Dungeon Dregs: History
In the spring of 1997 I was contacted by a web design company who wanted a
custom-made game for a particular theme website they were developing. A new TV
series based on Conan the Barbarian was soon to be launched and they were
competing for the contract to build the corresponding site.
They faxed me some detailed specifications of what the game should contain. Conan,
trapped in a dungeon, was to free himself and the other prisoners while fighting
guards. To aid him he would have a sword he could use to stab attackers and
break down doors. As soon as he broke out of his prison cell, guards were to
The perspective would be a somewhat slanted top view, not unlike
a rat labyrinth as seen by a lab technician. (I later managed to convince them
that it didn't make much sense to imprison Conan with a sword. If he had access
to any weapon, it would more likely be a heavy ball and chain, which are
also more practical for breaking things.)
The size of the game had not yet been decided -- and someone else would make the
final graphics -- so it had to be built in such a way as to be easy to modify
later on. This is not the way I usually construct games, but implementing
that flexibility proved relatively straightforward.
Seeing as I have made the game public, I assume you can guess what happened
next -- or rather what didn't happen. The deal didn't go through. I was
stuck with a half-finished game I had no real use for. Even if I added real
graphics and sound, "Conan" would still be a big step
backwards in terms of complexity, compared to 3D-Blox or
Cross Section, and I didn't feel like listing it with
my other games.
Also, Conan the Barbarian is a registered trademark of
Without an official site I would not be allowed to use that character anyway
and the game would have to be called something else. For a while I toyed with
the idea of inventing a totally ridiculous character named "Macho Dude" (shown to
the right), who would free overly endowed women from the clutches of mythical
creatures (or something) -- and turn the applet into a parody of "typical"
computer games. But the joke might not be obvious to the average visitor, so I
decided against it and went on to other projects.
In the end I figured it would be a shame to just let the game go to waste. I
wasn't going to use it myself, but many aspiring Java games programmers are
desperate for something they can tweak and tune while learning the more advanced
features of the language. Well, it's all yours, guys. Have fun!