The Game-Dev Rustlers

Twenty years ago (!) I was hanging out in the college computer lab, reading a book about which assembly registers to twiddle to put the graphics card into direct mode.

Crap. Another Blue Screen.

Enter one lab monitor, Derrick Schommer (@everydaydrinker), asking me what I was doing to continually keep crashing Windows. Upon learning that I was teaching myself how to do graphics programming he remarked that he too was interested in game development.

Fast forward through a few failed indie projects, corporate jobs, marriage, kids, and two decades later. We’re right back where we started: two gamers with the dream of saying “we created this game”.

This time is different though. We’ve got all the knowledge and expertise of two developers who’ve been through enough cycles to actually ship a working title. Plus there’s that whole making money thing. It wasn’t as important 20 years ago as it is now that we’ve got bills to pay!

Retro gaming wasn’t retro 20 years ago, but it’s what we still know and love. Two months ago, Derrick and I met in a local Starbucks to talk about joining forces again. After an hour of idea jamming, caffeine consumption, and goal setting, we were embarking on the next adventure: Dungeon Rustlers.

Our mission was to create a fun retro game in two months and release it on Steam for the PC. A tall task¹. We’ve been hard at work crafting a retro dungeon crawler that we enjoy playing, our kids enjoy playing, and we hope our fellow gamers will enjoy playing too.

Dungeon Rustlers: Water Elemental

Along the way we conscripted the talents of one Herb McNally (@mctwentytwo) to aid in our quest. I’ve collaborated with Herb in the past for 3 Up Golf projects and knew he was the right guy to help in the graphic arts department. Herb’s an avid gamer and jumped at the chance to actually put his creative talents to work in creating a title.

The daily grind has changed quite from 20 years ago, but our passion for gaming still lives on. We’re excited to share a piece of our past by launching this retro title for you all to enjoy.

Be sure to follow us on social media (Derrick, Herb, Rob), stop by our website, and visit the official subreddit. I’ll also be sending out an email on the Shag Bag Newsletter when the game goes live.

¹It turns out that the release process on Steam will prevent us from meeting this goal, but we made an honest go at making it!