Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Programming Wars (not)

Sometimes miracles do happen. A recent thread on r.g.r.d. asked for advice on programming languages to use for developing roguelikes. And the corresponding thread didn't descend into a language war. Is the roguelike community finally growing up?

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Bad Dungeon Design

Apologies for the lack of updates recently, this has gotten in the way.

There has been a bit of a hooplah recently over a new Dungeon Generation algorithm released into the public domain over on r.g.r.d. and touched tangentially upon over at ASCII Dreams. Here is a sample of its output:

I'm of the opinion that this is sub-optimal for roguelikes, primarily because of one main factor: geometrically, it is too deadly for any reasonable player. Leaving aside the obvious irony of this statement since roguelikes are a genre where one mistake in game-play could kill you forever, a map such as this tilts the balance of the game too far away from the RNG towards a style of game-play where the presence of even one OOD monster with extended following abilities means the level (and almost certainly) the character is a certain and complete and unavoidable write-off. A map such as this, lacking any in-level escape options, would almost inevitably lead to an overwhelming sense of frustration quite quickly, and would shortly result in whatever game used this dungeon design being deleted off the players' hard drive.

So what could be done to make this map more suitable? Not that hard actually (though I may be underestimating the difficulty due to not being familiar with the original algorithm). Each "branch" needs to be connected up with another (not just through the centre) to allow at least one alternative escape option for a player:

If this is done, I feel this could be another interesting dungeon design, one of many that roguelike authors could use.