Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Episode 20: Cataclysm

Welcome to episode 20 of Roguelike Radio. This week we discuss Cataclysm, a post-apocalyptic roguelike with a large open world. Talking this episode are Darren Grey, Ido Yehieli, Eronarn, Joshua Day and Cataclysm's developer Zachary Jenkins (aka Whales).

The mp3 of the podcast can be downloaded here, played in the embedded player below, or you can follow us on iTunes.

Discussion covered this week includes:
- Inspirations for the game
- Post-apocalyptic settings in roguelikes
- Shared environment on the server and interaction between players in a single-player game (aka "massively single player")
- Realism vs gameplay
- Alternatives to killing monsters for xp
- Companion AI that is intelligent
- Mods for the game made by users
- Future plans for the game

If you want to play (and I do recommend it) you can find details on how to connect to the ssh server on the game's RogueBasin page.

Join us next week for a general discussion of procedural content in roguelikes.


  1. I really like the way the developer plans to continue developing the game. I may actually have to give this game a try.

  2. I will play this...

    After I compulsively read all of the Bay12 forum thread for it. Also since I seem to be lets playing everything I play now a days I will probably do that to...

    At this rate with having done Tome4 already and now probably doing this my YouTube channel will end up being let's play what roguelike radio reviewed...

  3. Excellent episode! I checked out Cataclysm and it was certainly well worth the feature. The discussion is always outstanding as well, and I have come to look forward to the podcast each week. Don't. Ever. Stop.

  4. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, Dungeons of Dredmor, Triangle Wizard ... Tutorials? In my roguelike? It's more likely than you think!

    You know, it occurs to me that you could design a game with unbounded vertical exploration as well. I know there are already some roguelikes with infinite dungeons, but they tend to go straight down with standard level generation. If you mixed that with a more varied and natural level generator, allowed the dungeons to split into occasionally interconnecting branches on a 3D map, throw in some buried ruins and friendly cave-dwelling beast tribes ...

    Honestly, at first Cataclysm didn't sound that exciting - I'd rather play something faster paced and NPC-packed like Rogue Survivor - but then you had me at "primed mini-nuke". :o It seems to me that a single player game in a shared world would normally just add annoyances without any of the possible multiplayer benefit over a pure single player world, but in a post-apocolyptic roguelike those annoyances and ongoing intelligient, even sometimes malicious, world changes are EXACTLY what is needed to perfect the setting beyond what a procedural generator could ever hope for. This is like the one exact time that the semi-multiplayer design actually works! This is so going on my playing list. :)

  5. What's up with the softball question about UI? Cataclysm is a great game stuck behind a UI that inherited most of the worst features of Nethack's UI (I'm wearing out my shift keys) and disposed of the few good ones (should I really have to specify that I want to shoot the wood arrows not the carbon fiber arrows every time? No 'Q' for quiver?).
    While I know you need to be polite to the developers, it would have been good to see you put the screws to him a bit more for plans to improve the UI on this otherwise awesome game.

  6. The quiver thing is because unlike a bow, guns load differently. This is a lot simpler way to realistically represent it or would you really like to have to load your magazines one bullet at a time? The quiver commands is exactly what it says it is, IE a quiver which is something you wear and allows you to pull your arrows out however you like and you just can't do that with guns.

  7. The same problem exists with small clip guns. I fire 8 shots and then have to reselect the type of ammo I want to reload with.