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I like creating games and new worlds to explore, especially games with interesting mechanics or twists. I love indie games, anime, my wife and my cats!


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davidmaletz's News

Posted by davidmaletz - May 11th, 2018

All of the loose ends for the free version have been tied up, the science path now has an ending, and we added many new features too!

While a smaller update than the last two, this one includes some new things I've been wanting to add for a while!


The full changelog is as follows:

  • Science Path End. There is now a definitive end to the science path (where you'll be able to continue from in the early access release). Check out the Mirrow's Lab to see it!
  • Blueprints. You can now use blueprints to build and dismantle structures! You can play the game without ever finding or using blueprints, but they can give you flexibility over building placement and allow you to build a kitchen if you don't have the builder.


  • Seeds. You can now plant crops, bushes and trees with seeds. Seeds allow for flexibility of crop placement (similar to blueprints), and they are now an integrated part of the farm (plant instead of upgrade). Plant where you want - even on new islands!
  • Hair Styles. There are now 7 hair styles to choose from (8 if you count bald)! When first loading an old save, you'll be able to customize appearance again to select your hair style.
  • Resting/saving no longer skips to night from the morning. This was causing new players to encounter night too early, and made night too easy to get to. You can still skip night by resting though. There may also be a few new night-only things added.
  • Added 2 bird familiars. There are no enemies to trap to get birds from yet, but you can buy them.
  • A bunch of other minor improvements and bugfixes.

We'll also be presenting the game at Phoenix Comic Fest, May 24-27! If you're nearby, come say hi - we'll be in Hall 1 with the Southwest Videogame Showcase. There may even be some exclusive giveaways!

From now until June/July, we'll be working on finishing the first planet for the Early Access release! We have some pretty exciting things planned, and if you want to see where we go with the game, you can pre-order the full version here: http://fancyfishgames.com/Aground/ (it will include all future updates)! We'll also continue to post bugfixes and non-content updates to the free version (you won't get new islands, but you will see some new features, including some relatively large ones like seafaring).

Enjoy, and as always, let us know if you have any feedback!


Posted by davidmaletz - May 2nd, 2018

The Old One boss fight is here! This update includes a lot of improvements and upgrades to the magic island.

The Old One might not be as strong as his “brethren,” but he’s still the most powerful boss so far. Luckily, you won’t have to fight him alone (or at all).


The full changelog is as follows:

  • The Old One. Facing the old one ends the game on the magic path for the demo/free version (it is quite an epic ending). It will save after you defeat it, and you can load that save to continue playing other areas, but you won’t be able to progress further on the magic path in the demo.
  • New Caves. There are now 2 new areas you can visit on the magic island. This includes the ice caves, and a new area which is quite large and easy to get lost in. Wyrm Queens no longer re-spawn, but you can find them in the second cave.
  • Ice Structure. The ice structure can now be activated. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. This means all elemental structures are functional except Plant.
  • Skill Points. You now get skill points every level instead of health and stamina. These points can be used for a variety of upgrades.
  • The Plant Spirit was added, allowing you to get all 5 elemental gems.
  • You can now only auto-eat one health-healing item when taking damage. This is a good balance between letting players survive, but not letting players soak up infinite damage with enough dragonblood.
  • Languages that are not up to date (all but English and German) are now marked red in the options menu.
  • New Achievements.
  • A bunch of other minor improvements and bugfixes.

We’ll probably have one more free update that finishes off the Science path (it doesn’t really have an ending right now) and adds Blueprints (a feature we’ve been wanting to add for a while). After that, we’ll start work on the rest of the islands on the first planet - we have a lot of work to do if we want to finish the first planet on time for backers! The free version will still get updated with improvements and bugfixes, but it will no longer get content updates after the next one.

Enjoy, and as always, let us know if you have any feedback!


Posted by davidmaletz - April 16th, 2018

The Mirrows boss fight is finally here! This update includes a lot of improvements and upgrades to the science island.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but you can now confront the Mirrows (and complete the innkeeper’s quest for an amazing reward), and there’s also a way to negotiate with the Mirrows without fighting them. It’s a tough fight - so be prepared with a shotgun, chainsaw, and titanium armor (or better).


The full changelog is as follows:

  • Confront the Mirrows! Can you beat them? Can you negotiate with them? What awesome rewards will you get for defeating them?


  • New Caves There are now 4 new areas you can visit on the science island. They contain a variety of rewards and challenges like the caves on the starting island. One cave doesn’t appear to have much, but it will be a pretty important place in the future.
  • Cyborgification. You can now be turned into a cyborg. Cyborg enhancements are powerful, but they also restrict what equipment you can use until you have them surgically removed, so you lose flexibility.
  • Computers added with story snippets that you can read if you want to learn more about the backstory.
  • Science island music.
  • There are now several townfolk who populate the science island so it doesn’t feel like a ghost town.
  • Water now exists in game with a (very) simple simulation. You can’t yet mine the sand to release it and flood your world, but soon you will be able to (and this will also include some underwater mechanisms - right now if you cheat and flood your world, you’ll instantly drown and die).
  • Familiars now have two commands you can access in the equipment panel: Enable/disable attacks and Summon. Disabling attacks is useful if you want them to save their feed in an area where they aren’t effective against enemies, and Summoning them will instantly bring them to you if they get too far behind (assuming there is space).
  • To avoid stun locks (especially when being ganged up on by night time creatures), I added a few frames of stun invulnerability after being hit. While being attacked from both sides is still dangerous, you are now able to run and escape (and you will never literally be stuck).
  • In an unannounced mini-update (1.2.2_1), I added functionality to the golem statues. For those who were curious what would happen when they were activated, you can try them out now.
  • A bunch of other minor improvements and bugfixes.

While we’ll probably do a few more minor edits and improvements to the science island, this update represents the end of the major content updates along the science path for the free version. In our next update, we’ll finish up the magic island (and the boss fight there), and then move on to the next islands for the paid only releases.

Finally, for those of you who didn’t figure it out, in the last update the random character customization was an april fools joke. If you load a game now, you’ll be able to customize your character’s appearance.

Enjoy, and as always, let us know if you have any feedback!


Posted by davidmaletz - March 31st, 2018

This update focuses mainly on adding a day/night cycle, but it also adds a bunch of other improvements, including new achievements, new items, and character customization.


For the character customization, we originally considered letting you choose your appearance, but then we realized how very unrealistic that would be. So instead, your character is “born” with randomly assigned colors, and until you get higher tech or magic to change your appearance (like hair dyes and color contacts), you will be stuck with those colors. I hope you’ll be able to accept - and even grow to love - your character, even if he ends up with bright purple skin or neon green hair. We’ll be adding more hair styles and a gender option in a later update, but once again, these will be assigned randomly (with the ability to change them via upgrades). All of your past saves have been randomly assigned appearances. Feel free to share screenshots to show off how beautiful your unique characters now are!

The full changelog is as follows:

  • Day/Night Cycle. The world now slowly changes between night and day. You can rest in your hut to switch between day and night. This includes a lighting system which adds a lot of ambience to night and deep underground. Light-producing items (like torches) are now more valuable.
  • New night-only enemies. They are more dangerous than daytime enemies - so you might want to sleep at night if you aren’t prepared for them.
  • Custom character appearance. You can now have different color skin, eyes, hair, and clothing. We’ll eventually add additional hair styles and a gender option. We also updated all of the equipment for this new system.
  • New achievements have been added.
  • Night time music.
  • New items and enchantments, including backpacks (and a new equipment slot for them), light producing items, and the upgraded workbench.
  • Wyrms can now be familiars, and they increase your mining speed.
  • Coins are now stored in the coin purses, and you can obtain more than one coin purse to increase your coin limit.
  • Equipment is now shown on screen so you can quickly see what is about to break. For mouse-using players, you can click it to perform equipment actions.
  • Flight no longer takes stamina - instead it takes power or enchantment power. There is also now a flight weight limit (to keep you from flying infinite weight).
  • A bunch of other minor improvements and bugfixes.


This was the second and final general improvements update. We will now begin working on content updates for the science island (and after that, content updates for the magic island). 

Also, happy April Fools day everyone!

Enjoy, and as always, let us know if you have any feedback!


Posted by davidmaletz - March 12th, 2018

This update is the first of two general improvement updates. They might not add much new content (nor the boss fights everyone's waiting for), but they do add a lot of minor features. While I consider this a minor update, it does have a LOT of new changes, as you can see from the changelog below.


For those who haven't heard, our Kickstarter completed successfully, and we're moving forward with the full first planet to post on Steam Early Access (and other platforms like Itch.io). You can read more about that and our plans here: Kickstarter Success! What's Next?. If you want to see Aground on GOG as well, you'll have to convince them that it's worth adding by voting here.

The full changelog is as follows:

  • 4440657_152096140132_pentagram.png
    Elemental strengths and weaknesses. All elements resist themselves, and follow this type table. We'll definitely be expanding on this system in later updates.
  • Added more enchantments to the Forge (Magic Island - including enchanting items from science island).
  • Dragons can now live in the dragon lair. This also makes it easier to fly between islands, and you don't auto collect the dragon when returning.
  • Net capturing is no longer always successful - it has to do with the health of the enemy and the difficulty of the enemy, and makes the system more interesting. Eventually, this will lead to better nets and capturing more powerful familiars.
  • Improved item descriptions - they now show a lot more details.
  • Added a Furnace, Campfire and Tent which are craft-able and very useful.
  • You can also now place the anvil and workbench, setting up a pretty functional home away from home.
  • Fire weapons now deal damage over time.
  • Enemies can now drop multiple types of loot (and the Dragon drops Dragonblood).
  • Backgrounds now cap so if you travel far enough out to sea, there is only open ocean. The sailboat also now has the full player sprite layers too. This will help for the upcoming seafaring update.
  • The Wyrm Queen now respawns. This will let you get more Spirit Gems (and Dragonblood) if you need them.
  • If your flying armor breaks, or you remove it, you now fall instead of getting stuck. This is also a way down from the floating islands. You will take falling damage though, and be warned, if you fall into the ocean before the seafaring update, it's instant death!
  • You can now rename the starting island. Talk to the farmer once you've completed all his quests. This is for fun, and it also lets you name your save file.
  • Dragon-equipment has been balanced and improved, and you can now auto-feed and equip when it breaks (assuming you have food and an alter gem handy).
  • You can now set which projectile to use by default for ranged weapons.
  • Optimized island generation - it now doesn't stall for a while to load the new islands the first time on older computers.
  • Other minor improvements and bugfixes.

The next update will be another one like this, and will include a day/night cycle, lighting, and possibly character customization and sailing/flying between islands (along with several other improvements from player suggestions). After that, we'll finish up the Science island, followed by the Magic island!

Enjoy, and as always, let us know if you have any feedback!


Posted by davidmaletz - February 26th, 2018

The Magic Island is finally available! This is a major update about as big as the Sunset Haven (the science island), with many new features and ways to use magic!

In other news, our Kickstarter is now over 100% funded! Thank you to everyone who backed! We're still hoping for some stretch goals (especially the multiplayer one which will add co-op multiplayer support), so check out the Kickstarter page, and if you don't have a credit card, you can now back via PayPal on our website and that will count towards the stretch goals too!


The full changelog is as follows:

  • Fly a Dragon! You can now fly your dragon (if you have one) to the eastern magic island that includes many new structures, items, quests and enemies! The majority of the changes this update are on this island.
  • New Magic Systems! Including more enchantment options and goggles that let you see hidden magic!


  • Armor Sprites - Armor will now appear on your player sprite when you equip it!
  • Updated cloud saves, they now work on older browsers that don't support CORS or have cookies disabled (should fix the problem where it always said Sync Failed for some players).
  • Various bugfixes and improvements, including shrinking item name size so it never overlaps the count.
  • For Modders and Translators:
    • Added [item=id default=default name]. If set, and the item doesn't have a name (like a renamed familiar), it will show default name instead of the item name (useful for conjugations or declensions).
    • NPCs now have operate, over, out, enter, exit blocks like structures. You'll now need to put the NPC actions in an <operate></operate> block.
    • Equipment behindPlayer parameter now defaults to true (add behindPlayer="false" to put the equipment on top of the player).
    • Item icons are now defined with icon="...", not tile="...".
    • Added extends parameter to many xml tags, that let you quickly make a slightly modified item or structure.

Now that the Kickstarter has reached 100%, we'll be working on finishing the entire first planet for release on Steam Early Access (and other platforms). We'll also continue to update the free version with bugfixes and improvements as we go. And from there - we'll be launching into space!

Enjoy, and as always, let us know if you have any feedback!


Posted by davidmaletz - February 7th, 2018

Two small-ish updates before I move on to the Magic Island major update, but they include some cool new items and features!


The full changelog is as follows:

  • New Items Added Land Mines (powerful traps), Great Armor (higher defense), Map (buy in the Sunset Haven market, it'll show you your surroundings), Minecart (easy transportation of ores), Shovel (fills the tile below you to remove holes) and the Crowbar (pries up minecart rails).


  • NPC Auto-Collection NPCs will now collect items for you even when you are away from the starting island (slower than normal, but they don't stop). Enemies will also spawn in locations when you're away.
  • Added Town and Desert BG The science island town now looks a little less like a ghost town.
  • Improved Smelter UI Smelter items are now grouped, and it looks a lot cleaner for smelting (or cooking) tons of items at once.
  • You can now use an Adult Dragon to power the power plant once it's repaired. It looks cool, and can turn Steaks into power!
  • You can now rest in your boat, saving the game and restoring 33% of your stamina. You also need 400 rations to make the first trip to the science island (enough for a round trip of sailing). This will keep players from getting stuck on the science island before they find the titanium. I also made titanium (and iron) a little more common, so that first quest isn't too difficult if you go unprepared. The boat inventory management was also improved for transferring to/from your inventory or storehouse.
  • A bunch of minor improvements, like changing enemy speed to make melee combat more feasible, minecart rails were made cheaper and batteries draining one at a time.
  • Fixed some bugs, including the looping sound bug (drill, elevator).

The Kickstarter just reached 50% funded! Keep sharing the project, and I have some good stretch goals planned if we reach 100% funded early!

Enjoy, and as always, let us know if you have any feedback!


Posted by davidmaletz - January 31st, 2018

This is quite the major update - we're so excited to share it with you! We’ve added a entire new island with over two hours of additional content, launched the Kickstarter campaign for the early access version, and made a new trailer!

Unlike on the starting island, you will be an outsider in this new town, and you’ll get a lot less help and supplies for free. Make sure to stock up on food before you sail away from home, or you might find yourself having to buy from the market extravagantly just to have enough food to eat!


The full changelog is as follows:

  • Sail to a new Island! Includes the sailboat functionality, and many new structures, items, NPCs, quests and enemies! I won’t spoil much, but the majority of the changes to the game are on this island.


  • Power System. Along with the new island, there is a new gameplay mechanic - power. Keep your batteries charged if you want to use the new power tools!


  • Improved Fishing! The Fisherman NPC will now explain how to fish, and the system will be a little more challenging for fish that are tough for your fishing rod level.
  • Boss Music track! Chase added a new music track that will play during the dragon fight… and also at one other point in this version!
  • Various other bugfixes and improvements.

You can play the game on Newgrounds here: https://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/701110

We still plan to add the first magic island to the east, but this update is getting close to the end of the planned content for the free version. After that, we’ll be working hard on new content for the early access version!

I hope you’ll check out the Kickstarter and share or back it! We really need your help to take this game as far as we can!

Enjoy, and as always, let us know if you have any feedback!


Posted by davidmaletz - January 16th, 2018

Here's a minor update to tide you over until the big 1.1.0 update! The cloud saves are finally in!


The full changelog is as follows:

  • Cloud Saves - Login to Aground Cloud and all your saves and settings will be automatically synced across browsers, websites, and even with the exe version of the game. No more losing saves because of clearing your browser history!
  • Developer Console - This is mainly for developers and modders to view details and run scripts in game, but it also comes with a built in debugger that will show an error should the game crash and allow you to send that error directly to me for faster debugging. Can be opened with Ctrl+Shift+D, and special commands are: clear (clears the console), watch variable (shows that variable wherever you are), unwatch variable removes from watch list, and debug [hide] to display debug info and watch variables.
  • Added chinese fan translation - this required some improved font support in game.
  • Fullscreen HTML5 - You can now go fullscreen in the HTML5 version (depending on the browser)!
  • Other minor adjustments and bugfixes (including the dragon fight crash).

In other news, we're preparing for our Kickstarter, which you can read about (and other plans) here: https://www.reddit.com/r/aground/comments/7qmbry/aground_kickstarter_plans/ . This will probably be the last update until we launch the Kickstarter on January 31st - which will include at least one of the next islands!

I hope you enjoy!


Posted by davidmaletz - January 8th, 2018

Explore dangerous caves, find new secrets, and meet a mysterious new NPC in this update!


The full changelog is as follows:

  • Added caves and dungeons to the map.
  • Added 1 new enemy type.
  • Added 1 new NPC and quests for him.
  • Added enchanted axe quest.
  • Added underground music track.
  • Added enemy health bars.
  • Added burn flame effect.
  • You can now rename familiars.
  • Improved mod support.
  • Miner gets coal automatically if there is no coal left.
  • Added feed amount to feed info window so you know the effectiveness of different foods.
  • Fixed memory leak - may improve performance.
  • Stopped page from scrolling in HTML5 when using mouse wheel on a scroll window in game.
  • Various bugfixes and improvements/balance changes.

There will be one more major update including new islands (and perhaps a few minor updates) for the free version of the game. After that, we are now planning to run a Kickstarter at the end of this month and fund development for an Early Access version of the game - we hope you'll support us when it is live!

If you haven't yet, also sign up to our Newsletter to get update notifications via e-mail!

I hope you enjoy, and you can play the game here: https://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/701110 !