ShockFrost

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ShockFrost is the username of an individual who posted on rgrd from Oct 16 2002 to July 1 2004. In that time, he described an interesting and extremely feature-packed game, generated much enthusiasm for that game, introduced many ideas into the roguelike development community, and did not deliver a working implementation or prototype of that game.

He is well known for his creativity, enthusiasm, and for being a useful counter-example when it comes to good project management. ShockFrost's name is usually brought up for two reasons: as a warning to developers who are focusing on increasing their features (hence, scope) more than actually implementing their Roguelike, and as an example of a person admired for their creativity.

Summary

On Oct 16, 2002, ShockFrost posted a message titled An idea for a roguelike

to rgrd, in which he outlined his game concept.

The general idea was that the player would start out with one character (whose class was Adventurer) in a specific city/town. The player would descend into the dungeon, and kill bad guys. When the character found and defeated a Wizard, or a Rogue, they would get a medal that matched the class that they defeated. If the player was able to take that medal to the surface, then, when a new character was started, they could choose to be that class. This meant to serve as an easy way for a novice player to get used to the game, without being turned off by the large number of classes. There were 70 or so classes listed, ranging from Viking to Glassblower. Characters could be retired, and their succesors would find them living a mostly quiet life in that same town, perhaps as a merchant. If the character died, the town would live on, and another character could come along.

The concept was well recieved and in many cases highly praised, and ShockFrost was given encouragement. It is uncertain as to whether ShockFrost had serious intentions of implementing his ideas at the start, or if he simply wanted to share and get feedback on his ideas. Regardless, hints were were given by ShockFrost that he was planning to implement the idea, and development of the game was later confirmed:

"And by memory strain, I meant having a dungeon filled with over 100x100 monsters each trying to move after you take your turn. Better go get a cup of coffee. Well, I'm working on it." - ShockFrost, Oct 17, 2002
***HACK! * | A bug just flew down my throat. | . Good enough cue for me. | I just started coding. - ShockFrost, Oct 24, 2002
Well, it's getting late in the game, folks. More of this is done than you dare to imagine. But I'm not imparting anything. - ShockFrost, Oct 31, 2002

The design was expanded to include various dungeon generation schemes. By this time, many people had expressed concerns that the game was not focused enough, and that the scope had gotten out of hand. [...]

[...more description of the game and some of his more interesting ideas here?]

ShockFrost released an Alpha version of his game on ????. It let the user choose several character generation options (the standard character selection screen), rolled a series of numbers, and then exited. It can be found at ShockFrost's site (Mostly defunct. RogueBasin makes no claims as to the safety of this or any other executable file).

One interpretation of these events is that ShockFrost posted his ideas in order to get positive feedback. His ideas were very interesting, promised much, and were written in a style that generated excitement, so he did not have trouble getting this positive feedback. ShockFrost, who clearly did not have much (if any) experience in project management, software design, or programming, underestimated the effort required to produce a working prototype. He marked his progress in terms of either idea generation or decisions made, but certainly did not mark it in terms of software design or programming: none of his writings indicate that he was familiar with software design or that he knew how he could implement any of his ideas(this statement may require verification), and the final result clearly indicates that he did not get even reasonably far in the coding.

Despite not producing a working Roguelike, ShockFrost contributed many unique and interesting ideas [...]

There are varying opinions when it comes to ShockFrost today. On one end of the spectrum, he is considered to be a creative genious. The other end considers him [...]



Ideas brought forward by ShockFrost

[...]


Referance

Usenet threads of relevance:




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