Modding FOGD part II

Hi and welcome to the second mod-lesson for a Family of Grave Diggers!

Well, the first post was just an overview so we could consider this one to be the first real mod post, but enough talking, lets dive in and get to work! Now, now, not too fast, lets start with something easy just to check things out.

A potion that adds 1 point of attack permanently, the Strength Potion (Graphics Credits Ail)!

So what do we need:

  • A 34×34 icon for the item (right click, save link as…)
  • A text editor (for example Notepad++)
  • Around 20 minutes



  1. Open your game folder, the copied one (see post 1 for instructions where you have copied it), open Mod/gfx/item and copy the icon in the two folders /mapsize and /slotsize.
  2. Move up two levels (or back if you prefer) to the  /Mod folder and open /Script/Item/potion
  3. Create a new file named “strength potion.lua” (if you can’t see the extension, see this post!)
  4. Open the file with your favourite text editor (or another if you feel rebellious).

The items in a Family of Grave Diggers are all made up like this, a graphic part and a “code” (or script) part.

Come back, it’s really easy to script things!

The file needs 6 functions, this is what make the item tick and moreover it tells the game what to do with it (I put what we’ll use in parentheses).

  1. What type is it? (see below, but it’s “USE”)
  2. What kind of characteristic does it give when equipped (we can’t equip it so nothing)
  3. How many charges does it have if any. (It’s just a one shot so no charges)
  4. An ingame description. (That’s the hard one!)
  5. The variation, so for example a weapon can have different variations (no need here though!)
  6. The scary Function that gets called when the item is used! (see below…)

For the type, there are a bunch of types: USE, EAT, SHOES, HEAD and so on, we’ll use the “USE” type as the player will actually use the item.

The only other specificity is the sixth bulletpoint, the USE function!

Here we can do whatever we want to, spawn a new map, invoke monsters, remove all the hitpoints except one, but lets not do that and instead, add +1 to the players attack:

(Hint: right-click and choose “save as” to download the whole .lua file)

Almost done!

Well, we are done actually but the item will never drop so we can’t test it…

Let’s insert it in the random drops! Go up two steps to /Mod/Script and open droprandomitem.lua.

It’s a fairly powerful item so lets make it a level 2 item!

Search for “itemlevel2arr” and add it to the list of drops, with a half-low droprate (droprates are just important comparing to other items in the same level, they are not percentages).

Note: the name is the filename without the .lua extension.

Done! Now just play for hours and hope the monster you just killed will drop it!

Or maybe we’ll cheat a little bit to check if we didn’t make some typo when we wrote all those script lines right?

So hold your hat because we are going to cheat!

A little bit.

In the folder where GravbeDiggers.exe lives (one step below /Mod), once you have ran the game and exited normally  at least once, you will have 3 save files;

  • maps.bin for the maps
  • data.xml for running monsters, items, bonuses et al.
  • and finally glob.txt which is the most hideous one but it’ll do our deed.

Now just a word of caution, you don’t want to break any of those three files, so

Back them up!

I mean it! If you mess it up, you’ll loose all your progress and the game will just go bananas.

You have been warned!

Let’s calm down and open glob.txt, which is just a ton of variable names and numbers and stuff and search for SHOPITEMS_FOOD

On the line following SHOPITEMS_FOOD, you’ll find a list of all the things the first shopkeeper (the green guy with the cheesy cubes on his head) sells.

The line (warning, never erase or insert a newline in this file!) is composed of a name, a comma, a number (the variation) and a semicolon. Now lets add our potion to the line!

So before it looked like something like this:

And after it will look like this: (you add a semicolon, the name, a comma and a zero)

Save the file, take a deep breath and start the game.

And voilà, the shopkeeper now gives away free potions!

Have fun with an abnormous attack and see you in the next episode!



Ludvig Larsson aka Valmond @ Mindoki Games



Modding FOGD part I

Hi everybody!

You remember that a Family of Grave Diggers was specifically built to enable easy modding right? So today I’ll start talking about how you can dive in and mod the game!

Step 1:

Find the game:

If you bought it on Steam:

  • Open the Steam client
  • go to your [Library]
  • scroll down to a Family of Grave Diggers (yeah, it’s under ‘F’)
  • right click and select ‘Properties’.
  • Select the tab [Local Files]
  • click the button [Browse local files...]

If you bought it elsewhere then I can’t know where it’s installed but as you most probably launch the game with an icon, do this!

  • Right click icon
  • Click ‘Properties’
  • Click the button [Open File Location] (or ‘Find Target’ on XP)

If you don’t have an icon, then you’ll know where GraveDigger.exe lives, just open that folder.

Found it? Phew! Lets copy it over somewhere so we won’t meddle with the ‘original’ game files as it will be overwritten by any new Steam update for example, so go up one level and copy the folder [a Family of Grave Diggers] somewhere else on your computer.

Enter the freshly copied folder and you should now see all of the compiled code and data, it should look something like this (plus a couple of save files probably):

This is the root folder, and it’s filled with terrifying files mortals shouldn’t meddle with (just kidding) but don’t fret, we won’t touch anything in there with the exception of the ‘Mod’ folder and eventually, save files. And of course launch the GraveDiggers.exe to check out our newly brewed mod!

But enough talking, open the Mod file and you’ll find something like this:

Doesn’t seem like a lot eh, but here we actually have all the nifty things that we’ll want to modify or add to. Or delete if there is something you dislike!

  • font : here we store fonts for the game (lets skip this for now)
  • gfx : All the graphics are stored here
  • map : All the fullblown maps, like the map where you start or the wizards tower
  • mapparts : the Schrödinger map parts, it’s like puzzle pieces that’s get stuck together to generate the maps
  • music : hmm hmm ta daaa!
  • Script : here lives all the scripts who control about everything in the game
  • sound : Bang crash, sound effects here!

So lets dive in shall we?

Follow me to part two then!


Been a while

Hi all Family of Grave Diggers followers!

First of all, I am sorry if I missed someone when I told I’d be away for a while, everything happened so fast!

And this is what happened: I had decided to take a year off to really finalize the game but time was running out (and for you who follows my devblog on twitter knows there were a lot non game related stuff that slowed everything down too), so I had to get a job!

We, my family and I, lived in Montpellier (it’s on the Mediterranean side of France) but we never really liked it there so we decided to change city as it seemed a good moment of opportunity, and we choose Bordeaux!
So off I were looking for a job, having interviews, doing tests, negotiating salary, start date and so on.
And one day I found both an interesting and okay paying (my girlfriend would leave her job so I have to be the bread hunter for a while), starting early April.

Just one problem, that’s in two weeks! And we couldn’t find an apartment! Well off I went, renting an AirBnB for my first week of work:

But the train takes 5 hours (when it’s not late or outright annulled!) which left me with only, roughly, one day with my family every week, so I decided to bring everybody here right away!
So… moving!
Moving like a game developer!

I have moved around a bit in my life and I have found that it always takes around three times more time/energy to move than you thought it would.
The fun thing is that this rule seems to work even if you know about the rule!
It’s Always much much worse than expected.
Let’s move this:

Almost done, right? Right?

And sure it was (worse than expected, not almost done) , the moving itself took almost a whole week, including all the last minute panic cleaning where, for example, my mother in law threw all our last stuff away before we noticed, and so on.

But finally, here we were, freshly arrived in Bordeaux!

But, misfortune. We haven’t found an apartment just yet, what should we do? Sell our things and live under a bridge? Move to Australia?

Barring the most important stuff, we put all our things in a storage facility box:

and rented another temporary apartment for a week.

But we didn’t find an apartment so we rented another temporary apartment. For a month this time. That should do the trick, right? Right?

Sorry for the bad quality image:

I took the tramway to work and I must say that it’s beautiful around here:

And lots of cats!

So far so good but in the meantime, I also had to learn some new tech I haven’t tinkered with since school or just didn’t know at all (Python, git, tcl, Amira, open inventor, crazy buildsystems, the list goes on… but also the work I was actually supposed to do, Single Particle Reconstruction, IMO really cool stuff) so I was quite occupied to say the least.

But we didn’t find an apartment!

So here we went again, another month in a temporary rent.

Add a death in the family and the burial the same day there were national strikes (no trains, “operation snail” on the motorways…), a week of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (in our 40m² temporary apartment), all the hassle of finding a school for the kids in the last two months of the year without having an address and moving our (sparse but growing) stuff every now and then and I must confess that we were quite relieved when we finally found it!

Now we just have to move in, that should be easay and quick right? Right?

We have just started to explore our new surroundings, but I like it a lot.

The view from our toilets (never underestimate a good toilet view)

The Darwin Project (you can go there by bus, tramway or … by boat!)

And of course the ocean:

Thank you for reading all this (or scrolling quickly!), but now it’s time for the real news:

A Family of Grave Diggers 0.875 is now Out!
All the wonderful music made by Chris Kukla is now integrated, lots of bugfixes and maybe most important, the development is back on track!

It’s nice to be back.

Ludvig aka Valmond @ Mindoki Games

Beta version 0.74 out now!

With, among other things:
Big GUI overhaul, text should be readable now (please comment on color & font!).
Pad support (I only have a XBOX 360 pad) starts today (You need to activate it in the menu), Alpha though, same here, please do tell how/if it works (Pad-button “Y” to calibrate analog stick)!
Auto-Popups in pickup-slots (activate in the menu) for keyboard-only play.
Music is the same old but wonderful music is in the makings!
Lots of new rooms & tunnelparts have been added, like the secret room…
Actually secret rooms, which you might find sometimes. And the secret shopkeeper, have I told you about the secret shopkeeper?

And last but not least some not at all secret stuff; bugfixes, polishing, tweaks and fixes!

Please enjoy this version 0.74.

Valmond aka Ludvig Larsson @ Mindoki Games
ps. Oh yeah, Groupees actually excused themselves, paid me double which I must say is some nice goodwill…

And with fame comes problems… (Groupee Bundle)

Hi all Grave Digger fans!

This is the story about how my first try to sell the game panned out. Last year, I was in a bundle to showcase my Alpha version of Family of Grave Diggers and get Greenlight votes, I was in a Groupee Bundle.

It was a flop in units sold, I earned around $8, but it did raise some awareness about my Greenlight Campaign, so there was that!

Groupee never got back to me (and seriously I didn’t care, I would’t fight for $8).

Fast forward almost a year, my game is now in an advanced Beta stage and I launch (finally!) my Early Access on Steam! This is a huge success, I spend a whole week only to answer mails, tweets, requests etcetera, great times!

I also got a mail from Groupees, they want to pay me $262.58 and requests 3291 keys!

Where those figures come from is obviously a mystery, but needlessly to say, they want $30.000 of keys for a meager $262.58…

I have tried to dialogue, but they just send me back the same request over and over.

This is not good, so I’m bringing the problem out in the open, this is my latest mail I sent them (because you know, If you paid for a bundle, you Should get your game).


Well I still can’t understand how you think this could pan out.
1) you sell games, including mine, and I should get around 8$
2) I never get them…
3) We don’t hear from you for 1 year
4) Suddenly you want to give me 200$ something and have 3000+ keys.
This is just not going to happen. There is just no way I’ll mail you $30.000 value of keys after how I have seen how you handle things.
What can happen, is that I, or a trusted middle man, gets the names of those who bought the game and we will send the keys to them.
Ludvig Larsson @ Mindoki Games


Well, now the ball is in their camp, hope they won’t drop it again…

Ludvig Larsso

ps. I just wanted to add that Draul at the Drastic Measure, who helped make the bundle is extremely helpful, he definitely is a good guy. This is only a Groupees problems.

LIVE on Steam! (Early Access)

Aand … a Family of Grave diggers is Live on Steam (Early Access)!

I got over a hundred new twitter followers in twenty minutes, lots of hi quality streaming demands (around ten) counting several hundred thousand followers!

I’m not yet off to bed.

Early Access means that the game isn’t really finished. So what does that mean?

My game is around 80% finished content wise, there should (well well) be no more big bugs and you can actually play the whole game, there are just some endgame content left to do.

And some tweaking of course!

Enjoy! Come enjoin the Family of Grave Diggers!

How do you make an Indie game?

How do I make my Indie game?

So I was asked what tech I use for making my game. Not what tech I use in the game itself (like OpenGL or C++) but what kind of programs I’m using.

I didn’t think I used that many, here they are!

  • Visual Studio + Visual Assist (So Damn Good) for coding
  • Tortoise SVN for versioning
  • Notepad++ for scripting and website updates
  • Filezilla for uploading stuff on the Web/Internet
  • Photoshop for image editing
  • Tiled for map editing
  • Audacity for sound & music editing
  • Greenshot for screen capture
  • Fraps for video capture
  • Magic Video for video editing (IIRC, it was some time ago, not my program)
  • 4VideoSoft for Video converting (IIRC)
  • Mantis for planning and bug tracking
  • Steam for publishing
  • Twitter and WordPress for community management
  • DSM replication software between my Synology NAS at home (with SVN) and another far far away in another gala…city

And I’m not even sure I’m not forgetting any one…