Author Topic: Intro to the Incubator  (Read 12482 times)

Darren Grey

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Intro to the Incubator
« on: June 12, 2012, 12:18:06 AM »
This forum is for projects and games based around the Roguelike Incubator.  The Incubator is an area for developers to help each other with feedback and constructive criticism on recent releases, with an aim to produce high quality, polished roguelikes.  The focus is on less established games which wish to improve themselves whilst also helping others.  Anyone is welcome to give feedback and contribute at any time.

The first cabal of developers will join together to produce a "Roguelike Bundle", to be released as part of the Annual Roguelike Release Party in September.  This bundle aims to produce a number of roguelikes of variant size and theme, with a certain hope of being accessible to those outside the genre by having polished interfaces.  The tenets of the Roguelike Bundle:
  * 100% Free - no commercialisation, all donations go to charity
  * 100% Roguelike - intense and challenging games with permadeath and procedural design
  * 100% Open - fully open source and cross-platform, with specific support for Win/Mac/Linux
  * 100% Accessible - no myriad of keys to learn, these modern roguelikes are pick up and play

To become part of the cabal you must:
  * Have a new or in-dev roguelike you wish to improve significantly
  * Be dedicated to making new builds at least once a month, taking in guidance from the other members (though you are free to develop as you wish)
  * Be dedicated to critically analysing at least one other game each month, with constructive feedback for the other developers
  * Have clear development goals and target dates that you publicly state and try to adhere to (and accept advice on - others may disagree on how achievable or advisable your targets are)

The group will work on the premise of mutual assistance, so if you don't pull your weight you'll end up excluded.  Similarly it works on mutual image and quality standards - if the game isn't sufficiently polished by the deadline (bug-free, balanced, clean interface) then it won't be included in the bundle, but may become part of a later bundle.

The spreadsheet for the first cabal:

http://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ai4woBhgpQ7hdEd3d0JGM3AtdDQ0Nk9vZEJMYnR5LVE

If you wish to join add your name and project to the list, and post a thread in this forum with some details of you, your game, your goals and a download link to the latest build.  Keep this thread updated.

This is just the first group, and if you want to set up a different cabal with different goals you are welcome to.  I personally envisage multiple complimentary groups forming, with various themes and objectives, but following the same format of relying on mutual advice and support.

Pueo

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2012, 05:34:49 AM »
Seems like a great idea, although my project isn't far enough along to join.  I'll be sure to enter sometime, maybe for next year's Annual Roguelike Release Party  :D
« Last Edit: June 12, 2012, 08:34:57 PM by Pueo »
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mariodonick

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2012, 09:06:52 AM »
For what are the dates in the spreadsheet? Intermediate release dates?
https://code.google.com/p/lambdarogue/
-- LR: The Book of Stars graphical roguelike RPG

ejg_dnd

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2012, 09:50:41 AM »
Also joining and hope to have something ready.

Darren Grey

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2012, 11:11:09 AM »
For what are the dates in the spreadsheet? Intermediate release dates?

Playtesting other people's games and giving feedback.  I thought weekly dates might be a good encouragement to try and do more than one thing a month.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2012, 11:47:58 AM by Darren Grey »

mariodonick

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 12:17:35 PM »
Okay. Great :)
https://code.google.com/p/lambdarogue/
-- LR: The Book of Stars graphical roguelike RPG

XLambda

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 12:35:39 PM »
Argh. I was shooting for a release this weekend, but obviously my project is not as far developed as PRIME or LambdaRogue. Could I be part of this nonetheless?

mariodonick

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2012, 12:44:23 PM »
Yes, of course you can! When the AARP in September is scheduled for the bundle release, you have lots of time, and of course you can still have your own release dates!

The earlier you release, the better, because when you release, we can play and give feedback! :)
https://code.google.com/p/lambdarogue/
-- LR: The Book of Stars graphical roguelike RPG

Darren Grey

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2012, 12:49:56 PM »
Indeed, multiple releases between now and the deadline is necessary!

XLambda

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2012, 01:11:22 PM »
Thanks! Count me in, then. ;D

Z

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2012, 02:32:49 PM »
OK, so I am considering joining the bundle with Hydra Slayer. But my development goals are not very extensive:

  • Unified executable. Currently you have to play via NotEye to get graphics, which is not straightforward for newcomers, and not reliable under Windows. (I have actually done this for myself, but not released)
  • Add Steam-style achievements. (This is actually already done in the Android Social version)
  • Add a tutorial.
  • Add two new artifact weapons. (Not a big thing, but I am planning this anyway)
  • And of course consider feedback from other group members (I think I would release the version with the previous points very quickly, and then just wait for feedback).

Is that enough?

My postulates for the Bundle:

  • Change the name. Incubator seems too much about early development. And I don't think we could "market" the bundle under this name.
  • I think that one review per month is not enough. It means that every game will get one review on average, and some will get more than one and others will get zero. I suggest both increasing the number of obligatory reviews, and using some system which makes sure that everything gets covered.
  • Unified controls. Actions common to several games in the bundle should use the same key. Hopefully we will create the new roguelike standard, instead of hjklyubn and quaff. (I am not sure whether we can have unified displays, like using the same font for ASCII games, etc)
  • Have people responsible for ports to major platforms (Windows, Linux, OSX; I think we do not aim for Android or iOS in this bundle). I mean, I work, say, on the Linux version only myself (but in a portable way), and there is someone in the group who will compiles everything for OSX.
  • Have someone responsible for organizing sounds. No game should be left without a good soundtrack. Possibly also someone responsible for graphics.
  • Possibly make them feel more like a bundle. Download them together, and have a launcher from where you can choose one of the games. For example, if every game has achievements, display them centrally (like Steam does AFAIK). Maybe a common online highscore system, but maybe this would be too much.



Darren Grey

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2012, 03:43:56 PM »
OK, so I am considering joining the bundle with Hydra Slayer. But my development goals are not very extensive:

  • Unified executable. Currently you have to play via NotEye to get graphics, which is not straightforward for newcomers, and not reliable under Windows. (I have actually done this for myself, but not released)
  • Add Steam-style achievements. (This is actually already done in the Android Social version)
  • Add a tutorial.
  • Add two new artifact weapons. (Not a big thing, but I am planning this anyway)
  • And of course consider feedback from other group members (I think I would release the version with the previous points very quickly, and then just wait for feedback).

Is that enough?

"Let's see how it goes" would be my response.  I'd like to see Hydra Slayer publicised more  :)

Quote
My postulates for the Bundle:

  • Change the name. Incubator seems too much about early development. And I don't think we could "market" the bundle under this name.

It will be marketed as the "Roguelike Bundle".  The Incubator is for this place where we discuss and change - it's the process rather than the project.  And I think the maturity of development is irrelevant - even established games can benefit from incubation and rethinking many elements.  To be part of the project I think there must be a willingness to change in more ways than just additions.

Quote
  • I think that one review per month is not enough. It means that every game will get one review on average, and some will get more than one and others will get zero. I suggest both increasing the number of obligatory reviews, and using some system which makes sure that everything gets covered.

Agreed, which is why on the spreadsheet I split it into weekly targets.  If we can try to even give minimal interface feedback once a week then that would be of benefit.  Everyone should try to play every other game as soon as possible.  In term of formalising this I think we'll see how the first few weeks go and then come up with a more rigid structure at the start of July.

Quote
  • Unified controls. Actions common to several games in the bundle should use the same key. Hopefully we will create the new roguelike standard, instead of hjklyubn and quaff. (I am not sure whether we can have unified displays, like using the same font for ASCII games, etc)

No way!  :P  This is a bad idea I think.  Developers have freedom over their own projects.  We can try to encourage standards, but no way of enforcing this.

Quote
  • Have people responsible for ports to major platforms (Windows, Linux, OSX; I think we do not aim for Android or iOS in this bundle). I mean, I work, say, on the Linux version only myself (but in a portable way), and there is someone in the group who will compiles everything for OSX.
  • Have someone responsible for organizing sounds. No game should be left without a good soundtrack. Possibly also someone responsible for graphics.

The site says Win/OSX/Linux as the main supported platforms.  Everything else is up to the developer (or dedicated players, since it's all open source).  And yeah, one of the benefits of the incubator is help with cross-platform compiling and testing.

Sounds and graphics aren't appropriate for all games, but we can share links and resources and suggest suitable usage of each.  Single person responsibilities I'm not so sure about.

Quote
  • Possibly make them feel more like a bundle. Download them together, and have a launcher from where you can choose one of the games. For example, if every game has achievements, display them centrally (like Steam does AFAIK). Maybe a common online highscore system, but maybe this would be too much.

Hah, ambitious, but I like the idea.  Certainly one single download (I'm happy to host).  A launcher would be great if someone can code it up.  Achievements etc... I haven't clue how to approach that.

Paul Jeffries

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2012, 09:54:00 PM »
This looks really interesting - I'm not sure I necessarily want to join the Cabal (I'm not sure I could realistically commit to a strict schedule of new releases and in any case the stuff I'm working on at the moment is probably straying too far from the 'standard' roguelike template) but I'm definitely going to keep an eye on this and try to offer feedback if and when I can.

kraflab

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2012, 01:18:47 AM »
Quote
  • Possibly make them feel more like a bundle. Download them together, and have a launcher from where you can choose one of the games. For example, if every game has achievements, display them centrally (like Steam does AFAIK). Maybe a common online highscore system, but maybe this would be too much.

Hah, ambitious, but I like the idea.  Certainly one single download (I'm happy to host).  A launcher would be great if someone can code it up.  Achievements etc... I haven't clue how to approach that.

Someone, and I don't remember who, was talking a while ago on IRC about trying to make a system like Steam, but wherein you could download various roguelikes.  You may be able to ask around and see if it got very far along or not, because this would be perhaps a nice way of introducing that to the public.

Darren Grey

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Re: Intro to the Incubator
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2012, 01:37:02 AM »
Lots of things get talked about on IRC  :P  Certainly doesn't mean it's ever going to happen.