Concept Art

  1. Cute!

    Doesn’t seem to have the usual “dark” appeal that most roguelikes have, though.
    Not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s just really out of the ordinary.

    • Interesting thought. I considered how people might react to the style. Most western RPGs use a sort of grim fantasy tone, and the ones that try something more cartoony usually seem to do so at their peril because it comes off as awkward.
      That said, “out of the ordinary” is pretty much Clarion’s mission statement. The cornerstone of Clarion’s potential appeal is to take the roguelike genre, amplify its strengths, minimize its flaws, and fill in the rest with concepts and mechanics players have rarely encountered, if at all. I follow few conventions with this project, and the art style is one facet of that methodology.

  2. Hiya,

    I’ve just come across your roguelike and I think it has some potential – keep up the good work.

    I do have a question for you…in your previous comment you stated “…amplify its strengths, minimize its flaws” – would you care to expand on that?


    P.S. I to am just getting out of the design phase for my roguelike so would be really interested to understand your view points.

    My design blog can be found at

    • Well it’s a matter of opinion, mostly, but here’re my thoughts on some of the roguelikes I’ve played.

      -Slapdash or non-existent story. It annoys me a lot to see “Go down the scary place, get the mcguffin, and come back up!”
      -No memorable characters, usually because of the lack of graphics to portray them.
      -The lack of graphics, sound, and music. These things I believe important in enhancing a game’s enjoyment and also make the game’s world more readable and memorable, they’re not just eye and ear candy.
      -Forced permadeath. I like the mechanic, but it really ought to be optional. Some people find enjoyment from a game by experiencing it beginning to end. Forcing permadeath creates a harsh barrier-to-entry that limits your audience. There will only be a handful of people who truly experience the game, even if there are thousands who try to play it. Plus, if you give a game a story, permadeath is even more frustrating.
      -The user interface is usually a garbled mess of hotkeys.
      -The game does not teach through anything but trial and error, and one must usually look up guides in order to play effectively. Ideally, a game should teach its player through thoughtful early-playthrough design. Or at least a comprehensive tutorial level.
      -Poorly-balanced difficulty, classes, and items.
      -Same old Orcs, Elves, and Dwarves malarkey. I’m tired of ’em. You hardly see a roguelike with an original bestiary or setting. Plus a myriad of other cliches.

      -Emergent gameplay stemming from high amounts of detail being put into A.I. and simulation and number of actions that can be performed.
      -Procedurally generated environments, items, characters to make every playthrough unique… (my favorite thing, from a programming perspective)
      -Challenging gameplay. If you do something well, it actually feels like an accomplishment, rather than, “Oh yeah, I got to that part too.”
      -Lots of character customization.
      -Turn-based design allowing for more thoughtful play, as opposed to something action-oriented. If you die, it’s because you either didn’t prepare, lack knowledge of the game, or just plain made a careless mistake.
      -Large amounts of content to explore and activities to discover.
      -Developers that work hard to fix bugs, add more content, and keep the game interesting.
      -And a fan community that’s helpful and fun to discuss things with. (Although, that can hardly be attributed to a developer.)

  3. You raise some interesting points, some I agree with totally, some partially and some I disagree with…it’s all a matter of opinion as you quite rightly point out.

    I’m not sure of your experience with roguelikes but it sounds you’re speaking from personal experience.

    I agree totally with you on the following (weak) points:

    -Slaphdash or non-existent story
    -The User Interface not being thought through and becoming a mess
    -Poorly balanced difficulty, classes and items
    -Same old races (orcs, elves, dwarves, etc)

    As for the strengths I agree with everything you’ve mentioned apart from the “lots of character customisation” point, mainly because I’m not sure of your viewpoint; Is it at the start of a game or during the game…or both, lol ?

    Now on to some of your points where I don’t totally agree:

    -No memorable characters, usually because of the lack of graphics to portray them.
    I think this is down to poor character design rather than the lack of graphics. But it could be becuase of a bigger problem due to the mood/feeling of the game, maybe the developer/designer hasn’t done an overall good job in that area.

    -Forced perma-death
    I agree with how some people find enjoyment by experiencing the game from beginning to end. But if you don’t provide adequate challenges to those same people they may just as well put your game down classing it as too easy to complete.
    I don’t think permadeath creates a barrier to completing the game though; it just presents a different challenge, which ties in with one of your strengths.

    I think as designers/developers we have a very fine balance to maintain between “easy to play” and “challenging to complete”. I don’t think we can satisfy all players and I don’t think we should try to. My game design is built around what I want to play and what I see as missing in roguelikes.

    Overall I think we share the same frustrations about this genre of games and both of us believe we can create something that others will want to play just as much as we do.

    I’m a fair way behind you in terms of actual development but I wsih you good luck and I’ll keep an eye out for your releases.

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