Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup

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Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup
Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup
GenreRoguelike, RPG
Latest release0.21.1  (Announcement)
Release dateFebruary 3rd, 2018
Code licenseGPL
P. languageC++

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup (often shortened to Dungeon Crawl, Crawl, or DCSS) is a roguelike dungeon crawler Role-playing game. It is written in the C++ programming language,[1] and is licensed under the GPL Version 2+.[2] Stone Soup is a successor to the game Linley's Dungeon Crawl (also frequently shortened to Dungeon Crawl) by Linley Henzell, which was developed in the 1990's. After Henzell stopped developing Dungeon Crawl in 1999, a group of contributors kept the game alive until, in 2006, the Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup project began. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup's most recent version is 0.21.1, which was released on February 3rd, 2018. The game is available in both graphical tile and ASCII versions and does not require 3D hardware acceleration.

In Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup the player must delve deep into a dangerous, monster-infested dungeon on a quest to retrieve the fabled Orb of Zot, then return with it to the surface. In order to get to the Orb, the player must first collect a series of magical runes hidden throughout the various branches of the dungeon, all while encountering traps, finding magical and/or cursed items, and battling many enemies. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup has a great many race and class combinations to play, and numerous gods to worship, all of which will drastically affect playstyle and game outcome. A lively player community exists around the game. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup can be played both offline and online in a web browser, and there are frequent competitive tournaments.


At the beginning of a new game of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, the player chooses a race and class combination to play as. Unlike many other roguelikes, race has a much more drastic effect on playstyle than class, which only determines starting stats and equipment. The player must then venture through the mostly randomly-generated corridors of the dungeon while leveling up and collecting items. There are various enemies to fight, including dangerous unique enemies that have names and special abilities. As the player gets deeper in the dungeon, eventually they begin to explore the various branches, some of which have runes at the end. Upon collecting at least three of these runes, the player can gain access to the Realm of Zot, which contains the goal item of the game, the Orb of Zot. Once the player has collected the Orb, they must then fight their way back out of the dungeon and reach the surface in order to win. There are also several other game modes available to players of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, including Dungeon Sprint, Zot Defense (removed in 0.16), and The Arena. It is also possible to play online and to spectate other online players. While playing online, high scores can be tracked automatically, play sessions can be recorded, and ghosts of other player's characters can be encountered.

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup places great emphasis on game balance. Much effort has been made by the designers to discourage the practice of "save-scumming" and other grinding behaviors. The development team follows a philosophy of user-friendliness and emphasis on meaningful decision-making, originally specified by David Ploog, that is outlined in the game's manual.[3]


Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is a continuation of the original Linley's Dungeon Crawl, which was developed by Linley Henzell in the mid-to-late 1990's. In 1999, Henzell stepped away from the project,[4] and development continued for a while under a group of other programmers. Brent Ross emerged as the maintainer of the Dungeon Crawl project, and the game was updated several times in the 2000's. After the release of Dungeon Crawl version 4.0 beta 26, however, development slowed down. Another version, called version 4.1, was eventually released in 2005, but work on the game soon stalled almost completely and the maintainer ceased to be actively involved in the project. Additionally, version 4.1 of Dungeon Crawl suffered from major balancing issues which caused it to be almost unplayably difficult.

It was around this time that two developers, Darshan Shaligram and Erik Piper, began private efforts to rekindle progress on Dungeon Crawl. Shaligram, who was the author of the popular "Travel Patch" for Dungeon Crawl, first worked on fixing the balancing problems in the 4.1 codebase, with help from Piper, who was a very skilled player of Dungeon Crawl. This strategy proved difficult, however, because of the challenging and complicated nature of version 4.1. At about this point, Martin Read, another Dungeon Crawl player, suggested on the rec.games.roguelike.misc newsgroup (which was the main hub for discussion of Dungeon Crawl during this period) that it might be a better plan to start with the 4.0 beta 26 codebase and slowly add parts from 4.1. Shaligram and Piper took this advice, and, calling their new project Stone Soup (a name chose by Piper), began work on their new version of Dungeon Crawl in the summer of 2006. Within a few months, there was enough development work on Stone Soup to warrant a first release. Shaligram and Piper teamed up with Nat Lanza and Peter Berger, the creators of the crawl-ref SourceForge project (which was another, earlier attempt to revive development on Crawl), and, in September 2006, version 0.1 of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup was made available to the public.[5] Other developers quickly joined to help out with the project, and Marc Thoben started the crawl.develz.org (CDO) development server, where players could test out upcoming features.[6]

Since its initial release, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup has built up a strong following of both players and developers. It was voted best roguelike game in 2008, beating out Dwarf Fortress, NetHack, and other famous games.[7] The game was relicensed from the original "Crawl Public License" (which is almost identical to the NetHack License) to the GNU GPL version 2+.


Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup has a very open development model. There are over 40 people mentioned in the game's credits as being part of the development team, and over 250 contributors to the game in total.[8] The developers communicate and decide what to implement mostly on the official Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup IRC channel, but they also make decisions by contributing design documents to the development wiki and discussing changes on mailing lists. The very open and community-oriented development model of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup has been highlighted as one of its key strengths.[9]

Following is a table of of release dates of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup versions:

Date Event
2018-02-03 v0.21.1 released
2018-01-06 v0.21.0 released
2017-07-02 v0.20.1 released
2017-05-25 v0.20.0 released
2017-03-01 v0.19.5 released
2017-01-31 v0.19.4 released
2017-01-22 v0.19.3 released
2016-11-24 v0.19.1 released
2016-11-01 v0.19 released
2016-05-05 v0.18 released
2015-11-06 v0.17 released
2015-08-12 v0.16.2 released
2015-03-24 v0.16.1 released
2015-03-15 v0.16 released
2014-10-19 v0.15.2 released
2014-09-16 v0.15.1 released
2014-08-28 v0.15 released
2014-04-28 v0.14.1 released
2014-04-09 v0.14 released
2014-04-04 v0.13.2 released
2013-11-27 v0.13.1 released
2013-10-11 v0.13 released
2013-05-02 v0.12 released
2011-09-04 v0.9.1 released
2011-08-12 v0.9.0 released
2011-06-19 v0.8.1 released
2011-04-28 v0.8.0 released
2011-02-10 v0.7.2 released
2010-07-24 v0.7.1 released
2010-07-24 v0.7.0 released
2010-03-27 v0.6.0 released
2009-10-09 v0.5.2 released
2009-07-30 v0.5.1 released
2009-06-12 v0.5 released
2009-01-15 v0.4.5 released
2008-12-20 v0.4.4 released
2008-08-01 v0.4.3 released
2008-07-30 v0.4.2 released
2008-07-18 v0.4.1 released
2008-07-14 v0.4 released
2008-01-29 v0.3.4 released
2007-12-02 v0.3.3 released
2007-11-10 v0.3.2 released
2007-11-06 v0.3.1 released
2007-10-31 v0.3 released


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