Caravel Games
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History of DROD

1991 - Erik Hermansen: I had no computer at the time, so the first development and testing work was performed using a chessboard. Sprite emulation was accomplished by moving chess pieces and paper cutouts around on top of the chessboard. Alan Reid, the first beta-tester, appraised my first efforts when I whipped out the chessboard at a coffee shop in Portland. His feedback was that it should be ported to an actual computer for better playability.

1992 - I dropped out of community college and moved to Seattle. Here I found a job which allowed me to earn enough money to buy a computer on which to program DROD. More importantly, I was able to observe closely the behavior of real live cockroaches in my new apartment. After much study, I formulated an important theory: roaches only run away from you because you are bigger than them. The aggressive behavior of the dungeon roaches in DROD is based on this theory.

1993 - I wrote the first computer-based version of Deadly Rooms of Death (called "Swordplay" at that time) using Visual Basic for DOS. It used ASCII characters to display all of the game tiles. Alan Reid was called north to Seattle to assist again in the testing and evaluation stage. He said, "This is almost as fun as WordPerfect." I was greatly encouraged and uploaded Swordplay to five bulletin boards. (Heh. It was all BBSs back then, remember?)

1995 - I learned C++ (easy) and Windows programming (hard) and began writing a new version of DROD.

1996 - I asked for game music on the internet, and this Norwegian fellow, Morten Eriksen, of Twilight Zone Software contacted me. Through him, I met Lars Kristian Aasbrenn, who ended up writing all the music in DROD, and Dana Dominiak, President of Webfoot Technologies. Dana is this very enthusiastic and likable person who always has thirty things on the stove. I signed a contract with Webfoot for them to distribute DROD. TZS also had their game, Interpose, distributed through Webfoot.

1997 - Version 1.03 of DROD was released on the net, followed a bit later by 1.04 and 1.11. You could download a demo from the Webfoot site, and order a full version from several different online stores. I can't make out exactly when, but sometime between '98 and '00, Webfoot took DROD down from their website, along with all of their older games, and it was no longer promoted or supported. No hard feelings there--Webfoot just wasn't making any money from DROD, so they dropped it.

2000 - Permission was granted from Dana at Webfoot for an open source DROD release. At first I just wanted to dump the source code and run, but then I started perusing the code and looking at all my old notes for new features to put into DROD. I started thinking ambitiously, and ended up taking the whole engine apart, instead of making a quick release.

2001 - TLK, a French game company, contacted me and said they wanted to remake DROD in 3D, and we started a joint development effort later in the year. My project, Caravel DROD was a simple, (nothing is simple--remember that!) open source reincarnation of Webfoot DROD in plain-old boring 2D. Things went slow to nowhere until I convinced people at my regular job to let me cut back my hours to part-time. Then Michael Welsh Duggan, Rik Cookney, JP Burford, and John William Wicks joined up and wrote large chunks of code for the Caravel project. Off in Paris, Patrice Duhamel made steady progress on TLK DROD.

2002 - I got canned from my job, and was unemployed January 1. While looking for work and collecting unemployment checks, I managed to finish up the first release of Caravel DROD. This was accomplished with a great deal of help from Mike Rimer and others who are proudly named in the credits. Matt Schikore appears on the scene, helping make DROD portable. At the end of the year, I move to Paraguay to earn some paychecks again. Mike starts cranking away on a new level editor. I had an agreement with my new employer to spend a very limited amount of time on outside projects, so I stopped working on DROD, other than talking to Mike. The company in Paraguay ran out of money and sent me back to Seattle.

2003 - DROD: Architects Edition is released. Matt, Mike and I joined forces as Caravel Games. I opened up the DROD store with help from my new fiancee, Brittany. DROD's original publisher, Webfoot, hired me to write some games for them.

2004 - Caravelgames.com goes live, although there isn't much on it at that point. Nevertheless, it's ready for what the future of the company holds. And it looks stylin' too.

2005 - DROD sees its second commercial release, DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold, while Caravel Games gets its first with the same. A high score system also gets introduced to the DROD experience through the new service called "CaravelNet", which allows many more other things too, and will expand the DROD playing experience to new heights! Gerry Jo Jellestad joins the dev team, drawing some great pixel art and producing the Linux port for DROD:JtRH.

2007 - The City Beneath, the third game in the DROD saga is released. Along with it is the release of the CaravelNet Chatroom, a place where people can chat in-game whether they are playing or building.

2008 - Tendry the Stalwart makes his first appearance in DROD RPG: Tendry's Tale, Caravel's first published adventure not about Beethro. Now you get to have some RPG-like stats and persistent dungeons. Puzzles have become larger and rooms more interconnected. Players with level heads will be able to keep Tendry's foolhardiness in check.

2009 - The DROD RPG high-score system goes live. For anyone interested in high score optimization of a resource management game, this is the place. Erik sells his share in Caravel Games to Mike. Mike and other members of the dev team got day jobs a while back, so development slows down and Caravel Games undergoes some reorganization.

2009-11 - Two great Smitemasters Selection expansion packs and DROD:TCB 3.3 is released.

2012 - DROD: Gunthro and the Epic Blunder is released. As Caravel's fourth commercial release, it was a little different than other DRODs, introducing a non-linear gamestyle focused more on beginners and new players to the DROD universe. In June, Flash DROD was released, developed primarily by Maurycy Zarzycki. Playable on numerous Flash game websites as well as Caravel's home page, this features smaller room sizes, achievements, and an altered version of King Dugan's Dungeon. Deadly Music of Death, Vols. 1 and 2 is released for digital download.

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