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Rogue Revisited

March 4th, 2012

Its been far too long since I have spoken up here… time to change that!

Rogue Touch turned 3 years old last month. When I look back in the source code, and especially when I play it now, it shows signs of age. The little things that my love of the game blinded me to have become more obvious and annoying. I’m still proud of what I accomplished, especially since I’d never completed a game before or developed anything for iOS. But it could be better.

Visually, I wanted Rogue Touch to evoke images of the Atari ST and Amiga days of Rogue, just slightly more modern. I accomplished that fairly well, but in a fit of nostalgia I have alienated a lot of younger gamers who have never played the old games. Everything in the App Store is judged by its appearance… is the icon pretty? Yes, well let me look at the screenshots… which is probably followed with “Ugh, programmer art!” and a lost sale ;)

But lets be honest with ourselves. A pretty coat of paint is not the only thing that Rogue Touch needs. There is a lot that can be done to the user interface and gameplay to improve the experience. I was happy with my UI solutions at the time, it took some serious thought and planning to boil down the large keyboard command list to something that was more playable than hair-pulling on a touch screen. I patted myself on the back for the clever fast-play implementation that allowed your little rogue to run down hallways to the next point of interest without the tedium of directing him one step at a time. However, it still takes more taps than it should to get things done at times, the popup menu can be annoying, inventory management could be better, exploration and *searching* need to be streamlined… This is no longer the Rogue of the 1980s. It needs to be even more playable while on the go!

To address the visual quality I have been getting some professional artwork assistance, and now I have a set of monster tiles with a lot of detail and personality. To address the performance, UI, and gameplay enhancements I am taking some of the core routines from RT and transplanting them into a completely new Xcode project and new engine.

With all of my planned changes, I need to decide whether this is even still an “update” to Rogue Touch, or is it more rightfully a sequel, a brand new app? Some people may strongly dislike their nostalgia taken away from them with a large update, while others may be offended that they have to buy a new app to get the slick new visuals, UI, and gameplay changes. Another important issue- currently Rogue Touch is playable on devices back to iOS 3.0, whereas this “New Rogue” will only be compatible with iOS 5.0 and newer, so people with older devices will be left out.

I am very interested to hear your thoughts, please share them in the comments!

( PS – Mineko is still in development, I’ll be talking about her more next time! :) )



    34 Responses

  1. Considering the long downtime between the last update and a new update, I don’t think there’d be too much of an issue with making it an entirely new app.

    Comment by Nathaniel Gibson on March 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm

  2. Yes that is true, still I would hate to leave some of the older device players hanging. Either way, its becoming harder to consider supporting old devices and iOS versions.

    Another point of interest.. The unique UDID of devices is being eliminated soon by Apple, which will break the ability to track RT high scores the way I do now. This pretty much forces me to move to Gamecenter and kill the old leaderboards.

    Once I have gone that far, should the current Rogue Touch simply disappear from the App Store and allow its successor to take over? RT local high score lists would still function on the iPhone and iPod, so maybe I just allow it to remain as a time capsule of the way things were?

    Its an interesting problem!

    Comment by admin on March 4, 2012 at 12:52 pm

  3. Make 2.0 it a new app with the the soul of the old app. Part of the charm of the Rogue game was the graphics. For a Rogue game it really should have a retro look and feel. If you are spending time and money to improve the graphics and to update/modernize gameplay than release it as a sequel. The game was only 99 cents and had 6 updates so who would begrudge you another 99 cents. Some personal preferences… more sounds would be cool, in app content is annoying the kids like it I suppose but games built around in app content turn into more of a marketing than a gaming experience, I’d love to see low level monsters with a range attack besides the ice monster, no stores no upgrades … resource management and cruel fate are all part of the experience. I would leave Rogue touch retro in the app store. I think your current game will still appeal to anyone who wants that flavor. I think you should integrate the rouge touch retro with game center if you intend to keep selling it. You could also sell an add on cheater pack that would allow a gamer who does not read the forums to access hidden characters and possibly rare items. Cheaters would have to barred from high scores. But I bet there are many who would like to play the game as Neo or Thor. Also I have had so few blessed, fire or freezing weapons I would like the option of playing around with one. Imagine being able to start the game with a +3+3 katana and 10 potions of demolition.

    Comment by Pugachov on March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm

  4. Make it a new game, not an update.

    Comment by Champ on March 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm

  5. I think it should be a new game as well. If you can, make one last update to Rogue Touch Retro so it uses Game Center, but other than that, you should put RTR on the shelf.

    Happy coding!!

    Comment by Mike E. on March 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm

  6. Why not both? the tweaks you have already set to go for Rogue Touch without to many graphics updates, and pour the rest into a sequel. That way everybody wins.

    Comment by Will on March 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm

  7. Now that we just got an iPad (HD, wow!) I hope for an iPad version. So I would vote for a new app and possibly keep RT to promote yourself with a last update.

    Comment by Rhialto on March 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm

  8. Everyone, I appreciate the comments here! Seems like the general consensus matches what I thought, but maybe not for all the same reasons!

    Mike- I like the idea of “Rogue Touch Retro” as a rebranding… Keeping the graphics and gameplay the same, but updating for OpenGL rendering and Gamecenter leaderboards (due to the pending UDID deprecation in iOS).

    Will and Rhialto- combining your thoughts, it seems pouring all my new graphics and ideas into a sequel makes sense, then I can use “Rogue Touch Retro” as a way to let everyone know about the new game (Not an actual ad mind you, perhaps just a little icon in the menu).

    Pugachov – Great thoughts, and I will be taking them all to heart in the next game… If we are keeping “Rogue Touch Retro” as is then I have freedom to go nuts with new rules, ideas, and monsters in the sequel ;)

    And yes, the new iPad screen is amazing, I got one too! This new “Next-gen Rogue Touch” will finally be universal, and I think the best gameplay would be on an iPad… that will allow you to see the entire dungeon at once at 100% detail, and have accessible inventory on one side of the screen at all times. I will make a follow up post about all this soon, in case a few more people would like to chime in about this topic :)

    Comment by admin on March 24, 2012 at 10:08 am

  9. Make it a new game..

    PS PS – do tell about the blue-haired girl at the top :)

    Comment by Daryl G. on March 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm

  10. I’d love to see Rogue Touch for iPad. Personally I love the retro feel and generally think the game play is excellent – and just as compulsive as the original. The little niggles aren’t show stoppers, you did a superb job, IMHO. So I’d vote for the dual approach, with your major changes becoming Rogue Evolution and one last update to Touch as you suggest

    Comment by Belinda Berry on March 27, 2012 at 4:08 am

  11. Make it a new app, Kevin! I’ve got your back 100%. :)

    Comment by Madgarden on April 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm

  12. I would say make it a new game but some how be able to offer a “classic” mode that is either available at the start or unlocked after a certain achievement such as beating the game or completing a secret dungeon. Good luck with the re-write.

    Comment by Jason on April 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

  13. please make more contents… fresh, survival,village,downtown etc…

    Comment by hehahahaha on April 5, 2012 at 12:14 am

  14. and slash’em is more interesting. seriously.

    Comment by hehahahaha on April 5, 2012 at 1:17 am

  15. how about make ELONA style mode? it would be great!

    Comment by umm on April 5, 2012 at 8:13 am

  16. i was bought this game yesterday…

    Comment by umm on April 6, 2012 at 7:31 am

  17. Hi, I like you game. But I can’t complete register in your forum. It always show “Conform code error”. Could you check it.

    Comment by Ethan on April 9, 2012 at 2:26 am

  18. Ethan, I saw you mention this via twitter, but never got a chance to dig into the issue until today… I apologize.

    Good news… You definitely found a bug with the registration process! Seems the new theme is hiding the confirm-capcha image and entry box. Bad news… It might be a couple of days before I can sort out what’s wrong with the phpBB theme!

    As soon as I figure it out, I’ll send you an email and post here too :)

    Comment by admin on April 9, 2012 at 7:10 am

  19. Hi,

    I’m a very casual gamer who just discovered the world of roguelikes, and came across Rogue Touch while looking for titles on iOS. The general consensus seems to be that RT is *the* roguelike to get for the iPhone.

    Anyway, I’d like to keep up to date on the development on RT 2 and Minako; is there a mailing list that I can subscribe to for this purpose?

    Comment by Kenny on April 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm

  20. @Kenny: Probably the best place to start is the forums, here: http://forums.chronosoft.com/

    Comment by Nathaniel Gibson on April 13, 2012 at 10:35 am

  21. I vote to keep RTR (after adding OpenGL and GC); it continues to evoke fond nostalgic feelings for me even after hundreds of hours of play. Release the new app as a sequel with all the new goodies and I (and others like me) can alternate between playing both as the mood strikes us.

    Either way, keep up the great work! You’ve produced what will long be considered one of the great classic iPhone apps.

    Comment by OldRoguer on April 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm

  22. Nathaniel,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve tried registering for the forum last week, but like Ethan, it appears that I can’t due to the missing capcha on the registration page. I guess I’ll try again later.

    Comment by Kenny on April 19, 2012 at 1:12 am

  23. Hey everyone! I’ve been on planes and whatnot… Still uncertain what is wrong with the forum Captcha for sign-up.

    I’ll take drastic action and just remove the Captcha this morning and leave registration open through the weekend without it. If you are able, please try to sign up for an account before Monday the 23rd :)

    At that time I’ll add the Captcha back in to prevent a total spammer takeover. Hopefully I can locate the glitch in this PHPBB theme that’s causing it to disappear and get it fixed soon after that.

    I think we’ve gotten a lot of great discussion going here, so I’ll be updating with a new blog post as well. Thanks for the support, I appreciate it greatly!

    Comment by admin on April 19, 2012 at 7:38 am

  24. Awesome! I’ll sign up straightaway.

    Comment by Kenny on April 20, 2012 at 1:53 am

  25. *read in Professor Farnsworth voice*
    Good news everyone! The forum registration issues are resolved!

    I also fixed some other little glaring issues with forum usability. Sorry that it took this long to get it right. I’ll be bringing up a new post here this week, and getting us back on track at last.

    In other news, PHPBB auto and manual updaters are a big steaming load of garbage… Fortunately I was just clever enough to outsmart their pitiful attempt at ruining my setup ;)

    Comment by admin on April 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm

  26. I love the idea of a new separate app with new graphics and using the whole iPad3 HD screen.. would definitely buy it.
    Just please steer clear of any in-app purchase features etc.. those are taking over the app store like a plague.
    I would, however, also prefer if the current “old” / “retro” version of RT could be kept compatible with iOS 4.x as there are a lot of devices around that are still in use but weren’t gifted with the 5.0 update.

    Comment by Woo on May 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm

  27. I just found out about Rogue Touch yesterday and, I have to admit, I’m REALLY excited to see that games like these are still being made (yes, Rogue Touch is “old”, but you’re updating and/or making a new app).

    If there’s one thing I’d like to mention: As much as I love games like Diablo III, Dungeon Hunter and Dungeon Siege, there’s this trend that is happening that is really killing the genre for me and that’s the direction towards fewer and fewer randomized content.

    If you can keep focusing on want made dungeon crawlers such as the old Rogue games great, you will forever have a fan in me.

    A game like this could definitely benefit from iCloud and Universal support. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a new app or just an updated version… so long as it doesn’t impede on you progress to improve the game.

    Comment by Gix on June 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm

  28. Wow, time flies! I’ve got to get everyone caught up on current events with a new post… And at least try for monthly updates here! :)

    Gix- I am very glad you enjoy Rogue Touch and want to see more games like it! I am definitely going to remain on this path for a long time… random content, replayability, ease of playing on the go. And to Woo- definitely not adopting any of the awful “freemium” features that are cropping up in games!

    More details coming, I promise! Maybe I should start showing off some of the awesome artwork for this Rogue Touch update while I’m at it ;)

    Stay tuned this coming week for more…

    Comment by admin on June 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm

  29. I don’t have an iPad but I’d love to have the new version on my iPhone. I enjoy Sword of Fargoal on it.

    Comment by Robinson Mason on June 19, 2012 at 9:38 am

  30. Monthly updates and screenshots would be great. I’m really anticipating RT2’s release!

    Comment by Kenny on June 26, 2012 at 3:13 am

  31. Make a new game! I will buy it :)

    Leave this one as is (but please continue to support!!)

    This game rocks!

    Comment by todal89 on July 9, 2012 at 8:24 am

  32. Yes Im such a fan of this game, since the 1980’s when I played it growing up. I cannot wait for your update, and would love it if you keep us all updated as I’m sure we all all waiting to play/buy it if we need too

    Comment by Morgan on July 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm

  33. I am a huge longtime fan of Rogue Touch… It has always been my “go to game” when every other game has gotten boring. I would gladly pay for an updated new version (although I see nothing wrong with the current one :)… Other than unfortunately ios6 has broken the original :(… No longer able to descend stairs! I will be happy to wait for a new version and buy it immediately, but a quick fix on the current one would be so very much appreciated. Thanks for the best rogue in the App Store!!

    Comment by Justin on September 20, 2012 at 9:29 pm

  34. ACK! Justin, this is awful news! Been out of the country for a number of weeks, and never tried to update to iOS 6 beta versions since I needed to rely on my iPhone as a lifeline while away. Arrived back in the USA about 12 hours ago, so I am starting a backup and update process to test this.

    Expect a report soon, and if anyone else has additional info on the stair-use issue please do chime in :)

    Comment by admin on September 21, 2012 at 2:35 am

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