Dyson 1.10 released!

February 4th, 2009 - 41 Responses

Hello everyone,

Dyson v1.10


We released version 1.10 of Dyson! It is the public demo that will also be made available at the IGF site for the Audience Award.

This version contains new music from Brian, which is really superb. We love it. We think the new version is worth the download purely for the music.

We also reworked the font code so now the game has really smooth fonts instead of the old pixel font, which was hard to read and didn’t really fit with the theme.

This also meant we had to redo the tutorial, which is now a bit nicer again.

There is a new level (level 2), which is designed to help people understand more how the attributes work. We also changed some of the balancing in the levels.

There are a few other tweaks that you may discover if you’re a seasoned Dyson colonist :) see if you can spot the changes! Don’t be looking in the build log! I know your tricks!

Have fun!

Dyson nabs Bytejacker “Free indie of the year” 2nd spot!

January 12th, 2009 - 5 Responses

The Bytejacker crew organised a vote for their viewers to determine which free indie of 2008 they liked most and we were more than happy to find ourself skyhigh with Dyson nabbing the 2nd spot!

You should go have a look at the countdown, check out all the great games, and see if you can guess who got first place :-) Check it out: Bytejacker Free Indie of the year!

Dyson nominated for the IGF Grand Prize; TunaSnax interview up

January 7th, 2009 - 4 Responses

We’re going to the IGF. We’re going to the IGF!

That news is still sinking in. But there it is: Dyson is a finalist for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. We’re really pleased, and personally I’m pretty daunted and mildly surprised! But it’s great to have Dyson acknowledged in this way, it’s an honour to be up there with the other finalists (I’ve played Blueberry Garden and it’s *awesome*). Good luck guys!

Rudolf and I were recently interviewed by Sarah from TunaSnax, who have also nabbed a finalist nomination for Excellence in Visual Art, for Cletus Clay. It was great fun, and now the interview has been put up on the Snax website for all to read :) VISITER LE LINK Thanks guys, and congratulations on the nomination! Looking forward to playing Cletus Clay at the IGF (finally – been waiting to play this for years now)!

Also stay tuned for more news soon, hopefully :)

Dyson on Bytejacker!

November 10th, 2008 - 10 Responses

Now this is very nice. Anthony Carboni and co. host a web show dedicated to reviewing and promoting indie games, and the show does it with gusto and a nice professional sheen. It is called BYTEJACKER and I have embedded the current episode at the top of this post.

They genuinely love games and review them fairly, in my opinion, so I decided to drop them a line about Dyson the other day. As it turned out they knew the game anyway and decided to include it in the current Monday episode. The Monday episode introduced three different free indie games, people can then go on an play them an vote for the one they like best on the Bytejacker blog. The THURSDAY show will then take the game with most votes and review it in more detail as the “Free indie of the week!”

Have ago at the three games yourself and pick the one you like best! :-)


Linux version required packages

November 5th, 2008 - 2 Responses

Oops! We messed up and the Linux README did not include the packages required to run the game. If you downloaded the Linux version and don’t know what packages to install, these should be the ones you need:

  • mono
  • libmono-i18n (and perhaps other basic mono stuff)
  • libgdiplus
  • libsdl
  • libsdl-gfx
  • libsdl-mixer
  • libsdl-image
  • libvorbis
  • libpng

Please let us know if you are still having trouble. Cheers!

Dyson screenshots, November 2008

November 4th, 2008 - 5 Responses

New Dyson Version out now!

November 4th, 2008 - 18 Responses

dyson screenshot


Alex, Brian and myself have been hard at work to finish a new version of Dyson for the Independent Games Festival (IGF), and we are very pleased with the huge amount of progress we made. It is chockablock full of new content and improvements so we decided this is a good time to release it into the wild :D The game is still a work in progress, but there is much to enjoy nonetheless:


  • Pods

    The game now allows you to plant defensive trees which grow explosive pods. These pods launch themselves at enemy seedlings when they get too near and can be a formidable weapon.

  • Sphere of influence

    The camera is now limited to those parts of the galaxy that you have discovered. This goes hand in hand with a limit on sending your seedlings, which is now no longer unrestrained.


The game now features a more sophisticated help screen that really does a much better job of explaining how the game works, yet isn’t obtrusive at all.


Dyson will consist of many levels, and here are five examples that show different aspects for gameplay. Most of the content is still procedural, so there is still huge scope for replayability. The levels will eventually be part of a much bigger campaign and will be very diverse in content.


We have improved the UI specifically for this build, more and better information is presented to the player, but the UI will eventually be replaced with a system more appropriate to the visuals and style of the game.

Music and Sound

Brian (Milieu) has given us two new tracks from a bigger suite of music being written uniquely for Dyson! How cool is that? The two tracks now play after the known initial track. I personally love the new stuff to bits. He has also done a bunch of new sounds for us and the game really benefits from it.


The code improvements are too numerous to all be mentioned but some major ones deserve a shout.

  • Installer

    We now have a nifty “proper” game installer, which extracts and installs the game in a Dyson directory without any fuss.

  • Linux version

    Thanks to KareemK and d0k, we now have a linux version. It is available from the download page.

  • Fullscreen

    The game can now be played fullscreen, which is a very nice experience. Trust me!

  • Scripting/levels support

    YES! This means we can now start adding tons of content to make use of all the game’s little features and mechanics. (Which we will be doing from now on)

  • Options menu

    The options menu now allows a number of thing to be toggled on and off.

  • Bugfixes

    Many bugs have been found and squashed, the game is getting quite slick. :D

Future improvements

We have some major additional improvements and features planned, for example there will be more to do ingame while playing the levels, or as I mentioned earlier the UI overhaul. Keep an eye on this site as we wil be blogging about these things in the future. :D

We hope you enjoy this new build, and we are keeping our fingers crossed for Dyson at the indie games festival!

As always we love hearing from you guys/gals so don’t be shy with any feedback!

Greetings from Rudolf and Alex.


Dyson screenshots, October 2008

October 23rd, 2008 - No Responses

FAQ updated

September 26th, 2008 - One Response

We’ve updated the FAQ with a whopping two questions. In the likely event that your question isn’t answered in the now bulging FAQ section, please let us know :)

We’re still soldiering on with Dyson and hope to have a build out before November. Remember to join the mailing list to keep up to date about new versions!

Dyson Developer Diary – Design Edition # 1

August 22nd, 2008 - 5 Responses

Freeman Dyson

To add some interest to the site I decided to start blogging the development of Dyson a bit, mostly from a design point of view. Hopefully it if of interest to you guys/gals to read some of the ideas and motivations behind the game, it certainly explains much of the content. Some of the following is a bit dry but let me start at the beginning and in following diaries I will sex it up a bit :-)

First and foremost, the title. I have always had a certain fascination for the concept of mechanical self-replication. (Can a machine build a copy of itself and keep on propagating and evolving itself into future versions?) The concept has fascinated me since I read a scifi story about a society stuck in an endless warfare loop because the war machines were always able to create seeds of themselves that would grown and evolve into a new generation of war machines. (I forgot the name and author of the story. Anyone?)

My interest was further fuelled by the work of the famous mathematician John Von Neumann. early work on cellular automata and the implications, which are quite startling:

“Von Neumann also created the field of cellular automata without the aid of computers, constructing the first self-replicating automata with pencil and graph paper. The concept of a universal constructor was fleshed out in his posthumous work Theory of Self Reproducing Automata. Von Neumann proved that the most effective way of performing large-scale mining operations such as mining an entire moon or asteroid belt would be by using self-replicating machines, taking advantage of their exponential growth.”

Self-replicating Machine

Von Neumann’s work was theoretical; he never built self-replicating machines (although Lionel and Roger Penrose later captured the principles of this in simple mechanical models made of plywood). Nonetheless it conjures up fantastical images of mining robots eating up asteroids like swarms of mechanical locusts or robot factories terraforming entire worlds and creating space ships to take themselves to new ones like some kind of interstellar virus. The idea really speaks to people, and has been picked up by many scientists as well. Not the least of which being Freeman Dyson.

Freeman Dyson (what a name) is one of the most important thinkers of the last 100 years or so (in my opinion) who has also done some great writing and philosophising on space exploration and similar geeky goodness. There are too many great things to have sprung from his mind to mention but I am especially enamoured by concepts like the Dyson Sphere, the Dyson Tree and specifically the Astrochicken. (yes that is the real name)

Now if we combine this idea of space exploration by the astrochicken with the self-replicating mechanical principles of John Von Neumann and we arrive at some very gamy principles indeed. So when the Tigsource website announced they were launching a competition challenging developers to create a procedural game all this clicked into space. Alex was already hard at work on procedural towns for Deadrock and I already had quite advanced ideas for a game based on mining an asteroid belt with self-replicating machines.


Throw all these concepts together and mix in procedural generation and you have a near perfect set of game mechanics for this concept. (Well that is what we thought anyway)

What we ended up with is slightly different from the original plan. For one it isn’t finished yet, there are some major ideas still to be implemented, but some things have just changed. For example the seedlings were supposed to live IN the asteroids, and mine them for pockets of resources. Hence the tree roots snaking around the asteroids. In stead we have inverted them ending up with this: :-)

Le Petit Prince

The next instalment I will go into more detail on the gameplay design, but to do so I had to get the background out of the way first.