A Very Early Look At Dungeon Ross

Dungeon Ross is a self-titled dungeon crawler for the Dreamcast that was put together in a weekend for Global Game Jam back in January 2017. Created by the two-man team made up of Ross Kilgariff and Alastair Low, Dungeon Ross is a charming little proof-of-concept that is still in the very early stages of development, but holds plenty of potential. The game was actually revealed back in late 2016 after the Global Game Jam event held at MakerSpace in Dundee, Scotland but we wanted to allow the guys a bit more time to add more content to the dank, subterranean world of Dungeon Ross before really delving in and showing it off.
For the uninitiated, Global Game Jam is a worldwide event during which game developers and programmers have a set amount of time (usually a weekend) to come up with a totally original game or piece of software. The idea is to allow developers to get as creative as they can over the 48hr period, nurturing teamwork and collaboration with a view to producing original games and concepts.
While Dungeon Ross is still very early and the game consists of little more than a fairly small section of dungeon, the engine is up and running and the visuals are pretty crisp. There's also a pretty interesting two player mode in which gamers can assume the role of either Ross or Alastair, and the way the camera zooms out to reveal more of the map is a nice touch. There's no collision detection and the AI is also fairly rudimentary but from what we've seen the beginnings of a really cool game could be in the offing with Dungeon Ross. We spoke to the eponymous Ross to get the full lowdown on his brand new Dreamcast adventure...

DCJY: Hi Ross, could you give us a bit of information about yourself and your background in game development?

Ross Kilgariff: Ally [Alastair Low] and I are both game developers from Dundee in Scotland. I'm a programmer and de-facto designer, while Ally is a 3D artist. We work together professionally and run the local MakerSpace in our spare time.
And what's the story behind Dungeon Ross?

The original idea for Dungeon Ross came about in December last year when we decided to participate in the 2017 Global Game Jam, of which the MakerSpace was a jam site for the second year in a row. The event itself happens in late January, so we had about a month to read up and prepare.
Can you elaborate on your inspiration for this type of game?

At first we just knew we wanted to make something for the Dreamcast that would have "couch co-op" gameplay. We liked Zelda: Four Swords on the GameCube and wanted to incorporate similar elements into our DC game. Those were the only thoughts we had going in.

Over the GameJam weekend in January, I spent 90% of my time just working on the engine. When it came time to put in characters, I happened to have a goofy programmer-art version of me that I dropped into the engine as a test. This actually made the game weirdly charming in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way, so Ally ran with the style and Dungeon Ross was born.
It was pretty handy that you had the programmer art model of yourself! How easy or difficult is making a game from scratch for the Dreamcast?

The biggest challenge so far has definitely been building the skeletal animation system, which closely mirrors that of Blender (the software we use for 3D modelling and animation). We didn't have the animation system ready in time for the jam deadline, so that was our next big milestone.
Personally, I have nothing but admiration for anyone who has the ability to make games. What are your future plans for Dungeon Ross? Will we see a retail version of the game?

Our plan now is to use whatever time we can find to keep developing the game, maybe running some smaller game jams to coordinate ourselves and possibly get more people involved. I'm very eager to focus on the game design now that the engine tech is good enough to experiment with.

We've spoken about selling physical copies, and that's definitely something we'd enjoy (putting the instruction manuals and dungeon maps together) but we're also planning on releasing the source code to the engine and the game, in the hope that other DC developers have an easier time of it.
Thanks to Ross for speaking with us about Dungeon Ross, the images above are concept drawings of enemy types to be used in the main game. It's certainly an interesting concept and we'll be keeping an eye on the development of this project. With more work and a weapons system and co-op gameplay Dungeon Ross could be a pretty fun addition to the Dreamcast library. Below you can watch a video showing off the engine in action:


If you'd like to get involved or lend you time to helping to develop Dungeon Ross further, please feel free to get in touch! For further information, be sure to check out Dungeon Ross (and grab the game files!) at the Global Game Jam website here, and while you're at it you can find Ross's personal website here and Alastair's personal website here. If you'd like more information about Dundee MakerSpace, you can find their website here.

6 comments:

Florian Wallin said...

Would have been really sweet to see something that reminds of Diablo for 2 players on the dreamcast , even if the finished product maybe would be a "miminalistic clone".

I hope they will try to make something out of this , i would for sure buy it :D

Tamás Illés said...

Although Gauntlet is mentioned, I'm also getting a bit of a Cannon Spike vibe from watching the video..which is not a bad thing. The sharp textures, the character designs and models for some reason makes me think of Cannon Spike. Maybe that would be an interesting direction for the game as well, or at least good use of the engine for another game. =P

Besides the bad framerate, everything else seems pretty damn solid so far. Sharp textures, nice models and fluid animations. The camera zooming seems very good as well.

sega max said...

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Tom Charnock said...

Wow - Dreamcast News has actually credited a site he stole news from! Wonders will never cease!

sega max said...

What do you mean by stealing the news ? I mean they published the info just after the news was published at japanese-cake site, a couple of hours before here. Any issue with them ?

Tom Charnock said...

I was just being sarcastic about him linking to japanese_cake. But I've had issues with him on numerous occasions where he's recycled content and even artwork from here without crediting it. He seems to be rubbing a lot of people up the wrong way with that type of thing, not just me. Thanks for sharing though. As I stated in my write up, I knew all about the game being found, was just waiting to see whether the guys found anything playable on the kit. Thanks for the heads up.