Many updates

December 7, 2006

I've been working very hard over the last two months getting a series of updates into Sherwood Dungeon that I hope you like. With over 100,000 unique visitors everyday, pleasing every player is an impossible task. I've read every email, visited Sherwood clan sites, chatted with players inside the game and tried to make sure that you know I'm listening. With close to 100 emails everyday, it's tough to respond to everyone and still have time to develop the game. I want you to understand that I care great deal about the players. Giving everyone the attention they deserve despite the information overload that I face everyday can be a brutally frustrating process. I am trying to be different from other developers and the last thing I want is to be perceived as being arrogant, aloof or detached from the player base.

So what's new? Here's the list of new features in the game over the last two months.

1. New Player Avatars: Finally! Two new human avatars and a skeleton avatar are in the game. You've seen the evolution of the character art here in the Developer's Diary and the new characters in the game are the result. There are still some changes to come, but they will be minor. The character selection screen is the first thing you'll see after login. You can rotate the characters from this screen by dragging the left mouse button. Helmet selection for the Dark Knight avatar is now accommodated in the character selection screen as well.

2. Ancient Sherwood Island: I've had repeated requests to revisit the original Sherwood land that started it all in 2001, with it's four temples dedicated to each of the teams. Only the eldest Sherwood warriors will remember this land, now rediscovered and reclaimed by the Kingdom. A few rocks have moved and the land is overgrown with trees in the years that have passed (got it as close as I could). Ancient Sherwood is a level 30 area you can teleport to by using the portal on one of the two smaller outpost towers or by typing /teleport 5 . Just like in the original land, Blue Warriors and Red Spiders roam the land.

3. Changes to Sherwood Castle Area: I've heard your requests for the return of Tower battles. The portal on top of the highest tower was getting in the way of combat so I have enlarged the two outpost towers and placed the portals there. Let the Tower Battles resume!

4. Amulets: Remember I said I was planning something special for Amulets? Amulets replace helmets on the equipment bar. Helmet selection for the Dark Knight is now done from the Character panel. Most Amulets provide an armor bonus, but I added a special level 5 magic item called a Talisman of Speed. A new energy bar has been placed under the health bar to go with this. When the Talisman of Speed is equipped, use the key to activate it. The energy bar will turn yellow and begin to discharge when you attack. Your attack speed will almost double while the Talisman discharges. Once completely discharged, your attack speed will return to normal and the Talisman will recharge over time. This item is intended to make Player vs Player combat more interesting. The high speed attack should make it easier to get inside your opponents blocks. If your opponent also has the Talisman of Speed, you'll need to be strategic about when to activate it during combat.

Thank You

October 1, 2006

On a day when the game servers topped 4000 simultaneous players for the first time, it seems a developer's diary entry is in order. I would like to start out by just saying thank you. I recognize that making a living, doing what you love is a rare thing in this world. You made this possible. is not a massive corporation. It's just a guy with a computer living his dream of making massive multiplayer games that people seem to want to play. I cannot express how grateful I am for the support that you have shown and for making my dreams come true.

The redesign of the player avatars is progressing well. Based on the concept image in my last diary entry, it can be hard to visualize how characters will translate into the game. Now that rough versions have been modeled in 3D, you can get a clearer idea of current progress based on the above image. These characters are not yet textured and the female avatar has shoulder armor still in the works. Let me know what you think.


Most of you have already experienced the updates that have gone into Sherwood Dungeon in recent weeks. I mentioned in the last diary entry that I design in a very organic way. The last update really makes this obvious. I was experimenting with a few ideas and realized that I'd stumbled on an approach that could vastly increase the number of islands and variety of terrain types in the game without impacting the download time. Three new islands - Haunted Palm, Frost Bite and Lost Lagoon are the result. Three portals were added to Sherwood Castle for transport to these new lands once you advance to the required XP Level. This also allowed me to update the art direction of the game, making all the lands, including Sherwood, more vibrant and colorful and allowing each to have a distinctive palette.

Yesterday I added monster drops to the three new islands. After defeating a monster, they drop items that you can use or sell at the merchants by the portals. Skeletal bosses drop higher level items and if you character is a higher XP Level than the monsters, they will drop less frequently. As you can see from past diary entries, neither of these updates were planned or scheduled but once the impact they would have was clear, I made them top priority.

Oh, and if you haven't noticed already, holding down and at the same time makes your character dance. Taunt your friends or have a party! Good silly fun. :)

Once again, thank you,


New Vision for Sherwood Dungeon

June 25, 2006

It's time to give you an update on my plans for Sherwood Dungeon and All my games, including Sherwood Dungeon, go through many phases of development from the original vision through to it's launch on the site. After launch there's often numerous updates to get the final features in place. I design in a very organic way, so providing a list of new features and a timeline for implementation of those features can give players false expectations. If you were a player of the original Sherwood, you probably noticed that Sherwood Dungeon was a much more substantial update than just throwing a few new features into Sherwood. It was based on a new vision for the game, both from a technical and design standpoint. Major technical hurdles needed to be overcome to allow Sherwood Dungeon to have an infinitely deep dungeon and still keep the game small enough to fit on a floppy disk. When you are creating a web based MMORPG, keeping it small is incredibly important because the longer that loading bar takes, the more players your going to loose during the download.

In the past month, there hasn't been many visible updates to the current game because I've been developing a vision for the next major update for Sherwood Dungeon. One of the goals for the next update is to launch a new dedicated Sherwood Dungeon website with a full set of community features including an account system, player profiles, connections between friends, forums and guild support. This will be tied into the save game features of the game, however most of these community features will be available exclusively through the Sherwood Dungeon website. Development on this is currently very active.

The second major goal is to completely redesign the player avatars in the game. I believe this is the best way to make a major visual impact on how the game looks. Don't get me wrong, I think Sherwood Dungeon is already the best looking browser based 3D MMORPGs, but it became clear to me when I started work on the female avatar that it would be better to redo the male avatar at the same time. Concept art for the new characters is going very well and I've got some of my best game industry art contacts helping me on this. It's more important for me to get this feature right than get it fast, so be patient and I hope you'll like the results.

Quick Update

May 29th, 2006

Just a quick update. Here's a list of features that went into Sherwood Dungeon this month:

Helmets are now in the game, with five different types of helmets available in the dungeon chests. A new slot for helmets is now on the equipment bar.

Missions, now called Quests, have been added. More quest types are planned in the future including boss and delivery quests. Quests are available from Captain Morgan by the dungeon entrance. Just walk close to the Captain and click on him to be offered a quest. The quest log is on the equipment bar. This shows you how close you are to completing the quest. Once you've completed the quest, return to Captain Morgan for your reward.

The merchant store is above the dungeon entrance of the Castle Keep. Click on the merchant to see the store. A number of updates occured to the store this month and you now have the ability to sell your inventory items to the merchant.

Multiple Servers
Support for multiple servers has been added to the game and a new server is online. You can choose between Emerald Server and Ruby server on the log-in screen. If you don't choose a server, one is selected randomly for you.

Undead Skeleton Warriors and Bosses
Undead monsters are in Dungeon Level 5 on down. There are also Undead Boss Skeletons with three times the health of regular monsters. You may want to bring a friend to defeat one of these. The map indicates the last known location of boss skeletons in purple on the map. Female avatars are a new feature I'm hoping to add in the next while, as requested by many players. The dragons and amulets are on hold until this is complete. I'm also planning on adding a help screen to Sherwood Dungeon with more instruction for new players. I've made some changes to PVP in the Castle level. Blocking an attack successfully does double damage on the next attack and health potions no longer work in the Castle level. This is in response to players that just gather up health potions for PVP and make combat less fun for the other players.

Bug Report
You probably noticed a bug where numerous monsters spawned after a player defeated a monster. This was related to a bug in the boss update and has been fixed now. Thanks for the emails from players that described the symptoms of this to me....very helpful. 

What's Next for Sherwood Dungeon?

April 26, 2006

Rumors abound regarding my plans for Sherwood Dungeon in the coming months so I'm taking this opportunity to set the record straight and provide some detail on the launch. Sherwood Dungeon is up and running and so far the servers have handled the load and the feedback has been very positive.

Bug Report

  • It didn't take long for players to discover a way of holding a shield in their sword hand. This resulted in a crash for everyone else logged into that room. It was the only major crash bug of the last two weeks and it's fixed now. (Players have gotten into the habit of calling these crash bugs "Shockwaves".)
  • Rings in your inventory were magically transformed into shields when you quit the game and logged back in. Great, I suppose, if you want a shield, but obviously a problem if you had magic rings in your inventory. This is fixed now and thanks for the email from the player that first discovered the problem.
  • Players were suppose to be able have more than one health potion as this is a stackable item. This is fixed now, so collect away. I'm assuming players thought this was by design because I received no complaints.
  • You may have noticed that players and monsters were getting many extra attacks during combat in busy areas. This is fixed now.
  • Sapphire: Yes, I spelled it wrong. It's fixed now so please no more email on this one. Just for reference, although though I'm Canadian, I decided to use the American spelling for words like Armor. (Armour for those of us using the Queen's English.)
  • Not really a bug, but blocking an attack gives you double damage on the next round. Block two attacks in a row and you get triple damage. This works both in PvP and against monsters. It's intended to replace the "combos" that existed in the original Sherwood. Those combos in Sherwood were actually a bug, but when I tried to take them out originally, players complained bitterly.

There are a number of features that didn't make it into the beta release of Sherwood Dungeon. For example, I've been getting tons of email regarding what to do with the gold that you collect. In the coming months I will be adding many of the features that didn't make the Beta. These are not set in stone and I'm reserving the right to make changes to the list. Here's what I'm intending to add in priority order.

New Features in the Coming Months

1. Helmets
I consider this one of the most important new features. Helmets allows players to personalize their characters, manage their armor and demonstrate achievement in the game.

2. Stores and Merchants
Yes, I got the message and I'm working on it! Give me a little time.

3. Missions
 I'm intending to have a mission system in the game. Players will be able to get missions from NPC characters to fight boss type monsters in the dungeon, collect special items and return for a reward.

4. Dragons
Yes, I said Dragons. Easier said that done, but Dragons will be tied to the mission system in the game. It will take more than one player to take a dragon down, so bring a friend.

5. Undead Monsters
These skeletal warriors are intended to increase the variety of monsters in the dungeon.

6. Amulets
I haven't figured out a great system for differentiating the amulets from magic rings, but I'll come up with something ;)

Anything that you hear from other players beyond this list is just a rumor.

Another important piece of news is that I've decided to quit my day job to concentrate on full time. This website was my hobby, evenings and weekends, for a number of years. Not any more. As some of you may know, I've been a Technical Art Director for Radical Entertainment for the past five years, working on console and PC games like Crash Tag Team Racing, The Hulk, CSI and many others. (Look for my name in the credits in Crash Tag Team Racing and select it..pretty funny eh?) Radical Entertainment is a great company, but has grown to the point were it deserves 100% of my attention. games are played over six million times per month and during peak times over 2000 simultaneous players are participating in the multiplayer games. This move should result in faster updates and more polished games. Wish me luck!

Sherwood Dungeon is in Open Beta.

April 9, 2006

I'm exhausted but very happy. It's taken seven months, but I hope Sherwood Dungeon lives up to expectations. This game features an infinitely deep dungeon filled with monsters and treasure. It includes character advancement, new weapons, magic rings and more. The new code base is faster and should provide a stable foundation for future enhancements. Sherwood Dungeon is in Open Beta, which means I'm still finding and fixing bugs.

Important Game Notes:

  • Games are saved on exit and when you leave dungeon levels, but if you remove Shockwave from your computer, you will lose the saved game.
  • The Dungeon entrance is in the Keep of Sherwood Castle. Player vs Player combat is valid only outside the Keep and away from the two smaller towers near the spawn point.
  • The monsters get tougher the deeper you go, but you'll get more XP points. If you team up on a monster with a friend, the XP earned is based on the damage you do. The monsters in the Castle Level scale to level of the player, however you'll get only a small amount of experience from these. There's no level cap and the dungeon is infinitely deep.
  • Make sure you keep re-equipping with higher level weapons as you go; you'll need them. The level of the weapon is listed along with the damage and magic bonus when you mouse over them in the equipment bar or inventory.

I hope you enjoy the game.