One Year of The Ground Gives Way

It was a long time ago I posted something, so I just wanted to give a small status update.

First, I would like to mention that The Ground Gives Way has now been out for a little more than a year now (Release #1 was released on 20th of June 2014), and so far it has been 6 releases in total. Each release has been downloaded between 300-500 times, so it seems it has a consistent player base for which I’m very happy.

Development has been very slow lately because I am working on a few other projects in parallel and it will continue in this pace for the nearest future as far as I can see. The coming 7th release of TGGW will have a lot of new content and mechanics, so it is still quite a lot more to implement and to test. For these reasons I cannot really give an estimate of when the next release will come. However, the game is still in development and I will most likely continue to work on it also after release #7.


  1. Congratulations, BtS! It’s no small feat to put out a traditional roguelike that almost instantly achieves that level of consistent popularity.

    Are any of your other projects roguelikes? Or do we only have more TGGW development to look forward to? =p

    1. Thank you! Unfortunately the other projects aren’t roguelikes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be new roguelike projects in the future 🙂

      1. Aw. Do you have some other ideas already in mind? Just curious. I mean, a lot of devs have ideas sure, but is there anything promising that you’re really looking forward to exploring?

        1. Thanks for asking 🙂 One of the main reasons I’m interested in roguelikes is procedural generation and this is something I would like to explore much more in depth. The next step would be to build something more complex than just a dungeon. Not necessarily a large world (even though that interests me a lot as well), but having more procedurally generated elements with more complexity, especially using recursive structures.

          I’m also really interested in simple but elegant game systems, so this is something I’d like to explore more as well.

          Of course, probably like yourself, I have thousands of ideas, but it’s quite hard to commit to, especially as there are more things I want to do with TGGW first.

          1. Thanks for sharing :D. Sounds promising!

            I think I have fewer tenable ideas than a lot of devs, but even just a handful is more than I’ll ever have time to complete, since once you add on time for design, development, expansion, and proper polish, each one ends up taking years!

            As in your case a large-world game interests me very much, but I think it wouldn’t be worth the 8-10 years I’d end up pouring into it, since the alternative is to make 2-3 polished games in that span of time.

            On a related note, how long did TGGW development take to reach its current stage? (We know it’s been a year in public, but how much time was spent on it prior to release?)

            1. Yes, the fact that it takes so much time is why it’s so hard to decide on an idea worth exploring. This is why TGGW is seeing a lot of changes – I use it as a way to test my ideas. The limitation is that I’m bound to it’s current format. So yeah, I’d love to explore a large-world game, but we’ll see what happens…

              The Ground Gives Way actually had a really long development time before the first release. But this is mainly because it started purely as a hobby project and I had no serious plans of releasing it, and I worked from it on and off. I also didn’t have a very strict plan with it, so in many ways it has evolved to what it is today. If I started a new game, the development time would be much much faster. I am not sure exactly when I started, but the earliest files I can find are from 2009.

              1. Ah, 2009, cool to know it was in development for so long (all without any outside feedback?). I can put that in context knowing it was a hobby project without a strict plan, though that latter bit is somewhat surprising given how tight the final design is!

                1. I have some friends that have been testing it and giving feedback all this time, so I had quite a lot of input.

                  About the design – the design and most of the mechanics have been there from the start, so that idea was clear. During the years it has been mostly content and the UI that has changed. When I look back at some very early versions, the game weren’t really that different, just much more “rough”. Maybe someday I will upload some really early version for fun 🙂

                  1. Ah, I don’t know anyone who plays roguelikes IRL, except one kid who I introduced to the genre, and he’s no good for feedback (and also gone now). I have to use the Internet if I need that.

                    I’m sure some players would be interested in an old version to see where it came from. It’s like keeping the original 7DRL version of a game available for posterity even after it’s had many updates (people still download that to see).

                    1. I also didn’t have any friends playing roguelikes, so I had to introduce them to it. Most of them I introduced by my own game 😀

  2. Thank You for info. Can’t stand waiting for the new version. Last time on June 23 I won the 6A release – it was great and even when I was going to the surface with an artifact, I was thinking: “Shi$%#! I hope there is nobody near next exit” 🙂 It was exciting to the end. Thank You very much for this game, it gives me a lot of fun. It is fast, not boring and IMO good balanced.
    Best wishes

    1. Thank you very much for that Martin, I am really happy to hear that you enjoy it! Also, congratulations on the win, that’s impressive, I really don’t hear people winning that often! 🙂

  3. Congratulations on hitting the 1 year mark! Also as Kyzrati said keeping a consistent user base is hard but TGGW deserves it.

    I can’t wait for #7 excited for the changes. 😀

    1. Thank you very much! Yeah, it feels great and it’s very motivating to have a consistent player base. I’m also excited about the coming release 🙂

  4. Thanks for this awesome game 🙂 and congrats 😉

    Since the first release, I try to finish it but my studies let me only a few hours of gaming per weeks:(

    1. Thank you so much 😀 Yeah, I know the feeling… Just happy that you spend some of those hours on my game 🙂

  5. After playing almost every day for 3 1/2 months I finally won! Anyhow I feel like I cheated. If you get a wand of nourishment and gear for enough MP you can sleep as much as you like. I had about 24 MP. Also if you stay so the game thinks you are weak, no serious monsters spawn. I didn’t have to fight any major Elementals or anything on that run and had like 5 melee, 20% armour, just shot stuff with wands, slept, repeat. Should get rid of that wand! I will make it a personal conduct to never use it again.

  6. to follow up to what i said about wand of nourishment, technically you will sometimes need to consume food due to confusion, or mana-draining traps/attacks. so it isn’t automatic win, i finished with only 2 food (in a game that food was REALLY scarce in, maybe no coincidence?). so the odds of getting that wand + lots of MP + and speed (so you can always escape to sleep) is not very high, and even given all that you have to be very careful … so i guess the wand could stay, but i’d prefer it didn’t because it only becomes useful in anyway when you get to the point that you are in “insta-win” mode, almost. there is nothing else i found in the game that is overpowered like that, and i played a lot, so…

    1. Hey reetside!

      First of all, congratulations on the win!! 🙂 I certainly don’t think you should feel like you cheated! You had a very powerful combination of items, most reported wins have been with characters that had some sort of powerful combination like that. And as you said, having “infinte food” (kind of) really helps, but is really not guaranteeing a win in any way.

      I want to point out something about the RNG that you might not be aware of. The game do not in any way make judgement on the strength of your character and which monsters that are generated monsters are completely independent on your power. If you didn’t meet any dangerous monsters, it was pure luck!

      Finally, thank you for your input. I will think about the wand. Personally, I think it shows up so rarely and it requires so much mana that a lot of your equipment and mana is tied to just obtaining food, so I think the trade-off is kind of ok. Maybe I’d raise the mana cost by 1 or so?

    1. Hey Ben!
      Happy you found it, and it seems again I have Kyzrati to thank for it 🙂 Really glad you like it, have fun!

      1. I’ve mentioned TGGW to no fewer than three people this week already =p

        Ben asked my favorite roguelikes and TGGW is in my top two, although still only a limited number of people have heard of it. Just now Ben was tweeting about his latest encounter in TGGW… word continues to spread 🙂

        1. Amazing, thank you so much 😀 Yes… the downloads are increasing as well. Release #6A have had the most downloads of all (near 600)! This could be due to that it has been out longer than earlier releases, but still!

  7. Hi BtS,

    It’s been a while! Just wanted to let you know I’m really enjoying the 6A release. I’ve finally been able to spend a bit of time with the game again and it’s been a pleasure (no wins at this stage, I’ve lost count…)

    And congratulations on TGGW’s birthday last month!

    1. Thank you very much! I’m happy that you still play and enjoy it!

      Hopefully release #7 (or higher) will be out when you return to making videos again. Good luck with your studies and I hope you still find some time to play 🙂

  8. I’m discovering TGGW and am pleasantly surprised!
    I may soon post a personal review on /r/roguelikes
    Thanks for this great game!

    1. That’s awesome! It makes me really happy that you like it 🙂 It would be really exciting to see a review!

  9. Hi! I discovered this gem of game by way of the cogmind forums and I have been *loving* it to pieces since. It really wears its influences on its sleeve (Rogue, Incursion, Brogue, POWDER) in the best way possible. It’s my current go-to game these days when I don’t have time for a long cogmind run.

    It also, bizarrely enough, reminds me of Eye of the Beholder. I had one game where the current level was blocked by lava so I hail mary’d, popped a teleberry, and landed on the otherside of the lavapool. Right next to me was a portal, allowing me easy access back to the upper levels of the dungeon (and all those merchants). That’s the type of stuff you would see in an SSI game like eye of the beholder, but that experience was completely procedurally generated! Wonderful stuff.

    Been recommending this to all my RL playing friends. I really hope you continue to develop this wonderful game.

    1. Hey Happylisk! I’m really happy you found your way here (and fun to see that you discovered it through the Cogmind forums, Cogmind is awesome)!

      Cool that you found similarities to EoB! While I haven’t played that particular one that much, I am a huge fan of old-school first person dungeon crawlers like that, maybe some of that inspiration have shone through… As for the other influences, you are right. I think Incursion, Angband and POWDER have had the most impact on the design of TGGW.

      I really appreciate you recommending the game to friends and I’m really happy you like the game. Thanks a lot 🙂

  10. Hi. First time posting here although I have been following this great game ever from its first release. Initially I regarded TGGW as a very smartly designed little coffee-break roguelike, but in short time it has become one of my favorites like DCSS and Brogue. And with the changes you announced for the next release together with your apparent commitment to it, I believe TGGW promisses to be much better. I must say I am really impressed from reading your conversation with Kyzrati; I have never thought that so much effort would be required for setting forth a roguelike. My congratulations and respect to both of you, I wish I could commit myself at that level to any interest I have in life.

    Here are a couple of humble suggestions. I believe the ability to name your character at the start and displaying ‘high scores’ that would list the past characters with some brief info (dead or alive, deepest level, killed by, etc.) (or maybe displaying character sheet) would help in making runs more memorable and give some character to the …character.

    Secondly, the only point I do not enjoy much in TGGW is when I find myself unable to manage the limited inventory space. Sometimes I even try to make stashes, which I consider to be a sort of grinding. I understand inventory management is one of the challenges of the game but sometimes it feels too prominent. Maybe there could be a container sort of an item that would add free inventory spaces. What do you think?

    Thank you again for TGGW and have a nice day.

    1. Hi Evren!
      Oh, really nice of you to get in touch! Cool that you’ve been playing from the start!

      Yes, while game development certainly involves a lot of effort (I don’t even dare to think about how many hours I’ve been putting into TGGW) it is such a pleasure to make something and know that people are playing and enjoying it! I kind of made the game because I couldn’t stop myself, so the effort is mostly a pleasure 🙂

      And Kyzrati’s Cogmind was made with more focus and goal orientation and I really admire Kyzrati’s efforts as well, and not only for his game but for his efforts to build a community around it.

      High scores and more stats have been requested a lot actually so I think I will start prioritising that. It is also relatively effortless to implement. I have also been playing DCSS quite a lot recently and the morgue files there are really extensive and interesting there. I will consider to highscoring/stats the main priority after release #7. Btw, I guess you are aware of that you can make a text file of your character in the current version from the in-game menu, although not an too extensive one?

      Regarding giving the character a name – I will think about it. In TGGW it is important to be able to start a new game as quickly as possible, but I might add the possibility to choose a name as a start-option.

      The limited inventory space is, as you assumed, one of the main challenges. You might have noticed that when you make stashes, some items may disappear or move when you rest: this is a way the game is discouraging stashing. Another thing that makes stashing difficult in TGGW is that it is not always safe to go back to it for various reasons. So while it is possible to make stashes, it is not always the best option. I am quite reluctant to add containers or extra inventory spaces now, but I will think about what I can do. Thank you very much for your input! For me personally, it is usually not a problem, I usually start to use consumables when the inventory is full and also start to get more selective to what I pick up. It can also be a good idea to purge items you’ve been carried around but don’t find yourself using when the inventory is getting full.

      Thank you again for getting in touch and for your input Evren!

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