Roguelike Round-up Nov 2011

Major News

Humble Dredmor
     Dungeons of Dredmor has been added to the Humble Indie bundle for anyone that gives above the average value of (currently) $4.10, with the option to choose for your money to go entirely to charity if you want.

New Roguelikes!

Hyperbolic Rogue – Simple game with a trippy interface on a hyperbolic plane
Silence – Graphical roguelike with a fading light resource
Microcosm – Robot-themed RL for Android (in alpha stage)
WebRaidMobile 1.1.2 – Android dungeon-delver with content procedurally generated from random web pages

Updated Games:

3079 2.0-PRE5 Middlecrest 0.2.23
Allure of the Stars 0.4.2 Neon 0.3.6
Brogue 1.5.2 NLarn 0.7
Bushudo 3.1 NPPAngband 0.5.4
ButtonHack #5 Portralis 0.5 alpha 2.2
Cataclysm PWMAngband 1.1.8
Diggr 11.11.20.2 Quickband 2.05
Dungeons of Dredmor 1.07 Red Rogue
Dweller 1.11.4 The Slimy Lichmummy 0.36
Fall From Heaven 0.0.7a ToME 4 beta 35
Hydra Slayer 13.0 TomeNET v4.4.8a
Infra Arcana 10.2 Triangle Wizard R12.01
JADE 0.2.2 Vapors of Insanity 0.53
Legacy 0.1.4 World of Tey 0.9.0
Legends of Yore V1014

Upcoming in December:

Roguelike of the Year 2011
     Keep your eyes peeled on ASCII Dreams for Andrew Doull’s regular feature: Roguelike of the Year 2011. This has been a bumper year for roguelikes, and Andrew’s poll will give a chance to recognise all your favourite releases. Also a nice time to have a look back over the previous years’ polls.

 

Know of any other news? Got anything you’d like featured next month? Post in the comments or on the forum.

Check and mate!

ChessRogue

Author Chris Morris
Platform Linux, Windows; (open source)
Version 0.3.1
Website http://chessrogue.sourceforge.net/

ChessRogue: Hiding in a safe tunnelThe name says it all. A rogue on a chessboard. You are the king of white army. In fact you are sole remaining member of said army. But! You can still win by assassinating the black king after you singlehandedly defeat his soldiers. Not the last starfighter story again … Oh well. Roguelikes save for few exceptions have never been good in the plot department. This can be forgiven.

ChessRogue: Nine in a rowChess requires good strategy to win against a competent player. You need to plan carefully and sometimes sacrifice a piece to gain upper hand. ChessRogue is more about tactics. You will often wonder how to get out of a tight situation, what next piece to capture or ask yourself if getting to that treasure out there is worthwhile. Usually looking merely one or two turns ahead is sufficient but later this number increases. With only a single hit point this game leans heavily into puzzle genre.

ChessRogue: Graphical modeThe board is colored with alternating light and dark colors. Helps quite a bit with fighting bishops and making longer diagonal moves in general. There is also SDL mode but it is compiled only for Windows. Linux users need to some nontrivial dependency resolving to compile it first. The looks pass but controls are bit worse. Those of you with disdain for vi-keys will not be pleased. It is here as default control scheme. Sure, you can get around using number pad quite well at the start but later you must make two or three space moves. To do you that need to use the vi equivalent. Despite constantly displaying keys ChessRogue is not good game learn vi style keys because one mistake often means game over. Luckily there is keymap included. On Linux it can be put in home directory or made hidden and it will still be found. Ingame movement display will change to accommodate edits. Unfortunately good news end here. Said keymap states function keys, number pad, return key and other similar key cannot be remapped. Number pad fans are at a loss. People with non-qwerty keyboard layouts will need to edit crkeymap.txt file before playing.

ChessRogue: Lances and mantrapsChessRogue creates a board and sprinkles opposing pieces on it. The most variation in gameplay comes from randomized levels. Number and types of opposing pieces differ only slightly between playthroughs. Water layout defines how the battle will fare. You should look for best places to exploit skills you have and at the same time efficiently hinder enemy. On difficulty modes below expert first level will feature a water cross where you can trap pawns without much trouble and get them all. On toughest setting you need employ crowding tactics to pick them off. Moreover there might be not enough pawns generated to make diagonal capture ability available. Then on second level you may need to face sergeants with just basic powers. Surviving this requires a bit of luck which is against the spirit of chess. Sometimes ChessRogue will smile at you and place bishops or even knights in a spot where they are unable to make any moves.

ChessRogue: YASDAnother subtle but not without tactical uses rule is order of piece movement. Sometimes while observing enemy movement patterns you might deduce that pawn moves before this bishop does. Such knowledge may allow you to move into seemingly dangerous places because you know that a pawn must move first and only available spot to enter is one cutting off a path of aforementioned bishop thus guaranteeing you safety. This is difficult to pull off but very satisfying if played well. Also if you are in a losing position where every possible escape is covered try to look for places that can be obstructed with lucky piece movement. You might survive more than one ambush.

ChessRogue: Fear effectEarlier I have mentioned treasures. These are represented by white exclamation mark and come in three types. Fear effect makes enemy pieces flee from you unless you stupidly wander into a position where you can be immediately captured. Used well this may be helpful in separating tough pieces, splitting dense or well-covered formations or madly dashing to the exit. The last option does not reward you with additional points or moves but in later levels this might be wise decision. After all not much is left to be learned from all those dangerous pieces and you might get captured. Second effect is haste. Speed enables you to make two moves in a turn. Very useful. Finally, learning makes every capture count triple bringing desired new abilities to you faster. On the other hand you receive bonus score for every unexpired treasure when you enter exit. Do not bother with this much before you get your first win though.

ChessRogue: Secret weapons labCurrently ChessRogue presents two modes to players. Classic Pieces and no special challenge. Do not let yourself be deceived! Playing with classic chess pieces only makes for easier game because there is less possibilities to consider and fewer levels to get caught. Extra pieces are still present sometimes. They appear with special level entrances and inside those but are not counted in score list. They may still contribute to chain captures though. Overall new piece types make for more interesting play but much less balanced. You will note more than one time the aggressiveness of sergeants. They are by far more dangerous than generals because they cannot move back in orthogonal corridors. If two of them team up or one with a pawn in front be prepared to count that way out. If all your ways get generated with teams like this you know Random Number Generator hates you today.

ChessRogue: Shogi pieces includedWeak point of ChessRogue are its first levels. There is barely any challenge offered even the first time. Unfortunately patience requirement is significant. Imagine getting captured somewhere in midgame. You brain got used to solving difficult situations with advanced pieces on board and now you are back to fighting just meager pawns. Boredom has great potential to turn your thinking off at this point resulting in getting owned by that brown ‘P’. Quite frustrating.

ChessRogue: Super power gainedSpecial predesigned areas are another not so great addition. There you will find prearranged pieces and a boss waiting to be conquered. Exit does not appear until the special opposing piece is captured or (at the fortress) zoo wall is smashed. The problem is the special level is the same every time. Once you figure a strategy (or a few) for solving that puzzle it becomes more like a boring chore to overcome. You need just to make no mistake executing the plan. A plan, which is very similar every time. To add insult to injury capturing cannoneer (boss of second predefined area) while in classic piece mode is useless because there will be almost no sergeants available to load the gun.

ChessRogue presents very entertaining challenge. It is worth recommending it especially to masterminds. In late game with plethora of moves to make try to make the longest chain capture possible. My personal best is 27 pieces taken in a row. The joy is overshadowed by low replayability of early game, poor quality user interface and somewhat by game saving possible only between levels.

Roguelike Round-up Aug-Oct 2011

Firstly, my apologies for the lack of updates these last few months. Job-hunting, house-hunting and the new podcast have all leeched my time away. This update covers activities for the whole of the last three months.

Major News

Roguelike Radio podcast
     A new weekly podcast has started focusing on our favourite game genre. Roguelike Radio has had 10 episodes to date, as well 4 bonus interviews with developers. Each week the topic alternates between a focus on an individual game (such as DoomRL or Dungeons of Dredmor) or a discussion on a general topic to do with roguelike game features.

Cardinal Quest released
     Ido Yehieli has released his commercial roguelike Cardinal Quest, available on BMTMicro and Gameolith, with a free demo playable on Kongregate. Its retro graphics and music have proved so popular that a free giveaway caused BMTMicro’s servers to crash after 100k copies were downloaded in under an hour!

Annual Roguelike Release Party 2011
     ARRP 2011 proved a huge hit with 27 releases, including 9 completely new titles. You can find a full list at Björn Ritzl’s blog.

Classic RLs in Your Browser
     Donnie Russell has been hard at work converting several classic roguelikes for play in flash in your browser, making them much more accessible on modern systems. Available are Rogue, Hack, MAG and Larn, some with tiles options. There are also versions of Rogue and Hack for the GameBoy and Nintendo DS.

New Roguelikes!

Allure of the Stars – Sci-fi tactical squad-based roguelike
Bushudo – Island survival game for the iPad
ButtonHack – Coffeebreak RL playable in your browser (using Unity)
Cardinal Quest – Arcade-style dungeon crawler, on sale for $4.45
Dungeons of Decay 0.4.9 – Coffeebreak RL written in libtcod
Hack n Slash Online – Alpha of an in-browser online roguelike
Harrowed – Minimalist roguelike made in 1 hour for the Zero Hour Game Jam
Into the Dungeon++ – Graphical roguelike released for ARRP
js-like – Javascript-based roguelike in beta stage
Legacy – New graphical roguelike with an overworld and animated actions
LumberjackRL – Explore the wilderness, chop down trees, eat flapjacks!
Magog – Hex-grid game with portal-connected areas
Netpack – Pac-man with random levels and inventory system
Rings of Valor – Real-time roguelike with a variety of races and classes
Rogue Assassin – Stealth-based roguelike still in early stages
Rogue Zombies – ASCII zombie-killing browser game
RogueDungeons – Graphical roguelike with a great UI
Run from the Shadow – 2DRL with themes of guilt and escapism
The Lair of Xar – Tile-based dungeon crawler
The Slimy Lichmummy – Retro roguelike with some cyberpunk elements
World of Tey – Short alpha of a new fantasy roguelike
X@COM – ASCII squad game based heavily on X-COM
Zombie Swarm – Zombie-killing RL with guns and allies

Updated Games:

91 LarnHD 1.1
Angband 3.3.1 Legend of Siegfried 0.2.0
Anquestria 0.12 Legends of Yore
Bardess 0.4.2 Legerdemain 1.1.0
BOSS 2.4c Lost Labyrinth 4.7.1
Brogue 1.5.1 MAGHD 1.7
Cataclysm Middlecrest 0.1.95
Caves of Qud 1.0.4293.15893 Neon Roguelike Engine 0.3.5
DCSS 0.9.1 Netwhack 0.6.3
Descension 0.1.81 NPPAngband 0.5.3
Desktop Dungeons POWDER v116
Diggr 11.10.09.3 Prospector RL 0.2.3a
DoomRL 0.9.9.4 Pyromancer 0.2.0
DungeonRL Quickband 2.04b
Dungeons of Dredmor 1.0.6 Red Rogue
Dweller 1.11.1 RevivedHack 2.5
EmoSquid 0.5 Stellar Edge 0.0.50
Expedition 0.4.1 ToME4 b34
Fall from Heaven 0.0.6a TomeNET 4.4.8
Fangband 1.2.6 Traction Edge 0.2b
FayAngband 1.1 Triangle Wizard 11.02
Hordes of Tarshish Unangband 0.6.4b
Hydra Slayer 12.9 UnNetHack 3.6.0
Ignite 0.038 Untitled 0.7.1
Infra Arcana 9.2 Vapors of Insanity 0.52
JADE 0.2.0 Voyage to Farland 1.8t
LambdaHack engine

Sources: Planet Roguelike, RogueBasin, Temple of the Roguelike forums, List of Actively Developing Roguelikes, rec.games.roguelikes.announce
 

Know of any other news? Got anything you’d like featured next month? Post in the comments or on the forum.

Some news!

  • The 2011 Annual Roguelike Release Party was a great feast of bytes and randomness! 27 games were updated, for further info check the list compiled by Björn Ritzl, of Dweller fame.
  • The roguelike radio podcast goes on, they have just put Episode 4 online, covering an all-time favorite, DoomRL!
  • Thomas Biskup contines working on JADE after recovering his website.

Got any news? feel free to post at our forums! also, be sure to follow us on twitter! @roguetemple

Roguelike Radio – A new podcast

A new podcast has been started, initially starring Andrew Doull, Darren Grey and Scott Edgar. The first episode can be found here:

http://roguelikeradio.blogspot.com/

The podcast is dedicated to weekly reviews of recent roguelike games and general discussion about the genre. This week it covers Ido Yehieli’s Cardinal Quest, with some talk on how a good UI can improve a roguelike game. Next week’s episode shall be focussed on Desktop Dungeons.

Lost, apocalyptic, magical, beautiful, dark, absurd world

LambdaRogue

Author Mario Donick
Platform Windows, Linux, MacOS
Version 1.6
Website http://lambdarogue.net/

LambdaRogue: Outer DungeonThere are two races dwelling on Earth. Mankind and Drekh’Nar. Friendly relations last long but finally a “good” reason to start fighting gets found and war erupts. There are many casualties on both sides. However, neither race had significant advantage until Drekh’Nar acquired the enchanted sword of mankind’s general from a traitor and cursed it. This act caused men to suffer a major defeat and soon they were forced to surrender. Price for losing the war was great: banishment to underground forever. LambdaRogue is a game about exploring locations deep within earth but at the same time shaping future of mankind.

LambdaRogue: Destroyed hivePlay style of this roguelike is close to Angband’s. Dungeons are nonpersistent creating unlimited resources for player to scavenge thus inviting you to grind. However, this is not as simple. Difficulty of a given level is not constant. Killing enough monsters of given type will cause a stronger variant to spawn. Lost hit points do not regenerate naturally. You have to use health restoring consumables which cost you some credits. Early game is a race to get powerful enough as fast as possible in order to earn credits for food and medicine. Weaker characters are going to have tough time starting off. At times it will be more beneficial to descend to meet fresh strain of enemies because these new “basic” specimens will actually be weaker than toughened variants of currently fought monsters.

LambdaRogue: Forgotten RealmAn uncommon and controversial feature is ability to have game saved for a gold fee. Permadeath will claim the lot of your early characters but when you finally hit it big and afford life insurance the tension is no more. A streak of mistakes may force you to go back to earlier point in game but the cost is now insignificant. Life insurance cost increases linearly while your earnings do so quicker. Major roguelike defining point is harmed and decrease in challenge reflects this. Most important reason for going this way is LambdaRogue is primarily aiming to tell a story. If a promising character would get sliced by the grim reaper close to final game player may not return to know how all of this ends. Thus greater tolerance for errors.

LambdaRogue: The Lost OutpostMajor driving force of LambdaRogue are quests. Those provide story pieces and items crucial to game completion as rewards. Other ways to know more about the World of NeoTerr are to purchase text books from library or to discover them through mining. Certain professional ranks require a specific quest to be completed to obtain it. Other ranks need a certain skill set to be matched. A quest log is available. It lists all people who asked you for a favor by dungeon level.

LambdaRogue: CatacombsAmong many facilities in town workshop stands out. Here player may drop items to have them disassembled for some resources like wood, metal and stone. Subsequently those may be used to create a powerful unique item. The problem is amounts required to do so. Only a fixed number of slain monsters will drop items on death. To collect needed quantity one effectively has to purchase cheap stuff from shops to disassemble. In effect resources become merely lots of credits. Exception is stone which is easily harvestable from plentiful rubble.

LambdaRogue: MeteorLambdaRogue has gods. You choose one at character creation and may only interact with that deity. Other divine beings will contact you if they desire or … you actually met them. If you are good enough an opportunity for deicide may arise. A potentially grindy prayer mechanic allows one to make contact with patron deity. Every time you press ‘p’ it is counted as a single prayer. Remember to press it at least once or that one guy (or gal) up there will get angry at you. Fortunately sacrificing items on altar increases total prayer number by a considerable amount lessening the problem a bit. Still, expect to lean your finger on ‘p’ a few times.

LambdaRogue: The Book of StarsRecently it is popular among roguelikes to present players with graphical user interface to attract new players and ASCII for veterans. This is good unless those also bring different features impacting gameplay. Unfortunately LambdaRogue commits this sin. ASCII mode displays much larger map area allowing for pleasant exploration. SDL mode feels claustrophobic in comparison even with small tiles option set to true. However, it has minimap which marks NPCs if you have talked to them already and stairs if you have used them before. This greatly speeds up travel through places you have visited in the past. In ASCII you have to wander until you find what you are looking for or juggle interfaces. If you ascend it is worthwhile to watch ending sequence in graphical mode. Text alone just does not do it justice.

All in all LambdaRogue is successful as a medium to tell a compelling story without resorting to linear progress. With two functional interfaces veterans and newcomers alike will find it easy to get in. While not as replayable as most roguelikes it has passed 1.0 version milestone and is a complete game able to stand on its own.

Roguelike Round-up July 2011

Major News

Dwarf Fortress in New York Times
     The famed dwarven fortress simulator, Dwarf Fortress, has become the subject of an in-depth article published in the New York Times. NY Times journallist Jonah Weiner has spent several days with Tarn and Zach Adams, analysing their lifestyles and quizzing them on their motivations to create the successful crowd-funded game. The article makes for a fascinating read, casting a light on some of the odd habits of the developers, but also digging into the joys of playing the game and what makes it so appealing to the fanbase. Dwarf Fortress is also now on display at the New York Museum of Modern Art’s “Talk to Me” exhibit, which runs to 7th November.

Dungeons of Dredmor top seller on Steam
     The graphical roguelike Dungeons of Dredmor has gone on sale at Steam for $5, and has quickly amassed tens of thousands of sales, rocketing it briefly to the very top of the Steam sales charts. Reception of the game has been immensely positive, receiving a metacritic score of 81, with many reviewers praising its quirky humour, challenging gameplay, and accessible interface. The central gameplay features of permadeath and procedural content seem to be joyfully embraced by many. Could this be part of a roguelike renaissance…?

Nethack Summer Tournament Underway
     Almost 300 players are now competing in the Nethack Summer Tournament, which runs from 17th July to 14th August. There’s still time to join in and horribly die on poisoned spike traps!

Expedition – call for playtesters
     Veteran developer Slash is hoping to release a new version of Expedition soon, and has put out a call for playtesters. If you’re interested in helping out with a detailed roguelike centred around exploration and adventure then get in touch.

N900 roguelikes wiki
     Got a Nokia N900 and want to play roguelikes whilst on the move? Well there’s now a wiki to help, with a list of 34 compatible titles and some tips on how to get them running.

New Roguelikes!

Dungeons of Dredmor – humorous graphical roguelike that pulls no punches on difficulty – available on Steam for $5
JADE – the much anticipated open world successor to ADOM, though with limited features at present
Legend of Siegfried – a feature-packed fantasy roguelike under fast development
Temple of Vengeance – martial arts themed roguelike
Vapors of Insanity – detailed game with many original systems and a choice of ASCII/graphics

Updated Games:

Descension 0.1.7 Dweller
Grand Rogue Auto 0.5.0 Hydra Slayer 12.6
Ignite 0.03 Infra Arcana 5
Kharne alpha23 Lost Labyrinth 4.6.3
Mysterious Castle 1.3 Prospector 0.2.2b
pYendor 0.04.00a Quickband 2.0.3
Rogue Project 2 ToME4 beta31
Triangle Wizard 10.03

Upcoming in August:

Crawl 0.9 and Tournament
     Crawl 0.9 has been billed for release around the first week of August, offering new features, content and interface niceties. Anticipation is also high for the now bi-annual Crawl tournament, which will be held 13th August to 28th August. Sigmund shall taste much blood…

ARRP Upcoming
     Just seven weeks remain until the second Annual Roguelike Release Party, where developers are encouraged to stop fiddling about in the shadows and get some games out! New games or updates of existing titles are all welcome. The deadline for release is Sunday 18th September.

Cardinal Quest due soon
     Keep your eyes peeled on tametick.com, as the graphical roguelike Cardinal Quest is due to come roaring out soon. The game was developed for the 4DRL challenge last October, and has since gained large reknown for amassing $4.8k from crowd-funding site 8bitfunding.com – the site’s first big success. Hopefully with its charming retro graphics and bleepy music Cardinal Quest can continue Dredmor’s success in spreading the fun of roguelike gameplay to the masses.

 

Know of any other news? Got anything you’d like featured next month? Post in the comments or on the forum.

Preview: Traction Edge

Traction Edge

Author Mongrol
Platform OS X, Linux (source only)
Version 0.1
Website http://code.google.com/p/tractionedge/

What would X-COM look if you left out non-battle phases? Have a look at Traction Edge. Version 0.1 is not much beyond technical demo but already gives you several officers to choose for each of three patrol missions. Your objective is to eliminate all opposition. Choose people with at least 10 points of strength. This allows to carry muskets which are much better than pistols.

Traction Edge: Bashing the doorTraction Edge: Hostiles spotted

You can just blaze through levels. Resistance is going to be small because enemy decision making capability is very limited. They act only if your agents remain in their view. Otherwise you are free to jump from behind an obstacle fire two snap shots point blank and hide again. After you kill last one mission is completed. If you explored fully last level but cannot see anything to shoot at destroy some walls. Surely some slither was placed inside stone.

Traction Edge: Patrol membersTraction Edge: Equip officer

Traction Edge was first released for ARRP 2010. Next version was announced to be revealed on ARRP 2011. To check out the game you need either to have OS X or compile from sources.