Failure rates of Roguelike Games

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Jeff Lait

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Jul 1, 2007, 9:30:13 PM7/1/07
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It is now time for my fourth 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 three 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 000000000111111111122222222223333333333444>+35
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 35 such
roguelikes being tracked.

The peaks at 4, 16, and 28 month marks are due to the 7DRL contests.
There is no peak for the October contest, I think, because most of the
successful contestents continued to provide bug fixes that spread
their releases out over time.

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

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%

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

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 rather suspicious as with the natural birth/death cycle
one expects this to go to zero with a steady production of roguelikes.
I am still keeping it in the table for completeness. Interestingly,
it is still not tending to zero - 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. It
seems last year's low number was a bit of an anomoly as things have
perked up this year with 66 roguelikes being updated in the last year.

This chart shows the number roguelikes touched in the last 6 months,
12 months, and the percentage the six 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

By these numbers, it has been a great year for roguelikes. We have
seen the % active jump up to 40%. This is not just due to new
roguelike creation, but is also due to a lot of roguelikes surfacing
from the bottom of the list. After the first year, I had commented
that roguelikes have a slower development cycle than people give them
credit for. This is underlined once more as we see the tenacity of
roguelike developers.

The absolute numbers are equally impressive - 66 projects saw another
point release in the last year. Of those, an astounding 50 were last
updated in the last six months.
--
Jeff Lait
(POWDER: http://www.zincland.com/powder)

zircher

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Jul 2, 2007, 11:01:50 AM7/2/07
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Jeff Lait wrote:
>
> The absolute numbers are equally impressive - 66 projects saw another
> point release in the last year. Of those, an astounding 50 were last
> updated in the last six months.

What's kind of interesting to me is the effect winter and summer have
on releases.
--
TAZ

andrewdoull

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Jul 3, 2007, 5:22:27 AM7/3/07
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You're assuming a northern hemisphere based winter and summer. I know of at
least one other antipodean developer.

Andrew
--
The Roflwtfzomgbbq Quylthulg summons L33t Paladins -more-
http://unangband.berlios.de http://roguelikedeveloper.blogspot.com

Slash

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Jul 3, 2007, 8:50:47 AM7/3/07
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On Jul 1, 8:30 pm, Jeff Lait <torespondisfut...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> It is now time for my fourth 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.
SNIP

>
> The absolute numbers are equally impressive - 66 projects saw another
> point release in the last year. Of those, an astounding 50 were last
> updated in the last six months.

>From http://www.roguetemple.com/2007/07/01/failure-rates-of-roguelike-games/#comments,
in reply to my post

"If the roguelike genre is 'more alive than ever', why is community
traffic in forums and so on so dismally slow?

It seems like the activity level of rl developers is disproportionate
to the number of people actually who actually still play them"

What do you think? I think sometimes I am overoptimistic about this
genre... but in my opinion, if there is a good stream of development,
it is very likely the players base will grow.

This is however impossible if we dont have players promoting our
games, a task all developers must also do.

Also, I reckon some people here don't care about popularity or the
genre becoming known. I say it is ok to be a niche genre, but the
bigger the better :D

--
Slash (Castlevania, Drash, Metroid and Zelda Roguelikes)
The Villa of Darkness: [http://www.santiagoz.com/web]
Temple of The Roguelike: [http://www.roguetemple.com]

Jeff Lait

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Jul 3, 2007, 10:24:54 AM7/3/07
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On Jul 3, 8:50 am, Slash <java.ko...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jul 1, 8:30 pm, Jeff Lait <torespondisfut...@hotmail.com> wrote:> It is now time for my fourth 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.
>
> SNIP
>
> > The absolute numbers are equally impressive - 66 projects saw another
> > point release in the last year. Of those, an astounding 50 were last
> > updated in the last six months.
>
> From http://www.roguetemple.com/2007/07/01/failure-rates-of-roguelike-game...,

>
> in reply to my post
>
> "If the roguelike genre is 'more alive than ever', why is community
> traffic in forums and so on so dismally slow?

A comparison of a relative metric with an absolute one. The correct
question would be to ask if the community traffic in forums has been
increasing or decreasing over time. Looking at
rec.games.roguelike.misc, chosen due to the convenient google records,
it certainly doesn't look like things are petering out. Indeed, the
time cry wolf would have been back in 2000 when there were only double
digit post counts each month.


> It seems like the activity level of rl developers is disproportionate
> to the number of people actually who actually still play them"

What constitutes disproportionate?

Clearly, if there are more developers than players, it would be
disproportionate. This is most certainly not the case.

What is an acceptable developer/player ratio? 1:10? 1:100? 1:1000?

> What do you think? I think sometimes I am overoptimistic about this
> genre... but in my opinion, if there is a good stream of development,
> it is very likely the players base will grow.

I tend to be over pessimistic, which is why I started tracking the
development.

At least I have moved the debate from people moaning "Why are there no
roguelike games being made?" to "Why isn't anyone playing these
games?"

> Also, I reckon some people here don't care about popularity or the
> genre becoming known. I say it is ok to be a niche genre, but the
> bigger the better :D

I care about popularity and wish the genre to be known. However, I do
not wish to become fixated on popularity. That way leads unhappiness.

Krice

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Jul 3, 2007, 1:11:08 PM7/3/07
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On Jul 3, 5:24 pm, Jeff Lait <torespondisfut...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> "Why isn't anyone playing these games?"

Don't you realize that? It's because 7DRLs are not real
roguelikes. We need more and soon. It's sad to say, but
I think the next big thing will be Jade or new radical
update to Nethack (you can always wish for that..)

R. Dan Henry

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Jul 3, 2007, 2:17:47 PM7/3/07
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On Tue, 03 Jul 2007 14:24:54 -0000, Jeff Lait
<torespon...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>At least I have moved the debate from people moaning "Why are there no
>roguelike games being made?" to "Why isn't anyone playing these
>games?"

Or in one case, "Why are they all overly-simple, poorly-programmed,
not-really-roguelikes?" :-)

--
R. Dan Henry = danh...@inreach.com
If you wish to put anything I post on your website,
please be polite enough to ask first.

Slash

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Jul 3, 2007, 4:40:44 PM7/3/07
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On Jul 3, 9:24 am, Jeff Lait <torespondisfut...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> On Jul 3, 8:50 am, Slash <java.ko...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> > On Jul 1, 8:30 pm, Jeff Lait <torespondisfut...@hotmail.com> wrote:> It is now time for my fourth 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.
>
> > SNIP
>
> > > The absolute numbers are equally impressive - 66 projects saw another
> > > point release in the last year. Of those, an astounding 50 were last
> > > updated in the last six months.
>
> > Fromhttp://www.roguetemple.com/2007/07/01/failure-rates-of-roguelike-game...,

>
> > in reply to my post
>
> > "If the roguelike genre is 'more alive than ever', why is community
> > traffic in forums and so on so dismally slow?
>
> A comparison of a relative metric with an absolute one. The correct
> question would be to ask if the community traffic in forums has been
> increasing or decreasing over time. Looking at
> rec.games.roguelike.misc, chosen due to the convenient google records,
> it certainly doesn't look like things are petering out. Indeed, the
> time cry wolf would have been back in 2000 when there were only double
> digit post counts each month.
>
> > It seems like the activity level of rl developers is disproportionate
> > to the number of people actually who actually still play them"
>
> What constitutes disproportionate?
>
> Clearly, if there are more developers than players, it would be
> disproportionate. This is most certainly not the case.
>
> What is an acceptable developer/player ratio? 1:10? 1:100? 1:1000?

Perhaps using download counter as metrics? perhaps 80% of the
downloads can be accounted as "unique"?

This acounts for the latest versions, as they are much more likely to
be currently played

If so...

DoomRL 1:2500
CastlevaniaRL 1:1600
Warp Rogue 1:1000
GearHead2 1:1000
AliensRL 1:1000
ZeldaRL 1:500
DrashRL 1:500

These numbers off course, include people that download and run the
game once or twice (do they count as "players"?) being the optimistic
fellow I am, I will suppose at least one on five persons gets
interested and "plays" the game in a semi-regular basis. So we get

DoomRL 1:500
CastlevaniaRL 1:320
Warp Rogue 1:200
GearHead2 1:200
AliensRL 1:200
ZeldaRL 1:100
DrashRL 1:100

Off course, all these are not REAL roguelikes, the fact that they are
being played by more than one hundred people implies nothing.

All these numbers are roughly estimated, I wish I could have taken
stats from another representative projects, like POWDER, let alone
Tome and ADOM, which could have provided much more info. Any
objections on the stats are accepted.

If all devs could give numbers about their games, we could make a much
better thought stat :) we still need to measure the size of the
roguelike world.

SNIP

--
Slash

Andrew Sidwell

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Jul 3, 2007, 8:17:10 PM7/3/07
to
Slash wrote:
> If all devs could give numbers about their games, we could make a much
> better thought stat :) we still need to measure the size of the
> roguelike world.

Angband 3.0.7s3, an unofficial beta release, was downloaded 1026 times,
but I'd knock that down to about 750 when accounting for the same IP
address fetching things more than once. Around 65% of those downloads
were for Windows, 15% for Mac OS X; the rest were source-only (who I
generally assume are Unix users).

150 people have signed up to the new Angband forum; and whenever I look,
there are a decent number of guests browsing (somewhere above ten). I
have no stats on unique posters to the r.g.r.a, but that might also be a
useful metric.

However, given that the Angband community and the general-roguelike
community don't seem to overlap much, these stats may not be so useful.

--
Andrew Sidwell
http://rephial.org/ -- the home of Angband

My email address changes monthly, and is the first three letters of the
month (in English), followed by the last two digits of the current year,
@entai.co.uk.

R. Dan Henry

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Jul 4, 2007, 11:36:38 AM7/4/07
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On Tue, 03 Jul 2007 20:40:44 -0000, Slash <java....@gmail.com> wrote:

>If all devs could give numbers about their games, we could make a much
>better thought stat :) we still need to measure the size of the
>roguelike world.

I contribute about 198 pounds. However, I am trying to reduce that.

Arakon

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Jul 6, 2007, 12:37:20 PM7/6/07
to
On Jul 1, 8:30 pm, Jeff Lait <torespondisfut...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> It is now time for my fourth 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.
>

On the topic of player counts..

I introduced several friends to TOME several years back, and several
became rather addicted. One in particular introduced his nephews (mid
teens at the time) to it, and even though they grew up with the flashy
graphics of consoles, they found a lot of interest in it. They
weren't the type to be browsing and posting newsgroups or forum, and
passed the game around via a burned CD. They apprciated the depth of
the gameplay compared to Diablo (which is fun at times, and is not
intended as an insult).

Jeff Lait

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Jul 7, 2007, 12:11:46 AM7/7/07
to
On Jul 3, 4:40 pm, Slash <java.ko...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Perhaps using download counter as metrics? perhaps 80% of the
> downloads can be accounted as "unique"?

Download is difficult too. POWDER, I know, is mirrored in locations
that I can't track. However, I can give the zincland.com statistics.

> This acounts for the latest versions, as they are much more likely to
> be currently played

The next-to-latest POWDER version is 085. I think I can get a good
handle on this number as I can record from release until when 086 came
out. The total number is thus those users that are either new to 085
or upgraded to 085 in the month and a half it was the most recent.

> If so...
>
> DoomRL 1:2500
> CastlevaniaRL 1:1600
> Warp Rogue 1:1000
> GearHead2 1:1000
> AliensRL 1:1000
> ZeldaRL 1:500
> DrashRL 1:500

POWDER: 1:681

> These numbers off course, include people that download and run the
> game once or twice (do they count as "players"?) being the optimistic
> fellow I am, I will suppose at least one on five persons gets
> interested and "plays" the game in a semi-regular basis. So we get
>
> DoomRL 1:500
> CastlevaniaRL 1:320
> Warp Rogue 1:200
> GearHead2 1:200
> AliensRL 1:200
> ZeldaRL 1:100
> DrashRL 1:100

I think 1 in 5 is optimistic for total downloads. I suspect my POWDER
numbers are better than 1 in 5, however, as the frequent new versions
means that it is likely rich in upgraders. However, by this logic we
have:

POWDER: 1:136

> All these numbers are roughly estimated, I wish I could have taken
> stats from another representative projects, like POWDER, let alone
> Tome and ADOM, which could have provided much more info. Any
> objections on the stats are accepted.

Well, you have a data point for POWDER now :>

> If all devs could give numbers about their games, we could make a much
> better thought stat :) we still need to measure the size of the
> roguelike world.

A bit more relevant might be the platform skew:

DS: 362
Win: 160
GBA: 107
Linux: 52

POWDER clearly has a very strong handheld skew :>

Linux did very well in 085. Last time I compared, it was at a 10:1
disadvantage to Windows rather than a mere 3:1 disadvantage.

DarkGod

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Jul 7, 2007, 7:16:35 AM7/7/07
to
> All these numbers are roughly estimated, I wish I could have taken
> stats from another representative projects, like POWDER, let alone
> Tome and ADOM, which could have provided much more info. Any
> objections on the stats are accepted.

I made some quick'n'dirty stats for ToME.
Since the last release of a stable version(october 2006) there has been
22727 downloads of ToME 2.2 and 2.3 (I'm not counting specific versions
because I still get a lot of downloads on slightly older version,
probably due to hard links on gaming sites).

Over the same period there have been 8342 downloads of various modules
(for ToME2 and 3, I cannot easily separate them in the stats).

On a funny note, http://t-o-m-e.net/ now gets 41.1% firefox and
only 37.7% IE while Windows is still 75%. Go firefox!

Jude H

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Jul 8, 2007, 5:38:25 AM7/8/07
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DarkGod <dar...@t-o-dont.frelling.spam.me-m-e.net> wrote:
> Since the last release of a stable version(october 2006) there has been
> 22727 downloads of ToME 2.2 and 2.3 (I'm not counting specific versions
> because I still get a lot of downloads on slightly older version,
> probably due to hard links on gaming sites).

I wonder if there's any way to get the download stats for packages
in .deb and .rpm repositories. ToME 2.3.4 is available in the Stable
Debian repository, so that's where I'd get it if I were downloading it.

It'd be interesting to know whether this alters the statistics much.

--
--jude hungerford.

Chris Morris

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Jul 8, 2007, 5:41:39 AM7/8/07
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Jude H <ju...@doesnotexist.invalid> writes:
> DarkGod <dar...@t-o-dont.frelling.spam.me-m-e.net> wrote:
> > Since the last release of a stable version(october 2006) there has been
> > 22727 downloads of ToME 2.2 and 2.3 (I'm not counting specific versions
> > because I still get a lot of downloads on slightly older version,
> > probably due to hard links on gaming sites).
>
> I wonder if there's any way to get the download stats for packages
> in .deb and .rpm repositories. ToME 2.3.4 is available in the Stable
> Debian repository, so that's where I'd get it if I were downloading it.

http://popcon.debian.org/
and since Ubuntu contains most of the Debian packages largely
untouched, you'll also probably want to add on
http://popcon.ubuntu.com/

It's not quite download statistics, since someone who installs and
then uninstalls a package won't show up at all (though the Debian one
has graphs of historical data).

--
Chris

DarkGod

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Jul 8, 2007, 6:08:43 AM7/8/07
to

Yes good question indeed, it is on quite a few distribs actually

Sherm Pendley

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Jul 8, 2007, 5:03:40 PM7/8/07
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Chris Morris <c.i.m...@durham.ac.uk> writes:

It's also optional - when you install Debian (which I happened to do less
than a week ago) you're asked if you want to participate in the package
popularity contest.

sherm--

--
Web Hosting by West Virginians, for West Virginians: http://wv-www.net
Cocoa programming in Perl: http://camelbones.sourceforge.net

gobli...@gmail.com

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Aug 2, 2007, 11:37:32 AM8/2/07
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On Jul 8, 4:03 pm, Sherm Pendley <spamt...@dot-app.org> wrote:
> Chris Morris <c.i.mor...@durham.ac.uk> writes:
> > Jude H <j...@doesnotexist.invalid> writes:

Hey no-one had goblin hack on the list - sniff 8)
sourceforge.goblinhack.net

it's an opengl ascii roguelike game

Neil

Corremn

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Aug 2, 2007, 8:14:27 PM8/2/07
to
> Neil- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

or try http://goblinhack.sourceforge.net/

Havent tried it but the screen shot looked, err, insane.

Timofei Shatrov

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Aug 3, 2007, 2:01:26 AM8/3/07
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On Thu, 02 Aug 2007 17:14:27 -0700, Corremn <cor...@dodo.com.au> tried to
confuse everyone with this message:


>
>or try http://goblinhack.sourceforge.net/
>
>Havent tried it but the screen shot looked, err, insane.
>

The game IS insane. Some monsters are horribly unbalanced and kill you very
fast, but it's also kind of fun.

--
|Don't believe this - you're not worthless ,gr---------.ru
|It's us against millions and we can't take them all... | ue il |
|But we can take them on! | @ma |
| (A Wilhelm Scream - The Rip) |______________|

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