Dungeon Monkey:Reviews:Jeff Lait
Announcing the first and final release of the fastest roguelike game
ever made. For no good reason, I decided to take a short vacation from GearHead and see how much of a roguelike game could be completed in exactly one week. My results can be seen here:
To answer your questions:
1) Is it possible to build a playable RL skeleton in under a week?
Dungeon Monkey was developed under a week, so the questions, is it a roguelike skeleton? Looking at my own personal ad hoc definition:
Tactical Play: DM is definitely not twitch. It also definitely rewards tactical play, in weapon selection, managing corridors, etc. Based in Hack And Slash: Yep :> Random Games: Each game I played had a different map & hence feel. One didn't know going into a level where the fountain would be. Perma Death: So complete is the death in Dungeon Monkey that one doesn't even get a chance to contemplate the last sight - one is ejected instantly to the desktop. Complex interactions of properties: Nope. But this is clearly something you can't have in a such a basic skeleton. The ability to open and close doors is a step in this direction. Steam rolling monsters: Mmm... Goblins.
Conclusion: Dungeon Master is definitely a roguelike skeleton, and thus we can now conclude that it is possible to build a roguelike skeleton in 7 days.
2) Will the resultant game actually be fun to play?
"Fun" is a notoriously hard thing to quantify. However, DM definitely gets my vote as a "fun" game. (If going up stairs got you to your old level, I'd be posting an ascension here :>) It's well balanced, the inclusion of new monsters and items on each dungeon depth provides a strong motivation to keep seeking. The vague references to a dragon quest had me delving deep in search. Until I gave up and read the source code :>
I think Dungeon Monkey should be held as an example of why one doesn't need any fancy features to make roguelikes fun. Indeed, in response to the "What minimal features do you need for a roguelike" thread, I'd say that Dungeon Monkey does have sufficient features. I'm not sure if they are all necessary (graphics, for example, could be asciified), but they are sufficient.