Rogue (the roguelike game)


If it doesn't fit anywhere else, it belongs here. Also, come here if you just need to get hammered.

Snake Sneak

Posts: 116

Joined: Monday, 14th March 2011, 11:14

Post Friday, 21st February 2020, 12:44

Rogue (the roguelike game)

In another thread, I wanted to lecture people about what roguelike is and isn't. So I figured out I may as well finally play *the* Rogue, so I know what I'm talking about.

These days you can play it in browser, no registration or other crap:
https://archive.org/details/msdos_Rogue_1983
(You can use arrows by just throwing them, but it's more accurate if you wield a bow)

My impressions:

DCSS has many, many superficial similarities to Rogue, including:

(Early) enemies:
Hobgoblins, bats(confused), snakes(weaker), kestrels (kobolds), orcs, centaurs as major early threat, Ice monsters(you lose turns), trolls (big threat), wraiths(drain levels), zombies, griffins.
Scrolls of paper (blank), teleportation, enchant weapon, enchant armour, vorpalize weapon, identify, magic mapping, remove curse
Potions: confusion, haste, healing, extra healing, paralysis, poison, raise level, restore strength,
Rings: strength, dexterity, increase damage, maintain armor, protection, regeneration, see invisible, slow digestion, stealth, sustain strength, teleportation.
Wands: cold, drain life, fire, haste, lightning, magic missile, teleport, polymorph...
Armors sound familiar: leather, ring mail, chain mail, banded mail, plate mail.

That's a LOT of familiar names, even though some have since been removed from DCSS. Rogue also has some stuff DCSS doesn't, like scrolls of find food, potion of detect monster.

Equipment damage is very much there. Nymphs steal items, leprechauns - gold, Aquator is a jelly ancestor.

Separate to-hit and to-damage bonuses, like Crawl used to have.

There are traps, including shaft traps.

Notable absences:
- levelling is very rudimentary. You get some more HP and perhaps hidden stats like better chance to hit or damage.
- no skills!
- no spells other than from wands!
- no backtracking. There are only down staircases.
- No shops whatsover. Gold is only for score.
- No gods.
- few stats
- no branches

Dungeon levels are small and extremely simple. Level generation is very straightforward, up to 9 rooms per level. Very few items to pick up.

At this point it should be clear what Rogue is about. Rogue is using what you find. There's little long-term strategy other than what items to use-id, what to figure out with scrolls of id, what armor to enchant (one is immune to aquator). It's a very tactical game, a game of exploration and resource management. There are no builds in Rogue. You can use stuff you find right away, there are no skill gates. If you find plate mail early, great! A 2-handed sword? Great!

Food clock is real and feels like a pressure.

Aside from figuring out potion/wand/scroll types, there's meta-knowledge. What special abilities do monsters have, how to use room entrances to your advantage, where to search for hidden doors and when to press forward, when to run away (monsters never follow you downstairs).

You can wield and throw any item, so this is clearly where Nethack obscurity came from. Elbereth came from a scroll that is used by... dropping it. You can throw harmful potions on enemies. Rogue is open-ended in this sense, it doesn't restrict you from using items however you like.

Aside from stat drain and equipment damage, a big annoyance is very common dark rooms which restrict the use of ranged weapons and make you bump into monsters.

Shoals Surfer

Posts: 325

Joined: Monday, 12th September 2016, 16:25

Post Friday, 21st February 2020, 17:57

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

b0rsuk wrote:DCSS has many, many superficial similarities to Rogue, including:

This is mostly the case because Hack and NetHack are fairly direct descendants of Rogue, and while Linley Henzell wanted to write a new and different roguelike, the default assumptions of NetHack were kind of embedded in him - Linley Crawl is absolutely full of unexamined NetHackisms, even while being a very different game.

Of course it's also partly the case because of the tide of D&Disms we all swim in.
Ascension reports with too many words since 2016.

For this message the author damerell has received thanks: 2
duvessa, nago

Snake Sneak

Posts: 116

Joined: Monday, 14th March 2011, 11:14

Post Friday, 21st February 2020, 18:22

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

Yup, I thought the armor lineup sounded very much like D&D.

Also a notable absence is lack of any player races. Player starts with a mace, a bow, 30 arrows, and a ring mail.

Even today, I enjoy playing Rogue. True, it's not as sophisticated as DCSS, but the simplicity has its own charm. There's no worrying if my Stone Arrow is going to be strong enough by the the time I meet a hydra, if I'm going to find a good axe at all, etc. Everything you find is exciting, there are very few dud items.

In a way, roguelike games have strayed quite far from Rogue. Most have elaborate class / race systems, spell systems, skills. Backtracking is also pretty common. At times these things feel like baggage, and certainly a game can be fun without them.

I wonder if there are any descendants of Rogue which forego these things and evolved in different way. POWDER has no races and classes.

bel

Cocytus Succeeder

Posts: 2184

Joined: Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 22:05

Post Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 04:52

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

Brogue is very consciously designed to be "a better Rogue". Most of the things you describe in Rogue are also features in Brogue; for instance: the absence of classes, spells and skills, and the fairly tight food clock (reducing backtracking).
User avatar

Vaults Vanquisher

Posts: 454

Joined: Thursday, 1st November 2018, 02:33

Post Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 13:30

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

I never really played hack, seems to have been a pretty straightforward derivative of rogue. In some sense the first proper roguelike (i.e. not just rogue) was moria. It was the first to bring in complex dungeon generation, a large number of items and monsters, full spell systems, character classes, races, and skills (as internal numerical qualities related to class and race, not so much user customizable numerical qualities). If you ever had to contend with manually rerolling a character in moria, you got a sense of how good an idea it is to add these things into a game, even if you didn't realize it at the time.

Crawl, even going into its 25th year, has the same issues. The big new systems added on top of the rogue tradition really don't work that well. The complex map generation creates cumbersome layouts that need automated travel/exploration to be playable. The huge number of items requires an in-game search engine to manage. The spell system is massive and full of mind-bending formulas, mismatched mechanics, and unintended tedium. The skill system constantly interrupts play with microdecisions, tweaking, and button pressing to keep a character build on track at maximum efficiency. The combo system tempts the new player to memorize a wiki full of useless minutiae and plan a build having never played the game to cope with what at first blush appears to be a baffling array of species and backgrounds, complete with a huge table of numbers describing skill growth for each species.

Rogue feels archaic today, but Brogue, following the general outline of Rogue, doesn't feel like it's really missing anything. The thing that crawl has actually gotten right that other roguelike games generally haven't is combat dynamics. The way monster attention and noise works, the way damage is rolled, the balance between movement and combat actions, and so on are done pretty well. Of course that's the most important thing to get right, so it makes crawl work in spite of its flaws. The example of rogue/brogue should guide one's thinking about making cuts to crawl though -- there's tons of fat to trim.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

For this message the author tealizard has received thanks: 4
b0rsuk, duvessa, nago, powergame

Snake Sneak

Posts: 116

Joined: Monday, 14th March 2011, 11:14

Post Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 15:59

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

bel wrote:Brogue is very consciously designed to be "a better Rogue". Most of the things you describe in Rogue are also features in Brogue; for instance: the absence of classes, spells and skills, and the fairly tight food clock (reducing backtracking).

Yup, the same train of thought led me to read once more about brogue. I finally have motivation to try it.

And let me guess - Better Rogue?

Either way it seems that many modern descendants of Rogue are more accurately described as Hacklikes, not Roguelikes. Or MoriaLikes.

Crawl, even going into its 25th year, has the same issues. The big new systems added on top of the rogue tradition really don't work that well. The complex map generation creates cumbersome layouts that need automated travel/exploration to be playable. The huge number of items requires an in-game search engine to manage. The spell system is massive and full of mind-bending formulas, mismatched mechanics, and unintended tedium. The skill system constantly interrupts play with microdecisions, tweaking, and button pressing to keep a character build on track at maximum efficiency. The combo system tempts the new player to memorize a wiki full of useless minutiae and plan a build having never played the game to cope with what at first blush appears to be a baffling array of species and backgrounds, complete with a huge table of numbers describing skill growth for each species.

I can see that in many cases they spend a lot of time fixing problems they created.

Board game designers have a concept of "complexity budget". Because a boardgame can't hide its mechanics in a black box, everything needs to be calculated and moved by players. Naturally, rules involving many steps take long to process, and most people are bored by that (simulation/wargame fans notwithstanding). So a good game adds elements only when the extra complexity cost feels justified.
User avatar

Vaults Vanquisher

Posts: 454

Joined: Thursday, 1st November 2018, 02:33

Post Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 17:33

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

The board game analogy is apt. Roguelike games are essentially solitaire board games. The complexity budget absolutely applies, but the emphasis shifts to making the user facing elements of the game simple, possibly at the cost of internal complexity. Dice roll-based mechanics, in particular, make sense for a board game but as a programming methodology quickly devolve into inscrutable formulas, impossible for players to usefully reason about.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

Snake Sneak

Posts: 116

Joined: Monday, 14th March 2011, 11:14

Post Sunday, 23rd February 2020, 08:37

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

Brogue is not as pretty as it thinks it is. It's very unreadable, especially when large bodies of water or lava are involved. Everything blends in, and I need much longer than usual to process what's happening. And these are the early levels. I'm also annoyed by its mistreatment of keyboard (for example, I think there's no way to examine stuff without using mouse). Hotkeys are "conveniently" grouped into just a few, which means I need even more time to visually filter through the list when using something from inventory. And yes, I've found the '\' key to disable (most) of color effects. It's still quite cluttered with purely aesthetic or mostly aesthetic glyphs like ground, fungus, grass etc. A bit like Dwarf Fortress the roguelike, but with color used in the same careless way.

It seems optimized for screenshots and youtube videos.

For this message the author b0rsuk has received thanks: 2
asdu, duvessa

bel

Cocytus Succeeder

Posts: 2184

Joined: Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 22:05

Post Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 14:40

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

b0rsuk wrote:
bel wrote:Brogue is very consciously designed to be "a better Rogue". Most of the things you describe in Rogue are also features in Brogue; for instance: the absence of classes, spells and skills, and the fairly tight food clock (reducing backtracking).

Yup, the same train of thought led me to read once more about brogue. I finally have motivation to try it.

And let me guess - Better Rogue?

Probably not. The dev's name is Brian Walker; he probably just named it Brogue to signify "Brian's Rogue variant".

Dungeon Master

Posts: 345

Joined: Monday, 18th August 2014, 20:04

Post Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 18:18

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

b0rsuk wrote:Brogue is not as pretty as it thinks it is. It's very unreadable, especially when large bodies of water or lava are involved. Everything blends in, and I need much longer than usual to process what's happening. And these are the early levels. I'm also annoyed by its mistreatment of keyboard (for example, I think there's no way to examine stuff without using mouse). Hotkeys are "conveniently" grouped into just a few, which means I need even more time to visually filter through the list when using something from inventory. And yes, I've found the '\' key to disable (most) of color effects. It's still quite cluttered with purely aesthetic or mostly aesthetic glyphs like ground, fungus, grass etc. A bit like Dwarf Fortress the roguelike, but with color used in the same careless way.

It seems optimized for screenshots and youtube videos.


To examine stuff on the map without using the mouse, hit enter and then use movement keys (arrows or vikeys). It's entirely possible to play keyboard only. Also, FWIW, I really disagree with basically every one of the subjective aesthetic assessments in this comment, maybe give it a bit more time?

Snake Sneak

Posts: 116

Joined: Monday, 14th March 2011, 11:14

Post Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 19:33

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

I gave it more time, and it IS a very good game very much in the spirit of Rogue, but a lot better. Even more, it turns out several of its design decisions are ones I had floating around for my roguelike (which never happened).

I got a bit used to the busy visuals, but only because "color mode off" + "stealth radius on" looks even less readable. The developer(s) pretend no one wants to play that way.

So now I have this taxonomy for rogue-style games:

Rogues (Rogue, Brogue)
Roguelikes (DCSS, Nethack, A.D.O.M., T.O.M.E., POWDER...)
Roguelites (Spelunky, Catacomb Kids, Invisible, Inc., FTL, Risk of Rain...)

Currently around level 15 with 4 allies: 2x phoenix, 2x unicorn; +2 chain mail of dampening, +4 rapier of force (great combo), +2 dagger of paralysis (I had trouble choosing), a staff of firebolt (?/3), and a single ring of awareness. +2 charm of haste, +1 charm of guardian (sucks at this very low level).

Edit: I'm having lots of fun with my Dagger of Paralysis + Charm of Haste combo, but the game crashes each time I examine a +4 rapier of force. I have to reload from autosave.

bel

Cocytus Succeeder

Posts: 2184

Joined: Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 22:05

Post Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 03:14

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

FWIW, I also play Brogue only using the keyboard. Never had any problems with it.

As for whether one likes the aesthetics or not, it depends on taste I suppose. I think Brogue looks gorgeous.

Snake Sneak

Posts: 116

Joined: Monday, 14th March 2011, 11:14

Post Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 18:54

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

Add stealth range, lava/bog/water and possibly some gas and making sense out of it is like reading a vomit-drenched page. I like the later levels with luminescent mushrooms and crystal formations though.

Unlike DCSS, Brogue keeps me awake! Whenever I die in DCSS, I'm angry at myself because I've already beaten the game like 2 dozen times, and I know it's because I got careless. Not so with Brogue, because it keeps throwing life-threatening situations at me. I'm always at the edge of my seat and deaths are due to surprising abilities or tactical errors. Like Zorba the Greek said, "What a beautiful catastrophe!".

For example I just lost a character wearing +5 plate mail with enough strength. A spider spat web at me across a pool of lava, CROSSED THE POOL OF LAVA USING THE SAME WEB, and very quickly fatally poisoned me. I had some resources I could use, notably a wand of lightning and damaging potions (including darkness) and incendiary darts. And the character was wearing a +4 ring of reaping and +3 ring of regeneration, it was as sweet as it gets for armor!

Armor works differently, it affects chance to hit instead of damage reduction. Spiders coupled with Stuck status are a hard counter to heavy armor. And to think I mostly feared acid blobs...

* * *

I like how tight and non-granular the game is. Want to hit things? Use a weapon. Want protection? Wear armor (no minutiae like helmets, gloves, boots). No randomized rings or any other artifacts that are worn but actually increase your damage. Just 1 kind of spider, but a very spidery at that. Every melee weapon has a unique ability - rapiers can stab things opening doors, flails attack around corners, maces can solo most things or push stuff into lava, etc.

And there are more combos than it appears on the first glance, for instance staff of haste can be used not just on allies but also on discordant enemies. There are more than a few ways to compensate for poor armor.

Snake Sneak

Posts: 116

Joined: Monday, 14th March 2011, 11:14

Post Thursday, 27th February 2020, 17:17

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)

To the list Brogue (and Rogue) doesn't have:
- resistances (only one: fire resistance)
- corpse eating. Which one introduced that? Nethack and A.D.O.M. heavily use it.

Fascinating game.

Snake Sneak

Posts: 116

Joined: Monday, 14th March 2011, 11:14

Post Monday, 2nd March 2020, 14:37

Re: Rogue (the roguelike game)


Return to Crazy Yiuf's Corner

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by ST Software for PTF.