Author Topic: Roguelike Bundle  (Read 8499 times)

Darren Grey

  • Protector of the @
  • *****
  • Posts: 1932
  • It is pitch black. You are likely to eat someone.
    • View Profile
    • Gruesome Games
Roguelike Bundle
« on: July 28, 2013, 04:27:16 PM »
I've been tying with the idea of a Roguelike Bundle for a long time, and have been camping on the www.roguelikebundle.com domain. The original idea was linked with the Roguelike Incubator, with a select few chosen games meeting a number of criteria like open source, accessibility, etc.

Well, out with that idea, let's get something more inclusive. Some good chaps on Reddit have put together this torrented bundle, and it would be nice to build on this.

The idea is to include a large number of reasonably complete and playable roguelikes, with extras bundled in that can make them easier to play and a profile for each on the web-site. The intention is to have a large group of roguelikes that newcomers to the genre can be pointed towards, and which even older members will find some new gems in. If it's particularly good we can hopefully get some media attention for the whole genre and get some of the lesser known roguelikes some well-deserved attention. I'm putting together a list here, with additions welcome. There's some discussion of the list on Reddit.

What I need from people:
 - Help updating that list with details for each item
 - General ideas for where this should go, potential problems
 - Help with the web-site, including making profiles for each game. The site essentially needs completely redoing.
 - Hosting? Doing it via torrents would be nice, but is a little less accessible and can't be updated with new games so easily.
 - What games should be included? I'm thinking just polished and reasonably traditional games, and in future having additional bundles like a "Leftfield Collection" that would be games with unusual mechanics.

Zeno has also made a front-end launcher for the bundle, which you can find here. Consider this the Steam for roguelikes :) Feedback on this is very welcome.

Z

  • Protector of the @
  • *****
  • Posts: 905
    • View Profile
    • Z's Roguelike Stuff
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2013, 04:55:09 PM »
Darren forgot to mention that the launcher is running on NotEye, so you need to run noteye\noteye (sorry for not making it clear in the package, but it is just a draft).

My ideas for this bundle are as follows:
  • Each game should come with a description. This description would include the reasons why the game has been included (i.e., why the game is interesting), and the potential turnoffs. I think that a good general rule would be that this description should be written by a fan who is not a dev - if we cannot find one, then probably the game should not be included ;) Also other relevant data such as screenshots, links to important websites etc.
  • The launcher lists games in categories, so that we do not have a chaotic list of 50 games. Currently the following categories are included: Roguelike Classics, Modern Roguelikes, Seven Day Roguelikes, 1HP Roguelikes, Hacklikes, Games played in a terminal... There is also a "personal collections" category (a given player's personal perspective on the genre and a collection of the best roguelikes according to them).
  • Also some general information about the genre and its culture should be included.

I agree about polish, but I think that games which are not reasonably traditional should be included too. Spelunky should be included, for example. Also most of the games listed on Darren's "Leftfield Collection" post are 7DRLs or other small games, so I think there is no point in leaving them out (the bundle file size would not grow too much), as long as they are polished.

This is probably obvious, but I also think that this should be a free bundle, so no paid games (well, we could have a category "Paid games" in the launcher, which would only have some links, not the actual games).

Vanguard

  • Protector of the @
  • *****
  • Posts: 1112
    • View Profile
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2013, 05:36:10 PM »
Mage Guild should be on the list for sure.  I can write a little bit about why it's good and why it belongs there if you guys aren't familiar with it.

Anvilfolk

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 374
    • View Profile
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2013, 05:50:26 PM »
Is this a one time or permanent thing?

Here's a few thoughts: This should mostly be about bringing new people to the genre. Therefore, I feel graphics are a big must. People will not know what an @ is, let alone a "d" or a "g". I am not too current on the modern RL scene, but Crawl, IVAN, DoomRL all have nice graphical interfaces. At least Crawl and DoomRL also allow the progression to pure ASCII, which could also be a point for the bundle: start with graphical stuff, and slowly built up to being able to play ASCII roguelikes. So it might be interesting to have a PDF with tutorials/challenges. It would give people a progression to go through, which might be interesting. For example, start with DoomRL, get to dungeon level 3 at least. Then move on to Crawl, and get to the orc mines with a minotaur berserker. Then make it with any other combination. Then IVAN and get out of the first dungeon... etc. It gives people attainable objectives, which is good until they get a good feel and liking for the gameplay itself!

I also feel that less is better here. I mean that maybe about 4-6 roguelikes would be more than enough. If we give people an assortment of 20 RL, we'll be able to put up less extra content for it, and people will think there's too much in there for them to try, or that they are too crappy. I get that feeling with some of the bundles with more extravagant numbers... sad thing is, according to metacritic, this feeling hasn't been entirely unjustified for those bundles ;) But I digress!

DRM free is also a big thing for a lot of bundles, and people seem to like its possibility. It's fine to have a Steam for roguelikes, but very often I hear people complaining about having "yet another distribution platform". A .torrent and a program sounds perfect :)

"Get it hot! Hit it harder!!!"
 - The tutor warcry

One of They Who Are Too Busy

valrus

  • Acolyte
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
    • small clever rooms
    • Email
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2013, 05:58:41 PM »
Hi. I joined just to comment on this, so I hope I'm not being too presumptuous. I'd love to help out with the website.

In my opinion, the most important aspect of a bundle like this is curation. Anyone can go to RogueBasin and download all the RLs their hearts desire in not much more time than it would take to download a bundle. What they can't do is figure out whether what they've downloaded is any good or not, and if they have no prior experience with RLs and try something with serious flaws, it might be enough to turn them off the genre entirely. The learning curve for even excellent RLs is pretty high.

I realize that these things are subjective, but I expect there is some consensus in this forum about the most popular/well-designed/whatever RLs around, and I really think you should strive for quality over quantity. I haven't touched the Reddit bundle because it's just too much at once for me even though I've been playing RLs for like 2 decades; it needs some kind of "beginner"/"intermediate"/"advanced" tier system like this article or some points of entry or something. Even the "notable games" section is like 25 games. Gah!

I like all of Z's suggestions, especially the one about descriptions, and have some nuts and bolts ideas of my own:
  • I agree that torrents would be a lot easier than finding good hosting. Perhaps you could add version numbers to the torrents and, in the README, link to a homepage or forum thread or something that's more easily updateable so that people can check whether they have the most recent version. Then you could make changes, update the version number and have things be more likely to propagate.
  • As I mention above, something like a tier system might be nice. Some kind of roguelike directed graph or next steps recommendation list might be nice too, something that can tell people e.g. "If you like Crawl, you might also like Brogue." Edit: Anvilfolk's idea is also a great one.
  • Prefer using the website as the meta-information repository rather than including text files etc. in the bundle itself. This makes it easier to make incremental improvements.
  • Throw the whole website code on GitHub and manage it like any open source project if you haven't already.

Looking forward to seeing this develop! Please let me know if there's any way I can help.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 06:17:48 PM by valrus »

Eben

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 339
  • Controversializer
    • View Profile
    • SquidPony!
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2013, 06:33:01 PM »
It looks to me like what's needed is an updating of roguebasin with a nice front end...

The mega-bundle sounds nice but without a frame of reference it's just a pile of stuff, and a pile that has to be updated (and therefore becomes outdated and redundant) on occasion.

Small bundles of just a couple games that had a common theme or mechanic or some other similarity would be far more helpful. Plus having small bundles put together each month would provide focus to the project and help each game really get the attention needed.

A Steam style interface would be amazing, with links to the mods, references, forums, etc. Which is what roguebasin could be with a facelift...

kawatan

  • Priest
  • **
  • Posts: 61
  • the non-developer Kawa
    • View Profile
    • Kawa's Independent Gaming
    • Email
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2013, 08:29:24 PM »
I am up for writing about various games with descriptions, considering I'm not a dev, and/or linking to my LPs of some of the games. (Linking to the work GameHunter, myself, or others have done would actually be a great way to present games, much like the intro videos on Steam store pages.)
Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point - Blaise Pascal
Twitter || Reddit || Tumblr || Youtube

Vanguard

  • Protector of the @
  • *****
  • Posts: 1112
    • View Profile
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2013, 08:51:57 PM »
Personally, I'd rather have a zip file with games and PDFs/text files explaining them than a steam-style executable.

I'm totally willing to write up explanations, recommendations, advice, etc. for games.

getter77

  • Protector of the Temple
  • Global Moderator
  • Protector of the @
  • *****
  • Posts: 4621
    • MSN Messenger - BRIAN13137@hotmail.com
    • AOL Instant Messenger - BRIAN13137
    • Yahoo Instant Messenger - getterbrian
    • View Profile
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2013, 11:56:55 PM »
I'd say offhand that anything involving Spelunky may well get dicey, what with the supreme PC version at last arriving in the near future.

Otherwise, Cliffski's indie promotion'ish spotlight sight may well offer some pointers on profiling as it has been at it for a little while now:  http://www.showmethegames.com/
Brian Emre Jeffears
Aspiring Designer/Programmer/Composer
In Training

skaldicpoet9

  • Acolyte
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2013, 12:40:39 AM »


Personally I think that the bundle should be kept slim so as not to overwhelm newbies and concentrate on a few select games that are the most accessible in the genre. I threw together a quick mock-up of those games that I personally consider to be the most easily picked up by newcomers to the roguelike genre.

I think the strong suits for these games are the following:

  • Graphics - Each of these games have tiles or graphics. Most newcomers to roguelike games tend to be turned off and bewildered by ASCII.
  • Familiar mechanics - Gamers coming from various different genres will find a variety of familiar mechanics adapted from other genres. Spelunky's platforming, FTL's RTS style mechanics, Tales of Maj 'Eyal's usage of skills/abilites similar of modern day RPGs, The Binding of Issac's Zelda-esque gameplay.
  • Accessibility - The majority of these games are either mouse driven or have a simple keyboard layout. No having to lookup an in-game readme for commands. I would argue the toughest of the above two games to get into for a new player would be DCSS and ToME, but I feel that they serve as a good introduction to the more 'traditional' roguelikes. 
The only problem I would see with the above games is that 4 of the 9 are paid games. However, if this is a bundle that is being done for charity then perhaps the developers could be contacted for their blessing ala the Humble Bundle. I don't know anything about how that works but if these games can't be included there are a few replacements I would suggest that still keep with the theme of introductory roguelikes. Infra Arcana, Sword of the Stars: The Pit, IVAN or Powder would fit in as well as a few others that escape me currently.

I love this idea though. I think it is an excellent way to gain more exposure to the genre. I'll definitely be keeping my eye on any ideas/improvements and will add my input when I can. I am extremely excited for this project! Keep up the great work.
http://www.greatgamesexperiment.com/user/Skaldicpoet9 "Fearlessness is better then a faint heart for any man who puts his nose out of doors. The date of my death and length of my life were fated long ago."

Darren Grey

  • Protector of the @
  • *****
  • Posts: 1932
  • It is pitch black. You are likely to eat someone.
    • View Profile
    • Gruesome Games
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2013, 01:17:04 AM »
No way we could do commercial games, unless there's a free demo available to include.

I like the idea of recommended achievements - mini-targets for different games that you can try to complete.

I agree on the curation front that people have mentioned. Not just any 7DRL can make it in. Games have to be polished and in a fully completable state. They also have to have some subjective "good" rating to them. They must be games that people play and enjoy. I don't want it to be too exclusive, but I don't want it to be a teeming mess either.

This is why I suggested side-bundles - there could be a main bundle and later a few different add-on bundles based on certain groupings. Experimental roguelikes, Old Classics, Mods/Variations, etc. The launch of each of these side-bundles could be a news item in itself, and could coincide with an update of the main bundle (adding new games, updating game versions, etc).

skaldicpoet9

  • Acolyte
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2013, 01:26:42 AM »
Yeah, I figured that commercial roguelikes would be a no-go. I just wanted to include the games that I felt best represented an good stepping-stone for newcomers. Like I said above, Infra Arcana, Powder and IVAN would be other roguelikes that are good starting points for beginners.

The various different bundle categories could be a good idea. I just think that it is advantageous to keep things 'bite sized' so as not to overwhelm potential newcomers to the genre.  I would say that each individual bundle shouldn't comprise more than 8-10 games with a list of recommendations pointing to similar games. That way the bundles could stay focused and allow people to get a good grasp on the variety of different games there are in the genre.
http://www.greatgamesexperiment.com/user/Skaldicpoet9 "Fearlessness is better then a faint heart for any man who puts his nose out of doors. The date of my death and length of my life were fated long ago."

Z

  • Protector of the @
  • *****
  • Posts: 905
    • View Profile
    • Z's Roguelike Stuff
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2013, 09:25:01 AM »
DRM free is also a big thing for a lot of bundles, and people seem to like its possibility. It's fine to have a Steam for roguelikes, but very often I hear people complaining about having "yet another distribution platform". A .torrent and a program sounds perfect :)

Personally, I'd rather have a zip file with games and PDFs/text files explaining them than a steam-style executable

The idea here is simply to have a launcher which brings order to the collection, not a "yet another distribution platform". And you do not have to use the launcher, you can run the games individually. The launcher also runs the games via NotEye when possible. Which can be used either for NotEye's special graphical modes, or for simpler stuff such as recording or going fullscreen.

It seems that we have lots of different opinions about the size of the bundle. I think the solution here is simply to do both!

We could have the small Roguelike Starter Bundle for newcomers, Roguelike Classics Bundle for those interested in history, Seven Day Roguelike Bundle, Unconventional Roguelike Bundle, Sci-Fi Roguelike Bundle, Party-based Roguelike Bundle, and so on.

And a Roguelike Megabundle, as in my original idea. That would simply include all the small bundles as categories. Some roguelikes would fit into several categories, so it would be more efficient to download the Megabundle than all the small bundles separately.

Jennimason

  • Acolyte
  • *
  • Posts: 23
    • View Profile
    • My Youtube channel
    • Email
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2013, 10:21:45 AM »
I was looking over the list you had on google docs of games,
For Nlarn a lot of info is missing:
their website: http://nlarn.sourceforge.net/
OS support: Linux, Windows, OSX are all supported, and I think the BSDs are as well
Controls aren't exactly "Modern" but they're not terrible, vi keys and a nice curses menu to use your inventory and such.

For Omega:
their site: http://www.alcyone.com/max/projects/omega/
OS support: Linux I know works (That's what I play it on), Windows should as well.
it IS open source, free to redistribute, modify, etc. according to their licence.txt file.
controls are the biggest problem with the game.
I do Let's Plays of Roguelikes at https://www.youtube.com/user/RoguesWonderland :D Come watch!

getter77

  • Protector of the Temple
  • Global Moderator
  • Protector of the @
  • *****
  • Posts: 4621
    • MSN Messenger - BRIAN13137@hotmail.com
    • AOL Instant Messenger - BRIAN13137
    • Yahoo Instant Messenger - getterbrian
    • View Profile
Re: Roguelike Bundle
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2013, 11:54:20 AM »
Going the Omega route, which might be a bit too complex as it is, would probably be served best by this:  http://freespace.virgin.net/davidk.kinder/omega.html

IVAN...hard to say whether that would be good for newcomers at this stage or not compared to projects that are actually moreso alive with dev projects and polish.
Brian Emre Jeffears
Aspiring Designer/Programmer/Composer
In Training