Phobos Times (Issue 4, February)

11 February 2010

Monthly newsletter of Chaosforge!

Issue No. 4 – The First DRL Release of 2010?

2010 is off to a quick start! This month we have an extra special treat – a personal interview with the first (and only?) DRL Grandmaster: Blade! New public version of DRL this month? Count on it! Word in the dev circle is that the next DiabloRL version will be out before Diablo 3. Read on to find out all the details!

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Feature Article – Interview with Blade

Blade has become a household name around here. And not just in the sense that everyone has one. DRL wouldn’t be DRL without BLADE! difficulty challenges. There are some rumors going around that you’re actually just an AI spawned from DRL itself. So I’m wondering how you came to be a fixture on the wall of the ol’ Chaosforge. What gives?

Hmmm, I started to play DooMRL a long time ago, whether in 2005, or in early 2006. It was on a disk, distributed with a game magazine, among the other freeware games. Brief description read that it is DooM, but with ASCII-characters graphics. At that time I was not familiar with roguelikes at all and I thought that there will be the same first-person view, but in ASCII-characters. xD

Well, in any case – I was interested, because I liked Doom, and I tried to play it. I understood the basics and became accustomed quite quickly – convenient controls played a decisive role here – if I first would have seen ADOM, my adaptation to a similar method of display and controls would have taken much more time and nerves.) Overall, I got used to it quite quickly and got into it – I did really enjoyed that game. That was version, if i’m not mistaken. Toward the end of 2006 i even killed Cyberdemon a couple of times. xD But I did not know about Chaosforge at that time. By mid-2006 I finally got the internet, and besides absorption in the world of porn and all sorts of videos like “Tony vs. Paul” and “All Your Base Are Belong To Us”, I remembered that probably it would be worth to search for the site of this game, see if there are any new version after a year. I came to Chaosforge exactly on the release of I was fascinated by that version – the first appearance of the difficulty levels, challenges, new special levels, hated by everybody Arch-Viles, and Intuition perk, which we praised at first, but then put an anathema on it because of overpowerness.) I was studying at the university then, and despite the fact that the study wasn’t so easy, played a lot.) The forum had a very pleasant community (and still there’s a very pleasant community)), and I was kind of a good player, so it was interesting to compete with the game and other people from the forum to see who can do what.) Oh, and I showed good results.) Then I was the first who won the Nightmare, won UV without Intuition (this was hard), won a contest of who can get deeper with a knife (this was very hard), and won the game without a single kill (AoPacifism wasn’t ingame yet), and completely defined my name as a monster that can do everything.)) But if you will look closely – I did nothing special.)

AI – no.) I just played a lot and therefore already know the behavior and the approximate stats of the monsters, so I can assess any particular situation.)

AI or not, you’ve been pretty active in helping to design DRL. What have been the key changes that you can remember? What are the things that make you keep coming back to DRL?

Actually I rarely offered design ideas – I was more helpful in finding bugs and flaws in the balance.) And there were lots of them (cheers, Kornel))! Important design changes – of course, the introduction of difficulty levels and challenges made a huge difference, that was a very decisive step. Difficulty levels made the game interesting and challenging for newbies and for oldies equally, and challenge modes implemented all your perverted dreams into the game (playing as a melee character in DooM – what an insane psycho would come up with that?!)) Also i would like to point out the transition to monster groups generation system – before that they appeared one by one, and often such ways gave horrible results.) There was a very strong disbalance – you could not meet weak monsters like imps on the final levels, only powerful monsters appeared there. But imps also need to be there – they are the meat, on the contrary, there should be more of them on later levels than on the first.

What makes me return to DooMRL again and again? Certainly inherent roguelike randomness, plus the atmosphere of the original DooM, I’m never tired of it.) That’s a very cool feeling when it is night, all is quiet around you, and you are crawling through the complex without any medpacks, and there are only sounds of monsters around you, and you hear that some dangerous sound is now much closer to you than it was few turns before…)

Well, plus updates of course.)

You’ve beaten things on DRL that most other people have only dreamed of. Do you see the code? Are you some sort of savant? Or maybe just super patient?

Monsters AI in general is not too difficult in DooMRL (sorry, Kornel)). I just played a lot and eventually I already knew what they will do, and estimate what in this case would be better. Precise estimation won’t work anyway, because it’s a roguelike – random and chaotic. If you are very unlucky – then that’s all, GG, no matter how well you play.) But generally I can say that yes, to some extent you begin to see the code.)

I can’t call myself a very patient man, but cautious – yeah, that too is very important. Most of stupid deaths happens because you begin to be overconfident in yourself and forget about safer ways of doing the same thing.)

I have to know (because you’re a super game playing machine): do you still find DRL to be a challenge? Is the four thousandth game still as exciting as the four hundredth?

Oh, no, I’m not a super game playing machine.) I’ve played well in, to, and may be in But now a lot has changed in the balance, and most likely I will die as a noob at the fifth level if I try to play.) The game isn’t ceasing to be exciting for me even now – there’s always an element of random, and there is always a chance to die stupidly if you stop being over-cautious, and I still need to think all the time.) That’s the main advantage of roguelikes over the other genres – depending on how you play, what levels and what items the RNG will give to you, one game could be completely different from the other. Not in terms “now i’m killing the same monsters with yellow wand instead of white sword”, but all that varies the gameplay itself and the feelings from the game. Also roguelike game stories are interesting. ^^

But I wasn’t playing for quite a time – I don’t have so much time as before, and I don’t have the will to try to complete some hard challenges right now.

Modding is a feature that a few people are expectantly talking about. Have any good suggestions for them of things you’d like to see? Or maybe plans on developing your own super challenges?

I am most interested in the total-conversions. QuakeRL, Wolf3DRL – very interested!) That would be really cool.) Another idea was to change everything to get closer to the original DooM – remove the perks, the experience, change the system of ammunition and weapons, items, stats and perhaps even completely remove random levels and make only 25 + 2 secret pre-created levels.) As for DooMRL – no, probably no special requests for modding there. We could add the remaining monsters that are not in game, items, add a few new types of levels, probably add a non-random campaign, polish up the balance, but in my opinion it should be made by Kornel by the final version.) And on new challenges let the guys from the forum think, who are now able to devote enough time to create them and, most importantly, to complete them.) I am in this regard, unfortunately, most likely unable to assist.

Let’s assume again that Kornel has an infinite time to code, plus infinite resources. What is one thing you’d love to see him create, or add on to a creation of his?

Well, first about DooMRL – especially it would be worthwhile to improve the AI, I think.)) Then add the things I wrote above in the previous answer. And of course it would be quite epic if DooMRL would have a multiplayer mode.) After that, in my opinion, DooMRL will be quite finished. Kornel has a lot of other good projects (BerserkRL, AliensRL, DiabloRL) and ideas that are worth to shift attention to them and to develop them just a little further.

Egoistically, but I would like that “I” had infinite time and resources.)) Then I would be able to realize some of my own ideas and plans of game development.)

The Chaosforge seems to keep growing. Any ideas as to what’s to come in the future? Where do you see Kornel taking us down the track?

I am very glad that the community is growing and I was very pleased to hear that DooMRL was chosen as the roguelike of the year! That game is good and definitely deserves more attention to it.)

As for Kornel – I think and hope that he will fulfill his plans for DooMRL development, and then he will have many opportunities, what to do: continue to develop an existing project, or begin with a new idea. The choice is his, and I think that either would work equally well.) He is very gifted in terms of ideas and in terms of translating them into code.) In any case, let’s wish him luck and success!

Development Progress

Plenty to report on the development front this month:

The third beta version of is undergoing testing at this very moment. We’ve seen a number of balance changes and new features that will make the next public release a real treat. Expect that release this month! New levels and new enemies await!

And quite possibly the best news…we can confirm that the Graphics Beta version of DRL will be live within the next few months! Chaosforge supporters be ready, debugging this beast make take half a year, but it will be well worth it!

Move over DRL – DiabloRL is under development once again, thanks to “You”! The newest member of the dev team took full advantage of the open source release to bring us a second project under active development. Expect to hear more news each month about DiabloRL!

Have anything in particular you want to see finished quickly? Post a bounty on it at the bounty board!

Tip of the Month

Gifting or Giftdropping is one of the many tricks that can give you an edge. Drop some armor in a doorway and watch the hellspawn walk right up to you. Try not to actually let them pick it up or you’ll regret it!

MoM! (Mortem of the Month)

This month’s mortem goes to a long-time DRL player, but infrequent forum poster: MedO. He completed a YAAM and Full-Win on AoMr, something we don’t see very often. Congratulations and keep playing!
Check out the mortem!


Word of mouth have never been stronger and we have yet another month of ~5% community growth with over 1100 members (up from 1050)!

Growth brings support – The January donation goal of $400 was successful broken and we’re 10% of the way to this month’s goal of $500. Keep up the support and we’ll keep the development rolling

Check back for the newsletter next month for all the latest happenings around the ChaosForge!