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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

A History of Rogue 240

blacklily8 writes "Gamasutra has published "The History of Rogue: Have @ You, You Deadly Zs." Despite only the most 'primitive' audiovisuals, Rogue has continued to excite gamers and programmers worldwide, and has been ported, enhanced, and forked now for over two decades. What is it about Wichman and Toy's old UNIX RPG that has sent so many gamers to their deaths in the Dungeons of Doom, desperately seeking the fabled Amulet of Yendor? This article covers the history of the game, including the Epyx failure to make a ton of cash selling it in 1983. It also goes into rogue-like culture and development."
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A History of Rogue

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  • Re:Imagination. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lorenzo.boccaccia ( 1263310 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @05:39AM (#27843289)
    here: [], and don't miss the Doom version here [] (yes, the mechanics are different and they're not a copypaste of the other one)
  • Modern version (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @06:04AM (#27843375)

    So as a young noob I quite like these old games, but I have to admit I prefer tilesets over text, can anybody recommend a gui frontend for rogue?
    Best I've found for nethack was a qtnethack* which really sucked in some areas, is there something similar for rogue? Hell is there something that can act as a frontend for both?

    *I know there if flacon's eye but I found it much harder to see whats going on in 3D

  • Multiplayer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mumb0.jumb0 ( 1419117 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @06:09AM (#27843391)
    I'm holding my breath for the day somebody develops a truly co-operatively multiplayer version. (No, sharing bones files/score tables doesn't count.) I know it will probably mean sacrificing turn-based play, but adding human interactivity into the already complex world(s) of Rogue will be amazing.
  • Re:Multiplayer (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @06:21AM (#27843427)

    I played MAngband for a while. It was fun

  • Re:Imagination. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whencanistop ( 1224156 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @06:29AM (#27843453) Homepage Journal
    I was trying to persuade the missus (yes really) that WoW was just really an extension of the rogue and Angband games I used to play but with the ability to play real time instead of turn based and actually play with/against real people.
    She looked at me blankly and claimed that she didn't know what Rogue and Angband were. When I showed her, she laughed and claimed that it was completely different because of the graphics.
    I maintain the similarities are there - certainly with the stats and so forth. But obviously it is a bit more advanced. As you'd expect in twenty years.

    I for one welcome our new @ symbol overlords.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @06:32AM (#27843461)

    From Dwarf Fortress:

    I wrestle a bear and put it in a headlock. Then I gouge it's eyes out.

    I am told: "The bear howls in agony. The bear pukes. The bear pukes. The bear faints in pain". All around me, the commas and dots turn red and green. On casual examination, each of the five fingers of each of my gloves is covered in bear puke.

  • Re:True , but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @07:04AM (#27843547)

    True, but on a MUD you need good builders. I've seen too many vanilla mobs that had great descriptions, but which were just walking bits of XP to the players because the builders didn't know how to make them fight in an interesting manner.

    And it's sad, too. Long ago, when I was a low-level admin on a very large, old MUD once, I went through and fixed so many mprogs, it was absurd. If you understand the mprogs, you can make mobs that actually work as a team, which can be deliberately weakened by use of player skills, and which amount to more than making sure the mobs health goes down faster than yours. If you don't, you wonder why having a mob do "kill $n" in a death trigger crashes the MUD (hint: the mob attempting to do the killing is about to get deleted) ...

    Good times, but never underestimate how much you need dedicated, technical people to be able to supply a game with immersion and interaction. Commercial games generally don't bother because this is both hard and expensive. I mean, commercial game companies are not going to patch the game a decade later so that Medusa can't be killed by her own gaze attack if you blinded her with a camera first...

  • Re:Multiplayer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FiveDozenWhales ( 1360717 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @07:11AM (#27843591)
    I'm working on a roguelike that's based on a wilderness map rather than a dungeon map--meaning you can move as far as you want in the four cardinal directions, but not up or down levels. It features regular roguelike play nearly all of the time, but if you come close to another player on the same server, it enters a timed mode that's more similar to Diablo, and lasts as long as the two players are nearby each other.
  • Still thriving (Score:4, Interesting)

    by soupforare ( 542403 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @07:40AM (#27843687)

    The DS is a roguelike gamers paradise at this point. I'm amazed how many commercial ones that are out there. You've got something for the hardcore [], the weeaboos [], the kids [] and the computer nerds []. The nethack port is worth the price of a flash cart alone. It's better than the wince/wm port!
    I know there's ones I've missed. There's also a ground-up game coded for the GBA and ported to the DS.

  • Re:True , but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pregister ( 443318 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @07:42AM (#27843697)

    The reason MUDs were more 'imaginative' was the level of detail that area creators could use. Text allows you to describe things to the limit of your writing abilities. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but not if the picture is designed to be rendered on legacy hardware and your selection of items to place in areas is limited by whats in the toolbox or what you can get the art department to design and add.

    MMO games are also limited by what kind of actions can be presented to the player in an intuitive, graphical fashion. When I first started writing areas for muds, creators could add new types of actions (in my flavor of muds, literally add_action("blah", function()); to add a "blah" verb. If you wanted a player to have to belch the Flintstones theme song in order to open a secret door, you could do so. This was great for creativity but ended up making a pretty bad game interface for the players because it wasn't a standardized system and the if 5 different creators added 'belch' it was likely a different syntax or usage in each area.

    This was changed in later versions of the codebase and we restricted the ability to add actions on the fly and the admin/developer types would add verbs and verb rules which were standardized across the MUD...the interface improved for players, but the creators were limited in what they could do...if you really wanted a new action type, you had to convince an admin type to implement the verb for you.

    On graphical MMO type games, your actions are limited by what you can see on the screen and what you can click on. Some games allow you to enter commands as text, but these are usually pretty limited in scope (e.g., /dance) and usually have only a cosmetic impact on the game. They could certainly design the game to use more text input but I'm pretty sure they've done some research on that and figured out most players wouldn't like it and they are trying to get the largest subscriber base. On MUDs, we were mostly just playing around with the code, making stuff we liked, and if the players liked it..hey, that was just great.

    The rogue-like games were in a middle zone. The actions were limited, but there were still a hell of a lot of them and the combination of actions and items added a lot of complexity that we're a long way from seeing in MMO type games.

  • ADOM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @07:47AM (#27843723)
    My favorite Rogue-like will always be Ancient Domains of Mystery []. The control system is so much better than Nethack.
  • Re:Imagination. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fictionpuss ( 1136565 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @08:16AM (#27843871)

    Well if you prefer your ascii graphics rendered a bit more fancifully, there's always the opengl/smooth-scrolling ascii GoblinHack [].

  • Re:Imagination. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zwei2stein ( 782480 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @08:20AM (#27843915) Homepage

    Diablo is, of course, simplified because of visuals versus verbosity conflict. But it still retains core - Randomized adventure, dungeon discovery. atmosphere.

    There is nothing bad at throwing out kitchen sink and doing spring cleaning. Away with steep learning curve, leave core of game.

    Problem solving, for example - typical problem solving in RL basically consists of having the luck of having right item in inventory. (and remembering to pray if everything else fails) There are gonna be lots of nuances, obscure mechanics that can be abused, lots of different options to dealing with something. But it all can be condesned to "was i lucky enough to have x in backpack?". Might as well just simplify it. For example, condesate all the "equipment rusting/melting/breaking" events to simple durability loss, or all the harm character in interesting way effects to health loss, etc ...

    Discovery another - in heart, discovery in roguelikes is as shallow as in Diablos - just uncover level to find enemies/loot, proceed to next level. But it works.

    Depth of roguelike is in player imagination, rich enviroment that adds event to trigger more imagination (meeting rust monster beating it with wooden sword), its not just that enviroment alone - without player imagination it is just pointlessly overcomplicated dungeon crawl slash roulette.

  • Re:Imagination. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @08:34AM (#27844029) Homepage
    What annoys me is that as a mage in WoW, I can pelt someone with a frostbolt and then a fireblast, and both do full damage. They should be going "owowowow cold... *BOOM* aaah waaaarm yay" and not take much if any damage. Also magic going 'magically' *ahem* through armour. I want to see armour absorb a goodly part of a spell and convert it to a DoT ("Your breastplate of shininess absorbs 50% of the dragon's breath. On the other hand it's now very hot, and you take 200 damage every round for the next 3 rounds because your armour is burning you."
  • Re:Imagination. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:11AM (#27844437) Homepage

    WoW is deeply immersed in the old text games, but also in the old text Internet. In some real ways it's a graphical IRC client with a game bolted on. You ccould essentially play the whole thing with /command type syntax if you could type fast enough (and remember the commands).

  • Re:True , but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ahsile ( 187881 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:20AM (#27844525) Homepage Journal

    We banned death progs... for just such a reason. You could have them if the admins tested and approved them.

    I remember once as a junior immortal I was building an area, and set one of my mobs to load some weapons from a different area since I hadn't built any of my own yet. I managed to send the mud into a huge death spiral the next reboot as my area was loaded before the other area. That meant that I was trying to load objects which didn't exist yet... *kaboom*

    I continued to be an immortal there for a long long time, and eventually graduated to be a coder. It's been a while, but I still fire up the code at times and walk through the areas. The imagination some of our builders had was amazing! New games pale in comparison.

    I'm going to turn it on right now for some fun. []
    telnet:// []

  • Re:True , but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:25AM (#27844581) Homepage

    Actually you can perform any action in the game using a /command sequence in WoW. It's primarily used for scripting, as it would be insanely difficult to play that way, but in theory you could fight a battle with "/target Kobold, /attack target, /cast fireball target, /cast frostnova..." I don't know about moving though. You may have to do that with the actual movement keys. Not that this invalidates you point, you still can't add actions or change their affects, but it is interesting to note.

  • Re:Imagination. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:29AM (#27844639) Homepage Journal

    Rogue/Nethack/etc. have perma-death.

    I love perma-death.

    WoW gets boring because you level up to a certain point and "then what?"

    Perma-death is awesome, and too few games utilize it.

  • Re:Rogomatic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xororand ( 860319 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:42AM (#27844797)

    For NetHack, there's the TAEB - Tactical Amulet Extraction Bot. It's a framework for developing NetHack AIs, written in Perl. Its development still seems to be going strong but it hasn't managed to ascend a game yet, which is not an easy accomplishment for an AI.

    Sartak, a TAEB author, recently managed to predict NetHack's PRNG to acquire infinite wishes from fountains. This is considered an exploit of course, and has since been patched on public NetHack servers. Still, pretty impressive :)

    I think there's a Twitter feed with TAEB's game progress somewhere, but I don't have the link. []

  • Re:Imagination. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by juuri ( 7678 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @10:03AM (#27845077) Homepage

    Frees up a lot of resources?

    These days the cpu/memory used by the likes of nethack are somewhat laughable. However when nethack was *the game* to run on college unix workstations it wasn't that far behind emacs in being forbidden on many campuses simply because of the cpu and memory gobbled up. Since each instance was completely separate, a few students playing at the same time could cripple your average sun server (SunOS forever). Nethack compiles were also notorious for taking nearly as long as building your own copy of X.

  • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:19PM (#27847103) Homepage

    The first version of Rogue that was widely circulated became quite a time sink for a lot of people at Caltech. This version was considerably harder than subsequent versions. It was extremely rare for anyone to actually win the game, by getting down deep, getting the Amulet of Yendor, and making it out alive.

    One undergraduate, however, had no trouble beating it. Within a couple days of his starting playing, he had all the spots on the top score list, and all of them were total winners.

    He then stopped playing, except when anyone else dared to take a spot on the top score list. Then he'd come to computing center, sit down, and 30 minutes later, the interloper would be pushed off the list.

    Naturally, we all wondered how the hell this guy was so much better than the rest of us (and, based on what our contacts at other schools told us, better than anyone at their schools, too). He didn't do anything to hide when playing--he didn't play in an office with a private terminal. He played right out in the main terminal room, where anyone who wanted could stand behind and watch.

    As far as anyone could see, he didn't do anything significantly different than the rest of us, other than he died a lot less than we did.

    Finally, he told us the secret, and we all learned an important lesson. There was no big secret--he just made every little decision correctly. For example, if he had to explore a dark room, he did it in the minimum number of steps necessary. The rest of us would use the "run until you hit something" funciton and sweep the room, which made us step on more locations, which made us have a higher chance of springing a trap.

    Traps usually weren't fatal. They just put you down a few hit points for a little while. But in that little while, a monster that he would barely survive, we would barely lose to.

    After he got the Amulet and was on the way up, he would only step on locations he'd already stepped on while descending, and so he NEVER sprang a trap on the way up.

    He knew the odds of everything (based on observation while playing, not based on looking at the code), and would use potions or scrolls at the time when they had the maximum expected utility.

    He did this for EVERY decision point in the game. He made the decision that, based on all the data available at the time, was the best decision.

    None of the things I listed above, or any of the other things he did perfectly that the rest of us only did 99% perfectly would make a noticeable difference by themselves. But put them all together, and all our tiny mistakes added up to losing for us, and the lack of any mistakes added up to winning for him.

  • Re:Imagination. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @09:07PM (#27854155)

    Diablo II has a 'hardcore' mode where you lose your character on death. It was a bit terrible when lag or another player would kill you, but otherwise it was more interesting a mode. You'd need to REALLY work on strategy and trust to obtain the higher levels. There's a rush when you almost die! In the end, I ended up quitting D2 five times or so.

VMS must die!