More about Javascript roguelikes

2013-06-03

spectrum rl

I was tired last night, so I don't remember how I found out about rot.js -- likely from a tweet. As you might suspect from the title, it's a Javascript library for making HTML5 roguelikes. Like its more famous inspiration libtcod, it provides map generation, field of view, pathfinding and a turn system, leaving you to focus on the parts that make your game unique.

And unique they are. FunhouseRL starts from the premise that you're trapped in an evil mirror funhouse, where you have to deal with confusing reflections on top of enemies -- only one kind, because it's a 7-Day roguelike. (Also, if the Imagination attribute is used for anything, I couldn't figure it out.)

Now, FunhouseRL claims as inspiration another rot.js title called The Royal Wedding, which features a story and a variety of situations to solve besides fighting. To my pleasant surprise, The Royal Wedding is made by the same author as the Star Wars roguelike and JS-like, which I reviewed here and here respectively. Who also turns out to be the author of rot.js! The world of roguelikes is a small one indeed. (Ondřej Žára has an entire page on his website dedicated to JS games, including a roguelike model train simulator. On a hex grid. The mind boggles.)

Last but not least, I found an entire blog dedicated to game programming in Javascript, also with a focus on roguelikes.

While on the topic of roguelikes, I seem to notice a streamlining trend in recent titles. Both of the games reviewed above have a very limited command set plus other accessibility features. And while the industry has turned "streamlining" into a swear word essentially meaning "dumbing down", in this case it's turning a formerly very hardcore genre into one friendly to any kind of player. (As it turns out, ASCII displays weren't the biggest obstacle.) Which in turn means more diversity, less boredom and more chances at cross-polination. So hooray for that.

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