Phobos Times (Issue 3, January)

10 January 2010

Monthly newsletter of Chaosforge!

Issue No. 3 – Happy New Year!

The ChaosForge makes a big push in to 2010 – and we know this will be the most exciting year for us yet! Several online communities are buzzing with the latest development news and the sneak peeks at the graphics version released this month. We’re excited to bring you the first many featured articles, an interview with supporter turned PR man – MaiZure. Enjoy!

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Feature Article – Interview with MaiZure

Recently, one of the staff behind bringing you the Phobos Times took some time away from their current Hurt Me Plenty AoB run and edged a certain super secret Public Relations Lead into a corner. Though the lighting in the PR head office isn’t that good (it keeps the Doomish atmosphere), these two were seen talking for quite some time. The result of this extended rendezvous? Precious answers to the questions that burn in your minds! Without further ado, the full text of the brief but satisfying interview with MaiZure.

So, MaiZure. You’re currently the main man in the super secret hidden Public Relations Forum. The man behind the scenes. But where did you come from? And where will you go? To answer those questions…here’s some questions! You’re here now, and trust me we’re glad of that, but how in the world did you discover Chaosforge in the first place? And when did this joyous event happen?

Much earlier than my forum profile would lead you to believe…

I discovered the ChaosForge and DRL in 2005 thanks to a friend who sent me a random link on AIM one day. We were both big doom fans since the modem-to-modem days of Doom 2. The DRL version at the time was quite bare bones (0.9.8, I believe). At that time, there wasn’t any persistent player info, ranks, or even Challenge modes. If I recall – Cybie wasn’t even on level 25!

DRL was good for a few hours of fun then, but what really turned my head was the addition of the player file, which kept me coming back for more and more. With this, and the addition of uniques, I really started to visualize the potential in DRL. I decided to stop lurking and jump on to the forum to add my two cents. I think my first or second post was about adding medals in to the mix! It was great to get in to this community where most folks have a big hand in shaping the future of development.

Ah, you mentioned the addition of the challenge modes – which happen to be one of the bigger generators of conversations on the forums – what’s your take on them? What do you find to be the most difficult challenge mode to play?

No question about it – Angel of Berserk. I’m probably an intermediate player overall and I say that because I simply can’t nail down that melee strategy. I’m far too impatient of a player to think about what I’m doing before I charge wildly into a Vile pack, fists flying. Today, If anyone saw a vid of me playing AoB, you wouldn’t know if it really was AoB or AoPc. Whenever I win, its because I ran as fast as I could to level 25 and hoped to pick up a thermie on the way!

Whenever I think about doing the challenge to this day, I always wish I had a saved game in the Chained Court because I know getting there will be 20 deaths down the road.

Well, I suppose they call it a challenge for a reason. After delving into the pits of your Doom rage, what makes you keep coming back to play DRL? Is there a particular style (challenge or non) that makes you smile on the inside?

I hate fists – but I LOVE my shotguns. No, my favorite is not Angel of Shotgunnery, but Angel of MAX CARNAGE! Shotguns dominate this challenge. There’s nothing like an indiscriminate spray of maximum-damage shrapnel to ruin a fine day in hell. Ammo-management is also a thing of the past.

AoMC carried me to my first UV victory, but I will humbly admit it was during the beta phase of the last release when shotguns were 8d3 instead of 7d3.

While DRL is easy to pick up, some of the nuances can be a bit hard to master. Do you have any tips for those who might be fresh to the game?

Read everything Thomas has ever posted, and get your hands on both his and Sylphs guide. There are a few recordings out on the forum of a few outstanding runs that new players should check out. I’m not sure how much is on YouTube at this point, but you can be sure there will be more there and soon…

My personal experience is that patience is the key. If you have the a risky option of attacking, or a safe option of running, always run! Then blast blindly since most weapons have a longer range than you can see. Then again, I’m probably not the guy to trust your strategy to.

We all know (now if not before) that you’re the super secret marketing man, so how in the heck did you get the job? What was it that actually prompted your getting into the PR side of Chaosforge?

By accident! I opened my big mouth on IRC one day about ChaosForge not having any Marketing or PR efforts beyond “Make it and they will come”. Kornel jumped in and asked me a few questions about marketing and then challenged me to put my time where my mouth is! This is probably the best way that I can give back to the community right now.

Public Relations, from what I hear, isn’t all that easy. You have to be constantly fresh and new. Kornel’s PR listing on the Help Wanted page lists a “bag of ideas” as a requirement. So where do you get your awesome ideas from?

That’s a tough one – I’ve found that the best ideas consistently come from collaborative efforts with a small group of highly motivated individuals. Plans only start when individuals throw out an idea, and the rest of the group takes it and starts running. If I had any great ideas, it was simply to get a community PR team together and many of the changes we’ve seen this year has come from each and every contributor since. Now that we have an official forum for PR, I’m sure that the ideas will continue to flow.

We’re fortunate enough to have a large backlog of ideas in the forum since early DRL versions. Some of those old ideas may have been forgotten because they were too far out of reach, but there are a few gems in there that could be applied to the recent versions. If I wanted to go idea shopping, I would look in the old archives for inspiration.

Mentioning all that secret behind the scenes work is making us all itching to know, what the sort of super secret things are you working on for PR right now?

Answering interview questions, obviously!

It’s a balancing act of projects we have going on in the PR forum. For instance: 1) Making sure the Phobos Times is relevent, interesting, and on-time. 2) Getting the word out whether its through Wikipedia, YouTube, other forums, etc. 3) Being a welcoming committee of sorts 4) Random events like last week’s RL of the year poll. Thank you everyone for helping out!

Keeping some secrets to yourself, eh? Alright, we’ll let that slide for now. Now let’s say someone come along, plays DRL, thinks it’s awesome (who wouldn’t?) and wants to help. Any ideas on what they could do?

Rest assured that anyone with a lot of passion for great games and a little bit of knowledge will have a place in the ChaosForge community. Everyone should check out the following:

  • Kornel is always looking for folks with the right skills on the dev team. Review the Help Wanted thread stickied in the General Discussion forum.
  • Most of the development ideas come from the community so the easy way to give back as a player is to jump on to the forum and throw around ideas that might make the next version even better!
  • If any of my discussion on the PR team sounds interesting and you think you’d like to help out, shoot me a PM. We’re all volunteers and you can commit to as much as you think you can handle.
  • Donate! Nothing speeds up development faster than rewards for the developers. With the next Beta close to release and graphics just around the corner, we can’t afford to have Kornel having to take a full-time job and stop working at CF!

Let’s assume that Kornel has an infinite amount of time to code, and infinite resources. Is there anything you’d like to see him code? Some special feature? Another roguelike? Something completely off the wall?

Yes, StarDreamer! Donors know what I’m talking about.

Where do you see Chaosforge going in the next few months/years? Any thoughts on the future of that all powerful group that brought you your favorite coffee break game?

Well with DRL approaching the home stretch, and community participation growing by leaps and bounds, we’re finally going to see soon see action around the ‘secret’ unannounced projects that Kornel has tucked away in the Tavern of Chaos (the donor section of the forum). StarDreamer, in particular, has potential to become the flagship product of the ChaosForge. All fans of free-form space games in the vein of Elite or Star Control should be thrilled. Since that idea is clearly Kornel’s passion, I think all roads will lead to it.

My expectation for the year is DRL 1.0 and at least one new project released, possibly for the 7DRL contest. DRL 2 is in the works and I’ll bet that ChaosForge will be moving beyond roguelikes within the next two years. Kornel’s blog is the place to go for the lastest on development, and general thoughts on the direction of ChaosForge.

In short, things are happening — quickly! I’m sure I speak for the entire community when I say that we’re on the edge of our seats for the next big announcement.

Thanks for all your time, MaiZure. And keep up the good work!

Thanks for the opportunity to speak to the community. I’m on the edge of seat for the latest version and until then, I’ll see everyone on the forum and IRC.


Community news

DRL is Roguelike of the year!
The 3rd annual Ascii Dreams award for the best of Roguelike the year has been awarded to DRL! A big thank-you goes out to the members of our community who participated at the last minute to vote for us. While this was probably little surpise to our core members, the Roguelike world now has all eyes on us. This will undoubtedly be the first of many.

Kornel unleashed epic screenshots from the graphics version v1.0! Most of us have been dreaming for the coming days for years! Prepare to drool over these:


The ChaosForge community has two popular PBFs (MRS Morey and Machine Spirit) with two more expected in the near future. Hop on over to the PBF section of the forum to jump in on the action!

Development Progress

Donors and the beta testers have been working hard on the most recent release Beta 2. We expect a public release in the near future. Anticipation has lead to a $100 bounty on this public release. Want to get this release out next week? Then up that bounty!

The latest bounty

Kornel has been quite busy updating us on the future of ChaosForge and development news. Check out all of his personal blog entries since the last newsletter:

A Problematic-feature
Silence Before the Storm
Contricting Restrictions
Neko’s Destiny
Chaosforge 2009 Post-mortem
Chaosforge 2010

As we see, Kornel has been pushing Neko development. Word from the developers circle says that BerserkRL is going to see some action with these code revisions.

Be sure to check out the new DRL Timeline!

Tip of the Month

Cyberdemons tend to walk left or right, but infrequently up or down. If you discover which row he is marching down, you can score a few free hits before regrouping.

MoM! (Mortem of the Month)

This month’s distinction goes to UnderAPaleGreySky for achieving his *2nd* diamond badge – Pacifism Diamond. Very difficult achievement, but maybe not for someone who has logged over 800 games since the last release! Way to go!

UnderAPaleGreySky’s Pacifism Diamond run


If last month’s 1000 member milestone wasn’t impressive, this month 50 new folks have joined us to bring the tally up to a solid 1050 members! Give a shout out to the new members you see on the forum and IRC.

January’s donation goals were set at $400 USD and we’re extremely happy with your generosity so far. We’ve hit 66% of this goal ($263) within the first 10 days. Thank you for the continued support!

Check back for the newsletter next month for all the latest happenings around the ChaosForge!