Author Topic: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.  (Read 28745 times)

CoachWade

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Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« on: March 02, 2009, 05:07:31 AM »
Greets everyone.

I have been kicking around an idea for a video game for some time, and I've decided that the best way to develop the idea is not to go with the graphics intensive look that permeates modern gaming, and instead stick with traditional ASCII graphics. I've not been a big player of Roguelikes myself because I don't care for things like permadeath. Also, for some bizarre reason, the authors I'd most want to see games for have been largely left out (David Eddings, Terry Pratchett-- although there is a Discworld version of Angband, Christopher Bunch, etc.) in favor of authors I don't really care for. (No one beat me, please, but I seriously can't STAND J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffery, or Roger Zelazny. It's like there's a conspiracy to make roguelike games ONLY in worlds I personally don't like!)

Having said that, I'm astonished of two things: 1) There are no game engines out there for development of your own roguelike. I'm not sure why, but every RL I read about has been programmed from scratch using source code. Since I'm not a programmer, this leaves me with a creek and a canoe but no paddle.

And 2), why has no one developed a roguelike for the granddaddy of them all? I'm speaking of AD&D 1st edition.

We have at our fingertips a complete gaming world that needs only to be programmed into a roguelike gaming system. We have monsters, courtesy of the Monster Manual I and II. We have a campaign setting, courtesy of the DMG, and we have three classes with five races to draw from in the PHB.

This is my plan. I'd like to develop a roguelike game (preferably a cross-platform one) that would be based in the AD&D worlds (Likely some setting similar to Forgotten Realms). It would have an overarching storyline (I've actually written three or four of them already.) but would feature the traditional roguelike random dungeons and monster placement.

If anyone can point me in the direction of a rogue game engine or a developer looking for his next project, I'd like to see this thing moving forward. I think there's enormous potential for a great game series there.

Thanks!

~D.
~D.

stu

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2009, 12:44:22 PM »
There have been a lot of attempts at engines but its a thing that spirals out of control very quickly. feature creep and lack of proper design document etc. roguelikes are an order of magnitude more difficult, unlike IF, there is no well developed world model type design.

why 1sted over 2nded or 3.5ed or boring d20? why not any of the other million classic rulesets?

one of the problems is that every RL programmer has their own ideas and rec.games.roguelike.development is littered with engines and ideas and things that never go anywhere once people realise the size of the scope.
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ido

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2009, 02:57:22 PM »
Having said that, I'm astonished of two things: 1) There are no game engines out there for development of your own roguelike.


Yes there are, several even.  One of them is called T-Engine and can be found here:  http://t-o-m-e.net/

I haven't used it myself (I like programming my own) so I can't tell you how easy or hard to use it is, but there's a wiki and forums on that site, as well as examples (maybe even a tutorial, I don't remember exactly).

You can also go the angband variant route, which is very well traveled and is basically a de facto roguelike engine.  How tos/tutorials are available, use your google-fu to find them :)

-Ido.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2009, 03:03:26 PM by ido »

Darren Grey

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2009, 04:37:07 PM »
There's no roguelike engine that really makes it easy, mostly because for any roguelike the core system still has to be freshly designed.  All roguelikes have different combat systems, magic systems, item types, etc.  The best an engine could hope to do without strangling the potential of any title would be to simply provide easy display abilities and some code for common functions like dungeon generation and FOV.  And that's exactly what libtcod does.  A library of common roguelike functions that makes some of the basics easier to start out (and makes everything look pretty).

As for D&D based roguelikes, check out Rogue itself, or Hack, ADOM, Incursion and several others.  Most roguelikes have heavy D&D influence on some level of detail, especially when it comes to monsters and items.  Only really the *bands are dominated by Tolkien (and even that can be seen as just a flavour thing).

magellan

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2009, 07:04:26 PM »
as you confess you are neither a roguelike afficionado nor a programmer.
Let me therefore tell you that the retro look of the roguelike is decieving!

Graphics are easy: in a roguelike its print x, in a graphical game its put x. thats the only difference in the code there.

Random levels are not: It basically means that you need to program something that can compete wit a human level designer. And there are people out there who can make a living out of designing levels.

frankly there is *a lot* under hood in your average roguelike, and except for the basic stuff (there are librarys for that) it doesnt lend itself well to generalization.

2nd straight AD&D.
Dont get me wrong, i love 2nd ed and wouldnt touch 3rd ed with an 11 foot pole. But there are 2 reasons why it doesnt lend itself well for a computer game in general, and a roguelike in particular.

1) Exceptions, exceptions, exceptions to each and every rule.
2) its party oriented. single L1 wizard going adventuring? In a roguelike? (Go to dungeon, cast magic missile, run away, get out, rest 24 hours, repeat) ;)

If you are mainly interested in AD & D check out this site and forgotten realms unlimited adventures:
http://frua.rosedragon.org/modulelist/classic.php

CoachWade

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2009, 08:42:25 PM »

why 1sted over 2nded or 3.5ed or boring d20? why not any of the other million classic rulesets?


Hi Stu;

I think you answered your own question there, actually. While I have played every published edition of AD&D I absolutely detest the direction the games have moved since 1998. Wizards, especially, has taken the focus less from role playing and more towards roll playing. Where 1stE thieves had to disarm a trap by using their wits (I take a tent spike from my pack and use it to jam the pressure plate.) now it's simply, "I roll to open the lock. There, done! What treasure did I get?"

I don't want to spark off a firestorm here. D20 is someone's favorite system after all, but I don't care for it. (And I'm not interested in an argument about it, either. I don't like lima beans and I'd rather no one else tried to convince me that they are better than snow peas, which is an argument that makes about as much sense as trying to convince someone else what version of AD&D is the best.)

1stE is simple enough (Four character classes, no kits, no weapon proficiencies, basic skills, if used. Simple character leveling) and well documented enough (Full random monster tables, expansive treasure system, effective weapon lists.) that it could be used with minimal trouble-- provided that some clown with more talent for coaching football than programming doesn't cock up the works.

I also feel that 1stE and 4E (or any step in between) are pretty much different games with different mechanics and systems. Really, there isn't a whole lot that is the same between 4E and 1E-- you could just as easily compare GURPS and 4E or Earthdawn and 1E. All of them are fantasy RPGs with different rolling systems.

So that's my rationale. Next on the horizon: a Star Wars roguelike.

Maybe I should finish this one first, eh?

~D.
~D.

CoachWade

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2009, 08:56:18 PM »
Ido;

Thanks for that link. I ran several searches and didn't see anything reasonable come up. I'll give it a look see and let you know what I think.

Thanks!

~D.
~D.

ido

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2009, 08:59:20 PM »
You're welcome - look at the modules page for a few examples, i am sure you can find a sufficiently small/simple one to start from.

-Ido.

CoachWade

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2009, 09:45:27 PM »
as you confess you are neither a roguelike afficionado nor a programmer.
Let me therefore tell you that the retro look of the roguelike is decieving!

Actually, I didn't select rogues based on a perception of simplicity, but on a perception of complexity. There are about two dozen 3D game engines out there that could be used to develop an RPG with a AD&D flavor, but I wanted something that met the following five criteria:

1) Minimal processor and graphics use. I want this to be playable on my Asus EEEPC 901 as well as on a top of the line gaming system.

2) Complexity in character. AD&D uses six traditional statistics that all have affects on gameplay: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. The best engine I found other than a rogue was a 3D engine requiring some preposterous graphics card-- and that only allowed four player stats that actually had a noticeable affect on the game.

3) Unlimited scope of weapons, treasure items, and monsters. AD&D 1E has four key books FULL of detail that can be added: DMG, PHB, and both MMs. Rogues allow for this more easily than drawing 3D graphics. (Even a tile set would take forever.)

4) Story over graphics. Tying into #3, I would rather spend time writing a decent storyline than drawing pictures. For one thing, I have much more talent as a writer than as an artist, and for another, pretty pictures look nice during the first ten minutes of gameplay, and then they are forgotten in favor of the story-- if the story is well done. The local gamestop has shelves of games with pretty graphics and atrocious story and gameplay.

5) Flexibility and inflexibility where needed. AD&D has a lot of interpretation for the rules. (Who, for example, EVER uses level limits for non-human PCs?) Rogues seem to offer unlimited flexibility in delivery of content, and yet can also be set to be rigid where necessary to keep players focused on a goal.

Random levels are not: It basically means that you need to program something that can compete wit a human level designer. And there are people out there who can make a living out of designing levels.

I'm not certain what you mean by this. Every roguelike ever programmed has an engine capable of developing levels at random that can compete with a human level designer (apparently). I mean, we're all still playing them for one reason or another, right? (Although I just started, of course.) About the only necessary change would be to assign specific sections to each level and randomize the rest.

Take Diablo. The levels are random, but "somewhere" on level four will be the Butcher's den.  and "somewhere" on level five will be the poisoned well. Everything else, including monsters, is random.

2nd straight AD&D.
Dont get me wrong, i love 2nd ed and wouldnt touch 3rd ed with an 11 foot pole. But there are 2 reasons why it doesnt lend itself well for a computer game in general, and a roguelike in particular.

I think you misunderstood me. I want to do this in AD&D FIRST edition. Second edition, as you mentioned, has too much flexibility to work well without a human referee. First edition is a different game than anything d20 based.

1) Exceptions, exceptions, exceptions to each and every rule.

Not really. Everyone plays by house rules, thus the game would have its own rules assigned by the DM-- in this case the game designers. It's the same philosophy that brought us "Pool of Radiance" and "Baldur's Gate."

2) its party oriented. single L1 wizard going adventuring? In a roguelike? (Go to dungeon, cast magic missile, run away, get out, rest 24 hours, repeat) ;)

I had actually considered this and come up with two potential scenarios.

a) A multiple-character party. This would be more like real tabletop gaming and more fun, but harder to program and likely necessitate the development of an engine just for this game. If this were to be the final solution decided on by the development team, I would envision a four-character party similar to Ultima III: Exodus. (Especially when considering that there are four character classes available: fighter, mage, cleric, and thief.) Players could double up (two fighters, one thief, one cleric) or go nuts (four thieves) just as they did with the eminently playable UIII. (Still one of my favorite games, thank you Leon of Lairware!)

and b) Playing mages is damn tough. If you pick a mage you're at a disadvantage. Consider the original Diablo. About 1/3 of the monsters were magic resistant, including Diablo, who was resistant to ALL forms of magic (except Holy Bolt, I think-- like you're going to use a weapon that does 3-6 points of damage against a creature with 1400 hit points!) Playing a mage meant you got dead most of the time.

Really, I don't see it as all THAT much different from Castle of the Winds, where magic is key to survival, and resting means that you generally get bum-rushed by every creature within a 600-square radius. If a mage needs to rest to regain spells, fine. He does so at his own risk-- after all, no one bent your arm and demanded that you play a mage.

If you are mainly interested in AD & D check out this site and forgotten realms unlimited adventures:
http://frua.rosedragon.org/modulelist/classic.php

I will, thanks!

Please don't misinterpret my responses. You are both a programmer AND a roguelike afficianado, so I value your input. I'm not arguing with you, merely stating the things I have thought through as I have considered this project. Your responses made me do some further thinking, and I appreciate that.

I still think this is a doable project, but I need someone with some programming expertise involved. I'm not sure that even a preprogrammed engine will be able to cut the mustard on this bad boy.
~D.

ido

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2009, 10:29:28 PM »
I still think this is a doable project, but I need someone with some programming expertise involved. I'm not sure that even a preprogrammed engine will be able to cut the mustard on this bad boy.

I'm afraid you have a rather low chance of finding someone to program your design for you (unless you offer to pay for it of course).  You'd probably be better off learning how to program, it's not so difficult and you will gain a remarkably marketable skill in the process.

-Ido.

CoachWade

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2009, 10:47:32 PM »
I'm afraid you have a rather low chance of finding someone to program your design for you (unless you offer to pay for it of course).  You'd probably be better off learning how to program, it's not so difficult and you will gain a remarkably marketable skill in the process.

You're probably correct. However, learning to program with an end goal in mind is a bit different than having programming experience and moving on to an extensive project.

By that I mean that learning to program from scratch is one thing. Learning to program from scratch on a multi-thousand line programmed game is something else. At my current "Hello World" level of programming expertise, simply understanding the dungeon creation algorithms and how they are used is asking quite a bit.

Realistically, I think most people, and I am no exception, would hit the wall of frustration early, put the program away, and never complete it. I'd rather work with a programmer who can help me along as I gain expertise, but generally prevent me from stepping on my weenie.

It's not so much a desire for someone else to program my opus as it is a desire to actually complete the darn thing once it's started. I know where my skills and talents really lie, and programming ain't it, so I'd like to play to my strengths and shore them up with the talents of others.

IF, of course, that's possible, and it may not be.

~D.
~D.

magellan

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2009, 10:49:17 PM »
What i meant is that random map generation is one of the bigger hurdles in developing a roguelike.

I must confess that i never spent much time looking at the differences between 1st and 2nd (and never allowed that fancy skills and kits stuff anyway) ;) but ...

One example: the 6 attributes. we obviously need 6 variables, from 3 to 18 to store them, right? no. there is strength 18/01 to 18/00. The other 5 dont have that, so we need 5 variables +1. Ok, next boni and mali. Each stat has its own table, so we need 6 tables again to store them. Lets move on to spells: Sleep. IIRC it puts 2d8 creatures to sleep, max 4+1 and starts with lowest. So we need to code a routine that sets aside the monsters that can be affected. The only other spell that works similiar off the top of my head would be death. yet it works only similiar, not the same. so we need a new routine for that one. And one for the power words. with fairie fire again an almost but not quite the same method is used to determine targets. Dragon Breath works different than any other firebreath, or a potion of firebreath. Thieves can hide in shadows, halflings can hide in shadows, but each works differently etc.etc.

At the table its nothing to write home about, but in a CRPG each method would need its own routine, for an almost indistinguishable effect.

Actually if you look at the AD&D CRPGs they in fact often improvised a little with the spell effects.

As rule system for a CRPG or roguelike its just not an ideal choice because there are too many rules and too little system. Its not impossible or stupid to try, its just .. a bit on the tedious side to implement  faithfully.

ido

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2009, 11:03:29 PM »
Double post, sorry
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 08:25:09 AM by ido »

ido

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2009, 11:04:36 PM »
I'd rather work with a programmer who can help me along as I gain expertise, but generally prevent me from stepping on my weenie.

The thing is, the programming (at least at the beginning, which can last quite a long while) is the hard part.  If someone is putting in the effort to code a game, they will want to do the fun parts themselves too (i.e. design the game and have creative control).

You will have better luck trying to get into someones existing project and trying to work with them to improve it.  For example- maybe you can take a small game and add a bunch of interesting items, monsters & skills to it?  I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't mind getting help that way.

Maybe rewrite&expand the story? make the quests more interesting?  Talk to the programmer and figure out how to make existing stuff better, and so on.

-Ido.

stu

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Re: Roguelike Game Engines or Developer Wanted.
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2009, 12:37:03 AM »
I think you answered your own question there, actually. While I have played every published edition of AD&D I absolutely detest the direction the games have moved since 1998. Wizards, especially, has taken the focus less from role playing and more towards roll playing. Where 1stE thieves had to disarm a trap by using their wits (I take a tent spike from my pack and use it to jam the pressure plate.) now it's simply, "I roll to open the lock. There, done! What treasure did I get?"

Thats ok, I'm a Fuzion guy.. if ever there was a less loved system :)
--/\-[ Stu ]-/\--