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A Watched Pot is Boiling - 01-04-2022
A Watched Pot Is Boiling
Welcome back, viewers! Uh, I mean, greetings to all Caravel community and newsletter subscribers! This is Chaco, with another Caravel status update.
Treacle Stew is Nearly Done
With the Bar now at the prime percentage of 89%, development on the upcoming Smitemasters' Selection, Treacle Stew, is nearly completed. We're at the point where final end-to-end testing is in progress, and in general will be putting together all the pieces for final publication. I'm as excited as anyone that the hold is getting this close to being done, but there's still plenty of work ahead.
Unfortunately, we find ourselves without some CD cover art for the hold. While I doubt at this point we'll be doing a physical print run for this Smitemasters' Selection, we could still use that cover art both for the Caravel Games website and the Steam release. Both Mike Rimer and I have reached out to the previous artists we've worked with for prior games, and generally they are either unavailable or busy working on other projects. So, I must turn the question to you, the DROD community: Do you know of any artists interested in producing CD-quality art for a puzzle game? We're willing to dip into the war chest to help fund this properly.
Making Good DROD Levels, As Though We Didn't Have Any
The Make a Good DROD Level Contest Compilation is, at the time of this writing, nearly through the Hold Administration process. How does "making a good DROD level" need to be distinguished, for an official contest? It's an outgrowth of the "Make a good X level" idea from several other established communities, e.g. "Make A Good (Super Mario World) Level", "Make A Good Mega Man Level", "Make a Good Level X".
In short, it's an excuse to have a contest about literally anything, and being able to recognize and reward our hard-working level designers for doing what they do best - making fun, novel, and slightly tricky experiences that show that a good level isn't just good the month it comes out - it's good forever. People will be playing and enjoying the Make a Good Level contest compilation not just in 2022, but in years to come.
Compilation architecture thread:
(Addendum 2021-01-04: Now published!) Holds board thread:
The Godkiller - Chapter 1 - Out Now!
Erik Hermansen has just released his new puzzle adventure game The Godkiller - Chapter 1. The Godkiller combines DROD's stepping gameplay with the third dimension and inventive new block-pushing mechanics. Other features include a full musical soundtrack with vocals, death as a puzzle mechanic instead of a failure state, and Erik making bird noises into a microphone. The Godkiller is now available on Steam at https://store.steampowered.com/app/1449570/The_Godkiller__Chapter_1/.
Recognition for Not Asking
It's time for another Don't Ask award, for those who help keep the community going during these quiet periods where large projects have been released for several years, and hype and excitement have cooled off and turned to a more patient satisfaction.
This newsletter's Don't Ask award goes to hyperme, for his tireless work fixing bugs and implementing some neat feature requests for the upcoming 5.1.1 and 5.2 releases of DROD. A true display of the open source ethos at work; this deserves at least a little reward.
hyperme, pick a free prize from the Prize Pile!
Well, this has been another tough year. We've all had to struggle to make it this far, but all in all I'm glad you're still around, dear reader. And if our community can be a good place to forget your worries and have some hearty discussions, then all the better. Until next time!
- Chaco, closing out the year
The Godkiller - New Trailer and Release Date - 04-01-2021
For April Fool's Day, 2021, I felt we all likely have enough problems as it is piled up over this past year, so no pranks this time. Just good gaming news!
The Godkiller: New Trailer and Release Date
Erik Hermansen’s brand-new puzzle game The Godkiller is slated for release on January 1st, 2022! The Godkiller takes the turn-based puzzling of DROD and adds a third dimension, fast and fluid block puzzling, and more staircases than you ever knew you wanted.
You can watch the new trailer at https://store.steampowered.com/app/1449570/The_Godkiller__Chapter_1/ – be sure to add it to your Steam wishlist while you’re there!
And check out http://seespacelabs.com/the-godkiller/ for more updates and information.
I enjoyed and am intrigued by the new trailer and am fascinated by the design aesthetic. Very looking forward to the evolved production and worldbuilding possibilities in Erik's new game. I've seen concept snippets of how Erik has been percolating several of these puzzle elements for years, and I'm looking forward to picking up a copy and playing through when it's out!
Treacle Stew Voice Acting Auditions
Treacle Stew, a new Smitemasters Selection hold being produced by Chaco, is steadily moving forward. There are a few spoken parts still available to fill if you're interested in participating in the production. Sign up and have some wholesome thespian fun with Chaco and the team as they move toward the finish line!
Twisty Little Passages
Mike's unique puzzle adventure book, Twisty Little Passages, has been well received by the gaming community, including a positive review by Tom Vasel of Dice Tower. This is just a preferential note to the Caravel community that there are only a few dozen copies remaining of the limited edition physical print run. At this time, there are no plans to mass print another batch, and pricing on the reseller's market will probably go up in the near future. If you'd like a copy for yourself, family, or friends before they are all gone, you may order copies from our website:
Stay safe, stay healthy, and happy puzzling!
More DROD Soundtracks Released on Steam - 10-31-2020
As we enter the holiday season, we have exciting news to share on multiple product releases, updates, and sales promotions.
Travelogue Soundtrack Releases
Travelogue's soundtracks for DROD: The City Beneath, Gunthro and the Epic Blunder, and The Second Sky are all available starting today on Steam!
I've been listening to these a lot. I think everyone will have their own favorite tracks, but I'll share just a couple that have grabbed me.
The Second Sky's soundtrack includes "Elizabeth", a hauntingly beautiful track that didn't make it into the game.
And just listening to "Ambient No. 2" in The City Beneath's soundtrack, which is played right at the end of the game, brings me such a feeling of nostalgia. There's much more to this track than what's featured in the game.
You can grab them at a nice discount this first week that they're up for sale.
Travelogue's The City Beneath Soundtrack
Travelogue's Gunthro and the Epic Blunder Soundtrack
Travelogue's The Second Sky Soundtrack
Steam: Smitemaster's Selection DLC CaravelNet Fixes
For our next news topic, we've released fixes to Smitemaster's Selection DLC on Steam that weren't working properly with CaravelNet.
The following holds have been updated to the latest version and now work properly with CaravelNet on Steam.
* The Choice
* Beethro's Teacher
* Complex Complex
Development on DROD and RPG fixes and improvements is actively ongoing. Great progress has been made to smite many bugs and provide multiple quality-of-life improvements to your gaming experience. You can track and try out these changes here:
DROD 5.1.1/5.2 development
DROD RPG 1.2.8/1.3 development
Stay tuned for release candidate builds, coming soon!
Holiday sales goodness
Be on the lookout this weekend and later on this holiday season for solid discounts on DROD games on portals like Steam and GOG.
If you haven't picked up some of the games yet, or are looking for a digital gaming gift to share with someone, this will be a good time to do so.
DROD development has been blown wide open - 10-02-2020
Hi! Hope you are doing well. We have some wonderful news to share with you.
DROD development has resumed and is open-sourced
Caravel has some great developments to share on the, ah, development front. We have fully open-sourced client-side development of the DROD and DROD RPG games on Github.
If you are a developer, you can grab a copy of the source to build the game engines in the latest versions of Visual Studio, or maybe build it on other platforms. This process is now much, much simpler to do than ever before. More details on DROD's open source development are here:
You can follow changes we are making to the codebases in realtime on Github. Feel free to contribute your own bug fixes and improvements to the games!
In that spirit, you will see that we are working on updated versions of DROD and DROD RPG. Long-time community members skell, hyperme, kieranmillar, slimm tom, and others are jointly volunteering dozens of excellent contributions to the games. There are minor version patches in the works as well as major version updates with some new game features forthcoming for both DROD and DROD RPG. There are too many changes to delve into them all here, but you can follow notes on the changes in these Caravel Forum topics:
I personally deeply appreciate their contributions to making the games that much better. You can test drive the latest alpha dev builds as they are posted to these forum topics, and stay tuned for news on publishing of official updates!
The Godkiller Wants Playtesters
An early alpha version of The Godkiller will be released before end of the year to a select group of playtesters. This is a new 3D puzzle-solving game from Erik Hermansen, the creator of DROD. The game has the same stepping mechanics of DROD, but brand new game elements and a different story world. Erik guarantees that it will include more staircases than any other game in existence. He has some obsession over staircases, it turns out. If you are interested, check out http://seespacelabs.com/the-godkiller/ .
Where in the Eighth Contest
How well do you know Beethro's world, the Eighth? Erik is running a contest starting today. It features 3D versions of DROD rooms. You have to identify which DROD room the 3D version corresponds to. There will be a series of increasingly helpful hint videos revealed over the course of four days. Hints will be time-released with the first one dropping today, October 2nd. Do your best! https://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=44755
Stay safe, and happy DRODing!
The Stage Is Set - 02-17-2020
The Stage Is Set
Greetings chat! Uh, I mean, greetings to all Caravel community and newsletter subscribers! This is Chaco with another Caravel status update.
A New Project Is Brewing
There's been some mentions of a "Caravel Games surprise project" or something in the past, and at this point we are ready to pull aside the curtains and unveil the cloth. There is another Smitemasters' Selection currently under production, with Mike Rimer's blessing. Our current working title is "Treacle Stew", and it will be exploring the lore of the Forbidden Gel. The hold itself is authored by yours truly, and has been done for some time, but I will be working on finalizing a script for it, and soon (probably within the next two to three weeks), starting a casting call for voice acting parts, the first step on the long road to Canonical Polishedness and Flawless Consistency.
Mike Rimer has stated that he's very busy with Twisty Little Passages' final editing, community support, and coordination of orders and shipping, but he has helped look over the script and may occasionally offer some sage advice about how the production process works.
The rest is going to be up to me, and some other helpful community members. As such, since this development process is going to be more improvised than past Smitemasters' Selections, I don't want to make any big promises about release dates or scheduling. Like always with SmSes, this is a labor of love, so I want to make sure to only call this done when it's well and truly done.
As this newsletter goes to press, there isn't an official contest immediately scheduled, but rumor has been circulating through the CaravelNet chat that one will be coming up relatively soon, so stay tuned for more info.
I should also mention that anyone can run an unofficial contest at any time on our forum, so if you have an idea or a prompt for everyone, speak up and you might be pleasantly surprised at the response you get!
Architectural Progress Goes Boink
I've said it before and will keep saying this over and over again: the Caravel Games community is a really positive and supportive place to be. But it also occasionally builds holds, too! The highlights are once again far too numerous for me to cover all of them in a single newsletter, but a quick rundown includes a new compilation of Arky-inspired challenges, W monsters (successfully released!), an Island of Doom, small sequels to a variety of holds, a most triumphant reprise of Architect's Edition's elements, and most fearsome of all, a custom-scripted serpent type. Will wonders never cease?
All of these holds and more are available, 100% free (even if you're playing the demo version of DROD) at the Holds board, as well as the chronological downloads section:
Don't Ask Award
It's been a long time between newsletters (too long, perhaps) and so it's also been a long time since some Big Recognition has been handed out. I had a tricky time picking just one person who's been super helpful to the community but also been out of the spotlight. This newsletter's Don't Ask award winner is KituU, who has been secretly very supportive, giving out plenty of feedback and demos on the Architecture forum, and some thoughtfully-written advice on the Hints and Solutions forum that goes beyond some boring straightforward hints. As such, they've helped many people complete projects and simply enjoy playing the game of DROD.
KituU, pick a free prize from the Prize Pile!
Without getting too philosophical, I'm just going to go ahead and state a simple truth: It's a lot of hard work to create things. As fun as being in the middle of creating something is, there's just a lot of time, energy and motivation that goes into building anything, whether it's a hold or a newsletter or just a comment. But it's always worthwhile in the end, no matter how large or small it is, or whatever the reception is. Have an excellent 2020.
- Chaco, signing off