Playing iRogue

not entirely updated for 1.0.0, but it doesn't matter much.

The Premise

Hopefully you're familiar with rogue (or rogue-like games) already. They are text-based games which have a familiar premise --- wander around in a dungeon, collect treasure, beat up bad-tempered critters, try to finish a quest.

What you see  ::  How to move  ::  Options Menu  ::  Commands Menu  ::  Inventory  ::  Preferences  ::  Hardware buttons

What You See

[welcome screen] [welcome screen in color]

When you start the application you will see a screen split into three parts. The top part will display messages (e.g. "you hit", "the ice monster misses"). The middle part represents a part of the level you're on. The bottom part contains your status line. part

(Fairly self-explanatory. The message window is cleared when you move; if there are multiple messages in one turn, they will "scroll" upward and off the screen. There is a menu item to show the last ten messages in case you miss something.)

...middle part

The idea is that you're wandering around in a dungeon. You are represented by an at-sign "@". You are probably going to start out in a room. Whichever room you are in at the moment is lighted, and other rooms are dark; you can see what's in your current room, but not in the other rooms. The lighted tiles appear as ".". The walls of the room are made of dashes "-" and "|". There is, hopefully, at least one doorway "+" which leads into a passage "#" which leads to some other room.

(Are you with me so far?) You may see some other things in the room you're in, such as "%" stairs. You can go down the stairs; you can't go up until you have achieved your goal.

Other things you might see include scrolls "?" you can read, potions "!" you can quaff, food "o" you can eat, weapons ")" you can wield or throw, rings "=" you can put on or remove, armor "]" you can wear or take off, and staffs "/" you can zap. These are all objects you can pick up and put in your pack (this will be done automatically when you walk over them, so long as your pack is not full.)

Your goal is to find the Amulet of Yendor, which is represented by a comma ",". You will not encounter it until you go down at least twenty-odd levels.

From time to time you may run into a trap "^". There are various kinds of traps, but I'll let you find out about them on your own. You can find traps (and hidden doors) by searching and generally being lucky, or unlucky as the case may be.

[screenshot with a monster] [color with a monster]

There are also monsters, represented by the letters A to Z and a to z. Some may be asleep or unaware of your presence. When awake and aware of you, they are mostly pretty crabby and will probably try to kill you.

Your secondary goals are to get experience by killing monsters (which will make you tougher to kill), and get money "*" (which will give you a higher score when you die or win.)

...bottom part

L1: This is the level of the dungeon you're currently on - how far you are from the surface. You start on 1 and can go down as far as 99 (obviously you don't need to go that far, since the Amulet starts appearing much earlier.)

HP 12(12): Your current and maximum hit points - how far you are from being dead. Your maximum hit points will go up as you advance in experience. Your current hit points will, you hope, stay above 0.

Str 16(16): Your current and maximum strength - how hard you hit. You may find a way to raise your maximum strength. You may find things that reduce your current strength, and things that restore it.

To the right of the Strength display, you may sometimes see a word such as "hungry". This should suggest to you that it is time to eat some food. If you ignore this for too long, you will start fainting, and that is uncool when there are monsters around to stomp on you.

Arm: 4: This is your armor rating - how hard you are to hit. Higher is better, as you will see if you take off your currently worn armor (you do that via the inventory screen.)

$0: This is how much money you have. (It's not good for anything except the top-ten list of dead rogues, unlike some other rogue-like games in which you can use it to purchase items in stores.)

Exp: 1/0: This is your current experience. The first number is your experience level (I blame D&D for overloading the word "level".) The second number is your experience points (somehow that seems grammatically wrong.)

What you see  ::  How to move  ::  Options Menu  ::  Commands Menu  ::  Inventory  ::  Preferences  ::  Hardware buttons

Moving Around

First, imagine that the screen is a compass. At the top of the screen is north. Imagine that this compass is divided like a pie into eight slices: N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW. The slices meet in the center of the screen. Tap within a slice, and that is the direction you will move in.

If the rogue-relative preference is on, the pie is always centered around your @. If this preference is off, the pie stays in a fixed position -- regardless of where you (@) are located on the screen. The rest of this section assumes a fixed-position pie.

[pie-sliced screen]

Ok. You got the pie? I am going to complicate it now. If you tap very close to the center of the screen, instead of moving you will "search" at your current location. (Every time you search, you have some probability of finding hidden traps and secret doors in the eight tiles immediately adjacent to you.) Moving outward... If you tap moderately close to the center of the screen, you will move one square at a time. If you tap far from the center of the screen (near the edge of the screen), you will move several squares -- you move until you are adjacent to something "interesting" (such as an object, door, wall, stairs, or monster.)

[concentric-sliced screen]

So there's a pie of what-direction-you-move, and there are some concentric circles of what-happens-when-you-tap. You can adjust the size of these circles via the Preferences menu item on the Options menu, depending on what you think is deserving of more screen real-estate.

Oh, yeah: to attack a monster "hand-to-hand", with whatever weapon you're currently wielding, you just try to move onto its square. If it is immediately to your west, tap on the west side of the screen, etc., and you should see a message such as "you hit".

If you have a keyboard, you can also use the classic "hjklyubn" keys for movement. To move several squares at a time (as when you tap near the edge of the screen) use the shift key.. "HJKLYUBN".

What you see  ::  How to move  ::  Options Menu  ::  Commands Menu  ::  Inventory  ::  Preferences  ::  Hardware buttons

Options menu

[options menu]

Map /M
In the middle part of the screen, you can only see a part of the level that you're currently exploring. The "Map" menu item will display a map of the entire level.
(Tap anywhere to make it go away again.) It will show you, the rooms and passages you've explored so far, and the stairs if you've found them.
Message Log /L
This will display the last 10 messages, which may be useful if you were tapping away those "--more--"'s too fast or something. (Tap "Done" to make it go away.)
Scroll View /V
In the middle part of the screen, you can only see a part of the level that you're currently exploring. The "Scroll View" menu item will allow you to move your view north / south / east / west. It will move 1 step by default. If you write a graffiti number (1-99) before using this menu item, it will move that many steps instead.
Preferences /R
The Preferences dialog allows you to customize your iRogue experience (heh.) I'll go over that below.
Very basic instructions, for people who skip the web page.
About iRogue
This is the "About" screen that you find in all normal applications.
Graffiti Help /G
(Probably no one needs this, but it doesn't really cost anything to put in.)
whatsit? /W
If you see an unfamiliar character on the middle part of the screen, and you would rather not identify it the hard way (by walking on or attacking it), you can use the "whatsit?" menu item instead. Select this menu item.
[whatsit] [whatsit color]
Then tap on the unknown character (and decide whether to attack it or slink away.)
Change Font /F
This command allows you to toggle the font size used to draw the dungeon. (Compare the area visible here and in the map.)
[regular font] [regular font color]
[small font] [small font color]
(Q) Quit
This will kill your current rogue (after the obligatory "are you SURE?") and allow you to start over. This dialog can also be accessed by writing a graffiti "Q".

Wiz menu

[wiz menu]

If you are a purist, you will not want to use this menu. If you find the game frustratingly hard, this menu is for you.

Wizard /I
Use this to switch from normal mode to wizard mode, and vice versa. The latter will make you more buff, reveal the map of the level, and allow you to create objects at whim. (Very helpful for, uh, debugging.)
Wizard characters will not appear on the score list, so you will be asked for confirmation the first time that any character is wizardized.
Create Obj...
Enables creation of arbitrary objects for debugging purposes.
Autosave /S
This saves your game in the "autosave" slot, just as if you exited iRogue. You might like to do this before you do something that seems dangerous or stupid.
This allows you to save your game in the slot of your choice, allowing you to have multiple extant snapshots if you like. It also allows you to delete old unwanted memory-hogging snapshots (each one is about 10 K).
This allows you to restore from a saved snapshot. Note that your character will experience a penalty each time it is restored, due to the expense of orange smoke.
What you see  ::  How to move  ::  Options Menu  ::  Commands Menu  ::  Inventory  ::  Preferences  ::  Hardware buttons

Commands menu

[commands menu]

The following menu items can be accessed faster by writing the graffiti character that appears in parentheses.

(i) Inventory
This will take you to the inventory dialog. I will describe that more below.
(.) Rest
Rest (do nothing) for one move. This also takes a numeric argument, so you can write a graffiti number from 1 to 99 before selecting this menu item, to rest for 1 to 99 moves (or until your nap is interrupted by a monster wandering over and hitting you.)
(m) Move
Normally, when you move, you pick up any items that you happen to walk over. Occasionally you may want to move onto something without picking it up. To do that, use this menu item and then select the direction in which you want to move.
(,) Pick up
You can use this command to pick up something that you're standing on. (Either you moved onto it with the above command, or your pack was full when you walked onto it but now you've used up some item to make room.)
(s) Search
Searching will find hidden traps and doors. Each time you search, there is some chance of finding whatever (if anything) is there. This command also takes a numeric argument, so you can write a graffiti number from 1 to 99, then write "s" (or select this menu item) to search for that many turns.
(f) Fight
If you are tired of blow-by-blow combat, the "fight" command will quietly run the fight between you and the monster in the direction you select. The fight will end when the monster moves away or is killed, or another monster joins in, or you are gravely wounded (and should consider escape.)
(F) til death
If the "fight" command is not macho enough for you, you can use the capital-F "Fight" instead. It's just like the other one, except that you don't stop when severely wounded (only when dead.)
(<) Up
Use this command to ascend stairs. To go up, you must be standing on stairs and in possession of the object of your quest, the Amulet of Yendor.
(>) Down
Use this command to descend stairs. To go down, you must be standing on stairs.
(^) ID trap
If you're lucky enough to reveal a trap by some means other than setting it off, you may be wondering what kind of trap it is. Use this command to find out (select the direction of the trap you're standing next to.)
(t) Throw
There are some monsters that you don't want to get too close to. (I'll let you figure out which those are.) Use the "Throw" command if you are in possession of some distance weapon(s). It will pop up a dialog which allows you to select the distance weapon and the direction to propel it in.
Note that some are meant to be "launched" by another weapon and will work better if you are wielding something appropriate: arrow/bow, stone/sling, etc. (The non-launched types of distance weapons, if I recall correctly, instead work better if you first "wield" and then "throw" them.)
(z) Zap
If you have a staff or wand, you can zap it in the direction of a monster and hope it does something useful. The "zap" dialog is very similar to the "throw" dialog (no animation though.) You do not need to be wielding the item.
What you see  ::  How to move  ::  Options Menu  ::  Commands Menu  ::  Inventory  ::  Preferences  ::  Hardware buttons


When you move around, you tend to pick up things (by walking on them.) Where do they go? Your pack. How do you do something with them?

[inventory screen]

To do something to an item in your inventory, select "Inventory" from the Commands menu (or write "i", lower-case I.) A window will pop up with a list of your inventory. Select any item. This should cause three or four buttons to appear on the right. The top one is what iRogue guesses you're most likely to want to do to that item, and it is selected by default. If you'd rather do something else to the item, select another button. Then tap "OK" to perform the action, or "Cancel" if you've changed your mind.

What you see  ::  How to move  ::  Options Menu  ::  Commands Menu  ::  Inventory  ::  Preferences  ::  Hardware buttons


As I mentioned above, there is a Preferences item on the Options menu which will allow you to set various things, including the size of those "what am I doing when I tap somewhere" circles.

[preferences screen] [preferences screen color]

When you have changed the numbers, you can hit the "Draw" button to display the three areas. It will draw the middle region in black. (The "Clear" button will redraw the preferences screen without the big black donut.)

The preferences screen also allows you to:

Your preferences will be remembered "forever", with the exception of the name, which belongs to a particular rogue and will revert to the default when that rogue dies (or, if you have "save" turned off, when you leave iRogue and that rogue isn't saved.)

What you see  ::  How to move  ::  Options Menu  ::  Commands Menu  ::  Inventory  ::  Preferences  ::  Hardware buttons

Hardware Buttons

This is where you can rebind the hardware buttons, if you so desire. By default, they are not rebound:

[hardware buttons screen, before]

To get here, go to the Preferences screen and tap the "Buttons..." button. When you tap "ok" here, you will go back to the Preferences screen (you must tap "ok" there too, assuming that you haven't suddenly changed your mind.)

[hardware buttons screen, after]

You have the option of rebinding the four application buttons, the up/down scroll buttons, and the silkscreened calculator and find buttons. You can rebind some, all, or none. Once you have made some choices, check the "use these settings" box to turn it on. (If you ever want to turn the rebinding off temporarily, all you have to do is uncheck the box. iRogue will remember your settings but won't use them.) There's an example above in case you're not feeling very creative.

[hardware buttons screen, after]

You have a fixed set of choices for each button: n/e/s/w movement, up/down movement, resting for 10 turns, searching for 10 turns, bringing up the map of the level, scrolling the screen by 5 squares, and bringing up the 'throw', 'zap', or 'inventory' dialogs. (The dashed choice you see at the top is "don't rebind this button", i.e. let the button do whatever it ordinarily would.) Let me know if there is some function you desperately want that does not appear as a choice.

Argh! My favorite character just died

[top-ten screen]

When you reach the top-ten screen, non-purists have the option of "revivifying" a dead character. The character can take a penalty for restoring and come back as a living rogue (who will again appear on the top-ten list next time you die)... or the character can return as undead (and, like a wizard, will not appear on the top-ten list again). I like hunting leeches while undead.

[top-ten screen]


Want "spoilers" for iRogue?
Consult Sterling Babcock's iRogue Keyguide. yum, that tasted good