Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Request for votes: Ascii Dreams Roguelike of the Year 2011

185 roguelikes have qualified this year: that's a different roguelike being released less than every two days, and yet again, another record number (116 last year).

How did the roguelikes qualify?

The list was taken from the roguelike releases announced on the Rogue Basin news section between December 16th 2010 and December 12th 2011 and from the list of Actively Developing Roguelikes maintained by Michał Bieliński. From this year, I'll also be including any roguelike which has been discussed on Roguelike Radio and released this year, but otherwise wasn't included in the above list. I've done this to include two notable games (Dungeons of Dredmor and the Binding of Isaac), which would not otherwise have qualified.

What about 'x'?

Make sure you announced your roguelike on Rogue Basin for next year.

What about the 7 day roguelikes?

I decided to exclude any 7 day roguelikes that weren't announced separately. However, most of them were on Michał Bieliński's list.

What's the prize?

Pride. And a sexy logo - if you want one. You can see the winning 2007 logo on the Dwarf Fortress links page. Other winners are free to request them, but haven't done so. Logo designs for this year are welcome.

Having a competition is a dumb idea/offensive/stupid when you can't police the results.

Yep. Doesn't stop it being fun. You can vote for multiple different roguelikes. The idea here is that you will be encouraged to go out and download a roguelike that other people consider interesting, not that there is any kind of real competition element involved.

80 comments:

Joseph said...

Ha! I was just typing an email to you asking if you were going to do it this year or should we organize something else. Thanks man. Gotta say there were some biggies this year. Another year without a Nethack up date but that's no surprise. All the other big ones are doing great. Crawl, TOME, POWDER etc... And some great new comers. Brogue is still strong and the last release added incredible innovation. Man...so hard to choose!

Thanks again Doull!

@PunkCapitalist said...

Realm of The Mad God ( Realmofthemadgod.com ) should have been an option (since Binding of Isaac is). It's a great experiment in applying roguelike principles to a MMORPG (and it's pretty addicting too)

Joseph said...

Huh...interesting. Hell why not? Is there any threads or discussion of this being a roguelike on the google group or Temple? I started a thread on Temple but the roguelikeness wasn't really addressed.

Andrew Doull said...

Punk: It's unfortunately too late to be added. I say unfortunately, because I was talking about it only an hour prior to compiling this list and if I'd remembered I would have included it.

I only altered how games qualified this year because I'd otherwise get beaten up if Dungeons of Dredmor wasn't included - and the criteria I picked happened to include Binding but miss Realm of the Mad God. Otherwise, the qualification requirements have been pretty much the same every year.

Akhier the Dragon Hearted said...

Oh my, that is a big list you have there. I would feel worse about voting without having played them all if not for the list being so large. Of course my vote mindless includes dwarf fortress as I am completely biased about it but other then that there are a few that I am glad to see there. Especially Prospector as it is a really good space based RL that has shown a lot of improvement over its development. Its a game I would definitely advise to my friends to play.

Holsety said...

My favorites were Rings of Valor, The Slimy Lichmummy and Unnethack. The first two really do something fresh with the genre (though you might debate whether Rings of Valor is a true roguelike due to the limited scope of randomisation), and Unnethack really contains some excellent improvements to Nethack (auto open door, my GOD).

Crawl and TOME are indeed popular (as expected), but it's outright depressing that Dungeons of Dredmor is doing so well. It's easily one of the worst roguelikes ever (which could be fixed if they added diagonal movement and a non-retarded camera angle).
The accessibility power of mouse and tiles?

Sigh...
Oh well, big plus of having such a nice list is I can go through the ones I haven't played yet.

Happy YASDs, everyone!

Brian said...

The only "missing" one that sprang to mind for me off the top was Golden Age: Endless Dungeon

http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php/Golden_Age:_Endless_Dungeon

http://cascadestudios.co.uk/goldenage/downloads.html

The sheer novelty of a graphical Roguelike, sourced sort of from a 7DRL and beget from an old-timey fantasy radio show in the UK that also spawned a P&P thing---that's damned novel alright.

Sir Yobgod Ababua the Handless said...

My only real criteria is that it can't be MS Windows only, because I don't allow that evil in my house.

Ed said...

Aw, I was hoping to vote for FayAngband, but it wasn't on this list :(

Andrew Doull said...

Holstey: I don't want to spoil next week's podcast, but Dungeons of Dredmor is GotY for one of the regular panellists. So not everyone agrees with you...

Everyone: If one is missing, feel free to vote for it here in the comments.

asciidreamsfan said...

Honestly, Crawl has added so much functionality and balance and polish this year, its amazing!

That and DoD. DoD may take forever because of animation time, it may only have wasd movement, and yes, without clear wall tiles its hard to see some enemies a lot of the time. But it's fun, and easy. (for a Roguelike.)

@holsety
It has it's issues, but they are working on a lot of them. The latest patch is really nice. Above all it's funny and still fun, despite being a beginners RL.

Holsety said...

While my tone may be slightly acerbic (though I do stand by what I said), if you like DoD, more power to you.

I just find it weird from a design perspective they chose to go with such an unhappy camera angle (and a lack of diagonal movement).

Almost as if the first thing they decided was to have nice, giant tiles and lol-so-random humor.

Just give me a nice ASCII game with a slightly more down-to-earth theme.

(At least it's a diverse genre?)

Pteriforever said...

I'm kind of upset that you screwed the rules just to let your critic's-darling Dungeons of Dredmor in.

Joseph said...

DoD is obviously a roguelike and deserves to be on the list.

What we are seeing is a broadening of the appeal of roguelikes as well as a diversification of the genre like never before. You should be happy about this. We are coming out of the closet. It's a positive change that will bring us fantastic games.

If you want to be snobby then harken back to the good ol' days and declare yourself 'hard core' or 'purist'. See the linux, Star War/Trek and/or indie-rock scene for some pointers. I will be doing this.

Mr. Doull if the changes continue it might be a good idea for the poll to reflect this advance. Perhaps by adding categories. I will do this for you. With the ability to make multiple votes it is very simple to separate out the best of each category.

Best single developer, best multi developer, best portable, best new game and best overall. These are easy to define categories not conducive to argument.

When the raw data comes out I will post to Temple/RGRD unless of course Mr. Doull wants to do the honors.

Joseph said...

That is to say I will post my best of conclusions based on these categories and the raw data. Not that I will post the raw data. :-)

Andrew Doull said...

Joseph: You're free to do what you want with the data. However, for the record, the format of this poll is unlikely to change. Having categories would miss the point.

Joseph said...

Sweet. No need to change the poll. It's perfect. Thanks for doing it.

tekknej said...

way to go, vote for the lads who release expansions without fixing the core game. seems like the industry standarts have arrived @ the roguelike space =D resistance is futile, more skin pack dlcs, please

solfall said...

@tekknej:

"vote for the lads who release expansions without fixing the core game. seems like the industry standarts have arrived @ the roguelike "

I think the only difference here is that DoD is a commercial game, while most other entries in the list are noncommercial approaches -- some of them in development for a really long time and with a quite large player base, while others are quite new.

Now DoD being commercial and sold on Steam has of course the advantage that much more players are attracted to the game, incl. lots of players who don't know about the roguelike genre, but are mainly interested in fun little indie games. I don't think that diagonal movement, for example, is a big issue for this target group.

Then of course also releasing DLCs is esp. for small indie developers a way of securing their jobs -- they are not doing this only for the fun (at least I assume this; if the DoD developers still do it in their spare time, I take back this argument), but to make a living. I'm sure they will work on the core game, too.

So although DoD distorts the results a little bit, because a commercial approach can't be compared to a 7DRL by a completly new developers, it should still be here, because it's a roguelike after all.

And it shows all the other developers how a commercially successful game could look like :)

Even if it has flaws.

Pteriforever said...

@Joseph 13:52

By that logic, since Anquestria is a roguelike, it deserves to be on the list too. It isn't, because its updates aren't announced on RogueBasin.

Why should DoD be on the list? Its updates aren't announced on Roguebasin either. Same goes for Binding of Isaac.

What I'm seeing with this out-of-the-blue new rule about Roguelike Radio is someone making allowances for their own favourites.

Joseph said...

That's exactly what happened. But it is not inappropriate. And it being the poll maker's favorite is because it's a solid game. Listing yourself on a fringe site like roguebasin can no longer be the arbiter of being a roguelike. These games have gone commercial.

A couple notable ones games were missed because of this shift. But note all of the noncommercial ones got in. So no worries.

Joseph said...

That said I'd like to vote for Realm of the Mad God and Anquestria.

Pteriforever said...

Yeah, it's probably just my random bias against commercial games kicking into effect.

No point in arguing further.

Michał Bieliński said...

It could be argued that allowing Dungeons of Dredmor and Binding of Isaac through a backdoor is my fault. None of these two games is on Actively Developing Roguelikes list. While I do not consider Binding to be sufficiently roguelike to even barely qualify DoD unquestionably should be added.

In fact 100 Rogues would not be added to the list if someone out there had not emailed me.

I am not very efficient at picking up commercial roguelikes precisely because they are commercial. This is no bias, these simply do not yield to my search patterns. Most of the time such game gets noticed thanks to some more "hardcore" roguelike player posting about it on USENET, Temple of the Roguelike, Roguebasin or adding to directory with appropriate label on a website I happen to be looking through. Some folks kindly mail me directly.

Darren Grey said...

I'm surprised you don't pay more attention to Planet Roguelike, Michal - it's one of the best resources for update info. Many roguelikes post updates there and nowhere else. After all, how useful is the RogueBasin news feed for developers like Gaslamp Games?

I think the lack of a fully inclusive list does beg the question of what should be the criteria for the poll in future (since though direct intervention is necessary this year, there should be a formal process identified for next year). I try to be as inclusive as possible in the Roguelike Round-ups, which I feel should be added as a source, but even I haven't included Isaac on there (as Michal says, in many ways it's not a roguelike, but as has also be pointed out by others we should really be as striving to be as inclusive as possible). Ultimately as Andrew is the poll creator it up to him to decide what's in or not. And if people vote for the game as Roguelike of the Year then quite clearly it should be on there, since at least some people think it's not just a roguelike but a very good one. Roguelikeness is in the eye of the beholder after all.

unnethack said...

Michał: nothing prevents the makers of the commercial games to also announce their games on the channels you are in.

There is no rule that commercial roguelikes are excluded from creating RogueBasin entries (for example Cardinal Quest did).

So it's certainly not your fault that they don't appear on your list.

onyhow said...

You know...Dredmor was announed on Temple of the Roguelike...

Brian said...

I look at it simply: The list this year is better and more robust than last year as the scene has grown---the 2012 list will surely be better still with these new considerations in mind.

By adding the sum of the things that pop up on Roguetemple(I try to do good on the news postings, I know I need to be more vigilant) alongside the rest of the sources into the mix, it should rather likely cover the spread so long as posters stay vigilant about sharing news. I doubt there will ever be a perfectly centralized system that all older and prospective devs commercial and otherwise will think to post in and get roughly cataloged as it goes, but we can surely get pretty close and push for people to speak up in more than one place consistently.

Other bits, Isaac surely a RL just like Meritous was/is, Dredmor is pairing some major ongoing patching with said "Expansion DLC", as is good and proper though they have a rough time with each patch as there is lots to account for between all the platforms and the myriad eccentricities of the game being long in the tooth codebase and such wise, v4 Angband folks slogging through the lot of it should be relatively sympathetic to such a cause as well as amused that one of the main features of the latest patch is essentially a merry nod to Quickband...

Commercial doings are healthy for the poll, besides, last I looked, ToME 4 is right up there with the "big" Dredmor---which is pretty awesome to me. T4 has had an insane amount of updates this year, and Dredmor has been in dev for roughly a damn decade before finally breaking out onto Steam AND Desura---both projects have had tons of hours heaped into them from all angles despite setbacks and massive changes throughout.

If Japan found out about this and sent the Chunsoft legions to write in the Shiren games that came out this year, everything would likely get killed outright from it, so hey, no worries folks~ All about keeping perspective and celebrating the vast lot of projects. :)

Andrew Doull said...

"And it being the poll maker's favorite is because it's a solid game."

I don't think that. I believe I'm on record as saying it (was) a terrible game.

And everyone: Thanks for the thoughtful discussion about selection criteria. This year seems to be one where more roguelikes are getting missed from the list. I'll try to look a little further afield and see what other sources I could use. The Roguelike Roundup is an obvious candidate.

Johnbrown said...

And where is Legend of Siegfried?
http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php/Legend_of_Siegfried
Released 7/2/2011
Updated 9/18/2011

Holsety said...

@Joseph:
>That's exactly what happened. But it is not inappropriate.
Debatable.

>And it being the poll maker's favorite is because it's a solid game.
Mixing up facts and opinions.

>Listing yourself on a fringe site like roguebasin can no longer be the arbiter of being a roguelike.
While this is true, somewhat offended at you calling roguebasin a fringe site. I was not aware the genre as a whole had a site that contained more information, link please?

>These games have gone commercial.
Too bad just about every commercial roguelike is a piece of shit. Not to step on people's toes too hard; you're free to like them, but you're liking inferior offerings.

@Darren Grey:
>(as Michal says, in many ways it's not a roguelike, but as has also be pointed out by others we should really be as striving to be as inclusive as possible)

Striving to be as inclusive as possible does not include adding non-roguelikes to a poll for Roguelike of the Year. Please get a mild grip. I wouldn't suggest adding Haunted: The Demon's Forge for roguelike of the year, even if it DOES have the option to let you shuffle premade rooms to create a new experience whenever you please.

Which is exactly what BoI is. A collection of premade rooms and premade monster groups shuffled each playthrough. It's Zelda 1 with shitty controls.

I wouldn't want to claim that all roguelikes MUST be turn-based (TomeNET is not, for instance), but those that are not turn-based turn in so much of the strategic element... And it is (in my opinion) the ability to consider, calmly, all your available options to overcome an obstacle, that makes a roguelike.

NOT hurrrr I walk an shoot durrrr.
The difference between deftness of mind and deftness of fingers, see?
Seriously, I try to keep myself from outright cussing as free discussion is awesome (and people who go NO, STOP LIKING WHAT I DON'T LIKE are not) but if you consider BoI to be a roguelike you clearly have no idea what a roguelike is.

There is a line that must be drawn.

Andrew Doull said...

Holsety: I'll merely note that 10% of people who have voted, including myself and the creator of the game, disagree with you.

A reminder, please keep conversation here civil.

Andrew Doull said...

More intriguingly, if you exclude roguelikes for which I can currently find a tweet or post on their community forums asking people to vote on this poll, the rankings are:

Dwarf Fortress, 155 votes
The Binding of Isaac, 120 votes
Cataclysm, 80 votes
DoomRL, 72 votes
Desktop Dungeons, 59 votes

(Can't be bothered searching for any more).

That implies that there's a lot more potential for some of these games to leap up the rankings than we are currently seeing.

While I abstain from direct advocacy (ahem, Grey...), if you've voted for any of these games and are members of the game's community, you may want to consider harnessing some of that community to vote.

Andrew Doull said...

John Brown: Legend of Siegfried is listed as Siegfried, for some reason.

Darren Grey said...

What's wrong with direct advocacy? Incidentally, everyone should vote for Unangband!

Darren Grey said...

Oh, and one game that I'm disappointed isn't on here is Red Rogue, which is a great new platformer roguelike.

Andrew Doull said...

Quiet in the 'but it's uploading really slowly' seats...

Joseph said...

Hey Doull sorry for misstating your favorable opinion of Dreadmor. I think I read that someone on Roguelike Radio had it as his game of the year. So I just thought it was you. Probably Grey huh?

As far as direct advocacy I
have no problem with it. But I'm not the poll creator either. :-)
++Powder and ++Brogue

-Jo

Michał Bieliński said...

onyhow:

Indeed Dredmor was announced on RogueTemple forums in appropriate sections. Problem is I stumbled on announcement of future release which is nothing wrong. The list only counts released games so I discounted DoD as vapourware and glossed over other headings with Dredmor in name.



Actively Developing Roguelikes should not be looked upon as very inclusive list. I try to be conservative when it comes to updating. It is semi-official piece and has some history behind it. My thoughts are it is better to leave a roguelike-like out than add unfitting game. When definition of roguelikeness becomes sufficiently distorted games can always be reconsidered. Removal though, is not an option unless an obvious mistake is made.

Red Rogue was left out on purpose. Roguelikeness factor did not appear to be high. OTOH I learned about it from RogueBasin so Andrew could have included it.

Holsety:

DoD being commercial game puts a lot of resources into graphics. Too much IMHO. Unsurprisingly after long development time it does not have as much content to offer as roguelikes putting looks as second-tier or lower goal. I think you are judging it too harshly. After all it has to sell. Independent developers have very few or no such constraints.

Darren Grey said...

I don't think graphics are really that constraining. They only had one guy doing graphics after all, and he also contributed to other things, whilst the main coding was by the lead developer. This is no different from how ToME4's coding is mostly by DarkGod, with graphics contributions by Shockbolt. I also refute the idea that Dredmor is too simple a game. It's actually got a fair bit of depth to it, far more than a 7DRL for instance, and its Skills system is especially well developed. And the developers should be praised for their continual work on the game, with los of rebalancing, UI polish and content addition. I wish more devs were so diligent!

dbaumgart said...

Hi! David of Gaslamp Games here.

Regarding art, commercialism and Dredmor:
I did the art, yes, but before I joined the project there were about 3 contract artists at various points doing work. Post-launch we've hired another to do animation. And I wasn't just an art guy -- I did the xml scripting & writing for most of the spells, items, and rooms. And dealt with balancing and wrote up most of the bugtracker tickets. And oversee contractors, manage branding & site design, do all the marketing material, etc. But that's just my plate.

More significant perhaps to the overall development of Dredmor is the immense amount of overhead being commercial adds to the project. There's packaging properly for all distribution channels, promo material has to be drawn/written and distributed, deals need to be negotiated, contractors overseen, deadlines met and coordinated between distributors. Patches exploding. Marketing and hype itself, as much as we may loathe it with our indie/DIY attitude is a giant game that we have to play to make sure anyone hears about us through the noise made by all the other games out there - so get paid.

Then, customers. Oh, a world of customers. If one person has a problem on their setup we can't tell them to piss off -- we have to do all we can to fix it, or at least send a very, very apologetic email. If we miss one email, it makes forever-hatred that will come back to hurt us. As soon as someone pays any money for a game expectations change entirely; Every release is met with equal parts bilious hatred and love. Oh, boy, I could go on.

To borrow the line from our coder Nicholas, making a commercial game is suspiciously like real work.

I don't even know what my point is any more. Maybe: A commercial project is an entirely different beast. I can only imagine what a mess it'd be if we actually had a publisher and outside investors breathing down our neck.

(And thanks guys for discussing DoD; it's always fascinating to see what people say from all perspectives.)

Reaven said...

Uh How can be Dredmor getting so many votes? Specially when there are so many feature rich free RLs which also have better gameplay. Are graphics so important for the players?

solfall said...

@Reaven: "Uh How can be Dredmor getting so many votes? Specially when there are so many feature rich free RLs which also have better gameplay. Are graphics so important for the players?"

As DoD is a commercial game and sold via Steam, much much much more people notice it. I don't think most votes come from the roguelike community. It also presents itself in a very professional visual manner -- of course this helps to get people into it.

Joseph said...

@Reaven: 2 things. First of all it is likely that many of the votes for DoD come from people who have not played the other games. Secondly graphics and a simple interface make a game far more approachable. Even for experienced players the learning curve on a roguelike can be daunting.

onyhow said...

@Reaven: The game is, even though with less features than several other roguelikes, pretty fun too...I've played few other roguelikes and I liked Dredmore because it's fun to play...

I wonder if Transcendence counts as roguelike or not...

Andrew Doull said...

Steve Cooper: I'm sorry but I deleted your post because it looked a bit too much like a spam bot.

Feel free to reply again if you're a real person intending to contribute to the conversation, but please include the name of the top polling roguelike in your next post.

Brian said...

@onyhow Transcendence pretty much is by my reckonings the same way Lost in Flatspace II: Rise of the Scarrid is---close enough beyond any point of hair splitting near as I can tell.

Now, as to why neither project seems to acknowledge the other's existence nor each being anywhere near as well known as you'd think considering how long each has been around in one form or another with their respective meaty contents...that's the question for the ages. ; )

Joseph said...

@ Brian - You guys are bringing up some high quality games that I had never even heard of. Thank you. Checking them out now.

Joseph said...

Holy crap you guys. What a competitive race.

The 1st tier looks to be dominated by TOME and DoD. They are neck and neck, separated by less than 1%. That one will probably go down to the wire. Exciting!

Jade and DF are really surging. Moving into the second tier along with DCSS. I'm surprised to see Jade coming along so well. And DF is such a different beast than the rest. Love the variety.

The 3rd tier is a good mix. Doom, Cataclysm, Brogue and Binding have all cleared 100. Who will dominate here?

I am surprised that Cardinal Quest, Powder and Triangle Wizard are getting no love. I thought for sure these games filled a solid nitch. Ido's game (CC) is pretty smooth. You can check out the demo online.

Legends of Yore and Desktop Dungeons are also a surprise. They'll likely break 100 votes but at the least I expected DD to be up in the 3rd or even 2nd tier.

Note that absolute number of votes per roguelike cannot be compared to last year. You could only vote for one last year.

I like the multi-vote approach. Brilliant move Mr. Doull. An entirely appropriate change for this dynamic year in the weird world of roguelikes. Seriously there's too much variety to pick just one.

It's like spaghetti sauce. There is no best sauce. There are multiple best sauces depending on taste and mood. In statistical terms the 'favorite' choices are pooled around different data points.

I was wondering if you were tracking number of voters? I'm a huge stat lover. The more stats I get the more days I'll be babbling incessantly about my suspect conclusions while citing your poll. :-)

tiger-eye said...

Nice assessment, Joseph. The fact that there are currently nine games above 100 votes is pretty impressive, and this poll will no doubt encourage fans of one game to try out other games. I really enjoyed the roguelike radio episodes on Dungeons of Dredmor, and I expect I'll play it at some point (also, I'm not against commercialization--if I were working on a game full-time, I'd want to get paid too!).

Still, it's hard to ignore what ToME4 accomplished in the past year: ~20 betas of significant improvements. A winnable game (ToME4 has been developed for, what, only two years?!), beautiful tileset (or ascii), rich gameplay with more classes and game features, greatly improved UI, etc.

Roguelikes don't exist in a vacuum, so advancements made in developing a game improves the roguelike community as a whole. Heh, I'm pretty sure ToME4 wouldn't have gotten auto-explore this year if players who were accustomed to it from other roguelikes hadn't kept asking for it :-D

raketata said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Doull said...

@joseph: "Note that absolute number of votes per roguelike cannot be compared to last year. You could only vote for one last year."

That's not correct. It has been multivote every year.

Joseph said...

@Doull: Oh really? My bad. Thanks for the correction. That's sweet!

Then we already have nearly twice as many votes this year as last.

It may happen that just the winner of this year's poll will have as many votes as were cast in all of last year's balloting. That would be interesting. Either way it's a significant increase.

Even more interesting is that the winner last year, TOME, won with 39% of the votes. Whereas so far this year the top game is around 27% of votes.

This diffusion of votes illustrates a broadening of the genre. It may even point to a broadening of the genre into sub-genres. Time will tell.

Love it.

Holsety said...

@Joseph
>Ido's game (CC) is pretty smooth. You can check out the demo online.
Cardinal Quest; not free, not on steam, not a lot of votes. Still does have a nice sum, considering.

>It's like spaghetti sauce. There is no best sauce. There are multiple best sauces depending on taste and mood. In statistical terms the 'favorite' choices are pooled around different data points.
Nicely said. Though what would these data points be? The voting tiers?

>This diffusion of votes illustrates a broadening of the genre. It may even point to a broadening of the genre into sub-genres. Time will tell.

There's a thread on the Dredmor forums about the poll, though. Food for thought. What would the sub-genres be?

Mah, I'll be looking forward to whatever conclusions you draw from this poll.

Joseph said...

@Holsety: Well man if you want to establish grouping you would have to be very familiar with the games. Then group them into subgenres using some sort of objective standard. Then you can begin to get a hold on what the different subgroups of roguelike players there are.

The theory is that there is no one best roguelike. There are only best roguelikes. Note the plural in that last sentence.

Roguelikes have diversified to the point now that I think we'll be able to start doing this. Some will like their roguelikes simple (that's me), some need stream lined UI and graphics, some will love the old school epics. Then there is another group of open world people who are into Dwarf Fortress, Goblin Camp and maybe Ascii Sector.

You can conclude by such analysis which are the most popular types of roguelikes.

This was done with spaghetti sauces a decade or so ago. Here is a lecture about it.
http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_on_spaghetti_sauce.html

They discovered there was no perfect sauce. There were a bunch of perfect sauces. Certain people liked certain kinds and these people fell into discrete statistical categories.

From there you can figure out how common those preferences are in a given population and stock your sauces (or make your games) accordingly.

Man this is all purely academic nerd stuff. But I have a doctorate I'm not using. So I get bored and need an outlet. I'll post my tentative conclusions at the end on Temple of the Roguelike. I'll post my grouping conclusions and a simple Best Of. Like Best New Release, Best Ascii Only, etc...about 10 categories in all.
Ha I might even use the grouping analysis to pitch a hypothetical 'perfect roguelike'. Wouldn't that be a blast. Futile but fun!

Brian said...

@Joseph Hey now, I've(getter77) been randomly interjecting rants to mention Flatspace II over on Roguetemple for a long time now, one of my more common hand wringings alongside the lamentable fate of the Jaunt Trooper series and the mourning of Dungeonmans---the game that "could have been the Dredmor" if only things apparently hadn't imploded internally and that every melee combat Roguelike should harvest the corpse for good dynamic melee notions... ; )

@ Holsety

I reckon it will be even more of a pronounced thing going forward for next year's polling---how stark the contrast between Commercial Roguelikes not on Steam AND Desura (Seriously people, for god's sake try to get on Desura as the mod/indiedb crowds relish in the non-standard and the service plays very nice with alpha and beta projects, versus Steam! Also, obviously given the above parentage, they know and like to vote on things of all sorts!)

Cardinal Quest 2 will probably be able to better jump out at people, as do I hope is the case for Hack, Slash, Loot that I recently took advantage of the pre-order offer on as my sense is that the game is nearly there from the Twitter updates and such. I'll be amazed if Desktop Dungeons doesn't make some major rounds given the press behind them and maybe Unity throwing some weight around in the marketplace. CQ's free online demo Classic thing is a pretty good representation of the game, but these days portals are the next step up from enthusiast sites in terms of broadening the mindshare of attention so things can get found.

Maurog said...

Hah, this whole Dredmor debate reminds me that on the next year's roguelike poll we might have Diablo III. How will people like THOSE apples I wonder...

Anyway, yeah both Dredmor and Binding of Isaac are roguelikes and so they should be on the list. And as we can all see, Steam power will get you quite far in the publicity department.

Perhaps if more roguelike developers manage to get their stuff on Steam, we will witness a roguelike Renaissance. Steam is pretty liberal with adding free games to its library, so just make sure to include a tutorial for new people, tack a few hundred achievements to your game and go for it!

Holsety said...

@Joseph:
>Roguelikes have diversified to the point now that I think we'll be able to start doing this.
>You can conclude by such analysis which are the most popular types of roguelikes.

I see what you mean. Just like how the Rogue Basin mentioned the Major Roguelikes (and previously the Major Classic Roguelikes) as "most influential".
Haha, bandlike and hacklike really did stop being the major distinction a long time ago...

>Certain people liked certain kinds and these people fell into discrete statistical categories.

>From there you can figure out how common those preferences are in a given population and stock your sauces (or make your games) accordingly.

Interesting way of looking at it, to be sure.
Food for thought concerning the "make your games accordingly" part;
To quote Ulf Åström (The Slimy Lichmummy, old version of the site via Wayback Machine);

"Q: But why not!? (to any of the above)
A: I do this for fun and don't want to waste time adding features or solving problems I don't find interesting or need myself."

Truly an example of a person making a game (S)HE wishes to play, and then sharing it with the rest of us. For me, that's one of the appeals of the roguelike genre.

>Wouldn't that be a blast. Futile but fun!
I haven't read it yet and I'm already amused :)

@Brian:
>how stark the contrast between Commercial Roguelikes not on Steam AND Desura
Steam has a huge userbase and allows indie games, so it's a great platform for a commercial roguelike. Desura's good too (as you mentioned, they don't mind games taking the minecraft-approach), with the added bonus of getting your game on their Indie Royale bundle?

Commercial roguelikes do need a certain amount of arm waving to get noticed though, indeed.

>Desktop Dungeons
Had so much publicity early on. Most of it kind of dissipated after it made the switch to Unity.
Very curious to see whether the changes from the free version will be enough to net it significant sales.

@Maurog
>Steam is pretty liberal with adding free games to its library, so just make sure to include a tutorial for new people, tack a few hundred achievements to your game and go for it!

You'd think so, but all the free2play games on it have some form of microtransaction built in. (They're usually also dead/dying MMOs)
Unless there's some form of money to be made by Valve, I doubt they'll add free games such as roguelikes.

Brian said...

Steam worked for Dungeons of Dredmor and Binding of Isaac---but I'd caution against the notion that they go for all types, especially on the RPG/Roguelike front. Soldak Entertainment has literally been trying for years to get their latest and greatest on Steam to no avail, literally not even getting a reasoning to work from, despite them being far more "Interesting" along Roguelike sensibilites(Din's Curse: Demon War--if you can't see some really good mechanics to consider on NPC interaction and some other bits then I just don't know what to tell you) than Diablo III will be by far and the studio being an established Independent operation.

Desura has the benefit of being fine and dandy with outright free games alongside commercial as they are intending to grow along the niches and generally be supportive---a few other similar portals share this mindset but Desura was first off the starting line and thus far maintains a good distance in front. The whole Win/Linux thing is also more...apt...to be a good consideration for the Roguelike scene considering the historical doings and demographics.

There's never been a better time for prospective and existing devs, for the most part, to get it out there and achieve in general on the lot of it---2012 looking to continue that trend.

Collen Jones said...

I think a useful change to this review is a second checklist of how many games the person has tried. So if they choose one and they've tried even 40%, that's good to know as opposed to they've chosen one and have only tried several this year.

Also, I think a second breakdown of how many voters have tried the games on the list is also useful (sorted in terms of popularity).

This could encourage people to try more roguelikes rather than just what people are saying is the 'best'.

Zeno Rogue said...

Nice idea Collen, but I am not sure whether votes would like such extra voting.

In case if somebody does not know it yet, you can also vote for your favorite or least favorite roguelikes by rating them on IRLDb: http://roguetemple.com/irldb/index.php?i=4451b8&s=21.22.22 This is linked to a Roguetemple forum account (and you can create your profile which lists your experience with all games), so you need to create a in order to vote. Unfortunately Dredmor does not appear here yet (since it was not on RogueBasin), but I have added it to RogueBasin, so it should appear shortly.

Linaniil of the Kar'Krul said...

As a side note, today ToME4 passed ten thousands days of playtime!

dbouya said...

I can't believe how many votes DoD has! it's barely serviceable at all as a roguelike, I wouldn't force it on a child over the age of 6.

Joseph said...

Yes it seems to have divided the community. But it has also increased the visibility of all roguelikes. It looks like there is a strong contingent of players going for easier to get into roguelikes. But the complex roguelikes with more of a learning curve are doing very well. As are the simple ones with the classical style (brogue) and the sandbox ones (DF and Goblin Camp).

We'll see how it plays out in the end.

solfall said...

Well, that DoD indeed IS a roguelike has been discussed in this thread for a while now. There are easy and difficult games, simple and complex, in all genres, and roguelikes are nothing different, nothing elitist.

Side note: I find it very sad that Legerdemain only got 19 votes so far. Because Legerdemain is, besides LambdaRogue, the only roguelike with a strong emphasis on game world and story, and a very good one in this regard. It's also complex enough.

(And: Despite my nickname here, I'm Mario Donick, the LambdaRogue dev. Voted for LR and Legerdemain ;) )

Brian said...

As an early purchaser of Legerdemain back when the Canticle/CD combo was first released, while lamentable, I'm not surprised.

This year saw a widely accessible update that had the graphical version of the game playable at long last. Beyond that, and since release, there were some updates when things were fresh but then a vast swath of time lacking anything. Even just things like devblogs that analyze other Roguelike happenings at the times, dev hurdles, injecting itself alongside other fellow travellers---none of these things went down to stimulate things. The outfit itself is a multi-pronged sort last working on that epic poem tome The Boviniad, so that also factors into things.

Granted, there are cases where a game just gets "done", is released solid, etc---but for the purposes of a poll like this, and the now teeming sea of Roguelikes, things NEED to be Lively for best odds. DoD and ToME 4 especially have had rather visible and aggressively meaty updates at a breakneck pace---others have been perhaps even faster but less visible/trackable to the browsing public at large like Caves of Qud and Cataclysm. Every new, visible release refreshes discussion anew, gets the game back in peoples' heads, and create a chance for a newcomer to come across the project along the whole "Hey, that's new to me!" angle.

Story Roguelikes have an inherently rougher road to trod given that they need to excel in the Story while also satisfying the traditional cravings for the Player Story that lends to oft recounted YASD's and YAVP's and whatnot. Staying in the news, drawing from the strengths of other projects, and hopefully spurring ideally some video, or at least screenshot, Let's Plays are pretty good goals to chase after. Stories tend to stick around via making a splash, and the first part to that is reaching the audiences that can strike a chord and growing from there.

All in all, there's about as many varied elements to getting a Roguelike successful with some degree of sustainability as there is to completing one of any given stripe with fleshed out difficulty of play.

parisian goldfish said...

Please for the love of god can you make the previous year's winner ineligible for voting so we don't have DCSS and Tome winning for all eternity.

It's games like Brogue that really deserve the title this year, but this poll is really just a reflection of popularity, I doubt very few people are voting for the roguelike they think has shone the most this year.

Holsety said...

@parisian goldfish
Despite being called Roguelike of the Year, the poll is more about seeing what roguelikes people have enjoyed, and maybe getting people to try some new ones. (Correct me if I'm completely wrong)

I think it's safe to say that ToME and DoD are pretty popular, haha.

Darren Grey said...

I think the title of the poll should be changed to "Roguelikes of the Year" to represent the fact that first place isn't all-important. Anything that has more than a handful of votes obviously has enough fans to warrant looking at. To disallow ToME4 or Crawl would be a shame considering how much both have improved this year.

Joseph said...

No matter the reservations one must admit that ToME has released enough good stuff this year to be recognized as "Roguelike Of The Year."

But given just one vote I too would vote for Brogue. As best of the year and as my favorite roguelike to play.

solfall said...

"Anything that has more than a handful of votes obviously has enough fans to warrant looking at"

I know what you mean, but I wouldn't say it this way, because it could be interpreted as "sth. with fans must be good in a way" -- and for all those who dislike DoD, for example, this would not be true; for them, it would be "sth. with fans can also be bad if the fans are wrong". ;-)

Anyway, that's not important. I think every game on the list deserves some recognition, and it may even be a good idea to NOT look into the winners, but explicitly look into the games with 50 to 100 votes, or 10 to 20 (hehe).

parisian goldfish said...

@Holsety - I don't need a poll to tell me that!

Joshua Day said...

@parisian goldfish: You presume that Brogue won't be getting as much better next year as it did this year. There's a lot of room for attrition from Crawl's ranks, even! Brogue's done great in this poll, and since it doesn't have much of a community to itself (I mean, it's mostly people who play other roguelikes, too, and a lot of them read this blog), its votes are all the more precious.

Devoto said...

So no Dark Souls? I can't help but see it as a Roguelike, at least if the genre wasn't so defined by stubbornly appearing to be made in the 80s.

Andrew Doull said...

Devoto: Again, Dark Souls (and Demon's Souls, last year) didn't qualify because they didn't meet the qualification requirements, not because they couldn't be seen as roguelikes.

Eric Michael Wykoff said...

Another Dark Souls fan here :) It's actually been the main reason I've taken a break from Tome.

Linaniil of the Kar'Krul said...

ToME is at 666, this is the final proof I am evil ! :)

Joseph said...

Was Dark Souls a procedurally generated game?

Devoto said...

Joseph: No it wasn't, although a random element that I think has a similar effect is that other players can "invade" your world at any point (well, as long as you're in human form) and will typically be at your strength or above. You also get people with the ability to curse your world which will spawn stronger and different enemies than that would normally be there until you go into their world and kill them.

Eric Michael Wykoff said...

I personally don't count Dark Souls as a roguelike. It doesn't have perma-death or randomly generated dungeons.

It is a very hard and unforgiving game though and falls into the action/adventure RPG genre. If I wanted to compare it to other games I'd say it harkens back to the days of old NES titles in terms of difficulty with a lot of modern day stuff added in, like an extremely unique online game play element, modern day graphics, and a very deep combat system.

A great game for sure and it certainly has some roguelike elements (it's a very hard and unforgiving action adventure/rpg game after all) but it is missing some key things I see as defining the roguelike genre (perma-death for one).