|Latest Version:||0.99.9B / 21 Jun, 2009|
|Website:||Derek Yu's website|
From the announcement thread on TIGSource:
Probably the easiest way to describe Spelunky is that it's (kind of) like La Mulana meets Nethack - every time you play the levels, items, monsters, and so forth, are all procedurally-generated. And the terrain is destructible and there are quite a few ways in which the various game elements can interact with one another.
From a blog post by the author:
Spelunky is my latest game project, a hybrid of two genres of games that I enjoy - the roguelike and the platformer. The idea partly came from playing around with both genres separately.
Roguelikes tend to be rather difficult to get into… imagine playing games where the graphics are all represented by ASCII symbols and every key on the keyboard (including both lowercase and capital letters) performs a different action that you will probably need to survive. Yeah. But roguelikes have a kind of depth and replayability that make them extremely exciting. Because they’re so complex, there’s always new stuff to try and it’s very satisfying to learn how to play. Because the dungeons are randomized every time you venture in, the games age very slowly. And because death is permanent in a roguelike, the adventures feels weighty.
In Infinite Caves, Infinite Stories, Anthony Burch identifies three core features that make Spelunky addictive:
When you add up these three core design components - randomized platforming levels, emergent gameplay and permanent death - the result is far more than the sum of their parts. Nearly all aspects of Spelunky gracefully play off each other: The randomized levels make every play-through feel fresh, the high-stakes failure states make every level challenging and the elegant, interlacing gameplay mechanics allow you to overcome those challenges in innumerable different ways. In a world where games strive for replayability through unlockable content and higher difficulty modes, Spelunky's measured, thoughtful design is so engrossing that an average player may end up replaying it literally hundreds of times. ("I actually have it as an icon in my quick launch bar now," [Jonathan] Blow confesses).
Use of Procedural Content Generation Methods
Spelunky generates random levels, but also has a level designer, which allows levels to be shared (see this TIG Source thread for examples). The game consists of multiple levels across five different area types, which are generated using different procedural generation algorithms to contrast the typical level layout between each area: this also helps contribute to a slightly different platforming style between each area.
For information about how Spelunky generates its levels, see this article by Darius Kazemi, which describes the high-level algorithms for creating levels and generating obstacles. Kazemi has also written a series of essays with interactive tools that demonstrate the level generation process.
PCG Wiki References
Images on Flickr
Freeware Game Pick: Spelunky (Derek Yu) - IndieGames.com review.
Spelunky! - Announcement thread on TIGSource.
Infinite Caves, Infinite Stories - Article in the Escapist lauding the game.
Snake to Death: The Majesty of Spelunky - Review on RockPaperShotgun.
Spelunky - Review by the A.V. Club
Infinite Lives: Neo Nostalgia - Review by the Vue Weekly
Spelunk, Spelunk, Spelunk - @ Play column on Spelunky on GameSetWatch.
Spelunker (video game) - Wikipedia article on Spelunker, the original game which Spelunky is based on.
Spelunky - Wikipedia article on Spelunky
Spelunky wiki - hosted on Wikia