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Messages - Nolithius

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Thanks, getter77!

Porting plans are as follow: iPad, Android, Windows Mobile, in that order, depending how well each of them do.


Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

It is with great honor and pleasure that I announce the launch of Crossword Dungeon (, on the iPhone App Store (

Crossword Dungeon is a roguelike-like in which your character traverses a procedurally-generated crossword dungeon, wherein guessing the correct letter results in a critical hit to the monster on the tile, and the incorrect letter in trading blows with the aforementioned baddie.

There are three playable classes with unique skill trees: the Barbarian, with a focus on Gore Attacks and high damage; the Ranger, with a focus on revealing tiles and ranged attacks; and the Scoundrel, with a focus on Stealth attacks as well as a wide variety of opportunistic tricks.

The game is available for the iPhone/iPod Touch (iOS 5 and 6), please share it with your friends, and review it if you enjoy it!

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

Developed in Flash and playable in your browser over at:


Other Announcements / Re: Share your ideas for 7DRL
« on: March 09, 2012, 04:30:46 PM »
This year's 7DRL challenge, I'll be tackling a party-based dungeon crawler, something which we've seen little of in roguelikes (the party-based part ;).

I've posted some working artwork for the character portraits as well as a few more details over at:

Best of luck to everyone participating in the challenge!

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn Based) / Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« on: November 06, 2010, 01:44:04 AM »
scaught, Chronophase is closer to Rogue than a stake is to a house.

Fenrir, apples are orangelike.

Please realize that, as members of this community, you have a responsibility to not be abrasive and disrespectful to others.

I am truly saddened by the pedantry and poignancy of this conversation.

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn Based) / Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« on: November 04, 2010, 12:12:30 AM »
Hi scaught, thanks for your feedback.

Were you able to participate in this 4DRL challenge? I ask because it is worth pointing out, as jim alluded to, that there is a marked difference between sitting back/armchair designing/backseat driving/recklessly criticizing vs. understanding firsthand the realities of participating in a challenge.

If you were unable to participate, I strongly suggest that you do so the next time around. It is a humbling experience and will break down many of your assumptions about game design, game development, the essence of a roguelike, and what degree of fun, completion, or depth can be achieved within 4 days.

I made a choice for this challenge to stay away from cloning Rogue. As corremn mentioned, I did not feel that four days was sufficient to make a stock standard roguelike that was better than forgettable. There also was not any standard roguelike feature/trope that I wanted to put out in a smaller format that I would not rather spend the time working into my larger-format roguelike Dance of Death.

Few, if any of the 4DRL participants have either depth or variant gameplay. The spirit if a 4DRL challenge is not to put together a complex, ever-changing epic game. 4 days is enough to tweak an engine, set up some basic rules and controls, and provide some mild variation where possible. And if you are working with any new techniques you had not tackled before, like facing, or non-rectangular multiple-tile characters that rotate and precisely collide with projectiles, or turn-based missile trail effects, or a stitched/continuous world: those will take the bulk of the already tight timeline. Add to that playtesting, bug fixing, and polishing up for release.

Best of luck!


Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn Based) / Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« on: October 27, 2010, 05:59:48 PM »
I encountered that nasty bug but was unable to track it down before release. It is caused by an element being set to null within the TurnManager (the priority queue handler that handles turn order for everything in the gameworld: the player, enemies, projectiles, trail effects, explosion effects, etc.). I put several hours into debugging that issue, with no luck, and had to make the tough call to skip it.

Enemies stopping is another known issue, they are somehow removed from the TurnManager and therefore are not allowed to act. Another annoying bug that had to be skipped.

As far as Chronophase not being a roguelike, I checked some roguelike definitions out of curiosity, and it fits:

Moreso, it feels like a roguelike. If it helps, imagine the ships as elves, the ion shots as arrows, and the space background as an open field ;)


Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn Based) / 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« on: October 27, 2010, 03:14:29 AM »
Hello everyone!

Fresh out of the oven: Chronophase! A space-shooter-inspired 4DRL, with turn-based, tile-based movement and combat, facing, pew-pew-type weapons, nebulae, and more!

Blog post here:

Play it directly in the browser here:


Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

Programming / Re: 4DRL Challenge October 2010
« on: October 18, 2010, 12:45:12 AM »
You can indeed get something playable in 4 days. Can you make a sprawling world with warring factions, a dynamic quest system, a complex skill tree, etc.? Of course not; that is not the point of an nDRL.

Instead, find the nugget of gameplay that you want to tackle, and focus on that. Cut the fat: inventory system, stats, skills, quests, magic system, NPCs, anything that is not absolutely critical to the core of what you want to do.

With a 4DRL, you might expect to have only an @ walking around the screen, a rough level generator that gets the job done, some simple enemies, a simple combat system, and a winning condition. By no means a fleshed-out, epic roguelike, but a completed game nonetheless.

I agree with you, Krice, that a healthy balance of larger-format games and smaller format games like 7DRLs rounds out a developer. It shows both the ability to tackle projects with a longer development cycle and higher level of polish as well as smaller, more experimental projects. However, it's really up to the individual whether they want to focus on one or the other!

Looking forward to your entry in this challenge! ;)

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

Programming / Re: 4DRL Challenge October 2010
« on: October 17, 2010, 03:34:33 AM »

As Ido mentions, you are missing the spirit of the nDRL challenges. Much like a game jam, which lasts a handful of hours, the purpose of an nDRL challenge is to funnel your creative juices into a strict timeline, forcing you to cut the fat and focus on putting out a playable game. Again, much like a game jam, the game is far from finished at the challenge's completion, which is why many 7DRLs continue to be developed after the challenge has ended.

The nDRL challenges, game jams, Ludum Dares, the experimental gameplay project, and any development challenges are, in essence, intended for developers to flex their development muscles in working within the restrictions of the challenges.

Restrictions such as those imposed in these challenges help focus the creative process and solidify the concept for a game. For example, you might be bewildered if I challenged you to "make a game"; however, if I challenged you to "make a card game with physical cards, the setting must be post-apocalyptic" or "make a game with a ball, using only ASCII" or "you have 3 hours to make a game, it must use square tiles", your gears might start to turn in your head. This is why, whether they be veterans of the community or newcomers, for many developers 7DRLs represent their first finished game, regardless of quality.

Challenge on!

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

P.S.: I am uncertain as to my availability during the 4DRL window. I will sign up as soon as I find out if I will have time!

Combat moves are in the queue, right after a rehash of the skill system; I definitely have not forgotten about them!

Dance of Death has been a fun experience in balancing features I want to implement/experiment with vs. features that need to be implemented. I'm still fleshing out what features version 0.7 will include: if I end up reworking the skill system, then a more robust combat system will follow thereafter.

Thanks for your feedback, Ari!

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

I usually stay away from self-imposed hard deadlines, and release when I have crossed off every item on the to-do list.

However, for the ARRP, releasing on time meant scaling back on some non-essential features, which ended up giving me some extra time to polish and throw in a basic food system.

I have my work cut out for me moving forward, but feedback is, as always, much appreciated!

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

Today, on the first Annual Roguelike Release Party, I am honored to bring you the latest update to Dance of Death, version 0.6.136.

This update includes, among many other updates:
  • World generation.
  • Wilderness area generation.
  • Damerau-Levenshtein-aided name generator.
  • A basic hunger system.

Check out the release notes for further details at:

Or jump right in and play it in your browser at:

Cheers and happy ARRP!

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

Programming / Re: Source file sizes
« on: August 16, 2010, 06:04:43 PM »
The whole "20 lines per function" metric, as well as a pervasive use of design patterns, works well in an academic setting, where professors or peers might need to easily review your code or analyze it from an academic perspective.

In a professional or personal project, the criteria are different: 1) does it work? 2) is it efficient? 3) is it easy to maintain?, in that order-- and if you're the only one on the project, 3 ceases to be as important.

I personally find shorter functions harder to understand than longer ones, since they usually rely heavily on other function calls, which makes tracing the logic and debugging a bit of an adventure. As Krice mentioned, I will usually only split functionality out into a function if it needs to be called from multiple spots.

The overhead of a function call can be expensive if it needs to be called once per pixel, 60 times per second, for example, hence the old SDL trick of inlining screen buffer writes instead of using a function.

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn Based) / Re: Roguelike: Gabriel
« on: August 04, 2010, 06:03:28 PM »
Hey neotec,

The best thing you can do for yourself is release an early build. Right now.

Releasing early has some benefits:

1. Puts you out there in people's radar better than a forum post ever could ;)
2. Makes you accountable for your work, that is, to fix problems, answer questions, and provide further releases.
3. Decreases the amount of time you may waste on unnecessary features, if a release is overdue.
4. Decreases the likelihood of your project becoming vaporware, with motivation from the community.
5. Allows you to prioritize which features to implement next, through player feedback.
6. Allows you to solve problems in ways you hadn't thought of, through player feedback.
7. Free testing, through player feedback.

Do it!

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla

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