Roguelike Development with C# – Part 1: Introduction

Welcome to the first in an indefinite series of article covering my experiments creating Roguelike games using C#. I developed a renewed interest in the genre a couple years ago when I rediscovered Nethack, one of the many descendants of Rogue which gives its name to the genre of Roguelikes.

Defining a Roguelike is a bit difficult, especially as the term has come to be popular in the independent and small studio game space. There are a number of definitions proposed for Roguelikes, but .

To start I’m looking at exploring the traditional roguelike structure. The basic game here will be a single player RPG where the player controls a single character. We’ll stick with the traditional dungeon crawl setting using procedural world generation along with random distribution of creatures, items, etc. The game will be turn based, allowing the player time to consider each decision. We’ll also set the game with permadeath.

This last feature means that the player’s character dies, then the game is over. No checkpoint to start back from, no loading last save and trying again. Spend hours playing and then do something stupid and die? Too bad. It’s a harsh feature compared to many games where you can quickly save before doing almost anything.

The goal here isn’t to recreate Nethack or even necessarily produce a high quality game. I plan to write a playable and hopefully enjoyable game, but my primary goal is to learn. It’s been a while since I’ve done any type of game programming and I think this could be a fun project. I though it would be an intersting experience to document the process here and in the process also create a tutorial on build a Roguelike game in C#.

So a few decisions on what I’ll be creating. The game and tutorial will be written for Windows using C#. Most of the original Roguelike games used console graphics and I’ll do the same in this tutorial to keep things a little simpler. I’m also intentionally being a bit vague on when the program and tutorial are complete. I want to explore and try things by starting small and simple and building the program from there. I may restart any time and begin with the knowledge I’ve learned so far.

I’ll be writing this using a somewhat “warts and all” approach. I plan to document each step, misstep, and mistake. Each article will come with source code of the program implemented to that point and possibly the occasional side experiment. The code along with all displayed in the articles can be used for educational and research purposes. Feel free to use the overall code as a starting point for your own work. Please don’t simply take the code, change some words, and publish it as your own.

I’ll be using Visual Studio 2015 for development to take advantage of the newest features in C#. A few years ago I did some initial work against the console directly, but found C# support for the console too limited for what I’ll need going forward. Instead we’ll use a Console library for C#.

That’s all for this article. Next time we code.

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