Where roguelikes are concerned, procedural generation - in which in-game content is randomly generated as the player progresses - is pretty old hat. At this point, saying a Roguelike has randomly-generated dungeons is basically like saying a first-person-shooter has guns. The question everyone inevitably asks is "yeah, but what else?'
In the case of #Dungeon? A lot, actually.
The brainchild of Kieran Hicks and Sean Oxspring, #Dungeon is described by its developers as a blend of Legend of Zelda and The Binding of Isaac, #Dungeon is a top-down bullet hell roguelike with a very, very interesting twist...players will have the option to either select pre-existing dungeons, or create their own. Players (or really, pretty much anyone) can tweet a code with #HashtagDungeon, adding a whole array of rooms filled with traps, monsters, and more to the game. According to developer Sean Oxspring, these tweeted dungeons will be added to the game in real-time "in the same way that a Twitter stream on a website would be."
"This means," he continued, speaking to Polygon, "that the next time you play the game, there may be totally new rooms and areas to explore. We've developed a system where players are able to create tweets that represent a particular room inside a dungeon."
Okay...but if players are generating their own content, what's to stop a few unscrupulous, angry trolls from sauntering along and ruining everyone's fun with an unbeatable or unplayable room?
"We've looked at several methods to ensure dungeon rooms are functional," Oxspring explained, "including limiting the total number of things that can spawn in any room (rooms that are further from the start can have more enemies and stuff than those close to the start) and having objects snap to a grid-based system."
For those players who don't want to muck around with codes on Twitter, #Dungeon also includes an in-game editor, which players can use to build rooms by dragging and dropping whatever elements they want to see incorporated into their creation. They can then tweet the results, and they'll be added into the game in a similar fashion.
"This will take them to Twitter and let them post the tweet without having to type it out themselves," noted Oxspring, of the map editor. "We think this is a nice way for more casual players to become dungeon masters."
Of course, they also want to keep things interesting for those DMs who've a bit of tech savvy. For that reason, they're going to allow players to build their own rooms from the ground up, with a few items and enemies that can "only be summoned" via code. I'd like to take a moment to stress how awesome it is that they've done this: they're creating a procedurally-generated game by allowing players to produce their own viral content, all generated through Twitter.
Even more impressive, the whole pursuit is actually part of Hicks' final
year project at University. Something tells me he's going to be
receiving an A - it's no less than he deserves for something this unique and innovative. Currently, #Dungeon is in development for both Android and Windows PC with a target release window of Summer 2014. The team plans to continue releasing regular updates for the game once it launches.
"We'd really like to see a community grow up around the game of both Dungeon Masters and Dungeoneers," Oxspring added. "If we see something awesome being made by someone in the game, we'll try and make it easier for them to keep improving on it. We are trying to foster player creativity whilst keeping the tools available to players accessible."
Well, I know what I'm doing this summer.