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In Profundis - random cave exploration sim/game's video poster

A randomized, 2D cave exploration game, using cellular automation to simulate a vast game world. Read more

pledged of $5,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on May 16, 2011.

A randomized, 2D cave exploration game, using cellular automation to simulate a vast game world.

About this project

In Profundis is a kind of simulation-game set in a random world.  "Kind of" because the focus is on gameplay more than realism, "simulation" because, even if the game isn't intended to be an authentic caving experience, it is meant to suggest realism.  I need your help for funding so that I can focus on design and development, obtain equipment in order to explore Android and iPhone development, and other aids to development.

The player explores a huge cavern on an alien world, with substances and materials both familiar and exotic.  He brings in a selection of objects and gadgets with which to overcome the dangerous terrain, and hopefully make his fortune.  The odds are against him.

The game uses cellular automation to simulate its world.  Liquids flow, gases spread, boulders roll, fires spread, plants grow and walls crack and crumble.  Other games, notably three that involve exploring underground caverns, use CA techniques: the classic Atari 800 puzzle game Boulder Dash (which directly inspired the behavior of the boulders here), and the recent indie hits Dwarf Fortress and Minecraft.  Another game that bears some similarity, at least in the operation of its engine, is the "Falling Sand" Java game.  However, In Profundis' CA system will be rather more complex than most of these (except maybe for Dwarf Fortress -- Tarn Adams is a genius).  The fact that it's 2D helps in this regard; it greatly decreases the amount of calculation needed for each frame.

The game is also somewhat inspired by roguelikes, in that it presents a dangerous, randomly-generated game world to explore and ultimately defeat.  The pace is intended to be fairly sedate, and the player is rewarded for experimenting and discovering about the game world before jumping in.  Caution and prudence win the day.  Well, most of the time.

I use descriptions of imagined gameplay in the video and above.  This is a useful tool, I find, in figuring out what I want a game to do.  I want to play games where I can have adventures like these without actually risking life and limb, not the canned sort that a scenario writer imagines I'd want to have, but the kind where what happens is actually the result of my actions and cunning.  This has always been the future of computer gaming; it's why the roguelikes are an eternal nagging voice at the edges of the field, and it explains the recent successes of Dwarf Fortress and Minecraft.  It is the future, but it is difficult to work these sorts of designs into a commercial studio's development process.  It is up to the indies to develop this promising theme.


I'll be chronicling progress on the game at the COIN DOOR INTERLOCK blog, at:

And here's another video, this one's rather longer, and more artsy, but at the end also explains in more detail what you're seeing in the pitch!


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    42 backers

    A free copy of the game for PC when it's available. (Other versions aren't definite yet.)

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    63 backers

    The above, plus:
    Occasional access to new alphas or betas, including the "falling sand" mode depicted in the videos.

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    54 backers

    The above, plus:
    Mention in the credits under "Special Thanks."

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    3 backers

    The above, plus:
    A PDF of a special comic story about the game, done in the art style of the "artsy" video. This will be poster-size and wide format (like, 19x19 inches) and in the form of a PDF. You can read it as-is, or print it out at your local office supply store.

  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    5 backers

    The above, plus:
    Optionally, and with your permission, your name or an alternate text of your choosing may be used in some of the random text generation the game does, for example: planet names, substance names, monster names, random jokes. I'd email you and ask for a word or name or two to add to the game's lists. Names of people, aliens, liquids, gases, planets, or maybe other things.

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    8 backers

    The above, plus:
    Throughout the game your character is seeking a variety of lost treasures hidden deep underground. You can name one of these treasures yourself, and I will work your treasure into the game. I must retain final approval over the treasure's name (nothing mood-breaking please), but generally I'm fairly easy going about this. Your treasure may not appear in every game; in fact, it might be a super-rare thing, only showing up once in a blue moon.

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    3 backers Limited (27 left of 30)

    The above, plus:
    A color, printed, signed and numbered edition of the comic mentioned above, printed as a poster.

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    The above, plus:
    A physical realization (courtesy of a friend's 3D printer) representing one of the treasures of the game, that you can actually hold in your hands, use stop papers from blow away, or use to perform dark and complex rites to the elder gods! The object should be about the size that can fit in one hand. Own a fragment of In Profundis' ancient lore made real!

Funding period

- (30 days)