouble. Sigh.

    Dungeon Delvers Delivers Dynamic Dynamo Development!

    Oh! Dungeon Delvers is coming along at an incredible pace. If things go well this weekend, I'll then be over a month ahead of schedule! Whoop! Dan has finished all characters and I've nearly finished the code design behind the abilities, items and spells. Really, truly wonderful stuff. I love it!

    Work Work Work (Ding!) Wed 2004.07.28 23:00    
    Art is now flowing in from Andy. He's completed several character portraits and they look awesome in play! Dan is completing all the character stats, special abilities, spells and items - all very, very cool. He should complete that in the next day or two. And little me is 'gramming away.

    I actually had to use Sin() and Cos() to figure up some coordinates the other day. Lookit me, ma! I'm a math wiz! Why this? It came up while working on the main movement screen. These little flicky light things needed to be positioned correctly. You'll see when you play. These little touches are important. So kids, do your homework!

    Andy Hopp is On Board Mon 2004.07.19 10:00    
    For Immediate Release

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN/July 19th, 2004 --- CrossCut Games today announced they have hired fantasy illustrator Andy Hopp to create the artwork for their upcoming computer role-playing game, Dungeon Delvers. "We're thrilled to have Andy's amazing talent on our new game," says Adam West, President of CrossCut Games. "Andy is well known in RPG circles for his fertile imagination and wild creatures - perfect for the fast and fun new realm found in Delvers."

    Andy Hopp has worked for top-notch companies such as Troll Lord Games, Mystic Eye Games, White Wolf, Gaming Frontiers, Viking Games, Chaosium Inc., Goodman Games, Sovereign Press, Elmore Productions, Pinnacle and others. Samples of his work can be found at www.andyhopp.com.

    Dungeon Delvers is a fresh take on computer role-playing games, combining the flavor of fantasy-themed board games with a humorous, fast role-playing design. Dungeon Delvers has over 30 adventures with hundreds of unique events, and dozens of powerful, unlockable characters.

    Dungeon Delvers will be released March 2005. CrossCut Games has previously developed RuneSword.

    For more information, see the FAQ and latest news at www.crosscutgames.com

    Freaking Awesome! Thr 2004.07.01 23:30    
    Delvers rocks! I've got the Fate bar working just fine now (with a Vegas-style addiction) and the new Encounter format is now parsed. But more than that, Dan and I agreed on a really, really cool way to incorporate puzzles into the game. We've always had puzzles, but now they just snap in perfect to the interface. Not too tricky, but just enough extra thinking required - and plenty of room to slip in tricks. We don't want stupid things like the interface to slow down your game. In fact, we don't want no stinking stupid stuff in general. Did I mention Delvers rocks? Oh, yes!

    The great thing too is this made the Merchant just come together for me. It all makes sense now and it's all very consistent.

    And we have a huge library of sound effects and music now. Just bought all that last week. Plenty, plenty. Nice stuff too. Ambient tones, mysterious, moody and loads of fun. Playing the game with sound really adds alot needless to say.

    And we've hired our artist! Wait until you hear who it is! He's a major talent and just perfect for the game.

    Hope Springs Mon 2004.06.21 21:15    
    I put on the cybernetic cybernet helmet to read the thoughts of all cybernet surfers. It's shocking reading thoughts about "Where are all the RPGs?" and "I want my RPG!" Please, kids, don't be so depressed. There is a great RPG game coming out - and it'll be found right here!

    I know. I know. I said I'd post some screen shots of Delvers and here it is the next update (and a long time coming!) and no screen shots! But don't take that to mean we don't have screen shots. The problem is I need to finalize a bit of contract stuff. And then the announcement! And THEN the screen shots.

    Wait For It Thr 2004.06.03 23:50    
    The next time you see an update here, we'll very likely have some screen shots to show. And also likely, we'll have a stupendous announcement about Dungeon Delvers. I mean a statement beyond the fact that it's one of "the most anticipated games not seen at E3" because that's obvious. No, we're talking a statement of wonder and amazement. The kind that makes your jaw drop and puts your brain in a catatonic state. The kind that makes strangers stop you on the street, wide-eyed and screaming, grabbing you by the shoulders, shaking you, and shouting, "DID YOU HEAR WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT DUNGEON DELVERS? DID YOU? DID YOU?"

    That kind of statement. With jelly on top.

    Undead Sun 2004.05.23 13:50    
    Maybe better said as "back from the dead." I was out of pocket, out of town and incommunicado. Variety of reasons - first, it was business. Then it was a laptop that went on the fritz. Later, the same laptop came back to life. I'm crazy now - even more crazy than before. All grist for the mill if one has the right angle on it.

    But setting metaphors aside, I am back to work now and working hard toward new, totally cool improvements in the interface. I did manage on the plane to put together a list of tasks remaining - good that I think I can create such a list and staggering in that the list is always longer than one thinks.

    Flashy Gizmo Sun 2004.05.02 21:30    
    We're out shopping for artists for Dungeon Delvers. If you happen to know one (or are one!), please drop us a line at CrossCut Games. Yes, this is a paid position.

    Beyond that, I'm just now working on a graphical gizmo that whizzes and zings when you encounter various hazzards in the game (I are an artists too!). Not really happy with what I've tried so far (this is my current excuse for being rather silent on the forums and updates), but we have some working material. Certainly enough to get things moving along. And I have some really cool stuff to work through on moving about in the game. This game still rocks my socks off!

    Delvers Dungeon Sat 2004.04.24 13:00    
    Lovely afternoon here at CrossCut. Dungeon Delvers continues to develop nicely - I'm 'gramming away on the interface for inventory and it looks and plays sweet! It's easy and friendly - just like we designed - as it pulses to let you know where things go, sorts stuff to the right place, and allows default items to be assigned for characters. Snapping up treasure is a breeze!

    Got Slashdot? Tue 2004.04.20 20:40    
    News is out about RuneSword Open Source and we here at CrossCut Games couldn't be more thrilled! Of note, someone passed the word to Slashdot and hence our web traffic went through the roof. If you're having trouble with access time, give it a few more days. Things should calm down a bit.

    Couple of other related (now frequently asked) questions: RuneSword is now Public Domain - so you can do what you like with the source code as long as you don't resell it as RuneSword again. Also, it is indeed in Visual Basic and I hear you! It was the path of least resistance at the time. We're all C++ now, but that was then, this is now.

    And speaking of now, we're all over Dungeon Delvers, our latest effort in CRPGs with CrossCut flavor. It's truly looking cool - lots of nifty graphics effects in play while I'm working through the simple mechanics of inventory. Interface is king, baby!

    RuneSword 2 FREE! Sat 2004.04.17 14:40    
    You read that right! RuneSword 2 is now completely free and even better - it's open source right now, immediately, on Source Forge!

    Now, say you want to learn more about how a CRPG is made. Say you know Visual Basic. Or say you just want to help make RS2 even better. Now's your chance to get involved in the open source community! Just drop by our RuneSword Forums right here at CrossCut. There's already tons of ideas for how to improve the game, there's already several experienced folks involved, and there's already space for you to make a difference. So drop in and post!

    The World of RuneSword! Mon 2004.04.12 21:40    
    Announcing the grand re-opening of the RuneSword Forums! Yes, we're hosting the forums for RS right here. Post your questions, comments and suggestions at will and we'll do our best to give you the support you deserve. And I mean that in a good way.

    But that's not all. We're ramping up for a wonderous announcement regarding RuneSword. So even if you don't have your own copy, hold on to your hats. It's about to get very interesting....

    Play! Sat 2004.04.10 17:00    
    Now that I've added combat victory, treasure and some secret new rewards (I now need to update the FAQ to reflect these new concepts), I'm on to general inventory. This part is pretty straightforward and is coming along quickly (as have all parts of Delvers thus far). In fact, things are working so well that I was pondering today about adding back in a major feature that was abandoned early on. After I get a few more features in place, I may just give that "major" feature a try for a day or two. But if I can pull it off, it will cause mass hysteria and shouts of joy for Delvers among those "old school" CRPGers....

    And Now... Sun 2004.04.04 21:10    
    ...for something completely different. Delvers is working absolutely great! I just cut another version for Dan yesterday for tweaking combat. And now we're working through some fine tuning of the interface - how to activate a spell or use an item. We're also in discussions about rewards post-combat - what is "enough" to make the combat worthwhile? Items? Artifacts? Raising stats? We're settled on some very, very cool ideas. I'm still grinning from ear to ear.

    The Good Fight Mon 2004.03.29 21:20    
    Last night, another milestone was hit (here comes the pun): combat! Now the characters jump in place according to speed, whack at the monster of choice, and continue thus until something dies. Crazy cool! Man, I love it when a plan comes together.

    For those of you keeping score, Delvers is coming along nice and fast. Several critical components are now in place, and the engine is humming smoothly. Fantabulosity! Next, I'll be hooking up monster attacks and character abilities to the effects engine.

    Announcing Annoucements Fri 2004.03.24 22:00    
    An astounding announcement has been announced on RPG Dot about Delvers. We're back in the press, perchance pushing prestige? You know, it was so much easier when we just handed out fliers around the village well. Those were the days....

    We also received a bump at RPG Vault and RPG Planet. See? There is still goodness in gaming for the little guys - like us!

    And if you're new to the news here at CrossCut, welcome! Wander over to the Forums and strike up the band.

    So THAT was it! Tue 2004.03.23 22:00    
    Ah! That was the problem. You ever have one of those "aha" experiences? I just did with the Delver's code. It's a coding thing - and rather dull to most. But I realized that I was running in 32 bit graphics mode this weekend. Funny how switching down to 16 bit did a wonder on my frame rate. The result is pretty, pretty graphics that run really, really well. And that's good no matter who you are.

    Speaking of which, if you haven't been, check out the new Forums. Information is leaking out every day - and what's more, there's rumblings of new things for ye old RuneSword game too!

    Wonder Work Sat 2004.03.20 23:00    
    I'm connecting up Encounter cards with the Effect processor now. Ohh, doesn't that sound exciting? Well it is! It means we'll soon be able to play through some complex card combinations. Monsters will be mobbing, items piled up in iconoclasting idioms, strangers stomping while randomness runs a rampant ruckus!

    Yes, it's a night of amazing (albeit awful) alliterations. We of the Indie crowd need to mark these occasions with much whooping. So Whoop!

    FAQ Update Fri 2004.03.19 20:25    
    I just updated the Dungeon Delvers FAQ. Inside, just a few more details are leaked while others are set straight. Enjoy!

    To Die Rightly Wed 2004.03.17 21:30    
    It's the simplest details that get me going sometimes. Dan and I are pouring over the interface, scrutinizing each tiny piece to make the gaming experience not only eye-popping fun (have I mentioned how much better this game looks than anything we've done before?), but fast and efficient. I'm even counting clicks and measuring mouse distance for common actions in an all-out frenzy to keep things to the barest minimums while maintaing grin-packed gaming.

    But even now, Dungeon Delvers rocks like no other game we've done. We've been making games for 20 years now and never has a design come to the screen the way this one has. Oh, yeah....

    What Affects Effects? Sun 2004.03.14 23:10    
    Tonight, it's all about the effects on Items, Encounters, Monsters and Abilities. "Effects" is the term in Dungeon Delvers that describes when something like a spell, character ability or monster attack is activated. The interface here is dirt simple: just click the item or spell, click the target and let it fly. Click once to activate and click again to de-activate abilities. Simple.

    All these items, spells and abilities truly impact each encounter and combat. You can clearly see the direct amount of impact by watching the "bonus orb" that shows the amount of bonus being added by your spells, items and character abilities (not to mention the dazzling special effects!). The Necromage has a negative bonus at shrines. So you'll want to find the Holy Amulet to off set this. Or maybe take the Paladin along instead to balance things out. Or the Oracle who gets a free re-roll at shrines. Finding the right combinations is the game outside the game.

    Monsters have Effects too that do all sorts of nasty things. You have your normal sharp claws and nasty fangs, but also some can heave, wobble and split in two. Or spray you with sticky poison. Or just out right explode! Love those monsters.... And have I mentioned you can edit it all in a simple text file? Sweet!

    Forum News Sat 2004.03.13 15:00    
    I've reset the cookie name on our new forums. There was some trouble with some browser types and our double-parked domain name (crosscutgames and runesword). Just log in again and click the check box if you want to "Log me on automatically each visit". Hopefully, that'll do it.

    As for development news, I recently spent way too much time worrying if an action should happen when you click down or release the mouse button. See and be amazed how far we'll go to give you the absolute supreme gaming experience!

    Magic Cards Fri 2004.03.12 21:30    
    Tonight I'm working on card stacks. When you step on a space, you play through the Encounter cards one by one. The Encounter types will have a certain order to play --- monsters always pop to the top, treasure always pops to the bottom. Those in the audience who have played Talisman know exactly what I mean.

    Though inspired by Talisman, Dungeon Delvers does oh so much more. Encounters can do all sorts of things of course: reveal a new Dungeon (for Delving), shower you with roasted frogs, spawn up a Stranger, open a new market, toss a crowd of creatures at you and on and on. One key to the game is how your various party members impact the results using their skills. So the combination in your party is key to the brass ring of victory --- or scampering away with your proverbial tail tucked between your chubby legs.

    My eyes! My EYES! Thr 2004.03.11 22:00    
    Our first letter comes from Bisbaine, Australia and reads: “What's up with those tiny screen shots for Dungeon Delvers? My eyes are drying out from all the monitor radiation as I press my nose against the screen!”

    Good question! Well, before it goes any further, let’s stop the rampant rumor that CrossCut has recently forged a six-figure deal with a local optometrist. The truth is the screen shots are what we in the industry call “small screen shots”. It's a sophisticated term that means we haven’t finalized every iota of the screen layout and have decided to not show full size shots until we do. Call us “overly cautious” and “well-meaning.” Or let’s just say my shoulder angel said I shouldn’t show screen shots full size until the game is ready to test.

    In any case, please view carefully. The eyes you lose may be your own.

    Shine Oh Beauteous Forums! Wed 2004.03.10 20:30    
    I've just turned on the CrossCut Games forums! Now the unwashed masses (and the clean crowd) can cajole, crimp and cavort about in a public forum fit for ogling and ostracizing. Whoop! You can post as you will, but you'll need to register to do so. Just click the Register link at the top of the forum page. After that, you'll be good to go.

    Good to go post I mean. Not necessarily "good to go" in all aspects of life. That's beyond my power to grant....

    Re-Launching CrossCut Games! Tue 2004.03.09 20:30    
    As promised, we've revamped our website - brighter and bolder than ever! Now we're hosted at www.crosscutgames.com even though the old web address (www.runesword.com) will stick around too. Why the change? Simple: we have more than just RuneSword to talk about, and we needed a site that represented our company - not just a single game. Hopefully you can find everything you need right here. If not, please let us know!

    News to Chat About Sat 2003.03.04 23:20    
    The silence is deafening, I'm sure. As an aside before more news, RuneSword 2 is now going for $9.95! If you've ever wanted to check it out, now's a great time to get a great deal.

    But on to more pressing matters. Our new game is coming along wonderfully and we're still as excited as we were months ago when the work began! I've had the new web site ready for some time, but it has our new message board enabled and several new screen shots of the new game. New, new, new! The reason we're holding back is we want to have the game done and ready for beta testing before we let the world know exactly what we're up to. And even though I'm busting to say more, I'm staying focused on pure C++ coding. That's all I've been doing since last October. Oh, and a bit of graphics of course.

    News to Chat About Sat 2003.10.18 23:20    
    Incredible. I haven't updated this web site in over two months! You must be wondering what the heck is going on. The truth is I've been traveling a bit with my "real" job - went to Singapore and then to Canada. But I'm back now and working again on the oft-mentioned-but-never-explained new game. It's killing me that I don't have time to update this web page. However, I should mention that www.crosscutgames.com is coming soon. I just need a few free days to put the page together. When I get that complete, we'll have an announcement and a full update on what's what at CrossCut including how the new game is coming along and what's up with RuneSword 3.

    You say you're tired of waiting? You want to know the answers right now? No problem! Shrapnel has put together a little chat next Tuesday. Here's the skinny:

    When: Tuesday, October 21st at 8PM Eastern Time.
    Where: #rpgcodex on irc.gamesnet.net.
    Who: Malfador and Crosscut Games
    Why: Because no one can resist two for one deals! No one!

    So come on by and I'll spill the beans. Or at least let you look in the can.

    The Day After Mon 2003.07.28 23:20    
    GenCon 2003 was indeed the "Best Four Days in Gaming!". It was absolutely amazing! I have no idea how many people were there - news estimates exceed 25,000 - and I know some waited 4-5 hours just to get in on Thursday. Fortunately, I had my tickets already in hand having registered on the web earlier. The vendor area was bursting at the seams with games and game related stuff. I walked around in that area for at least 4 hours and checked out many, many games - bought about 8-9 myself! Friday I gamed from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM. Saturday I gamed until midnight and thousands of people were still there when I left! It was too much fun and I loved every minute of it. I can't wait to go back next year.

    I was of course sporting my CrossCut shirt, but on Friday, I switched over to my (ahem) "new game" shirt. Yes, I was tromping around advertising a game we haven't even officially announced! But trust me, an announcement is now in the works. I should have some screen shots of the new game in the next couple of months. And I might even launch a new web site with it. We need one for CrossCut Games anyhow and what better occasion than for announcing a new product!

    GenCon 2003 Tue 2003.07.03 23:00    
    At the top of the news, our publisher Shrapnel Games will be at GenCon in Indianapolis, Indiana on Thursday, July 24th thru Sunday, July 27th. Dan and I will be there too, sporting new CrossCut Games shirts and supporting the troops. I'd love to shake your hand and chat a bit. Check us out at Booth 1641!

    In other news, things are coming together extremely fast on our new game. To be sure, we're still moving on RuneSword 3 which remains our long term project. But in the short term, the elves of CrossCut are cranking out a different style of game. Easy to get into, wildly fun, and amazingly engaging. Its easily our tightest design yet. I'm itching to say more because there's alot to tell.

    In the mean time, tell all your friends to check out the new price point for RuneSword 2 at $24.95! It'll help keep cookies in our cookie jar. Hmm. Cookies.

    RuneSword 2: Renewed! Tue 2003.06.10 17:00    
    "On the 24th of June Shrapnel Games will re-release RuneSword II in a great new package, at a great new price! RuneSword II will now come in a slick DVD box that will make all your friends think you're importing your games from Europe now. Even better, RuneSword II will sell for only $24.95! And from now until June 20th if you pre-order we'll even take another $5.00 off the price! Imagine hundreds of hours of RPG goodness for less than the price of dinner and a movie!"

    Right Turn, Clyde Mon 2003.06.02 21:00    
    The elves at CrossCut are pulling out all the stops, my friends. Another brand new game is brewing in addition to our flagship product RS3. This second game from CrossCut will be out before RS3 is completed (if all goes well). It's a role-playing game, but in a way you've never seen before. We are thrilled to be working on it. I'm grinning even while I type this.... so stay tuned!

    Rainy Days and Mondays Sat 2003.05.10 13:30    
    Exceedingly cool things going on here at CrossCut. I'm certainly working on the game (in case these sporadic at best updates are making you wonder) and playing like mad on my new GBA SP - games like Golden Sun and Advance Wars - both of which I recommend highly. No, I'm not off my rocker. The GBA-SP is a well-engineered unit: front-lit and rechargeable. And these games are honest to goodness fun! Advance Wars itself is one of the best turn-based combat games I've played in a long, long time.

    But anyhow, Dan and I have been batting around the idea of making a game for the GBA. Can you believe that? But what attracts us is the simplicity of the platform and the quality (free!) development tools. No, this isn't halting RS3 at all. It's just us wandering about as we often do.

    In the Year 2525 Tue 2003.03.25 22:30    
    On the positive side, I have managed to outline the episodes for Worlds Apart. Don't want to say too much about them, but several surprises are in store. It also doesn't start with some knot head with amnesia who, after wandering around, stumbles upon the McGuffin and meets up with a Mentor who dies minutes later while destiny conspires to make him the blonde hero. Yes, much better than that. And with a side of diced carrots (healthy!).

    Also, got a technical demo running under DirectX which is cool. No big deal yet, but it's a step in the right direction.

    So keep your chin up! Where there's life, there's hope.

    On The Menu Wed 2003.02.12 22:40    
    Even more work continues as the game begins to slowly take form. From the pure excitement department (disguised cleverly as dull and uninteresting): it's the ubiquitous main menu in Screen Shots! If only every day could be as rich and gooey as this one. Really, it is pretty cool, but you can't tell so easily from the screen shot. The planet rolls lazily as a dreamy, surreal song plays from somewhere deep in space.

    I'm hoping to have more screen shots soon showing the map, quest screen, episode transitions and more. Stay tuned!

    In Progress Tue 2003.02.04 23:00    
    Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! I've been mucking around with some layouts for Worlds Apart. So far, things are coming together quite nicely. I posted my current design for the interface over in Screen Shots. Also, we've been having a grand time discussing the number and type of stats used in the game. Would you like a bunch of stats or just a few? How should we use the stats in the game? Come on over to the Message Board and join in the discussion!

    Screen Shots Coming? Mon 2003.01.13 23:00    
    Right now I'm piecing together the interface for RuneSword 3: Worlds Apart and hopefully will have something to show in the next week or so. What would be a great help is if you have a favorite interface to a game - one that worked really well - drop me an E-Mail! Do you like the ability to play in full-screen mode? How about moving interface elements around? Do you prefer text on buttons or icons? Are configurable hot-keys a must? Name the game and tell me why everything just played so smoothly!

    RuneSword 3: Worlds Apart! Sun 2003.01.05 23:00    
    An entirely new computer role-playing system is already in development at CrossCut Games! We're taking all the great parts of our past efforts, pulling out all the stops, ramping up the graphics, charging up the game editor, electrifying the thrill and blasting into a brand new gaming experience. This time rather than travel the well-trod road of fantasy themes (which we still love), we're rocketing out in the direction of hard sci-fi. In RuneSword 3: Worlds Apart, laser rifles, alien planet-scapes, fantastic creatures and stellar mysteries abound in a story brimming with adventure. New features include:

    • In-game editor - edit your module while you play!
    • New intelligent randomizers for maps and full adventures.
    • Any-size tile system supporting lush, full-screen, hand-drawn backdrops!
    • Particle SFX: explosions, warp cannons, stellar effects and more!
    • Adjustable turn-based, real-time and phase-based combat system.
    • A new episodic storyline thousands of years in the making!

    What to know more? Then go right on over to our new Game FAQ.

    New Web Site Launch Mon 2002.12.30 21:00    
    Using some nifty style sheet tricks this time. Let me know if it just looks plain strange on your browser.

    Not Nuthin' Sat 2002.12.28 18:50    
    I trust you're having a Happy Holiday thus far. I certainly look forward to the New Year. Sorry for the delay in the "Big Announcement", but I have to work through a few more issues. The web page will be ready when I have the art ready which in turn is delayed by my work in Lightwave. But work does continue!

    Big News Approacheth Sat 2002.12.05 20:00    
    Yes, I'm burstin' with excitement. And it's not just because the Jolly Old Elf is heading our way. No, it's because I'm about to unleash a completely new web page here at www.runesword.com. Along with that will come some Honkin' Big News. So hang on to your holly. This one will knock your stockings off!