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UnDungeon is an Action-RPG oriented towards delightful storytelling, and aimed at exploration of a frequently changing gaming environment.
UnDungeon is an Action / RPG oriented towards delightful storytelling, and aimed at exploration of a frequently changing gaming environment. We are going to release UnDungeon for PC, Mac, and Linux. Besides, there are plans to release a console version. Some time after SE Collective, we are going to give a Kickstarter campaign a go and launch a vote in Steam Greenlight.
The game world exists according to the rules of the Multiverse. The main action takes place soon after a global cataclysm melted multiple dimensions into a chaotic superstructure. The occasion, called the Shift, put the inhabitants of the affected worlds on the brink of survival: usual rules no longer work under the new conditions.
Right after the Shift, seven Heralds appear in the world.
Being absolutely different creatures, they come from diverse locations. The only unifying feature of Heralds is the presence of the energy Cores. From the perspective of each Herald, the Core brings supernatural powers and immortality, but at the same time it is the eternal curse of endless rebirths and a nonfree will. As for the world, the Core is a key to restoration and a symbol of the end. The Herald enters the world as a blank sheet of paper absorbing all the events that happen around like a sponge. There is a strong unbreakable bond between him and the Core - all the things the Herald says and does provide influence on how the artifact will affect the world at the end of the game.
In UnDungeon, our main goal is a creation of an exploration-oriented role-playing game on the basis of core roguelike principles.
Some projects that influenced our game:
Hyper Light Drifter - melee mechanics, bosses, environment exploration.
Enter The Gungeon - ranged combat mechanics, bosses, interactive environment, generation.
Transistor - slot based abilities combination.
FTL: Faster Than Light \ Space Rangers - the generation of the global map; moving around it.
Risk of Rain - possibility to choose a character; some mechanics.
Sunless Sea \ Vangers - emphasis on traveling and information gathering
The Herald moves across a procedurally generated map which is divided into regions related to different worlds. He visit various locations communicating, fighting, and trading with other inhabitants. The Herald desperately explores the environment trying to obeying the call of the Core. Mistakes are not allowed because the score is ruled by permadeath. Although the Core will resurrect the Herald, the old world will be lost forever, and you will have to start the exploration of an absolutely new planet - an equivalent of a new game beginning.
We'd like to motivate the player to form his or her own attitude to the world of the game; therefore, the Herald becomes anu unwitting participant of numerous local histories and conflicts. Each occasion forms a better understanding of how inhabitants of different worlds live and what fate they deserve.
Each new attempt to complete the game leads to a new ending:
a new story takes place in a unique world, and your final decision and the outcome depend on places you visit and characters you meet there.As one of the Heralds, you form your own understanding of main world's problems on the basis of gathered information. Each decision you make influences the final act of the game, and the only thing that matters at the end of the journey is information.
The way you collect data and study the surrounding environment provides an impact on the gameplay, enhances the way you upgrade your character, shows opponents’ vulnerabilities, displays previously unknown location, etc.
For the same reason, dialogues are highly important. Each journey takes a few hours, but it allows you to participate in only a small amount of events. In order to restore the full picture, you should complete the game multiple times, playing as different Heralds.
As a player, you act as one of the seven Heralds, each of whom comes from a particular world destroyed by the Shift. The Heralds do not tend to be ordinary characters: they are unique from the perspective of each other as we as compared to common action\RPG heroes. So let's get to know them better.
An ancient humanoid creature whose age is estimated in epochs. After centuries spent in prayers, meditations, and rituals, he is no longer a human in the traditional sense. The Core forces him to start the endless quest for the absolution collecting new knowledge and looking for the perfection. Dharma uses extraordinary brain capabilities to manipulate opponents and the environment.
is a silent and ruthless assassin of unknown origin. According to a popular opinion, there is no face behind his mask: the character is a non-living creature brought to life by the Core. It is an instrument in hands of mysterious masters. Executor is a versatile and agile character able to cope equally well with threats in a melee and at an average distance.
is a powerful ancient mystic buried alive centuries ago. The power of the Core brought him back to life, but didn't free him from a magical sarcophagus. Even at the peak of his power, Marduk can leave his imprisonment for just a few seconds, returning back to the coffin right away. In the game, he acts as a mobile sniper that destroys enemies with the help of lasers and prisms.
Is an alien dressed in a high tech exoskeleton. He uses the Core as a power source for his technologies. Being an almost helpless fighter, the pilot relies on his suit and a variety of systems available in it. Besides, there is a bunch of drones on his side in each battle.
is a creature suffered from the collapse of the
intercellular connections. A jelly-like substance
remains integral just due to the miraculous
influence of the Core. Goo is not a good fighter,
but it is extremely survivable. Furthermore, it can
create allies by separating small pieces of its flesh.
At first blush, this character looks like an ordinary 10-12 year old girl, but the illusion fades away when Morry gets into trouble: strong emotions or stress summon an aggressive ephemeral essence that protects the girl. The nature of this character is quite simple: two absolutely different creatures from parallel dimensions have been melted into a single organism during the Shift. Morry is a fast but at the same time fragile fighter who brutally destroys enemies.
Tix & Juggernaut
Are the last two members of a tribe lost in a distant jungle.
Having received a kernel by a mere accident, tiny Tix is virtually defenseless. Unlike the other Heralds, he does not know how
to fight, but it's not a serious problem because Juggernaut is
always close by. An indestructible golem acts as a bodyguard.
You take control over the golem, who is very slow but extremely powerful, invulnerable, and exactly opposite to Tix, who always
tries to run in front and get under a bullet.
When it comes to character development, UnDungeon reminds a mix of The Binding of Isaac and Transistor. Exploring the world, characters find various supernatural objects and artifacts.
There are two types of objects: passive and active. Passive change various characteristics, add small additional properties, and can be stored and used in an unlimited quantity. As for active objects, they providу new features or essentially change the existing ones. Since such objects are placed in special slots, it is possible to mix available character's abilities with each other forming a huge variety of combinations.
Each Herald has a unique pool of objects which is not available to other characters. Consequently, everyone has an exclusive playstyle and development. Besides, each artifact provides an impact on characters' appearance. And since the order and number of objects are totally random, each new trial is characterized by a unique character's look.
As it has been mentioned above, in UnDungeon, the global map, its topography, available local levels and routes among them are generated procedurally. However, in order to provide players with levels that are nice and engaging to explore them again and again, the procedural generation is not enough.
UnDungeon utilizes a combined system which includes all positive aspects of program level generation and custom level design. We create a lot of world segments manually: each segment (a macro-tile) is unique and can be combined with other parts of the world. To create a local level, the algorithm gathers up to 10 randomly chosen macro-tiles. As a result, each new level looks just the same as a customly generated one.
When the level geometry is ready, the level generator analyzes a macro-tile based level and fills it with enemies, NPC, random encounters, resources, quest objects, etc. Then, all this content is spread through levels increasing the diversity of occurring situations and the overall replayability.
UnDungeon is created in the isometric perspective: hand-drawn pixel art is combined with a large number of animation frames and extremely high detalization. We also plan to create a set of pixel cutscene movies that would illustrate some key events of the game. 90% of our art is drawn by hand. Seldom, we use 3D-workpieces as a basis of large objects. The graphics was inspired by such projects as Hyper Light Drifter, EITR, Dungeon of the Endless and a mix of different topics - sci-fi, fantasy, steam and cyberpunk, etc.
We've never billed UnDungeon as a retro game, but it is foolish to deny the influence of such classic masterpieces as Zelda, Diablo, and Fallout on the project. Below, there is a series of concepts, animations, and promotional arts that illustrate different aspects of UnDungeon:
Characters Concept Art
Lamplighter, Collector of Soul
Sound is one of the most robust tools that help player to fully immerse into the game. Therefore, to create both music and sounds that will emphasize the dark and disturbing atmosphere of the suffering world, we have collaborated with a talented musician and experimentator stonefromthesky. Below, you can check several tracks created specially for UnDungeon:
Let's be honest. We are a tiny indie studio, but the goals we've set are serious. The UnDungeon concept, with
its emphasis on replayability and variability, requires a huge amount of content and many months of work
for the implementation. In order to understand whether we are moving towards the right direction, and how favorably players will accept the universe we've created, we appeal to the community of Square Enix Collective. Your feedback is the most valuable thing we can get now!
Follow and support us on social networks:
When we launched Laughing Machines and started UnDungeon about a year ago, none of us planned a campaign like this one. UnDungeon was conceived as a small game similar to twin-stick shot ‘em up than to action/RPG.
Along with a new understanding of the project, we've made the core concept of the game much more complicated. Our team gained a lot of vital experience, so the narrowness of tools and level design mistakes became obvious. But we sincerely believe that it is never too late to perform even the most radical changes. Especially if it can move a project to a completely new horizons. Thus, the decision to create an absolutely new level editor that would comply with growing requirements of UnDungeon was rapidly accepted.
Level geometry is the key level design element. It's way much simpler to dive deep into the world full of bridges and rivers, hills and valleys, multi-level artificial structures and cliffs then to immerse in a world of box-shaped rooms with flat floors and walls. Therefore, the creation of a reliable tool that will completely revamp the existing level geometry became a number one task during this stage.
And now, after many weeks of work are behind, you can check our first attempts to cope with the new instrument. As for the level parts processing, it takes place in three stages.
At the first stage, the editor creates a common frame that considers an approximate level relief:
The next stage is about adding elevations, stairs, ramps, platforms, and various artificial structures that affect the level's geometry:
The last step is aimed at customizing and polishing the level - filling it with different objects and items: both decorative and gameplay-vital:
Besides, we are very delighted with a warm feedback on small cutscene fragments at the beginning of the teaser. We are going to widely use such inserts throughout the game to transfer the atmosphere of the doomed world. They will help to emphasize the details that are not available due to in-game graphics limitations.
Below, you can see a sneak peek of several cinematics which are currently under development:
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A little bonus for today is a tripod pilot concept:
Alex ZinchenkoComposer & sound designer. Alex is one of those rare individuals who combine natural talent with serious perfectionism, so we're not worried about sounds and music of the game. No one ever saw Alex without a cap. It's rumored that if you remove the cap there will be another one beneath. But we do not recommend doing this, if you do not want to cause a failure in the structure of the Universe. Perhaps, the same action provoked the Shift.
Stephan BaryshpoletsConcept & character artist. Stephen's concepts have a huge impact on the final form of all UnDungeon beings. He is a chief expert in colors and character portraits. When the work is done, Stephan illustrates books, draws comics, and tries to complete his LEGO Millennium FalconC
Alex MazurenkoEnvironment & 3D artist. Alex is concentrated on a work with the game environment. Besides, his abilities help us to fill the game with colorful visual effects. The education in the field of architecture provides all knowledge necessary to make locations distinctive, recognizable, and realistic. In his spare time, Alex creates trailers for non-existent animation films.
Alex FomzieCharacter & environment artist. Fomzie is another self-taught artist among the Undungeon creators. The soul of the team with a great sense of humor. Adaptability helps him work with different styles and solve any problems. He sometimes creates chiptune music, brushing a plasma gun for the rest of time.
Yana NikiforovaCharacter & environment artist. Although Yana has a degree in computer science, she always dreamed of being an artist in the game development industry. Self-learning and hard working led her to Laughing Machines, where she has an opportunity to realize the wildest ideas into a juicy pixel art. But only when she is not sleeping or playing games.
Weilard DrakeLead artist. The person who brings the disparate parts of UnDungeon together. If we need a bit of visual magic - we call Weilard. He always relies on almost two decades of experience in the gaming industry. Streaming misanthrope, who lives in a small bunker. The extent of his love to pixel art is inversely proportional to the size of his love to people.
Vlad MunteanGamedesigner & mastermind. Vlad left his life's work on constructing the tower of pizza to create his dream game. He generates most of the ideas for the project, as well as tons of rage. Thoughts about the project deadline bring him closer to a heart attack.
Igor FirsovAll-around programmer. Severe, hairy, and silent as befits a real lord of the code. Igor has a substantial experience in Unity3D (over 5 years) and various game genres - from arcades to survivals. His abilities make it possible to implement the most ambitious UnDungeon ideas. He likes cats, especially if they are grumpy, and does not like people.