Author Topic: Roguelike with party and mission maps - suggested engine or library?  (Read 5996 times)

Scottbert

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   Hello! I am considering trying to make a roguelike, but first, I need to produce a prototype to test gameplay. First, some details on unusual features I plan, in case certain engines aren't really designed for this:

   I want to try some unconventional things so I'm not just doing Yet Another Roguelike. This includes having a small party of allies (unsure whether they should be directly controlled or not, that's the sort of thing I need to test in rapid prototypes to see what works best) and a focus on 'missions' using partially or completely predesigned maps with much less focus on randomness, and the option to talk to some NPCs with diologue trees and such.

   With all that in mind, which engine/library would the community recommend? I've heard of Libtcod, T-Engine, and Ng, but I haven't finely examined them to know their limitations, and I'd hate to invest time in learning one only to learn that whichever one I started with can't support allied NPCs the way I want, for instance, or doesn't easily let me make custom maps. Also, there may be other choices I am unaware of. The prototype and the final game don't necessarily need to use the same engine, if one gets me started faster but limits my choices later, that's just fine for prototyping.

   I understand that I'll have to get my hands dirty with actual coding. That's fine -- I know C/C++, Java, and Ruby, and I'm fine with learning more. I just don't want to have to reinvent the wheel when engines and libraries can provide tools and functions that save me from having to code everything from scratch.

   Thanks for your help, fellow developers!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 08:54:13 PM by Scottbert »

chooseusername

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Re: Roguelike with party and mission maps - suggested engine or library?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2015, 09:26:49 PM »
   Hello! I am considering trying to make a roguelike, but first, I need to produce a prototype to test gameplay. First, some details on unusual features I plan, in case certain engines aren't really designed for this:

   I want to try some unconventional things so I'm not just doing Yet Another Roguelike. This includes having a small party of allies (unsure whether they should be directly controlled or not, that's the sort of thing I need to test in rapid prototypes to see what works best) and a focus on 'missions' using partially or completely predesigned maps with much less focus on randomness, and the option to talk to some NPCs with diologue trees and such.

   With all that in mind, which engine/library would the community recommend? I've heard of Libtcod, T-Engine, and Ng, but I haven't finely examined them to know their limitations, and I'd hate to invest time in learning one only to learn that whichever one I started with can't support allied NPCs the way I want, for instance, or doesn't easily let me make custom maps. Also, there may be other choices I am unaware of. The prototype and the final game don't necessarily need to use the same engine, if one gets me started faster but limits my choices later, that's just fine for prototyping.
If your goal is to prototype, then I'd recommend going further.  Find an open source roguelike which you like the look of, and then prototype the features of choice on top of it.  Brogue, Incursion, various 7DRLs like Jeff Lait's Kobold, Orc and so forth.  You'll inherit a library with it, and have a chance to get into the library in the easiest way where you don't get caught on all the various things which  people find themselves asking for help and clarification on.

Brogue (C) has a intermediate layer, which abstracts curses and libtcod backends.  Incursion (C++) has an interface, which is implemented for curses and libtcod.  You could also look at Incursion as a game engine, where people can author modules based on the D20 AD&D rules and what not.  Although, apart from the original author's Hall of the Goblin King module which comes with it, no-one else has so far bothered - since it was only open sourced last year and it's been in a process of modernisation and post-publication clean-up.

What I liked about Jeff Lait's 7DRL games was that they felt like prototypes, where you could rotate the game view compass directions, and other things I can't remember.

I can't recommend anything I haven't used.

Scottbert

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Re: Roguelike with party and mission maps - suggested engine or library?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2015, 09:32:09 PM »
I hadn't thought of just modding an open-source roguelike -- Although, looking around this forum, already LambdaHack and X@COM jump out at me as worth investigation, though I haven't had time to play them yet.

Kyzrati

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Re: Roguelike with party and mission maps - suggested engine or library?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2015, 12:20:56 AM »
chooseusername has a good idea there in terms of checking out existing open source roguelikes if you're not sure how you want to handle it. There are more than a few party-based roguelikes, and while many of the ones I know of are not open source, it's usually not too difficult to turn a single-character RL into a multi-character RL, even if you're looking to offer direct control, since in general roguelikes will treat the player character as just another mob, anyway (so it's more of a UI/design issue than a game logic issue).

X@COM is not open source, but it is extremely moddable assuming you're willing to make a game based on (or at least close to) the X-COM mechanics. It will be a while before I get back to it, but when I do the engine will be expanded even further to essentially make it possible to create your own complete game via modding. (You can almost do that right now, though it doesn't include separate branding, and you can't connect multiple maps.) Good luck!

tuturto

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Re: Roguelike with party and mission maps - suggested engine or library?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 09:10:45 AM »
I liked writing a game using LambdaHack. It was pretty easy to get things up and running and the developer of the engine even added some neat features I was wondering about. Party based play is neat and you can change tactics of your team on the fly (let them explore the area freely or stick close to you for example). The stumbling block for me was, that I don't know nearly enough of Haskell to actually code anything complicated. I'm planning on getting back to it though, since there are new features being added on the engine that I want to try out.
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