What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

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

Post by taptap » January 13th, 2014, 9:13 pm

I believe, it would be helpful if barrier to entry isn't mixed up with difficulty of parsing. It isn't the same thing, learning a language with a different alphabet also comes with a barrier to entry, but it would be odd to claim all languages that don't use latin alphabet are difficult to parse. It changes with familiarity. That is also the reason why a considerable number of roguelike players prefer ASCII over graphical tilesets even where they are available. The language analogy is deliberate here, because a lot of quite different roguelike games actually share the same or similar sets of signs.

I don't understand why blarumyrran discards variety for the sake of beauty, yes, admittedly, it doesn't just happen, but reducing the barrier to entry and better looks are the two main motivations for graphical tilesets in roguelikes and once you start with beautification, it isn't all that strange that you end up with identical tiles with decidedly different looks (as in Wesnoth mountains - look at the new desert mountains or plains with fences, fields and there are similar proposals for the hair colours of your units etc. etc.). You have sufficient clues that they are identical and the maps do look better, but that doesn't make them easier to parse than a tileset that strictly has a single sign for a terrain.

My favourite roguelike by the way is Sil (http://www.amirrorclear.net/flowers/game/sil/index.html, since yesterday in edition 1.2.1). I believe it could appeal to other Wesnoth players for general Tolkien'ianism and simplicity (KISS), if they can adapt to ASCII.

(For the difficulty of parsing, try looking at this screenshot (http://angband.oook.cz/screen-show.php?id=2401) once you overcome your revulsion against looking at ASCII are walls, doors, floors (the three terrains there are in the game) really that difficult to distinguish? The m, the @ and the ! and / may need explanation, but you can be assured that once you play the game for a while you will be able to read this situation at a glance.)

P.S. For people who have played e.g. DF both with graphical and ASCII tilesets: Do you really manage to put and compute as much tiles visible on the screen at the same time as you did with ASCII? I would by default make the graphic tileset larger, to actually see the details of the sprites, something I don't have to bother with ASCII signs.
Last edited by taptap on January 13th, 2014, 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by iceiceice » January 13th, 2014, 9:41 pm

taptap wrote: P.S. For people who have played e.g. DF both with graphical and ASCII tilesets: Do you really manage to put and compute as much tiles visible on the screen at the same time as you did with ASCII? I would by default make the graphic tileset larger, to actually see the details of the sprites, something I don't have to bother with ASCII signs.
Hard to say now, but honestly it wouldn't have made much difference. Even if I can see ten times as many squares at once, the amount of time it would take me to figure out what all of these codes mean, having to use the inspect cursor constantly to identify the hard ones or the ones I haven't seen before, is so much longer than the time to just pan around the graphical map that there just is no comparison.

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

Post by Sandman25 » January 13th, 2014, 11:04 pm

What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

1) Level advance. It's exciting to see Demonspawn in DCSS getting a random mutation or Deep Elf getting a choice of Strength/Intelligence/Dexterity improvement. That holds true even in BfW - the best feeling is when I see my Mage reached 2nd or 3rd level.
2) Random loot. It's exciting to find a weapon which can make you stop training Polearms and start training Long Swords instead because of Vampiric brand or crazy effect like killing everything in line of sight. Also it's fun to compare different artefacts to decide which rings the character should wear by default. No analogue in BfW unfortunately.
3) No hurry. I love when I can explore everything, when I can play carefully without hurry. That's why I can't play roguelikes with cruel food clock. Unfortunately BfW can punish player who was unlucky to move into wrong direction on a black map. Yes, I know about scouts but it still can make you lose a game.
4) A single character. I have been playing roguelike about an year and have 15+ years experience of playing TBS like civ2-5, heroes1-5, panzer general 1-2, master of magic, age of wonders, warlords 3 etc. and the only game where I consistently win without any loads is roguelike. It's too hard to avoid frustration when you have dozens or hundreds of units to control every turn. I am trying to play BfW with permadeath but it is almost impossible sometimes because of "tomato suprises" (if I properly use the term, I learned it yesterday on this site :)).

Now about ASCII vs tiles.
I started playing my first roguelike about a year ago, of course it was tile version. In about 6 months I stopped using mouse because keyboard is more comfortable indeed. I tried playing console (ASCII) version several times but still I can't enjoy it, I feel too lazy to remember that : means a book, ? means a scroll and ! means a potion especially since there are some discrepancies between different roguelikes. On the other hand I stopped playing "Open General" (it's a tiled wargame) because there was almost impossible to differentiate multiple infantry units from range 2 artillery and from range 3 artillery, for some stupid (read "realism") reason those tiles were almost identical. So my opinion is simple:
1) if a tile set is good, it is superior to ascii.
2) if a tile set is bad, it is inferior to ascii.

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

Post by Kestenvarn » June 16th, 2014, 12:35 am

Not all roguelikes are incredibly punishing or reward only system mastery.

There are those like Brogue that even a beginner can get into - streamlined controls, modernized interface, aim for fairness in exploration and tactical combat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPecWWceAWM

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

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » November 25th, 2014, 11:39 pm

I think the biggest appeals about a roguelike are probably random dungeon generation or RPG-like gameplay in a very general sense. (For me it's probably more the latter; I also like Legend of Grimrock, for example, which is like a roguelike in some aspects but is completely non-random.) Another appeal (at least for me) is that unorthodox actions might have useful or interesting (or sometimes counterproductive) results, as if the developers had thought of everything. That said, I haven't tried very many roguelikes, mostly out of laziness (I'm considering trying out ADoM now, though).

Some examples: I haven't played much NetHack (I tried a couple of times and couldn't really get into it), but it has a wiki that tells a lot about the game mechanics; in some situations, a cursed scroll (whose effect is usually generally the opposite of what the scroll's name suggests) can actually be useful, for example. Or if your character is female, you can polymorph into a cockatrice, lay eggs, and use them as deadly projectile weapons. In the roguelike that I've been creating, you can throw anything; if you throw a potion and it hits an enemy, they usually receive the same effect as if they had drunk the potion, which could be good or bad for you depending on what kind of potion it was. Or you can kill a blink hound (a monster that teleports), then throw its corpse at a monster who refuses to come close, and it's teleported right in front of you.

By the way, if anyone's interested, this page attempts to define what a roguelike is and also links to other pages doing the same.
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Re: What is the appeal of a rogue-like game?

Post by Jabie » November 27th, 2014, 12:46 pm

Chalk me down for hating ASCII tilesets. It's hard enough to learn a rogue like as is, without having to learn what each symbol means. Give me a tile set where a door looks like a door and a pool of acid looks like a pool of acid and I won't inadvertently take the hydrochloric highway when I'm trying to explore the dungeon.

My recommendation for a roguelike is Castle of the Winds. There was an abandonware version floating around the net somehwere or other, though you might need DOSBOX to run it. You could also try Desktop Dungeons, although that's closer to minesweeper than a roguelike.

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

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » November 28th, 2014, 1:27 am

Castle of the Winds is a Windows game; it won't run on DOSBox, unless you install Windows 3.1 (which is totally possible — I've done it). If you're on Windows 7, you probably need to use XP mode to play it (assuming your Win7 package supports that; I think it needs to be Pro or better).

Also, it's not abandonware, if I recall correctly. The first one was free from the start (as a shareware demo for the duology), and I think the second was eventually released as freeware.
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