Roguelike Requirements

Discussion in 'General Game Discussion and Questions' started by racingspider, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. racingspider

    racingspider Well-Known Member

    Hey all. I'm tossing around the idea of doing a Roguelike after my current game gets a few more updates. I've played a few in my time, but wanted to hear something from the community here.


    List what you think are the 5 most important things a Roguelike needs. Feel free to duplicate a thing or two from others as well.

    So, after Permanent Death, what 5 items do you think a Roguelike should implement?
  2. SkyMuffin

    SkyMuffin Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2010
    college student, ENG/WGS major
    Lexington, KY
    -Combat based on strategy -- item use, special abilities, terrain, traps, etc., versus just hack n slash. This usually means it is turn-based, and more thinking oriented than button mashing.
  3. racingspider

    racingspider Well-Known Member


    1. Strategy Based Combat
    2. Items
    3. Special abilities
    4. Terrain - traps, doors, levers, pits
    5. Turn Based - no twitching
  4. Rangerlump

    Rangerlump Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2010
    1. Option for no permanent death for people that suck like me and just wanna enjoy the content or grind (dont have too allow leaderboards for this mode). I personally dont like a random crappy dice roll determine whether or not I can experience the content I paid for.

    2. Different classes and abilities (increases replay value)

    3. Fight animations (just adds to the immersion)

    4. Equipment showing on characters (i look awesome in that -1 cardboard armor!)

    5. Random Generated dungeons
  5. Faeryan

    Faeryan Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2009
    Things that increase replayability:

    1) Random loot (ie. that little tiny chance to find an awesome enchanted item somewhere)
    2) Random elite/boss monsters
    3) Different classes and skillsets you can customize instead of going the same character development route every time

    I don't see permanent death as mandatory thing. In some games permadeath makes people not wanna play again. It all depends on the game itself whether the permadeath is a welcome function or not.

    Definitely turn-based. I've seen some roguelikes with automatic fights where the player and the monster keep pounding each other and all you have to do is time your special abilities. Even though it's not too hectic button mashing I still dislike it.
  6. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    Ahhh, here's a topic I can sink some time into ;)

    I think the questions to you, RacingSpider, are:

    - What roguelikes have you played?

    - What did *you* enjoy about them in particular?

    - Was permadeath an issue for you in any of these (if so, which ones)?

    Roguelikes are really a labor of love. Rogue Touch was created as a near perfect tribute to the 1980's Atari ST and Amiga versions of Rogue (some of the first to add graphics and mouse control rather than ASCII and keyboard- some Nethack tilesets still derive graphics from those two games even today). Even a game as straightforward as Rogue Touch took several months to build and test since I'd decided it would not be a port of any existing code. RT has gotten it's share of kudos in various circles, but it is either loved or hated... like most roguelikes :p

    Most people interested in this topic have probably already seen my Spirit Hunter Mineko thread here (which has not updated in a while due to "day job" pressures, but rest assured it's still in development). Designing an entirely new roguelike, one with animation, sfx, music, unique monsters and equipment is really hard! Not only do you have to take unproven ideas and balance the game for fun, but you've got a metric ton of art required for animating all those enemies.

    I would recommend you go and read the 40+ pages of the Mineko thread here, and then take time to read all the posts in my forums. The Mineko section there has specific conversations on what makes Roguelikes "fun", and the Rogue Touch section has several threads full of ideas on features you could add into roguelikes.

    Probably asking yourself- Why would I give you all that info? Wouldn't you competing with Spirit Hunter Mineko? Well, I've got a 12 month head start... but the consulting business I run limits the time I've been able to put into it. If you started tomorrow and didn't try to be very ambitious maybe you'd be able to release first! But really, I am sharing because I'd love to see another new, high quality roguelike born. :D

    Here's your recommended reading list:

    Oh, and just to follow the topic to the letter (things other than Permadeath that could be important):

    1) Turn Based, making for strategic gameplay and choices
    2) Randomly generated dungeons
    3) Monsters with unique traits and abilities (not just bags of HP and teeth)
    4) Randomly generated items, and LOTS of them
    5) Lots of ways to fight and escape situations- melee, ranged combat, magic items, spells, potions, clever use of terrain or traps, possible character "skills"

    Hope this spurs further discussion on roguelikes... RacingSpider, please do read and respond when you can, I'd love to talk about this subject some more! If anyone else has opinions on features of roguelikes that make them more or less fun, please chime in :D
  7. kennfusion

    kennfusion Well-Known Member
    Patreon Bronze

    Dec 2, 2008
    Brooklyn, New York
    I agree with CD here and want to add the following that I believe are critical for the most successful rogue-likes

    6)Inventory Management (limited inventory spaces, and lots of things that you want to put in them)
    7)Time Management (food is the classic way of doing this)
  8. LordGek

    LordGek Moderator
    Staff Member Patreon Silver Patreon Gold Patreon Bronze

    Feb 19, 2009
    Software QA Engineer
    Saratoga, CA, USA
    All I can do is say ditto this as far as most important aspects...but then for some of the lesser style points I have a few favorite characteristics from the best Roguelikes!

    1) Lose the town level! For me nothing ruins the sense of suspense in a good Roguelike more than being able to EASILY warp back to town for key supplies and then right back to where I left off. While it makes little sense realistically, I far prefer having to rely on whatever I can get from merchants wandering through the dungeon and or setting up small shops in the dungeon.
    2) Deincentivize camping! While a complete kludge, I prefer my Roguelikes to work in some system to keep the player moving forward. The most basic aspect of this is not respawing items and creatures in a previous cleared out area to the more advanced aspects of using food, letting out of level beasties spawn on a level if you've sat on a single level too long, or maybe having it where far outclassed creatures no longer grant experience after a while.
    3) Have a decent highscore system! While I'm sure many play games like Rogue Touch, Sword of Fargoal, or Shiren the Wanderer to BEAT THEM, I far prefer the whole exploring and adapting aspects. As a huge fan of highscore survival games, I love a Roguelike that will, and maybe not as the main quest but a separate bonus dungeon after the main quest has been completed, to let me enter a dungeon empty handed and first level to see how far I can get with just the supplies I find in the dungeon with my end score being based primarily on how far I got (and if possible how efficiently, turn wise, I did this as the guy who utilizes a lot of camping and safe grinding should not be rewarded as much as a real risk taker).

    So these three aspects mean nothing without the foundation of something like what CD mentioned, these are key refinements in my book! ;)
  9. racingspider

    racingspider Well-Known Member

    #9 racingspider, Oct 8, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010
    Excellent replies all!
    CommaderData - I've played Nethack. Lots and lots of nethack. I really like permanent death. I think it brings a lot of tension to a game. I understand many don't like it, but for the world to really FEEL dangerous, there must be real danger to the character.
    Anyway, thanks for all the info you've posted, I'm swimming through it now.

    lol, you have more than plenty of a head start, since I'm currently in another project. I did, however, want to start getting some firm ideas in place for the future. I'll have a nice initial list of rules that govern the game with the majority of points that are "required".

    Developing for mobile devices is a huge factor in determining the game mechanics, as I'm sure you've encountered fully in your development.

    I've read about 12 pages of the Spirit Hunter Mineko, and like the idea of the item storehouse. I've had the idea in my head a while now of allowing a player to "continue" with some loot that a predecessor has discovered. Instead of a single character, the player represents a small "group", though they would still explore solo. For instance, one character may be the child of a previous deceased character. That would also require 'trips home' to send the loot back or something, so the actual mechanics of it have yet to be determined.

    This allows you to carry on the game in some parts after death. No details other than a 'generational attempt' at clearing out the evil of some long forgotten ruin or whatever.

    Though, the difficulty must rise with each 'generation' as the evil becomes stronger.

    I'll keep reading your posts, but I'm at work (yeah, stinking day jobs REALLY get in the way of development! Not to mention families! Sheesh. How indie developers are supposed to get ANYTHING done with jobs and families is beyond me - hah hah hah).

    LordGek and kennfusion - Nice additional points. I'm going to have a whole book of notes from just a few posts! The pressure to continually move forward is a very good one, as well as inventory/items.
    LordGek - I think you're 100% right about warping home and then back to level 95 or whatever. Something would need to be done though, if I were to include "generational continuation". Suggestions on getting "home warp avoidance" and "generational continuation" working together would be awesome. I had previously thought of porters or something else to send a few items home. But really have only scratched the surface on the idea.

    Edit: I'm thinking this would be an RPG with roguelike dungeons. Thus, an explorable overland map would probably be in order - which also means multiple dungeons - of varying difficulty.

    Keep 'em coming!
  10. LordGek

    LordGek Moderator
    Staff Member Patreon Silver Patreon Gold Patreon Bronze

    Feb 19, 2009
    Software QA Engineer
    Saratoga, CA, USA
    If continuing a game with next generation offspring, I think it is fair by THAT POINT to restock the dungeons. ;)

    Perhaps throughout the dungeon there can be "Hidey Holes" which either leave the item right there for the next generation to find or some might even allow you to send the items back up top via Stem Punk Pneumatic Tubes:

  11. kennfusion

    kennfusion Well-Known Member
    Patreon Bronze

    Dec 2, 2008
    Brooklyn, New York
    If I could make iphone games, I would make a Rogue/Roadwar 2000 hybrid game.

    So since you have not yet made a game, I believe that one of the requirements you should follow would be to make a Rogye/Roadwar 2000 hybrid game. :)
  12. BohemianCoast

    BohemianCoast Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2009
    Lots of complexity to ferret out.

    Your main character should be an @ sign. Maybe.

    Turn based or at least not timebounded, but Spelunky is fantastic and is an action roguelike.

    My very favourite roguelikes ameliorate the Permanent Death very slightly by allowing the player to interact with the environment. So for example, in Shiren, you can set up pots or weaponry or so on for future characters to find and use, though anything you have on you when you die is lost. In Spelunky, you slowly build shortcut tunnels. That sort of thing.
  13. racingspider

    racingspider Well-Known Member

    Can you elaborate on the types of "complexity" you would like? Could be as simple as "What happens when the player drinks a fiery potion of death while invulnerable to fire" or other stuff... Examples are best! :)

    I like the "stashes" idea, that goes fairly well with my 'generational' idea. I'll have to check out Spelunky, shortcut tunnels sounds pretty cool too.
  14. Rumblecat

    Rumblecat Well-Known Member

    Mar 16, 2010
    Perma Death- it's a must. The whole thrill of Rogues is knowing that a wrong move could be the last. In fact, if it's not turned based and doesn't have perma-death, I'd say it wasn't a roguelike at all.

    Having said that, I'd give a bit of leeway with health- when it drops below 0 give the character one turn to try and do something to change that- a last throw of the die as it were. And have the game mark where the player has died. Either with a rotting corpse, a small clump of memorial stones... or a vicious vengeful ghost...

    But mainly just make sure it doesn't feel too unfair. When I get killed in Fargoal, Rogue Touch, Shiren etc, it's usually my fault. But with games like 100 Rogues it often feels like I'm just spammed with enemies till I die.

    I'd love a zombie themed Roguelike... Making your way through 'levels' that are randomly generated city streets. A small chance of being infected when a zombie bites (needing a blood transfusion within a certain number of rounds). And replace the 'sword' or MacGuffin that needs to be rescued with a vial of antidote that needs to be returned to the hospital you start at.

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