So I decided to try my hand at a Seven Day Roguelike, but life, such as it is, did not lend itself to working for seven days straight. Instead, I've had to grab time here and there where possible, and at this point I have no idea whether what I have was seven days of work or not. I'm guessing it's a lot more.
But I don't really care, because the point is to have fun and challenge yourself, and by that measure, Mission Accomplished.
I started with a question: can you make a Roguelike without all the monsters and inventory management and just focus on exploration?
I'm convinced the answer is yes. From the humble origins of adventure gaming, like Colossal Cave, the real impetus to the game is to move forward and get to someplace you haven't gotten before. Ultimately, much of what adventure gaming is boils down to that core mechanic of experiencing new stuff. A roguelike where every level is the same and you fight the same monsters over and over in the same situations would not be very satisfying.
So, my roguelike focuses on exploration (almost) exclusively. It's called Spelunker, and it's basically a cave exploring game. The only goal is to explore, to find all the cool nooks and crannies in the procedurally-generated cave system.
But is it a roguelike? I'd say so. It still certainly counts as a "procedural death labyrinth", even though it has no monsters or other enemies, because it is a damn hazardous place to explore. Unlike most roguelikes, however, nothing is out to kill you - if you die (and you probably will!), it is because you simply weren't being careful. Which in many ways is even more challenging.
I've gotten far enough in the game that I figured it was time to start a development blog to talk about its development. This is it! If this sounds like an interesting game, follow along. I'll be announcing progress and information about the game here.