This page offers a presentation of the Pixel Dungeon mods' ecosystem and is mostly directed to inquisitive players who are interested in the general picture of Pixel Dungeon's mods. On the other hand:
- Readers who are players just interested in finding out details about specific Pixel Dungeon mods and possibly to download one or more of them should better visit the mods' catalogue page of this wiki.
- Readers who are aspiring developers and are interested in creating their own mod might find some general information in this page useful, but they should certainly visit also the wiki's pages about creating a Pixel Dungeon mod (category page with links to specific pages).
Generally about modding
Starting from the 27th July 2014, the developer of Original PD, Watabou / Oleg Dolya, has made the game's code public and as a consequence has allowed the development of modifications for it by various secondary developers, as Pixel Dungeon has become since an open source application with its modifications having to follow the guidelines of the General Public License GNU General Public License v.3. The license provides a general framework for all open source software, but its requirements most relevant to PD modding are that credit should be given to the original source material's developer(s) and that the source code of the new game has to be also public and so open to new modifications itself. Modifications that violate the GNU GPL v.3's guidelines, those allready mentioned or others, are considered illegitimate and sooner or later get forced to withdraw from most platforms of public distribution (it should be noted that although monetization in the form of having to buy the game, in-game advertisements or of extra content only available after purchase is disliked by many PD players, it is not against the GNU GPL v.3 license's guidelines).
These modifications are often called "mods" in short, and may range from small changes and tweaks to complete overhauls of the original gameplay. It should be noted that outside of the PIxel Dungeon context "modding" can also be understood as the act of tweaking pre-existing settings and preferences while the game application remains basically the same, but even generally this is not considered modding by some, and in any case in the Pixel Dungeon context "mod" is called only a new game application based on the Pixel Dungeon original source material or on the source material of one of its mods. Moreover, in the case of the few mods that are written in other languages than Java, they count as mods if they have copied over assets or game features, directly converting the code from Java to another programming language, or are attempting to exactly recreate PD's gameplay by writing original code (for more details about modding in general you can visit this link). Lastly it should be added that in order to avoid the confusion between the two meanings of "mod", the term "fork" has been suggested as an alternative term for modifications based on an original game's source code (on the other hand, the term "fangame" which is mostly used for clones or remakes of non-open source copyrighted games should better not get used at all in the PD context, as it confuses two similar but very often also different in crucial details game types).
Original Pixel Dungeon's ancestors: Brogue and Rogue
Before we proceed to the Pixel Dungeon mods, it should be noted that Original Pixel Dungeon is itself heavily inspired by the open source roguelike game Brogue developed by Brian Walker, which is in its turn a direct descendant of Rogue, a dungeon crawling video game first developed by Michael Toy and Glenn Wichman around 1980. Watabou has added many new gameplay features to Brogue and had also turned it to an originally android application before creating a desktop PC variant, (Brian Walker's Brogue is an application meant only for desktop PCs), but perhaps the most obvious change he has made to his inspiration material was the addition of pixel art graphics, which have replaced the ASCII graphics of Brogue. With all the gameplay features borrowed from Brogue, Watabou has not used its source code, so if we follow the narrow definitions mentioned in the just previous paragraph, Original Pixel Dungeon can not be considered a mod of Brogue.
It should also be noted that Rogue has been very influential to other subsequently developed games, and has even given the name to the whole genre of games of which Pixel Dungeon is also a part, roguelikes. Its two most significant successors were Moria (1983) and Hack (1982), which have spawned a family of improved versions and clones over the next several years (Android users might be more familiar with a direct descendant of Hack, Nethack, in its various version for Android devices). These games, which generally feature turn-based exploration and combat in a high fantasy setting in a procedurally-generated dungeon and employ permadeath, are named roguelike games in honor of Rogue's impact.
Readers who are interested in trying out the closest Pixel Dungeon's relative and are desktop PC users can download a suitable Brogue application for Linux, Mac or Windows from Brian Walker's website, and those who want to install it to an android device can try this android port. In regard to its more distant relative, Rogue, it exists in numerous variants and clones, but the easiest way to get a first picture of it is to try this free online version, which emulates its IBM PC port of 1984. It should be noted again that both games share an ASCII graphic interface, so they are not suitable for some players' visual tastes.
On a side note, readers with a more general curiosity about the history of roguelikes can visit this link (wikipedia's general presentation) and this link (presentation of 20 important/popular roguelikes from 1980 until 2015 in chronological order, with Pixel Dungeon also among those presented). Those who would also like to read some more information about the term itself and how a roguelike is defined as such can visit this link (Temple of the roguelike), which also leads to additional online resources.
Comparataive data about mods
Amount of mods released per year
Moving to the Pixel Dungeon universe, this section will draw mostly from redditer Ominconrg9's post about Pixel Dungeon's mods and their interrelations and correlations. His latest published work is named "Mods' Charts v.1.5" and you can read this reddit post of his here, but you can also have a look at previous versions of his work, named "Mods' Trees", here and here. Omicronrg9 has catalogued 107 mods in total in his published work, while he has also discovered 15 mods which he has not included in his charts. The most fruitful year for new mods so far has been according to Omicronrg9's published work the year 2018 with 25 new mods getting released, but readers should note that the complete data for 2019 are not published yet, and that Omicronrg9 currently estimates that 2019 will eventually be the most fruitful year, with 30 mods getting released in total (personal communication about his unpublished current research). To offer specific numbers for all years so far according to his published research, mods released in 2014 were 12, in 2015 were 23, in 2016 were 15, in 2017 were 16, in 2018 were 25, and mods released in 2019 (up to August) 16. [The three following charts are republications of some of Omcronrg9's charts.]
Chronology of mods
The first Pixel Dungeon mod ever released was Pixel Dungeon Easy Mode by SirPenta, which offers only the option of an easy mode and has been completed since 2015, but the second released mod, Shattered Pixel Dungeon by Evan Debenham, is still in active development and thriving with new features, while based on Google Play Store downloads it is also the most successful Pixel Dungeon mod currently. The most recent mod that Omicronrg9 catalogues in his charts is Frog Pixel Dungeon by Frog the Turtle Cultist, but as of late December 2019 the most recently released mod appears to be Pixel Dungeon Echo by Kyle Chatman.
Status of mods
Omicronrg9 also estimates that the amount of Active/In development mods is currently 29, of Finished mods 22, of mods On Hiatus/Discontinued (inactive for less than 1 year) 7, and of Abandoned mods (inactive for more than 1 year) 49. Mods released with their source code available are 60.
Mod Families generally
Moving from Omicronrg9's published work to some additional info, almost half the amount of mods (51) are direct descendants of Original Pixel Dungeon by Watabou, but a little more than half (69) are modifications of a previously released mod, and some among these 69 (21) are actually mods of a mod of a mod. The most modificated mod currently is Shattered Pixel Dungeon (47 direct mods), with Sprouted Pixel Dungeon and Remixed Dungeon coming second and third, but at a very long distance (Sprouted: 6 direct mods, Remixed: 3 direct mods, or 13 if we also count its incorporated and clone mods). A catalogue of "parent" mods with their children - direct mods follows, which are sorted from first to last depending on the number of children - direct mods:
- Original Pixel Dungeon: 3D PD, ASCII Dungeon, Brave Dungeon (broken), Classic Dungeon, Desktop version (LibGDX port), Desktop version (LongstoneTorch), Dixel Pungeon, Dungeon Run WIP, Easier PD, Easier Vanilla PD, Easy Dungeon, EZ Dungeon (broken), Hell Dungeon, Hell Dungeon Rewarded, Loot Dungeon, Mo' Food Mod PD, Open PD (actually it is an application that hosts other existing mods and not an actual mod by itself), Perfect PD, PD +, PD Brasil, PD Easy, PD Easy Mode, PD Legacy Mode, PD Legends, PD ML, PD: Mod Many Lives (hacked), PD Prayers, Phoenix PD, Pixel Maze, Pixel's Dungeon, Pixel Undungeon, Random Dungeon, Rat King Dungeon, Ripped PD, Shattered PD, Skillful PD, Tunable PD, Unbreakable PD, Undegraded PD, Userspace PD (broken), Yet Another PD, Your PD, 像素地牢(繁體中文版). Moreover there are 3 mods of Original PD (Chernog: Fortress of the Mad Admiral RPG, Jumpy Rat, Pioneer) which use many assets from its source code but have no relation at all with its gameplay. Lastly, there are are also 5 clones of Original PD (Deep Dungeon, Dungeon Frenzy, Escape Dungeon, Halloween PD, Pixel Underworld), that just copy its source code and use a different title without any addition at all to its gameplay. In total the direct mods of Original PD (legitimate, broken, clones, hacked etc.) are 51, but if count also the mods of mods, the number of its mods is always equal to the total amount of all Pixel Dungeon mods.
- Shattered Pixel Dungeon: 30iDburg PD, Added PD, Chancel PD, Corrupted PD, Cursed PD, DaiDuo Dungeon, Darkest PD, Dragonic PD (broken), Easy PD Unreleased (broken), Experienced PD, Final PD (broken), Frog PD, Fushigi No PD, Girls Frontline PD, Hollow Dungeon, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (죠죠의 기묘한 던전), Loot Dungeon Shattered I, Loot Dungeon Shattered II, Lovecraft PD, Lustrous PD, Minecraft PD I, Minecraft PD II, Moonshine PD, Overgrown PD, PD Origins (broken text messages), Prismatic PD, Reassembled PD (broken), Re-remixed PD (it also includes many elements of Remixed Dungeon, but it has Shattered PD's game engine), Rivals PD, Shattered Ice Dungeon, Shattered PD Net, Shattered Trap Dungeon, Soft PD, Sprouted PD, Statistics PD (broken), Summoning PD, Too Cruel PD, Teller's PD, Torment PD, UNIST PD, Unleashed PD, Yet Another Shattered Dungeon (it also includes many elements of Yet Another PD, but it has Shattered PD's game engine), Yoruitaru TouHou Dungeon, 日本語版 Shattered PD. There are also 3 clones of Shattered PD (Classic Dungeon - Pure & Better Pixel Dungeon, Retro Dungeon Cool PD RPG Game, Retro PD - Classic Retro RPG Game), that just copy its source code and use a different title without any addition at all to its gameplay. In total the mods of Shattered PD (legitimate and clones) are 45, but if we also add to its mods those that are mods of its mods, the number goes up to 53 and becomes bigger than that of Original PD's direct mods.
- Sprouted Pixel Dungeon: Deistic PD, Easier Sprouted PD, Harder Sprouted PD, Palantir, Regrown PD, SPecial Surprise PD (it includes also elements of many other mods, but it has Sprouted PD's game engine). In total the mods of Sprouted PD are 6, and they are also all mods of a mod of a mod, as Sprouted PD is a mod of Shattered PD, which is a mod of Original PD.
- Remixed Dungeon: PD 2, Pixel Ponies!, Remake PD. Remixed Dungeon's application incorporates also by default eight other mods of Remixed developed by the same team (Faith, Maze, Mini, Vanilla also available in English, Conundrum, D.U.N.G.E.O.N, The Dungeon of Heroes, The Epic Dungeon available only in Russian), but these are not released separately. There are also 2 clones of Remixed Dungeon titled Hero! Dungeon Pixel Word: Star (it appears also with other names) and Super PD, that just copy its source code and use different names without any addition at all to its gameplay. In total the mods of Remixed Dungeon (legitimate and clones) are 5, or 13 with those included by default to it added, and from this aspect it replaces Sprouted PD in the second place, but its legitimate mods also released seperately are only 3. Note that these are mods of a mod of a mod, as Remixed Dungeon is a mod of Pixel Dungeon ML, which is in its turn a mod of Original PD.
- Lovecraft Pixel Dungeon: Plugin PD. It is also a mod of a mod of a mod, as Lovecraft PD is a mod of Shattered PD, which is a mod of Original PD
- Overgrown Pixel Dungeon: Survival PD (it is a unique case among all of these mods, because it started as a direct mod of Shattered PD, but currently it is a mod of Overgrown PD). It is also a mod of a mod of a mod, as Overgown PD is a mod of Shattered PD, which is a mod of Original PD.
- Pixel Dungeon ML: Remixed Dungeon. It is also a mod of a mod, as Pixel Dungeon ML is a mod of Original PD. Pixel Dungeon ML has apparently only 1 mod, but if we also add to its mods those that are mods of Remixed Dungeon, the number goes up to 14 and it also replaces Sprouted PD in the second place.
- Skillful Pixel Dungeon: PD Echo. It is also a mod of a mod, as Skillful PD is a mod of Original PD.
- Unleashed Pixel Dungeon: Goblins PD. It is also a mod of a mod of a mod, as Unleashed PD is a mod of Shattered PD, which is a mod of Original PD.
- Yet Another Pixel Dungeon: No Name Yet PD. It is also a mod of a mod, as Yet Another PD is a mod of Original PD.
- Total amount of mods: 90 legitimate (and if we count the 8 included by default in Remixed Dungeon, 98), 10 clones, 9 broken, 2 violating principles, so 90/111/119 in total.
[Note: This table is slightly inaccurate as far as the page's current text is concerned, because it was uploaded some months ago. The actual number of direct mods of Original PD are 51 and of Shattered PD 53, so in a totally correct chart Shattered PD would have been ordered first and with a slightly bigger bar. Omicronrg9's mods chart is anyway expected to be updated soon, so the whole page will be updated as well, including most of the charts that will be reuploaded.]
Amount of each family's mods released per year
Moreover, If we focus on the data of each year, a general trend becomes evident: while expectedly Original PD was exclusively modded in 2015 and almost exclusively in 2016, from 2017 and on Shattered PD has become more preffered by new modders and it has completely dominated the preferences of modders so far during 2019. An interesting detail is also that while Sprouted PD is certainly a less popular preference for new modders, it consistently gets modded in every year from 2015 and on, with 2016 as the only exception, but in contrast Remixed Dungeon reached a peak in 2016, was also modded in 2017, and has not been modded since by other developers, but only by the same team (only some features of it were added in Re-remixed Dungeon in 2019, which keeps Shattered PD's engine though). A table with the number of direct mods of each version (including clones) released in every year follows:
|Pixel Dungeon ML||1|
|Yet Another PD||1|
1 This table mostly uses Omicronrg9's data which document the PD mods' reality until the August of 2019, but in four cases (Original PD, Skillful PD, Sprouted DP) it is updated with more recent developements. The data used for the period after August of 2019 are certainly incomplete.
2 There are no data available about the dates of "first release" of Remixed Dungeon's 8 incorporated mods, and as a result they were not counted.
3 Note that Survival PD is currently a mod of Overgrown PD, but when it was first released in 2018 it was a direct mod of Shattered PD. It is assigned to 2019 because that is when the switch to Overgrown PD has happened.
Note: This chart is as incomplete as it documents developments until the August of 2019.
Amount of mods released by each developer
Most modders have developed and released only 1 mod, but there are few examples of developers creating 2 mods each and rare examples of developers of 3 or 4 mods (and under a certain viewpoint, even a developer of 10 mods). A numbered list of the PD mods' developers that their name is known follows, with their names sorted by the number of mods that they have released (when there is a strikethrough over the developer and the mod's name, the mod is a clone, so there is no actual authorship involved):
Alo Game (Pixel Underworld), Appliance Paul (EZ Dungeon), Arcade Games Studio (Retro PD - Classic Retro RPG Game), Arcnor (Desktop version - LibGDX port), Arfonzo J. Coward (Dixel Pungeon), Average Mormon Gamer (Deistic PD), A Wolf & Michael Pinnegar (Pixel Ponies!), Badcw (DaiDuo Dungeon), BilBolDev (Skillful PD), Bluedeep Studios (Halloween PD), Calming Creator/Flowing Writer (Added PD), Considered Hamster (Yet Another PD), Cuneytoner (Remake PD), Cute Luna Moon (Survival PD), Dachhack (Sprouted PD), Daniel Silvinskiy (Regrown PD), Dave (Deep Dungeon), Dot Lab (Escape Dungeon), Dronester (PD Easy), Duyhoang5152 (Dragonic PD), Easy Casual Games (Easy Dungeon), Egoal (Darkest PD), Eric Britsman (Your PD), Evie's Games (Brave Dungeon), Father Nature (Unleashed PD), Frog the Turtle Cultist (Frog PD), Funny Games NS (Perfect PD), Gaussian Wonder (Final PD), Sharku2011 (Girls Frontline PD), Gravity Games (Pixel's Dungeon), Happy Alfred (Fushigi No PD), HeXA (UNIST PD), Hmdzl001 (SPecial Surprise PD), Jan A. Neumann (PD +), Joe Caraccio (Dungeon Frenzy), Kenjun (PD Prayers), Kyle Chatman (PD Echo), Kurt Yu (像素地牢(繁體中文版)), Leppan (Prismatic PD), Lighthouse64 (Random Dungeon), Locastan (Goblins PD), LongstoneTorch (Desktop version 1.9.1), MarshallDotEXE (Rivals PD), Matalokgames (3D PD), MEM Apps (Dungeon Run WIP), Men Sheng (Loot Dungeon Shattered II), Miles Artemius (Classic Dungeon), Mupeet (Super PD), Naga Chiang (PD Legends), Nomil (Shattered Trap Dungeon), Noodlemire (Chancel PD), Ongoro (Jojo's Bizarre Adventure - 죠죠의 기묘한 던전), PanguronB (Reassembled PD), (Qi (Corrupted PD), RavenWolf (No Name Yet PD), Red Point Labs (Pixel Maze), Retronic Games (PD Legacy Mode), Ren (Yoruitaru TouHou Dungeon), Roasted Lasagna (Mo' Food Mod PD), Rodrigo Pan (PD ML), Saqfish (Shattered PD Net), Role Playing Games Studio (Retro Dungeon Cool PD RPG Game), Sand from Glass (PD 2), Sebasjm (Userspace PD), Shai Ayal (Pixel Undungeon), Simox (Hero! Dungeon Pixel Word: Star), Simulation Games Studio (Classic Dungeon - Pure & Better Pixel Dungeon), Sir Penta (PD Easy Mode), Sloan Reynolds (Open PD), Sudocode (Easy PD Unreleased), SuperSayian99 (Unbreakable PD), Teller (Teller's PD), Tidalscale Keithr (Tunable PD), Urajin (日本語版 Shattered PD), Umarnobbee (Ripped PD), Wire Way (PD Brasil), Wolispace (Soft PD), WuWuWu (30iDburg PD), Zrp200 (Lustrous PD). In total the developers of only 1 legitimate mod are 70 and of 1 clone mod 10.
- Captain Totes (Minecraft PD I, Minecraft PD II), Dreamfools team (Moonshine PD, Too Cruel PD), Evan Debenham (Rat King Dungeon, Shattered PD), G2159687 (Easier Sprouted PD, Easier Vanilla PD), Gohjohn (Phoenix PD, Undegraded PD), NYRDS team (Jumpy Rat, Remixed Dungeon, but on the other hand they can be considered developers of 10 mods, if we count also Conundrum, D.U.N.G.E.O.N, Faith, Maze, Mini, The Dungeon of Heroes, The Epic Dungeon and Vanilla, which are incorporated in Remixed Dungeon), SariusDev (Minecraft PD I, Shattered Ice Dungeon), Senri Hin (Loot Dungeon, Loot Dungeon Shattered I), Udawos (Chernog: Fortress of the Mad Admiral RPG, Pioneer), We.Boo (Hell Dungeon, Hell Dungeon Rewarded). In total the developers of 2 legitimate mods each are 10.
- SmuJamesB (Cursed PD, Harder Sprouted PD, Yet Another Shattered Dungeon), TrashboxBobylev (Experienced PD, Summoning PD, Torment PD). In total the developers of 3 legitimate mods each are 2.
- AnonymousPD/Typedscroll (Lovecraft PD, Overgrown PD, Plugin PD, Statistics PD), Quasistellar (Hollow Dungeon, Palantir, PD Origins, Re-remixed Dungeon). In total the developers of 4 legitimate mods each are 2.
- NYRDS team (Conundrum, D.U.N.G.E.O.N, Faith, Jumpy Rat, Maze, Mini, Remixed Dungeon, The Dungeon of Heroes, The Epic Dungeon and Vanilla, 8 of which are incorporated in Remixed Dungeon - the exceptions being Jumpy Rat and obviously Remixed Dungeon). Nevertheless, as eight of these mods are incorporated in Remixed Dungeon, the number of separately released mods by the NYRDS team is actually only 2. For this reason the NYRDS team was also mentioned in the group of developers with 2 mods.
As mentioned before, readers who are interested in finding out details about specific Pixel Dungeon mods and possibly to download one or more of them can visit the mods' catalogue page of this wiki, but alternatively they can also download this pdf document written by Omicronrg9, which mostly is a mods' catalogue offering download links, but which also contains a general presentation about the Pixel Dungeon mods' ecosystem, which is a considerably more detailed version of the third section of this page.
A note about illegitimate mods
It has already been mentioned in the beginning of this page that the requirements of the GNU GPL v.3 license most relevant to PD modding are that credit should be given to the original source material's developer(s) and that the source code of the new game has to be also public and so the game open to new modifications itself; mods that violate those or other GNU GPL v.3's guidelines are considered illegitimate and sooner or later get forced to withdraw from most platforms of public distribution. The most common "offense" of illegitimate mods is for them to be just clones/ripoffs of an already existing mod or of the Original and to not mention their source in an attempt to cover up this fact. Nevertheless, some mods violate the GNU GPL v.3 license without any malicious intention by their developers, for example in the case of mods that acknowledge their source, add original content to it, but their developers don't make the source code publicly available (this can be just due to negligence, or a temporary fault, because the developer wants to finalize the source code before they make it available to the public). Note that a mod can be considered problematic for reasons that are not described by the license, for example for using intellectual property of another developer which is not covered by the license, so it is actually protected by copyright, or for including hate speech or other inappropriate features in its content (both examples are drawn from existing PD mods).
The PD wiki is currently making the decision to host pages for mods that are problematic for various reasons, and just to mention the problematic facts in the mods' descriptions, while it only excludes plain clones/ripoffs from having a page in it. Nevertheless the PD subreddit has a stricter policy than the wiki, and in addition to clone/ripoff mods currently also bans developers that they have been proven to include hate speech content in their mods, and mods that contain copyrighted material which was not used after permission of the original creator.