yuxtapa: A good, old-fashioned ASCII deathmatch

I have two screenshots of yuxtapa to share today, but they’re really the same game, running across two computers.

2014-11-24-jsgqk71-yuxtapa-01 2014-11-24-6m47421-yuxtapa-02

yuxtapa is a strange and yet delightful bird, one part roguelike and one part Unreal Tournament, with some fantasy elements sprinkled here and there. If you can imagine a real-time multiplayer fantasy frag-fest — for the console — you’d be right on the mark.

yuxtapa wisely follows the lead of most online FPS deathmatch games, in the line of Enemy Territory, Sauerbraten or perhaps Nexuiz. Starting the game puts you in a spectator mode, and once you’ve selected your kit (press “l” for the limbo menu), you’re dropped into a team and the fun begins.

The larger, overhead map is your tactical display, but the smaller map marked with colored ampersands is your strategic map with spawn points marked. Key commands are similar to (some) roguelikes, with the implicit understanding that yuxtapa is real-time, so some functions don’t quite fit.

For example, “w” triggers walk mode, which will send your player marching off in a direction until he meets his doom, and “5” brings him to a halt. Depending on the game, those keys differ from resting or preset distance moves, or some other function.

It was a little tough for me to wrangle with two laptops to check yuxtapa’s combat, but it worked well enough for me to kill myself (figuratively, of course) a couple of times, across my in-house network. I’m a little proud of that, yes.

yuxtapa manages to pick up on just about every point in both the roguelike and online FPS genres. Torches will affect your sight boundaries, as will your particular class’ range of sight. Sounds are represented by exclamation points, which should change colors in accordance to the nature of the sound.

yuxtapa also has color-coded indicators for time events, teams and titles over characters — the problem with the latter being that they obscure the map. Traps, spells, archery, stealth, swimming, mining, basic bots and a mess of other game dynamics are included, and it may be a while before you can digest every variation on play.

Setup will require light editing of a couple configuration files, but a primitive “match” can be arranged just by dropping the server.conf and client.conf files in /usr/share/yuxtapa/ to .config/yuxtapa/. For what you see above, I only added the player names and the IP of the host computer.

I could only find one or two small critiques of yuxtapa. The first is that a blank area on your map, designated by empty space, is a chasm. Don’t move onto those spaces, for obvious reasons. I would prefer my character have enough brains not to move into those spaces to start with, but I see the challenge in having large swaths of yawning gulfs to spice up combat.

The second issue is the keyboard movement commands, which are arranged in keypad format and don’t seem to be adjustable without editing and rebuilding yuxtapa. Laptop users, like me, are likely to find those very difficult to manage, unless you sink US$3 in a secondhand USB external keypad.😐

But those are my biggest gripes, which means yuxtapa is doing very well indeed. Arch users can install this from an AUR package and get both the server daemon and the game client; Debian users will probably need to build this from scratch. Judging by the github page, yuxtapa is still getting attention in recent months, even if the home page suggests it’s “finished.”

As a fast-paced fragalicious free-for-all, for making the somewhat backward leap from online FPS deathmatch to text-based roguelike, and for adding more than enough esoteric details to keep you wondering about each class and its potential, I am willing to give away one of my few remaining K.Mandla gold stars to yuxtapa:⭐😉 Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “yuxtapa: A good, old-fashioned ASCII deathmatch

  1. Pingback: Mutant Aliens!: We gotta get out of this place | Inconsolation

  2. Pingback: Mutant Aliens!: We gotta get out of this place | Linux Admins

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