Last Updated on August 20, 2021 by Michael Brockbank
Recently, I’ve been made abundantly aware of Dungeon Alchemist, thanks to the plethora of commercials on YouTube over the past week. And of all the commercials I came across, this one definitely had me clicking.
I rarely watch the entire advertisement, let alone click on one.
I just hope it’s more than a cash grab, to be honest. And if this is a real thing coming soon, I definitely want a copy for myself.
What is Dungeon Alchemist
Dungeon Alchemist is an AI-driven platform that helps you create complete maps for role-playing games. You simply draw the shape of the room and the system does the rest.
This includes adding furniture elements, walls and flooring tiles, visual effects, and a slew of other additions.
If you’re not satisfied with how the AI has built the room, Dungeon Alchemist allows you to grab each element and make changes. In other words, you can easily create a unique room every time.
Then, you are capable of printing out the maps or importing them into supported Virtual Tabletop systems, like Foundry.
At the time of this article, Dungeon Alchemist has a Kickstarter campaign that has long passed its goal. In fact, it superseded what the developers were asking for within the first three days.
Coming to Steam
From what I can gather, the platform is coming to Steam, according to the devs. It’ll have integration with Steam Workshop, which allows you to publish and share various maps with others.
Eventually, the developers want to add modding functionality and let others customize and create 3D models to share as well.
In reality, this would probably be the only way I would remember to buy Dungeon Alchemist. And I’ll set up a reminder to keep checking back on a release date.
I guess this will give me a reason to play around with Blender more often. I’d love to add my own elements to the game.
Why Does Dungeon Alchemist Give Me Pause for Concern
OK, a lot of people have been burned by Kickstarter campaigns. From scammers trying to rip people off completely to developers biting off more than they can chew, a lot of games and gaming elements have fallen the wayside.
I’m not saying that this is going to happen with Dungeon Alchemist. However, some things surrounding the campaign are throwing up a few red flags for me.
Though, this could be nothing and perhaps I’m just being overly paranoid.
Insane Amount of Money Pledged
The initial need for Dungeon Alchemist to succeed on Kickstarter was $54,094. And with 29,412 backers, it vastly overshot what the devs were looking for.
However, this isn’t what gives me cause for concern. It’s the sheer amount of money that has been pulled in by the Kickstarter campaign.
Unfortunately, I’m somewhat soured on the whole aspect of crowdfunding. I’m sure there are millions of great projects out there. And Kickstarter has helped a lot of indie developers and small businesses.
But when your campaign draws in more than $1.5 million with eight days left, it makes me wonder if the creators are going to keep milking as much as possible.
Now, milking it by itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But I’ve seen tons of money change how creators approach a project. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Massive Influx of YouTube Commercials
The money that Dungeon Alchemist has pulled in thus far piqued my interest about the same time the commercials on YouTube grew in frequency.
I can’t watch a single video on YouTube right now without seeing commercials for Dungeon Alchemist. In fact, the massive influx of marketing was noticeable a few days ago.
Why put more money into marketing when you’re well on your way to two million dollars and you only needed $54k?
Obviously, the devs have seen how well a marketing campaign has worked on YouTube and are looking to pull even more money into the pot.
Although the developers of the map maker might have legitimate reasons behind pumping up marketing to something that surpassed its needs by more than 28 times, the skeptic in me is far more cautious.
One or two commercials might not be so bad. But every video I watch regardless of topic or niche is riddled with Dungeon Alchemist advertisements.
So, either YouTube’s algorithm has a long way to go for showing me ads I care about, which is a distinct possibility, or the devs are looking to pad the Kickstarter campaign to ridiculous levels.
Although the devs may be earnest and will put that money to extremely good use, I’ll sit back and watch.
The world has turned me into a pessimist.
UPDATE: A Ray of Hope from the Developers
So, the developers of Dungeon Alchemist reached out to me this morning on Twitter. Apparently, they have a website and social media presence. Which, for the life of me, I couldn’t find when I originally wrote this article.
And I’m glad they set the record straight. I hate posting false information.
Not to mention reassuring me that the program is still in production and is moving forward. There are only two of them working on the project, so they have their hands full.
After a brief conversation on Twitter, the developers seem fairly legit and responsive. Apparently, the Discord server has a 13k following. If that’s not motivation to produce an amazing product, I don’t know what is.
Though, I hope they understand that there is still a part of me that is a skeptic. It’s nothing personal, and the developers seem nice on social. I’ve just seen too many projects like this burn a lot of people.
Thanks to the response I received, though, I’m not nearly as skeptical as I was. Which is why I decided to update this article as soon as they mentioned me on Twitter.
As soon as I’m able to buy it on Steam, I’ll surely write up a review. And I am quite a bit more hopeful that the developers are moving forward.
Beta Testing! Well, for Certain Pledges
According to the Dungeon Alchemist blog, there is a beta testing stage on October 16th. Thank you guys for letting me know you have a website!
Now, the kicker is that it’s only open for certain pledge levels. So, you can be part of the beta testing if you want to pledge a certain dollar amount to the cause.
This is actually a fairly decent marketing tactic by the devs. They can potentially pull in a few more bucks by people upgrading so they can test out the software.
But, we probably already know how I feel about beta testing.
At any rate, pushing out a beta release date only fuels my impression of the devs and gets me more excited. I don’t mind not being part of the beta test. I just hope it goes further than that.
I waited nearly 10 years for Day Z to be finished. Of course, I’m counting a bit of the time it took from when talks started about a standalone game.
But, I digress.
Since I signed up for the newsletter, I’m sure the devs will let me know the minute I can buy Dungeon Alchemist on Steam.
Definitely One to Keep an Eye On
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally down on Dungeon Alchemist. In fact, I’m really hoping that it’s a legit platform. I’d love to sit back and just create maps for hours on end.
Then again, I’m a bit weird like that. Besides, it’ll help me in future campaigns with the kids.
My biggest issues just come from a place of seeing so many people get burned on Kickstarter…and a lot of them were from the gaming community.
But in reality, I’d probably toss a few bucks their way if I had it readily available. It’s definitely one I’ll keep my eye on.
In fact, as soon as it hits Steam, it’ll be in my library.
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