Friday, March 22, 2019

Episode 152: The Kitchen Sink

We discuss the kitchen sink school of game design, with Alexei Pepers and Darren Grey.

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

Synopsis & Useful Links
  • Interactions with the sink in Nethack
  • Developing flavour and interest in game content using kitchen sink design 
  • Hand crafted flavour (eg. Dwarf Fortress) vs procedurally generated content
  • 'If statement' technical design of Nethack
  • Tanya Short - Writing Modular Characters for System-Driven Games
  • The modern roguelike design ethos of anti-kitchen sink (eg. Brogue, DoomRL, Hoplite)
  • Kitchen sink complexity vs modern design simplicity
  • Nethack and kitchen sink designs influence on how roguelikes are perceived
  • Supermassive roguelikes - Dwarf Fortress Adventure Mode, GenRogue, Ultima Ratio Regum, Caves of Qud, Catatclysm DDA
  • Games rich in procedural generation and balancing the effective limits (random noise vs flavourful content)
  • Alexei’s favourite kitchen sink mechanic: Nethack’s kitchen sink
  • Darren's favourite kitchen sink mechanic: Choking to death on your own vomit if paralysed whilst sick in ADOM
Related episodes: 84 Nethack, 121 Simulation, 144 AI, 149 Chaos Theory


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Nice. I actually just came on the page due to something that happened recently, in the industry, concerning a Roguelite. (Most notably, the Crypt of the NecroDancer getting the official keys to produce a game with the Zelda license after the success of their first game)

      Still. I remember playing Nethack first back in the 90s and seeing so much stuff being added as it went. Oddly enough, there was still so many gameplay Easter eggs I never discovered, at the time. I still kind of played Nethack more at the basic strategy level and tried not to bother with stuff that had a degree of random-ness to me. Random gets me killed and usually, the more I could avoid it, the better. Still, it was fun to experiment. Like the classic levitation and then kick the thing in front of you. Alas, it’s been a while since I last played it, giving more time to DCSS these days.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. In a post-internet world where guides are simply a click away, it seems kitchen sink design has lost its charm. In the old days, the only way to understand a system was to rigorously poke and prod at it. These days, understanding of a kitchen sink game system can easily be found in a wiki page. This is why proc generation is a lot more interesting to me. I would even go so far as to say that the recent popularity of proc generation today has evolved as a necessity to prevent players from "cheating" with guides.