Category Archives: Articles

2010 Failure Rate of Roguelike Games

Lait posted his yearly analysis of roguelike games over r.g.r.d. He wrote:

So where does seven years of data put us? We are doing very well for roguelike creation – 6.75 new tracked roguelikes per month, a new peak. It is tempting to dismiss this as a 7DRL effect, but the Old column I think is correctly tracking the creation of larger projects. While it is a new high, I’d hesitate to call that a trend. I suspect we are seeing a continuation of the 30 new roguelikes a year rule identified last year.

Read the full analysis

2009 – Failure Rate of Roguelike Games Analysis

2009 Failure Rates

Mr. Jeff Lait has finished his yearly analysis of roguelike development activity!

We are doing very well for roguelike creation – five new tracked roguelikes per month, a new peak.  The new Old column, however, I think shows where some of the sense of stasis in the genre comes from.  The early increases may be due to sampling effects as existing roguelikes were largely added to the list.  But for the last three years we’ve seen a balance at about 30 roguelikes being actively worked on.

Check his analysis at this roguetemple article (or the original usenet post (Via google groups))

2008 – Failure Rate of Roguelike Games Analysis

Mr. Jeff Lait has finished his yearly analysis of roguelike development activity!

The absolute numbers are equally impressive – 70 projects saw another point release in the last year. Of those, an astounding 54 were last updated in the last six months. Roguelike creation, as measured by roguelikes making it to this list, has tracked consistently at three roguelikes per month for the last five years!

Check his analysis at this roguetemple article (of the original usenet post (Via google groups))

Roguelike Definition

Roguetemple presents you a small and comprehensive list of several factors for evaluating the roguelikeness of a game; those may help you get an idea of what a roguelike is,

High Value Factors

Random Environment Generation

The game world and its contents are mostly procedurally generated with each game.

Permafailure (including Permadeath)

You must pay for your mistakes and choices, sometimes at the cost of life. Restoring games is discouraged and only provided to allow continuing split games.

Turn Based Interaction

All entities in the game world are queued in an endless loop and get their independant discrete turn to act.

Single command set

You can access all game commands from any place into the game. There are no artificial restrictions on what actions are available in a given game situation


Your game is not directly enrouted into a linear progression. You get to choose what you want to do, how and when

Middle Value Factors

Discovery mechanics

You must research or find out the nature and usages of the items into the world.

Single player

You control a lone character

Lots of content

There are lots of monsters, items, locations.

Complex non-trivial world and object interactions

Items have non-trivial usages, you can do some things which may not be obvious for the item nature.

Low Value Factors

High ramped difficulty

The game gets hard very quick and you are very unlikely to win until you have acquired enough experience.

Monsters are players

The nature of the monsters is similar to the player, they can have equipment, player-like stats, artificial intelligence and are subject to the same world rules.

Character-based display

The player interacts with the world via a user interface based on character symbols that represent UI artifacts and entities into the world.

Hack and Slash

Gameplay involves around killing things and acquiring treasure

The Death of the Level Designer: Procedural Content Generation in Games

Ionic Orders of GenerationAndrew Doull, mantainer of roguetemple’s friend blog, Ascii Dreams, has put up five articles on his series The Death of the Level Designer: Procedural Content Generation in Games. An interesting read for you all roguedevs out there you. :P

Procedural content generation is yet to set the game industry on fire. It has featured in one of the greatest games of all time, Diablo and it’s successor, who directly trace their roots to roguelike games such as Angband. But the recent implementation of random level generation in Hellgate: London did little to inspire people that this method works well for game level design.

Checketh them out:

Part V

Part IV

Part III

Part II

Part I

RogueDev update

  • RogueSDL by Ed Ropple is a rendering engine for roguelikes using the .Net framework

I’ve just finished work on the first release of my Roguelike rendering engine for the Mono and .NET Frameworks, RogueSDL. As the name suggests, it uses the SDL libraries (through SDL.NET) in order to display graphics. I’ve tried to make it as utterly simple to use as possible, and I think I’ve largely succeeded.

  • Roguelike Library For Java (RL4J) 0.1 has been released. It includes a pretty useful collection of algorithms for field of view (including cones!) and Line of Sight. Worth using in your projects!
  • The series of dungeon generation articles continues at ASCII Dreams with this sixth article
  • From Andrew Doull too… his column discussing the perils and rewards of being an unabashed non-professional creating games has been continued with an article about the feature-lists for roguelikes.
  • Another nice detailed article series about random dungeons, a topic never too old for roguelike development. By Dirk Kok

Computer role-playing games for GNU/Linux

An article about roguelike games has been published on the Free Software Online magazine. A nice introduction to the roguelike genre.

By far the most popular CRPGs for GNU/Linux are “roguelikes”. Put quite simply, a “roguelike” is one of the many games that follow in the footsteps of a very popular UNIX classic called Rogue, which was itself based on older and lesser-known CRPGs for mainframes and the PLATO learning system. There are a few things you should know about Rogue. For one thing, it doesn’t have the kind of graphics you see in most videogames. Instead, it uses Ken Arnold’s “curses” library to make a sort of graphical interface using a terminal’s character set (i.e., the different symbols you can make with your keyboard or with special codes).

Read it here

Increasing Challenge in Roguelikes

Increasing Challenge in Roguelikes
By Andrew Grech, aka Roguery

Have you ever felt that nothing beats the feeling of starting a new character in a roguelike game? When a character is young, it has tons of potential, and the level around it is full of opportunities and danger. Every encounter could be its last, simply because it hasn’t yet acquired the hitpoints or powerful items to blast through them. This feeling is enhanced when roguelikes have ample character creation options, so that every new beginning has some unique challenge to overcome and different strategies to be learnt. And don’t you just love it when you’re surrounded by wolves, have three hit points left, and have exactly two choices: one being to zap an unidentified wand, the other is to pray and hope that the two newts you sacrificed will have left Thoth in a good mood…

Read the rest of the article

Failure rates of Roguelike Games

StatsMr. Jeff Lait (creator of POWDER and many other smaller Roguelikes), has finished his six-month report on the activity level of the roguelike development scene.

As evident from his data and analysis, we are seeing more and more activity on roguelike projects lately, which is always good. The genre today is more alive than ever, and it is up to the developers and the player to keep this tendency like this for the years to come!

By these numbers, it has been a great year for roguelikes. We have seen the % active jump up to 40%. This is not just due to new roguelike creation, but is also due to a lot of roguelikes surfacing from the bottom of the list. After the first year, I had commented that roguelikes have a slower development cycle than people give them credit for. This is underlined once more as we see the tenacity of roguelike developers.

The absolute numbers are equally impressive – 66 projects saw another point release in the last year. Of those, an astounding 50 were last updated in the last six months.

You can read the complete report here

Rogue Like Treasure

Roguelike TreasureBetter late than never… here is a pretty detailed and illustrated run through the history of the roguelike genre, from its roots to the latest games… it is comprehensive and well written… worth giving a look!

Find it at here