Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Episode 76: Dungeonmans

This is episode 76 of Roguelike Radio, where we interview Jim Shepard, creator of Dungeonmans, with Darren Grey, Eben Howard, Brian Jeffears (aka getter77) and Kawaii Dragoness. 

You can download the mp3 of the podcast, play it in the embedded player below, or you can follow us on iTunes. Further cat noises this episode (it's becoming a theme, I guess).

Show schedule:
00:38 "What is Dungeonmans?" in Jim's own words. Free version available on the game's site. (Also see Let's Plays from Kawa and GameHunter.)
01:50 History of development - how it got started, shelved and revived in glory.
06:02 Having a history in AAA development, and working on sideprojects whilst doing gaming in your main job.
13:02 The academy idea, and passing items between characters, having some persistence across games.
20:05 Brian's championing of Dungeonmans and many other lesser known and lesser appreciated roguelikes.
26:02 Feature creep - a sign of a passionate developer? Are roguelikes in permanent unfinished state because of this?
30:42 The mystery of ChunSoft's dungeons! How to successfully make generation after generation of successful commercial roguelike?
33:03 Hawk the Slayer!
36:09 The Dungeonmans Kickstarter, due to finish August 3rd, and what this will mean for the game, including awesome music from zircon.
41:46 Final thoughts from all, including praise of the game's humour, UI development considerations, and a shout-out to all who have contributed to the game to date.

Join us next time on Roguelike Radio! Roguelikes, yeah!!


  1. Fun and edutainment laden times folks---at the very least I hope for a future episode where Jim returns from somewhere between Modest to Marvelous success with Dungeonmans and is joined by further future also-former AAA devs all essentially sitting round the campfire and chewing the lot of it over on taking a crack at things.

  2. You've got a very cool podcast voice getter77! Thanks for another excellent episode guys! Saw GameHunter's let's play on this a little while back, so was excited when I saw the title of this episode! Very cool game!

    1. Heh, thanks for that! It was nice to be able to do another round of the fun with this fine lot, even if my audio setup definitely leaves much to be desired compared to everybody else.

    2. I didn't notice any audio quality issues with this one on my phone, so fine by my standards! Cool to be able to put your voice to your text now!

    3. Well, I guess for comparison you might also give a listen back in time to Episode 65 on Roguelike communities from back in March.

    4. Yes, I have multiple times already :) I remember it came out during the heat of 7DRL, so was one of those few I had to catch up with some time after it came out, but I recall that episode well.

      Thanks for your contribution to the community, you made it so much easier to get to grips with things when I first was tentatively approaching the rogue temple for the first time!

    5. Wow, thanks for that, pretty well makes my day when I hear things actually working out that well on trying to better situate things for the public good. :)

  3. What I don't get with game studios banning side projects is that while you could incorporate a cool idea from work into a side project, you can also incorporate a cool idea from a side project into your work.

    It's something I've done both ways in the past (luckily the studio I work for are OK with side projects as long as you ask).

    Dungeonmans looks good, I'd backed it by about 1/2 way through the podcast :)

    1. Well, in the grand scheme game studios are a ridiculously young institution in the historical context---so I'd put part of it down to a folly of relative youth and a misguided attempt to keep up with the Joneses/paranoia/slave to IP and/or legal departments/etc.

      Imagine a distant, allegorical past where Head Chefs and Line Cooks were forbidden from cooking at home for themselves/family/friends and recipe tinkering in a comparable way due to being property of the restaurant...yeah...

    2. Owning creativity is such a weird thing for all sides, but living off of contract work when you're not yet famous isn't much fun...

      I think one of the big worries for companies that pay creative people is that if those people are allowed to do side projects similar to the kinds of things the company puts out as a product then the people might save their best creations for their private work. It ends up not just being about technical skills, but also about literally competing for the good ideas the creative is being paid for.

      I'm not sure our current economic system allows for an environment that is simultaneously fair to both the company and the creative person, so we'll likely see a mixed bag of policies for a long time to come.

  4. I'm a Systems Analyst who's worked only for non-gaming companies, and I will tell you that I've nearly always been asked to sign non-compete contracts when I've been hired -- if I leave the company, I'm THEORETICALLY not permitted to work for a competitor for a certain number of years. I'm not sure that would ever hold up in a court of law though.

    The first time I signed one, it wasn't an issue because I left to work for a totally different kind of company. The second time, no one actually said anything -- we were competitors, but the software was not for sale and only used internally, so in that case, I'm not sure they really cared. And I definitely was taking knowledge with me every time I moved on (it's the nature of any profession, not just programming -- you can't 'forget' what you've learned).

    Anyway, I ALSO worked on side projects, at least at the first place I worked, and while I didn't 'work' on them while in the office, I certainly did it on company property (had one of those old Compaq 'luggables' -- a pre-portable computer that was heavy enough to use as weapon had I ever been mugged while carrying it. When the boss found out, he wasn't very happy, but by then I could afford my own PC.

  5. Getter your life is like a dungeon crawl. Crawling around the webs, finding the gems.

    You introduced me to this game and I love it.

    1. That sentiment is probably uncomfortably accurate in a broader sense and implications really.

      But more importantly: Great to hear it! Campaign has about 2 days left and a bit under $4K needed for the initial target as of right now---so here's hoping Jim can enjoy success without having his heart nearly explode on how it arrives Sword of Fargoal II Kickstarter-style.