One week of development was about ten hours of work. It was
interesting to have deadlines. Obviously in one week I couldn't do
everything that I wanted (actually, I couldn't do much at all) so I
had to decide which things were most important and allocate my time
accordingly. I also needed a very clear idea of what the completed
game would be like, so I could match my progress to this eventual
I think DM is now at the point now where I could start adding
interesting things, if I wanted to... but of course I don't want to do
that. Dungeon Monkey is meant to be at that point in the development
cycle when a game has just enough playability for the author to start
innovating... and that's where it stops. It has often been said in
this newsgroup that before a roguelike aspires to any degree of
complexity, first the "@" must be able to walk around a map and
perform some rudimentary actions. Dungeon Monkey is my artist's
conception of that state.
I think I've learned some things while making Dungeon Monkey that will
be a great help when the time comes to start DeadCold v2. DM's program
structure is messy, but it roughly follows the structure I have
planned for DC2 and overall I think it works very well. One thing I've
learned is that doing a complete screen redraw with each refresh is a
very very convenient thing... I think DC2 will do this with Curses,
and I may try to convert GearHead for full-redraw-each-refresh
sometime as well.
I may use the Dungeon Monkey program to test various ideas I have. I'd
like to experiment with a multi-character roguelike; think about a
top-down tactical version of "Wizardry". With DM I could make a simple
multi-character test program just to develop a command interface and
see if the idea is fun or not; if it's fun it could be developed into
a full game, and if not it could be abandoned without having wasted
massive amounts of time on it.
Other potential experiments include various themed RLGs (I want to
experiment with techniques of atmosphere creation and storytelling), a
Japanese Console-RPG structured RLG (RL-style combat with
Console-style direction; innovative or just plain dumb?), a "mad
science in transylvania"-type RLG, and whatever else pops into my
- Joseph Hewitt
DeadCold > http://www.geocities.com/pyrrho12/programming/deadcold/index.html
GearHead > http://www.geocities.com/pyrrho12/programming/gearhead/index.html
To answer your questions:
1) Is it possible to build a playable RL skeleton in under
Dungeon Monkey was developed under a week, so the questions, is it a
roguelike skeleton? Looking at my own personal ad hoc definition:
Tactical Play: DM is definitely not twitch. It also definitely
rewards tactical play, in weapon selection, managing corridors, etc.
Based in Hack And Slash: Yep :>
Random Games: Each game I played had a different map & hence feel.
One didn't know going into a level where the fountain would be.
Perma Death: So complete is the death in Dungeon Monkey that one
doesn't even get a chance to contemplate the last sight - one is
ejected instantly to the desktop.
Complex interactions of properties: Nope. But this is clearly
something you can't have in a such a basic skeleton. The ability to
open and close doors is a step in this direction.
Steam rolling monsters: Mmm... Goblins.
Conclusion: Dungeon Master is definitely a roguelike skeleton, and
thus we can now conclude that it is possible to build a roguelike
skeleton in 7 days.
2) Will the resultant game actually be fun to play?
"Fun" is a notoriously hard thing to quantify. However, DM definitely
gets my vote as a "fun" game. (If going up stairs got you to your old
level, I'd be posting an ascension here :>) It's well balanced, the
inclusion of new monsters and items on each dungeon depth provides a
strong motivation to keep seeking. The vague references to a dragon
quest had me delving deep in search. Until I gave up and read the
source code :>
I think Dungeon Monkey should be held as an example of why one doesn't
need any fancy features to make roguelikes fun. Indeed, in response
to the "What minimal features do you need for a roguelike" thread, I'd
say that Dungeon Monkey does have sufficient features. I'm not sure
if they are all necessary (graphics, for example, could be asciified),
but they are sufficient.
- Jeff Lait