Sunday, December 25, 2011

Only 1 Day Left to Vote for Roguelike of the Year 2011!

So if you haven't already head over to ASCII-Dreams and vote for Cardinal Quest now ;)


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ask me about game development

If you've ever wanted to ask me something about making indie games, now is your chance :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cardinal Quest 1.2 and What's Next

Heya! I'm Ruari O'Sullivan (randomnine), another games developer with a few small games of my own out there (Beacon and Fear is Vigilance). I've been working with Ido and Joshua Day for the past few months to make Cardinal Quest bigger and better. We've just released Cardinal Quest 1.2. The free version is, as ever, up on Kongregate! If you've paid for CQ then you should receive an email shortly with update info.

Here's what's new and cool in 1.2:

  • We've rebalanced the difficulty spikes in the game, so it's tougher and fairer.
  • Potions are now more powerful, including the new Mana Potion which recharges all your spells.
  • The "Heal" spell now only recharges when you gain XP, so you can't just wait out damage once you've found it.
  • There's a new special weapon late in the game just to help out wizards.
  • We've made a whole bunch of bugfixes. All the weirdness with spells? Fixed!
This is the definitive version of Cardinal Quest. There's never been a better time to get stuck in and kill everything, so get cracking! :D

So now that's out of the way, what's next?

Cardinal Quest II

As you may know, Ido's been hard at work with the other guys at Dinofarm Games on Auro: The Golden Prince, a turn-based, dungeon crawling strategy game. While he gets that moving, he's handed day-to-day development of Cardinal Quest over to Joshua and me - and we have big plans. An expanded "Deluxe" version would be cool, but we're going one better: we're making a sequel.

Cardinal Quest II will have everything we had planned for Deluxe and more. It'll have three new classes, an epic story spanning three chapters (each individually as large as Cardinal Quest Classic), more spells, more items, more monsters, and cool new features like shops and high score tables to record your best runs. Best of all, if you paid for Cardinal Quest before today then you'll get Cardinal Quest II when it comes out for free.

We'll be announcing pricing and taking pre-orders for Cardinal Quest II soon, and I'll be bringing you regular updates right here as the game comes together. For now, get honing your skills on CQ Classic. CQ II's going to be even tougher!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cardinal Quest: Original Soundtrack!

Want to listen to Cardinal Quest's awesome music, plus remixes and previously unreleased tracks?

Now you can!

Just head over to BandCamp and get this awesome soundtrack by Whitaker Blackall!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Auro: The Golden Prince

For the last couple of weeks I've been working with Keith & Blake from DinofarmGames on a new game- Auro: The Golden Prince.

Auro is the result of deconstructing the roguelike genre to its base components and trying to reassemble it in a unique way, optimized for fast & furious game-play that is easy to learn but difficult to master.

The result however, is that Auro is not a roguelike - but rather a new approach using the base principles behind what we believe makes roguelikes good.

Please check it out on Kickstarter, where you can find out more about what Auro is all about and tell your friends about it!

We need all the help we can get to make this happen!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Prediction for the new year

I know it's a bit early for new-year predictions, but here is mine:

This time next year Angband and Nethack will become obsolete - there will be no reason to not play ToME4 or DCSS respectively instead.

EDIT: one game Brian mentioned in the comments that I completely forgot about: Brogue.

With that in mind I would restate my argument that I think the future "major" roguelikes are going to be DCSS, ToME4 & Brogue (and with some hope JADE eventually too).


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Future of Cardinal Quest - Classic and Deluxe.

we've got a ton of feedback after the cardinal quest free-day and the subsequent pay-as-you-wish day: both huge successes that I will talk more about shortly!

The most significant change to the game's direction tho is that the format is changing from free 3-levels demo and payed full version to Minecraft-style free Classic edition and payed Deluxe edition!

The upcoming Cardinal Quest Deluxe will be a ton better, including 3 new character classes and ~50% more content in terms of monsters, spells, items, weapon, etc..

Most importantly - everyone who bought or will buy the current full version of Cardinal Quest will get Cardinal Quest Deluxe for free!

Have fun and check out the now-free Cardinal Quest Classic,

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Finally Released: Cardinal Quest 1.1c!

This is a major update that fixes almost all known bugs in the game!

Among the changes:

  • improved performance
  • fixed memory leaks
  • fixed crash bugs
  • added "variety monsters"
  • fixed/tweaked many graphical issues
  • improved visual effects
  • improved texts
  • fixed many small bugs
  • improved balance (early game is a bit harder now)
The update has been uploaded to CloudFront and BMTMicro & sent to Gameolith.
If you are having problem getting it from BMT just send me a message.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Cardinal Quest 1.1c Has Been Sent To Testers!

If all goes well I think this one fixed all major bugs in the game.

If you wanted to test but didn't get a message from me via email or twitter just mail me and I'll get you hooked up with the debug build.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cardinal Quest 1.1c Update (Hopefully) Coming Tonight

I'm planning on doing another quick-fix release tonight, if you want to help me test 1.1c it will be much appreciated!

If you choose not to, you have forfeited your right to complain about bugs ;)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cardinal-Quest-Free-Day Experiment A Huge Success

Ok, wow.

This has been quiet a ride - about 150k lucky people got Cardinal Quest for free before BMTMicro's servers experienced a meltdown.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cardinal Quest 1.1 Getting Ready To Go!

I'm getting ready for the new bug-fix release, 1.1.

If you want to help with the testing before it goes online give me a shout

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yours Truly on Roguelike Radio

I've had the pleasure of appearing on the latest episode of Roguelike Radio, this time we discussed one of my favorite roguelikes: DoomRL.

I really enjoyed participating and think we've made a really episode.

Check it out ant tell us what you think!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cardinal Quest's Linux Version Finally Stable!

I am happy to announce that Gameolith have finished packaging the Linux port of Cardinal Quest for various distribution & it is now considered stable!

If you wish to get the new linux version and you did not get an email from me, simply contact me and I will send you a key-code for it on Gameolith, where you could download the version suitable for your distribution.

Have fun,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Stable Linux Version Soon To Go Online

the good chaps at Gameolith and I are preparing a sweet surprised for all you linux gamers - soon the previously experimental linux version of Cardinal Quest will reappear in a much stabler form and with support for a plethora of Linux distributions, including but not limited to 32 bit and 64 bits versions of Ubutnu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Debian and many distributions based on either of these!

Exciting times ahead!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Tools For Super Quick Game Development

If you want to participate in game jams, competitions like Ludum Dare and the Seven Days Roguelike Challenge or simply make games fast, here are a couple of tools I found really useful:

What do you use for rapid game making?



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who Brings In The Traffic? Two Weeks And A Bit Report

Ever wondered where an indie game might get some traffic from?

Well now you know!

The first spike is from release day. In hindsight I should have probably had the demo up at that point and I am sure I've lost some sales because of it.

Hacker News and Reddit still lead the way, although getting written on in popular blogs helped with the smaller bumps later on: the first small spike is from the IndieGames blog and the seconds from Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

Smaller bloggers seemed to have little effect on visitors, even less than some forums.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Memory Leaks And Other Garbage Collection Adventures in the AVM

I've gathered some info online about flash's garbage collector and am getting ready to dive head-first into this fun and exciting world of trying to fix the various memory leaks in Cardinal Quest.

Funny, I've been coding in java for a decade and c#/python/other GC-languages for years and never had major issues with memory leaks. But the AVM's garbage collector is apparently a different beast altogether.

It seems I might have to manually release memory by assigning null to variables I don't need anymore. It's like coding in c again! :)

Wish me luck, and if you have any tips don't hesitate to mention them!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Interview + Video Review

TruePCGaming just posted an interview they did with me:

PC Multiplatform Dungeon Crawling Goodness: Cardinal Quest Interview

Additionally, YouBigNonce reviewed Cardinal Quest on his youtube site.

Generally a lots of interest (and sales!) spurred by the mention on!

More news to be announced soon.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Cardinal Quest 1.0 Feedback Thread

I kind of neglected the little forum I've set up during beta testing - mostly because the emails it sends are marked as spam and I didn't want to add yet another time sink to my already quite busy day.

At any rate, due to popular demands:

Cardinal Quest 1.0 Belated Feedback Thread!

Cardinal Quest - Mobile Edition

Hi all,
please spread the word around the web:

If you know someone good who might want to help me out with the mobile versions of Cardinal Quest for a profit share, please let me know!


Friday, August 12, 2011's First Day Online: Visitors

Still waiting for the bloggers to pick it up.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cardinal Quest 1.0 Now Online!

Cardinal Quest is now finally available on for windows, mac & linux!

Cardinal Quest is an arcade-style dungeon-crawler inspired by 1980s classics such as Gauntlet, Red-Box D&D and Golden Axe: Choose your champion and begin your quest to slay the Evil Minotaur!

Three distinct characters await you, each providing their own unique experience:

The Fierce Fighter - who can stir himself into a berserk frenzy.
The Stealthy Thief - a mysterious assassin who dispatches his foes from the shadows.
The Mystical Wizard - able to bend the forces of the elements to his will.

Have fun,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cardinal Quest Will Be Released Later Today!

The time has come - if everything goes according to plan the first public release of Cardinal Quest will take place today on LittleIndie!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Stuck In Sweden With The Wrong Laptop Charger

That's what happens when I need to wake up at 3:30am to board a flight :(

Anyone in Stockholm got a sony vaio?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cardinal Quest Almost Ready

The final bugs are being squashed, last couple of features being implemented.

Almost there! Only a week or two and we're golden :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Game Development (Programming) Intern Wanted

I'm looking for a student interested in a game-development (programming) internship in Vienna during the summer holidays (July/August-ish).

Compensation will be in the form of an unlimited pass to GDC Europe (550-euros worth) + the flight ticket to get there from Vienna.

Email me or post here if interested!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The International Roguelike Developers Conference Is Over

After a very fertilizing and productive long weekend, the IRDC 2011 in Visby is over- I'm back in Stockholm & will be flying to Vienna tomorrow.

I've got a ton of good feedback for my games and the talks and discussions were very interesting and useful!

The proceedings would (hopefully) soon be available online.

Looking forward to next year!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

8 Games Worth Playing, 2011 Edition - Part 2

Here are the other four out of eight games I've played and enjoyed in the past year since writing the previous installment.

You can check out part one for the first four games if you haven't already.

  1. Captain Forever - the first in series of abstract space shooters. You pilot a spaceship and try to survive & improve your ship by attaching components salvaged from enemy ships into your own.
  2. vvvvvv - a retro-chic platformer with a great chiptune soundtrack. The main twist on usual side scroller mechanics is your ability to inverse gravity. The game is short but very enjoyable (and hard!).
  3. Chime - a puzzle game that seems like a cross between Tetris and ToneMatrix. Your goal is to cover as much of the playing field as you can before the time runs out by placing blocks & forming "quads". The position of the blocks determines the procedurally generated tune - unfortunately the musical part is purely aesthetic and has no influence on the gameplay.
  4. Ascii Sector - labeled a free space combat/exploration/trading game by its creators, it combines Elite & roguelike gameplay in a huge game world where you alternate between interacting with NPCs planet-side, flying in your spaceship & engaging in interstellar trade.

Monday, April 11, 2011

8 Games Worth Playing, 2011 Edition - Part 1

Here are four out of eight more games I've played and enjoyed in the past year since writing the previous installment.

Same as before - these games aren't all brand new, but I've only gotten around to playing (or finishing) them in the past 12 months:

  1. His Dark Majesty - a Turn Based Strategy game inspired by Advanced Wars and Battle for Wesnoth for 8-bit Ataris(!). You start every turn moving your miscellaneous fantasy-themed units (such as archers, knights and catapults) and attacking the enemy units. A lot of the strategy depends on correctly positioning your troops for the attack & retreating your wounded before they are killed. Surprisingly enough, His Dark Majesty remains a truly enjoyable game long after the novelty of playing an Atari 8 bit game wears off.
  2. Revenge of the Titans - the game pits itself as a mix RTS and tower defense, and manages to become greater than the sum of its parts. You have to position defensive towers and buildings in strategic choke points against the approaching titans, add support add-ons to boost their powers and mine the minerals for money before the time runs out. A really nice twist on old genre. It is easy to start playing this game but very difficult to stop!
  3. Steambirds - a turn based strategy game (can you detect a pattern?) where you control fusion-powered airplanes in a fictional world war against the onslaught of enemy planes and zeppelins. Unlike His Dark Majesty, Steambirds is not grid based and the main challenge lies in setting your speed and trajectory beforehand on in order to gain an advantageous position against the other aircrafts.
  4. desktop dungeons - part roguelike, part puzzle game, this is truly an original creation. Pick your race & class and venture forth into a single screen dungeon where all enemies remain stationary and various items and spells are spread across the level. Going into a previously unseen tile regenerates your health and mana and creates an unusual playing experience.

Coming up in the next installment: Captain Forever, vvvvvv, chime & Ascii Sector.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Funding is Complete

Funding for Cardinal Quest has ended, and the money was transferred to my account yesterday.

I have received $4,800 ($4,421 after 8bf's 5% fee + paypal transaction fees) which should go a long way in helping finishing the game.

We are working on it now (I am working on it full time and the others work on it part time) & hope to start beta-testing the new version by the end of the month.

If any of you is interested in beta testing, or used 8-Bit Funding to pledge for Cardinal Quest and did not receive an email from me, please contact me or leave a message here.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Last Day to Fund Cardinal Quest and Preorder All Versions For Just $5!

Time is almost up, and Cardinal Quest is at $4507 funded!

If you want to get all versions (desktop (Windows, Mac & Linux) & mobile(iOS & Android)) for only $5 this is your chance to do so!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Almost There: 4 Days and $1709 Left to Fund Cardinal Quest!

In four short days it will all be over: Cardinal Quest is currently at $4291, only $1709 short of our goal of $6000!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Two Weeks Left & Much Progress Has Been Made

I've been in Atlanta for one week now, and progress on the new version of Cardinal Quest is going along nicely. I am hoping to finish the new dungeon generator today, which should be a bit more interesting than the prototype's very simplistic BSP generator.

As far as things go on the funding side, its run on 8-Bit Funding ends in two weeks. With $4,241 funded our goal of $6000 looms closer than ever!

In other news, Jagosh is working on some new tiles & sprites (including movement animations for all characters and monsters!) and reception of Detribus, the 7DRL we did to test our new engine, have been very positive so far.

I'm going to stay here for another week & then it's back to Vienna. I've made so many great contacts so far- Atlanta's game industry seems to really be on a huge upswing these days. All and all it has been a lot of fun!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Game: Detribus

While working on our new engine for Cardinal Quest's flash version, we've decided to test it with a little game - Detribus.

Check it out and tell us what you think!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

One Month Left + Going Indie

Cardinal Quest now has only one month left on 8-Bit Funding. With $4,176 out $6,000 financed, the prospects are looking good.

Yesterday evening we've had a little farewell party at the office and I am now officially back into indiedom. This isn't the first time I've tried doing the indie thing, but now I'm entering the game with a lot more experience, contacts & even pre-orders for my upcoming game!

The 8BF money should be enough to cover my expenses for the next 2 months as well as pay for some of the stuff I'm contracting out (music & sound effects are the biggest on that list, then there's some more art & a bunch of PR/marketing stuff).

Corey has been laboring on fixing up a haXe port of flixel for the past couple of days, as well as adding some tweening support.

We're going to test the waters with haxe and the new lib in the upcoming 7DRL Challenge that is conveniently starting this Friday (talk about good timing!). I will most likely be working on the game while Corey continues working on the engine.

Hopefully everything will work out smoothly & we could then continue to use the same basic code for Cardinal Quest's new version.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Surprise - Your Two Weeks Are Now Six!

Shortly after I put yesterday's blog post online Geoff from 8bitfunding contacted me, offering to extend Cardinal Quest's run by another month to make up for all the technical issues we experienced in the first couple of weeks.

So there you go - the new deadline is April 1st.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Only 2 Weeks Remaining To Finance Cardinal Quest

There are now only 14 days remaining before Cardinal Quest's run on 8-bit funding comes to an end and we are currently at $3046 out of $6000.

In other news, I have now officially taken March and April off from my day job to work on Cardinal Quest full time, and will be flying to Atlanta at the beginning of March to finish the basis of the new version with Corey.

After that is done I will return to Vienna and we will continue working remotely as we did till now.

Jagosh Kalezich (who did the graphics for the prototype) has also informed me that he will be available for doing more graphics for us soon & Whitaker Blackall (who I've worked with before on A Most Peculiar Adventure) is going to do the music and replace the sound effects I've haphazardly done with sfxr.

Fun times ahead.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Get Cardinal Quest Over $3k, Design a Secret Character Class

Cardinal Quest is now only $59 away from 8-Bit Funding's grace period!

Be the one to push us over $3k and you will get to design a secret character class!


Ok, that was quick. The winner is Eben Howard!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Slightly Belated First Week Cardinal Quest Update: $2936!

I have been out of the country for a few days now, hence the relative lack of communication.

On Cardinal Quest's 8bitfunding front things are looking up: we are almost at the mid-point with $2936 pledeged.

The prospects are starting to look very good!


Monday, January 31, 2011

Cardinal Quest Day 6 Status: $2411 Pledged, $3589 To Go.

After a short stay at the >$2800 range someone issued a charge-back for $500- which brings us to the current rate of $2411.

$3589 still remain before we reach our funding goal with 1 month to go!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cardinal Quest Day 4 Status: $2310 Pledged, $3690 To Go.

After the devastating bugs in 8BitFunding's system have been fixed by their new developer, Cardinal Quest returns to strong growth on its forth day with $2310 pledged.

$3690 and 32 days to go.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hilarity Fails to Ensue as 8BF's Former Developer Leave a Mess Behind Them

Geoff Gibson (8BitFunding's owner) tweets:

"For those wondering, yes, Cardinal Quest does actually have $1765 in funds. A bug is causing havoc with our fund calculations however."

Geoff has promised his new developer is working to fix those and other issues as soon as possible.

Cardinal Quest on 8BitFunding, Day 2 Update

With 6 hours left to the 48h marks since went live with Cardinal Quest on it, the mark now stands at $1,765!

Only $4,235 to go!

In other news, the sum total display on 8bf is still buggy and lags behind the actual pledges (which you can see on the left sidebar) ;(


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Holy Crap! Cardinal Quest Received $1205 On Its First Day On!

Thank you all so much!

Only $4795 to go - here's to hoping the 2nd day will go as well as the first! :)


There is a bug on 8bf that doesn't list anonymous contributions in the lump sum, that's why the displayed sum is a bit lower than in reality.

Why I'm Moving From HTML5 To Flash

As you might have noticed, Corey & I have submitted Cardinal Quest, an html5/js game that got quite a lot of attention on reddit, hacker news & twitter, to 8BitFunding in order to raise some money so that we can work on it full-time and release the flash version in a month instead of a year.

  Wait, Flash version?

You ask? Yep, that's correct!

  But...Cardinal Quest is an html5 game! It's the game of the future! Open standards! Mobile platforms! Canvas!

That was indeed the plan, which is why Cardinal Quest's prototype is written in js and html5.

Reality, however, has once again reared its ugly head. There are 3 main reasons why the final version will be written in Flash:

Browser support of html5 features is spotty at best

Each browser has its own quirks- some have buggy canvas implementations, some support only mp3 encoding in audio tags, others only ogg.

One of them doesn't yet support any html5 tags at all (workarounds exist, but are suboptimal to say the least).

Performance is not up to par

Even tho great strides have been made with regards to js execution in recent years, rendering graphics in canvas is still considerably slower than rendering graphics in flash.

Additionally, there is a huge difference in js execution speed between browsers - it is not uncommon for me to get 4x the FPS in Chrome as in Firefox.

There is no FGL for html5 games

Flash games have been around for years- they can be packed in a single SWF file, portals know how to host them, they are easy to embed and easy to distribute.

All those add up to the fact that it is significantly easier as a game developer to sell flash games than html5 ones.

The market for html5 games simply does not exist yet - at least not at nearly the same scale as the market for flash games.

Is html5 the future? I sure hope so!

Unfortunately, it isn't the present.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cardinal Quest on!

In response to all the positive response Cardinal Quest has received (>15,000 visitors, mostly within a couple of days when it hit reddit and a bunch of other social linking sites), Corey & I have decided to try to get some funding in order to finish up the game and put it on sale on FlashGameLicense.

We are using a new crowd-sourcing funding site for indie games called, which just went online today and has Cardinal Quest in their first round of games being funded - check it out!