Role-playing Video Games

Dungeons of Dredmor

Well, my Monster Hunter introductory guide is taking longer than expected to write up. As usual I always plan on writing just enough about the game to help someone understand it and then I end up with something like 5,000 plus words covering much more than I expected. Anyway, that’s kind of beside the point, today I’ll be looking at another older game, released on 13 July, 2011, known as Dungeons of Dredmor which just so happens to be another game that I really like. It would belong in the Indie party mini-series but I have decided to go a bit more in-depth with this one since it’s extra awesome.

Dungeons of Dredmor Dungeons of Dredmor

What is Dungeons of Dredmor and what are rogue-likes?

So, Dungeons of Dredmor (official site) is, as I said, a rogue-like, but I’ve never explained exactly what the rogue-like sub-genre is, have I? Well, to simplify everything, the term rogue-like is a tip of the hat to Rogue, a dungeon crawler first developed by Michael Toy and Glenn Wichman around 1980. This is the game that popularised dungeon crawling as a video/computer game trope and directly inspired Hack, which in turn led to NetHack, and rogue-likes have since influenced games outside the sub-genre, such as Diablo. The numerous variations of Rogue that were created maintained the same core principles, but often expanded on the depth of game-play, story, and the persistence of the generated dungeon levels. The game-play elements characterising the new rogue-like sub-genre were actually defined at the International Rogue-like Development Conference 2008, named the Berlin Interpretation. Some of the factors used in this definition include:

  • Randomly generated dungeon levels, with or without static levels included as well. Generated layouts typically incorporate rooms connected by corridors, some of which may be pre-set to a degree. Open areas or natural features, like rivers, may also occur.
  • The identity of magical items varies between each play-through. Newly discovered objects only offer a vague physical description that is randomised, with purposes and capabilities left unstated. Items are often subject to alteration, acquiring specific traits, such as a curse, or direct player modification.
  • The combat system is turn-based whilst game-play is usually step-based, where player actions are performed serially and take a variable measure of in-game time to complete. Game processes such as monster movement and interaction, progressive effects such as poisoning or starvation advance based on the passage of time dictated by these actions.
  • Most are single-player games. On multi-user systems, leader-boards are often shared between players. Some rogue-likes allow traces of former player characters to appear in later game sessions in the form of ghosts or grave markings, whilst some games, such as NetHack, even have the player’s former characters reappear as enemies within the dungeon.
  • Rogue-likes traditionally implement permadeath which basically means that once a character dies, the player must begin a new game. A save game feature will only provide suspension of game-play and not a limitlessly recoverable state as the stored session is deleted upon resumption or character death.

These are the basics of the rogue-like sub-genre and, although there are other elements that may be seen in one of these games, this factors are the core of it all. But enough about the rogue-like sub-genre, you came here to find out more about Dungeons of Dredmor, right? Well, for starters, Dungeons of Dredmor runs on PC, Linux, and Mac, and you can buy it for a modest $4.99 US. Before I start going on about my opinion of this game and whether or not it gives us the features that it says it will, I will leave you to a couple of screenshots and the developer’s introduction to the game first.

Dungeons of Dredmor Dungeons of Dredmor