Mini-Inverview with Topi Ylinen

Peleron’s Brilliant Rebirth (or PBR) is a pseudo-roguelike CRPG by Topi Ylinen. With the project just recently becoming publicly active again, I shot Mr. Ylinen an email with a few general questions about his ambitious project.

What kind of development cycle do you foresee for PBR going forward after it has apparently been quite a long time since the last public release?

“I’m hoping to get a bit more frequent and better thought-out/conceptualised updates from now on. The rather long delay between versions 0.103 and 0.104/0.105 was due to a number of reasons. Although there were a couple of players who completed the Master Dungeon and helped me iron out certain problems, the initial versions (0.100 – 0.103) didn’t attract quite as much attention as I had hoped. (On the other hand, I can hardly blame the players when pretty much every other spell you attempted to cast used to say “unimplemented spell effect”, not very exciting, eh? The most recent 0.105 release at least fixes that.)

Then I started implementing the second starting location, Voldival. I drew a huge town map on a large sheet of paper and then started building the maps, one after the other. I had also started sketching out the quest code and it was turning out to be much bigger design challenge than I had anticipated. All things factored in, at some stage I simply lost motivation. Real life kept pressing me hard, and I directed my energies elsewhere.

Then, after a time, I returned to PBR and decided to take a different approach. Rather than try to implement a dozen different kinds of new features (like quest code) at once, I should first try to make the ones that do exist playable. And also keep adding new areas to explore at the same time. The current 0.105 release fits this pattern: it is a “spells” release (meaning that it implements almost every remaining spell in the game and a lot of new ones) and also adds one more predesigned dungeon to explore. The actual list of changes is of course much longer than that but that’s mainly because the version has been “in the works” for 2 years!

The next version 0.106 will be a “skills” release. It will implement almost all skills that are available to beginning characters, including the rather complex ones like Alchemy and Smithery. The only skill that probably will not be implemented is the Disarming skill since monsters don’t currently “wield” their weapons

That would need to be implemented first, and it is not a high-priority feature addition.

Version 0.106 will also properly implement the two high-level skills that one of your characters can learn upon assuming the high-level profession currently available in the game

Not sure yet whether 0.106 will include any new playable areas. And no schedule for 0.106 yet.”

What spurred you to go at things from a party based and CRPG mindset instead of the usual solo venture?

“The simple realisation that many of my favourite computer games were actually party-based CRPGs. Having a party of characters instead of a single character added a layer of strategic complexity that I greatly appreciated, even if my party configurations often turned out to be rather stereotypical ones. Like, “melee tank – thief – priest – wizard”.

In many ways, I didn’t initially set out to build a roguelike – I was making relatively complex CRPG with lots of character development and strategy options. The user interface is of course 100% traditional roguelike; that’s mainly due to my personal background. A roguelike user interface felt natural to me, and I knew how to code it, so I used it. But the underlying game – the game system and the game world – could be just as easily used in any other kind of CRPG concept, e.g., in a Baldur’s Gate style game, in a realtime first-person CRPG or even in an MMORPG. Come to think of it, it might actually make a heck of an MMORPG – the game world is definitely unique and different (after all, the game world has been a personal labour of love since the late 1980s), and the game system would allow for a lot more depth and strategic complexity than the prevalent MMORPGs of today (that I know of) do.”

Are there any Roguelikes or RPGs in general you have drawn good ideas or just general “stuff that works well” from?

“I don’t consciously examine other games with the intent of finding new ideas, but I used to play a lot of CRPGs and related games when I was younger. There were games I didn’t like that much but I thought they contained some neat concepts. Then there was a handful of games that I enjoyed thoroughly, and I would be lying if I said that no detail in PBR was influenced by those games.

Eventually, of course, I’m aiming to remove the “foreign” game world material – this means especially the two predesigned dungeons – and replace it with stuff that is better aligned with my own Ikoniel world. I used an external source of inspiration for those two predesigned dungeons simply because I wanted to quickly create something playable, and detailed dungeon planning & design from the scratch can take a lot of time.

When I started building the game, I didn’t immediately start planning & writing the actual code. Instead I took a paper notebook and started planning how the game mechanics should work if it were a pen&paper RPG. My initial inspiration for the game system owes a lot to a well-known CRPG, but I wanted to take it one step further. What I ended up with was a game system that – with its complex calculations, modifiers and special cases/conditions – would have probably been too complex for an actual pen&paper game (well, except for the old Rolemaster or Advanced Squad Leader veterans, I guess), but in a CRPG that is not an issue when the CPU takes care of all that for you.”

Favorite Roguelikes personally?

“I’m a very traditional kind of guy, really. Nethack and Angband are the ones I have played the most. I like Nethack because of its details and relative depth (but hate the arbitrariness – your success depends too much on blind luck, my first ascending character found a Wand of Wishing near the beginning!), and Angband because of its epic scope and feel. Angband is also better for strategic planning since once you know the game, you know how to play and develop different kinds of characters effectively. In Nethack you would be worrying about the food all the time. There are still random elements in Angband that can cause unexpected YASDs, but that’s the fun part of it, isn’t it?

Moria was the first roguelike I ever played, and even though Angband (when it was released) quickly superseded it for me, I still have very fond memories of Moria. Like when I encountered my first invisible opponent. I couldn’t see it – that was scary! Eventually I took it out with some well-placed ball or bolt spells and felt like I had achieved a great victory.

And then of course there are the numerous NH & Angband variants. Can’t say I have played them all. But I liked some of them a lot – especially the ones that changed the basic game content so much that it felt like a fresh new experience, like Cthangband did. The sense of discovery, again!

Adom is probably the newest(!) roguelike I have played. I never quite got into it, I just kept dying and couldn’t get the hang of it or how I should have played it. The same problem with Omega. They are probably great games, they just weren’t for my kind of a player.

One very different (semi)roguelike that deserves to be mentioned: Alphaman! The post-nuclear holocaust roguelike. I played it just briefly and, yes, kept dying all the time, but I had a great time with it.”

Graphical tileset/sound/music planned to exist at some point after everything is fully situated?

“Yes. My todo list says under category 4b (“Not essential for the core game, will/could/might be implemented when *everything* else is completed & working”)
“- Add graphics
– Add sound”

Thanks for your time Mr. Topi Ylinen!

The homepage for the project is located at

– Getter77, 05/04/2009

Roguetemple’s Spotlight: Spelunky

Jhon Spelunky, a young, memory-less, snakephobic archeologist,
thirsty for adventure and treasure,
jumps into a cursed ruins complex full of traps and snakes…
looking for the ultimate artifact.
The amulet of Yendor.

Jhon Spelunky enter the ancient ruins

This is a great way to start our biweekly Roguelike Spotlight, bringing you the latest and most exciting releases on the roguelike world!

Today, I give you Derek Yu‘s SPELUNKY, a great game which albeit still on development, I am sure you all will enjoy!

Hold on for a second!

My goal was to create a fast-paced platform game that had the kind of tension, re-playability, and variety of a roguelike.  In roguelikes, the gameplay tells the story, and I wanted to give Spelunky that type of a feeling… but make the player rely on their reflexes rather than their brain (or knowledge of what 50 billion command keys do!).  If there’s a best of both worlds, that’s what I was trying to go for.

Did he suceed?

The reward for the trouble

This is much more than a procedurally generated platformer… besides the sweetly randomly generated levels there are many more things that take it close to a traditional roguelike! the fate of that promising character can change in less than you think, from a stuffed archeologist, shotgun and bombs packed, to giant tarantula food or a spike-teared bloody corpse!

Thrilling action!

The game features a smooth dificulty curve while still keeping things difficult; it is also full of surprises and puzzly situations where you got to make use of your available items, and by the way, you must make good use of them, as you may end up in a dead-end situation.

Following, the roguelikeness evaluation for Spelunky:

  • High Value Factors
    • Random Environment Generation: Yes
    • Permafailure (including Permadeath): Yes
    • Turn Based Interaction: No
    • Single command set: Yes
    • Freedom: Yes
  • Middle Value Factors
    • Discovery mechanics: Yes
    • Single player: Yes
    • Lots of content: No
    • Complex non-trivial world and object interactions: Yes
  • Low Value Factors
    • High ramped difficulty: Yes
    • Monsters are players: Yes
    • Character-based display: No
    • Hack and Slash: Yes


What? Why? HOW?? :(

Derek Yu provides us with a worthy cross-over experience, his experience in the indie scene cleary applied to this product. Graphics and Sound are retronice (what else could you expect from the creator of Aquaria?).

SO, download the game, browse the wikiashare some levels and… DISCUSS! 🙂


So, the First <1KBRL Challenge is over.

A total of 14 entries were produced

You may think it is pointless to make efforts to work a game on less than 1KB of source code nowadays… if i am a bit possitive, the best you could think would be “hey, it’s fun for the developer… let him be!” or “well, thats a pretty cool way to waste whatever work could go into a REAL game”.

I have news for you, and I can’t really explain it. The entries you are about to be reviewed have something, may be having such restriction in the quantity of code to create “playability” makes the developer of the game do what really matters into the game, no place for plot, no place for the simplest of effects, no place for munchkinism, no place for cool, complex algorithms or a full-live-world simulation. It is all about The Game.

I didn’t have the pleasure of living through the ages of classic gaming, but I think this is as close as I can get. My best guess (and great hope) is things were like this before. It is a shame everything has changed so much (natural de-evolution, one day soon we will be able to play games like these <1KBRLs inside a “real”, photorealistic videogame).

Play the games, you will really enjoy them. Also, be sure to tell the author he rocks, and fight with your friends for the highest score or equivalent. Use the roguetemple forums when needed.

So, without further ado, I announce the start of the 1st <1KBRL Challenge reviewing cycle, which start with an really interesting entry: Ooooorrrrcs!

A couple of simple applet roguelikes

Ants and DogsMr. Will Thimbleby has released two interestingly simple applet roguelikes at his weblog, the first, dubbed Ants and Dogs, is a basic roguelike which you can probably use for showing off the genre to newcomers, as it contains all a basic roguelike must contain.

Ants and Dogs 2: The revengeThe second one, Directional Ants and Dogs on the other hand, shows off interesting features such as directional FOV for both players and monsters, as well as hearing and running.

He has also released the source code for both of them as public domain, they are nicely structured and easy to read!

2008 7DRL results are in

Ok, this year we had 23 challengers, 9 winners, 6 failures and 8 runaways. Congratulations to all the winners and better luck next year for the rest!

Next week will be the official 7DRL Playing week, as was the last year… just to play and review these 7DRLs!

Without further ado, here you have the list of official winners!

chrysalis by sinoth – Completed:

The goal is to destroy the 10 bases scattered all over the world. You do so by killing the base power core ‘B’ that is somewhere inside each base. You can press ‘r’ to turn on base radar that points you to where the remaining bases are.

Father HoodCountryside Zomband by zooptek – Completed:

Player enters suburbs when they escape the city. Suburbs have a different random map generation.

Fatherhood by Jeff Lait – Completed:

As the name suggests, in Fatherhood you play the role of a father who has an important task to perform. That task is the stopping of the flood waters (or on some maps, the fires) that threaten to wash away his homeland. The tension is that you have another implicity task: to be a good father. Your three children are also in the world, running about, either helping or hindering as is their whim.

TrapRogue by Nate – Completed:

Your goal is to find the Axe of Verwiz deep in the dungeon and evade traps.

MegamanRL by Slash – Completed:

Use z to jump, x to fire, s to setup


Dungeon Climb by Heck Ruler – Completed:

You have been cast down into a chasm and left for dead. Climb out before you starve to death. Features: An opening movie, 3D map, line of sight, climbing, jumping, falling, falling damage, hunger, food. It’s almost fun!

NumbarsNumbers by Robson – Completed:

Numbers is an educational roguelike, created in seven days. It is designed to test and improve your basic maths skills.

Tribe by Kadwell – Completed:

Deadline in ten minutes, so I’ll be brief. I have completed my 7DRL project about leading a tribe of goblins in defending against an entirely unprovoked attack by a seemingly endless series of so-called “heroes”. It has a strong emphasis on using NPCs to your advantage.

TimeRogue by GreyKnight – Completed:

Rogue with time-travel, basically

Congratulations again!

A tale of three “rogue” 7DRLs

You lost, Idiot

And so it was that shortly before the March aftermath,
three brave (brave?) developers decided to jump in
and try their guts at developing a 7DRL.

This, is their tale


Ido Yehieli was the first, his motivation was his unavailability for the time of the challenge; he suceeded, and shows us his work at

Then came Malorzean, who said he would attempt but was uncertain of his odds at suceeding… his fears became true one week later when despite his efforts he had nothing to show.

Agnas, from the kingdom of Venezuela (probably) jumped in too, hoping to grasp the victory of having a playable roguelike using his sources, which date back to the former century. Alas, he didn’t made it, but promised to show us something over the next days.

Three developers, a game, an experience and a promise. What other surprises will the 7DRL challenge bring us up?


The FightA magnificent archeological discovery has been made!

While tracing the prehistory of rogue and its roots… we have found what could be called its “Rogue’s long lost and forgotten brother”… the so called “Beneath Apple Manor” video game by Don D. Worth, predates rogue for two years, and sports most, if not all of its main features.

How could we not see this, in front of our own eyes, for so many years?

You also learned that just about everything was out to hurt you, which is kind of par for the course in a Roguelike. Monsters would pop out all over the place. On top of that, even items could hurt you. I remember finding a treasure chest with a potion in it. The game asked me if I wanted to drink the potion. In my youthful exuberance I naturally had to quaff the thing… and promptly lost all my memories. See, learning through forgetting. It’s the Rogue way to do things!

The game plays a lot like rogue, though it lacks its ASCII display, but as you can read, it even has some “hack” kind of effects, turn based gameplay, semi-complex items… the game also gives you some tips, which are helpful for the newbie. It even features simplistic shops, which is great for its time. The game is much more than just interesting for its historic value (like… *gasp* Escape from Mt. Drash), it is actually a fun game, worth giving a shoot!

Some words from the author itself, gathered from Psittacine Labs

I am the author of Beneath Apple Manor. It was released two years before Rogue came out. I was not influenced by Rogue (didn’t see it until something like 1983) and so far as I know the Rogue guys up at UC Berkeley hadn’t seen BAM either. We probably both came up with the same idea independently. But at least I can say Rouge is “Beneath Apple Manor like”. 🙂

The manI based the game on Dungeons and Dragons (paper and pencil game) and DragonMaze (the free game that came with the Apple II).
I think the release dates were as follows:

1978 – original version from The Software Factory (my own little partnership)
1980 – I handed it over to Quality Software for marketing
1982 or 1983 (I forget) – Beneath Apple Manor Special Edition (hires graphics version)

All in all, this doesn’t take away any credit for the original creators of rogue, the game we all love. It is curious and interesting, nonetheless 🙂

Some links

Don’s page
Post at Psittacine Labs
A thread at gamersquarter discussing it

(Source: Derek at TIGS)

The BAMTemple