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April 23, 2005




If I remember correctly, ADOM is turn based, which allows for time compression, where the current trend is the opposite.

Also your reasoning with the eye candy is spot on. However instead of more events, I think modern games have the potential to have events be richer and more time intensive, letting the player get more engrossed in a story. The avatar has more meaning to the player in modern games than in ADOM because of the time invested and the more meaningful encounters. Its kind of like comparing the Chainmail rules to a low stat/more story tabletop RPG.


Since one can have commercial roguelikes. Rogue itself was a commercial game, and ADOM had plans to have a commercial build. I believe also that there a number of japanese commercial roguelikes, although I have no idea as to their content density.


What about this one?
DungeonDoom, a rogue-like Doom3 mod.

this says zangband has overworld.

"The overworld school, where there is more then one dungeon (or, in the case of The UnReal World, no dungeons at all (only caves)). Notable examples of this school are Omega (dungeons are regenerated after being left), ADOM (Every dungeon but one is preserved when left), ToME, and later versions of ZAngband."

Is that wrong? I haven't ever explorded much outside the town so I don't know if there are other areas.


Yes, there is an overworld in Zangband. There are many many dungeons and towns on it as well.


I think it's possible to increase the density of many current games. In a lot of games you spend most of your time getting from point A to point B. If you removed all the walking time in Jade Empire, for example, the game would get much, much shorter (and with higher "experiential density"). That's somewhere where things could be improved.

I think it's a real waste that players always have to walk around to get everywhere in games. How boring would movies get if every time the characters went into a car and drove somewhere you had to watch them drive all the way?

A game like Sid Meier's Pirates does this right, I think. When you get in a town, you don't have to walk to the different places of interest -- you have a list of choices and just choose where you want to go. I really don't think the game would be any better if you walked around in the town. Molyneux's Fable has something similar since it allows you to teleport from area to area. Once in an area you still have to walk too get to what interests you specifically, but you save a lot of tedious travel.

Moreover, allowing players to move instantly from place to place reduces the scope of the game and hence its budget. In Pirates nobody had to model detailed cities and create an engine that allows walking around in it.


I think the biggest factor about ascii based characters is this, you have a sense of imagination no everyone does. You see the characters the way you want to and imagine them the way you want to what hapens in an actual game is that the characters have a pre defined shape size color and texture which are designed and imagined ad as a result created by another artist (or set of artists) that is their imagination not yours. So there is no personal involvement i the creation or imagination of those characters. I hated Marlon Brando at first when I saw the movie Godfather for the first time as he was not myideal picture of the character the way I saw it...but over time I hae loved him maybe my eyes got used to it and now when I read the book for the umpteenth time I visualize him instead of the character I had in mind

Personally I am a big fan of the RPG genre and havent dabbled enough with Rogue like games so cant comment on experential density or stuff


ADOM is quite possibly the greatest (and most frustrating) game ever.

I've played probably a few hundred games and I think my highest level character was 16 or 18.

I generally dislike games where they are maddeningly difficult, but that's usually because of some 'trick' the game has to use to make it more difficult. For example, Midnight Club 3..you can be winning a race easily, then turn a corner and there just happens to be a car blocking both lanes of the road that is almost impossible to avoid, which makes you crash and lose the race.

ADOM on the other hand doesnt seem to use tricks, it's just a genuinely difficult game. You never know when a door is going to blow up and take out your best piece of armor, or your only weapon. You never know what's in that tension room..could be rats, could be a bunch of minotaur lords.

Plus, random dungeons have always been a big plus for me. They are why I love diablo and hate dungeon siege. Randomization of content = good


Yeah, Zangband also offers the overworld and is my preferred Roguelike... ADOM is just too much work, and too structured. Something like that. I played it a ton, but it didn't quite hold me like Zangband ("hold me, Zangband, hold me!"). Zangband is more of the wild randomness you come to expect from a Roguelike. Plus it includes a couple tiny elements that were my ideas!

You know why I love Diablo and hate Dungeon Siege? Respawning enemies. I hate games where you can level up, but the enemies don't respawn, so you don't have the freedom to level up as much as you want (conversely, I also hate when you can level up as much as you want, but the enemies level up with you... both cases are like why does this game even let you level up?). Of course, it also helps that it has a bunch of classes each with really interesting abilities to choose between and customize, while Dungeon Siege has none. Man, I hated Dungeon Siege.

Chris Busse

It because ADOM forces you to play that way, though you experienced basically the same content again and again.

You could have played WoW in 4-6 hours the same way and played as many characters as you wanted to, just start another one every 15 minutes. For the first 10 levels or so of WoW, you can level about every 15 minutes. You could have experienced about 60 quests using 6 or so characters each in a different part of Azeroth. And had a wider variety of game experience and a more involved one as well.

ADOM is great fun. WoW is also. They play differently though; and you've got your mind set against MMOs from the start. You're not one to enjoy the long payout of an involved game over the long course. It's a different play experience for sure. I'd guess you were also the one that enjoyed playing 1 shot modules with the pre-rolled characters as opposed to have the same character over months or years that you took on many different adventures, when you played D&D.

Different strokes, different folks.

Jamie Fristrom

So I gave Zangband a shot today...although it does have the overworld, and it's technically more sophisticated, and larger, than ADOM, it seems like that largeness comes at a price...it starts feeling more like a modern day game in its stuff density. After hours of play I didn't feel like I was getting to all that cool stuff that ADOM had. Can I play a necromancer or a bard in Zangband? Not sure. Are there ogres, zombies, dark mages, zombie ogre dark mages? Maybe, but I never saw them. I mostly saw slimes, molds, rats, mice, bugs, and newts. And I wasn't trying to bottom feed; I was trying to find those staircases down to where there'd be some new beasties.

"Different strokes, different folks?" Sure. But I think that my tastes might be more mass market. I'm not the only one out there who lacks the patience for the long-term payoff.

Chris Busse

You are probably right, which is probably why WoW has more than twice as many subscribers as any other MMO (in the US), it experiencial density is much higher than previous.

The problem, and I'm much worried about this for WoW, is that making the experience too short will lead to loss of your long term players. Excluding any expansions or what not that come out, a player that plays WoW for a year basically buys your game 3 additional times (and this is true for each additional year of basic content).

With EQ, I played for close to 18 months (on my longest stretch) and never maxed a character. I've maxed my first charcter in WoW in 3 months. Unlike EQ, I've seen a good deal of the content in this 3.5 months. The experiencial density is much higher in WoW, but the experience is much shorter. There is a high likelihood that I won't play this game for 18 months, let alone come back for a second shot of 18 months like I did with EQ.

Hard to say which is the better financial model: EQ which basically held 400,000 for 5 years (and countless expansions) or WoW who might peak at 2 million users, but I'm guessing will burn out in about a year (unless they come out with crazy content expansions). The numbers are about the same.

So, let me turn it back on you: how much money a month would you pay to play ADOM, or even one time?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov

Damn you, Jamie, I spent half of last night as a @ symbol just for old time's sake.

What's funny, that "imagination" thang never worked for me in ADOM, at least not in the graphical sense. I think of myself as a @, fear the terrible purple 'd's, and hope I have at least a couple of bright-white !s.


Roguelikes...blech. Kieron's story of losing a character simply for opening a door is a perfect example of why I hate them. And you can see in his article - you can see the moment in which he internalizes the pain and frustration and consciously decides to enjoy it anyway.

That's not gameplay to me. That's masochism. I recall reading about a GM named John Wick who ran his roleplaying campaigns in much the same way - adversarial, a contest between himself and the players. He made it even more personal by giving himself an in-game avatar - a superpowerful NPC who was free to use GM knowledge against the players. And of course, since he was the GM, he held all the cards, and the players never won. And he was proud of that fact!

Roguelikes seem very much the same...they violate Raph's "God Principle". Their interfaces are minimalistic; important information (like your hunger or poison level) is either not displayed or not emphasized - it's YOUR job as the player before every turn to scan the entire screen for anything that might suggest a problem. Even if you're in the middle of combat. "Okay, need to find a way to beat this goblin...oh, crap, I just starved to death." While normally I applaud the combinatorial explosion of the interaction of various independent subsystems, in Roguelikes those combinations are mostly just ways for you to die. "Oops, fell down the stairs and landed on a cockatrice!" The other annoying thing is that the "realism" of the game only applies to the player - note that in Kieron's story, his character starved to death, something monsters are immune to.

If I could find a Roguelike that had a decent interface that gave me all the data I needed, and didn't feel like it was EXPRESSLY DESIGNED to frustrate me and kill my chracters, I'd play it. Oh, wait, there is one - Diablo!


I agree with what you say, Viridian, which is why I enjoy Zangband and hate Nethack (and find ADOM leaning much closer to the Nethack end of the spectrum). Nethack is murderous randomness. Zangband is a lot nicer - yes, you do have to constantly be aware and on your toes, but the info is there, and it's not very likely to arbitrarily annihilate you.

And of course, I adore and cuddle Diablo II until the wee hours of the morning.


Well, I tried ADOM. I like its layout/interface better than just about any other Roguelike I've played, but my first character only lasted 2.5 days - he starved to death, even though he ate at least three times during those 2.5 days. Someone needs to tell the designer that in real life, it takes people about a month to starve to death. I may try Zangband next...we'll see. I can only take Roguelikes in small doses.


I hate long walks. But I think WoW maps are small compared to Planeshift and Anarchy Online (it is normal to walk 5 minutes to get to some place). In fact, they have the exact size I would use if I were making a mmorpg. I like eye candy and intuitive interfaces too. I would like an ADOM game with an smooth engine like WoW, small maps, online and free. Also I like games you can underestand in a few minutes, not one that you must start over and over again to imagine out how to play. The roguelike games I have tested haven´t convinced me. Maybe I haven´t tried hard enough.


Kheh, DungeonDoom is Doom III turned into a roguelike? Try a different angle then -- here's the original Doom *as* a true ASCII roguelike:

Plamen Kovatchev

"masochism"? When your character dies every time you open a door and land on a cockatrice, you tend not to get too attached. Also, since the rules remain constant throughout the game (no monsters "cheat"), it seems possible to "beat the designer at his own game". Indeed, this is where you get the thrill of playing these kinds of games. The immense challange in beating these games is like "Can you beat God in his own domain and on his terms?". If you fail, it's no bigge. After all, this is the game designer you're fighting against. But if you win, you'll have proved that you are better at figuring out (and probably designing) puzzles than the designer. It's a motavation very simular to that of Richard Bartle's "Explorer" type, except Bartle studies MUDs, not RPGs.

Or course, nobody likes "trial+error" gameplay, which is a problem with ADOM. The game's rules shouldn't be entirely arbitrary and a player should be able, at least in theory, to guess solutions to the game's difficulties. This could be done by maing the game simple or easy to understand (Diablo) or by making it extremely realistic so that solutions that work in the real world would also work in-game.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game