Beatdown Dungeon Postmortem


As of this writing, Beatdown Dungeon was released roughly two weeks ago and was downloaded a little over 300 times. While I’ve been creating indie games since around 2008, this was by far my largest and most ambitious project, taking around 4 years to complete. So far, the feedback as been positive, making me believe the whole fighting game/RPG hybrid experiment worked out fine in the end. That being said, numerous aspects have been pointed out to me that could use some serious improvement. Seriously, thanks to everyone who offered feedback (especially during the beta phase).

The two major points of criticism are the somewhat dull random dungeons, as well as plenty of exploitable infinite combos during combat. I find it hard to disagree with these points. Also (and this might be a more personal thing), I’m not happy with some of the character animation anymore. Specifically, the characters Nitro and Satoshi were the first ones to be animated and it shows. Beatdown Dungeon was my first attempt at HD sprites and a lot of basic animation techniques like anticipation and smears are noticeable lacking in many characters.

And then there’s the combat. When starting the project back in 2014, my thoughts were: “I won’t be able to compete with a game like BlazBlue gameplay-wise, but I will make it fun to play, anyway”. Judging by player feedback, this seems to have worked out in the end. Combat evolved a lot during development, starting out very stiff and with very limited movelists per character. As I dug deeper into games like Guilty Gear and Under Night In-Birth, I made the combo system a lot more free-form and gave players a lot more options through badges and helpers. However, there are still remnants of the game’s early days that feel a bit out of place now: Why does a fast-paced game like Beatdown Dungeon have grounded forward-steps instead of running? Why are airdashes affected by gravity during their entire duration? Where are the super-jumps? The simple answer is: these features would have required a massive overhaul of the game’s code at a point when this was no longer feasible.

On my desk lies a sheet of paper titled “Beatdown Dungeon but better”. It is a large collection of feedback and ideas proposing a version of Beatdown Dungeon that improves on the growing pains of the original game and attempts to bring it closer to the quality of a commercial game. Don’t get me wrong, there is a 99% chance of the game staying free to play, but remember my BlazBlue-thought from 2014? I feel confident that I can get much closer to that level of quality, now that I know what works and what doesn’t.

So, what does the future look like?

I’m currently working on a version of Beatdown Dungeon that simply feels less amateurish and incorporates all the feedback I got. My plan is to create a new stand-alone game, instead of just releasing a patch. I want the new version to incorporate substantial changes to the gameplay (not just in combat), without erasing the original game. What has yet to be decided, is the scope of the update. Will it be an enhanced edition like going from Street Fighter II to SFII Turbo? Or will it be a major step like going from Guilty Gear XX to Guilty Gear Xrd? Maybe something in-between? Only time will tell.

Thanks again to everyone who played the various versions of Beatdown Dungeon and gave me the motivation to see development through to completion.

Cheers, Phil

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Comments

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Great job, I hope to continue to keep up with your game and give feedback

I'm really looking forward to whatever you come up with. I'm very happy with this game, even if the feedback you received is very much correct. 

I hope whatever you turn out becomes bigger and better! 

Oh, last thing, I will say that I love the custom character option - but I would like it if they had their own lines/profile picture as well at the end of combat. It feels like you're missing something when you play custom. 

(+1)

Thanks for the kind words! You're right, Custom Demon could be fleshed out, maybe I'll give them a selectable personality for win quotes or something like that ;)