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Wikings Raid - 05-09-2015

(Read to the tune of The A-Team theme song)

The PS-Team proudly brings you the May 2015 Illumination, Wikings Raid.

The Eleventh Annual People's Choice Awards are over
It would take a prohibitive amount of space to rewrite kieranmillar’s superb summary of The 2015 Deadlies results so we’ll settle for supplying accolades and congratulations. Someone Else, Dischorran, blorx1, kieranmillar, Nuntar and ErikH2000, you’ve all done fantastic work making DROD a better place.

Eighth Fairy Tales lived happily ever after!
Yet our friendly Extreme One Who Games has failed to show up and announce it officially so… Oh wait, he actually did show, a little late to the party but still. Noma managed to steal the first place with her entry about a broom-mender and a mistaken identity. Lucky Luc explains to us the genesis of spoostlefish in his the second-place entry, and the last (but still respectable!) podium-place is occupied by Insoluble with a poem. Congratulations!

DROD on Wikia
You might not know this, but a long time ago some brave soul created a DROD wikia. For most of its lifetime it was left alone, abandoned, forgotten, weeping softly, but about a week ago someone pinged skell about it. Upon seeing that there were actually some updates, he used his Tyrant Overlord Evil Powers of Death (TOEPOD) and turned two of our friendly lurkers, 12th Archivist and Navithmastero, to do his evil bidding. He then laughed maniacally for the better part of an hour. Together they slightly rejuvenated the wikia and it’s slowly starting to have an actual shape!
Give it a visit and make a page or seven!

And there is an accompanying thread on the forums:

New hold releases
Only two holds have been released since the last Illumination:

Narrow Perspectives by skell is his second hold and one concentrated entirely on puzzles and open layout. It’s so open there is a special scripted mechanism for traveling between rooms. Madness! “It’s the best hold ever made.” -A clearly unbiased opinion of definitely not skell

King Azb’s Dungeon by azb is "A hold with a simple story and simpler puzzles!" to quote Chaco. Skell vouches that Chaco is right, except he should’ve added fun somewhere in that sentence. It’s also a story of self expression, in which azb lives out tyrannical fantasies of being a king, or at least Pearls hopes so..

Minor news:
- TSS 5.0.2 development has progressed a little with some new scripting features (Face Towards command which makes the character turn towards a point guard-style) and some optimizations to the scripting engine which, due to reasons which are too long to explain here, might not end up in 5.0.2.
- DROD is now officially “More fun to do than taxes”, at least according to the Video Games Hot Dog folks. This has been a long time goal of CaravelGames, who knows very well the tedium taxes can be. Not wanting to make dramatic promises, finally crossing this critical threshold marks a milestone in Caravel’s goals as a company.
- It’s not exactly minor news but Nuntar claims he has finished his work on TCB 5.0 and it is now sent for testing. Well, dear Nuntar, we’re afraid you will have to come back to your baby because it’s the first law of every kind of development - there are always bugs.

LP Section:
Alex Diener’s TSS - he has got the bad ending and even stopped to watch and enjoy the credits! -

Pearls has finished Elemental Showcase with great success and a lot of drinks.

Also, Pearls started playing through Trapoe and has uploaded two episodes.

Jeff_Ray is still bravely facing with the tedious parts of Bavato dungeon (the fun parts too!)

And that would be all for this month, stay tuned for more in June!

Constant Delver - 04-11-2015

Team Skwearls presents to you, Constant Delver, the April 2015 Illumination.

The Eleventh Annual People's Choice Awards

Kieranmillar proudly wields the proverbial Olympic torch to hold the annual Deadlies. And by this year I mean 2014, obviously. Time is running out! The voting phase has already approached so we encourage you to vote for the numerous categories! For the curious, all information about this marvelous tradition can be found in the linked thread.

April Contest “Eighth Fairy Tale”

“No matter how old you are, I think everyone enjoys fairy tales.” This probably isn’t true, but hey, it sounds nice! Ever wanted to create a myth in the magical and magnificent world of the Eighth? Well now you can! The goal is to eventually turn a collection of fan-made stories into a plot-driven hold, fleshing out the nifty and arcane folklore of this land that many of our puzzly brains think of as home. This is your chance to make fake history!

Official Ideas Generator

I, Skell, am going to toot my own horn here and say a word or two about the “Official Ideas Generator” I built in February with a lot of help from the community. It’s filled to the brim with ideas and interactions and, if I were forced to estimate, has about 98% of all possible interactions between all DROD elements in it to serve as a source for the generator. It’s so easy and fun to use that Nuntar made a contest about it.

And to toot that horn even louder, I joined forces with gamer_extreme_101 and we made a two-hour long stream where each of us built 5 puzzles based on the input from the generator. It’s very fun, not only because gamer is there, but also because I don’t speak too much:

What’s more, two weeks later we had another session where we had a guest with us, Alex, the guy who did the art for TSS!

March Contest “The Random Number Generator God Hates Me” [Finished!]

Nuntar has kindly stepped forward to run March’s official contest The Random Number Generator God Hates Me where you could’ve made an attempt to build a puzzle based on the output from the Official Ideas Generator. You can’t anymore obviously, because we are ALREADY VOTING! Actually I lied. We stopped voting a week ago. But at least we’’ve got a couple of winners! Doom, Dragon Fogel and Dischorran. They all got their rewards, hooray!

Hold Releases

What holds have been released since the last Illumination? A few:

Elemental Showcase 5.0 by Nuntar and the Community is a compilation hold with the entries of the November/December 2014 contest under the same name. Incidentally, for those of you who need a hint or two, plucky forumite Pearls has nearly finished a Let’s Play of the whole thing!

Troshian Grounds by Rheb is a spiritual successor to Troshian Tower which explores the puzzle potential of the new TSS weapons and speed potions.

Six Times Six by Jutt is a 36-puzzle hold which people say can actually be completed by mere mortals (citation pending) and uses the new versions of the three unofficial room styles.

A Journey Through Time by bomber50 is a very neat hold I (skell) had a chance to complete when it was still under the careful eye of Hold Administrators. It features quite enjoyable lynchpin-based puzzles that can be approached by less hardcore DRODers.

war22 by khaim100 is what you expect from a war hold, the formula did not change since the olden days and the latest entry is overflowing with monsters and... peculiar scripting interactions?

The ‘Neatherhood by Kieran Millar is a new hold for DROD RPG and I’d love to say something about it but I can’t play RPG, so I’ll just say 10 out of 10 people who voted voted 9, on average. This makes it a hold worth playing!

Other news

- A majority of tasks for TSS 5.0.2 have been finished but the development has stalled a bit recently.
- DROD: RPG has been greenlit, which makes it possible for Caravel to do full scale boarding of Steam
- Pinnacle came up with a very neat idea for Smitemaster Chess. Now who’s going to stream it first?
- Passing of the Hold Revival, a collaborative community effort at making a hold where multiple architects commit single rooms into the project, has reached its testing phase, so go give them a hand!

Happy DRODing!
--Skell and Pearls

More Fun than the Mime Defense - 01-31-2015

(Posted on behalf of skell: )

After the successful deployment of TSS, mrimer decided to amend his neglecting of the real world and went and had a child or something (congrats!). So in the meantime I, skellacious D, have BEEN ELECTED BY A COUNCIL OF OWLS to take over the responsibility/honor, and with reluctant help of Pearls we're bringing you today's Illumination! A lot of delightful things have happened in the past few months, so put on your reading glasses, pour yourself a drink, and prepare yourself to descend into the beneath via a veritable Wall Of Text.

DROD:TSS greenlit!

We have just received news that DROD:TSS has been greenlit for Steam distribution! A huge thank you to everyone who has up-voted the game. Now we have two passes to share DROD with the masses. When the game is released on Steam, everyone who has a registered copy of the game can receive a free Steam key. We want to make DROD's first impression a good one. So...

DROD on Steam development

trick, whom the linux community knows well for bringing DROD to this operating system, has done a lot of work converting the DROD code base from SDL1 to SDL2 in order to support Steam features right inside the game. It’s a big first step in getting us released on the most popular gaming platform ever, but still a lot of work lies ahead of us. For instance, Schik is also making steady progress at CaravelNet support for Steam. Still, it will take more time for all this work to be finalized. Stay tuned for more news on this front throughout the year.

DROD 5 Development

For those of you with watches, and you’re not stuck in the Eye of the Storm, you may have noticed there has been a period of...decelerated...development on DROD since the TSS 5.0.1 release. Fortunately, work on TSS 5.0.2 has begun and you can find the initial scope here:

TSS 5.0.2 development is being performed in parallel to Steam development.

Don’t Ask Award

There is a person hero in our community who selflessly dedicated a tremendous amount of time and heart to demonstrate the potential of the new challenge feature that debuted in The Second Sky. Nuntar, because obviously he’s the man I am talking about, had the patience and good will to scrape the boards, choose the best challenges and implement them. Thanks Nuntar for generously giving us the beautifully remastered KDD 5.0 and JtRH 5.0. We can only hope you’ll grant us TCB 5.0 too. And why not Beethro’s Teacher 5.0!

Nuntar, please choose a prize from the Prize Pile for your awesome contributions as a token of Caravel and the entire fan base’s appreciation. [You can actually take two -- one for each hold! I mean, who successfully upgrades not one, but two official holds just like that?! -- mrimer]

And also an obligatory link to the official JtRH 5.0 thread:

Caravel Games on social media
Caravel Games has a fancy new Facebook page. We can’t promise you full integration right in your game, so you could post that you've conquered yet another room, but you can be sure updates will be frequent and engaging, as long as Schik isn't writing them. We’re also back on Twitter, so if over-140-character messages are too distracting while you're slashing through hordes of roaches, stick to that platform.

Let's Plays 2.0

DezzTech has compiled the ultimate list of YouTube DROD Videos, which you can find linked below. Many and most of these are Let's Plays, but a couple of them stand out among others. I’d like to take this chance to publicly recommend you to watch two-player, three-player and even FOUR-player Let's Plays, initiated by Crimson Moon and Jeff_ray… with guests Nuntar and Pinnacle. Check out some of their videos, it’s really fun to watch them:

The Ultimate YouTube DROD Video Compilation

Penwielder’s Archipelago with Crimson Moon, Jeff_ray…, Nuntar and Pinnacle

Jacob’s The Goblin with Crimson Moon, Jeff_ray..., and Nuntar

Not strictly DROD, but a DROD-like game nevertheless, Wonderquest played by Jeff_ray and Nuntar

As usual, Pearls is on some weird indefinite hiatus that he doesn't even feel bad about. What a jerk!

New holds

There has been a good number of holds released since TSS saw the light of the day. The ratings in the parenthesis are, respectively, difficulty and overall score out of 10 at the moment of writing:

Mirror Me This by Bomber50 (5.5 :: 8.6)

Jim's hold 2 by xitvono (8.0 :: 7.5)

TSS Elements Showcase by azb (2.5 :: 4.4)

Granny's Secret by BlueFlower (4.0 :: 6.0)

disoriented's hold by disoriented (6.5 :: 8.1)

Curiosity by kieranmillar (6.0 :: 8.9)

Foursquare by Bomber50 (4.5 :: 8.3)

A Day at the Beach by blorx1 (7.5 :: 8.7)

Darkness of the unknown by Red-XIII (8.0 :: 8.7)

Trial By Fire by Bomber50 (7.0 :: 8.0)

Lavender Levels by Dischorran (8.0 :: 9.0)

3 in 1 by kieranmillar (6.5 :: 8.5)

Homeward Adventure by Jeff_Ray… (6.5 :: 8.7)

Deadly Music of Death 2.0… for reals!

Jon Sonnenberg, who’s the ear behind majority of DROD music, has surprised us with a long-awaited set of compilations - TCB, GatEB and TSS soundtracks are now available for listening and purchase on Bandcamp. Our perceptive forumites have already identified some tracks which, apparently, were never used! More information and links to the albums can be found in this forum thread:

And now for something personal

Writing an illumination is a fun yet time-consuming activity. A few weeks ago I realized the same can be said about making games. With this thought in my mind I've abandoned the game I was working on alone, and decided to finally jump onto the DROD bandwagon more as a full-hobby-time developer. So good news is that I'll be like that fifth wheel which doesn't exactly make sense in a car and is not a very good metaphor simile. Regardless of all that, unlike Erik, I won't do any bicycle tricks on rails with a server on my back.

Happy DRODing, everyone!

Who Watches the Watchers - 08-15-2014

There is a metric grundle of DROD-related news items to share from last month and for this upcoming month! I'll try to be as brief as possible, for the Archivists' sake, though it won't do much good.

DROD:TSS 5.0.1

A new version of DROD:TSS is released, with multiple bug fixes and stability and performance improvements. It is recommended for everyone to upgrade TSS to the new version. If you have been playing TSS in 5.0.0, you need to follow specific steps to upgrade your player data for use in 5.0.1. This procedure, plus the change log and instructions for getting the new version, are listed here:

TSS Custom Elements Bonus Pack

In keeping with the spirit of working closely with the community to make everyone's DROD awesome, we've made available a package containing a good selection of the custom graphic and puzzle element content featured in TSS. Everyone who has registered TSS to a forum user account may download it, and you may include or modify these assets for use in your own personal DROD holds.

Gunthro is Greenlit!

Everyone here who uses Steam should be pleased to hear that "DROD: Gunthro and the Epic Blunder" has been Greenlit by the Steam community! We want to take this moment to thank everyone who has voted for DROD to be on Steam, or who has otherwise plugged DROD to be featured on this or other channels.

To acknowledge your dedication, we don't want to just throw our current build of Gunthro up on Steam. We would like to feature "Gunthro" in the 5.0 game engine, with fresh, new hold Challenges integrated with the Steam framework. We're also figuring out how to implement CaravelNet features with the Steam community and playerbase at large. On top of that, we're planning to add some card collectibles and make other DROD content cleanly available as DLC, and hopefully provide Steam cloud support. Regardless of our release schedule for these features, we will promise a Steam key to everyone who has registered Gunthro on the Caravel Forum when it's published on Steam, and we need to implement an automated mechanism for handling this.

As you can see, there's a good number of things we'd like to put together for our Steam players to enjoy. It will take us at least a few months to put everything together. We don't have a date in mind, so we'll keep you posted as progress is made.

In the meantime, we're celebrating by offering both the downloadable and CD versions of "GatEB" for 50% off the prices listed on the Caravel Games site, effective today! So, if you haven't purchased "Gunthro" yet, now would be a great time to enjoy this entry offering into the world of DROD.

New Linux versions of older DROD games:

Trick has provided shiny new versions of Linux DROD for each major title!

All of these fix a crash at startup, add native 64-bit executables, better unicode filesystem support, and other minor fixes. Anyone who has registered their games to their user account on the forum can get the new Linux versions from the Caravel Forum Downloads page:

KDD 2.0.19
JtRH 2.0.19
TCB 3.3.1
GatEB 4.0.4
RPG 1.2.1

DROD Developer Interviews

Patrick interviewed Pearls and LarryMurk a couple of weeks ago. They shared their thoughts and vision on some fascinating puzzle and story development in TSS. You can listen/watch the recap here:

This Saturday, 8 AM MDT, I'll be speaking with Patrick in another round. I heard a rumor that Matt or Jacob might be there too. If not this time though, then in a later session. The interviews get streamed live on Patrick's Twitch page. Join the Caravel chat and ask me and the rest of the group questions!

Forum contest: Keeping it Secret

In designing TSS puzzles, we made a concerted effort to provide interesting and varied ways to access secret areas. Our first post-release official Forum Contest had players designing an interesting way to access a secret room.

There are twenty-five contest submissions that you will be able to try out this Saturday, and you will be able to judge the entries! First place winner will receive a free prize from the Prize Pile and 100 rank points. Second place gets a three-month CaravelNet extension and 50 rank points, and third place gets a one-month CaravelNet extension and 25 rank points. If this sounds like a fun contest idea to participate in, but you weren't aware of it till now, don't despair. There will be a second part to the contest, and we will also have another contest next month. Stick around, and you too could win a free game or other goodies!

DROD Challenge League

Looking for more ways to compete in DROD-space? Now you can take part in the all-new DROD Challenge League! Participate in a series of unique challenges, twisting your mind in ways you might have never considered doing in DROD before, like letting loose as many briars as possible in "Somewhere Under the Ocean" or maybe getting yourself killed in an unusual way.

There's still time to get involved in this First Season now and opportunity to place in the winner's circle.

If there's a lot of interest drummed up here, we may consider making this an actual part of the game and CaravelNet at some point.

What's the Bar up to these days?

Pssst...if you poke the progress bar on the Caravel Forum these days, you can see how many TSS players so far have seen "The Second Sky"!

Happy DRODing!

The Second Sky is Falling! - 06-21-2014

This is it! The news you've all been waiting for. The culmination of many years of development is here, bringing you quite possibly the most exquisite puzzle gaming experience you've ever enjoyed -- DROD: The Second Sky.

DROD: The Second Sky -- Released!

DROD:TSS is now available to everyone who has pre-ordered. When you pre-ordered, you should have received an e-mail from Caravel with a registration link for TSS. Once you have registered your order on the Caravel Forum, you will be able to download the game from this point forward. To download the game, just login on the Caravel Forum, click the Downloads link at the top of the page, and find DROD:TSS under the "CaravelNet Downloads" section. For those who have already pre-ordered and registered, we are granting one extra bonus month of CaravelNet service, effective immediately. Enjoy it while playing TSS, and go for some #1 scores!

If you haven't pre-ordered yet, don't worry. You may still do so and get the game right away from Caravel. We're setting the "official" release date of TSS as July 1. After that point, you should start seeing TSS appearing on other game portals. As DROD shows up through other distribution channels, we'll be happy to provide keys to everyone who has purchased the game directly from Caravel.

If you're buying TSS now, don't forget to buy the bundle version for just $5 more that comes with a lossless collection of Emmett Plant's epic music that is featured in TSS.

Order link for the TSS game+music bundle:

Order TSS only:

If you aren't ready to buy yet, you can also download a demo version with the early levels of the game from the above page on Caravel Games.

Steam Greenlight

We're shooting to release DROD:TSS on Steam. Please don't forget to up-vote us and tell everyone you know to vote for our game!

Contest winners: Number of rooms in DROD:TSS

Now that TSS is out, we have announced the winners of our latest forum contest -- guessing the number of rooms that are in TSS. We're going to count each of the new world maps featured in TSS as a "room", bringing the total number of rooms in the game to...


Including the maps as rooms actually changes the winner, so we'll be generous and fair, gifting an extra first place prize. One is selected based on counting world maps along with rooms and the other without. Our contest winners are:

888: Lucky Luc -- 1st
875: Tamsk -- 1st (bonus prize)
873: jamesdenem -- 2nd
871: martz -- 3rd

Congratulations to the winners! Lucky Luc and Tamsk, you each win a free copy of TSS (or a prize from the Prize Pile) and 100 rank points! Jamesdenem receives three free months of CaravelNet service and 50 rank points. Martz receives one free month of CaravelNet service and 25 rank points.

Stay tuned for more news and a new forum contest. We look forward to seeing you on the Caravel Forum and sharing your thoughts on TSS!

Happy DRODing,