Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page


Decimation is a fun light-hearted puzzle-roguelike.


It rather reminded me of the mini-games in God Wars 2, and I suspect you could use this mechanic equally well in a RPG or tactical game with some dress-up of swords and sorcery or laser guns or what have you. The basic idea is that you’re the number zero, beset by the monsters one thru nine. Each monster has properties of speed, strength, and perception either inversely proportional or proportional to its number designation. It’s a simple but effective set of rules. The only downside is that on a simple playing board, it’s easy to get either swamped or take out monsters one-by-one depending on the starting conditions. There’s not much in between it seems.

In the RGRD thread there were some good comments on how to add to the game.

Right, I didn’t mention how you go about taking out monsters — it’s with these symbols: +, -, *, /! It’s almost too perfect — a tightly constructed little roguelike puzzle game that’s quite replayable. I’m not sure if a similar game already exists, but if not I think this concept could really build an audience.

It’s time for some decimation!!



How to write a roguelike in Python using libtcod (#1)

UPDATE, 1/20/2010: There is a newer libtcod and Python tutorial aimed at beginners at the Roguebasin wiki. What follows is a less comprehensive approach. If you follow this series of posts here you’ll find many detours and returns, which may be educational, but if you want a good tutorial I recommend the above link.

The original post:

I’ve known about the libtcod roguelike library for a while, mainly through the Python port in development by Kyle Stewart. However that project seemed to be in stasis. Then just a week or so ago I looked at libtcod again, because of some beautiful roguelikes that are using the C/C++ version of the library.


Pretty amazing, no? And that’s all textmode!

So it turns out, in the meantime the developer jice created a Python wrapper and some Python samples to go with it. From there it was quite easy to use the samples as a base for a simple ‘get your @ on the screen moving around’ demo.


Continue reading


I’m sorry, forgive the title. It’s very late and I just finished DDRogue (link to zip).


The majority of roguelikes I’ve played — maybe all of them? — use bump attacks. Basically you run into things to attack them. DDRogue brilliantly revises this mechanic, reshaping it into something new.


As you descend into the dungeon, you find pieces of your past, and remember special combat moves you were trained in. In a fantastic piece of cinema (for a roguelike anyway, though I’m reminded of that Crysis demake) the game shows you how to perform each move, which involves maneuvering around and through your opponents in specific patterns.

These patterns introduce a flow to roguelike combat that elevates it way above the usual bump and grind. It’s quite brilliant.

Maybe symptomatic of the 7DRL, there is a lack of content in DDR — mostly the same enemies and a few too many dungeon levels — but the game revives itself toward the end and definitely is worth playing through. I ran through on easy (with lots of potions) and Tupp wasn’t ever in any serious danger.

zombies! Cypress Tree Manor

My first successful victory! (I need to replay Chickhack)


Playing Cypress is a quick romp through a zombie-filled house, complete with shovels, chainsaws (mmm….chainsaws), other survivors frantically running around, and a zombie-soundtrack. I liked that the survivors weren’t your enemies unless they (or you) got in the way. It lent a satisfying urgency to the whole thing.


Perhaps due to this being a 7DRL, there is no field of view or fog of war in Cypress. While on the one hand you lose some of the fun of surprise zombie ambushes this way, on the other hand it changes the gameplay to more of a strategic boardgame where you play against the AI. I liked this approach and don’t feel like it subtracted from the overall experience.

The only drawback to the game is that sometimes the levels are impossible to win. However the game has a quick restart and is relatively short, so it’s not that big of a deal.

adventures of Tuppens: Chickhack

You are a young chick warrior from your village. A terrible drought has caused all your village’s crops to dry up, and there is a risk of famine! So, your village elder asked you to search for the fabled Sacred Grove in the distant mountains, where the Seed of Life is rumoured to lie.


Things were looking pretty good for Tuppens. He had a good stock of sharp twigs, two dozen petals on his magic rose, and a magical beak. He entered the Sacred Grove…and before he knew it he was the sliced turkey in an Eagle and Elemental sandwhich.

It was a good effort.


Chickhack is the incredibly charming entry by purpleflayer into the recent 7 Day Roguelike comp organized at RGRD. Like other roguelikes with honed and evocative gameplay, Chickhack does a lot with a little, and should be a lesson for any roguelike developer. The only place where it falters in my opinion is in the repetitiveness of its level design, but in a 7DRL I imagine you need to prioritize. Every element of this game reinforces the theme and setting, and the economy of its command set is really refreshing in comparison to many roguelikes.

In a sense the repetition of the levels works to the game’s advantage in the 10th level, a wow moment for me — play the game, it’s short enough, and you’ll see what I mean.

Note that you’ll need a c64 emulator to play the game — the developer recommends VICE which I found to work well. You might want to double the speed in the VICE options menu, else movement in the game might feel slow.

IFDB at 1000


Well, I go on vacation, and the IFDB tops 1000 members! Curiously, since it launched and the initial run-up of people joining, the IFDB has doubled in membership about every eight months. Is there some physical Law of interactive fiction enthusiasts at work here?