⟵ Back 3 min · 2021-08-01

Making a Roguelike

I've been working on a roguelike for the past three months (since May 1, 2021), making this sideproject the one I've worked on the longest before losing interest. It's a reboot of my last attempt, which stalled last year due to overengineering, bad design choices, and extremely unrealistic goals.

For those who don't know what a roguelike is:

The definition is being stretched farther and farther each year, but for the most part "roguelike" remains a game genre characterized by 2D gameplay, simulationistic environments, and turn-based mechanics.

Look up DCSS, Brogue, or Cogmind to see some examples.

empty room

The main mechanic in this game is modifying and manipulating your environment in a prison-themed dungeon to distract, confuse, and kill your former jailers. You can sneak in unlit areas, throw poisonous potions, blow up walls, place landmines, raise corpses, quaff speed-boosters, stab paralyzed enemies, release fellow prisoners, and do just about anything short of engaging in what will be an almost-certainly fatal melee combat with enemies that are simply far, far stronger than you are.

The second mechanic, stolen from Peter Harkins's 7DRL Ironwood, is movement-based patterns to activate various combat bonuses and abilities. I'm tying these movement patterns to rings that will be scattered throughout the dungeon. These rings, of which four can be worn at the same time, activate up to two movement patterns, which are the only way of utilising magic (which is otherwise unavailable for the player's use). To quote Peter Harkins:

I had also wanted to have special abilities activated by moving particular directions. So stepping forward against a guard, then right, then forward again might execute a throw or a magic attack. The player would sort of end up dancing around the guards to trigger various abilities, so the terrain or the enemy's movement patterns would limit what special abilities you could use on them.

view of laboratory level

The project is still in heavy development, but the first few floors are semi-done. UI is terrible and the log messages may as well not be there, but it's still mostly playable. Take a look at the GitHub repository, or check out r/roguelikedev's weekly Sharing Saturday threads to read updates on this (still unnamed) project. Maybe, if I still exist by this time next year (not at all likely), this project will be halfway done.

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