Author Topic: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?  (Read 57831 times)

Skeletor

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What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« on: November 07, 2011, 10:51:54 AM »
What are in your opinion roguelikes' biggest turn-offs?

I think such a thread could be useful for developers to know what things could keep away potential players from giving a try to their games.

Let's rate them from 1 to 3.
1- Just a little annoying
2- Big turn-off; unless there are other potentially interesting aspects to balance this factor, I'll not try it
3- I'm very likely not playing a game because of this

First things that come to my mind:

- no screenshots on the website (2)
I like to try new games but I need at least a glimpse on what I'm downloading.

- development still at the very beginning (3)
I'm not saying that I don't play alpha relases, but unless the game architecture is *very* innovative, there should be at least some complexity and features, otherwise I don't want to immerge myself in something like that hoping that the work will go on.

- libraries to install (2)
I really don't like to install all those libraries, .net stuff, compilers and so on to play a roguelike.. but sometimes the game is worth the effort

- java (2)
I think no explanation is needed here haha.

- bad controls (1)
Unintuitive key configuration, ankward controls and maybe no txt controls file (so I can print it) can be a real pain.

What I enjoy the most in roguelikes: Anti-Farming and Mac Givering my way out. Kind of what I also enjoy in life.

ido

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2011, 11:09:01 AM »
- java (2)
I think no explanation is needed here haha.

Religion?

Skeletor

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2011, 11:26:41 AM »
- java (2)
I think no explanation is needed here haha.

Religion?

I'm not a developer so I'm not going to talk about tech stuff.
As a player, I always noticed how much java games tend to suck.
They're slow, requires to install stuff, they're slow, there's another ugly pop up in system tray, and they're slow, slow, slow.
Take a look at Adom vs Jade, in Adom you press -> and you instantly move right without waiting that millisecond more while the mouse pointer becomes a hourglass.
What I enjoy the most in roguelikes: Anti-Farming and Mac Givering my way out. Kind of what I also enjoy in life.

NON

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2011, 11:51:57 AM »
Excellent thread.

Here's my biggest turn-offs, they are all deal-breakers:

-Too much "Funny"/Silly stuff (3)
I don't mind a few rare monsters or items with humorous names, but for the most part the game should take itself seriously.

-"Cute" graphics. (3)

-Overly simplified game play. (3)
I want a detailed world with many things to pursue.

-Straying too much from traditional Roguelike conventions. (3)
I want to play something that feels like a classic Roguelike. It's just my taste.
Edit: An exception to this is when the game is mind-blowingly innovative. Then the game is cool again for different reasons.

Also, Krice please respond in this thread. :)
« Last Edit: November 07, 2011, 01:03:54 PM by NON »
Happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes.

Darren Grey

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2011, 01:11:42 PM »
There are many little things I think can be annoying.  7DRLs in particular suffer from some of these:

No readme.txt file (1)

No in-game list of commands or instructions (1)

Uses a scripting language like python without offering a .exe version (1)
Too many requirements and different versions etc can make it extremely fiddly to get running

No RogueBasin entry (1)
Helps a lot with checking out some simple facts about the game

No dedicated download link (1)
There's no reason to use the likes of Mediafire when you can host it on Google Sites for free

vi keys by default (2)

vi keys that can't be reconfigured (3)

Nethack style equipment commands (2)
Why do I need separate wear and wield and quiver commands?  Use ADOM's inventory system if you want that level of complexity.

Too easy (1)
I play roguelikes to get some challenge

Too many unfair deaths (2)
It shouldn't feel like death is unavoidable - smart and careful play should have the potential to get you far

Real-time (3)
I hate twitch gameplay.  I like games that test my ability to think through situations rather than simply testing quick responses.

Graphics but no mouse support (1)
If you can manage graphics you can damn well manage mouse support.  Mouse support adds a lot to a game, and can help overcome a lot of the crazy interface complexity many roguelikes suffer from.  It's more important than graphics for making a game accessible.

Boring text (1)
"You hit the orc.  The orc misses you.  Blah blah blah."  Spice up the messages!  And no bad grammar please!  If the game log is too boring then it won't get read.

Very small window that can't be resized (1)
I don't like to play whilst squinting.

Very small map area, with window taken up by too many stats and unimportant details (1)

Too many colours (2)
libtcod games tend to be very guilty of this.  Choose a simple colour scheme for your game and stick to it.  Minimalism is important in colour choices.   Do *not* use extensive amounts of gradient colour fields or different background colours to tiles, and go light on the primary colours.  The beauty of ASCII is in simple representation that lets you quickly pick out what's what.  Don't screw that up with a clown vomit colour scheme.

Too many symbols (2)
Similar to the above.  Dwarf Fortress is an UGLY game, and unfortunately some people seem to be inspired by its display.  Stick to recognisable characters and try to keep displays clean and simple.  Don't think that just because it's ASCII there are no visual design elements to consider.  There are lots of pretty ASCII games out there, and they choose their symbols and colours wisely.

XLambda

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2011, 03:48:03 PM »
Difficulty (3)
When I play RLs, I want it to be hard enough to be interesting. Too easy games are no fun, but some games seem expressly designed to kill off any player except a few experienced gamers. It's not challenging, it's just frustrating.

vi-keys (2)
It's not that they are unintuitive (which they are for non-vi-users), but they're not even all in one place on non-QUERTY keyboards (QUERTZ, for example, which is common in middle and eastern europe, switches the position of y and z).

Stats are not explained (1)
If I start a game, I want to understand what goes on. Some games have complicated stat systems designed to make games more interesting and complex, but it backfires when the effort necessary to understand it equals that of reading a DnD rulebook.




Uses a scripting language like python without offering a .exe version (1)
Too many requirements and different versions etc can make it extremely fiddly to get running
The problem with that is that it kind of defeats the purpose of scripting languages - to have the written code be platform independent. The good thing about java, python et al. is that they run on every platform that has a vm/interpreter. Compiling them removes that advantage. Nevertheless, it is the duty of the dev to make sure that the game runs 100% provided that the installation instructions are followed. 

Krice

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2011, 03:55:19 PM »
Too simple. Not enough stuff to get that roguelike feel.

Strange user interface/command keys/etc. for no obvious reason. The developer might think it's really cool, but I don't.

Z

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2011, 04:18:30 PM »
Yes, a very good thread.

(2) ugly simulated ASCII

Some games use their own ASCII-like display instead of Curses or a similar library. Maybe their authors like what this ASCII-like display looks like, but I don't. (OTOH terminals are very configurable and players can choose the font they like.)

(1) lack of a full screen option

A simple thing, but some roguelikes miss it. Full screen is important for immersion. It's no pleasure to play something like PrincessRL in such a tiny window.

(2) illogical restrictions

I don't like restrictions which do not agree with my sense of reason. Bad example is Angband, where you could fit 50 potions of the same type in your backpack, but not 2 potions of different types. Good examples are DoomRL and Brogue, which also have very restricted inventories, but make this work in a more reasonable way. Non-permanent dungeons fall there too.

(2) hard to run

The game should run on common system configurations without much problem. Windows users should be able to run by downloading and extracting the package, and without installing anything else. Most Linux distributions have very good tools to download required packages, and I expect Linux users to know more about computers, so they can build the executable if the process is very simple or well explained. I guess MacOS is important too, but I have no experience with that. Some developers don't have access to all systems, but I think it would be good to know which dev tools are portable and which are not.

(2) cash

This is of a different type, but I guess that technically qualifies as a turn off: I am unlikely to play a game if it forces me to pay (I prefer to pay because I want). On the other hand it is great that some roguelike developers make enough money to support their life.

ido

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2011, 10:43:19 PM »
- java (2)
I think no explanation is needed here haha.

Religion?

I'm not a developer so I'm not going to talk about tech stuff.
As a player, I always noticed how much java games tend to suck.
They're slow, requires to install stuff, they're slow, there's another ugly pop up in system tray, and they're slow, slow, slow.
Take a look at Adom vs Jade, in Adom you press -> and you instantly move right without waiting that millisecond more while the mouse pointer becomes a hourglass.

That's because you only notice java games when they are not well made. There is no reason for the player to even know the game is made in java (assuming desktop app, not applets).

Example.

BTW I don't use java for my games (anymore), but your opinion is 5 to 10 years out of date.

Krice

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2011, 08:54:53 AM »
Some games use their own ASCII-like display instead of Curses or a similar library. Maybe their authors like what this ASCII-like display looks like, but I don't.

http://koti.mbnet.fi/paulkp/teemu/island.jpg

Lycus

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2011, 09:56:30 PM »
Being somebody that only got into roguelikes a matter of months ago, I have several turn offs, probably brought on by modern gaming conventions that I'm used to.

Controls (1)

Yeah, I'm used to very simple controls. An xbox controller, or WSAD-mouse, with perhaps a few other controls. This is only a minor gripe though. I mean, I bothered to learn Nethack's control scheme, to make sure I played the game properly. ...Still took me forever to work out what the #meta key was though...

ASCII (1)

...Yeah. Sorry, but I'm not a fan. However if it was possible, the gripe would be less than 1. I've been playing a lot of Cataclysm lately, which is ASCII only, and there are many other games I play using that style. But despite this, I prefer tiles. <3 DCSS's tileset.

Cheapness (3)

This is my way of wording the way that I hate difficulty. I barely play nethack now, as it often feels very cheap to me. It seems like the game sometimes says 'Yeah, you're screwed now because you didn't manage to find a way to float earlier. Screw you.' Also, way too many insta-kills in that game. However, I love Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup's difficulty because it feels fair, and deaths seem to happen based on my carelessness and lack of strategical planning.

XLambda

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2011, 10:08:24 PM »
Being somebody that only got into roguelikes a matter of months ago, I have several turn offs, probably brought on by modern gaming conventions that I'm used to.

Controls (1)

Yeah, I'm used to very simple controls. An xbox controller, or WSAD-mouse, with perhaps a few other controls. This is only a minor gripe though. I mean, I bothered to learn Nethack's control scheme, to make sure I played the game properly. ...Still took me forever to work out what the #meta key was though...

ASCII (1)

...Yeah. Sorry, but I'm not a fan. However if it was possible, the gripe would be less than 1. I've been playing a lot of Cataclysm lately, which is ASCII only, and there are many other games I play using that style. But despite this, I prefer tiles. <3 DCSS's tileset.

[..]

I should add that I often hesitate to play a game because it is tiles-only, or mouse-only (it's often both). Playing with the keyboard instead of the mouse just feels right. It takes maybe half an hour to get into the most important keys, and it goes downhill from there. Tiles can look good, but most of the time fail in conveying the overview and information of pure ASCII. DCSS is an exception - not only does it have both classic keys and mouse interface, but also a good tileset that is just as good as the pure ASCII (sometimes a bit better because of the additional info).

Some games use their own ASCII-like display instead of Curses or a similar library. Maybe their authors like what this ASCII-like display looks like, but I don't.

http://koti.mbnet.fi/paulkp/teemu/island.jpg


Word. Pseudo-ASCII can be awesome, if done right.  :)

corremn

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2011, 11:33:15 PM »

http://koti.mbnet.fi/paulkp/teemu/island.jpg

Word. Pseudo-ASCII can be awesome, if done right.  :)

yes you can make it look great, but I dont know what the hell is happening most of the time. Clear simple ascii makes new players happier.  I never played teemu because the screen was too confusing, and the controls IIRC.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2011, 10:02:57 AM by corremn »
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Krice

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2011, 07:59:50 AM »
I never played teemu because the screen was too confusing

You can turn off background graphics to get more traditional ascii style:
http://koti.mbnet.fi/paulkp/temp/teemu.png

This is actually from v1.3 (not released yet) and the island is bigger, but don't let it confuse you.

ido

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Re: What are the biggest possible turn-off in a roguelike?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2011, 02:57:32 PM »
I should add that I often hesitate to play a game because it is tiles-only, or mouse-only (it's often both). Playing with the keyboard instead of the mouse just feels right. It takes maybe half an hour to get into the most important keys, and it goes downhill from there. Tiles can look good, but most of the time fail in conveying the overview and information of pure ASCII.

I think this is to a very large extent because you are already used to playing like that from playing roguelikes beforehand and I think it is very much not the case for most people (including myself).

Also, half an hour is a long time - I have a few hours per week dedicated to playing games and a whole steam library full of barely-/un-played games as well as a ton of free games on my to-play list- including brogue and the new version of crawl, which I haven't played since 0.5.

If your game has a half an hour learning curve for the basic controls I will most likely either quit after 5 minutes or (more likely) not start playing to begin with.

Only reason crawl gets a free pass is that I already know how to play it, and the reason brogue gets it is that I am a fairly experienced player of roguelikes and it controls similar enough to other games I've played before to not be too much of a hassle.

But you generally cannot expect players to already be grizzled veteran roguelike players, nor do I think it's good for the future to simply rely on the "old ways" instead of coming up with better solutions.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2011, 03:05:48 PM by ido »