by Jp
Fight monsters and wield magic in an isometric roguelike.
Keywords: review
It's been a crazy month, so forgive my absence from posting more to the story for a while (well, if anyone cared). I got to thinking earlier though about a game, and how here I put in this new review system but haven't actually used it yet. It's time to do so. Incidentally, all guild members of the rank Rogue or above (that's pretty much everyone) can now submit a post to the blog pending approval by higher ranks. I'll start checking that more frequently, so if you want to contribute to the guild but you're not a Shopkeeper or Dungeon Master, feel free to put in a post for review.

Without further ado:

Ruin by Jp

Currently Ruin is probably the closest game in the guild to an actual Roguelike. Hopefully that'll change in the future, but until then, Ruin is true to its origins and lots of fun.

Graphics: Ruin is isometric, although you can play with that mode turned off and view it overhead. Visually that's pretty appealing. On the down side, the graphics are fairly minimalist. That could be intentional, since the game itself has a minimalist flair, but more detailed art would look better. My main issue though is just that some of the figures and most objects are too hard to see. Bigger and meatier would improve things here.

Interface: Movement in Ruin is easy enough, and it's not hard to use items found in the dungeon. I'm not overly fond of the use of a standard popup for verbs like Get, though, especially when the object to get is obvious. Attacking is usually a matter of bumping into enemies, but weapons like the quarterstaff demand you click on a target in order to use it from 2 tiles away. The game's reliance on statpanels makes it a good idea to edit the skin for this game (if playing in BYOND 4.0) and make the statpanel a lot bigger, with a smaller font. Character creation is the weakest link in the entire interface, though.

Gameplay: Health and magic regeneration seem to be pretty well balanced. Having different types of damage (piercing, slashing, bludgeoning, magic) is quite interesting; I'd like to know if it comes into play more in later levels. The set of commands is simpler than in most Roguelikes, although I've always preferred an even simpler control set. Monsters are adequately tough, and like any good Roguelike it's hard to get too far down without a meaningless horrible death. The lack of a food/hunger system is a refreshing plus for me; I don't object to those but a break from them is nice. I don't like the rolling system for character creation, which mostly encourages me to kill off badly-rolled characters early and reroll, but it's definitely easier than trying to decide exactly how to allocate N points from a pool.

Depth: It's hard to comment on this because I haven't seen how far down it goes. Creature variety seems to be decent, but more would be better. Item variety is less so; Rogue is the winner hands down in that category. However a nice feature is that occasionally you may find a magic weapon or magic armor; these are very uncommon but not rare. A map generation routine that would connect branches would be nice too, since right now everything branches off from just one room.

Overall, Ruin is fun to play and challenging. In some ways it plays more like a Roguelike first draft than a complete game, but adding more components (more spells, weapons, armor, monsters) would eliminate most of that problem. In its current form it's a game that's well worth your time.
This reminds me of something I wanted to post, but to give this post some spotlight time I'll hold off for a few days. =)
I've got to go back and rewrite it a bit with ze BYOND 4.0 stuff - I don't currently have a decent computer I can do BYOND development with, though, and I'm also procrastinating from exam revision right now. :P

You've hit on a few weak points I was intending to go back and fix once I had the time - the interface, primarily. I should run through and use html forms and on-screen menus for a few things, I imagine. That shouldn't be too hard.

I think there'd be a few bugs if you ran it in 4.0 - the way my isometric stuff works uses too many layers, I believe. That's something else I have to fix.

On the subject of graphics, it's not so much a deliberate design decision so much as my inability to draw. I might see about finding someone to pretty it up in the future - I've got a few friends who can do pixel art rather a lot better then me, and who might help out.

I've actually got a new map generation algorithm I was going to have a fiddle with and possibly use if it works out - this one would generate maps instead of trees. It'd also make it much easier for me to define 'special' rooms, with interesting architecture. Coupled with a graphics update, it could be made a lot prettier.

The dungeon descends infinitely - well, up to the point of variable overflow, but you can go as deep as you like. Most monsters have static statistics, though, so if you get that deep, you're probably safe for a while - although the Adventurer monster is generated with statistics appropriate to the dungeon level in question, and would be extremely dangerous at those sorts of depths.

New monsters start getting spaced out rather a lot more once you get past about level 20, IIRC, but there are new monsters all the way down past level 100.

Some monsters have resistances to various damage types. I can't recall if the resistance gets to the point where you need to carry around multiple weapons, but I suspect it might not have gotten that far. When I start revising it, I'll probably look into extending that element more.

I definitely need to put in more of everything, though - more spell effects, more monsters, more items, more properties for magic items. Fill the levels up a bit more.