Lovecraftian Roguelike Like
November 26, 2013 7:31 AM   Subscribe

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw has released a pretty nifty Lovecraftian roguelike game. Croshaw is the acerbic fast-paced voice behind Zero Punctuation, and is also apparently a developer. And a poet. And a novelist. Somehow this all escaped my attention.
posted by Ipsifendus (37 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, man, I've been waiting for a Croshaw game that isn't a point-and-click adventure (because I am abysmal at those.) Can't wait to try this out.
posted by griphus at 7:39 AM on November 26, 2013


Also, from what I've read about his other games (mostly the Chzo Mythos stuff), his games are straight-up scary, which is something people might not expect when you hear "the guy who does Zero Punctuation made a game."
posted by griphus at 7:42 AM on November 26, 2013


Yahtzee's CHZO Mythos games, previously. Yahtzee's The Art of Theft, previously. Apparently his Metroidvania-style Poacher didn't get an FPP.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:53 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and if you like The Art of Theft, check out his 1213, which was an earlier effort in a similar style. Fun fact: TAoT and 1213 run on the same point and click game engine as the CHZO games, albeit abused and twisted into running side-scrolling action/puzzle games.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:55 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, I've been waiting for a Croshaw game that isn't a point-and-click adventure

He's made a few non-adventure games, actually, though they've all been lower profile.

Trilby: The Art of Theft (2007), a hybrid stealth/action puzzle/platformer -- think Gunpoint or Mark of the Ninja -- in which you play a gentleman thief. Features one terrible QTE level, but you do get an umbrella and a wide selection of outfits, so it has that going for it.

Poacher (2012), "a Metroidvania open-world platformer in which unflappable Yorkshireman Derek Badger journeys through a mysterious underground kingdom," to quote from his games page, which you can also find links to all the adventure games he's made over the years.
posted by cjelli at 7:55 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


This and Eldritch? The stars are right!
posted by Artw at 7:58 AM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


And to round things out, Adventures in the Galaxy of Fantabulous Wonderment, a semi-sandbox space romp.
posted by Iridic at 7:59 AM on November 26, 2013




This looks pretty awesome but I don't think it's exactly a "roguelike" as much as it uses some ideas from roguelikes (procedural generation, permanent death, presumably hard as balls). Most of the game mechanics look pretty different. Not to nitpick with your post, I just got excited for a minute because I have a real soft spot for traditional top-down roguelikes and that would've been a real peanut butter/chocolate moment.
posted by en forme de poire at 8:29 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just got started playing Eldritch and it seems like the bee's knees so far.
posted by brundlefly at 8:34 AM on November 26, 2013


The only issue I had with it is that Eldritch is a little light on content, as cool as it is. Next month's expansion will definitely help with that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:08 AM on November 26, 2013


This looks pretty awesome but I don't think it's exactly a "roguelike"

I think the acceptable industry genre term for these second-step-removed game builds is 'roguelike-like'. However this just makes it seem like the game is really into Rogue and is going to ask it to the homecoming dance or something, so everyone just became comfortable with broadening the definition of the purely platonic 'roguelike'.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:09 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


So following this logic, there must be some term Roguelike-(N)"like" that would encompass all games from GTA V to Chess to Hide and Seek. We just have to figure out the value of N.
posted by Naberius at 10:40 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


artw: The stars are always right on the blasted shores of Lake Hali. Let's get nachos.
posted by Mister_A at 11:01 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow holy friggin OMG I need to get Eldritch.
posted by Mister_A at 11:11 AM on November 26, 2013


"Ia!"
posted by New England Cultist at 11:19 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the acceptable industry genre term for these second-step-removed game builds is 'roguelike-like'.

As far as I can tell, it's now roguelite.
posted by tychotesla at 11:35 AM on November 26, 2013


If the game has roguelike elements, or roguelike features (like permadeath, random generation, etc), I think it makes sense to use those descriptions. But to call a game "roguelike" means that it has roguelike elements top to bottom and no others. Side-scrolling? Graphics? That's no roguelike game.

On preview: I like "roguelite."
posted by sleevener at 11:41 AM on November 26, 2013


So following this logic, there must be some term Roguelike-(N)"like" that would encompass all games from GTA V to Chess to Hide and Seek. We just have to figure out the value of N.

it's funny, in this vein some of the folks over on Mefightclub have been collaborating on a tool to characterize various "shades of Dwarf Fortress/Nethack/Minecraft" games according to a set of feature-based criteria to essentially score the Rogue-ness (and DF-ness, and MC-ness) of any given game algorithmically, with the idea that if you want to play a game that is like one of those you could reference the tool with an eye toward the specific features that are actually important to you instead of relying on a more subjective "x-like" label.

I'm not sure it's really in a state for public consumption yet, but I like the idea. And ultimately, yeah, we're seeing so much happy indie-dev cross-pollenation of some of the ideas that used to be largely constrained to old-school actually-like-Rogue roguelikes that I think we're just gonna have to accept that a world of fuzzier applicableness of "roguelike" as a label is the price to pay for an explosion of wonderful weird games.
posted by cortex at 11:42 AM on November 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


we're just gonna have to accept that a world of fuzzier applicableness of "roguelike" as a label is the price to pay for an explosion of wonderful weird games

Probably not incorrect, but definitely well put.
posted by sleevener at 12:04 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


we're just gonna have to accept that a world of fuzzier applicableness of "roguelike" as a label is the price to pay for an explosion of wonderful weird games

I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am to pay this price.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:24 PM on November 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


it's funny, in this vein some of the folks over on Mefightclub have been collaborating on a tool to characterize various "shades of Dwarf Fortress/Nethack/Minecraft" games according to a set of feature-based criteria to essentially score the Rogue-ness (and DF-ness, and MC-ness) of any given game algorithmically, with the idea that if you want to play a game that is like one of those you could reference the tool with an eye toward the specific features that are actually important to you instead of relying on a more subjective "x-like" label.

I'm not sure it's really in a state for public consumption yet, but I like the idea.


Yea, it's definitely not ready for prime-time, but so far, the process seems to be working since we are getting good trends. We started with the controversial "Berlin Interpretation" of which features make up a RogueLike, then added more features that were representative of "Dwarf Fortress-Like" and "Minecraft-Like" games.

Then we added weightings for each feature to indicate how important it was for each genre. Things like "Random/Procedurally Generated World" got a full weighting of 10 for each genre, whereas "Immigrant Waves" is only applicable for Dorflike games.

The Berlin Interpretation also has a smattering of "Low Value" features that have lesser weightings.

THEN,we scientifically rated some games...

We do some fancy mathemajiggering for each game to get weighted scores for the three genres, then apply some ratioing to get some numbers we can understand. Our first ratio is how well does the game match up to the theoretical PERFECT game of that genre (a game that has top scores for all the features for that genre). So a ratio of 1 would be a perfect score.

Oddly enough, the archtype games for each genre (Rogue, Dwarf Fortress, and Minecraft) didn't score 1's. Instead they only scored about 0.90.

So one of the suggestions at Mefightclub was to rate each game against the *archtype* itself. This is more fun.

Crawl and Nethack both scored 1.05 compared to Rogue. MORE ROGUE THAN ROGUE
Rimworld (alpha) scored 0.83 compared to DF (with Gnomoria close behind at 0.80)
The craft-like features seem to be incomplete at the moment, so I don't really trust the numbers yet (though Terraria scored a 1.0 vs Minecraft. However, several other non-crafting games are scoring in the 0.70 to 0.80 range, which seems too high).

The system is HIGHLY precise and accurate, of course. But like I said above, not quite ready for public consumption.

However, if any of this sounded neato, join us on MFC or the IRC room (#mefightclub on irc.lunarnet.org) to help work out the bugs
posted by johnstein at 1:56 PM on November 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


But to call a game "roguelike" means that it has roguelike elements top to bottom and no others. Side-scrolling? Graphics? That's no roguelike game.

Even official definite roguelikes often have graphics these days -- Nethack's had them for well over a decade now. And side-view games, well, forbidding those might be too limiting, too.
posted by JHarris at 2:47 PM on November 26, 2013


I got killed when I pulled over to the side of the road to help a young woman who sprouted tentacles and murdered me. Then I got killed in a wooded area by the silhouette of what looked like a saw. The third time around, I shot myself in the head. I lost, but I consider myself a winner.
posted by Renoroc at 3:16 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even official definite roguelikes often have graphics these days

I'm not a purist about this -- I'm more of a pragmatist. Graphics are not a bad idea in theory, but in practice nothing packs more dragon-ness (for example) than --> D
posted by sleevener at 4:29 PM on November 26, 2013


This is cool. I didn't know Croshaw had created all those games. I'm bookmarking this to play these in the future when I have more time.
posted by Jacob Knitig at 5:48 PM on November 26, 2013


Side-scrolling? Graphics? That's no roguelike game.

That ship has sailed.
posted by empath at 9:56 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


That ship has sailed.

First result for that search calls Spelunky "roguelite," which I actually quite like (or quike lite?). In any case, looks like a fun game, and I remember hearing some buzz about it. Is it any good?
posted by sleevener at 12:56 PM on November 27, 2013


I played with it briefly, but I don't have the time to really get expert at it, which I think is what the game requires for maximum enjoyment.
posted by empath at 1:15 PM on November 27, 2013


Version History

* Fixed being able to cast magic infinitely while under the effects of drugs
* Stopped the Fat Man from infinitely respawning when killed

posted by salix at 10:08 PM on November 28, 2013


If anyone was having horrible display errors while attempting to play, the 1.0.0.1 fix seems to have fixed it for me at least. Right now my biggest complaint is that for no particular reason each play randomizes the town names (other than Stonehenge). Really digging the atmosphere though.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:57 PM on November 29, 2013


I got really excited about this, before finding out that it (and all his other games) are Windows only. Understandable, but still makes me sad.
posted by cameleon at 6:16 AM on December 3, 2013


cameleon, several of them play pretty well on WINE, and I think there is or at least was a Linux run-time for AGS (the game engine he used) if you're willing to do a little digging.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:40 PM on December 3, 2013


Buying Spelunky for $4 turns out to be a terrible decision. That thing is compulsive.
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I spent an hour or so today trolling Anubis in the temple to try and get his staff. Fucker is sort of hard to kill, especially when you're starting from the shortcut naked as the dawn. He doesn't sit still for bombs (though you can with a little luck drop one and backpedal and get him to approach it), getting him to sit in lava isn't so hot because then his staff is in the lava (though I suppose bombing the lava out of existence would work), throwing rocks is just, ha, no. Getting him squashed by a slider block would be great if it didn't also destroy his staff.

Best trick I found was to get him in range of a mummy's fly-belches while crouching somewhere out of range of his staff bolts. Pulled that off a couple times out of a LOT of runs. The staff is pretty great for murdering dudes but it's also pretty great for accidentally getting yourself killed with, so.
posted by cortex at 5:25 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The way to handle Anubis is bombs+glue. Takes two bombs, but I've never died to him because of that. Of course, if he's not in your way, you can leave him alone unless you're dead set on going to the City of Gold and/or Hell.
posted by JHarris at 5:46 PM on December 3, 2013


This weeks' Extra Punctuation is some notes on the design of Consuming Shadow:
Some testers have expressed frustration at dying from suicide after coming quite far. Well, good. That's the idea. Maybe next time try clinging onto your sanity for longer.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:34 AM on December 4, 2013


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