### Author Topic: Roguelikes on a netbook?  (Read 16298 times)

#### ianpwilliams

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##### Roguelikes on a netbook?
« on: October 13, 2013, 01:37:50 PM »
I'm going on a trip soon, and I'm considering picking up a cheap netbook for some low-level gaming, including roguelikes. So would any old cheap netbook run roguelikes? Or would I need to check the specs? I'm thinking I'd particularly like to play Rogue Survivor, Dwarf Fortress, maybe ADOM and others too.

And can I assume that a netbook is the cheapest way to go for mobile roguelike?

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2013, 06:51:07 PM »
Most roguelikes are turn-based and won't use much processing power, so you can play them on any cheap or old computer. Dwarf Fortress and Caves of Qud are a bit more demanding and might not run smoothly on a netbook.

The main problem with playing on a laptop or netbook is the lack of a numpad. There are a few ways around this problem:
• Learn to use hjklyubn (vi keys), and play a game that supports this control scheme
• Hold down the fn key and hope you don't get RSI
• Play games with orthogonal movement only
• Get a netbook with a numpad

#### Z

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2013, 07:09:20 PM »
• play a roguelike where keys can be redefined (like ADOM)
• use 1379 for diagonal movement (not that bad, in my experience... but not good either)
• use NotEye to have Shift/Ctrl turn left/right arrows into diagonals (the Infra Arcana system)

(BTW this thread is posted in a wrong forum)

#### zasvid

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2013, 08:46:18 PM »
The main problem with playing on a laptop or netbook is the lack of a numpad. There are a few ways around this problem:
• Learn to use hjklyubn (vi keys), and play a game that supports this control scheme

Actually, one can meet this solution halfway through: arrow keys + yubn is my favourite way to move around in roguelikes on my netbook. hjkl is just too weird for 4 orthogonals.

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2013, 09:17:26 PM »
I've seen games which expect people to use arrow keys + home/end/delete/insert (or something like that). I couldn't use those (even when I had a keyboard where that made sense) because for the sake of fluency I prefer to have all of the movement keys close to each other. Less hand movements required.

#### zasvid

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2013, 10:21:40 PM »
Additional thing to consider is netbook's small screen and its weird width x height ratio. Some roguelikes will be impossible to play, because they won't fit on the screen (though this is rarely true for non-minor games) and some will be really uncomfortable to play.

I've seen games which expect people to use arrow keys + home/end/delete/insert (or something like that). I couldn't use those (even when I had a keyboard where that made sense) because for the sake of fluency I prefer to have all of the movement keys close to each other. Less hand movements required.

Fair enough. Arrow keys + home/end/delete/insert/pgdown/pgup have the bonus flaw that amongst 6 keyboards I have 5 have different layouts of these keys, making consistent use of them in movement  problematic.

#### guest509

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2013, 06:23:22 AM »
I play on my laptop. Many games have mouse support. Some you'll need to muddle through with a variety of work arounds for the lack of a numpad.

Or just get a usb numpad FTW.

Performance will pretty much be a nonissue. I've not run into any, even a game that slows down it's not that important because real time reaction isn't an issue.

#### ianpwilliams

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2013, 05:22:07 PM »
Additional thing to consider is netbook's small screen and its weird width x height ratio. Some roguelikes will be impossible to play, because they won't fit on the screen (though this is rarely true for non-minor games) and some will be really uncomfortable to play.

I'm hopeful that the small screen size wouldn't be too much of an issue (my eyesight is fine close-up, it's long distances I struggle with), but I did wonder about the resolution.

#### ianpwilliams

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2013, 05:24:55 PM »
I play on my laptop. Many games have mouse support. Some you'll need to muddle through with a variety of work arounds for the lack of a numpad.

Or just get a usb numpad FTW.

Performance will pretty much be a nonissue. I've not run into any, even a game that slows down it's not that important because real time reaction isn't an issue.

A laptop is the other option. I have been considering buying a powerful laptop for other games anyway (including Football Manager), so obviously I could also play roguelikes on that. But the laptops are quite big and heavy, so I was just looking to see if there was a nice little portable machine that I could go for instead.

I could definitely get around the numpad issue (either via USB or via one of the tricks mentioned), so the only question mark remaining would be the resolution.

#### akeley

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2013, 08:55:16 PM »
For some reason Im obsessed with the possibility of playing RLs on portable machines. Somehow this way really appeals to me with this particular gaming genre, despite being a desktop-PC gamer at heart.

Been on a lookout for a netbook for some time now - dont really need one, itd be just for RLs, so if I spot some Asus EEE for under 50 quid Ill get it. I realize that DF and  - very unfortunately Qud - might be unplayable, but well, theres other ones.

What got me into this mobile RLing were my handheld consoles. On NDS you get native Powder which is quite good,  okayish-to-good port of Nethack, and excellent port of Linleys Dungeon Crawl. IMO worth exploring for these alone, especially that NDS+flashcart can be got dirt cheap these days. And, you get to play jRLs like Shiren et al, if you dont mind the Eastern angle.

PSP has TOME and Angband - ports are solid but controls flawed, making longer plays a chore.

I was even thinking about smartphones for that, though again, I dont need one and also avoid both Apple & Goggle in general. But I guess I could get some older ANdroid root it, and only play RLs on it. But the touch screen is a deal breaker here, cant imagine serious playing with that. Has anybody used any of these strange joypad-addons with these? Or maybe USB keyboard? Though this sounds like too much hoops, probably will just stick with netbook angle.

Another angle is the new GWC Zero handheld - Kickstarted recently its sort of open source emu machine that runs Linux too. Embarrassingly, I know nothing of Linux and its mysteries - does it mean that it would run RLs that Linux PC does?

Theres also the Esoteric Option: Open Pandora. Kinda old dream come true - dedicated gaming handheld with a keyboard that runs PC games - but I dont have spare 500 bucks laying around to spend on such a folly.

#### guest509

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2013, 10:47:27 PM »
I regret buying my mini laptop, or net book. Too small, too slow, hard to type with. I'm going at least 15" for my next purchase. Minimum.

#### ianpwilliams

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2013, 05:47:52 PM »
For some reason Im obsessed with the possibility of playing RLs on portable machines. Somehow this way really appeals to me with this particular gaming genre, despite being a desktop-PC gamer at heart.

Been on a lookout for a netbook for some time now - dont really need one, itd be just for RLs, so if I spot some Asus EEE for under 50 quid Ill get it. I realize that DF and  - very unfortunately Qud - might be unplayable, but well, theres other ones.

What got me into this mobile RLing were my handheld consoles. On NDS you get native Powder which is quite good,  okayish-to-good port of Nethack, and excellent port of Linleys Dungeon Crawl. IMO worth exploring for these alone, especially that NDS+flashcart can be got dirt cheap these days. And, you get to play jRLs like Shiren et al, if you dont mind the Eastern angle.

PSP has TOME and Angband - ports are solid but controls flawed, making longer plays a chore.

I was even thinking about smartphones for that, though again, I dont need one and also avoid both Apple & Goggle in general. But I guess I could get some older ANdroid root it, and only play RLs on it. But the touch screen is a deal breaker here, cant imagine serious playing with that. Has anybody used any of these strange joypad-addons with these? Or maybe USB keyboard? Though this sounds like too much hoops, probably will just stick with netbook angle.

Another angle is the new GWC Zero handheld - Kickstarted recently its sort of open source emu machine that runs Linux too. Embarrassingly, I know nothing of Linux and its mysteries - does it mean that it would run RLs that Linux PC does?

Theres also the Esoteric Option: Open Pandora. Kinda old dream come true - dedicated gaming handheld with a keyboard that runs PC games - but I dont have spare 500 bucks laying around to spend on such a folly.

Yeah I'm obsessed the the possibility of playing mobile RL too. I have an iPod Touch 4G, and to be honest there are some great roguelikes on that. I have NetHack, Powder, 100 Rogues, The Dungeon, and RogueTouch! But I don't play them as much as I'd like, as I often end up playing Football Manager Handheld instead. But they do play well. And actually, touchscreen works really well (I think). You can just touch in the direction you want to go, so that works for movement and attacking. Powder even has a touchscreen d-pad and A and B buttons (and lots of other buttons) all of which you can customize.

I'd just like to be able to pick up a cheap portable machine that runs windows, so I can play the zombie roguelike Rogue Survivor, because I'm loving it!

#### ianpwilliams

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2013, 05:48:31 PM »
I regret buying my mini laptop, or net book. Too small, too slow, hard to type with. I'm going at least 15" for my next purchase. Minimum.

Are those regrets related to playing roguelikes on it, or just generally?

#### ianpwilliams

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2013, 09:08:59 AM »
There are various refurbished options here, starting at £99 (the £49 one is for spares):

http://www.thelaptopcentre.co.uk/cheap-refurbished-laptops.html

It's odd that there are so many all at £99, but that they vary in processor speed, memory, and HD space. Surely everyone would go for the more powerful ones?

I've also noticed that with many of them they can't guarantee that the battery will hold a charge, so it looks like overall it would cost more like £150 including delivery and buying a new battery elsewhere.

A few of them are widescreen too, such as the Dell D620, which is a little bit more expensive at £129, but has a resolution of 1440 x 900. Would that avoid the resolution and display problems maybe? Does anyone know what kind of resolution is good for roguelikes on laptops and netbooks?

Does everyone think one of these would do the trick in terms of performace and resolution for roguelikes? I know that Rogue Survivor is quite picky about what version of Directx and Microsoft .NET Framework you have, so whichever one it was would need to be able to have these up to date. But they all seem to be XP, and my current 8-year-old PC is Windows XP too, so hopefully that wouldn't be a problem.

« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 09:32:38 AM by ianpwilliams »

#### AgingMinotaur

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##### Re: Roguelikes on a netbook?
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2013, 09:51:46 AM »
I have a netbook as my main pc, which I use for work and play (=RLs). The machine in question is an Asus EeePC (the so called Karim edition, with a wobbly shell), which I got three years ago. I'm mostly happy about it, except the battery suddenly died after about one and a half years (went from 4hrs battery life to 0 in the blink of an eye). The machine is pretty weak in terms of CPU and such, but for most RLs, that hasn't been a huge issue. I can play Caves of Qud, for instance (slightly laggy, but that may also have to do with the fact I'm force-feeding Qud to Linux through Wine). ADOM, Crawl, Powder, etc. all work like a charm. If available, I tend to use 1379 or uibn for diagonals, or the Fn-key to access NumPad keys. One gets used to it.

The one single issue that keeps popping up, though, is screen resolution. The resolution is at 1024x600, which is frankly too small in today's world. Some web pages are problematic to read, and many games just assume you've got a bigger screen. Polished gems like Infra Arcana luckily provide an ASCII option, but other games are just unplayable because I'd need another couple hundred pixels on the y axis.

From a developer's point of view, at least I can be certain the stuff I crank out is playable on low-end hardware, which I guess is the single highlight of having a crappy pc

I'm hoping to get a new computer soon (just need to rake in some cash), and I'll probably go with a regular laptop or one of these ultrabook-thingies – definitely something with decent resolution, and maybe I'll even treat myself to something with a graphics card and stuff.

As always,
Minotauros
This matir, as laborintus, Dedalus hous, hath many halkes and hurnes ... wyndynges and wrynkelynges.