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Preview: Project News: Tyrant - Java Roguelike

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Last Build Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2005 16:35:29 -0000



Sun, 20 Mar 2005 16:35:29 -0000

What fantasy roguelike would be complete without the most mighty beast of all to strike fear into the hearts of adventurers?

Yes, Tyrant now has dragons - beware! Fortunately they are few and far between, and only inhabit the wildest areas of the world. You may be unlucky enough to stumble across dragons around level 28 or deeper - or if you are foolish enough to venture into Firetop Mountain.

World Maps

Sat, 12 Mar 2005 23:04:47 -0000

Tyrant 0.331 now features four "world map" areas that you can travel between.

The main map locations are still pretty much the same as before, but they are spread out across the maps in rough order of difficulty. This means that we can keep North Karrain as a fairly "safe" area and add more difficult dungeons into the other areas.

The other advantage of this approach is that the locations stay fairly static. I feel this is beneficial from the point of view of ensuring that players don't spend huge amounts of time searching the world map to find randomly positioned locations.

New Website!

Sun, 06 Mar 2005 17:35:15 -0000

Thanks to some excellent work by Russ, we now have a brand new Tyrant website, with much better design and navigation.

I especially like the new look menu bar and logo, designed to blend in with the game interface.

But the really clver stuff is behind the scenes - the new site features a content management system to replace the Wiki so that we will be able to have online documentation working again.

Over the next few weeks I'll be updating this with the content from the Wiki.

If you are keen to help out with Tyrant there's definitely a role for HTML-literate content managers to update the documentation, which can be done through a set of simple online forms once you have a user ID.

Goblin Grotto and Map Authoring

Sun, 27 Feb 2005 22:54:39 -0000

The Goblin Grotto is a new area to explore in the Tyrant world - but more than that, it's thefirst area to be added that has been created using the Tyrant Map Authoring tool.

This is a fantastic tool (thanks Chris!) that can be used to create a huge variety of Tyrant maps. Over time, we should be able to develop a collection of themed maps to add spice to the game.

Of course, Tyrant will still feature randomly generated levels (in traditional roguelike style!) for most dungeons. At a later date, we may be able to use the authoring tool to create pre-built "areas" within levels, e.g. special vaults and lairs which appear randomly within dungeons from time to time.

If you have a great idea for a map, then feel free to design it and contribute it! Maps are stored as simple text files so they are also easy to hand-edit. This creative process should also help us figure out what extra scenery items and graphic tiles we need to in order to create a range of interesting locations.

Wiki Retired

Fri, 11 Feb 2005 22:33:51 -0000

The wiki experiment was a bit of a failure - the amount of wiki spam was getting too bad so I've removed this part of the website for the time being. I suspect we may have been a bit of a target because of the high Google ranking.

It's just a little sad that there are so many selfish subhumans out there on the internet who are willing to abuse what was meant to be a useful community resource. Ah well.

Anyway, the great project continues regardless. An alternative is in the works - stay tuned.....

Map Authoring Tool

Sun, 23 Jan 2005 21:13:00 -0000

Thanks to some more excellent work by Chris, we now have a Map authoring tool for Tyrant that can be used to create new levels.

The idea is that this tool will be used in the future to build special levels and quest locations. It will be very easy to plug maps created with the tool into the game.

The authoring tool is available in version 0.326 to test out. Once launched, the commands are as follows:

Here are some of the keys:
r = rectangle mode
l = line mode
c = circle mode
- save map
+ or = load map
t jump to tile palette. Once a tile is chosen focus is returned to the editor.
h jump to the thing palette. Same as above.
z single level undo

Weekly Releases

Sun, 23 Jan 2005 15:21:16 -0000

I'm back to a regular working week now so my plan is to move to a weekly release schedule. This should mean a new version of Tyrant every Sunday, probably in the evening UK time. Mid-week releases will only happen if there is a critical bug to fix.

Developers - please try to do any really experimental stuff Mon-Sat and keep Sunday for fixes and stabilization. This way we should get a better quality of release. I think this is a good discipline as we work towards the all-important version 1.0

For people who are playtesting, this may mean a slightly longer time-lag until fixes get made. But please keep reporting the bugs - the reports are absolutely critical to improving Tyrant and I guarantee that they will all be resolved sooner or later.

Dungeon DNA

Thu, 13 Jan 2005 16:44:55 -0000

A new innovation in Tyrant 0.325 (soon to be released) is that of "Dungeon DNA". Basically each style of dungeon has a DNA string associated with it, looking something like:


In this string, each letter represents a type of dungeon element, e.g. "r" is a room and "z" is a maze. The more common the letter is, the more commonly that particular type of feature will be created.

This technique should allow us to have much more customised dungeon styles, while still getting of the benefits of random dungeon generation.

All relevant code is in and

You can test dungeon DNA by typing ":d", pressing enter and then entering a DNA string of your choice. Valid characters are given as follows:

c = Corridor
o = Oval room
z = Maze
r = Room
t = Corridor with room at the end
h = 3*3 chamber
n = Natural-looking wiggly tunnel
s = Square 5*5 room
k = Linking corridor ("joins up" maps)

Goblin Village

Wed, 12 Jan 2005 01:40:05 -0000

The goblins have set up their camp on a swampy area of land. They don't seem overly hostile, but the villagers in the area have every reason to feel nervous about what these unprdicatable and unruly creatures will do next.

This is the latest location to be added, roughly along the lines of the goblin village in the really old versions of Tyrant. Not too much to do there yet (you can start a war if you like, or just chat...) but it should be a taste of things to come.

In the next few months, I'll be focusing on creating:
- New locations
- Quests and "things to do" at these locations

Eventually we'll reach the point where we have enough locations that we don't need them all at once, and you will get a random selection every game. This way the world will genuinely be different each time you play, requiring different tactics and ensuring that you will always get some new surprises. Will you find a goblin village? How about a lost temple? Maybe there will be a secret route to the underworld.....

New Challenges in 0.322

Fri, 07 Jan 2005 15:09:47 -0000

0.322 is out, with a lot of improvements. Most importantly, there are some serious quest locations to try and complete, with valuable rewards at the end, and in increasing order of difficulty:
- The dungeon beneath the old ruin
- The catacombs beneath the graveyard
- The Tyrant is currently residing at the top of the Dark Tower - you can challenge him if you dare!

I'd really appreciate some feedback on these via the forums - how difficult do you find them? What tactics do you use?

Thanks to everyone who has helped out, especially Chris for a some superb coding work this week!