In Part 1 of Desktop Dungeons: Design Analysis, we looked at the core game play, interconnected choices, and tension of Desktop Dungeons. We saw that, despite its simplicity, this “ten-minute, one-screen” game offers the player endless variety through cleverly stacked core mechanics. In this part, we continue looking at what lies beneath this award-winning game; how choices are given meaning not only through their complexity, but also through the role they play in structuring an experience — an experience that progresses with the player, an experience that speaks a story.
In this instalment of the Starting Small series, we look at XNA (XNA is Not an Acronym) – a set of tools from Microsoft for developing games. The reasons this tutorial is focussing on XNA are simple: it is easy to use (when you know a bit about it), and it can be used to develop for Windows, Xbox and Windows 7 Phone. With the arrival of Xbox LIVE in South Africa, I’m sure that many developers will want to try their hand at developing for these platforms.
A little more than a year ago, Rodain Joubert, innocently, put his latest creation on the NAG forums for community feedback. Even the first, raw prototype was liked right away. It was immediately accessible, and surprisingly rich. The 10-minute games that were promised were inevitably stringed together into many hours of play.
And there was lots of feedback. New versions were released, and a good game was transformed before our eyes into something special. At some stage, the gurus Danny Day and Marc Luck from QCF Design entered the scene; more versions came out, and something special became something that was nominated for two IGF awards, and finally won the IGF Excellence in Design Award.
And right now, players across the globe are waiting impatiently for the full version.
Desktop Dungeons has been skilfully designed. Here we will look analytically at that design, and learn some lessons that we can apply to our own games.