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Latest from the Team

Posted on January 14, 2011

Hey everyone!

My name is Matt Tanwanteng, and I am one of the engineers here at Runic Games. Mostly I just bask in the glowing light of Travis and Marsh, but sometimes I manage to avert my eyes and do a little coding myself. Particularly I enjoy adding more oomph to the skill systems, and then making fun spells like Bee Swarm to test them out.

I graduated from MIT with a Master’s degree in CS (course 6), taking CS and Comparative Media Studies (AKA games) as my undergrad major and minor. My first foray into the world of games programming started when my dad gave me money for copying programs out of Games for Basic books. Though I doubted the viability of going straight into games going into college, I decided to go for broke and pursue my dreams. I can’t think of a better place to have ended up than Runic Games!

I grew up quite the competitive gamer with an older and younger brother, most recently expressing itself in “King of Dreamland”-title fights with my younger brother in SSB:Melee and lots of Starcraft 2 1v1s and team games with both. Currently, I’m still on my Starcraft 2 kick, watching Day[9] and GSL as often as possible while pretending not to avoid the scary “Find 1v1 opponents” button. Playing random is quite intimidating with the number of possible match-ups.

Also I have just discovered Qix on Travis’ cocktail arcade cabinet, and that is pretty awesome! Marsh is riding my tails for the high score, but I’ll always be one step ahead muahahaha!

I am very excited for you guys to get to play Torchlight 2! I think you’ll be quite pleased with the direction we are heading.

Posted on January 7, 2011

Hi, I’m Tim Swope, the newest addition to the Environment team here at Runic Games. I started in July and so far it has been great. They mostly keep me busy making props and dungeon tile sets. Before I started here I worked at Griptonite Games making hand held games. Before that I worked at a grocery store.

I have lived here in Seattle since 2002. Before that I was at school in Rhode Island. Before that I grew up in Connecticut. My education was in Illustration which doesn’t translate easily into a job after graduation. I had never considered a job in the video game industry because back then I thought all video games were made in Japan. Once I moved out here and met some folks in the industry, I wised up, and took some classes at the University of Washington in 3D Studio Max. With 3D skills added to my illustration education I was able to land my first industry job within a few months. Yay!

I had picked up Torchlight soon after it came out and gotten hooked. It had an engrossing mood, lovely art and addictive game play. I knew it was made locally and I had a secret wish inside my heart to one day work there. I nearly pooped when I saw the listing for an environment artist on their site. I spent the weekend making a mock Torchlight environment to add to my online portfolio. I sent it off on Monday and now I am here. Golly!

Posted on January 6, 2011

We are proud to announce that Torchlight will be coming to Xbox 360 as a part of Microsoft’s House Party promotion in Spring 2011!

“We couldn’t be happier to bring Torchlight to Xbox LIVE Arcade,” says CEO Max Schaefer. “This is what the fans have been asking for. Torchlight for the Xbox 360 is a new way to experience a great game, and we’re thrilled to work with Microsoft to bring it to fruition.”

Check out the screenshots and an art piece we commissioned as a fun retro take on Torchlight by comic book artist Derek Charm below!

Here is some more info on Torchlight for XBLA:

  1. What has been changed to make the game work on the 360?
  2. How are controls different?
  3. Has anything been removed/added for the console version?
  4. Will Torchlight be released for the PS3 / PSN?
  5. Are there any screenshots?

Q: What has been changed to make the game work on the 360?

A: The UI is COMPLETELY overhauled from the ground up. Nothing works the same. All new art and navigation. The concept of item ’slots’ is done away with – you just have a number of items you can hold ( 50 – ignores stack counts ). Potions and scrolls stack up to 99. Potions ‘auto pick’ the best potion to heal you or regen mana. You don’t have to think about it or map it. We iterated on the UI a ridiculous amount.

You can have 4 active mapped skills at a time, and a secondary set that you can swap between (using the dpad) for 8 mapped skills. Most of us actually find it easier to use a variety of skills on the console vs. PC, oddly enough.

Force feedback is in for quakes, strikes, low health heartbeats, and tugs on the fishing line :) Feels nice.

Q: How are controls different?

A: Control is direct – no virtual cursors ever. Combat is a little different – you move forward slightly with melee attacks and all the attack animations are redone to support this. You don’t ‘target’ enemies – you’ll get a red highlight for a ‘primary’ target that is in range, but for melee attacks you hit everything in your damage cone (secondary targets get secondary damage ). Feels natural and does what you expect.

Ranged combat is actually in many ways easier – kiting and dodging are significantly more viable with a controller and the autotargeting for ranged attacks works pretty well. ‘lobbed’ skills mapped to the triggers have a default distance, but you can finesse them for longer or shorter throws by holding the trigger at a given depth. Combat pace feels ‘faster’ and more maneuverable. If you’ve played classics like Dark Alliance or Champions of Norrath, you have the general idea ( but no jumping ). Movement speed is analog – you can move slower by easing on the stick, something you can’t do at all on PC.

Q: Has anything been removed/added for the console version?

A: No skills have been omitted. Some skills have had alterations to their functionality to make them feel better ( i.e. you don’t select corpses to summon a Nether Imp – you just cast it and if there’s a corpse around, there you go ).

Pretty much everything from the PC version is here. We didn’t remove any features, with the exception of secondary weapon sets, because there was no way we could find that didn’t feel horrible in inventory management. Socketing, enchanting, fishing, the infinite dungeon, item combination, are all represented.

We brought over some goodies from TL2 to the console version. Loading times are much reduced. Better animation blending makes combat snappier ( hard to describe, but you’ll probably feel it ). Automaps are brought over from TL2’s new automap system ( They are rendered out and much more readable, and icons cleave to the borders of the ring ). In addition, there are three new armor sets (one for each class), some new random quests for one of the miners in town, and a new pet – the Chakawary.

Q: Will Torchlight be released for the PS3 / PSN?

A: There are no PS3 plans at this time. Microsoft is acting as the publisher for the XBLA release.