Monday, September 5, 2011

Episode 2: Desktop Dungeons

Thank you for joining us for the second of hopefully many episodes of Roguelike Radio. This week we have Andrew Doull, Scott Edgar, and Erez Ben-Aharon talking about the game Desktop Dungeons, a game that had a successful free alpha release and is now being developed as a commercial game. Access to the beta as well as the finished commercial released can be bought for 10 US dollars, or the alpha version can be downloaded for free off of the developer's website.
The mp3 download of the podcast can be downloaded here, can be played in the embedded player below, or you can follow us on iTunes.

Topics covered this week:
-Is Desktop Dungeons really a roguelike?
-What is a roguelike?
-And, oddly enough, a little bit of discussion about desktop dungeons itself. (in retrospect less than we originally intended)

Infinite caves, Infinite stories.

The Berlin interpretation.

Sorry for the delay in posting, we are still working out some of the kinks in the process.


  1. The link for The Berlin Interpretation is the same as Infinite caves, Infinite stories.

  2. Good catch, it is now the correct link.

  3. Good show guys, Desktop Dungeons is pretty much the definition of the roguelike-like. Desktop Dungeons has come full circle in a sense with Dungeon Sprint mode being added to DC:SS.

  4. Any thought on next week's topic?

  5. say, where else are you guys online? I subscribe to Andrew's blog's RSS, but where are Scott and Erez? :)

  6. I just came across this podcast.

    What is a roguelike is a question that could be expanded upon.

    Is there a difference between an RPG game and a graphical Roguelike?

    Can you have a Roguelike game which is not an RPG?

    Can you have a Roguelike game which has no dungeons?

    To me, a Roguelike is not an RPG. It may *also* be an RPG, and the genre did start off there, but it need not be exclusively a subgenre of the RPG.

    Coffee-break Roguelikes, in particular, frequently are only loosely RPGs. I consider BSD Robots to be the first Coffee-break Roguelike, and it most definitely is not an RPG.

    The classic game of Omega had significant amounts of gameplay which did *not* rely upon dungeons at *all*. It is a classic Roguelike game which had end-scenarios which did not require use of a dungeon.

    To me, graphical RPG games simply don't qualify as a Roguelike game. But then, the thing I value most about Roguelike games are the clean, easily recognizable abstractions of the monsters and objects. I never need to guess what a particular color a jacket happens to be and I never have to guess the shape of a head. More importantly I can see a vast part of the map.

    In particular:

    A graphical RPG screen needs a minimap.

    A Roguelike screen *is* a minimap, but one enlarged to show sufficient distinction that you don't need anything more.

  7. I agree that Roguelikes don't have to be RPGs. They don't have to be abstract either - there's plenty of examples of graphical roguelikes, some of whcih rely on minimaps for exploration. The key features that most people will agree on are procedural content (random levels, randomly placed items and monsters) and permadeath (no reloading from saves). These two combined produce an addictive and replayable game. There are many other common features too, but no distinct list of must-haves beyond random generation and permadeath (and even with those there are grey areas).

    Ultimately I'd say a game's roguelikeness is in the eye of the beholder. And by that I mean the person playing the game, not those weird DnD eyeball things...

  8. It's much kinder to the game (Desktop Dungeons) to classify it as a puzzle game. If I classify it as a rogue-like, then I have to criticize the ultra-limited list of "items" to find, and I also have to wonder why the "mobs" aren't moving. Both of those things make perfect sense when I assure myself that I'm playing a puzzle game.

  9. I can never really take anybody seriously who uses the word 'roguelikelike' - mostly because I immediately think of ugly, shield-eating tubes ... but also because how much like rogue any given game is is clearly a sliding scale rather than a binary classification. Unlike some obvious genres (FPSs) I don't think there is *any* single vital element that makes a roguelike, save for perhaps a vague feeling of how it plays.

    Legerdemain, for example, has both save points and entirely (beautiful) hand-designed areas, yet otherwise plays like a roguelike all the way down to an ID minigame. Desktop Dungeons uses a good handful of roguelike mechanics but comes across more as variable puzzler.

    Drawing an exact line to decide which bundle of shared elements counts as a 'real' roguelike or not isn't going to achieve anything but discouraging creative and fun hybrids like the above.

  10. This might not have been a great review of Desktop Dungeons, but it IS a great discussion of what sort of things goes into a roguelike and what sort of things might not, as well as illuminating a bit about how hard it truly is to narrow down those factors. Well done :)

  11. Really good discussion here. This was posted a while ago, but the discussion about what can be considered a roguelike is more important than ever.

    There are a ton of games coming out boasting the roguelike genre, but I think that they implement some of the mechanics, yet don't quite make the cut for being a roguelike.

    Good episode.