avanor: A return to the roguelike genre

I wasn’t going to dredge up more roguelike titles, but I got quite a few suggestions after the last deluge, and some of them are worth noting.

avanor was Ander’s suggestion a month ago, and while its last news posting was in 2006, the precompiled binary in the SourceForge package worked fine for me in Arch Linux.


avanor takes its cue from adom, as I understand it, so not only is there a series of dungeons to explore, but a geographic element as well.

avanor also adopts quests and interactions between nonplayer characters, all of which is in the context of an overarching imperative to save your homeland. Color use is strong, the quests are fairly easy to track and follow (there’s a quest journal too, which helps a lot), and it makes good use of the screen space it is offered.

You have the freedom with roguelike games to pick and choose on the basis of plot and theme, and avanor does well on those categories. I get the impression that, before it stalled, the focus was shifting in the direction of character interaction and storyline, rather than just roguelike mechanics.

I have a few complaints that I must, of course, voice. Aside from minor screen artifacts (most likely due to the large expanse of terminal space I gave it), some of the interaction keys are frustrating. If more than one possible chat target exists, you indicate direction with the number keys (?!) as they might be laid out on a PC number pad or electronic calculator.

I’m surprised at that choice of keys, mostly because it is terrifically unintuitive. Not only do you have to mentally work out which direction is which (starting with south-west and number 1), or grab a cellphone and realize it’s backwards from that, but with all the 104 keys on a keyboard, why not ones that actually show direction? O_o

My only other observation was that my character was always hungry — I mean always. Before I ever ventured out of the city or into the castle, I was getting warnings about hunger. I like the concept of hunger in roguelikes, mostly because I think it adds a level of priority that runs along the same lines as things like encumbrance or sleep requirements.

But I think my character had a tapeworm, because she was always griping about food. Good grief.

No matter. avanor is not in Debian and the AUR version wouldn’t compile for me (nor would the svn version build), but like I said, the precompiled binary for i686 worked fine in spite of its age. If you want something similar to adom but with perhaps a little more focus on NPCs and quests (and hunger!), give it a spin.

3 thoughts on “avanor: A return to the roguelike genre

  1. Ander GM

    I could compile the svn version , but the “sed” instruction I gave to you was wrong. I was pointing to “makefile” instead of “Makefile”
    Also, g++ needed “-fpermissive” to compile too.
    Beware with the quotes!! WordPress formats the message wrongly and it changes the ‘ character.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Yes, I’ve had that problem with WordPress.com for almost a decade — it has always eaten quotes and brackets. There’s not much to be done about it. Sorry. 😦

  2. Pingback: zapm: Cyberroguelike, part 1 | Inconsolation

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