Saturday, July 21, 2012

What is a roguelike?

Wikipedia says ‘The roguelike is a sub-genre of role-playing video games, characterized by level randomization, permanent death, and turn-based movement. Most roguelikes feature ASCII graphics, with newer ones increasingly offering tile-based graphics. Games are typically dungeon crawls, with many monsters, items, and environmental features. Computer roguelikes usually employ the majority of the keyboard to facilitate interaction with items and the environment. The name of the genre comes from the 1980 game Rogue.’

There are Roguelikes in many different genres, from fantasy to sci-fi to crime and realism, though fantasy is by far the most common. I toyed with the idea of doing a space marine themed game, but in the end decided on fantasy, largely because I want to make a big deal out of magic and that makes more sense in a fantasy setting. I was also told that there is a bigger audience for fantasy than for sci-fi games.

Frequently all it takes is for a game to have one or two aspects for people to call it a roguelike. I’ve heard Terraria, The Binding of Isaac and Diablo called roguelikes because they  feature randomly generated levels with at least the the option of permadeath. I guess this would mean that my really old (AS1!) game Doomed could be considered a Roguelike since it plays like a low rent version of binding of Isaac.

My game Doomed has randomly generated levels, character progression and one life.
It's a Roguelike!

For me the critical aspects are the randomized, tile based levels, the turn based gameplay, the character progression and the permanent death. I’m not going to have asci art, though my art will be functional and it’s got to be entirely mouse driven, since it has to go on mobile which has no keyboard.

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