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Design / Going beyond hack and slash
« on: December 26, 2014, 11:31:36 PM »
I've been thinking lately that (as much as I hate to admit it) maybe Krice is onto something when he says that Crawl has something wrong with its gameplay.

I used to be a huge Crawl fan, until I started making it into the late game consistently. The beginning of Crawl is amazing, but the midgame and endgame just become a kind of FPS with swords. It's kill your way to victory. Better equipment, better character, still just killing things until you win. It's boring. It's like playing an FPS. Many other roguelikes have this same problem: the entire game revolves purely around killing your way to victory while progressing purely forward in a linear way.

I guess I want something else, but I'm not quite sure what it is. The only game I can think that I know has it is (of course) Nethack.

Nethack does the whole "kill your way to victory" thing, too, but there's something more ontop of that. It's nonlinear. It has sidequests that are wholly optional. It has things like sokoban, mine town, and shops with complex interaction. It encourages you to backtrack, and to visit places that have little or nothing to do with actually winning the game (aside from collecting an ascension kit).

The fun from playing Nethack often has nothing to do with actually progressing towards winning the game. It has everything to do with kicking that sink, throwing a gem to that unicorn, fighting the police after stealing something, wishing for an overpowered item, solving sokoban, quaffing from that fountain, locking yourself in a room to escape from a horde of monsters, carving elbereth into the floor with a wand of lightning, visiting the oracle, etc. etc.

I like Dwarf Fortress' idea that losing should be fun. In Nethack, just playing around is fun. In Crawl, you're either progressing and killing your way linearly to victory, or you're doing nothing. Like many roguelikes, Crawl seems like an FPS with a sword, and also like many roguelikes its waaay too linear.

Maybe losing and just playing around should be fun? 99% of the time we spend in permadeath roguelikes involves losing and not progressing. Maybe we should make losing and not progressing fun?

What do you think? Ideas? Suggestions?

Design / Cave generation I've been using
« on: May 17, 2014, 12:39:09 PM »
I was inspired by Krice's post to post about the cave generation algorithm I've been using recently. Rather than hijack his thread, I thought I'd post a new thread.

This is a pretty simple algorithm. I'm sure several of you already use it, but I thought I'd post it here anyway. It's not great, but it's pretty simple and can create some pretty good results.

Here's how it works: you select a bunch of random points on the map, and assign each point a unique ID number. Then connect the closest two points that have different ID numbers using a line with a width greater than 1. After connecting the closest two points, loop over the points and change the unique ID of any point that has the same unique ID as the second point in the pair to the unique id of the first point. Wash, rinse, repeat until all points have the same ID. Here's an outline:

1. Add random points to list with unique ID numbers
2. Loop:
  3. Find closest two points that have different IDs
  4. Draw line between the two points
  5. Loop over all points and change the ID numbers of any points that have the same ID as the second point to the ID number of the first point
  6. You are done when all points have the same ID number

Using higher numbers of points gives a more satisfying and cave-like look. Because the algorithm always connects the closest points, a very large number of points can be connected in a sane and aesthetically pleasing way in very small areas. This algorithm is also useful for rivers.

This algorithm doesn't create loops. Technically it links everything together into a perfect maze, so if you want loops you have to (for each loop you want) connect two (distant/non-neighboring/not already connected) points that have the same IDs. If you connect points completely at random (instead of the closest two), you end up with a pretty crazy spiderweby thing that doesn't look very good, but may be useful to you.

Programming / Underhall postmortem.
« on: August 08, 2013, 06:26:53 AM »
Inspired by Andrew Doull's post mortem of BRogue on Ascii Dreams, I wrote up a quick postmortem for Underhall. Enjoy:

Decided to release this for free. I'm too lazy to update the download, so enter registration code "DragonBlood" it unlocks the full game.

Download it here:

And enter registration code "DragonBlood" on the main menu. Enjoy!

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn Based) / Underhall 2.1 Released! (works!)
« on: April 29, 2013, 03:02:22 AM »
Underhall 2.1 has been released! Underhall is an old school 3d roguelike for Windows.

I (hopefully) fixed the bugs in this version. It should work. I hope you enjoy it.

•30 floors of monster killing mayhem
•Dozens of brutal weapons
•Over 50 devastating spells
•Over 40 unique and complex items
•6 classes each with unique gameplay and skills

Here's the zip file:

Here's the windows installer:

Here's the website:

Here's some blatant advertising:

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn Based) / Underhall 2.0 Delayed.
« on: February 11, 2013, 08:31:40 AM »
Underhall 2.0 has been delayed due to a crash bug of unknown origin. Sorry.

Programming / Insertion sort.
« on: July 28, 2011, 03:51:55 AM »
I've been using insertion sort a lot for my current project, primarily because it's really simple to implement. I thought I might share it here for those who haven't heard of it. It is really simple to use, and good for small linked lists like all of us have in our roguelikes. Anyway, here it is in C++:

Code: [Select]
void Sort()
int i;
int j;
vector<string> Names;
string Name;
if(Names[i]>Names[j])//Switch this for ascending versus descending.
else if(j==0)
Viola! Two loops, and the list is 100% sorted. Here's how it works:

The list is walked from left (0) to right (size of list). At each location, the list to the left is assumed to be sorted, and to the right is assumed to be unsorted. For each element, we take it from it's current unsorted position, and walk backward over the sorted list to find the element's correct location. We then insert the element in it's correct location on the left, and continue our journey to the right.

Single pass, requires no additional list storage, runs in O(n) in already sorted arrays, and easy to implement! Enjoy.

PS: Don't use it on lists of 1000+, unless they're already partially ordered.

Other Announcements / How much would you pay for a roguelike? (USD)
« on: June 29, 2011, 10:21:52 PM »
Just curious.

Other Announcements / The original Rogue manual.
« on: February 20, 2011, 11:31:41 AM »
It's a fun read if you haven't seen it before. Here it is:

Here's a preview:
"2.  What is going on here?
     You have just begun a game of rogue.  Your goal  is  to
grab as much treasure as you can, find the Amulet of Yendor,
and get out of the Dungeons of Doom alive.  On the screen, a
map  of  where  you  have been and what you have seen on the
current dungeon level is kept.  As you explore more  of  the
level, it appears on the screen in front of you.
     Rogue differs from most computer fantasy games in  that
it  is  screen  oriented.  Commands are all one or two keys-
trokes[1] and the results of  your  commands  are  displayed
graphically  on  the  screen  rather than being explained in
     Another major difference between rogue and  other  com-
puter  fantasy  games  is  that once you have solved all the
puzzles in a standard fantasy game, it has lost most of  its
excitement  and  it  ceases  to be fun.  Rogue, on the other
hand, generates a new dungeon every time  you  play  it  and
even the author finds it an entertaining and exciting game.
3.  What do all those things on the screen mean?
     In order to understand what is going on  in  rogue  you
have to first get some grasp of what rogue is doing with the
screen.  The rogue screen is intended to  replace  the  "You
can see ..." descriptions of standard fantasy games.  Figure
1 is a sample of what a rogue screen might look like."

Off-topic (Locked) / Random RL Game
« on: January 22, 2011, 01:53:13 AM »
In this game, the goal is to create a random roguelike game design. I've seen variations of this game elsewhere, and thought it might work well here. Here's how it works:

1. Go to wikipedia and click Random Article. Record the name of whatever article comes up. (
2. Go to the Crawl Wiki and click Random Page. Record the name of whatever comes up. (
3. Use this link ( to generate a random number. Record it and go to the Grand List of Video Game Cliches ( then record whatever cliche the number corresponds to.
4. Finally, write a 1 (short) paragraph video game design involving all three of the things you've written down. Post the results in this thread!

1 Hook Sword
2 Tier-5 demon
3 14 "Garrett's Principle
Let's not mince words: you're a thief. You can walk into just about anybody's house like the door wasn't even locked. You just barge right in and start looking for stuff. Anything you can find that's not nailed down is yours to keep. You will often walk into perfect strangers' houses, lift their precious artifacts, and then chat with them like you were old neighbors as you head back out with their family heirlooms under your arm. Unfortunately, this never works in stores."

4 You are robbing a randomly generated town of demons of all their possessions, attempting to not get caught in the process. Your only defense is your hooksword, and your extensive shaolin martial arts training, so you'd better not get into too much trouble. Especially since the demons can use magic and you can't. The goal is to steal as much loot as possible and exit the town without dying. If you manage to steal everything in town, you can finally attempt to steal two sacred demon hookswords from the center of town in plain sight, which turns all the demons against you. If you escape alive, you win.

Your turn! :D

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn Based) / Underhall v1.2 released!!
« on: April 24, 2010, 06:11:53 AM »
A new version of Underhall (my 7DRL) has just been released! This version is mostly a bug fix version, but it contains a lot of new features too!

New features:
- Now runs at the same speed on all computers! No more too fast or too slow gameplay.
- A help window that explains how to play the game and the new shortcuts!
- New keyboard shortcuts: g for get, d for drop, m for map, i for inventory, etc.
- Menus can now be navigated using the mouse!
- A minimap and compass for easier dungeon navigation!
- Over 100 NEW textures for the dungeon!
- 40+ new floors!
- 50+ new walls!
- A new variety of differently shaped rooms is now spawned! Circles and various other shapes now spawn along side squares.
- An options menu that allows you to chose from different resolutions!
- Fullscreen is now optional. In fact, it now starts in windowed mode.
- Now distributed as BOTH an installer and a zip file!
- And many, many bug fixes.

Known bugs:
- Loading is painfully slow (as is changing resolutions). The next version will have a loading screen so you know it hasn't just crashed.
- 1024x600 resolution has some problems with clipping due to a different aspect ratio. This will be fixed in the next version.
- Some graphics cards display items incorrectly at a distance. I'm not sure what causes this as it only happens on some graphics cards, but I hope to fix it by next release.
- Adobe Flash in Firefox sometimes prevents the game from going fullscreen if it's running. This doesn't seem to be the case with all flash applications, though. I have no idea what's causing this.

If you have the previous version of Underhall installed, please MAKE SURE you uninstall it before installing the new version!! Otherwise the new version WONT WORK!

Download Underhall now! Get it from:

I got Underhall working on all other machines. It should work fine now, EVEN UNDER WINDOWS XP! :D Anyway, the installer is below, and I've included a few screenshots, assuming Google will show them. Enjoy!



Early Dev / Underhall beta testers needed!
« on: March 12, 2010, 11:51:22 PM »
So, my 7DRL Underhall is done and ready for release, but I can never quite tell what DLLs people will/won't need or whether or not programs that run on my computer will run on others. I know that Underhall doesn't run on Windows XP, it only runs on Windows 7. But I need to know if it runs on Windows 7 machines aside from my own, before I release it. I might be missing DLLs or building it incorrectly, so any help is greatly appreciated!

All you need to do is download the zip file and try to run the executable inside (after extraction, of course). If it works, awesome, report back to me that it does, if not then I need to know so I can fix it. The game is essentially done, so if it does work, feel free to play it exhaustively :) . I just need to know if it runs correctly on other windows 7 machines, and if not, what DLLs it might be complaining about.

Here it is:

Other Announcements / When is the 7DRL over?
« on: March 09, 2010, 11:38:21 PM »
I was thinking about this today. If I started my game on the 6th, does that mean I can work on the day of the 13th, or can I only work on the day of the 12th? 6+7 is 13 of course, but if you count the 6th as the first day, you end up having the 7th day on the 12th. Thoughts? I assume it's okay to work as late as the 12th, because that would be exactly seven days of work. Maybe my head is just stuck in arrays.. :)

Other Announcements / One day until the 7DRL competition! Nervous?
« on: March 05, 2010, 09:46:52 PM »
Hey all you glorious fellow competitors in the 2010 7DRL competition! So, seeing as how the contest starts tomorrow, I thought I'd post something about it today. So how does everyone feel? Nervous? Excited? I'm a bit of both. I'm desperately hoping that I have enough time and work hard enough to make the kind of game I want to. What about you? How do you feel about the upcoming competition? Any worries/plans/ideas/anticipations?

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