No Time To Play

Tag: roguelike

Weekly Links #62

by on Mar.22, 2015, under Gamedev, News

I don’t even know how to say this, so I’ll be brief: to the few people who read this blog and want it to stay online, I need your help. As of April 1st, I won’t have enough money left to eat, let alone pay for web hosting. The former is my problem; for the latter, I could use some spare change. My costs are $14/y for the domain (paid until July) and roughly $7/mo for the hosting (which includes my Internet access).

How you can pay: all of our games have Flattr buttons on their respective pages; I sell a few of them over on; and of course you can use PayPal directly — leave a comment below and I’ll get in touch. Thank you very much. I want No Time To Play to stay up.


In other news, as you can see I made more progress with Tomb of the Snake — right now in the way of user interface. It’s not as much as I would have liked, but I’ve been working on another long-form article (and having some very bad days, but that’s another story). Don’t worry, it’s all coming along nicely.

Now let’s see what else happened in the world of gamedev this week.

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Weekly Links #60

by on Mar.08, 2015, under Gamedev, News

Another week of development, another screenshot. I did much more that isn’t easily shown, such as adding mouse support, optimizing startup times and making sure the game can run on a monochrome terminal. Amazing how little work you need to keep a game running on supposedly obsolete machines as well as the latest Mac. Of course, Python and ncurses help a lot here — but that, too, is a lesson.


Speaking of lessons, I long wanted to make a roguelike with a variety of map types in some sort of logical progression, but even with the basically unlimited RAM and CPU of a modern machine, managing all the level generators is a hassle. Unless a game is focused on exploration, it’s better off with just one type of map, made as interesting as possible. Parametrization goes a long way here.

Now on to gamedev news that aren’t about me.

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Weekly Links #59

by on Mar.04, 2015, under News, Review

Hello, everyone. As I’m writing these lines, No Time To Play is down, so I can only hope you’ll get to read them soon. One of my biggest finds this week has been a CRPG Directory listing an eclectic mix of mostly retro games in the genre, along with other resources such as blogs and forums. Interestingly, among them is listed Battle for Wesnoth, and I can’t even fault them considering how many RPG elements that game has. But most intriguing to me was the first entry:


The Adventure Creation Kit is a visual tool for making RPGs in the style of old Ultima games, running in DOS. And while that style of game ultimately lies outside my sphere of interest, I couldn’t resist taking a good look at ACK. Here’s what I discovered.
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Weekly Links #56

by on Feb.08, 2015, under Gamedev, News

These really aren’t good days for me. Took me a week to put together less than 500 lines of code, mostly copy-pasted from elsewhere too. But persistence pays, and right now I can at least show you a couple of screenshots:

As I pointed out last time, it’s a roguelike for the Linux console, written in Python. I happen to like the language anyway, and since it comes with a curses module by default that means I can have exactly zero dependencies apart from Python itself. As for why text mode, I’m seriously bothered by the gratuitous overuse of technology these days. When text-based roguelikes require SDL or even OpenGL (wish I was kidding), something’s rotten in the state of IT. Several of my friends work in text mode at least some of the time, their reasons ranging from tradition to poor eyesight. And having done real work on remote servers over SSH, I know that making text-based user interfaces is a skill worth acquiring.

More about the game itself next week; for now, on to the links.

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Weekly Link #55

by on Feb.02, 2015, under Gamedev, News, Opinion, Review

You know, it’s odd. Over the past year and a half, I lost my interest in games completely, yet here I am, not just continuing to write about games, but also making one again. There are three reasons for that:

  1. It’s an idea that’s been sitting in the back of my mind for too long, and I’d like to get it out, not unlike the story I wrote last autumn.
  2. For various reasons, I can’t write these days, and spare time is too precious to waste.
  3. I’m less burnt out on programming than usual for some reason.

So yeah. It’s too early for a screenshot, but it’s going to be a roguelike for the Linux console, written in Python/ncurses (for reasons I’ll explain in the future). And that’s a skill that can prove useful for much more than just games.

Now, on to this week’s actual links.
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Weekly Links #20

by on May.26, 2014, under News, Opinion

All right, this week’s links sure seemed to be more numerous before I started writing the newsletter. At least I have more to comment than usual (to compensate for all those weeks when I don’t have much to say). Ups and downs I guess… oh well, let’s get started.

I’ll start with this humorous tweet pointing out the difference between what developers thought players wanted out of a mobile game, and what they turned out to want:

I daresay this parallels the way enthusiasts thought tablets were going to replace PCs… until they tried doing actual work on tablets. Or how the baroque web design from years ago has been replaced by clean white pages that make it easy to find the one thing you went there for, most likely some piece of information. That’s the problem with techies: all too often, we forget that most people don’t give a damn about all the cool stuff we can do with our toys: they have real work to do and very little time or attention to spare. As for games… Let’s just say that when I’m playing on a tablet, I’m not going to squint at that tiny screen to admire your wonderful 3D art… the details of which won’t render well in 800×480 anyway. Doubly so if I happen to be playing on the metro, with countless distractions around.
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Announcing Escape from Cnossus

by on Jul.10, 2013, under Gamedev

Hot on the heels of Spectral Dungeons, here comes my second roguelike for the ZX Spectrum. Developed in half the time (due to the reuse of more than half the code, not to mention the added experience), Escape from Cnossus improves on the formula with a less generic theme, more complex and pretty levels and interesting decisions to make.

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8-bit dungeon crawling

by on Jul.07, 2013, under Case study


When I started working on Spectral Dungeons, there didn’t seem to be many roguelikes for the Spectrum. A search for “Rogue” on World of Spectrum yields only one title that might be a port of the eponymous game, and the screenshots don’t look especially promising.

It was only recently that I became aware of another. Ossuary is just the most recent release from UK developer Cyningstan, and it’s an incredibly colorful game that fits in only 16K of RAM and can be played with just a joystick. Otherwise, however, it’s interesting to see how many of the design decisions are similar to those I made.

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Announcing Spectral Dungeons

by on Jun.23, 2013, under Gamedev

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a game for the ZX Spectrum ever since discovering the ZXBasic compiler. I even wrote an article giving reasons why it makes sense to develop for retro computers. And this month I finally put my money where my mouth was. Gentlemen, I give you… Spectral Dungeons!


This is not only my first serious game for the Speccy, but also my first completed roguelike, so development hasn’t been smooth.
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More about Javascript roguelikes

by on Jun.03, 2013, under Review

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.)

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