From Academic Kids

The roguelikes are usually superficially two-dimensional dungeon crawling computer games, most with simple text or ASCII "graphics" and many with "tiles" which replace the rather limited character set with a wider array. The genre is named after the first well known game of the genre, Rogue (1980). The first games of the genre perhaps were Dungeon (1975 on PDP-10 mainframes), and dnd (1974), under the PLATO system on CDC computers.



Traditionally, the hero is represented by an "@" sign, and other characters (usually enemy monsters) are represented by letters of the alphabet. Rogue itself only made use of capital letters, but modern roguelikes utilize different capitalization of letters to represent different monsters. A dog, for example, may be represented by the letter "d", and a dragon by a "D". Also, to further distinguish various creatures, a modern roguelike game will display different colored letters. For example, a Red Dragon might be represented by a red "D", whereas a Blue Dragon might be represented by a blue "D", each with their own abilities and required strategy by the player. Further dungeon features are represented by other ASCII (or ANSI) graphics. A traditional sampling is below.

 |....|      ############           #  Unlit hallway
 |....|      #          #           .  Lit area
 |.$..+########         #           $  Some quantity of gold
 |....|       #      ---+---        +  A door
 ------       #      |.....|
              #      |.!...|        !  A magic potion
              #      |.....|
              #      |..@..|        @  The adventurer
   ----       #      |.....|
   |..|       #######+..D..|        D  A dragon
   |<.+###    #      |.....|        <  Stairs to the previous level
   ----  #    #      |.?...|        ?  A magic scroll
         ######      -------

However it is becoming increasingly popular to make use of graphics in roguelikes, numerous graphical versions are available for most of the traditional games; and it is very common for the newer roguelike projects in development to use graphics, sometimes even sound.

The hero is controlled by short commands of one or a few keypresses rather than using a mouse or typing long sentence-like commands. For example, in NetHack a player would press "r" to read a scroll, "d" to drop an item, and "q" to quaff (drink) a potion.

Though they may seem like trivial games at a first glance because of their simple graphics and interface, roguelikes usually provide a much greater gameplay detail depth then average commercial games. Instead of spending a lot of time on the graphics and 3D engines roguelike developers focus on advancing gameplay.

Roguelike games feature randomly generated dungeon levels, which give them more replay value than games in which the levels are the same every time. Many have static levels as well. Usually these are used as some kind of special, unique level.

The appearance of magical items also changes randomly from game to game. Roguelike games typically use a Dungeons & Dragons-like turn-based combat system instead of a real-time system. Diablo is almost unique in its use of real-time. There is a great deal of variance between different games in appearance, commands, plot, and strategy.

Most roguelikes are single-player games. This is mainly due to tradition, but also due to the difficulty of extending a turn-based system to support multiple players. However, some multi-player roguelikes such as TomeNET and Crossfire exist and are playable online. Also, on multi-user systems controlled by appointed administrators and having the required security features, the scoreboards are often "shared" between players playing the same rules, without the opportunity to cheat by changing the game or savefiles. Some also allow traces of former players to appear in others' games in form of ghosts or grave markings.

Traditionally in roguelike games there is something called permadeath - "death is final". Once a character is dead, the player is expected to start over again at the beginning of the game. A game will usually provide a "save game" feature, but this is only intended to allow splitting a game across multiple sessions, and the save file will be deleted automatically when the character dies. A skilled user will usually be able to bypass this mechanism and restart after a death, but this would be considered dishonourable (or cheating) by many players, and is often known as "save scumming". The game may provide a "wizard mode" which allows exploring the dungeon without risk of death, but again it is not possible to win honourably using such a mechanism.

There are many communities dedicated to roguelike games, most notably the hierarchy in Usenet.

It is also worthy of note that there are some modified roguelikes in existence which use party or encounter systems, which greatly deviate from the normal roguelike gameplay in those regards, but still stay true to the general idea of roguelikes.

List of popular roguelikes

Roguelike Family Tree

Roguelikes branched in three main directions:

  • The Rogue/Hack/NetHack school, where levels are saved after being left. Other notable examples include Slash'EM, Linley's Dungeon Crawl, and Castle of the Winds.
  • The Moria/Angband school, where levels are regenerated after being left. The main occupents of this branch are Moria, its variants, and Angband and its variants.
  • The overworld school, where there is more than one dungeon (or, in the case of The UnReal World, no dungeons at all (only caves)). Notable examples of this school are Omega (dungeons are regenerated after being left), ADOM (every dungeon but one is preserved when left), ToME, and later versions of ZAngband.

Note that there are other attributes that distinguish branches; for example, starvation is a major threat in the Hack branch of roguelikes, while in the Moria branch it is rare to die of starvation.

See also

External links

es:Roguelike fi:Roguelike fr:Rogue-like ko:로그라이크 ja:ローグライクゲーム pl:Roguelike ru:Roguelike


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