Failure rates of Roguelike Games

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Jeff Lait

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Jul 2, 2008, 10:01:23 PM7/2/08
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It is now time for my fifth annual analysis of roguelike game
development. I shall first present some dubious statistics and then
you shall complain that they don't accurately reflect roguelike
development.

To find the previous four studies, search for Failure inside this
newsgroup.

The data for this comes from:
http://thelist.roguelikedevelopment.org/
which I have been maintaining.

First, the meaningless bargraph.


1 #
1 #
1 ##
1 # ##
1 # ##
1 # ## #
1 # ## # #
1 # ## # # #
1 # #### ## # #
1 ###### # ### # #
1 ###### # # ### # # #
1 ###### # # #### # # ## # # #
1 ###### ############### ## ## # ## ####
1 ###################### ####### #### ######
1 000000000111111111122222222223333333333444>+49
1 123456789012345678901234567890123456789012>

This tracks the number of roguelikes by last release date. The first
column has a # for every roguelike released in the last month. I have
omitted the last column which would have all the roguelikes over 42
months old or without known release dates. There are now 49 such
roguelikes being tracked.

The peaks at 4-5, 16, 28, and 40 month marks are due to the 7DRL
challenges. Note that a large number of 7DRL entries occurred pre-
challenge this year resulting in the spread of the 7DRL effect.

Next, we will look at the cumulative totals for the last year.

Numbers: (July, 2008)
Month # Total Percent
1 11 11 6%
2 5 16 8%
3 6 22 11%
4 12 34 17%
5 14 48 24%
6 6 54 27%
7 1 55 28%
8 5 60 30%
9 2 62 31%
10 2 64 32%
11 4 68 35%
12 2 70 36%
Rest 127 197 100%

Copying from the last three year's reports and reconstructing the 2004
numbers:

Numbers: (July, 2007)
Month # Total Percent
1 10 10 6%
2 6 16 10%
3 9 25 15%
4 11 36 22%
5 9 45 28%
6 5 50 31%
7 5 55 34%
8 3 58 36%
9 3 61 37%
10 2 63 39%
11 1 64 39%
12 2 66 40%
Rest 97 163 100%

Numbers: (July, 2006)
Month # Total Percent
1 9 9 7%
2 3 12 9%
3 3 15 12%
4 11 26 20%
5 5 31 24%
6 1 32 25%
7 2 34 26%
8 3 37 29%
9 1 38 29%
10 3 41 32%
11 4 45 35%
12 2 47 36%
Rest 81 128 100%

Numbers: (July, 2005)
Month # Total Percent
1 15 15 15%
2 3 18 17%
3 10 28 27%
4 12 40 39%
5 2 42 42%
6 1 43 42%
7 5 48 47%
8 2 50 49%
9 3 53 51%
10 2 55 53%
11 3 58 56%
12 2 60 58%
Rest 43 103 100%

Numbers: (July, 2004)
Month # Total Percent
1 6 6 10%
2 5 11 19%
3 2 13 22%
4 3 16 27%
5 0 16 27%
6 0 16 27%
7 4 20 34%
8 0 20 34%
9 0 20 34%
10 1 21 36%
11 2 23 39%
12 2 25 42%
Rest 24 59 100%

The original metric I measured, Percent Actively Developing
Roguelikes, is clearly becoming meaningless as the natural churn of
roguelike development will send this number to zero. I am still
keeping it in the table for completeness. Interestingly, it is still
bouncing around the 40% mark - showing roguelikes are still in a
growing curve from the year-zero when I built the original data.

More interesting is the absolute number of touched roguelikes. 2006
seems to have been an anomaly as we've continued to see growth in this
area with 70 roguelikes updated in the last year.

This chart shows the number roguelikes touched in the last 6 months,
12 months, and the percentage the twelfth month number comprises of
the total number of roguelikes being tracked.

Year 6 12 % Total New
2004 16 25 27% 59 -
2005 43 60 42% 103 +44
2006 32 47 36% 128 +25
2007 50 66 40% 163 +35
2008 54 70 36% 197 +34

I think after five years we can start to say something meaningful
about these trends. 2008 saw similar patterns to 2007 - a lot of new
roguelikes but also a lot of old timers resurfacing to the top.

The absolute numbers are equally impressive - 70 projects saw another
point release in the last year. Of those, an astounding 54 were last
updated in the last six months. Roguelike creation, as measured by
roguelikes making it to this list, has tracked consistently at three
roguelikes per month for the last five years!
--
Jeff Lait
(POWDER: http://www.zincland.com/powder)

Ido Yehieli

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Jul 3, 2008, 2:24:56 AM7/3/08
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On Jul 3, 4:01 am, Jeff Lait <torespondisfut...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> It is now time for my fifth annual analysis of roguelike game
> development.  I shall first present some dubious statistics and then
> you shall complain that they don't accurately reflect roguelike
> development.

Please tell me you have an automated way of generating all this data?

BTW the "last released" date for cryptrover is not up to date (version
1.0 was released on May 7) - was is the best way to insure my entry in
the list is up to date?

Mario Donick

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Jul 3, 2008, 3:29:19 AM7/3/08
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Am Wed, 02 Jul 2008 19:01:23 -0700 schrieb Jeff Lait:

> The data for this comes from:
> http://thelist.roguelikedevelopment.org/ which I have been maintaining.

I would be happy if you considered to update the list with current
LambdaRogue data. It still shows 0.1.100pre1 from April 13th 2007, but
the last release was 0.3.1 from June 20th 2008. :-)

Besides this, good work ;)

Mario Donick

--
LambdaRogue -- http://donick.net/lr

Jeff Lait

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Jul 3, 2008, 10:11:31 AM7/3/08
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On Jul 3, 2:24 am, Ido Yehieli <Ido.Yehi...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jul 3, 4:01 am, Jeff Lait <torespondisfut...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> > It is now time for my fifth annual analysis of roguelike game
> > development. I shall first present some dubious statistics and then
> > you shall complain that they don't accurately reflect roguelike
> > development.
>
> Please tell me you have an automated way of generating all this data?

I wish :>

> BTW the "last released" date for cryptrover is not up to date (version
> 1.0 was released on May 7) - was is the best way to insure my entry in
> the list is up to date?

The best way is to make sure your website stays online. Then make
sure that the latest release is clearly marked as such. Then make
sure the *date* is provided for the latest release. Please always
make sure you provide the Year.

In the case of cryptRover, I didn't notice that the footer had the
date for 1.0 in it - I saw the 1.0 in the right bar and the
maintenance request in the main news section, but I guess my eyes are
too used to disregarding footers. I have to visit almost 200 websites
and parse them for release dates, so please excuse my failures at
reading :>

Jeff Lait

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Jul 3, 2008, 10:13:48 AM7/3/08
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On Jul 3, 3:29 am, Mario Donick <mario.don...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Am Wed, 02 Jul 2008 19:01:23 -0700 schrieb Jeff Lait:
>
> > The data for this comes from:
> >http://thelist.roguelikedevelopment.org/which I have been maintaining.

>
> I would be happy if you considered to update the list with current
> LambdaRogue data. It still shows 0.1.100pre1 from April 13th 2007, but
> the last release was 0.3.1 from June 20th 2008. :-)

Gah! I saw your releases on Roguetemple, but since you were in the
list already I figured I'd pick them up on my sweep. However, if you
look closely, you'll see the URL for LambadRogue on the list now goes
to some page-not-found address. I'm very sorry about that.
Especially as we'd get +1 actively developing roguelike out of the
change!

Mario Donick

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Jul 3, 2008, 10:36:38 AM7/3/08
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Am Thu, 03 Jul 2008 07:13:48 -0700 schrieb Jeff Lait:

> closely, you'll see the URL for LambadRogue on the list now goes to some
> page-not-found address. I'm very sorry about that. Especially as we'd
> get +1 actively developing roguelike out of the change!

Yeah, I changed the URL from donick.net/lambdarogue to donick.net/lr some
months ago, when I startet to enforce LR-development again.

--
LambdaRogue -- The Book of Stars (http://donick.net/lr)

ywg....@gmail.com

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Jul 3, 2008, 11:24:40 AM7/3/08
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On Jul 2, 9:01 pm, Jeff Lait <torespondisfut...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> The data for this comes from:http://thelist.roguelikedevelopment.org/
> which I have been maintaining.

Neat analysis, Jeff!

Checking out the list made me realize it's been nearly five years
since the last nethack release. I wonder why the devteam doesn't love
us anymore?


Jeff Lait

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Jul 3, 2008, 1:06:57 PM7/3/08
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The devteam is too busy playing Diablo III.

David Ploog

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Jul 4, 2008, 4:36:45 AM7/4/08
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On Thu, 3 Jul 2008 ywg....@gmail.com wrote:

[snip Jeff's list on roguelike development activity]

> Checking out the list made me realize it's been nearly five years
> since the last nethack release. I wonder why the devteam doesn't love
> us anymore?

This is just guesswork, but I feel these two facts are connected: certain
dinosaurs not being actively developed anymore (or lying dormant for some
while now) could lead to more roguelikes being written.

The genre itself is fascinating enough by itself, it seems. (And I would
not expect that to change soon.)

David

deej

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Jul 8, 2008, 11:04:42 AM7/8/08
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I see I haven't made the list yet, so I went ahead and made a horrid
little geocities account to host the .jar file for my project.

The devblog (with link to file) can be found here: http://quarkerdev.blogspot.com/

Andrew Doull

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Jul 19, 2008, 6:57:37 PM7/19/08
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On Jul 3, 5:29 pm, Mario Donick <mario.don...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Am Wed, 02 Jul 2008 19:01:23 -0700 schrieb Jeff Lait:
>
> > The data for this comes from:
> >http://thelist.roguelikedevelopment.org/which I have been maintaining.

>
> I would be happy if you considered to update the list with current
> LambdaRogue data.

While we're at it: NewAngband has been renamed Portralis and is a lot
more up to date.

See http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php?title=Portralis
for details.

You also appear to be missing the wonderfully named The Sewer Goblet:
The Wu-Tang Clan and the Wu-Tang Baby.

Also, what is your view on the exclusion of commercial roguelikes from
this analysis?

Thanks for the great work as always.

Andrew

Jeff Lait

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Jul 19, 2008, 8:24:21 PM7/19/08
to
On Jul 19, 6:57 pm, Andrew Doull <andrewdo...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jul 3, 5:29 pm, Mario Donick <mario.don...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Am Wed, 02 Jul 2008 19:01:23 -0700 schrieb Jeff Lait:
>
> > > The data for this comes from:
> > >http://thelist.roguelikedevelopment.org/whichI have been maintaining.

>
> > I would be happy if you considered to update the list with current
> > LambdaRogue data.
>
> While we're at it: NewAngband has been renamed Portralis and is a lot
> more up to date.

I thought I had caught that update, obviously not. Thank you for the
reminder.

> You also appear to be missing the wonderfully named The Sewer Goblet:
> The Wu-Tang Clan and the Wu-Tang Baby.

Thank you. I admit to selection bias in this - I'm not aggressively
looking for roguelikes like I should.

> Also, what is your view on the exclusion of commercial roguelikes from
> this analysis?

I'm agnostic. Likely not worth the effort, the number of commercial
roguelikes is small and tend not to be actively developed. When was
the last patch for Diablo II? I guess you could argue Hellgate
belongs on there, along with the recent DS contributions. They are
worse, however, as they only have a single release date.

Commercial roguelikes really only let us sample succcess, we never
hear about the true failures. The goal of this analysis is to answer
the question of whether roguelikes are disappearing. Before I ran
this for a few years, I did not myself understand the timescale of
roguelike dvelopment.

Mario Donick

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Jul 20, 2008, 8:38:26 AM7/20/08
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Jeff Lait schrieb:

> On Jul 19, 6:57 pm, Andrew Doull <andrewdo...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> Also, what is your view on the exclusion of commercial roguelikes from
>> this analysis?
>
> I'm agnostic. Likely not worth the effort, the number of commercial
> roguelikes is small and tend not to be actively developed. When was
> the last patch for Diablo II?

In June 2008. Patch 1.12 mainly removes the requirement for having the
game CD inserted while playing.


Mario Donick


--
LambdaRogue: The Book of Stars (http://lambdarogue.net)

Andrew Doull

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Jul 29, 2008, 5:07:07 PM7/29/08
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On Jul 20, 12:24 pm, Jeff Lait <torespondisfut...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> > You also appear to be missing the wonderfully named The Sewer Goblet:
> > The Wu-Tang Clan and the Wu-Tang Baby.
>
> Thank you.  I admit to selection bias in this - I'm not aggressively
> looking for roguelikes like I should.

There's usually good information about Roguelike releases on the
Temple
of the Roguelike and other sources - including TIGSource. I will admit
to
have about 200 RSS feeds that includes most of the roguelike coverage
so
maybe I'm more immersed than I should be.

The real deal of course is everyone should make sure that Rogue Basin
news is up to date.

Andrew

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