Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 28, 2013.

Update #30

The Esoteric Order of Dagon Wants YOU!


The time has come again to sit down and ramble about the project. You know that I prefer to send one juicy chunk of stuffs instead of frequent casual tidbits, so grab a cup of coffee, Scotch, blood, whatever, and brace yourselves.

First, a foreword about the status of the project: as Halloween draws nearer many are wondering about a release date. I know that I said Halloween was a potential date but the truth is that we're going to need more time. We've been achieving great progress on every front of Asylum but not as quickly as I wished, and I explained why a couple of updates ago: I don't want to burn our budget yet, which is why we're still four people working on the game. You see, the economical situation is precarious down here (or pretty much anywhere in the world) and planning ahead is requiring winning coin flips, so the sensible thing is to keep it cool and avoid as many risks as possible. I'm still able to hire two more people, which not only means more expenses but a greater deal of responsibility, but I'm holding until we achieve further progress in the game. As soon as we have our first full playable, which isn't that far down the road, we are ready to begin the craziest and most intense crunch period ever seen this side of the pond. My amazing team — bless them — are prepared to partially live in the office until all is done. We could even do a livestream, a sort of Big Brother of game development crunch time!

But I'm already rambling. That's the lowdown: I'd rather keep playing safe for a while longer and ensure that we're able to sustain ourselves. The tradeoff, of course, is that we're going slower than expected. Why not hire right away? Because I'm not sure how much time we're going to need. We're still on a tight budget and further delays could put us in a troublesome position with six team members. Why not outsource? No, I just don't like it. The whole point of this was to create our own working environment where we can see each other every day and bring more dynamism to the project. Most importantly, outsourcing could mean losing our "personal touch", that which makes Asylum a unique game. We told you that we're going to give you a one-of-a-kind experience, and we're going to deliver on that promise.

Anyway, it's not that serious. We trust to have our first playable by the end of the year, but we're still going to need to produce more content, mostly cinematics, and of course test. A lot. All in all, I'm thinking March 2014 as a tentative date, but I'll be confirming this as soon as possible.

Dagon: The Micro Version

Well, that was a bit of a long foreword. Let's keep this section short: as promised, we're releasing today a brand new version of Dagon, our adventure game engine, that you can test right away with the Asylum Teaser. There's a huge deal of improvements to mention — just know that all major concerns voiced since the teaser was launched, such as speed and control method, have been addressed. Also, loads of love for fans of Linux on this update. Be sure to tell me about your experiences, how you find the new control method, if it feels smoother and speedier, etc.

Download links: Windows 32 bits, Windows 64 bits, Mac OS X Universal

Please check out this page for Linux packages (currently offering Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora). The Asylum Teaser can still be downloaded from our website.

Notes for Windows and Mac OS X: To use the new engine, just unzip the contents of the file in the same folder where you installed the teaser (go ahead and overwrite everything). It should work on Windows XP but I haven't been able to test much. We will definitely support it. In the case of Mac OS X, anything from 10.5 and above is fine.

Notes for Linux: The binary is now installed in /usr/games/dagon, so execute that one while inside the teaser folder. You may need to edit dagon.cfg to use your screen's full resolution and try the new direct control mode (or just grab the cfg in one of the Windows or Mac zips).

Dagon: The Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away Version

Phew! And the writing continues. When I began working on Scratches years ago there weren't any suitable engines around. You see, at first Scratches was going to be a slideshow adventure reminiscent of Myst or Dark Fall, that is, only static images, so available engines were either overkill or not powerful enough. I needed a middle ground and that is how SCream (Simple Creation Engine for Adventure Makers) was born. Truth to be told, my initial approach was to do a quick and dirty implementation for Windows and not thinking much in long term. However, as I progressed, two things became obvious: one, doing a Windows-only implementation wasn't giving me many advantages, and two, there were no portable adventure engines whatsoever. Now I wasn't ready to throw away all the work I had done to that point, but then Cellar of Rats happened: not only he convinced me that Scratches would greatly benefit of a soundtrack (I didn't plan any music for the game in the first place), he also encouraged me to make the move to panoramic movement instead of slides. And that is how SCream was reborn.

The new engine was built with three things in mind: portability, simplicity, and performance. A far cry from its initial conception, it was meant to work for future games, not just Scratches. The idea always was to do as much hard work as possible in the engine and then allow a casual programmer to code an entire game with a very simple scripting language, an approach that worked as intended: programming Scratches took me around four months, while the engine itself might have taken me eighteen. SCream was further developed for the educational adventure Risk Profile, though it was only released in Argentina. Support for 2D adventures was added and the scripting language proved to be very flexible, as it easily adapted to a whole different presentation and gameplay.

But, that was as far as SCream went. As you may know, the company that produced Scratches was shut down, which brought me to Senscape and Asylum. Legal complications prevented me from reusing and continuing work on SCream, so there I was again facing a new dilemma: should I settle with a readily available product or attempt the not-so-sane feast of doing a game engine from scratch TWICE?

Fast forward to this moment and you can tell that I'm clearly insane. In my defense, my only option in early 2009 to do what we had in mind was Unity, which wasn't as developed as it is today, but I'll confess there was a bit of pride involved: if I did it with Scratches, then why not Asylum? Our very own engine, one that we could tweak to our liking and ensure it works on any device that we want. But Asylum is a far more complex project than Scratches ever was, larger and meaner, demanding a more technically apt and powerful architecture, and of course many more features, which is why this new take on SCream took a life of its own. It's no longer "the engine powering Asylum" but Dagon, a versatile, highly efficient, and extremely portable adventure game engine.

I really should stop now because the word count is skyrocketing. Open sourcing Dagon has been an excellent move for everyone involved: I received fantastic fixes and suggestions, and many developers are adopting the engine for their projects, chief among them the intriguing Adamantus. Our forums are very active and I can already feel this is the beginning of a strong and friendly community. There's so much more to tell in future updates, but for now I invite you to peruse our GitHub repository. The Issues section provides a rough roadmap and you can even see what I'm working on at the moment, although the Wiki needs a makeover and a thorough update. The roadmap is rather loose but it should also give you an idea of where we're standing with Asylum.

PHEW! And now for a completely unceremonious goodbye.


P.S.: Dagon actually stands for Unix-like recursive naming Dagon Adventure Game Objects Nexus. The coincidence with THAT other Dagon was completely unintentional.

P.P.S.: Also, Dagon happens to be the #1 software on Steam Greenlight. How cool is that?

P.P.P.S.: This update is dedicated to Serena Nelson.

P.P.P.P.S.: Riggo is awesome.


    1. Kittygaot.small.small

      Creator Palindrome Bob-XSF-I'm in AGL589-AA496 on November 2

      @Agustin: Sorry, not in my habit to keep checking comments to an update I've already commented on. I'm running a Kubuntu 12.04 LTS 64 bit, so am trying the raring amd64-deb. It reports dependency-issues but provide no further info.
      ### Member of the Pinkerton Road Cavalry ###
      ### Dreamfall Traveller ###

    2. Pfm_logo.small

      Creator Tobias Fleischer // PYLON.FM Productions on October 22

      Great engine, thanks for that. And yeah, take our time with the release, I hate rushed, half-finished games!

    3. Header_picffffffff.small

      Creator Agustín Cordes on October 19

      WeirdRussian, this sounds like the patch wasn't installed correctly. Remember that you must *copy* these files into the folder of your previous install. If that is correct, then you can send me dagon.log and I'll confirm what's the problem :)

    4. Missing_small

      Creator WeirdRussian on October 19

      Sorry to say but this build doesn't work for me at all. I can see the intro screen just fine, but after that it's just a black screen with the icon in the middle, that I can move if I want to, but there is nothing else to see at all. Tried the 64bit and 32bit Win version, it's exactly the same for me on both. I'm on Win7.

      I was able to play the first demo just fine.

    5. Mandateavatar.small

      Creator Anaxphone- Follower of The Mandate on October 15, 2013

      I wish I could compare on the old system, because cross-referencing performance between an old Win XP laptop with integrated graphics chip and the replacement desktop hardly seems fair.

      That said, thanks for continuing to support Win XP.

    6. Header_picffffffff.small

      Creator Agustín Cordes on October 15, 2013

      There was a problem with the Windows binaries that I uploaded last Friday, they weren't working properly on Windows XP. You can re-download now as they should be fine :)

    7. Dontpanic75x75.small

      Creator Chris on October 15, 2013

      Take your time, get it right. Nice to see more and more developers targeting Linux. We need a gaming platform with a graphics API that isn't tied to the version of Windows. Here's hoping the Steam Box succeeds.

      Sublime Text FTW :-)

    8. Riggo.small

      Creator Riggo on October 14, 2013

      That update was more than 3 lines, so I must say it was pretty stressful to read the entire thing! Mvalnor is awesome too, by the way!!! Possibly 39x more times awesome than I am... She does have boobs after all!!!

      Of course, I can understand the Wardens' perspective... It may offend some people if EVERY update ended with MValnor is awesome!!!

    9. Riggo.small

      Creator Riggo on October 14, 2013

      Must admit, the comments below actually made me read through an ENTIRE UPDATE to see what was going on! I admit, I am AWESOME!!!! ;-)

    10. Header_picffffffff.small

      Creator Agustín Cordes on October 14, 2013

      Thank you all for understanding. We hate to take longer but it will be absolutely worth it!

      Anaxphone, the engine is performing considerably better since the teaser, so I bet you won't have any problems.

      Palindrome, which dependencies are throwing errors? Also, which one is your distro?

    11. Kittygaot.small.small

      Creator Palindrome Bob-XSF-I'm in AGL589-AA496 on October 13, 2013

      Ack, dependency-issues on these Dagon-versions. :-( Thanks for this verbose update! :-)
      ### Member of the Pinkerton Road Cavalry ###
      ### Dreamfall Traveller ###

    12. Stasisavatar.small

      Creator jorlinn on Linux on October 13, 2013

      Yes!. that's how it's done. Keep it cool and divert any madness you encounter into the game rather than into the minds of your team. Thank you so much for this update. I'm looking forward to the game, but only when "It's done". I might be able to check out the teaser.

    13. Arnoidrite.small

      Creator ☜☆RSF☆☞ on October 13, 2013

      haha yeah, you crazy warden!! Loved it as usual. Thanks for the meaningful update!
      P.P.P.P.P.S.: I totally agree, although actually voicing it makes them both even bolder! ;-)

    14. Mandateavatar.small

      Creator Anaxphone- Follower of The Mandate on October 13, 2013

      I find your theory completely plausible, Jan.

      I really need to check out the new teaser at some point. Been busy finishing up the repairs/updates on the replacement system, which should be able to handle Dagon far more smoothly than the old computer.

    15. Enry1.small

      Creator David Melanson on October 12, 2013

      Thanks for the update! And, pleased to report that the new version of the Dagon engine runs the Asylum demo on Win7 64 bit with no crashes or hiccups anywhere I could find.

    16. Bebe.small

      Creator Leonard Challis OotG - on October 12, 2013

      Best updates on Kickstarter. We will wait patiently with baited breath. Keep up the awesome work!

    17. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Jan Kavan on October 12, 2013

      Actually originally the name was "Da Goon", inspired by certain slang, But Agustín made a typo and the rest is a history...

    18. Fryavatar.small

      Creator Stiler Orion on October 12, 2013

      " Dagon actually stands for Unix-like recursive naming Dagon Adventure Game Objects Nexus. The coincidence with THAT other Dagon was completely unintentional."

      Sure.....that's what he'd want you to say...

    19. Serena_paladin_qfi.small

      Creator Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM on October 12, 2013

      Riggo is, indeed, awesome.

      And thanks for the dedication! It means a lot!

    20. Breakout_-_cthulhu.small

      Creator Stew OotG Knight/Captain Bloodcoffee on October 12, 2013

      #ForSerena #RiggoIsAwesome #BloodCoffee :D

    21. Missing_small

      Creator 404-tech on October 12, 2013

      "a delayed game is bad for now, a bad game is bad forever" :)

    22. Squirrel.small

      Creator ThomasN on October 12, 2013

      Thank you for this no-bullshit info feed, rarely seen here on Kickstarter.
      And now my bag of chips is gone :(
      Keep sane.

    23. Header_picffffffff.small

      Creator Agustín Cordes on October 12, 2013

      @Anaxphone, fixed ;)

      @Zachary, I haven't been able to update the original teaser files, so please apply the new patch!

    24. Missing_small

      Creator Zachary Hait on October 12, 2013

      Great update!

      I never downloaded the initial teaser and am looking to use it on my Mac. Will it work as is, or will I have to download the initial teaser and then do the overwriting stated in the instructions? Thanks!

    25. Mandateavatar.small

      Creator Anaxphone- Follower of The Mandate on October 12, 2013

      And the "G" in Dagon was spirited off by a Nightgaunt for asking too many questions! ;)

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