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The Berlin Factor

LateTide Blog

StormTorn is a (will be a) nautical roguelike, with a strong emphasis on exploration. In this article, I'd like to expand on this a bit, using the Berlin Interpretation for the definition factors.But, before I go into that, here is a bit of explanation: There is an ongoing "conversation" on the internet about Roguelikes. Some say you should never use this expression, for you should not define a genre by the first game. Some others argue with this. I think it is an expression that means much more today than just a reference to the original game, especially that most of us have not played with Rogue whatsoever. So, when I use the term "Roguelike", I use it in accordance with this definition:

"Roguelike" refers to a genre, not merely "like-Rogue". The genre is represented by its canon.
The canon for Roguelikes is ADOM, Angband, Crawl, Nethack, and Rogue.

Having said that, let's go through the list: (for the definitions please see the link I mentioned above: Berlin Interpretation)

  1. Random Environment Generation: Yes. The worlds are randomly generated, using some rules to make them interesting and playable. I have a huge list of different places and events to make it interesting.
  2. Permadeath: Yes. If the character dies, there will be no resurrection/respawn. But, there is a twist here: Worlds can be reused for playing with a new character after the previous one dies or if the player decides to abandon it.
  3. Turn-Based: Yes. Actions will take place only when the character acts. There will be "waiting" commands to support this.
  4. Grid based: Yes and no. The world is represented as a hex-grid of locations, but a single location is more similar to a room or dungeon level in a classical roguelike than to a single point that the player or the monster can occupy.
  5. Non-modal: No. The game will be modal. Combat, trade and other similar interactions will be separated from the main window. This is the direct consequence of the previous point.
  6. Complexity: No. Not in the classical sense, but the way character advancement and the ship improvement works, they will allow the user to use different strategies for overcome challenges.
  7. Resource management: Yes, although with certain differences. The player will need to collect resources from the start to improve the ship, but trading will have a strong role in the game. In a nautical game this approach is better that finding ship parts and crew members randomly on the map.
  8. Hack & Slash: Sorry, no. There will be occasional battles, but the emphasis is on the exploration.
  9. Exploration and Discovery: Hell yeah!
  10. Single player character: Yes
  11. Monsters are similar to players: Mainly yes. Naval battles will be against very similar enemies who will be affected by storms and other environmental factors the same way as the player. Battles against land dwellers will have a very different flavour, these can be considered as events instead of actual fighting.
  12. Tactical challenge: Yes. Moving further away from the civilization will increase the challenge factor, and will also introduce new types of challenges.
  13. Ascii Display: No.
  14. Dungeons: No. Instead, there will be locations in a huge, explorable overworld. At these locations you will be able to use different actions, will face enemies and natural events.
  15. Numbers: Yes.

So, can I say it is a roguelike? I believe it is not a lie, especially if I also say that it is nautical. I guess no one will expect me to move an ascii ship around in a maze built over water, bombarding orc warships at every step and using enchanted sails I picked up from the water, while drinking my Potion of Greater Hull Repair. Also, the exploration focus means that I need to somehow relax the steep challenge curve and allow the player able to simply enjoy the voyage sometimes, instead of fighting all the time.
Let me know your thoughts about this, I am really curious.

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