I’ve been trying to figure this out for myself for a while — is Dredmor a roguelike?
And confronted with the obvious (in the midst of recording the Immortal Machines podcast, even; good fun by the way, will post a link when it’s released), I’ll have to concede entirely on this point. To lay it out:
Why Dredmor is a roguelike
- Dredmor’s gameplay is turn-based with the implicit movement/action-as-a-turn mechanic
- Dredmor is definitely a dungeon crawler; you explore a dungeon, fight things, loot things, etc.
- Dredmor uses random, emergent structures for gameplay instead of a linear narrative structures
Why Dredmor is not a roguelike (kinda)
Or: “Why Dredmor doesn’t feel like a roguelike to me”
- Dredmor has a graphical user interface.
And it’ll be good, trust me!
- Dredmor has graphics.
Animated graphics, even. And tilesets! And spell effects! And monsters can face in multiple directions! But then some games called roguelike DO have graphics, from basic tilesets to even games on consoles like Shirin the Wanderer, Fatal Labyrinth(?), and so forth. I can’t think of a ton of examples, which leads me to my next point…
- This is subjective, and perhaps core to my feelings on the matter, but roguelikes did not do an awful lot to inspire my part in creating the art and game design of Dredmor.
Roguelikes are not the games I play the most – that’d probably be strategy games, maybe older RPGs (is Mass Effect really an RPG? … really? I’m going to get myself in trouble here, aren’t I), and once upon a time I played a lot of shooters (everything after Quake1 was downhill, I tell you). What it comes to is that in making my part of Dredmor I was not thinking “how do I make a roguelike”, I was thinking “how do I make the best game possible within the constraints we’ve set for ourselves”. Which leads to …
- Dredmor is not an intentional, consciously traditional member of the roguelike genre.
This may be presumptuous of Nicholas’ opinion, but I think it’s safe to say. We got into this not to continue traditions of the genre (though we probably refer to many of them), but rather to make something … a bit different. Funny thing though, we’ve probably ended up much closer to standard roguelike design than we expected.
- We don’t expect to sell primarily to roguelike players.
I don’t have statistics, but if I did I expect I’d find that there aren’t actually that many hardcore roguelike players in the grand scheme of things. I think that I’d find that hardcore roguelike players would not be the primary buyers of a commercial graphical roguelike — like how regardless of a very vocal minority, Stardock discovered that the great majority of people who buy strategy games never, ever play them multiplayer (doubtless there are some stats from Valve that support this). Further, why would hardcore roguelike players buy our game when they can get what they want from one of the many free roguelikes? –For a somewhat different experience, I hope. And I do hope they buy and enjoy Dredmor, but from a rational business perspective it can’t be denied that it would not be worthwhile to invest the time we have into a (graphical) product like this and aim to appeal solely to hardcore roguelike players who generally don’t care much about graphics.
- We want Dredmor to be accessible to people outside of the hardcore roguelike playerbase.
Most of the reactions I see from people who read Boatmurdered and other stories about Dwarf Fortress is “I love the stories, but I have no idea what’s going on in this game when I try to play it”. With Dredmor, we want to be able to offer something comprehensible to such people.
So okay, okay. I concede that we can call Dredmor a “graphical roguelike” (which I’m pretty sure we already do in the promotional text).
Now: I’ve got a pile of spell animations to finish. What, you want to see one?
Alright, here’s a particularly messy Black spell, “Corpus Burst”: