|Platform||Linux, Win, Mac|
Save Scumming, the eternal question without an answer. Many wars it has brought, many friendships have been broken, many threads have been burned down. Long time friends become mortal enemies uppon the sight of copy-pasting, evily broking the efforts of the developer to provide a balanced and challenging game but at the same time, fairly increasing the chances of a person to enjoy an otherwise frustrating experience.Jeff Lait’s creation is an experience of gaping at the screen in awe, as the smart bot cleans level after level of foul dungeonment and then retreats back to safety. The minimalism of the user input (basically 2 actions: “save and quit, backup the save, reload and go ahead” and “quit, restore the backup and reload”) shows two of the strong points of the game: The infinite undo device and the smart, non-deterministic, cool white @ in appearance, softbot, each of them a clear feast of technical prowess. Also noteworthy is the variety of monsters and their attacks. Each one of them is unique, both AI-wise and in their choice of actions. Attacks include melee and ranged attacks, magic, ingestion (yuck), stealing, amongst many other effects. This, along with the availability for windows and linux in both SDL and Curses mode, shows the current level of sophistication of Lait’s RogueEngine (c) of which we have had some taste previously with his “Letter Hunt” This idea was (probably) born from one of such holy discussions, where one of the factions was devising a method for ensuring save-scummers would be exposed, based on how unlikely it was for them to survive near death situations (this only attacked one issue on scumming: avoiding permadeath. Permafailure on the other hand, can hardly be counter measured) Usage of the bot as an almighty nemesis (in an epic scale roguelike) or as a challenger (in a small scale, coffee-break roguelike) would certainly add a lot to the experience. The softbot (whom we will call “Rodney” from now on) enters the dungeons of the evil demon with just a goal in mind: To Save Scum to the death (or better said: from the death) until the world is saved and fame and glory is achieved. The first levels pose no challenge for the prepared Rodney, who doesn’t even remember the name of the game he’s been played in. However after some time, when Rodney challenges the perils of yet another dungeon level, a scared white ‘m’ starts pillar-dancing him around a large chunk of rock after taking some hits; Rodney runs after the ‘m’ tirelessly, but the monster is just out of range… then all of a sudden “You grow bored…”! The entity known as the player (the scummer) can’t help but chuckle at this! Deep below the dungeon entrance, Rodney, injured to the death, stands at some stairs leading even lower into the depths. He steps in, but seeing no potions near his master decides this to be unfair, and reloads just to go ahead again, repeating the process until 3 yellow potions and no threats are near!. This my friends, is save scumming made easy. If you think you are a save scummer, and feel guilty for this, and this haunts you in your dreams, you have no idea! just wait until you are in front of an evil Ogre and you can laugh on his face making him miss all of his blows while you slash him to the death! After some bad-ass save scumming, Rodney finally defeated the evil demon boss. According to the program, the chances for this to have happened lawfully were…. 2.571e-10! I don’t think his mortem would have been taken too seriously! I will drop in some other suggestions, just in case an enhanced version is produced.
- Show the inventory to see what the bot has equipped (magic scroll, weapon, ring)
- Show Rodney’s feelings, and priorities, if this applies
- Allowing seeding of games, so two people can challenge each other for the highest prob.
- Count how many scums the player made (steping back n times and then going forward is a scum), and deliver this stat as a mortem in the end along with some other highly informative data
Right now, there’s little of a game here (you may argue there must be some strategy on deciding where in time to scum, but a lot of patience is needed here), but it is enjoyable… To provide a bit of playability, or perhaps for a different game, based on it (SaveScummer2:The l337 dungeonneer?), commands for moving, attacking and casting spells could replace the ‘right arrow’. Apart from that, it would be very nifty to be able to change the bot “tactics” depending on the context. That is for example, balancing magic, meleeing and dungeon diving. All in all, this 7DRL shows a lot of ideas finally implemented; if they are taken to a real game (no offense intended), they would be really ass-kicking features (the undo stuff, implemented as a time magic; the bot functionality as a challenging nemesis), hopefully somebody will take these and use them wisely. And you… did you make your backup savefile? Gameplay SaveScumming can get tiring over time, and the game is too random being based on a bot AI. The UI needs to show more info about the character status, including equipment. Aesthetics & Theme The game looks just as good as Letter Hunt, which is good :) Features Two great ideas implemented in a master way! DWIM command outstands. Content Lots of monsters, each of them is unique; they give the game a feeling of being complete and not just another content-less engine