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Messages - AgingMinotaur

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Classic Roguelikes / The greatness of Crawl
« on: January 14, 2009, 11:20:00 PM »
Sorry if I'm rambling.

First of all: Congratulations to this year's winners of ASCII dreams' Roguelike of the year. Last year saw Dwarf Fortress take home the gold. I never dared to play DF. Instead I like to envision it as sort of a "Finnegan's Wake" of roguelikes, a piece of work you should only approach after intense meditations. This year, one of the recognized "major roguelikes" prevailed, demonstrating that quality never goes out of style, even in these modern times.

The sense of having a canon of the genre, is very strong in the roguelike community. We have the classics: Nethack, Angband, etc. Amongst the slightly younger roguelikes, there are some bodies of work that are recognized as major (I consider games like ADOM and Crawl "young" in this sense, although they certainly feel like modern roguelikes, even today). Of all the most celebrated games of the genre, Nethack and Crawl are the two I know the least.

I haven't been playing much of any roguelike recently, but I had a period this summer when I started playing Crawl. As I'm tinkering on my own project, I've been asking myself questions about what makes a good roguelike, and recently, I found myself thinking about Crawl again. I can very much understand Crawl's popularity. At the same time, I don't experience the same thrill as I did when starting to play Angband (my first rl) or ADOM. Maybe the genre is growing old on me, or Crawl just doesn't suit me as well as some other games.

To my mind, Crawl's greatness comes perhaps with the polish. It is such a carefully crafted game. I must honestly say that I find the interface slightly baroque (I never understood why taking off jewlery and removing a piece of armor needed separate commands). But once you get to know it a bit, it makes interaction with the game very smooth. One of the things I dislike about ADOM, for instance, is all the tedious voyages up and down already explored dungeons to reach the different way points (going down the caverns of chaos after clearing the tower of eternal flames, etc; so one of ADOM's greatest strengths is also a weakness). Crawl commands like Shift-X are pure genius, I think.

Compared to some of the more ideosyncratic roguelikes, Crawl could be called dry. I never played a roguelike that felt more "intelligent", if you know what I mean. The brilliant logic of the interface is backed by a setting that is frugal, while still fascinating to explore. One could almost call it realistic. Even with the weird mixed-up randomnesses you end up guiding down that dungeon (which always takes you by surprise, in the end), there is some suspension of disbelief. The game seems to be built on a vast amount of experience. Where the creators of Rogue were really dabbling in the dark, exploring a very new territory in game design, Crawl's designer was already schooled in the classics.

On the one hand, I can think that Crawl is too conservative for me. But I must admire it's stringency. I will no doubt continue to crawl now and then, thinking maybe I will one day learn to walk.

So, I guess I propose that Crawl owes much of its popularity to the smooth interface. Then again, I never got any deep in the game. For instance, I've not yet drawn the attention of the gods.

Feel free to enlighten me with your own experiences and thoughts on the subject. What makes crawl great (or not so great), in your views?

Programming / Re: Advanced Dungeons of Freedom
« on: January 14, 2009, 09:53:03 PM »
I don't know if you already know this (of if it is of any interest), but Thomas Biskup seems to be considering something like a code release for ADOM. It might be you could join forces, or gain from each others efforts/ideas in other ways. There is a blogpost about it and a place to discuss this matter.

Good luck, however you choose to proceed on this.

Programming / Re: Want to make an Roguelike starting from ASCII
« on: December 17, 2008, 11:02:19 PM »
I think everyone will tell you that roguelikes are harder to make than they seem. But it is rewarding to even try. It's probably very educational to write a simple game with a limited ruleset: (something like) a 7-day roguelike, or even a slight variation on the original Rogue. For my part, I have very little experience in programming, and I don't work with computers, so I'm very much a hobbyist. Apart from some simple web design, my only excercise in programming is the erratic development of a roguelike in python. I've had several working demos where I could walk up and down stairs and whack monsters in labyrinths, but there seems to always be something I want to rewrite ::)

The only thing I can say, is that writing a roguelike is fun and challenging. Whatever you make of it in the end, you will have pondered and worked with some (IMHO) important aspects of game design and programming.

Best of wishes.

Off-topic (Locked) / Re: What do you do for a living?
« on: October 08, 2008, 01:33:37 AM »
We should be grateful the power of God cannot be represented into a computer simulation :)
Obviously you never played Airship 2600.
Obviously, you never experienced the power the God ;)

Kindly, Minotaurus (who, for the record, has done neither of the two, and may be over-/underestimating one or both)

Programming / Re: Sewerjacks 7 day release (coming soon, um, in 7 days)
« on: October 08, 2008, 01:26:24 AM »
Good luck with the final sprint, man.

As always, Minotaurus

Other Announcements / Re: The IRDC Thread
« on: September 10, 2008, 04:38:42 PM »
Thanks Ido. I'll try to make it.

As always, Minotaurus

Other Announcements / Re: The IRDC Thread
« on: September 05, 2008, 10:05:49 PM »
I might actually go, if I find the time and the nerve :P (Feeling more like a lurker than a developer, and I won't have the capacity to release anything roguelike before the meetings.) I guess I should, since I am in Berlin anyway, and to get some roguish impulses for the wet season. I still ardently plan to release a small, broken game by the end of the year  :D

As always, Minotaurus

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn-based) / Re: Good coffeebreak rls?
« on: August 30, 2008, 12:00:22 AM »
re Rogue: May be so. Maybe that's what makes the game so sublime in the first place. Personally, I never beat a roguelike in my entire life. Rogue is the epitome of that. ;)

Still trapped in the depths, Minotauros

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn-based) / Re: Good coffeebreak rls?
« on: August 28, 2008, 11:51:17 PM »
I'm surprised noone mentioned Rogue (unless it's redundant to do so). Simple, fun, deadly. I first tried it as a curiosity after playing several roguelikes, but found it to be a classic still worth playing.

Kindly, Minotauros

Temple of the Roguelike / Re: Roguelike World Map: Request Edition
« on: June 04, 2008, 04:00:54 PM »
ALso, I dont see you in the map :P

All in due time ;) I'll add myself as soon as I have a project to point to.

 RL Grasshopper

Temple of the Roguelike / Re: The Book of Roguemundi
« on: June 04, 2008, 12:47:48 AM »
I don't like how the @ signs float over the map, instead of being a part of it [...]
I agree that this breaks the roguelike feeling (which is nice in itself), but then how to show two people who live at the same point of the grid (eg. two developers, both at Ulithi)?

Your Friendly Minotaur

Temple of the Roguelike / Re: Roguelike World Map: Request Edition
« on: June 04, 2008, 12:29:53 AM »
Nice map. I only looked at it just now. Apart from Yorak of Finland being in Iceland, I don't see any glitches. It is interesting to see how "roguelike people" are distributed geographically. I am in Germany, myself.

As always,
 Saevum Monstrum

Yep a zip would be good.
+1 My main computer has no internet connection at all (gasp! But good for work morale), and playing on a laptop means it's a hassle to wriggle through all those diagonal corridors. Still, I've met my demise in Phenomedom a few times now, and so far really like what I see. My first character found a brush in the prison, but I didn't know what to do with it, and ever since, I've been without this seemingly important tool, just brawling my way to the teratological village. I'm browsing the tutorials now, and it seems a brush is always generated in the first dungeon? In general, I find the lighthearted gothic mood really app(e)aling. The prose is quite nice in itself, and the characters charming. Your original post really got to me, seeing as how my own primitive rl framework already contains pies, snake charmers and knife-and-fork wielding cannibals. I've been wanting to skip food in that game (using scarcity of lamp oil to force speedy exploration instead), but I must say I'm tempted after playing Legerdemain, only because it would mean I could copy your "horse flesh rations". If you don't already know that classic work, I'm sure you'd thoroughly enjoy the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake. His "Uncles and Aunties" poems might also strike a chord. "When Uncle Jake/ Became a snake,/ He never found it out./ And so, as noone mentions it,/ One sees him still about." :D

Oh, and happy may day to all of you. I'm sadly inclined to work (that's why I'm posting here), but in a few hours, I hope to be out on the barricades here in Berlin ;)

Kind regards from the Minotaur

Other Announcements / Re: Plans for the new year
« on: January 19, 2008, 09:42:46 AM »
I'll drop a line, as a way of inciting myself to play more in 2008. I guess my humble goal would be to release a first version of my until now unheard of, and by that time hopefully not too primitive, roguelike (main features: simplistic/laptopfriendly commands & more random content than most roguelikes). My main hurdle is that I work from home and freelance, which means I'm constantly stressed out about some deadline. Oh, and the fact that this is my only programming project, which means I constantly forget how coding actually works (:

Your Friendly Neighborhood Minotaur

Nice landscapes, Altefcat. And good to see a roguelike being written in Python. Just a few comments after two minutes of traversing deserts and frozen wastes: You mention python-numeric and python-ocempgui as dependencies on the website, but you might be interested to know that I also had to install the package python-numeric-ext to get all modules I needed on my system (Debian). And I discovered a small typo in the English version, as I found a "standart chain mail" in my inventory. That should read "standard". Apart from that, I liked the thing with the zone/world view, and am looking forward to the 0.1 release.

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