Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint about rewiring things and punching people, I'm on a weekly gaming podcast called The Crate & Crowbar, I wrote these two short stories in the Machine of Death collections, and I used to write articles like these for PC Gamer. I'm now prototyping two new games, Heat Signature and one about grappling hooks.
Pentadact: If only there were a Radiolab episode about this.
Pentadact: Cheers! Right now collision is done per-pixel...
BadBannana: Hmm, Arstotzkan Coffee actually sounds really good...
Each day, Spelunky generates one set of levels that’s the same for every player. Each day, we play them. Some of us make videos of our attempts. You can browse mine above (click the listy icon in the top left), or see everyone’s on the blog we set up at spelunkyexplorersclub.com.
On the rest of this post are the earliest dailies we posted.More info!
I’ve finally done what I should have in the first place, and set up the Explorers’ Club as its own blog. I’ve also renamed it to the Explorers Club because that apostrophe was annoying me. Therefore, this’ll be the last time I update this post, and all future videos and scores will go up on our new home at: spelunkyexplorersclub.com.
It’ll be the same bunch of people, but they can now post their videos themselves, so the place won’t shut down when I’m away. It also takes up much less of my time each day this way, which means I can keep doing it for longer. Explore force!
In this video I wonder how anyone survived the bit I died on. Here’s how Anthony did.
When he approaches the Ankh cave, you can see there’s a chunk missing from the shop nearest it – that’s presumably where a red frog blew up and triggered the terrorist alert. Must have been eaten by a pitcher plant or prodded by a tiki trap. I didn’t hear a blast, but it was probably drowned out by the gunfire – I think their reaction would have been instant.
After this run, I got to hell by repeating the mantra, “always use bombs”. This run is the reason why I came up with that mantra.
In case there were any doubts, everything can go wrong so quickly if you just get flustered. Damsels will be the death of me.
This death really hurt, and right on the City of Gold’s doorstep. Completely out of nowhere, no chance to prepare for it or react to it. Insta-kill, game over.
God damn it Derek Yu. God damn it!
Richard Stanton hitting the high notes on the 13th attempt at Spelunky’s Daily Challenge! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and he’ll hurl the controller at the wall. Enjoy!
I’m doing these again and I’ve got a webcam and a microphone and everything. There’s some competent god damn Spelunky going down in here, let me tell you.
Sorry about the frame rate issues. If anyone has some hot Open Broadcaster tips to share, leave a comment.
Today I tried cheating. Chris’s video which I used for the cheating is here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6CHhK…) but I don’t advise you watch it because it didn’t help :(
Tom’s note: Yep, something happened in the Black Market that day. Something bad. I imagine less than 5% of anyone who went there survived, so extra kudos to Anthony and Jason here. Jason, of course, had the advantage of already knowing the shopkeepers would be mad because he had taken the precaution of stealing from and murdering them throughout the game.
Tom’s note: At PAX in Seattle last week, Anthony and Ashly Burch invited me and Nika Harper up to play Spelunky co-op with them on-stage. We manage to keep our shit together for like 3 minutes. Starts at 1:43:00 in this video.
At 15:18 I don’t mean Ankh, I mean Mattock. And I don’t mean shop, I mean gambling parlour.
One of my deaths here was predictable and avoidable. The first, though, I’m a bit baffled by. Some kind of area-of-effect stun?
Also I’m wrong when I say I needed all 3 ropes.
I wasn’t having the best day today. And also in Spelunky.
Tom’s note: Anthony and I lose the Ankh – and our shit – in exactly the same place today!
Managed to run the table on my first Daily Challenge. It was fun to have almost everything I touch turn into a journal entry and see achievements unlocking left and right.
I BOUGHT A TELEPORTER
The twelfth in this little series of Spelunky videos may well be the most disappointing – this is an exercise in futility, topped off with a display of arrogance that is roundly and justly punished!
Hopefully it’s not obvious how hungover I am :P
Not paying enough attention and again getting killed by an arrow trap.
Tom’s note: Ice Caves 3 once again claims three victims. More than usual died in the Mines. And Jason comes 26th in the world with that ridiculous performance, on his first ever daily. Sickening.
Here is the kitten GIF to which I refer.
Rich Stanton Vs Spelunky’s Daily Challenge once more! More pug-rescuing, rope-tossing, heart-losing action than you can throw a boomerang at – and one big discovery for our man.
Part of the #SpelunkyExplorers Club, this is my Daily Challenge, and it’s short enough to watch on a restroom break at work. Not a spoiler. Just look at the timestamp.
Sorry about the poor voice recording again. This time construction work outside adds to the drama.
So I never got this far before in any run. I felt I was close to the black market and then totally lost my mind. Should have given up earlier. The ghost punished me for that.
Tom’s note: Ice Caves 3 was a tough one today! It’s fun to watch me, Graham and Rich all die on it in different ways.
PS: Added Graham’s video to yesterday’s set – click Show Previous Days.
I should probably stop it with that dumb bomb thing.
I’m talking pugs. I’m talking jetpacks. I’m talking playing that Ghost like a cheap fiddle and dropping bombs like Obama in Syria. That’s right, it’s Rich Stanton back for another pop at Spelunky’s daily challenge! What terrors await?
Level 2 was amazing and terrifying and went very well. Level 3, not so much.
Tom’s note! I’m back from GDC Europe, and on the 29th I leave again for PAX Prime. So I’m afraid I don’t have time to go back and fill in all the days I missed, but I will keep up with the new days while I’m home.
Luckily, Anthony’s been pulling them all together on the Hey Ash blog while I’ve been away!
If there are particular Explorers you like, subscribe to their YouTube channels! I’ve subscribed to all of them, so my youtube.com/feed/subscriptions is like 90% Spelunky now. Even if you don’t use YouTube, you can add them as an RSS feed to whatever you do use. My channel has some scraps of an insanely lucky run I did while I was away, and I also put up non-daily practice vids there sometimes.
I’m back from Germany, with tales of why I was in Germany, and doing Spelunky dailies in Germany.
I think I stand by what I was trying to do at the end here. The only thing I’d change is that I now see a way I could have used a bomb instead of a rope right at the end, which would have taken more time, but killed me much less.
What a nightmare. My goodness.
I didn’t get that much further today than yesterday, but the performance overall was a lot stronger. As Toby in the West Wing would say, I managed to get more blood going to it, and it shows. Hoping to penetrate even deeper tomorrow, but today’s run still includes rat-throwing, ghost-dodging and an inevitable outcome. You’ll see it coming. Enjoy.
Stay here, dear Man Damsel. This is something I have to do alone.
There are a few issues with framerate in this video – Fraps stuff that I’ll try to fix for tomorrow.
Tom’s note! I won’t be able to update this post for about a week as I’m away at GDC Europe, but I should be able to keep playing and hopefully recording.
This might be my funniest death. Sorry for the laugh-explosions, my headset broke so I’m using a new mic.
Why are subterranean shopkeepers so damned paranoid? Anyway, pretty good run, despite a painful number of mistakes. Also: not sure why the Ankh resurrected me inside a giant head containing a secret door leading to the regular next level. So that was weird.
Today’s Daily Challenge is brought to you by my righteous anger! Nothing to do with the game, and I sound fairly normal in the video, but believe me, I’m seething. Will this affect my play? Will I finally get a jetpack?
I literally — LITERALLY — could not have been closer.
I thought things were gonna go well after buying a bunch of health. Oh well.
A fairly slow run until I hit a dark level with one heart and decide to leave the torch, take the camera (around 8:15). When I drop the camera, it’s by accident. And then a sad death-by-pot-spider. :(
(And I really don’t know why Avidemux is swapping the blue and red channels. And screwing up the sound.)
I’ve never managed to reach the final boss before. Today I did, and for the last 4 minutes of the video, you can hear my voice become more and more filled with terror.
It’s also well worth watching the crazy death-defying stunt that happens at 15:30. I have no idea how I did not die there.
The latest daily, recorded in the office, so no voiceover for this one. After the death of another pug, I have decided to be nicer to pugs, or at least do a better job of tracking how much health they probably have left before throwing them at a dart trap.
I deliberately taunted the boomerang guy, forgetting that he wouldn’t run towards me, but would THROW HIS BOOMERANG.
Problem A: I haven’t played Spelunky in about a year.
Problem B: I am dreadful at Spelunky.
Problem C can be determined as the sum of Problem A and Problem B.
Tom’s note: I’m special!
Forgot to hit the record button from the start. Naturally, did much better than recent attempts. Naturally, died shortly after I started recording.
Annotations aren’t working but when I say “The one thing I do have…” I was going to say “The pitcher’s mitt,” which I thought would be more useful than it was.
Thank God Spelunky ignores your controls for a moment after a level loads.
I’ve only played it once about six months ago (hi Pentadact!) so I decided to share my shame of being terrible at Spelunky no matter what I do.
The only thing I’ve learned from this is that I need Beast on my shoulder whenever I start.
Oh man. There are some bad early mistakes in today’s run. They cost me dear later on. There’s some unsympathetic procedural level generation going on, too, but I can’t blame that entirely for my woes. Quick reminder: I spice up my Daily Challenge by always seeking to obtain the shotgun and jetpack when I’m aware they’re in a level. Boom.
Pretty decent run today – not much cash, but I was focusing on getting as far as possible anyway. The death just shows you how (un)familiar I am with the Temple enemies.
Tom’s note: Me, Graham and Tom Bramwell all impaled ourselves on spikes on the same level. Graham and I were both trying to avoid the same bat, and died a few feet from each other.
Although overlaying other people’s runs as ghosts might be tricky, it’d be amazing if you could see the corpses of all your friends who’d played this Daily already – fossilised in the rock if they died somewhere that’s still solid in your playthrough.
That will be the first in what you’ll see is a series of bad decisions I’m about to make.
In which I talk about how Spelunky is about mitigating the chance of making stupid mistakes, right before making a stupid mistake.
I AM GOOD AT SPELUKY. I AM. I AM.
Tom’s note: This death is insane.
At least I saved the girl.
Tom’s note: I do not know why the red and blue channels in Dan’s video are switched.
Did better this time around, although that death was just uncalled for. I also realized just after I finished recording this that we’re meant to be going for distance through the game, rather than cash, so that’s definitely going to change my tactics for tomorrow!
My shot at the Spelunky daily challenge 14/08/2013, Did it end in total victory and obscene riches? No, of course not, but there are at least a few moments of sheer panic on the journey to my inevitable demise.
Tom’s note: No-one made it to the Temple today! Must have been a tough one.
On the one hand: god dammit. On the other hand: pretty cool way to die. On a third hand: god DAMMIT.
Tom’s note: Anthony’s death is so crazy and sudden that I had to rewind a few times before I really saw what happened. It’s a spoiler for the vid, but if you’re curious I took a shot of the crucial moment that explains it.
Well, that got interesting.
Oh the ghost is coming, I wonder what direction from. Hey, the room is rumbling. I don’t remember ghosts making things rumble? Wait, what did I just pick up again? Oh right yeah I remember from the literally thousands of other times I’ve survived this scenario.
What has gone wrong in me?
My first Spelunky Daily Challenge video for Spelunky Explorers’ Club, and I thought I was doing pretty well, unless the most embarrassing death I’ve ever experienced happened.
Going to try turning the music down a little tomorrow, since you can barely hear anything I’m saying.
I’ve brought in my 8-year-old kid to help out. He didn’t help out. But at least it’s funny.
I am RUBBISH. Like, really, unbelievably, stupidly rubbish. And so is my microphone, it transpires, so there’s just some barely-audible muttering. Probably for the best, mind.
In which, extremely hungover, I discover new levels of incompetence in the Spelunky daily 13/08/2013. Things I learned – 1. So THAT’s how ropes, capes and cavemen work. 2. There is no corpse that can’t be weaponised.
Today on the Daily Challenge, we have more views on the scoring system courtesy of you guys (thanks!) and a sequence of levels where the gods of procedural generation have laid off on the spider jerks for once. It’s not a happy ending, though, which is as we’ve come to expect.
In which I get a boomerang, and my confidence overtakes my ability.
Ran out of rope, kept falling down to the end of the level. Ah well.
Special props to Antichamber creator Alexander Bruce for that insane score. Even by Spelunky’s money-only scoring system, he was 20th in the world for this daily.
“In which I make an an attempt on Tom Francis’ Daily Challenge league, sound too quiet to be properly heard, am spectated by my children and ROUNDLY FAIL.”
“I am very good at this game after having played it for something like 500 hours. I do not know what has happened.”
“Sorry for how quiet I am.”
“Welcome to the disappointing follow-up to yesterday’s run! That’s an assumption rather than a guarantee – yesterday I made it to the Aztec city, so today was always going to struggle to rival that.”
I’m playing Spelunky’s new Daily Challenge mode every day, as is Eurogamer’s Tom Bramwell, and so far we’re both uploading videos of our attempts too. This page will be a home for those, like an old hunting lodge where we (dead) explorers share our tales of adventure.
Tom and I are also a bit unsatisfied with the game’s scoring, which values gold-at-time-of-death over all else. To me, how far you made it through the game is more important, and gold is only relevant to rank players who got equally far.
So when I have time, I’m also going to post a revised leaderboard for each day’s run, ranked by progress first and gold second. It’ll only include those of my friends who are happy to be ranked this way, since it doesn’t make sense to rate anyone by a metric they don’t care about. So this is just for those of us who value spelunking over hoarding – explorers.
Obviously there is a gentleman’s and gentlewoman’s agreement among explorers not to watch other people’s runs before attempting your own. And if you have videos or scores of your own to share, you’re welcome to do so in the comments.
Tom (Sleep Cycles Gaming): Another Tom checking in. Good names you lads have. Here's my attempt at today's run. http://www.youtube.c... ...idSiMvw4PI
You can view me fucking up in similarly inventive ways in other videos I have.
@saampahlavan: My run yesterday, farthest I've ever gotten in Spelunky: http://www.twitch.tv... .../443889948
Daniel: It is really fun watching how other players deal with the dilemmas thrown at them by the game.
I for one am much braver or stupid as I ploughed on through bat country :)
Paul Fisher: Fellow developer here, joining in the fun.
Got to the Black Market today and died to a man-eating plant blocking my way out of the shops. Thought 3 blocks was far enough away for a sticky bomb. Sadly not.
Todays run (12 Aug) - 2-2 - $45575
Nik SG: Hey! Cool idea! I have been recording my daily runs as well, you can check out my latest here:
Bit about me: I am a developer of games too and a big fan of the games you guys have worked on :)
Evan: As someone new to Spelunky these videos have been incredibly helpful after the fact (I'm keeping in the spirit and not watching them until after I attempt the day's run). Little things like being able to throw stuff at an upwards angle and grabbing the ledge while sprinting across a two-block gap that I hadn't figured out yet have vastly improved my game. I made it out of the mines today!
I went to play today's challenge and proceeded to immediately fall/get shot/get pounced at the start of the first level. When it showed my score I was ranked #1 in the world. Apparently the daily resets at midnight GMT or ~5 PM my time and I was one of the first people to run it. For a brief moment I was a Spelunky champion.
Daniel: Today (13th) I got all the way to the Aztec area!
Then was vomited on by a mummy ¬¬
Ben Borthwick: For recording tips, I recommend for those not wanting to spend money on FRAPS or a lack of HDD space to check out Open Broadcast Software or OBS
It's free and open-source, and you can use it to record from several sources (if you want say, a shot of your webcam to record your reactions etc), you can adjust game volume and microphone volume independently from each other and you can output to a local file and/or - if you're low on HDD space like me - you can just broadcast directly to Twitch.tv and then export it from there to a YouTube video. Very handy bit of software.
And here's my video for today, the 13th.
Awesome plan with the new mini-blog Tom, I'd suspected this may quickly grow slightly big for one post too - I've actually collated the videos from here into a SpelunkyDaily Tumblr so people can view them by death or level reached, I'm tagging all videos from here with "SEC" for Spelunky Explorer's Club.
Jeff K: This has been tons of fun to watch, and thanks for the recording tips! I've been streaming/uploading my last few dailies (Today's is compressing as we speak).
But I think I'm going to shift my goal from scoring high on the leaderboards (i.e. getting tons of money) to just trying to get as far as I can with just the one chance. Whether that's beating Olmec or- should luck smile on me- getting to the City of Gold or even Hell, I think it'll be more fun both to play and watch.
Jason L: You probably spotted this after the fact, but on the 13th your burning hatred of the climbing gloves blinded you to some additional options they gave you.
Ben Borthwick: I had assumed Gril's colours might be switched due to his color-blindness, although it might be just have been a technical issue and now I'll look stupid :(.
My run for today (15th) - seemed to be the hardest DC so far.
Daniel: There's a worm level!?
Martin E: I guess you've figured out by now that it was a splinter of wood from the wall you mattocked (is that a word?) through that hit the crate of TNT.
Finlay Costello: I attempted the daily challenge for the first time today, got to Mines 1-3 with $10,400. It goes without saying I died in a ridiculous and unexpected fashion. http://youtu.be/0GFM... ...WG9MQNg
Jeff K: My fairly-ok-but-then-horrible run for today. Mostly it turned into an exercise in learning how to do silly things with Premiere.
Jeff K: Whoops, and forgot the link there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMVcDphPi2M
Damon Smith: Getting quite frustrated at Spelunky. My third daily challenge attempt where, for NO reason on my part, the shopkeeper became angry at me, which is pretty much game over from then on.
I wasn't even near his shop this time, just playing along, picking up gold, when suddenly..."TERRORIST!".
I really really wish this could be fixed in the PC version. I assume an enemy is wandering into his shop or something?
Chris Donlan: 5 lives on 1-2, but I couldn't resist stealing the jetpack. Trying to, anyway.
Not a Game podcast episode 4 – Ronald McDonald vs Megazord - Not a game podcast | PC Gaming | GamingDaily: […] Spelunky Explorers Club (Tom is currently away, so for the most recent videos go to Hey […]
Eoin Hurrell: Here's my run for the 4th, nothing as good as Tom's but has pickaxes
Jason Killingsworth: Chris! So proud of you for going for the jetpack steal. The best method is just to pick it up and sprint out of the shop, being careful to take flight the second you cross the threshold to avoid the immediate shotgun blast.
The understated genius of the Spelunky Daily Challenge | Digital Combat Soldiers: […] developer Tom Francis decided to go a step further and start the Spelunky Explorers’ Club, recording the scores of other players and bringing together the videos of their various runs. I […]
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