What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

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Blarumyrran
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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by Blarumyrran » January 1st, 2014, 1:46 pm

BerenErchamion wrote:On the other hand, I find it much easier to tell the difference between a D, an N, an S, a semicolon, and a purple parenthesis than I do between the squiggly lines (and in 8x8 or 16x16 there's not a whole lot of distinguishing features you can put in that are detectable with a quick glance) that may represent a dragon, a naga, a snake, a sea serpent, or a whip.
fpr one thing itmeans that you must place your distinguishment tresholds in particular places - for example you hav different chars for dffierent kinds of grass although in practice you wouldn't care much for it, and this distinguishment is similar to the distiguishment you have between a chair and a monster - while with a tileset untied to typesettings you would be able to arrange these tresholds as you want, eg the distinguishment between a chair and a monster is GIANT while the distinguishment between different types of grass is as tiny as you want it to be.

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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by taptap » January 9th, 2014, 9:36 pm

Blarumyrran wrote:Firstly they are hard to parse in the sense that you must explicitly learn that a symbol represents a tree by reading its description, while with a proper tileset you would recognize a tile as a kind of tree by its shape, and you would know its function to be anologous to that of other trees by this recognition.
As opposed to what? In Wesnoth you have to learn the sprites as well. We even have to write the unit type in the side bar (in letters), because it isn't all that obvious before you learn it. Now imagine Wesnoth less stereotyped than it is in mainline, say Twibs and Quips and Flaps instead of Elves and Orcs and Undead on a different type of world - suddenly even with wonderful sprites for each unit, everyone would need to learn what a sprite represents by reading its description first for each of them. It really isn't the ASCII vs. graphics that determines, whether we have to learn the meaning of the signs anew or not.
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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by Blarumyrran » January 10th, 2014, 10:39 pm

One of these is a piece of furniture. One of these is a giant animal. One of these is a plant. Which is which? (DF)
: Θ H

One of these is a piece of furniture. One of these is a giant animal. One of these is a patch of plants. Which is which? (Wesnoth)
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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by taptap » January 12th, 2014, 9:27 am

Yes, this happens with realistic depictions. Now try with Bowman, Archer, Trapper --- perfectly beautiful sprites, but which is which? Or try the variation of different plain or mountain tiles, which look already and will probably look increasingly more varied in future while being practically the same for game purposes. There are good reasons for this, maps look nicer etc. but fields, meadows, flower patches, fences look so significantly different on the map, that first time players have to learn that this is strictly for beautification and does not indicate say a different cavalry movement ... This is something that usually doesn't happen in roguelikes, where one type of territory / unit corresponds to exactly one sign (the only exception I know is DF where there is indeed a lot of visual clutter for variance and a lack of signs to map all the things in the game without repetition).
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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by Blarumyrran » January 12th, 2014, 12:57 pm

taptap wrote:Yes, this happens with realistic depictions. Now try with Bowman, Archer, Trapper --- perfectly beautiful sprites, but which is which?
What is "Archer"?

They ARE very similar in gameplay terms. Compare Bowman to a Forest terrain or to an altar. They are very different. Compare Bowman to a Yeti or to a Dark Adept. They are somewhat different. So the amount of visual difference corresponds to gameplay difference. As i said, unrestricted graphics let you set the amount of visual difference between objects to match the amount of gameplay difference between objects. Restricting the graphics to an iconset from a tiny alphabet that was not composed for the game, obviously largely fails at that.
taptap wrote:Or try the variation of different plain or mountain tiles, which look already and will probably look increasingly more varied in future while being practically the same for game purposes [...] fields, meadows, flower patches, fences look so significantly different on the map, that first time players have to learn that this is strictly for beautification and does not indicate say a different cavalry movement
That's ridiculous, there is no reason why you have to do this. It isn't something "that happens", you may very well just not do this when developing a game.
taptap wrote:... This is something that usually doesn't happen in roguelikes, where one type of territory / unit corresponds to exactly one sign
... "doesn't happen" like it's a natural disaster that just comes, as soon as you stop restricting yourself to a small arbitrary externally defined tileset (like ASCII) where particular symbols may have visual likeness of the in-game meanings only by coincidence? That's ridiculous, it's a conscious choice of the developer to lose such a correspondence, and he may very well not do that. Eg the graphical tilesets of DF do not lose such a correspondence.

you keep speaking as if iconic representation demands usage of an external symbolset (like ASCII) with only incidental relation to ingame meanings. Obviously a symbolset made in particular to relate to ingame meanings is better than something like ASCII. There are no functional advantages for using something like ASCII (other than maybe running the game in text-mode).
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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by CIB » January 12th, 2014, 2:36 pm

taptap wrote: As opposed to what? In Wesnoth you have to learn the sprites as well. We even have to write the unit type in the side bar (in letters), because it isn't all that obvious before you learn it. Now imagine Wesnoth less stereotyped than it is in mainline, say Twibs and Quips and Flaps instead of Elves and Orcs and Undead on a different type of world - suddenly even with wonderful sprites for each unit, everyone would need to learn what a sprite represents by reading its description first for each of them. It really isn't the ASCII vs. graphics that determines, whether we have to learn the meaning of the signs anew or not.
I get what you're saying, but the problem is that this isn't an off/on kind of thing. There's a gradient. When looking at a wesnoth screenshot, chances are that even if you've never played, you'll get the rough idea of what you're seeing. Of course, even in a graphical game, as an experienced player you'll have a very different perspective on what you're seeing(such as being able to identify unit stats, attacks etc just by the sprite of the unit), but that's not really the issue at hand.

There are two important effects of the "presentation" of your game:
1) How easy is it to understand and use for new players. Very important for smaller/free games that don't get much advertisement, since the first five minutes often decide whether someone will pick up the game or not.
2) Atmosphere. How do I "feel" while playing the game?

Both of these points depend on the player. If you've played ASCII games before, chances are you'll have an easy time picking up new ASCII games. On the other hand, if you're used to sprite based games(as are 99% of players), then something like wesnoth will be much, much easier to learn.

For atmosphere, it's a matter of taste. There's a reason wesnoth has very elaborate sprite art, sound effects, music, etc. The "new"(from my perspective) sound source feature is a very good example of this. Panning the view to a burning fire and actually hearing some campfire ambience can greatly contribute to immersion.

But pure text games have their advantages, too. You rely on your direct senses much less to interpret what's going on. There's less input, which forces you to use your imagination, which some people consider a good thing. It's very much the same difference as reading a book or watching a movie. Nobody can deny that both have their place, and that the audience for the text-based variant is smaller, simply as a result of imagination requiring effort, effort which nowadays a lot of people would like to avoid.

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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by Blarumyrran » January 12th, 2014, 4:31 pm

CIB wrote:But pure text games have their advantages, too. You rely on your direct senses much less to interpret what's going on. There's less input, which forces you to use your imagination, which some people consider a good thing.
That's not a reason to use TEXT D: It's a lazy choice and even slight improvements over text can bring huge advantages.

For example - in DF, a smiley is used for dwarfs - seems like an obvious choice, given that it is the most common humanoid character you see in the game.

But there are just two smileys in code page 437, so what about humans & elves?

Then you face a choice:
1) Give one kind of smiley to the dwarfs, and the other smiley to be shared by the other humanoids.
Then the other humanoids are undistinguishable; also it places the threshold of similarity in a bad place, because humans should be as similar to elves as they are to dwarfs, roughly speaking - but now humans look much closer (the same) to elves than they do to dwarfs. A choice with negatives to it.

2) Give one kind of smiley to the dwarfs, and give each other type of humanoids a less fitting unique character (perhaps the other smiley would be one of them).
Then most humanoids cannot have smiley faces. This is a loss by itself, I think. Also it places the threshold of similarity in a bad place, as the humanoids are now less similar to dwarfs than they are to whatever character types they are assigned (in DF they are assigned capital letters - U is human, H might be a giant hyena - then a human looks closer to a giant hyena than to a dwarf). A choice with negatives to it.

3) Use the same one smiley for all humanoids (leaving the other smiley up for other uses).
Then all humanoids are undistinguishable, an enormous fault. It also places the threshold of similarity in a bad place, because - if in the usual fantasy tradition, dwarfs/elves/humans are different species, rather than some mutant varieties - then they should be as distinguishable from each other as some types of animals, eg dogs are from wolves. A choice with negatives to it.

But wait! This whole choice is stupid and unnecessary! You can just dump your stupid restriction, and make 3 smileys - a plain one, one with ears, and one that is short&stout (or perhaps has a beard). Give them to humans, elves and dwarfs, respectively. You lose nothing. And this was just one slight improvement - a symbol set that has been made from the beginning with the intent of matching your use, will obviously bring huge benefits of the same sort.
CIB wrote:It's very much the same difference as reading a book or watching a movie.
I don't think the analogy between ASCII games and books works very well. The "symbols" in books - natural language words - are very many; for most things that you would ever want to refer to by pointing at it with your finger, and for many others, there is a word. And those word were made to be used in sentences in the way that you use them in sentences in a book. An ASCII or codepage437 or whathaveyou alphabet is tiny and constructed for a use completely different from what you use it for in a roguelike.

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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by taptap » January 13th, 2014, 1:16 pm

Dwarf Fortress may not be the best example for a roguelike here, even in its more ascii looking tilesets it goes for depiction-logic often enough, many feature a bearded smiley for dwarves (more standard roguelike sets use the @), the trees use tree-ish shapes etc. Personally I chose a tileset that has no beard on the smiley and but features diagonal lines for more variety in fortress design.

The problem is that blarrumyrran looks at things only in depiction logic, then of course you can depict similar things similarly, smileys but varied with ears and beards etc. Now do this on 16x16 with a sufficient amount of different units etc. - the result is a mess. Instead of clear, albeit initially unfamiliar icons, you have bad, unreadable graphics. You call this an improvement, but probably wouldn't consider playing a game made with bad, unreadable graphics. I mean, look at DF screenshots in graphical tilesets they are if anything harder to parse (even if you spent time to get used to the tiles).

To give a good example from the DF realm. The game allows you to show fluid levels on a tile as number, a blue or red 1-7. Now you can do amazing things with the fluids in the game, and building contraptions with the help of prisoners, minecarts or fluids is my main enjoyment in the game, however the point in question, you can't come close to readability of the coloured number by depicting realistically a pool of water. You simply can not beat the number by depiction. (Similarly humans can besiege your fortress, now are you sure it is bad that humans and dwarves look significantly different on screen?)

This isn't denying that using ASCII imposes rigid limitations on a game (or a customized tileset may be better for many purposes), but it is pointless to discuss the merits of ASCII in the framework of depiction ("similar things should look similar", "very different things should look very different") when the framework is a different (semiotic?) one ("meaningful differences should be readable", but "very different things that don't interact can use the same icon" - as they occasionally do in DF).
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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by CIB » January 13th, 2014, 1:59 pm

Blarumyrran wrote:
CIB wrote:But pure text games have their advantages, too. You rely on your direct senses much less to interpret what's going on. There's less input, which forces you to use your imagination, which some people consider a good thing.
That's not a reason to use TEXT D: It's a lazy choice and even slight improvements over text can bring huge advantages.
Still a matter of taste and what you're used to. Most roguelike enthusiasts would still prefer the pure ASCII version even if something else is available. And there's nothing "lazy" about making a game that appeals to a certain audience, such as roguelike enthusiasts, especially if you're making a roguelike.

For example, CDDA has this awesome tileset(among many others):
http://www.cesspit.net/misc/catatile10c.gif

Which adds functionality, while still retaining a "roguelike" feel. And yet, lots of players still prefer the pure ASCII version.
I don't think the analogy between ASCII games and books works very well.
Yes, I wasn't really referring to just roguelikes here. There's other text based games, such as multiple choice adventures, which are much more comparable to books. Personally, I've never been able to imagine much when looking at an ASCII map, I was just extrapolating from my own experience with other text based games and assuming that roguelike fans have similar reasons for liking ASCII.

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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by Blarumyrran » January 13th, 2014, 2:25 pm

CIB wrote:Still a matter of taste and what you're used to. Most roguelike enthusiasts would still prefer the pure ASCII version even if something else is available. And there's nothing "lazy" about making a game that appeals to a certain audience, such as roguelike enthusiasts, especially if you're making a roguelike.
as I've said a couple of times in this thread now I speak only of functional advantages, not aesthetics; I've been responding to the people who have implied there are functional advantages (not in implementational terms but in immediate terms as accessible to the player) to ASCII or similar small external character sets designed for text.

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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by Blarumyrran » January 13th, 2014, 2:58 pm

taptap wrote:I mean, look at DF screenshots in graphical tilesets they are if anything harder to parse (even if you spent time to get used to the tiles).
No, the graphical tilesets of DF are much easier to parse. Eg one big reason is that tiles that make up large areas like grasses and rocks, are handled much better by the graphical DF tilesets (the good ones, anyway).
taptap wrote:you can't come close to readability of the coloured number by depicting realistically a pool of water.
You don't have to depict a realistic pool of water. -You do need to stop yelling. Changed for you. Lack of restriction to use a iconset externally defined for a completely different usage is exactly that - a lack of restriction. You improve the things that need improving - such as the humanoids that i spoke of.
taptap wrote:Similarly humans can besiege your fortress, now are you sure it is bad that humans and dwarves look significantly different on screen?)
A good point but the "dwarves are your people, other humanoids are outsiders" is already broken by the goblin-dominated dwarfs, dwarf were<wolves>, dwarf necromancers and dwarf caravan people (perhaps some others too).
taptap wrote:it is pointless to discuss the merits of ASCII in the framework of depiction ("similar things should look similar", "very different things should look very different") when the framework is a different (semiotic?) one ("meaningful differences should be readable", but "very different things that don't interact can use the same icon" - as they occasionally do in DF).
i think it's relatively easy to design visuals so that if the player concentrates strongly on a section of visuals in the game, then he gets a strong overview of the game state in that area, with info on specific qualities of the things - but it's also important, and more difficult to arrange, that if he concentrates casually on a section of visuals in the game, then he gets a good shallow overview of the game state in the area, with info on general qualities of things in it.

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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by dipseydoodle » January 13th, 2014, 4:12 pm

Dwarf Fortress is certainly on of the more interesting rougelikes (although I wouldn't call it that). Think of it as a combination between minecraft(it was bassed partially on DF), Angband, and Age of Empires (if that makes sense). Personally I'm a huge MUD player and play lots of Miriani (which is a text bas love wesnoth) but that is my view on thing. If DF/rouglikes aren't your thing, then that's just fine. I recomend you try out ROUG space-simulation game with some crawl like elements including a ascii map, but there are also describable objects and you see the description of the rooms, rather then just a map) and write other Text Based Adventures. I personally favor Ascii oriented games because it leaves a much more open game rather then just seeing a character or avatar that is limited by whatever 2d sprites or horrible 3d meshes are available. Now I'm not saying graphical games are bad(I love wesnoth) but that is my view on thing. If DF/rouglikes aren't your thing, then that's just fine. I recomend you try out ROUGE first though and move on from there as it is really a true Rougelike game.

EDIT: just relized I misspelled roguelike very badly several times.
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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by iceiceice » January 13th, 2014, 4:26 pm

I've played dwarf fortress, for what its worth I found the graphical tile set far, far easier to parse... the startup cost to read ascii maps is really pretty large compared to how much time I have to play games like that, also the inability to mouse over things so that the game will tell you what they are makes it incredibly cumbersome if you haven't basically memorized what things can appear... which is definitely not in the spirit of the game anyways. There is some "inspect" mode with the cursor but it is pretty crappy.

The only rogue-like I ever got really into was FTL: Faster Than Light. That is a fun game. They definitely milked the rogue-like genre for all it is worth. http://www.ftlgame.com/

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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by CIB » January 13th, 2014, 6:53 pm

Blarumyrran wrote: as I've said a couple of times in this thread now I speak only of functional advantages, not aesthetics; I've been responding to the people who have implied there are functional advantages (not in implementational terms but in immediate terms as accessible to the player) to ASCII or similar small external character sets designed for text.
Uhh.. nope. That's a different sub-tree of this discussion altogether. See my stance on functionality here:
CIB wrote:
taptap wrote: As opposed to what? In Wesnoth you have to learn the sprites as well. We even have to write the unit type in the side bar (in letters), because it isn't all that obvious before you learn it. Now imagine Wesnoth less stereotyped than it is in mainline, say Twibs and Quips and Flaps instead of Elves and Orcs and Undead on a different type of world - suddenly even with wonderful sprites for each unit, everyone would need to learn what a sprite represents by reading its description first for each of them. It really isn't the ASCII vs. graphics that determines, whether we have to learn the meaning of the signs anew or not.
I get what you're saying, but the problem is that this isn't an off/on kind of thing. There's a gradient. When looking at a wesnoth screenshot, chances are that even if you've never played, you'll get the rough idea of what you're seeing. Of course, even in a graphical game, as an experienced player you'll have a very different perspective on what you're seeing(such as being able to identify unit stats, attacks etc just by the sprite of the unit), but that's not really the issue at hand.
Which is to say, I actually agree with you on that particular point. Graphical representations are functionally more powerful, because you have more freedom in the way things look(implies, of course, that you have enough artists on board to actually create unique sprites for everything, which for roguelike devs usually isn't the case =)

Then I said
but that's not really the issue at hand.
Which was to imply I don't think looking at pure functionality is very useful, let's talk about the reasons why people might prefer one or the other in general

And you replied to that. So no, you have not been "responding to people who implied that there are functional advantages", you've been responding to me discussing advantages in general.

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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by Blarumyrran » January 13th, 2014, 7:09 pm

CIB wrote:And you replied to that. So no, you have not been "responding to people who implied that there are functional advantages", you've been responding to me discussing advantages in general.
You are obviously confused about what you have said, let me help you:

after "but that's not really the issue at hand.", you said:
CIB wrote:How easy is it to understand and use for new players.
A functional aspect
CIB wrote:If you've played ASCII games before, chances are you'll have an easy time picking up new ASCII games.
"Easy time" implies accessibility, which is the main functional aspect worth discussing.

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