We were quite surprised when the unexpected announcement for Dungeon Sprint showed up on our mailing list a few days ago! It got installed on CDO early and it was extremely well-received! It sends you off into the dungeon and the big show starts immediately – no waiting, no resting – immediate death or victory in an intriguing level map! But, let’s see what the author himself has to say about it:

“Dungeon Sprint” is a twist on Dungeon Crawl: only one dungeon level is generated, but it’s..

A mostly-fixed (i.e., mostly non-random), very difficult level; the player gains experience and trains skills at 27 times the normal rate; and the player gains piety at 9 times the normal rate. Some problematic features in Crawl such as certain teleportation effects and the Portal spell are also disabled in Sprint. You can play Dungeon Sprint on the server crawl.develz.org (telnet in, port 345), and the source code is also available online in case you want to look at it or change it yourself. I think the best way to understand Sprint is to play at least a few games of it, so you can get a sense of what’s fun about it.

There’s something called Tomb of Horrors, which was an adventure from the 1970s for Dungeons and Dragons. I don’t really care at all about Dungeons and Dragons but Tomb of Horrors is interesting stuff: It’s the crypt of some nasty lich, absolutely full of hilariously convoluted, deadly, “unfair” traps, of all different kinds. After hearing about Tomb of Horrors, I tracked down a paper copy of Tomb of Horrors and read it (despite not really knowing the rules for D&D), and I was thoroughly entertained, and this might be worth it for anyone else who enjoys Sprint and the idea behind it. Dungeon Sprint is like Tomb of Horrors: it’s a pretty small game, just full of nasty little traps, most of which have a number of ways to circumvent; and you can throw yourself at the game over and over until you figure out how to get past a certain trap (and then you get killed by the next one). Unlike Crawl, which is randomly generated, the fact that certain parts of Sprint are fixed gives you a comfortable, enjoyable sense of familiarity in the early part of the game, and an enjoyable sense of exploring a dangerous new place when you get into some part you haven’t been in before. I think Sprint’s a lot of fun, and I hope other Crawl players will too.

There’s an important thing about Sprint: what I’ve actually released is called “Dungeon Sprint 1.” That “1″ isn’t a version number; it’s supposed to indicate that it’s just the first game in a series. You can easily make a new level for Sprint to take place on, by editing the file source/dat/des/variable/entry.des in the Sprint source code, the “dungeon-sprint” branch on git://git.develz.org/crawl-ref.git. Making new levels this way is actually pretty straightforward: Crawl’s .des files aren’t hard to read and change even for a non-programmer, and there’s a how-to guide here. I hope others will feel free to make future installments of Sprint (Sprint 2, Sprint 3, and so on) – it’s designed so that anyone who likes it should be able to make a new level for it, and make the next edition of Sprint.

I hope you enjoy the game.


A note by the editor: In the mean-time Dungeon Sprint has already been added to the master branch of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup and the level file has been renamed to dat/des/sprint/sprint.des. If you would like to try – grab a latest master/trunk build. Activate the “sprint-mode” by adding -sprint as parameter when you start the binary.