Angband (video game)
|Developer(s)||Angband Development Team|
|Genre(s)||Roguelike video game|
Angband is a dungeon-crawling roguelike computer game derived from Umoria. It is based on the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien, in which Angband is the fortress of Morgoth. The current version of Angband is available for all major operating systems, including Unix, Windows, Mac OS X, and Android.
The game revolves around exploring a 100-level dungeon, in which the player seeks to amass enough power and equipment to ultimately defeat Morgoth. A new dungeon level is randomly generated each time the player enters a new level for the first time; so no two games are the same. It has been described by GameSetWatch as "perhaps the purest representation of roguelike tactics in any game".
Angband gameplay is combat and tactics based, with inventory management as an important aspect of gameplay. Angband games can last for weeks. The game is often described as "fiendishly difficult", and players can play for years without getting even a third of the way through the game. Although saving of games is possible, the death of a character is saved immediately to the file, making it impossible to simply reload the saved game as a means of continuing the game from an earlier point. As well have having sufficient health points, characters acquire resistances to mitigate or nullify attacks, which at later stages in the game are critical to avoiding being killed instantly by a single unexpected attack.
The first version of Angband was created by Alex Cutler and Andy Astrand at the University of Warwick in 1990. They wanted to expand the game Umoria by adding items, monsters, and features. After Cutler and Astrand, the source code was maintained at the University of Warwick by Geoff Hill and Sean Marsh. They released "2.4.frog_knows", which was enhanced by others and widely ported to non-Unix platforms.
Following their departure, the later principals of Angband have included Charles Swiger, Ben Harrison, and Robert Rühlmann. Harrison was the maintainer responsible for the "Great Code Cleanup", modularizing, extending, and greatly improving the readability of the Angband source code. This in turn led to the large number of variants currently available, as well as the rather large number of ports. Like other maintainers, he eventually moved on to other interests, passing the title to Robert Rühlmann in 2000.
Rühlmann's contributions included releasing version 3.0, which included many monster and object changes contributed by Jonathan Ellis. He also introduced Lua, a lightweight scripting language, with the intention of simplifying development of both the main game and its variants. The Angband community, however, did not generally embrace the addition of scripting, with many expressing confusion over its usage, and it was therefore later removed.
While Rühlmann was maintainer, he started the Angband Open Source Initiative, designed to place Angband under a Free Software license. Although the original license (Moria/Angband license) allows distribution of the game, it only does so if "not for profit", which precludes packaging with many Linux distributions or inclusion within a magazine cover disc. The license also does not explicitly allow code modification, something which is in practice ignored by the Angband community. In light of these perceived issues, an effort to re-license Angband under the GNU GPL was started in 2000 and completed on 9 January 2009.
Rühlmann stepped down in October 2005, leading to a brief period of uncertainty. However, Julian Lighton was soon announced as the new maintainer in March 2006, but did not release a new version of the game. Due to the absence of Julian, Andi Sidwell assumed maintainership, with the support of the community, in December 2007. Under their watch, other developers have come on board and the game has seen significant gameplay and internal code changes.
The Usenet newsgroup rec.games.roguelike.angband and the Angband Forum are the loci of the Angband community, places to discuss all aspects of the game. An IRC channel, #angband, exists on the WorldIRC network, and another, #angband-dev exists on the freenode network. Some players are still playing Angband decades after they were introduced to it.
Angband has spawned many derivatives. A family of around sixty variants exist, of which roughly half a dozen are active. Each differs in purpose and degree of alteration. The multiplayer variant MAngband was developed in 1997; it includes real-time elements to support simultaneous gameplay. ZAngband (Zelazny Angband), is largely based on Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber. Topi Ylinen initiated development, though the project involved others, including Robert Rühlmann. Most development ceased in 2006. Formerly Tolkien-flavoured variant Tales of Middle Earth (ToME) (now Tales of Maj'Eyal) was originally derived from the ZAngband code base, but was rewritten from scratch for version 4.0.0, and no longer uses a Tolkien setting as it now has its own original fantasy setting.
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