Aug 5, 2010

The Untitled Roguelike Project

In short, the Untitled Roguelike Project (URLP) is a closed source roguelike - or maybe more accurately, an Adomlike - being developed in C++ and under libtcod aka "The Doryen Library".

The long version of the story starts over seven years ago around the time I got my hands on Adom. I spent many hours playing the great game and, eventually, I became good enough to beat it (three times, I think) without save-scumming - never succeeded in an ultra ending, though. And then, I more or less stopped playing, for various reasons. One of those were the things that annoy me in Adom, namely the effects of corruption and the similarity of gameplay between all of the player classes. I thought the game could be made better by fixing those things.

The idea was pretty much put in sleep until a year or two later, when a friend of mine got the idea we should start making our own roguelike. He then proceeded to start programming (in C) a copy of Adom. The project didn't live too long, however, as he was the only one really doing anything - I had no programming skills whatsoever back then.

Then, couple years back from now, the friend of mine - let's call him Ashie - discovered libtcod, and new life was breathed into the project. This time C++ was the language of choice. I had learned some programming too, although in Java. Luckily, Java and C++ are quite alike, and URLP doesn't require too much tampering with C++'s more intricate features. Still, I spent most of my time planning the game.

Now, URLP has pretty much become a one-man-project again, obviously me steering the wheel. Ashie did good job on coding URLP's core, though, saving me lot of time to work on the game system and content instead.

As already mentioned, URLP is heavily influenced by Adom, if not even a 'spiritual successor', but I'm not sure I want to brand the game with that. Yet URLP's interface is, or actually was, a copy of Adom's until I redesigned it slightly. Essentially, it's still the same; the top two lines are for messages, then a 80x20 view of the game takes most of the screen space. And finally, three lines of character information fill up the bottom. I feel this is the sleekest looking UI any roguelike uses, and I like it best.

Libtcod offers lots of features that go beyond what simple ascii can do. However, I plan on staying with the ascii look as much as possible; for instance, no background colors. Although, there are already few exceptions, and will probably be more in the future. But it can't be helped. If the game can be made to look nicer, then it should be.

In addition to Adom, influences are drawn from World of Warcraft, Diablo II, Dungeons & Dragons, and probably any game I've played. URLP features ten different classes and races, totaling at 100 different combinations, which hopefully (at least the classes) will create many distinct gameplay experiences. URLP has over 200 different class abilities to use after all. The game is story-driven, with some level of variation depending on player's choices. The ending is little vague still, something I still have to work on.

Currently, URLP has something over 30k lines of code, and no release dates are set, although, I think there might be something at the annual roguelike release party in 2011...

Stay tuned; who knows, I might give a glimpse of this, oh, so secretive secret project from time to time.

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