Roguelike Celebration 2020

Crossposted to Temple of The Roguelike

On October 3 and 4 2020, the fifth iteration of the Roguelike Celebration happened online. Last year I missed it (flying Medellín to San Francisco is expensive!) but I had no excuse this year.

The biggest novelty of the event was the MUD-like platform created by Em Lazerwalker, who has been part of the organizer team for some years now. She describes it as a playful text-based online social chat space, a hybrid between communication apps like Slack and Discord and traditional text-based online game spaces such as MUDs and MOOs.

The main interaction window

The app was accessible via any decent web browser, and it integrated the different components of the online conference, including a virtual environment inspired by the physical spaces of previous years where you could move between rooms, pick up stuff, do fun stuff like dancing, and of course talk with the other people.

A map of the premises

The main sections of the event were the Theater, where the talks took place, the unconferencing lobby and rooms (6 of them) where people suggested and voted for topics and then were directed to Zoom conferences for live video chatting, and the showcase hall where different roguelike projects where on display. There were also lots of other rooms for socializing, and even a dance floor with cool music from the previous years and a bar where you could get the classic roguelikecel cocktails.

Having some polymorphic fun at the bar

The platform was also integrated with the almost non-stop video streaming, MCed by Alexei Pepers and Noah Swartz, and run in the background by Kawa. It included real-time high quality captioning made by Maggie of White Coat Captioning, and people could interact with the stream by posting questions or topics for discussion.

The main chunk of the event where the talks, of course, and this time there were a lot of them both full size and “lightning” (10 mins). following the same format as previous years (single track, two days), being online opened the possibility of having speakers from all around the world discussing a wide range of topics, from technical to more mundane.

The videos have yet to be posted in the Roguelike Celebration youtube channel, for now, you can find the raw streams there. The topics included game design, accessibility, a lot of procedural generation, community management, programming languages, roguelike history, and more.

Roguelike Wizard Darren Gray discussed What a Rogue is like, as his baby human quaffed a Potion of Tranquility.

Additionally, as in previous years, there was an interactive game (Help me Steal the Mona Lisa), where players could interact with the streamer, helping him hack devices to infiltrate museums and generate enough income for his character’s luxurious life.

Bundling some procedural generation elements, and a lot of “asymmetrical” cooperative multiplayer design, designed to increase engagement between streamers and viewers.

Finally, Noah (the creator of the event) announced this was his last year as part of the organizers’ team, as he has different requirements for his time these days. He shared how he had a hard time finding space and sponsors for the first event, and how now it has grown to have over 700 assistants. He’s leaving the organization of future versions of the events in the capable hands of the other organizers who have done a great job so far.

/me claps, many thanks to Noah for creating this fun event!

See you next year at Roguelike Celebration 2021!

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