Roguelike?

General discussion about the game.
Kurt
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:46 am

Roguelike?

Postby Kurt » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:18 pm

In what way, besides the permadeath, is this game at all roguelike?
Drasha
Posts: 85
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:08 am

Re: Roguelike?

Postby Drasha » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:17 pm

http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment. ... guelike_is

It falls under most of the points. It doesn't fit firmly in the rogue like box but there are a lot of similarities.
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boa13
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Re: Roguelike?

Postby boa13 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:30 pm

Here's what I wrote when this question came up on Reddit, slightly edited to be up-to-date with the latest game patch:

The game can be paused at any time, and is fully controllable while paused. Unless you are Korean, I don't think you can progress meaningfully if you do not pause it. While paused, you have all the time in the world to consider the situation, plan your moves, just like in a roguelike. It would be good if the game had an auto-pause feature, currently you have to pay attention while a fight is in progress and press pause often (better safe than sorry).

There are several crew members, but they are not the main character of the game, you can lose a few and survive. They do improve over time, but you can consider them like equipment that gets better with use. The character you develop throughout the game is the ship. Like a roguelike character, it has a class (each ship you can unlock plays very differently), stats, equipment, several improvement paths, etc. You lose the game when you lose the ship. The map of the ship is indeed fixed, but since the ship is the protagonist of the game, this is like complaining that the map of your character is fixed (is there a roguelike that randomizes anatomy? :)).

The roguelike map is the galaxy map, which is randomized for each play. It is less complex that in a classical roguelike, but you can liken it to an eight-depth, go-down-only dungeon. Each depth (so-called "sector") consists of many locations of initially-unknown content. Each travel costs fuel, which can be likened to the hunger-pressure many roguelikes feature. So, you try to explore locations as much as you can, with the pressure of locations becoming slowly unavailable as the enemy fleet advances towards the sector exit. You only have vague hints about what is in neighboring locations (you can get better sensors).

When you exit a sector, you are often given the choice of going to one of a couple of sector types (for example between a civilized sector belonging to a particular race and a wilder one). Think of it as a very branchy dungeon; this is also randomized. Each kind of sector has a different risk/reward ratio, and specific events, so you have to make a choice based on your current situation and what you hope to gain. You also have all the time in the world to make that choice. ;)

It is true that there aren't "mystery items" to id for each game. That said, your game is pretty much defined by what you gain from encounters, and you will have to adapt your gameplay to what you are given. There is no winning formula as in some roguelikes (e.g. "go there to get a guaranteed blessed bag of holding"). In a sense, this is very much like Brogue (except there is no enchantment scrolls).

The major difference I find is in the combat system. In a roguelike, 2D tactics play a major role (corner enemies, retreat to a safe spot, zap spells from afar, etc.), you see enemies move on the map, and handle many of them at once. In this game, movement is only done out-of-combat, and more of a strategical nature: you can chose to avoid dangerous locations, and try to explore as many locations as you can before the enemy fleet becomes too close. Enemies do not really exist on the map, but only appear as random events when you explore a location. Combat is stationary (except when you board a ship or are boarded by enemies), and the core mechanics revolve around timing of weapons, choice of enemy systems to target (shields, engines, life support, etc.), crew micromanagement (improve your systems efficiency by manning them, or go handle repairs, fires, fights, etc.), energy management, and resource management. (It's all a lot of fun by the way, but very different from most roguelikes.)

So, while not quite a roguelike, I think it definitely qualifies as a roguelike-like (and quite close at that).
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StarWarsOZ
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:13 am
Location: Australia

Re: Roguelike?

Postby StarWarsOZ » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:01 pm

boa13 wrote:Here's what I wrote when this question came up on Reddit, slightly edited to be up-to-date with the latest game patch:

The game can be paused at any time, and is fully controllable while paused. Unless you are Korean, I don't think you can progress meaningfully if you do not pause it. While paused, you have all the time in the world to consider the situation, plan your moves, just like in a roguelike. It would be good if the game had an auto-pause feature, currently you have to pay attention while a fight is in progress and press pause often (better safe than sorry).

There are several crew members, but they are not the main character of the game, you can lose a few and survive. They do improve over time, but you can consider them like equipment that gets better with use. The character you develop throughout the game is the ship. Like a roguelike character, it has a class (each ship you can unlock plays very differently), stats, equipment, several improvement paths, etc. You lose the game when you lose the ship. The map of the ship is indeed fixed, but since the ship is the protagonist of the game, this is like complaining that the map of your character is fixed (is there a roguelike that randomizes anatomy? :)).

The roguelike map is the galaxy map, which is randomized for each play. It is less complex that in a classical roguelike, but you can liken it to an eight-depth, go-down-only dungeon. Each depth (so-called "sector") consists of many locations of initially-unknown content. Each travel costs fuel, which can be likened to the hunger-pressure many roguelikes feature. So, you try to explore locations as much as you can, with the pressure of locations becoming slowly unavailable as the enemy fleet advances towards the sector exit. You only have vague hints about what is in neighboring locations (you can get better sensors).

When you exit a sector, you are often given the choice of going to one of a couple of sector types (for example between a civilized sector belonging to a particular race and a wilder one). Think of it as a very branchy dungeon; this is also randomized. Each kind of sector has a different risk/reward ratio, and specific events, so you have to make a choice based on your current situation and what you hope to gain. You also have all the time in the world to make that choice. ;)

It is true that there aren't "mystery items" to id for each game. That said, your game is pretty much defined by what you gain from encounters, and you will have to adapt your gameplay to what you are given. There is no winning formula as in some roguelikes (e.g. "go there to get a guaranteed blessed bag of holding"). In a sense, this is very much like Brogue (except there is no enchantment scrolls).

The major difference I find is in the combat system. In a roguelike, 2D tactics play a major role (corner enemies, retreat to a safe spot, zap spells from afar, etc.), you see enemies move on the map, and handle many of them at once. In this game, movement is only done out-of-combat, and more of a strategical nature: you can chose to avoid dangerous locations, and try to explore as many locations as you can before the enemy fleet becomes too close. Enemies do not really exist on the map, but only appear as random events when you explore a location. Combat is stationary (except when you board a ship or are boarded by enemies), and the core mechanics revolve around timing of weapons, choice of enemy systems to target (shields, engines, life support, etc.), crew micromanagement (improve your systems efficiency by manning them, or go handle repairs, fires, fights, etc.), energy management, and resource management. (It's all a lot of fun by the way, but very different from most roguelikes.)

So, while not quite a roguelike, I think it definitely qualifies as a roguelike-like (and quite close at that).


Well said :D, it is one of the best rogue-like game I have played in a while.
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Kurt
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:46 am

Re: Roguelike?

Postby Kurt » Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:39 pm

If you're looking at a dry definition of a "roguelike" and have never actually played Rogue, Nethack, Moria, etc, then I suppose, yes, some of those points might sound similar. But FTL has none of the feel of those games. In fact, the constant "advancing wave" pressure actively discourages the sort of careful exploration that is the definitive Rogue-like game experience. That whole advancing wave, while an interesting plot device, feels more like a system to keep you from asking why there isn't more galaxy and exploration depth.

There is no concept of pausing and unpausing at all in Rogue, so I'm not sure how that translates to something that makes FTL roguelike. The ship as the main character, and then staying that the grid on the ship is like Rogue's grid? Ok, you're really reaching now.

There is very little that is actually turn-based in FTL. A little, I suppose, in the final encounter where you have to chase down the flagship. But with the multiple "boss" encounters, the game feels way more like a circa 1990's cheap-thrills Japanese arcade game than the in-depth, though visually unpolished experience I expect from a Rogue-like.

It seems to me that permadeath is the only strong correlation, and that's hardly a definitive Rogue-like game characteristic. Indeed, the FTL developers seem to have gone out of their way to make save-scumming as easy as possible, by having the program's main menu UI constantly check for the presence of a continue file, so you don't have to restart the game when you copy a backup one back in its directory after dying.
boa13
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Re: Roguelike?

Postby boa13 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:32 pm

Kurt wrote:There is no concept of pausing and unpausing at all in Rogue, so I'm not sure how that translates to something that makes FTL roguelike.

Please note that my post is a copy from a distinct discussion, in which someone had made a series of claims with intent to prove that FTL cannot be claimed to be roguelike-like. Notably, that person said that FTL is real-time, suggesting this leaves no time to plan and think through a dire situation.

Kurt wrote:The ship as the main character, and then staying that the grid on the ship is like Rogue's grid? Ok, you're really reaching now.

You misread what I wrote. I especially said that the ship grid is not like Rogue's grid, contrary to what the original poster had claimed.
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Derakon
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:05 am

Re: Roguelike?

Postby Derakon » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:24 pm

Attributes common to most roguelikes (but not to most other games) that FTL has: semi-random game generation; permadeath.
Attributes of FTL that roguelikes usually do not have: strict time limit; the game as a sequence of disconnected scenarios ("events"); unusually large luck influence; real-time-with-pause combat; (probably more but I just woke up and cannot brain)

I can name roguelikes that have fairly strict time limits (c.f. Rogue, Sil), but that's not the norm for roguelikes, so it cannot be a supporting factor to the statement "FTL is a roguelike".

I think when people say that FTL is a roguelike, what they're really saying is "You should expect to die, and to lose all your progress when you do." Because to them, that's what "roguelike" means -- practically no other genre these days has permadeath, and thus it has effectively become the roguelike's defining feature to most people. But it's not what makes the genre; roguelikes are procedurally-generated dungeon crawling games first and foremost (Diablo 1 is a classic roguelike despite making permadeath optional), and it'd be a real stretch to say that FTL is a procedurally-generated dungeon crawl. Sure, the sector map is procedurally-generated, and you could call it a dungeon if you really wanted to, but the feel of exploring a sector is completely different since it happens in 10-20 discrete hops, each of which is almost entirely blind.
Ashenai
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:19 am

Re: Roguelike?

Postby Ashenai » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:37 pm

Kurt wrote:If you're looking at a dry definition of a "roguelike" and have never actually played Rogue, Nethack, Moria, etc, then I suppose, yes, some of those points might sound similar. But FTL has none of the feel of those games.


He said "roguelike", not "roguelike from 25 years ago."

In fact, the constant "advancing wave" pressure actively discourages the sort of careful exploration that is the definitive Rogue-like game experience. That whole advancing wave, while an interesting plot device, feels more like a system to keep you from asking why there isn't more galaxy and exploration depth.


Almost every modern roguelike (Dungeon Crawl, Brogue, DoomRL, to name a few) has some mechanic to prevent endless, boring, "safe" play. Usually, this is food and/or throttled monster spawning: if you stay too long on a level, you'll starve. FTL's rebel advance is essentially the same thing; you can explore wherever you want, but ultimately you have to keep going forward and not keep farming "safe" areas.

If you like, then call FTL a "Roguelike-like" instead. There have been a lot of games like that recently, with random world generation and permadeath (Transcendence and Spelunky come to mind), and by and large, they've been very well received and have been very successful at blending the roguelike aesthetic with various game genres.

You sound like you have a chip on your shoulder, for some reason. All I can say is, if you want to play Rogue, feel free to play Rogue. The rest of us, including the Roguelike community as a whole, have moved on.
zabbo2
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:12 pm

Re: Roguelike?

Postby zabbo2 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:22 pm

I think it would be more apt call FTL a 'roguelike-like' game. The term roguelike is used too often IMHO. Originally, the established definition of 'roguelike' meant a game that was in the family of Rogue, the original game. There are over a 100 games that are similar roguelikes, and share the family of code. The term generally got broader and broader use, and is now applicable to many more games.

Like I'd consider Diablo 1/2 roguelikes. But FTL not really.
Kenshkrix
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:00 pm

Re: Roguelike?

Postby Kenshkrix » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:19 pm

I'm most likely to call FTL Awesome, but as far as genres, I'd say a space combat simulator with roguelike elements.

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