Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Episode 86: How to Make a Unique 7DRL

This is episode 86 of Roguelike Radio, where we talk about How to Make a Unique 7DRL, with Darren Grey, Eben Howard and Aaron Steed. 

You can download the mp3 of the podcast, play it in the embedded player below, or you can follow us on iTunes.

Topics discussed:
 - The 10th Seven Day Roguelike Challenge! Wooo!
 - The value of unique and experimental roguelikes
 - EmoSquid, Eben's properly 3D grid-based turn-based 2011 7DRL
 - Games using gravity or other multi-turn effects which impact on gameplay. Especially side-scrolling turn-based platformers Bump!, Earl Spork, Fuel, Backwards Gravity, which an area ripe for further exploration.
 - Changing environment and live action / interactive procedural generation, such as in Unstoppable (a 4DRL by Darren)
 - Unity for 7DRLs - will we see more this year? (e-mail Darren if you want a 1-month Unity Pro key!)
 - Novel combat like Fisticuffmanship and DDRogue, requiring you to consider terrain and positioning or chains of moves, or Magicko which had a novel spell system
 - Avoiding RPG tropes like items
 - Considering interface and novel ways to control the game (Crypt of the Necrodancer, anyone?)
 - Using common code and libraries for the normal stuff, hacking uniqueness in where you need - don't reinvent everything
 - Fewer items/abilities with more central changes each instead of lots of junky stuff that make little difference - eg, Hoplite
 - Or just ignore that rule and make an awesome detailed game like 86856527 or PrincessRL
 - Find a helpful tester on #rgrd IRDC channel near the end of the week, just to check it works on other people's machines and the game isn't immediately obtuse
 - Concentrating on single mechanics of the genre - eg. Toby the Trapper, where you can only kill with traps, or Mad Mage, which is centred on item identification
 - Don't make it multiplayer unless you really know what you're doing - you could end up ruining a good singleplayer game!
 - Taking inspiration from board games (as per our board games episode!)
 - Combining with other genres, like sports games or side-scrolling beat-em-ups
 - Adding procedural sounds or graphics or story or other interesting and unique procedural content
 - Use for making sounds to your game
 - Updates on what everyone's planning for the week
 - Having a unique name!
 - A unique theme helps too - urban, hacker and post-apocalyptic are all surprisingly underused. Conception managed to stand out with its theme last year...
 - Join the 7DRL mailing list for news and updates!

Join us next time on Roguelike Radio as we deliver our promised Angband dev team interview. And good luck with the 7DRL week - we're sure to feature some of the highlights later in the month!


  1. Have a sweet name! Have a sweet gimmick and run with it!

  2. Don't do a MMORL? Are you guys suggesting that Twitch Plays Nethack would be a poor choice for a 7drl ;) (That's a joke. Dear god that's a joke. That would be horrible.)

    1. Twitch Plays oh, dead already?

    2. Could maybe do PrincessRL or You Only Live Once...

  3. I find it disturbing, that for a modern gamer there only exist two states of 3D-ness : Crysis and Minecraft's lazy shit. Nothing exists in-between.

    1. Proteus and Journey spring to mind as being very different. There are lots of more stylized games like Zelda: Wind Waker and The Walking Dead. There are too many "realistic" style games I think, but if you look in the gaps there are plenty of other options too.

  4. Antichamber as well is completely dissimilar from either.