Saturday, October 11, 2014

Episode 92: Return to Brogue

This is episode 92 of Roguelike Radio, where Darren Grey and Andrew Doull return to Brogue. 

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

Topics discussed:
  • An intro on inclusivity in the genre and the podcast.
  • Brogue! Check out our previous episode on it from over 3 years ago, and our interview with Pender.
  • Darren's started playing Brogue at last! Here's a video of his first play. And an agonising near-win...
  • Changes over the last few years, especially in the experience system.
  • Darren raves about things he likes in the game.
  • Darren rants about bits that annoy him. Here's further nitpicky discussion on the Brogue forums.
  • UnBrogue, a mod created by Andrew, and Brogue+ which adds much more.
  • Interface design, and interesting complexity without lots of keybinds.
  • How Brogue implements allies and ally progression, and the various strategies that emerge from this.
  • Join the Brogue forums and take part in the weekly shared seed contests!

Join us next time on Roguelike Radio for an in-depth look at 868-HACK!


  1. Darren, please stop. I'm going to be honest, I totally did not see your thread on Rouge temple where you went on a crusade against sexism, but now I have sat down and read the first 3 pages of it, I can say this bluntly: Calm down. One of the easiest ways of not having a problem, is just not to bring it up. This can be applied to sexism, and racism alike; Unless a person is making a very specific case where they are breaking that golden rule of silence, it is not a problem.
    Nobody in our modern society calls out a white man in a crowd(I live in japan), and when they do mention his race, suprise suprise, it suddenly becomes a problem. The same goes with with sexism; Men and women are equal in most countries (Here in Japan, women are in a slightly lesser position then men, something that irritates me as a american), and like wise we have our jokes and us pointing out the diferences in between our sexes, but it only becomes a problem when somebody starts just blantly saying "Women are not good at ect." . If nobody said anything, there would have been no problem.

    But beside that, Rougelike Radio and the Rougelike community is a fine place. Thank god you guys now have a more standardized audio then your first episodes. I guess what I am saying is that the entire internet has this 1950s mindset, and getting up in a storm is pointless, when people are best left to be silent. As we say here in japan (Where a 1950s mindset on everything is the norm for life...), don't disturb the "wa".

    Keep up the good work.

    1. I sprang this on Darren with no notice, so asking him to please stop is going to have zero impact on the show policy. This editorial also exists to address the wider gaming community not necessarily the roguelike community; with the hope that we become a positive example within the wider community.

      I'm also curious how your attitude of 'not bringing things up' would address eg salary disparities.

    2. Please stop? I didn't bring up the subject on this episode, and whatever is posted on RogueTemple is in response to people posting "girls can't play games" style posts. But regardless I think the "don't rock the boat" idea is a very bad one. Change doesn't happen by just ignoring issues and hoping they'll get better.

    3. This is a pervasive conversation in the gaming community right now and I'm glad to see RLR addressing it.

  2. Andrew, I'm not trying to influence the show's policy by any means; I do think the intended message was fundamentally a good one after all, and I'm all for you guys setting a positive example.

    I hope the two of you will forgive me on how blunt the post was, I had just finished pulling a all-nighter. I did not mean to sound offensive Darren, forgive me for that.

    Now with some rest, I think I can explain what I was meaning to say: One of the major reasons I left my homeland, that is the united states to start living in japan, is this push for political correctness at every turn. Yes, salary disparity is a terrible thing, and if a person realizes that their salary is being unfairly cut due to such things, they should file a suit against their workplace for discrimination.

    Is that a fundamental fix for the problem? No. However, it does stop people from suddenly changing the atmosphere into this classiest our side or their side setups. In america it has gotten to the point that a man can accidentally bump into a woman in a crowded store, and it is automatically taken as assualt if the woman speaks up about him bumping into her, on the basis of her sex. Or if you are at a amusement park, and a black man shoves past you to get further up in the line; The second you speak up, 9/10 he will automatically paint you as a racist, and of all things, because the other people there don't wish to have their character tainted, despite him clearly being in the wrong, they will side with him. The sheer level of hipocracy in america with people trying to be politically correct, has left me entirely very jaded on the entire issue.

    You are correct, not talking about a issue does not change anything; But what is the point of trying to adress it when nobody else is willing to be honest and make a stand on it? I am not wise enough to have a answer, in my mind there is no good solution outside using mass media to slowly influence their opinions otherwise. Well, at least the western populace that listens to this show will be able to make a sub-concious note of the example you two are painting.

    Ah, what is the right way of explaining it~ Five seconds after I heard that notice Darren, I typed "Rouge-Temple women", and it was top of the google bar. In my sleep deprieved state, it must have just somehow became a run-on in my mind.
    Besides, I am living in japan now, and well, there is no question of discrimination based on sex and race, into almost every facet of our lives here, but somehow, it does not really bother me or anyone else who live here about that fact; Because life is comfortable, why bring it up and cause conflict?

    1. I think if political correctness is a major reason for you to change country then we have wildly inconsolable views on this! As for your remark on the media needing to push opinion change, isn't that essentially the function of Roguelike Radio for our community? We try our best to have a wide range of voices on the show, to not let any one opinion dominate. Inclusivity is something I want us to push for as much as possible, especially since I think roguelikes are a really great genre for any audience.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I mentioned an article by Brendan Keogh. The link to this, which should also give some wider context for our editorial line, is:

    1. If you want to be inclusive and welcoming, I don't know why you're linking a racist, sexist article that spends paragraphs attacking white men.

    2. You appear to have confused criticism with the other isms that you list.

  4. It's good to see inclusivity. I tend to agree with Jim Sterling's stance that maximum inclusion should be the default state.

    I think it's easy for many people to try to exclude others because it's nice to feel you know about a special secret that most people are oblivious to. We all like to feel special. Maturity should knock that particular behaviour on the head, and sadly maturity doesn't always abound. Roguelikes - as a niche genre which is easy to label as too challenging, too deep or too presentationally sparse for most - are particularly susceptible to this and it's good to see Roguelike Radio championing inclusivity.

  5. There was once a game named Gruesome, which gave a special achievement "Ladykiller" to players focusing on killing female adventurers. No wonder that there are almost no female adventurers left. Darren, it's all your fault! ;)

    I think it is great when roguelikes have references to the original Rogue, in particular, Hallucination should stay, and I would like to see it in more roguelikes, too. A bit sad that it is so useless, though. Some ideas for fixing that:

    - Could be thrown to cause monsters to hallucinate (and flee from you, bump into walls, or something).

    - It could give some sort of divination powers. The famous oracles used hallucinogens for their art, didn't they? Identify runics, see traps, or something.

    - It could give experience or bonus score (people using hallucinogenic drugs in real life do this to experience something different). (Not for Brogue, but in general.)

    - Polymorphing a monster while hallucinating could turn the current hallucination image into reality, so you would get control over the usually random process.

    1. Yeah, I fully admit my "Ladykiller" achievement in Gruesome was stupid and immature, as was my use of yellow and pink for women enemies. I still remember the moment I was watching one of the Tropes Against Women videos about things like this and thought "Oh hell, I've *done* that myself!"

      I definitely think hallucination needs to have some use in the game or be removed. What's the point of having an item that is always ignored once identified?

    2. Hallucination as a preview of what's later in the dungeon is a good concept. Suppose at the start of the game you randomly pick a subset of enemies to populate the game, and Hallucination gives you glimpses of that set. So not every game will have Red Dragons - but if you see a vision of one then maybe it's time to stock up on fire resistance.

  6. Hey Darren. You mentioned a few things about your experience in Brogue which you probably consider unrelated but which caught my ear. You mentioned struggling a lot and dying around Depth 8, typically pinning your survival on your ability to find a potion of detect magic. Later on you mentioned the food clock as being very loose, the potion of hallucination mainly acting as a weak "potion of hunger" and the wand of empowerment not being that useful because you've been finding good allies long after you left the wand behind. You also mention off-handedly that you think of the vaults as "shops" and Andrew corrected you by calling them item libraries...

    All of this points to the major hole in your strategy: you do not backtrack enough. The food clock was deliberately adjusted in recent patches to give you enough leeway to be able to backtrack to the item libraries a few times, allowing you to try out multiple items. My success rate in Brogue significantly improved once I started doing this. One incredibly valuable piece of information struggling players often overlook is the fact that item libraries never contain cursed weapons/armor/rings. If you keep this in mind and remember that you have a lot of excess food early on then you will become far less reliant on potions of detect magic. Another piece of advice: scrolls of protect weapon/armor work as a poor man's remove curse. This is yet another source of information you can use to test out items.

    I have ascended games of Brogue where I did not find my first potion of detect magic until Depth 14 and I did not do so by taking unnecessary gambles (equipping an unknown item without any means of removing it besides enchanting).

    Oh, and if you want to see a really powerful ally try out a Naga. A Naga with transference, strength sapping, fire immunity and a few more empowerments just for the stats can single-handedly defeat packs of dragons and tentacle horrors. Sometimes you can find a Naga prisoner as early as Depth 5 and at that point it is no problem at all to drag it back up to Depth 1 to retrieve a wand of empowerment.

    1. Thanks for the tips! I do backtrack sometimes when I know there's a treasure room within easy reach. And I have tried taking empowerment and going supermonkey before. But for equipment purposes I think it's rare to be able to pick something from a room and identify it in any reasonable time. It wouldn't be so bad if the identify requirements weren't halved.

      You point out protect scrolls as ways to uncurse things, but that again relies a little on being identify your scrolls! Usually I will make sure to use-id my scrolls whilst wearing new (and good) weapons/armour.

      Only had a naga ally a couple of times, and they are awesome! Trolls have been my favourite overall for their regen. I've never used dominate to get a pet, mind, and I should probably give that a go.

      As much as I nitpick I am still playing, I take part in the community seeds each week, and I *will* win this game some time. I think what I'm really lacking is clever use of some of the non-damage staves, and that's something I'm trying to experiment with more.

  7. Cant believe the feminist endorsed cultural marxism mass panic has reached even this corner of gaming.
    If there are no women listening is because they are not interested. Its for the same reason i dont read the Cosmopolitan magazine.
    Saying that not a lot of women like roguelikes because of discrimination is like saying i dont read Cosmopolitan because of discrimination.
    I fully expect this comment to be deleted, considering the times we are living in.

    1. This podcast was started by two feminist cultural marxists. Now you finally turn up here 92 episodes later complaining about it, and expect any kind of respect?