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Subject: Theme for a Roguelike? rss

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ErikPeter Walker
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Hey all. I've recently gone back to some ideas on a streamlined solitaire game based on Roguelikes, and was hoping someone could suggest a nice theme.

My favorite roguelike is Angband, which loosely takes place in Tolkien's lore, but I'd rather shoot for something in the public domain or a completely new idea.

It might help if I explain the basic skeleton of the game (and all roguelikes): there is a town (or a base) that the player can rest in and gear up, and then a dungeon (or other dangerous locale) which is filled with randomly generated monsters and hazards. At the bottom of said dungeon lies the final boss, who is much too strong for the hero to overcome at first, but luckily, the player can level up/advance throughout the game so that by the time they reach the boss they have a chance.

To touch on how I plan on adapting it, the rooms/encounters are abstractified into numerical challenges with various attributes (combat, resistance, movement); each monster (card) adds a specific difficulty to the encounter, and as you progress deeper into the dungeon more and more cards are drawn for each encounter, creating emergent challenges. In some situations characters can flee or escape to town, but cannot progress until the encounters are defeated or bypassed.

So, what do you think would make a good setting? Or should I even bother coming up with something--perhaps "generic fantasy" is good enough, with heroes delving the dungeon to defeat Evil Lord Antagonist?

One idea I had is that the "town" could instead be a ship (sailing- or space-) that the player can return to, like an away team going on different dangerous expeditions. Eh?
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Samuel Hinz
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cyberpunk, jacked into the matrix type scenario
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ErikPeter Walker
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... And now you've got me thinking about NetHack in a new light.
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Aswin Agastya
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abodi wrote:
cyberpunk, jacked into the matrix type scenario


Yep, cyberpunk. Not enough games with that theme.
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Samuel Hinz
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Voxen wrote:
... And now you've got me thinking about NetHack in a new light.


never thought of that myself.
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Nate K
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You could do fantasy but at a different point in time--instead of fantasy based on the Medieval era, you could do fantasy in the Stone Age, or the Bronze Age. Or heck, the Renaissance.
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Samuel Hinz
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or 21st century fantasy. or mix genres.

WWII fanstay.
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Drew Hicks
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Modern-day Horror?

Think more like Silent Hill or a Stephen King novel, or maybe something more lovecraftian, rather than (sigh) zombies

You're alone and wandering through an unfamiliar environment. You feel threatened, but can only find scraps to arm yourself with, and still you feel helpless. It's hard to see, and everything you can see somehow feels off, as though the angles aren't quite right, as though the surface of every wall is slowly pulsing. You hear voices, not whispers, no, that'd be merciful... you hear shouting, screaming, yowling voices which seem to be just around every corner but when you turn, the corridor is inevitably empty. It seems as though whatever you hear is just out of your sight... until, suddenly, unexpectedly, you see it, and wish you hadn't.

-or-

Space Graveyard?

The players are salvage crew aboard a ship which has been drawn into the middle of an enormous yard of wreckage, abandoned ships (or, mostly abandoned) which have languished here for years, unable to move under their own power, slowly drifting together towards a center point, surrounded by a sea of twisted wreckage and writhing steel... and you and your ship have joined them. Now, jumping from ship to ship, you must solve the mystery, find whatever force is keeping your ship stuck here and manage to escape, before you run out of oxygen... but you need to still be breathing for that to even matter, and there are forces lurking within the derelict ships which might take issue with that...
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James Hutchings
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Voxen wrote:
Or should I even bother coming up with something--perhaps "generic fantasy" is good enough, with heroes delving the dungeon to defeat Evil Lord Antagonist?


Honestly, given the number of successful games with this theme, probably.

However, you might find that you're more likely to finish the game if you're enthusiastic about the theme.

So maybe think about your favourite books, movies or TV shows which have an adventure theme.

As a general point: the 'deeper' parts of the 'dungeon' need not be physically deeper. In fact the 'rooms' need not be physically connected. It might be that you only find out about some encounters by investigating others. This might be relevant in a mystery-themed game.
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Kai Bettzieche
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Neanderthals exploring the forest getting attacked by sabre tooth tigers and squirrels gone nuts?

(get it? squirrels .. nuts .. hrrmmppff...)
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ErikPeter Walker
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apeloverage wrote:
As a general point: the 'deeper' parts of the 'dungeon' need not be physically deeper. In fact the 'rooms' need not be physically connected. It might be that you only find out about some encounters by investigating others. This might be relevant in a mystery-themed game.


That could be fun to play around with. It would still allow for encounters/dungeon levels to get harder as the game progressed with a
'big boss' at the end.
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Nerds call me
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Nice to see another rougelike fan on here. I have been developing one with my friend since the 7th grade (I'm now 30). I was trying to make it work as a deck-building game but that has been so overused lately, I am back to the drawing board.

As far cool themes: Victorian, Steampunk and Dystopian?
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Simon Ses
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After an emergency landing on an alien planet, a pilot uses his ship as a base while exploring the surrounding landscape in search of the raw materials he needs to fix the problem and get back underway. Pesky alien critters get in the way.

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ErikPeter Walker
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SimonSes wrote:
After an emergency landing on an alien planet, a pilot uses his ship as a base while exploring the surrounding landscape in search of the raw materials he needs to fix the problem and get back underway. Pesky alien critters get in the way.



So.. Commander Keen?

Edit to add: The only thematic drawback with that one is "Why would your encounters (i.e. dungeon levels) get harder as you progress?"
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Nate K
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Voxen wrote:
SimonSes wrote:
After an emergency landing on an alien planet, a pilot uses his ship as a base while exploring the surrounding landscape in search of the raw materials he needs to fix the problem and get back underway. Pesky alien critters get in the way.



So.. Commander Keen?

Edit to add: The only thematic drawback with that one is "Why would your encounters (i.e. dungeon levels) get harder as you progress?"


He or she is drawing attention to him or herself? So bigger and bigger predators start closing in?
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James Hutchings
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kurthl33t wrote:
Voxen wrote:
SimonSes wrote:
After an emergency landing on an alien planet, a pilot uses his ship as a base while exploring the surrounding landscape in search of the raw materials he needs to fix the problem and get back underway. Pesky alien critters get in the way.



So.. Commander Keen?

Edit to add: The only thematic drawback with that one is "Why would your encounters (i.e. dungeon levels) get harder as you progress?"


He or she is drawing attention to him or herself? So bigger and bigger predators start closing in?


Or they don't get tougher, but the laser is running low.

Or the animals don't get tougher, but the bodiless, god-like aliens who rule the planet start to become aware of him.

Or it's getting closer to the once-in-a-century event that wiped out the last colony here.
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Simon Ses
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apeloverage wrote:
kurthl33t wrote:
Voxen wrote:
SimonSes wrote:
After an emergency landing on an alien planet, a pilot uses his ship as a base while exploring the surrounding landscape in search of the raw materials he needs to fix the problem and get back underway. Pesky alien critters get in the way.



So.. Commander Keen?

Edit to add: The only thematic drawback with that one is "Why would your encounters (i.e. dungeon levels) get harder as you progress?"


He or she is drawing attention to him or herself? So bigger and bigger predators start closing in?


Or they don't get tougher, but the laser is running low.

Or the animals don't get tougher, but the bodiless, god-like aliens who rule the planet start to become aware of him.

Or it's getting closer to the once-in-a-century event that wiped out the last colony here.


Or the critters are sentient and start gathering their valuables together and putting guards on them.

Or the magikium crystals that power the drive are also the source of energy (i.e. food) for the critters and thus the biggest critters can be found near the biggest concentrations of magikium.

Or the critters act like antibodies, trying harder to remove the human infection the more damage it does to the local environment (that’s basically James’s second suggestion).

I was going to suggest the Pitch Black excuse, but James has that one covered too.

(Nice Zapata microbadge, BTW James).
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Simon Ses
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Here's another one (a variant on the once in a century cataclysm). The planetary day lasts about 15 earth days. The pilot has landed shortly before dawn. As the sun comes up, the bigger critters come out to play. The longer he takes, the bigger the critters he encounters.
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Josh Taylor
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Here's a page that's given me some ideas (although I haven't done anything with them): http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PunkPunk
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James Hutchings
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SimonSes wrote:
(Nice Zapata microbadge, BTW James).


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Queen Carlotta
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Alice in Wonderland.
A large host of (potential) adversaries, potions, a dream world where you can't readily get back to the entrance... And with a book this old the added benefit of illustration work that should mostly be out of the reach of copyright.

If not Alice I'd look at other children's books - really anything a bit more whimsical would be a breath of fresh air here (and would probably draw more attention to your game then armor guy/magic guy/weasel guy vs. spider/kobold/big brown snake).
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Nate K
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I don't know, I'd totally play Weasel Guy vs Big Brown Snake.
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Maykel Santos Braz
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Steampunk or space would be cool!
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Queen Carlotta
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kurthl33t wrote:
I don't know, I'd totally play Weasel Guy vs Big Brown Snake.

Oh, I mostly play the weasel guy, or rather... the weasel guyette.
Unless the option for Donkey Boy is provided, then I'll always choose him instead. (Very rarely is the option for a donkey boy character provided.)

-
Just thought of another setting for a roguelike:
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John "Omega" Williams
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Sevej wrote:
abodi wrote:
cyberpunk, jacked into the matrix type scenario


Yep, cyberpunk. Not enough games with that theme.


Decker

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