A roguelike developer's diary.
We are currently toning down the random deaths in Unangband. (With apologies to Edgar Allan Poe).
Wow, can this actually happen in the game?1. Setting aside for the moment the legitimacy of this death, more literature references in a game generally only serves to strengthen it. One of the very best things about Nethack is the wide variety of fantasy literature it gleefully scavanges from.2. I'm reaching a place in my own thinking about random dungeon games (which are often are, but are not necessarily, roguelikes) where I'm starting to think that an emphasis on character survivability is overrated. In Angband, practically the only thing that can kill the player is monster attacks, of one form or another. Nethack has lots of ways to die, but 90% of them never occur unless the player is extremely unlucky ("killed by a (something) trap") or actively trying to get them ("went to heaven prematurely").I'm thinking that these things put the danger of the game squarely in the hands of the monsters, which means the dungeon comes to feel like just that place where the monsters hang out. Roguelikes typically have very simple traps compared with old-school D&D.Hmm... I think this is turning into a column. I'll see if I can explain this stuff in @Play this time out.
JohnH: If you want the Unangband spoilers on how you can die, follow this link and search for cause_of_death:http://svn.berlios.de/wsvn/unangband/trunk/unangband/src/tables.c
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