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Starting on a roguelike for mobile platforms

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Inspired by the creativity of and deep gameplay behind many roguelike games, and the small population of tactical rpg's on mobile platforms, I've decided to start on roguelike-rpg for mobile platforms in my spare time.

I feel that turn-based is especially appropriate because, for me at least, it can be incredibly frustrating trying to play real-time games on a small touchscreen, where a mis[interpreted]-tap can be instantly fatal. A turn-based game that allows the user to correct inputs also allows more time for decision making. Therefore, difficulty and complexity of the game can be increased without making it frustrating.

Unlike most true roguelikes, the game will be party-based. I know that some consider it offensive to borrow the "holy trinity" approach (tank, healer, dps) necessitated and popularized by MMORPGs for a single-player game. However, for the same reasons an MMO uses this approach -- to ensure that everyone has a role and provide variety to the classes -- I plan on employing this mechanism.

Here are a couple screens, because that is what everyone likes to see.


This is the gameplay testbed that I am using to test gameplay concepts with ASCII representations before integrating into the graphical game engine.


This is the current state of the isometric tile engine/map editor. There is some very early test artwork (top) along with the more refined tileset I am currently working on (bottom). I plan to have a large, pre-made overworld with shops, castles, etc. as well as randomly generated dungeons.

Development tools: the ASCII roguelike engine is in C, as will the final game. The map editor is written in Free Pascal/Lazarus to minimize development time. The tile engine will have to be ported to C, but this is not a big deal. The game itself will be compiled using Airplay SDK which is built on top of gcc ARM and Visual Studio for the IDE. After some initial frustration (mostly Apple's doing) I have some sample code running on the iPod.

As I said before, this is in my spare time, and this initial post represents about 3 months of work (!) so this will likely take quite a while to complete. Staying motivated on such a long-term project with sparse work periods will be challenging. I've started this journal in an attempt to keep motivated. Famous last words, I know. I'll post an update next week...
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