Friday, July 5, 2013

Episode 75: Cataclysm Dark Days Ahead

This is episode 75 of Roguelike Radio, where we discuss Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead, which currently has an active Kickstarter. Talking this episode are Darren Grey, Kevin Granade and Kevin McKayven - both involved in the coding and project management of CataclysmDDA.

You can download the mp3 of the podcast, play it in the embedded player below, or you can follow us on iTunes. Please do not be alarmed by the interruptions by Kevin's cat at certain points...

Topics discussed:
 - The very close to success Kickstarter
 - Kevin and Kevin's roles in the project
 - The history of Cataclysm, starting with most of the code written by Whales and further development from DarklingWolf
 - There are 50+ active contributors on CataclysmDDA, perhaps the most of any open source roguelike ever
 - Keeping a design strategy and vision for the game, and balancing different developer desires
 - Managing fan desires, especially the active Bay12 community
 - Intense arguments over milk containers
 - Major changes since Whales left the project, including LOS updates, spawn mechanics, craftable vehicles and various minor tweaks and additions
 - The online mode is still active, with world-sharing and "massively singleplayer online gameplay", and how many love this
 - Why the need for a Kickstarter, and the value of having a full-time dedicated coder on the project
 - Planned features: sustainable tile support, z-levels, moddability, various starting scenarios, stealth system, ai updates, item/inventory rewrites, portals and exotic worlds
 - Potential for physical rewards, and the risks of physical reward costs
 - Kickstarting for a free, open source game - madness or the way things should be?
 - The value of having a paid freelance coder on an open source project
 - Potential updates to interface and the various problems with the current esoteric key commands
 - Android version! (though the interface needs some work)
 - Plans for the graphical version
 - Looking to the far future days ahead
 - Publicity for the Kickstarter and numbers of regular players
 - A big shout out to the huge number of people that have contributed to the game, especially Whales for starting it all off in the first place and making so much of it before turning it over to the community

Join us next time on Roguelike Radio!


  1. Tiles!

    Originally heard about Cataclysm but never bothered to really look at it since it didn't have Tiles. Will look forward to possibly following this game in the future now.

  2. I hope that the kickstarter manages to go past its goal for a very specific reason. Other kickstarters have had goals which get added with money and while this one does as well what its adding isn't nebulous goals but distinct chunks of dev time which I think is an important distinction.

  3. People and their tiles... Cataclysm barely has any mobs, so it's character set is tiny.

    1. why not, animals, insects, different triffids and fungoids, maaaany different zombies, robots, not to mention FLAMING EYE, etc. etc. also buildings, vehicles, things like that, this gives artists many possibilities.
      I don't care that much about tiles in C:DDA, but if there would be one, I'd definitely try it out.

  4. regarding episode: I like that you've mentioned menu system. It seems to be in progress currently, as new release are much better than original Cataclysm with lots of keys.
    I think menu system is a way to go.

    Also if you'll be doing kickstarter in future, please provide way to support via paypal (few games already did that, most notable being probably: RSI:Star Citizen)

    Also congratulations, as it seems it's gonna hit the goal today :)

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  6. I really loved the idea of Cataclysm, but stopped playing mainly because I liked the simulationist aspect (came from Dwarf Fortress too) but hated the parts where things were scripted, e.g. zombies spawn if you shoot a gun etc., so as to force the player to play the game a certain way (i.e. carefully, stealthily, not guns-a-blazing). I don't mind if a game wants to make the player behave a certain way, but I don't like when they 'cheat' that way. Love to hear that was taken out.

    Well, that, and there was also a pretty bad bug back then that usually made my game crash when I came across another survivor. But I assume that kind of thing at least will have gotten fixed over time.