We are (Angband) Borg

I guess that last post deserves a little context.

Angband is a PC roguelike, and a pretty detailed one at that. As you can probably suss from the name, it’s built around the lore of Tolkien. Sure, most fantasy is, but Angband is courteous enough not to maintain any pretenses about its inspiration. It’s an adventure into a Middle-Earth dungeon, and you fight orcs and Gollum and so on and so forth. I appreciate that kind of honesty in my games.

Angband Borg is a program that sends an AI-controlled player into the dungeon to see how far it can advance; since computers are infinitely patient, the Borg tends to be very conservative and advances very slowly. But advance it does! My Borg — in the form of the Angband Borg screensaver for OS X which runs on my email computer at work during office hours — has managed to reach level 37 and floor 37 since setting out, I dunno, sometime in October, I guess? It’s a slow, steady adventure, and sometimes I spend a day watching it kill infinitely respawning lice for negligible experience. He’s a Dunedan Paladin. You’d think a holy warrior of a noble race would have better things to do with his time than scum-camp lice, but roguelikes are unpredictable that way, I guess. But regardless of the outcome I do spend some time every day watching my little Borg buddy. I’m rootin’ for him.

You can read a great deal about Angband in Stiv’s phenomenal Let’s Play, which recently came to a close. I bet we’ll also be talking about it in next week’s roguelike-centric Active-Time Babble, too! This is a safe bet, seeing as how Stiv is slated to join us for the discussion.

10 thoughts on “We are (Angband) Borg

  1. Wow. Now I understand that you write a gaming blog in your spare time apart from writing about games for a living… but still, I think you’ve just gotten a +3 to your geek cred for this.

  2. Now, I know you’re a fan of the Roguelike, Parish, but this pretty much sums up why, aside from Etrian Odyssey, I despise the genre.

  3. I’d say that Etrian Odyssey may resemble a Roguelike in many ways, but I’d hesitate to outright call it one. The battle system separates it that much, at least. And I can’t recall any tools or whatnot you can use on the field.
    I’ve enjoyed roguelikes before, but only really as mindless dungeon plowing without the tedium of a similar RPG. I’m not a fan of all the ‘you die, you lose it all’ systems on which the better ones make their name. But then, I hated first person RPGs ’till I played EO, so maybe all that is required is for me to finally pick up that £5 copy of Shiren for me to finally be able to appreciate it.

    This screensaver sounds rad, though.

  4. You got me so excited to install this, but it doesn’t play nice with an Intel Snow Leopard machine. I’ve got a bunch of old G4s lying around, as long as I don’t have to explain to anyone what the extra server is doing all day…

  5. Yeah, I had to take it off my laptop once I upgraded to Snow Leopard. Works fine under OS X 10.5 — since IT hasn’t bothered to upgrade my work computer to 10.6, I have the Borg running at the office.

  6. So this is now the only reason I have to be thankful for my Power PC.

    Also: I sunk several hours into finally reading the LP last night, and managed to go kill some mold!

  7. Looking forward to that ATB, but don’t forget to mention Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup and Dwarf Fortress!

  8. Oh god dabe now you’ve reminded me of those and I feel ashamed that as a topography and architecture nerd (in addition to being a roguelike nerd) I have never touched Dwarf Fortress. DCSS I can take or leave though.

    Better add these to my notes!

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