Roguelike Celebration: Adam Newgas on Constraint-Based Generation

Honestly, I could devote a post to every Roguelike Celebration talk. I’ve been limiting myself to just one such post a week, on Saturdays. This one, a short sixteen minutes talk about terrain generation, is for the developers out there.

Constraint-based generation, also known as “wave function collapse,” is a system where, as objects are placed randomly during generation, the generator “solves” the world around them, placing later terrain as is necessitated by prior terrain. If the generator reaches a contradiction, a situation where there is no viable terrain that can be placed, it undoes the contradictory placement and continues from there.

It’s a technique that’s fairly popular in procedural generation circles, and among other games is used in Caves of Qud. It’s also fun to watch it work!

Roguelike Celebration: Santiago “Slashie” Zapata on Moria

Next on the Roguelike Celebration 2022 train, Slashie’s wonderful explanation of what Moria is and why we should care about it. It’s true, Angband is basically expanded Moria, but the original game is incredibly important. Not just because its close descendant UMoria was the inspiration for Diablo. I could (and do!) argue that Moria is the secret foundation of the modern RPG paradigm. Disclaimer: I am quoted by Slashie at one point in this video.

As I mentioned earlier, the creator of Moria, Robert Koeneke, died recently, but thankfully before he went he did interviews about his experiences, notably in David Craddock’s Dungeon Hacks.

Roguelike Celebration 2022: Celebrating Moria (Youtube, 25 minutes)

Roguelike Celebration: Joel Ryan on Creating the Sil-Q Tileset

Sil-Q is an Angband variant. Joel Ryan, aka MicroChasm, made its tileset which shows a lot of care in its creation. Sil-Q’s tiles are modular, so humanoid monsters can hold weapons, and also have strong silhouettes to aid recognition. It’s full of the kinds of concerns pixel artists have to worry about!

Silhouettes of various monsters in Sil-Q
As a bonus, the talk provides this lineage of Sil-Q!

Roguelike Celebration: Common Pitfalls With Roguelike Traps

From Roguelike Celebration 2022, Reed Lockwood’s talk on trap design in roguelikes. Traps are an essential part of a D&D-style dungeon exploration sim, but are very easy to get wrong, either by making them too strong or, conversely, too weak. Some interesting ideas here!

Roguelike Celebration Talks: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Cataclysm

We’re going to spotlight some of the talks from this year’s Roguelike Celebration over the coming weeks, which is always crammed full of wonderful talks! The first one I’m directing your hungry gaze towards is Jeremy Rose talking about his strategy guide for Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead.

There used to be a time on the internet when nearly everyone would understand a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference.

Strategy guides for classic roguelikes are not like strategy guides for other genres of games. It is technically possible to win at NetHack without perusing spoilers, but it will probably take you a long long time. Fortunately for those with less free time, there exists the NetHack Wiki. And, since the games are randomly generated with each play, you can actually be perfectly spoiled and still find the game challenging. Although, I still think people will find playing these games without spoilers interesting and rewarding-knowing everything there is to know about NetHack makes the game seem much smaller.

I haven’t covered Cataclysm or its updated version Dark Days Ahead on @Play yet, and I really should! An interesting fact about it that comes out in the talk is that DDA may be one of the largest open source projects of all. It has had over 1,700 contributors! The mega-popular programming language Python has had around 2,000!

Roguelike Celebration 2022: Jeremy Rose presents The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Cataclysm (30 minutes)