The Ground Gives Way is released!

I have finally got The Ground Gives Way in a state where I feel really good about releasing it! I have been working on it for very long and I am now very happy with it, I actually play it a lot myself.

I am very excited to hear what you think about it. So I encourage you to play it and send me mail about what you think and I will listen attentively to any suggestions for improvements.

I am working on a manual for the game that will be available online here on the web page. The manual should not be necessary for playing the game though, the tutorial should be enough. The manual will be explaining all the details of the game.

You can get the game right here. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!




  1. Played through the tutorial, seems like a nice streamlined system with some nice features so far. Looking forward to playing it for real later.

    1. Thank you! And if you have any comments or feedback let me know!

    1. Thank you for your interest! It is not a priority right now, but it’s not impossible. Don’t count on it in the nearest future. Sorry.

  2. I’ve been watching this for a bit since it looks simple yet… high quality. Downloaded and played through the tutorial so far and can’t say I’m disappointed. Very well constructed overall, and here are some of my notes from playing (figured if I was going to play it I may as well make the effort useful to you!):

    The commands are great. I like how everything is controlled with so few keys, yet sufficiently complex interactions are possible due to how the interface is organized. Very nicely arranged (everything’s smooth and intuitive), and I sort of picked up on the quality in that regard from screenshots I’d seen before, and it really did turn out to be that well executed! Good job.

    I really like the door-closing mechanic.

    Pillars contributing to blocking are nice for tactics (although it wasn’t obvious that I could stand *on* the pillar until a monster did it–I’d assumed it was cardinally adjacent).

    Saw a typo in the Attributes tutorial about Armor (“change” -> “chance”). Also noticed a few extra spaces in one of the Potions tutorials, one in the Magic tutorial (as well as a missing period there), one in the Noise tutorial, and one in the Death tutorial (where persistent is also spelled incorrectly).

    The food/rest mechanic seems okay, but that’s a long-term element so I’d have to see how it plays in a real game to comment on that.

    I love the noise mechanic implementation. One thing I noticed in the tutorial was that while very quiet you could still fight one of the animated hands and the others wouldn’t wake up. I suggest temporarily increasing your noise value based on your actions as well–either weapon-specific or simply “attacking raises noise by 2 for that turn.”

    Some other suggestions:

    How about being able to coat a missile projectile? (A separate letter command in the inventory UI.)

    Couldn’t the story be a bit more interesting? Or do we not care about that at all? The game is great, but there’s nothing but a boring story, and honestly a pretty boring title to go with it. Are you attached to this particular title for some reason? (Other than already having the domain name =p)

    I typed this up only after playing the tutorial, but am ready to get into a real game and already found a bookshelf, which is a pretty cool idea!I’ve been watching this for a bit since it looks simple yet… high quality. Downloaded and played through the tutorial so far and can’t say I’m disappointed. Very well constructed overall, and here are some of my notes from playing (figured if I was going to play it I may as well make the effort useful to you!):

    1. Thank you very much for your detailed comments, I really appreciate that! I will fix the mistakes you pointed out and consider your suggestions.

      As for the story and the name. I have made it like this because I think most roguelikes don’t need a story, and when they have one it is usually not that good. For this reason I made a little mockery of having a story and a serious name, partly as humour and partly to signal to the player that the story isn’t the important part of this game.

      1. Okay, that’s a pretty good reason for the name and story issue then. For me it didn’t come across as being a humorous take on the whole thing, probably because the rest of it seemed so serious by comparison.

  3. By the way, I posted about this game on Reddit here. That should get you some more players, and probably a few comments over there (not sure if you’re on Reddit).

    You should probably also create a page for the game on Rogue Basin and put it on the front page release list. That will direct a lot of potential players this way as well.

    1. Thank you very much for this! That really helps! 🙂
      I have added the game to Rogue Basin’s news as well!

  4. Ok,

    I just played through the tutorial and although it got a little tedious (it’s really for absolute beginners in roguelikes I suppose) I think I really might like this game, I’ll give you some feedback after a few ‘real’ games sometime tomorrow.

    Congratulations on your firts release!

    p.s. I found two spelling errors in the tutorial, thought I’d just point them out to you:

    To Close ‘a’ door (door tutorial)

    The more likely you are ‘to’ (ranged combat tutorial 4)

    1. Thank you very much for the comments. Yeah, I wanted to have a tutorial that is very basic, and I realise it can get boring for a experienced rogueliker, but I wanted to include all elements of gameplay for easy access.

      Thanks for the congrats, and I look forward to your feedback. I will correct the spelling errors for the next release!

      1. I’m sure the manual you’re planning will help, and you could also have the most important mechanics information available in-game for experienced players to look over instead of playing through the tutorial, which is great for beginners, but unnecessarily long for the rest of us 😉

  5. The tutorial is good, I liked how you laid out all the mechanics etc. Good stuff.

    But, I agree it is long. I don’ t think you should shorten it much if any, but you should communicate how long it is.

    A simple way to do this is list the level as “level 4/10” or similar.

    That way even if it’s a bit long, I’m happy because I know how much more I have to go.

  6. Is there another way to have the game rez be the bigger one other than providing a shortcut, something normal like the maximize button etc.

    Looks like the shortcut you provide is coded with your own desktop path, “C:\Users\Stefan\Desktop\The Ground Gives Way”. And when I put it on my own desktop, it ends up saving the game.ini and slot0 files on my desktop instead of where the binary resides.

    1. D’oh! Thanks for pointing that out.
      No.. the resolution is tied to how Windows display console windows and as far as I know you can only change that from shortcut settings (in Win8 at least). So make your own shortcut and change the font size. I recommend 12×16, but any will do.

  7. Liking it so far. Gotten to around level 5 after a few runs. I’ll have to play more and get a better feel before I’ll have more significant feedback.

    The UI is great. It would be nice to have the option to rest with a separate button like ‘r’ or something rather than having to go to the menu and scroll down to it. But that’s a minor detail. One thing that I find a little frustrating is dealing with fleeing enemies due to the lack of diagonal movement. But that could just be me being new/bad at the game=D.

    Anyway, looking forward to playing this more. Congrats on releasing and keep up the good work!

  8. I’ve been playing The Ground Gives Way since Kyzrati mentioned it on Reddit, and I’m enjoying it a lot. The streamlined interface is a real breath of fresh air, and it’s clear that you’ve put a lot of thought into the design of the game. Even the key positioning makes sense – I can keep my thumb on the spacebar while I use z, x and c. It makes a change from reaching all over the keyboard in most other roguelikes.

    One question, though. What do magic portals do? I keep seeing them and activating them but as far as I can tell they don’t do anything and I can’t use them. What am I missing?

    1. Hey AlanWithTea!
      Thank you very much for the kind words! I’m really happy you like the game and the interface!
      The magic portals are for quick transport through the dungeon, you have to activate at least two portals (in one game) for them to work.

  9. Been playing this off and on since release, and thought I’d send more of my notes your way for reference. It seems you’re getting plenty of feedback already, so congratulations! 😉

    You should automatically deactivate the tutorial after someone’s already completed it (or at least made it to the Death tutorial) I know you can do so from the options, but no reason to not make it automatic.

    Dark rooms are interesting, but it was weird to find many that contain… a campfire 😉

    “icey” potion should just be “icy.”

    One thing I couldn’t figure out how to do was show the remaining Features when there are more than there’s room to list (“…”).

    You know, this game really does have a “lot of stuff,” just like your byline says 😀

    I like how you can continue to watch after you’re dead as an enemy monster feasts on your flesh”… or brain, or whatever they want 😉

    Fighting with an icicle and throwing snowballs at enemies… yeah, it’s got everything.

    Cast a wand of identify on an enemy and it identified my own item–shouldn’t I have to target myself for it to have that effect? Or are we being really lenient here? It would make sense if casting on an enemy identified the wand itself, but not something in your possession at the same time.

    Cutpurse description has a typo.

    A dedicated shortcut to rest (‘r’) would be nice, since it’s such a common action. It doesn’t really belong where it is on the game menu.

    Why do some messages start lower case and others upper case? Doesn’t seem like there’s any reason for the inconsistency. Even sentences beginning in “You” might simply be “you” instead.

    1. Thank you very much for your feedback, very valuable!! It’s great that you like the game, and you seem to enjoy the aspects of the game that I am particularly fond of myself. And I must also say thank you again for posting about it on Reddit. It seems that the majority of the players found it there.

      Your suggestions are all good, and I will consider all of them. The wand of identify on an enemy is a bug. I’ll fix that.

      Regarding the “…” in the Features panel, unfortunately there is no way to see the rest right now. I haven’t yet figured out a good way to do this. But I realise that it is a problem.

      1. Yep, no problem. Saw this game and instantly thought others would like it–glad you made it, and glad I was right 😉

        I find myself going back to TGGW again and again just because it’s so easy/quick to get into, but I must say that certain aspects can get a bit frustrating after a while. I know that the highly random experience is part of the game, and remember from reading your Rogue Temple post that many games are simply not winnable, but I suggest you put some effort into at least reducing the amount of completely unfair scenarios that can stop players even as late as floor 5 when they may have finally managed to get a promising character going. For example one of mine today explored all possible routes forward (checking back through all previous maps for branching, etc.) and the only one was blocked by a stuck door. That’s fine, I’ll just “rest and try again,” but it failed three times until I ran out of food and had to give up! With encounters you can often say a game could’ve progressed differently had the player made different choices, but if there’s simply no way to progress that’s a more serious issue which can be resolved by checking. I’ve heard of others encountering similar problems with dead-end dungeons. Are you accounting for all the possibilities in that regard? Or do you think that kind of failure is okay?

        Also found one more bug today: I entered a room filled with ‘$’ and apparently an Alchemist was standing on top of one of them because I couldn’t get it and it would instead access his menu when I attempted to move into that space in the room.

        1. Regarding stuck doors: when you’re at zero food, you will automatically smash them down so they will never be a deadend. So if a stuck door is in your way to the stairs, you avoid eating any food in your inventory and open it while at 0 food (but trying between each rest of course).

          Are there any other situations that you find completely unfair? I am aware of things like out of depth monsters and some situations where you might have to wade through water or lava but those I consider reasonable and in most cases you can deal with them.

          Yes, I found that bug recently too. I will try to fix it.

          1. Wow, at 0 food you automatically smash doors down? Damn, I had 1 food left and gave up because I’d already tried 4 times… ha! Glad that’s in there at least. I wish I could stockpile food but I usually eat most/all of it that I can for fear that it goes bad in my inventory. Seems like just about everything can go bad, and I don’t know the mechanics/chances, so it’s dangerous to leave it there, especially if not finding much of it.

            Out of depth monsters are fine since you can often escape them as long as you’re careful, but I wouldn’t call having to wade through lava or deep water something that can be “dealt with in most cases.”

            One of those two have killed me pretty much every time they blocked the only way forward. My last good character died while wading through deep water in a corridor last night, but that was technically my own doing because I turned yet another valve. I made a new rule that I will never use another valve again because they don’t seem to do anything useful (even if they block some monsters, they seem to cause more trouble than they’re worth–not like levitation is very common), and now apparently they can kill me, too. There are already so many things that can kill me, why would I proactively cause another which has no obvious benefit? 😉

            But about the lava-filled rooms (I’ve had a lot more of these than impassable deep water), if the RNG generates a level like that, shouldn’t it ensure that at some point before that there’s a way to deal with it? I’ve had several characters have absolutely no way to deal with lava before level 5, yet be forced to walk over it.

            In the end I didn’t take too many notes on what I considered “unfair” about the game, because I get that that’s part of the design in many cases. It’s obvious the game is extremely random and only a small portion of runs are even winnable. If you didn’t have such a sexy interface this game would definitely not be as popular 😉 As is it’s easy to start a new game and quickly play through until your death shortly thereafter. Interesting concept.

            1. Regarding food, eating everything for being afraid of it spoiling is actually not a very good idea. It is worth to take some time and study how different food behaves. For instance, some food is not actually that bad if it spoils. Food management is actually quite an important mini game.

              You have to do quite a lot of experimenting with things to know how they work and how to use them. So I know its not obvious how the stuck doors work. The same goes with valves; they can be very useful in certain circumstances, and they don’t always do the same thing actually. But yes, unless you have a specific reason, you mostly avoid using them.

              Finally, yes, I know that the game design is a bit unusual and maybe controversial for a roguelike, especially that some games are not winnable (not sure I’d agree with your statement that it is the majority though, maybe you’re just extremely unlucky :p). So I think to fully enjoy the game you have to be comfortable with the idea that there are no guarantees for a win even with “optimal” play.

              But I hear what you’re saying and I am very happy that you give me so detailed feedback. I will think through this and maybe attempt to reduce the number of hopeless situations without reducing difficulty of the game.

              1. Yeah, I understand and accept that many games are not winnable. Makes sense given the style. I think it’s even pretty close to balanced in its current state! Only the ratio of “damn this is obviously the RNG totally screwing me here” number of situations is a bit high.

                I’ve hit a *lot* of valves so far and all I’ve noticed them do is start flooding random parts of the level. Wonder what else they might do… (I normally leave a level pretty quickly after that though for fear that it will keep flooding and trap me.)

                In any case, it’ll be interesting to see what changes you make after receiving everyone’s feedback–looking forward to future releases!

  10. Thanks to Kyzrati, I’m having a good fun time with this game. The interface is clean while being informative, and the controls are especially suited for a casual, coffeebreak roguelike. After a week playing, I found myself struggling to get used to ADOM again, since muscle memory keeps telling me to press spacebar for everything.:P

    The weapons are another great thing. Almost every weapon has a quirk that requires a different strategy, making for a very interesting gameplay.

    While playing, I’ve also found some interesting things:

    Repeatedly trying to close a broken door gives a very large amount of wooden sticks that -1Block enemies(>100) and eventually the door itself, which is a shield.

    Resting in a water tile(even when flying) crashes the game.

    Eggs hatch after a few rests (the resulting chick pecked my character to death xD)

    Floorhatch traps on level 15 crash the game. I guess it can’t find a lower floor to drop the victim into 🙂

    Shimmering vein becomes unable to be mined after blood gets splashed onto it(it turns into a normal, bloodied wall, IIRC)
    Last time I see, fletcher has a typo.

    Some NPCs keep offering the same upgrade at 0gp (something like this: blue tunic –>blue tunic)

    Also, the RNG of this game is particularly evil. I’ve had characters who get tons of arrows and archery accessories, but unable to find a single bow (the inverse is also true, sometimes I find all 3 kinds of bows on a floor, but not one arrow in the entire playthrough). It also likes to throw some of my most powerful character in the most embarrassing deaths possible. There’s the spinning disc that imprison any warriors at their first step into a room, or the magma lake that is neatly placed right before the down staircase, but the most frustrating death has to be that overpowered mage who gets confused 5 times in a row by a prankster ghost and a chaos rat(I had a high Block too, about 9-10), depleting his restoration supplies and forcing him to run, only for him to get shredded to pieces by a wizard’s summoned dog.:P

    One last thing, could you tell me the purpose of the “shimmering water”? I’m guessing it has something to do with that rare empty bottle, but I can’t seem to get both of them in any playthrough.

    Many thanks for this lovely little gem! I’m looking forward to the manual and future update!

    1. Thank you very much for your comments Marker! I’m really happy you like the game, and congratulations on making it to level 15! I hope it wasn’t to frustrating to have it crash there… sorry :/

      I will fix those bugs as quickly as possible, the trap bug is quite critical.

      I love your RNG stories 😀 Maybe I’m too sadistic to be allowed to make a game :p

      I’d rather not reveal the purpose of shimmering water.. you’ll have to explore some more (or if you reeally want to know, mail me and I’ll tell you).

      The manual is almost done, I will put it up during this week. A bugfix update should be up soon also.

      1. Thank you for your kind words! Anyway, I restored that game and was able to bring the artifact to the surface(thought I would cheat by portals, but the nearest one was broken and surrounded by elementals and giants, so “nope, that’s not gonna happen”:D), making this my first win.

        Though, I must say that run was blessed by the RNG. Playing as a mage/stealth hybrid, and by floor 15, I have about 30 maxmp and fire, acid, drowning wand, along with some other buff/debuff spells. That destoyed almost everything except giants, which are fortunately out of my noise range anytime encountered. The only thing to worry are the statue guardians (that’s really clever btw :)), but I managed to outrun them with 2 speed potions(also lucky rare stuff). That’s the second time I reach level 15. The first time, well, is the story you read above :P. You don’t have to worry though, sadistic roguelikes are best roguelikes xD.

        1. Awesome!! That makes you the first winner (at least that I heard of), so congratulations again! 😀

          That mage/stealth indeed sounds like a very powerful combination. Stealth can be priceless in the late game. And 30 maxmp is around as much as you can have.

          Thanks for reporting your win, that was really nice to hear! 🙂

    2. Wow, congratulations on getting that far! I guess I’ve finally played enough that I know most of the early content and feel more confident that I can at least make it to level 8. The RNG is also so brutal that I don’t feel bad start scumming the first level or two, especially now that I know what a “good run” is likely to look like.

      Sounds like a good guess on the empty bottle–I can’t confirm it even though I had both last night, because the shimmering was out in a pond and I’d need a sea pearl to reach it; that would be three requirements :/

      1. Thanks! Agreeing with your post,I also think the reason this game keeps pulling me in is the unpredictability(read: RNG’s brutality) that’s inherent in every playthrough. In most major, well known roguelikes, there’s always some sort of charater creation screen where you can guide your character into your intended progress path. In TGGW, that’s nonexistent. The RNG is the one who shape you from the start, until you see enough item to have to make a choice and/or a merchant (which is also purely another RNG thing). Some might argue, but I personally enjoy that feeling of uncertainty while opening the doors on the first dungeon. Will this be a food-filled room? A large hall with a knife or a wand? Or two rats and a dog ready to jump at my face?

        Oh, I got the same problem last night. It seems the game makes us choose two out of three things: shimmering water, access to the water, and the bottle 😛

        1. You really capture the main vision I have with the game in this text! First, that your strategy and play style is dictated by what you happen to find (this is what actually got me into roguelikes, but I didn’t feel that any game had this fully implemented, closest is probably the original Rogue) and second, that the game should be exciting from the first moment you start. Nice to hear that you enjoy it for these reasons!

          1. You guys should try my 7DRL Cogmind, because that was design philosophy there, too. The game was pretty popular for the same reason, and I’m working on a much better version now–it’s still an item-based, no leveling/grind game that ramps up difficult quite quickly (only 10 levels, very much suited to coffee breaks). I’m sure this is one reason TGGW is the only roguelike I’ve gotten into since stopping DCSS a couple years ago 😉

            @Marker: Last night I had an empty bottle and found several shimmering waters (in the same pool!), but again no access. No luck yet 🙁

        2. I finally managed to get extremely lucky in the early game and it got me TO THE END! You can read about the run here. (Another plug for TGGW on /r/roguelikes :D)

          Also, here are some more notes from my playthroughs about various bugs and things I noticed:

          There are mis-aligned columns in some NPC menus. Noticed it with the Enchantress (due to the especially long item/service names).

          The Status window has plenty of room, so I’m not sure why it wasn’t showing my disease status. Before getting that (from a dead adventurer) I already had Scare: Undead (from scroll) and counter attack (from dagger)–only those two were listed. (I could see the disease state normally on the ‘z’ menu.)

          After getting further and seeing more items and what the RNG has to offer, I’d say Scroll of Starvation makes sense at -5 food, it’s just that it’s too deadly to warrant messing with scrolls for fear of getting it before level 5 or so, where suddenly having no food can quickly become a huge problem. In more recent runs I actually had enough food to keep some in inventory for emergencies, and even went hungry most of the time to keep it there once I had enough (but that’s not usually until mid-game).

          When upgrading stackable items via a merchant (e.g. alchemist), should automatically stack them in inventory if already have another. Ex: Leaf aloe -> Restoring potion, and I already had one restoring potion.

          Small Turret description has a typo: should be “cannon balls”.

          Some descriptions don’t fit into the item description window, like a rusted tower shield. Not too important, though.

          The inability to wait in a corridor for an enemy coming around the corner can be annoying, since it will automatically take you to one end. I suppose you could move back and forth in the corridor instead, but I often forget that since I use spacebar for waiting so often.

          “You are electrocuted” message is spelled incorrectly (“electricuted”).

          1. Ohh, congratulations, that was really close! That was a great YASD, thank you very much for posting that! Also thank you for the bug reports, I discovered also one from your YASD: apparently I haven’t taken care of the possibility to land on a monster from a trap.

            About scroll of starvation: yes exactly, it is not as bad when you use it optimally (i.e., not eating all food immediately and not starting using scrolls too early), so maybe I’ll keep it the way it is after all (I’ll think some more 🙂 ). That’s a good observation!

            I will definitely check out Cogmind as soon as I have some time, it really sounds interesting when there are so many common designs with TGGW.

            1. Oh yeah, forgot to mention the falling on a monster issue in my bug report! Oops.

              It was a fun run, that one. Wonder how many games it will be before I get *that* lucky again. Really needed some ranged combat ability… any bow would’ve done since there were so many arrows lying around, but no such luck.

              1. Yeah, it requires some luck to get a good ranged setup, but when that happens it is very powerful.

                Btw, you mentioned having only 100 gold and meeting a group of merchants. Did you know that you can sell loot to them or was that not clear? You do it by pressing left/right and it will bring up your inventory (this only applies to merchants, not other services).

                1. I did know that you can sell, yes, although only the types of goods that the merchant is interested in. I had left a lot of loot lying around in earlier dungeon levels, but it was mostly stuff that a blacksmith would have been interested in, and he was the only guy I didn’t see :/

                  The rest of my inventory was items that I needed to keep for later. So, no way I could really take advantage of the merchants.

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