PRIME: Cyberroguelike, part 2

If zapm set the stage for a sci-fi themed roguelike, PRIME took the idea, stretched it into bizarre dimensions, spun it in circles until it was dizzy, and then released it on an unsuspecting public.


zapm had four or five roles to pick from, but PRIME expands the list to more than a dozen. zapm allowed for a few chuckles at its own expense, but much of PRIME reads like a catalog of pop culture sci-fi references, with little green men, killer tomatoes and random rolls of duct tape. zapm allowed for a few space-adventure monsters and tools, but PRIME takes everything from the last 50 years of Hollywood tropes, shakes it vigorously and pours it through an ncurses filter.

The title page for PRIME suggests it’s a spinoff of a specific version of zapm, but I see updates to the PRIME versions as recently as August, which says to me it’s its own project now.

PRIME seems to keep the same style as zapm, with a few embellishments. vi-like and arrow key navigation is back by default, and levels are fast and quick with only 80×24 as the playing field. Some of the conventions from zapm — such as exploding barrels, which are lethal at level 1 in zapm — are still present in PRIME, but come with slight adjustments, such a one-time warning if you attempt to collide with them.

So while PRIME pulls its main body from zapm, which of course pulls its framework from the long-standing rogue tradition, PRIME is more than a few extra items and an additional role to pick from. It has definitely taken a step beyond its progenitor.

I like it. It’s fast and funny, and seems to pull out some of the stumbling blocks that didn’t appeal to me in zapm. While it’s no more innovative in terms of interface or gameplay than any of the other dozens of titles that preclude it, PRIME has a flavor of its own.

17 thoughts on “PRIME: Cyberroguelike, part 2

  1. Ander GM

    Just… wow :O . I can even choose either the Nethack or DCSS keybindings .
    I knew about ZAPM, but this is on par of the earlier two.
    About the dependencies, I’ve just installed fp-compiler. The “fpc” package pulls too many dependencies.

      1. Ander GM

        You need to install “fp-units-gfx fp-utils fpc-source fp-units-fv fp-units-math fp-units-misc fp-units-multimedia “, edit
        compat.pp and change the line of “uses graph, crt” as the next block of code:
        { graph, crt; }
        ptccrt, ptcgraph;

        For me it segfaults 😦 , maybe is because I am on X86_64, I have to try under a VM.

      2. Ander GM

        Ok, now I understand what happens. The binnaries just work for SVGALIB.

        I installed libsvga1-dev and fp-units-fgx, just to be sure.

        Try it under a framebuffer/tty and sudo permissions, maybe it could work.

        But having better Breakout clones for the terminal under ncurses, I don’t know why FreakOut is relevant today.

  2. Ander GM

    BTW, I could stil help you with a little install of NetBSD in the pentium based Dell laptop.
    Don’t worry, it’s really easy, email me if you want a setup like mine :
    800mhz, 256mb RAM, ARMv5 laptop (kinda 300mhz intel)
    DWM and urxvtd+urxtvc as the terminal.
    I used dmenu to launch the applications, and I changed [alt] to [win] for DWM πŸ™‚
    Finally, with tmux, you’ll have a tiling and save environment if X hangs (a miracle on NetBSD)
    And thanks for all your work, I didn’t know about Cmus, Alpine and a huge list of tools.

  3. chris-l

    Hmm, why seem this kind of games never offer the option of using unicode characters? I think the “graphics” ( XD ) would be better with unicode and 256 colors support. My urxvt support that. I know that if they used unicode and 256 colors by default, it won’t work on regular terminals, but since terminals supporting such things are not that uncommon now, it would be nice if they offered that as additional options.

    1. Ander GM

      Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup supports unicode chars, too. And the Linux terminal has unicode support if you use a dedicated font πŸ™‚

      About 256 colors… I tried playing Tomenet with fbterm exporting TERM=fbterm and the colors look weird and is not as playable as under X 😦 , so I quited fbterm .

      Anyway, there are crazy minimal environments, like dwm and stterm as the terminal (you have to tweak the font from the sources, but it’s really, really easy to do πŸ™‚

    2. K.Mandla Post author

      Every now and again I see a tool or a toy that offers either strict ASCII or extended character sets. It’s not common, but you’re right, things do look better. On the other hand, then people like me complain, because in a virtual console it just looks like a plain square block. 😐 You can’t make everybody happy.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      It’s okay, it didn’t work for me either. I think it’s too old.

      Thanks for the suggestions. I will take a look at them. πŸ™‚

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