Character display

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A character display is an output format that relies in characters to represent information; character display was the main output format for all software in the 80's, where using extended ASCII it was possible to create simple menus and graphic user interfaces, even using the mouse.

The character display in roguelikes is however different; instead of representing words or graphical components of a graphic user interface, each character has a meaning on its own. This is one of the basic characteristics of roguelikes, although it is not a deciding one as the developer may not feel comfortable with it and would instead go with a graphical display. There are some adventure and role-playing games that have a character display similar to the one roguelikes use, but it doesn't qualify them as roguelikes, as they are missing other most important features.

Display

A typical roguelike ASCII display is the following :

            ######       # A wall
######      #....###     . The floor
#....#   ####.@..+..     + A closed door
#.<..#####.....g.###     / An opened door
#..../.....#######       < Stairs to the previous level
#.?..#######             
######                   @ The hero
                         g A monster
                         ? A magical item

Some ASCII characters have the same meaning in nearly every roguelikes. . is used for floors, lit areas, or somewhere the player can walk on and doesn't have anything special. In dungeons, < and > are stairs to the previous and next level. @ usually is the hero and letters from a to z (lower case and capital letters) the monsters. ? is common for scrolls, ! for potions.

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