Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Prediction for the new year

I know it's a bit early for new-year predictions, but here is mine:

This time next year Angband and Nethack will become obsolete - there will be no reason to not play ToME4 or DCSS respectively instead.

EDIT: one game Brian mentioned in the comments that I completely forgot about: Brogue.

With that in mind I would restate my argument that I think the future "major" roguelikes are going to be DCSS, ToME4 & Brogue (and with some hope JADE eventually too).



  1. Good prediction! I agree, and I would say that DCSS already makes Nethack obsolete.

    I actually think Shiren the Wanderer makes all of them obsolete.

  2. That is a big call. How many games ever have people stopped playing?

  3. I'm not saying people won't play them, just that the current ultimate evolution of the band and hackline branches will become these 2 games, while angband & nethack will occupy the same space that moria and hack do today.

  4. I don't think Nethack and DCSS appeal to quite the same crowd. Nethack is still strong with the die-hard geeks, while DCSS attracts people coming from MMORPGs and similar. When will JADE overrun ADOM?

  5. Agree on the sentiment, but it seems pretty difficult to point to a specific year and say "right here is where these old things became obsolete". What year did Moria and Hack become obsolete?

  6. HPL: I strongly disagree - people coming from Diablo/MMORPGs will be not attracted to DCSS but to ToME4.

    As for JADE I would guess: when it's done (i.e. never ;)

  7. I don't even know of a mainstream game that would point people towards hacklikes like DCSS or Nethack- I think you discover them when you want to get away from AAA-style games.

  8. I wonder what reasons Ido has in mind that forced players to play Angband or NetHack.

    I think that the first part of the sentence is wrong as Angband and NetHack *are* already obsolete. :)

    I think Hack didn't get obsoleted, more like superseded after development stopped by its many forks of which NetHack proved to be the most long-lived.

  9. unnethack: basically these were the ultimate evolutions of the two main branches of roguelike design: hacklikes and bands.

    I argue that if you will be looking for the best of breed "major" band & hacklike in one year those would be ToME4 & DCSS.

    In other words these will become the leaders of the genre.

  10. Hmmm, hard to say really. Angband in particular and some of the bigger variants are in active development, and in theory the upcoming 3.4 of Angband itself will gain a Rather Spiffy 64x64 tileset and I think some UI overhauling that MAY well put it past DCSS in terms of the "first glance" aspect that Crawl won a ton of people over with.

    Nethack is pretty much a lost cause of sorts, though Unnethack seems to be knocking things along towards a better lot of it. I would guess Diggr would be the next most likely thing for the audience to latch onto for something with a roughly similar mindset---providing it continues to enjoy a lively and effective dev pace.

    ToME4 is definitely going to hit something all the way though, with it gaining auto-explore, sounds, and the usual assortment of improvements for the long-cooking Beta 35.

    I kind of hope next year, if anything, is "The Year of the Broguelike"

  11. That's true, brogue is a major upcoming game I forgot about!

    But if anything I think angband is not even in competition with crawl at all as the style of the game is so different (ToME4 is the one that I think would replace it).

  12. Ehhhh saying Nethack will become obsolete due to DCSS is like saying strawberry icecream will become obsolete due to chocolate. They're both delicious flavors -- one cannot replace the other. That being said, I do play a lot more DCSS these days, so there is probably some truth in what you're getting at.

  13. Honestly, the elephant in the room here comes to 1. Head start and 2. Liveliness of dev pace. JADE is moving at a good pace much like Legend of Siegfried was before it, and Rayel before them. Should Rayel and LoS renew their frenetic pace once again, they will somewhat leapfrog "the ADOM'ish sector" JADE is aiming to succeed the throne for, especially Rayel since it was much farther along before the dev went into stasis.

    In terms of ToME4 v Angband---the fight there is ToME4 v *BAND variants. ToME4 enjoys a usually robust dev pace and is coming at it from a fresh angle after the old setting and such was dropped after the earlier betas. The "sprawling" *BAND variants have been hard at a consistent setting and such for awhile---dev pace and lack of excellent visuals/perhaps UI woes tending to keep them away from the spotlight. Should the variants get cleaned and shined up with 3.4 base, and an effort made to reach out to newcomers, there's a ton of content that has been in the slow cooker that I'd imagine would strike a chord as all of these games share some similar hooks and notions. The next big battleground for them in general though is the future of the *BAND aspect versus the inherent Modules target for LoS and T-4---and it is harder to say how that will go down as it turns into History v Intuitiveness.

    Essentially, there's a lot of odd stuff cooking at Rephial out of the limelight compared to ToME4/DCSS, so I'd not count them out of the runnings unless the 3.4 enhancements fizzle entirely which seems very unlikely.

    Of course, the "best" thing about the Roguelike scene is that it is utterly Ludicrous what projects can pop out from nothing/privacy at a high-level of functionality or existing projects to suddenly receive a massive overhaul in the space of a day. ToME4 itself literally came from nowhere in the first place at random and look at it now.

  14. Let's not overlook Incursion- if the new rewrite is available next year it will be seeing a lot of playtime from quite a few people. No true roguelike out currently has its depth imo

  15. I think you misrepresent ToME4 quite a bit. In its current form there's really very little to put it in the *band family tree, and I'm not sure band-lovers would find anything they'd like in its unscummable system. If anything I see ToME4 maybe starting a whole new branch of roguelikes in style, something far more independent of items and concentrating on character abilities instead. Then again the likes of Auro are approaching this idea from another angle.

    I also don't see JADE becoming anything of significance for a good couple of years. Whilst the current pace of development is impressive, it's not guaranteed to stay the same, and it has far to go to live up to expectations. Also in terms of interface it seems positively backwards amongst the modern breed of roguelikes. I'm not sure "ADOM with extras" will be enough to impress many without some serious overhauls. Of course it may yet surprise.

    Overall I'd say ToME4 is the one to watch for 2012, as its increasing polish is bringing it almost to a commercial level of quality. It's the one traditional roguelike that I think has a chance of truly breaking through to a mainstream audience. It hasn't yet had the exposure to trigger that, but I think DarkGod is very deliberately waiting for the right time to show it off.

  16. Darren: for me Angband and variants (and especially ToME2) were always the roguelikes for people who came in from more mainstream RPGs (like Baldur's Gate) - which is the place ToME4 now fills in my mind.

  17. Hmm, an interesting perspective - I wonder if *band players see their genre like that?

  18. Don't say too loud that you consider DCSS a hacklike like NetHack. The devs might get upset. ;-)

    IMO even thought the original Crawl draw heavily from the NetHack and Angband, DCSS has created its own unique branch.

    I think nowadays if you're comparing a roguelike to other roguelikes you should compare it to NetHack, Angband *and* DCSS.

    BTW, even though I try to modernize NetHack with UnNetHack and to introduce new needed (and maybe some unneeded) features, I don't think I can push it completely into modern times. One man alone facing heaps of ancient C code is just not up to this task. :-)