Q&A with Legend of Dungeon developers RobotLovesKitty
Calvin Goble and Alix Stolzer, the husband and wife team collectively known as RobotLovesKitty, have just launched a Kickstarter campaign to drum up a little extra funding for their latest title, Legend of Dungeon. At the time these bits of text are being assembled together to form a semblance of a sentence, that Kickstarter campaign has already met its initial $5,000 USD goal.
However, if you want to see adorable pixelated pets, extra classes and (the most optimistic goal) online, networked multiplayer in the game, then the project is going to need a few more pennies in the development meter.
To find out more about Legend of Dungeon, I took the unprecedented step of asking the creators about it. Here’s what they had to say.
IncGamers: First off, can you give a brief summary of what Legend of Dungeon is all about?
RobotLovesKitty: Sure! Legend of Dungeon is a 1 to 4 Player [Local, for now] Co-Op Rogue-like-like Beat’em’up with dynamic lighting on awesome pixel art.
You and your friends are looking for treasure in a dungeon full to the brim with monsters. Legend has it there is a massive treasure all the way down on the 26th floor. Your quest is to go down there, get the treasure, and make it back to the surface alive. …Which you won’t, you’ll die… the game is about dying, and treasure.
IG: You’ve dubbed Legend of Dungeon a ‘rogue-like-like’; can you explain what that means in terms of which bits it’ll be taking from the traditional roguelike genre?
RLK: Traditional rogue aspects inspired the dungeon room generation and item randomization as well as stats and items that can affect your character. For example, potions are colorized based on effect per game, just like in Rogue. However Rogue-Like’s have specific attributes, such as Single Player and turn based, this is where we clearly differ.
IG: It’s also going to use some beat-em-up elements. Does this mean that most of the combat will be akin to a 2.5D side-scrolling beat-em-up (like a fantasy Streets of Rage, or something)?
RLK: That’s it exactly. Although it feels like something completely new once you’re shooting magic missiles at a zombie in the dark.
IG: Real-time fighting is a bit of a departure from the roguelike template, what made you opt for this over turn-based scuffles?
RLK: We were working on a game that was just going to be a beat’em’up when we came across some pixel art on reddit and thought ‘this needs to be in a game’. We contacted the creator, svh440, asked for permision to try working with the art, and he said yes … A rogue-like just seemed to be the obvious choice
IG: Will it be possible to pause combat encounters to make use of items? If so, how does that work in a co-op game?
RLK: Nope, items are used in real time. You’ll have to find a safe spot to test potions and magic books. In that way it’s kind of true to rogue, using an item always took a turn.
IG: Speaking of co-op, how does the game handle four players at once? Is everything confined to the main screen area, or can players wander off on their own? Are monster encounters increased with more players?
RLK: The view zooms out as you walk away from other players, and all players must be in the same door or staircase to walk through. Monsters are not increased with more players, but neither are apples, the main source of health.
We are however in a very early alpha stage of the game, not much balancing has been done yet.
IG: What kinds of character classes or types can you pick in Legend of Dungeon?
RLK: Right now there is only the one, players tend toward a role based on what items they pick up. However, the upcoming [now live] kickstarter has 8 classes we hope to unlock with stretch goals.
IG: I’ve seen some glowing, skull-based magic missiles in the game’s trailer and on your dev blog; what other spells do you have planned?
RLK: We’ve tried to setup a system where new spells will be easy to add, and we think them up often Right now we also have Skeleton Summoning books, both good and evil skeletons (you’ll have to use the spell to find out which you have). We are planning on adding more support magic to take advantage of the coop gameplay, like heals and buffs. You can also expect most of the traditional Rogue spells, like polymorph.
IG: I think most people who’ve seen the trailer will have been grabbed by the lighting. As well as being a great effect, is this going to effectively be an additional monster for players to grapple with (in terms of needing to keep areas illuminated, and potential traps lurking in the gloom)?
RLK: Definitely. You do start out with one lantern, if you chose to take it, and there will be more items that provide light (we just added glow in the dark spray paint cans) but walking into an unlit room is walking into death (sometimes, literally the grim reaper).
IG: How are the lighting effects being generated? Are you doing anything special with the Unity Engine to produce them? (feel free to get technical here!)
RLK: We are using normal maps on the pixel art. We wrote up an article about it on our Dev Blog. We both really hope to see this Technic used in other games!
IG: You’re in Steam’s Greenlight process right now. How do you feel this system is comparing to Steam’s previous submission process? If you had the power to make some changes to it, what would you do?
RLK: We are happy that there is a way indies can get into their service, and that our $100 submission fee went to Childs Play. Really right now, there are so many indie game startups itching to make a name for themselves, that any other method of submission would be a nightmare for whoever reviews games over there.
IG: If it hasn’t already gone up when you answer these, you’re planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign for Legend of Dungeon. What sort of stage is the game at right now, and what will you be using those Kickstarter funds for?
RLK: Right now we are in a very early alpha version of the game… while the gameplay is fun, their isn’t much content yet. Kickstarter funds are mainly going to our composer and a badly needed new Dev Machine, and of course cat food (so they don’t eat us) and lots of coffee so we can keep making Legend of Dungeon late into the night.
IG: For those interested in trying the game out, is there a demo out there?
RLK: We will be putting a demo version up with the Kickstarter so you’ll be able to try it out! [, in fact]
Legend of Dungeon’s ongoing Kickstarter campaign can be found here.