Frozen Depths

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Welcome to the homepage of Frozen Depths!

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14.May.2019 Apparently people still play this game, and are ambitious enough to beat it. Awesome! Here's proof of two winning runs, and some strategy tips. Also, massive spoilers! Link. And here's the first strategy guide I've found for Frozen Depths, found in the thread: click. Good stuff.

13.Dec.2015 Added a 64bit Linux (Debian) version of the game to the downloads page. Compilation thanks to a Frozen Depths player.

29.Aug.2014 Hello everyone! This is the day! Frozen Depths version 1.05 has been officially released! I did say August would be the month, though admittedly this took a week longer than I planned. No worries, thanks to the extra time I managed to squeeze in descriptions for all the monsters. The testing phase went well, many small corrections were made, but no big bugs were found. The game proved to be more stable than I dared hope, and the business with OS X went rather smoothly as well. Good.

So, 1.05 huh? What's actually in it? I'm glad you asked! Here's the full list of changes: click. The main theme for development was this time playability improvements, which can be further broken down to the areas of polishment, learnability, usability, and the general goal of cutting unfun parts of the game. There was already quite a lot of content in version 1.04, but it required dedication to learn how obscure things worked to get deep into the game. Now if this was ADOM or Nethack it would be tolerable, but Frozen Depths isn't a heavy-weight roguelike, so I wanted to teach the game better, make earlier opaque information more transparent and help the player play the game better. This is why you see a lot more advice, transparent info, an in-game tutorial and UI improvements in 1.05 compared to earlier versions.

Another big thing for me was to drop the number of floors from 50 to 35. When I first started developing Frozen Depths I had no idea how large the game would become. So I just decided to make it 50 floors deep. Now that my vision of the game has been pretty much fulfilled, I realized that 50 floors stretches the content too thin and makes the game feel a bit grindy at times. The solution was to cut 3 regular floors from each dungeon section. This was the first goal I had for this version, as I felt that the game could be a lot more fun. And I'm really happy with the result. To me this pacing feels perfect: there are moments when you can relax a bit, but you're looking forward to something all the time. Even gaining levels is faster now, which is a nice bonus.

While new content wasn't the first priority for this version, I managed to add new things to almost all content categories. The only exception was the handcrafted special floors, of which 50 is enough I believe. The new cold related mechanic, wet clothes, is suitably annoying and adds spikes of warmth loss to the otherwise linear curve. The overall balance felt very good in playtesting as well: finally I can say that an experienced player can beat the game consistently and not only thanks to lucky accidents. We shall see how many players other than me manage to beat the game. Of course there were many bug fixes, hopefully all the crash bugs have been wiped, as well as other miscellaneous additions that you can check from the version info file if you're interested.

I've been hinting that version 1.05 could be the last major release of Frozen Depths. While this may be true, I've reached my vision for the game and the amount of time I have for hobby development grows shorter year by year, I'm not abandoning the game. I like to receive feedback, bug reports and feature requests, and I'm planning to release a silent upgrade to version 1.05 some weeks after the release if you guys find more bugs or have ideas how to teach the game even better. But I probably won't release a huge new version 1.06 any time soon. Smaller fix updates, perhaps a version 1.05b is more what I'm thinking. So do send that feedback if you want to see a better Frozen Depths.

This August isn't only the release month for 1.05. It's also the month when Frozen Depths goes to the double digits: I've been developing the game for 10 year now! What an appropriate time to release the long awaited new version. Exactly 10 years ago I was developing the first draft of the then nameless roguelike game. I had just learned my first programming language, C++, thanks to a friend who was into programming. I liked ADOM a lot, I had no way to get graphics and I wanted to create a game with my new skills. A roguelike was the natural choice. Fast forward six months and I had decided to scrap all the crappy code I had written and start over from scratch. At that time I created these pages, as you can see from the ancient news section. It took me one and a half years to release the first version of the game. I got a lot of good feedback on RGRD and decided to continue the development. And here I am now, many moons later. I would have probably laughed if someone had told the 15-year-old me that I'd be still developing the game after 10 years. But here we are, and I don't regret it!

So, there you have it. Head to the Downloads page to see for yourself what the fruit of 10 years of development looks and feels like. And don't forget to drop me a line if you like what you see. Or especially if you don't like what you see. The next update will be several weeks from now after I've gotten an idea how many bugs were left in the release version. Until then, see you in the dungeon, good luck and remember to dress warmly!

1.Aug.2014 Good morning. It's been more than a month since the last post and it's August now, so I thought I'd do another progress update even though beta testing hasn't started quite yet. This day does, however, mark the beginning of alpha testing! I managed to finish the last development item from the to-do list a moment ago, so after a weekend of rest I'll move on to testing by myself for a week. Or that's the plan, which could change if the game is still terribly buggy after the first week of fixing. I don't wish to bother outside testers with the obvious and easy to find bugs, hence the alpha test phase first. So, about a week till the beta testing begins. Awesome.

As we can see, I'm very well on schedule. This doesn't mean that I estimated the workload accurately, though. I did a fair bit more development last month than I anticipated, and came up with a few more additions to the to-do list, but all is well as long as the project stays on schedule, right? I'm very happy with the end result, I just hope that alpha testing doesn't reveal too many unwanted surprises. You see, during the last month I did perhaps the largest single change to the overall internal workings of the game ever: I dropped the total number of floors from 50 to 35. This had major implications for numerous features as well as the whole balance of the game. The content is in a lot tighter, more compact package now and I really like how action packed the game is, but this is also the reason why I had to reserve a lot of time for testing.

I'll repeat the open invitation to beta testing: If you're interested in helping me with a pair of fresh eyes or would like to suggest something that's missing from the game, send me a message via the contact page, include your email address and whether you'd like a Windows .exe or a Linux binary for testing (an OS X version will be compiled for the main release, but won't be available for beta testing). You'll likely get your hands on the game a week from now when I deem the game ready for outsiders.

The next post here will likely be the release announcement of Frozen Depths 1.05; I won't be doing any more progress updates unless something weird happens. The earliest possible release date is 23.8.2014, that's three weeks of testing, but I can't promise that it will be that particular Saturday. I might be busy, or there could be technical difficulties with the OS X version for example, but I'd still say that August is The Month. Until then, have a good time!

18.Jun.2014 Hello again. I'm here with the monthly progress update I promised, and with good news! The development has gone amazingly well after the last news update. There are 30 new items in the version changes file now, which means I've finished almost twice as many tasks by now than last summer. And the tasks were larger on average. That's great! Even better, there are only about 8 tasks left on the to-do list before I can start alpha playtesting by myself. I estimate that I need 10-12 development days to finish the tasks and do the first round of alpha testing. Do note that not all days are development days, so it's going to take longer than 2 weeks.

In fact, I'll probably be finished with alpha playtesting in early August, likely the first week, or at least that's my internal deadline. This is because I'll be travelling around Finland and be generally busy for the next month. I expect I can do a few development days during the next month, but most of the work will be done during the last week of July and the first week of August. I don't mind, I'm well on schedule and I don't expect to come up with too many new development ideas.

After I'm done with alpha playtesting, I'll move to a closed beta. Closed playtesting is a lot easier to control, the feedback is more direct and it doesn't feel like a release. I'll be offering the beta version to friends and other likely playtesters in a limited way, but it won't be completely secret. In fact if you, dear reader, are interested in playtesting the game and finding the last bugs before the official release, I welcome you heartily! I appreciate any feedback and help that I'm offered. The easiest way for you to get in to the closed beta is to drop me a message via email or the contact page. Remember to add your email address if you use the contact page so that I can send you a link to the game and other possible instructions once the closed beta begins.

That's it for this progress update. The development is going strong and I can now say with confidence that version 1.05 will be released in the latter half of August. I'll post the next update around the beginning of August, after alpha testing is finished and the beta testing begins, or if something weird happens and the schedule changes. Have a good time until then!

11.May.2014 Greetings, traveller. I'm back with a pre-summer update as the warmer months have been the inspiring time for me to develop this frost-themed game of mine. Nothing much happened between last summer and now, though I did continue the development of 1.05 a little bit last year. Hence this update will focus more on the upcoming summer.

Last year I said I'd be disappointed if version 1.05 wasn't out by the end of 2014. I still hold on to that, and I'll even raise the stakes: I hope to release by the end of August! The difference isn't large, however, since I'll be a lot busier after that, as always when the academic year begins. This has to be the year though, or it could be very difficult to finish the development after this. My leisure time is growing shorter every year and all that.

A year ago I also estimated I'd get more than 50% of the development done during 2013, but that was too optimistic. Such is common in the software industry. I was now going to say I've cleared about 30% of the to-do list, but a more realistic estimate would be that there's still 80% of the work to be done. That's not too bad if I don't repeat the mistake I did last summer: starting too late. This is not my intent. On the contrary, I was going to start the development this week, but I caught a cold, so I decided to just type this news update here and make a development plan.

I'll try to post a progress update every summer month, which should also pressure me to develop the game at a steady pace. We shall see how this goes and anything can happen, but I'm liking my chances this year. Version 1.05 could be the final major update Frozen Depths sees, looking at how long even this update's slow development has taken, so I want to polish it to the core. So that it can stand on its own without urgent need for further fixes. That's the goal I have for this summer. So, here we go, wish me luck and see you in a month or so when I'll post the first progress update. Until then, have a good day!

25.Jun.2013 Hello there! It's time for a yearly update. Not much has happened, but enough to warrant a few paragraphs of news. The first thing you probably noticed is the address you're at: the site has moved. Perhaps overcome by the joy of this sudden change you headed to the downloads page, only to be disappointed as there's no version 1.05 there to grab. Maybe you still managed to notice the only addition there, a Raspberry Pi port of the game, before heading back here. And that's pretty much all that has happened, in a nutshell. Along with more details about these events, I'll try to foresee the near future of development in this update.

First off, the new domain for this site isn't that big of a deal and unfortunately doesn't mean that the development would kick into a high gear now. I'm just changing my web hotel service provider. Previously I used a home page service included in a magazine subscription, but now that I'm no longer happy with the content of said magazine and I'm unsubscribing, I need a new web hotel for the game and my other uploads. As a bonus, this has a positive financial impact as well. The only annoying part is that everything online links currently to the old address, and it's going to take a long time for the situation to change. So please, if you can, update any links you have access to. Thanks.

Next up, what's up with 1.05? Well, not much. I had hoped to be able to develop the game as a part of my bachelor's thesis last autumn, but it turned out I'm better off (or roughly the same) developing it separately. It would've only been pure extra work since the game doesn't lack pathfinding or line of sight or any algorithm like that. Ah well. Hence my development plans failed last year. However I do have new plans for this year, but more on those later.

So the only actually new item on this site is the Raspberry Pi binaries for the Raspbian operating system. This happened quite randomly when the maintainer of the TTYgames site contacted me if he could compile the game for Raspberry's ARM processor architecture. After agreeing never to distribute the source further I gave him the go ahead and here we are. He generously sent me the ported game and now it's up for all rogueliking Raspberry users to grab. Although somehow I think that's not a large audience. Cool nonetheless.

Now, the current plans. I'm going to put some work towards 1.05 during the summer when I have spare days and weeks. This website update was the first necessary step. My summer isn't completely free for development of course: I'm running a tabletop RPG campaign, moving in together with my girlfriend (who didn't appreciate being labelled a time sink in the last news post), visiting my home city, geocaching, studying... the list goes on. I've estimated that I can't clear the whole todo-list during summer, but likely most of it. University will be chewing my free time again come autumn, so I can't promise a release this year. However, if I do manage to clear more than half of the todo list, I'll have a burning desire to finish what I've started. I'd be disappointed if there's no release by the end of 2014. That's far away, but it's better than nothing. We'll see how this goes.

To conclude this post on a positive note, I'm happy to see that, even though the latest version is from 2010, the game still draws people to the downloads page, there's occasionally discussion on various forums about it and some people even contact me through the site. The game and the roguelike genre as a whole is alive and breathing. With that, I wish you a good summer!

29.Jul.2012 Whew, that was indeed a long time without an update. Nothing new there. So hello again, I'm here to let you know that I'm still alive. And not only that! The development frost is melting a little! I've finally had the time to merge all the idea/todo/feedback/etc. text files into one big To-Do list for version 1.05. While it's not entirely final, I'll only be adding relatively small ideas to the list when something good or cool tickles my imagination. The "big features" of this version, as well as the overall theme or goal have been decided.

And that's not just because I don't have any more big ideas that I need/desperately want to add to the update, it's also due to the size of the current list. There are almost exactly one hundred entries in there, so it's again going to be a project full of work. Luckily most of the entries are small changes, clarifications, making the UI a bit more intuitive or tiny, but quite useful, enhancements to some of the features. The most useful feedback has been in a very different format this time, namely as Let's Play videos on Youtube. I've never had this much insight into the thought processes of a new player before, and a huge chunk of the todo list is based on ideas I've had while watching people struggle with the more obscure features or parts of the UI. This is the major theme of this update, now that I know how to improve the actual playability and intuitiveness of the game.

Not to worry, though, there will also be new content in the form of new items, monsters, skills etc. as well as a few new gameplay features and one major change to the core of the game, which should have interesting and good consequences: I'm cutting the number of floors from 50 to 35. This effectively condenses the game, speeds up level upping, cuts a lot of the boring grind and who knows what more. I'm not removing much besides the monsters from those floors (but not the actual monster types), just redistributing the old, though experience gains, items, and the Goddess only knows how many other things need to be tweaked to keep the game balanced after this change. I'm rather excited about this one personally, but I'm not looking forward to the work.

Overall the game feels mature to me as a developer, now that I've had a chance to reflect with the time off from the development. My vision and goal of the game is pretty much realized now and I'm not planning huge additions like an overworld or magic system. This does not mean I'm abandoning the game after 1.05, but we'll see, if I don't get the feeling something is missing or absolutely needs tweaking, there might be a long while before I have enough material and ideas (not to mention time..) to fuel another release. Or perhaps I'll start releasing versions with a smaller list of changes from then on.

But now I'm getting way ahead of myself! Especially since the release of version 1.05 is still far in the mists of tomorrow. I'll most likely start the development in the near future, but slowly, since many other things are gnawing at my development time, and university will start eating chunks of it about a month from now too. It seems universal that the older you get, the less time you have for hobbies like this. Or maybe I've just collected too many hobbies to divide my limited time. Ah well, now I'm starting to ramble. In conclusion, I'll be taking the first steps toward version 1.05 soon, but as always, don't hold your breath with the release. I'm not even promising next year, but I'm silently hoping that the slow development bears fruit before 2014.

Oh, and what was I doing the last year? Unintentionally collecting more hobbies and other time sinks to slow down the development, of course. Until next time, whenever that is, and have a good summer!

18.Sep.2010 And now the last update in a long time as everything looks good and there's no need for a hotfix. The only small reported flaws are just cosmetic impurities and are listed on the downloads page. This is good. Also, my statistics show that the game is faring well. Like all the previous versions before, this one broke the record of most downloads in a week, which is the release week, of course. A notable thanks for this goes to Reddit, which supplied a steady stream of visitors this time.

It is true, however, what the older devs once told me. You get the most feedback early on in the development, when the game is still new. This is why I have a small request: if you have gotten to around 35th floor or deeper and don't mind spending a moment, I'd really like to hear your thoughts on the balance, difficulty curve, fun factor, annoyances and whatever else comes to your mind. I wish I could watch more people playing the game, but since I can't, this is the only way to know what you guys think of it, I hope it's not too much to ask. And naturally you can send me feeback without getting deep first as well, but your thoughts of balance might be a bit biased. The contact page is quick and easy to use, I welcome you to it.

And with that I sink back to my slumber. Have a cold winter!

30.Aug.2010 Here I am again after another slight delay, now with the final 1.04 release for Macintosh as well. Thankfully the beta version was surprisingly bug free, not much was needed to get it to the final shape. The version info serves you if you want specifics of what was changed, or if you didn't check the beta release, here. One addition I'll mention though: quick run works now with shift+direction with numpad directions. However, this might not work on all terminals, Windows works, but at least not all Linux terminals work. I'll look into that more next time, but at the moment I've drained my programming juices and it's not vacation anymore so I can't be bothered.

Feedback is always, always, always accepted with great appreciation, so if you like the game and would like to see 1.05 some day, drop me some text. The preferred way is the contact page since Hotmail drops mails into bit-nothingness sometimes, but if you want to risk the small chance, I'll gladly accept emailed feedback as well.

The next version won't be coming out anytime soon, not surprisingly. A year, maybe more, I'll have to think of some game changingly cool feature for next time I think. For now I wish you luck in the depths and let you head to the downloads page, see you!

20.Aug.2010 Another quick note. The beta is extended until I finish the changes for the final release. Not a lot of work thankfully, but might get delayed till next week. Depends a bit on how hard compiling on Mac is, I'll try to do that myself. Also, Hotmail is crappy. That is to say, if you've sent me feedback directly via email and have not gotten a response, I didn't get your mail. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If this is the case, please resend your feedback. I don't even know if my mails get to you. Unfortunately I forgot this when I wrote the beta release posts, but from now on, use the contact page to be sure your message gets to me. Nothing else, carry on.

7.Aug.2010 Good news everyone! The two-week beta is now here. Alpha testing took a bit longer than I expected, but many balance problems were weeded out already then, so you'll have a bit more challenging beta. I suppose I should introduce some of the new features in this version, though you can also check the full list of changes here.

First off, the one that took the most work, I've handcrafted 50 special floors for you to explore. 5 of these will be picked everytime to the dungeon, between the bosses, and they hold out of depth loot, guarded by superior monsters and an evil level design at times. Second, there's a new level up screen with a new advancement option. Some stat calculations have been modified to balance this addition and many stats have diminishing returns too, if you get them game-breakingly high now. Monster damage has also been overhauled, the tall difficulty spike at ~20th floor is gone and the end shouldn't be a breeze anymore. Veteran players are probably pleased to hear that you can finally skip the first 10 easier floors and get to the challenge a lot quicker (or immediately, the starting equipment isn't very good). You can also pick your starting weaponry now.

Archers will enjoy the new targeting system, which should also make using skills while shooting faster. New items, skills, monster specials, prefixes etc. were added. I made some things less obscure, like praying to uncurse, and added things that make playing easier and faster, like a new button for cycling quick skill and the quick move following corridors now. A huge load of balancing. And one of my favorites: a better and more dangerous monster AI. And of course a whole lot more. This is indeed the biggest version to date, so I won't list every change here, feel free to either check the list of changes or find by playing.

Now about the beta. This is meant to weed out the last bugs and balance problems that might lurk under an iceblock. This is the best possible time for you to help make this game better for the coming years. Play it. If you find anything that seems out of place, better ask me than be quiet about it. If something feels out of balance, it may very well be. Send me a message. If you have a suggestion for feature or something similar, I'd be happy to hear it out. If it's really tempting, I'll even add it to the full release. Of course I'll happily read feedback after the beta too, but now is the opportunity to contribute the most. This beta version has everything the final one has, except for the final balancing and debugging, and extremely tempting suggestions.

That should do it for the beta. It's available for Windows and Linux on the download page, so go have fun. After the ~two weeks I'll post the final version, for the Mac as well. See you then, keep sending the feedback and be careful in the depths!

18.Jul.2010 Hello again, a quick snippet of news this time, not the actual release yet. Development is going even smoother than I dared to hope, all the major features, changes and additions are in place. The to-do list only has a bit more content left to finish off, for instance a few new skills and monster abilities and then it's playtesting and balancing time.

I'll do the alpha balancing and testing myself, but after that I've decided to release a two-week beta to the public to find the last probable bugs. This version has again the most changes compared to all the previous releases, and most of the previous releases needed a quick-fix release after a week or two when people found some more critical bugs, so might as well make it a public beta. Besides, my time is limited and the developer isn't always the best one to playtest the game.

Of course no one forces you to take part in the beta and help, you can wait two more weeks for the actual polished release, but this beta is the best possible time if you want to contribute and make Frozen Depths a better game, with suggestions, feedback and other statistics I plan to ask. After the two weeks, I'll polish 1.04 for its final release based on your feedback and at last release it. I'd estimate this beta release will hit the web and RGRD somewhere near the very end of July or early August depending on the number of surprise bugs I find during alpha testing. The beta is probably only for Windows and Linux, but for the final release I'll hopefully find a kind soul to compile it for Macintosh as well.

That's about all for this quick snippet, more info to come when the beta starts. Start searching for your warmer clothes, since winter is coming!

13.Jun.2010 Hello people. Just letting you know that there's a chance of 1.04 being released later this summer. A chance, not promising anything. I've been working toward the release a bit here and there, but there's still a lot on the to-do list and I'm not releasing it before the list is mostly clear. Plus, I'm busier than I'd like these days, having picked up a few new hobbies, and then there's the ever-looming real life... But there's hope. Most likely I'll hot (cold?) drop it on you when it's finished without any notice, or perhaps I'll call out for beta testers on RGRD if I don't have enough time to thoroughly playtest it myself. We'll see. Until then, have a good summer.

7.Feb.2010 Not dead, just hibernating... for a while longer still.

Edit 9.Feb.2010: Someone finally complained about the Comic Sans font I had been using for way too long. That little nudge got me around changing it at last.

19.Jul.2009 So I managed to hurt my hands again. Either I'm an unlucky bastard or just plain retarded. Bah. Either way it has an unfortunate impact on the development. Not happy. I was looking forward to releasing 1.04 around now, but that clearly won't happen, sorry folks. I'll get back to it as soon as I can, but I have absolutely no idea when it's ready for release since my studies at the university begin in autumn and that most likely slows the development further. But I promise there's going to be good stuff in the next version, whenever I can get back to finishing it. Until then, see you around.

4.Apr.2009 ...slow progress...

8.Feb.2009 Hey, it's update time. The game went to very rapid development after the previous update since I didn't have any big time sinks like work, studies or a very addicting game yet. The VersionInfo.txt got as many as 45 new entries during this time, not bad at all, even though most of them were smaller changes or additions. I've managed to clear all small changes from the to-do list and many of the medium changes, though I didn't touch the large additions yet, so the to-do list is a lot shorter now, but the remaining changes need more time to implement.

Now after the previous month of rapid development, the development speed drops a lot, because now I have a big time sink, work. But that was expected, I wasn't even planning to release the next version in just a few months. I'll probably start adding about one medium or large change per week from now on. Slow, but steady. And I won't be working forever anyway, just a few months and then I'll get more than enough free time for the development again before my studies begin. Though I'm planning to release it before the studies begin if nothing unexpected happens.

With this I wish you again a good day, see you next time!

12.Jan.2009 Heeello everyone, it's been a while. First off, a bit late "Happy New Year!". Now that's off the way and I can bring the good news: my military service has ended since I was lucky to get away with half a year. And you know what that means! Frozen Depths goes into development mode again. The to-do list got rather long, too, during this a-bit-more-than-half-a-year. You can expect new features and changes to the current ones to make them deeper. One bigger new feature should make the first 10 floors, along with the deeper floors, a bit more interesting too, I know that for more experienced players those floors feel too easy and unsurprising. There will be new nuances in the character development as well. All in all this version won't change things just under the hood, actually it might add more noticeable changes than any other version before this one. Needless to say, I'm excited to get this improvement under way as it will enhance the game a lot.

That's really the only piece of news at the moment, though it's an important one. The regular semi-monthly updates should start from this point as well, now that there are some news to tell about the development. With this I wish you all a great year 2009!

Ancient news