Triangle Wizard

Can you brave the dungeons of Everdoom?

What is Triangle Wizard?

Triangle Wizard is a hack 'n slash game developed by me, Wouter van den Wollenberg, in my spare time. It is freeware, which means anyone may download it, play it and even distribute it free of charge. When asked what the game is like I usually answer that it is a combination of NetHack and normal hack 'n slash games like Diablo.

I started with it back in spring 2008 basically because I was bored and I wanted to program something. I never made a hack 'n slash (nor a Roleplaying game for that matter) before so I decided to give it a whirl. I initially started with a complex text-based game based on D&D rules, but I quickly abandoned it because the programming wasn't very exciting. I did like the idea that users could easily mod the game by modifying some .ini files, but I didn't like the non-graphic nature of it.

During that time a friend of mine introduced me to a game called NetHack (see NetHack Official Homepage, hell check out Diablo too while you are at it). It was a turn-based hack 'n slash game which was unbelievably hard (at least to modern standards) and one little mistake (even one as small as pressing the wrong button at the wrong time) could end your game. Perhaps the most memorable part of the game were its graphics; all monsters and items were represented by mere letters and characters. A + would indicate a door for example. Of course there are versions of NetHack that do have bitmaps and no longer use letters, but somehow I really liked the letter graphics.

So I decided to make a hack 'n slash game using letters as monsters, but make it a real time game instead. I also removed some of the more complex mechanisms from NetHack such as fountains (including the wishes), pit traps and the need for sustenance. Getting rid of the bitmaps freed me of the task of creating my own which was boring (not to mention that I tended to suck at it) and could instead focus on the game itself. I did add some fancy looking spells though, since spell effects can be easily simulated with glow effects and don't require that many bitmaps.

The result is Triangle Wizard, named after the main character who is (the only person not to be represented by a letter) represented by a triangle. The wizard part it just because you only get to play a wizard; although there are many types of wizards you could opt to play. You may ask me why I didn't add Knights, Barbarians or even Tourists (Yes, you can play as a tourist in NetHack). My answer would be that I find playing fighters boring (I don't play the Barbarian in Diablo for example) and because fighting with letters just looks plain silly. No, we want to throw fireballs and such, not bump letters into letters. Of course without warriors there would be no need for equipment and such, which saves me the time I would have to spend to code an entire item system.

So anyways, you get to play a wizard and your goal is to rid a lengthy dungeon of all baddies and stay alive (read: 'refrain from being destroyed' should you opt to play as a vampire or lich) while doing it. There are many spells you can learn, shops to buy them and wreak havoc with. In addition the game features 106 mostly randomized dungeon levels inhabited by a wide variety of creatures both hostile and friendly. You will also have to deal with some boss monsters, magical traps, spiked walls and rivers of lava.

In order to obtain the 'retro' look the dungeon will be minimalistically displayed; mind you that this is also to avoid the ridiculous situation where a fully beautified dungeon is populated by a bunch of ASCII characters. And to keep the game nerdy enough (I would classify NetHack as a nerdy game because the only people I know who play it are nerds) the game is not only very difficult but contains numerous switches, strange hotkeys and nerdy creatures. You can even die, leave a corpse, and have a future adventurer find it (like in NetHack).

It also doesn't contain any sounds or music. This has been done on purpose to stay true to NetHack, and because I think most sounds are nothing more than a distraction. Furthermore since the monsters are represented by ASCII characters you are basically imagining a kobold when you see a green k anyway so why not imagine it growling and attacking too?

But the greatest thing about the game is its modability. All creatures, traps, unique monsters and even level parameters (remember the levels are randomly generated) are contained in .ini files which can be easily read and modified by using some text editor. Want to add a unique monster that bears your name? Feel free to put it in! Want to create a trap so fiendishly difficult even I did not include it? Again feel free to put it in (or even give it to your friends and laugh as they run away in fright from your demonic contraption!). The included manual explains what everything in the .ini files does so read that to get started if you want to mod the game.

Oh by the way, english is not my first language (which is dutch), so I expect there are some spelling mistakes here and there that I've missed (or more precisely, which Microsoft's marvellous grammar check has missed). In addition I, and probably every other non-native english speaker, tend to get confused because of British and American english so if you see some British words mixed up with some American ones please forgive me (or don't, I won't care).

That is about all I have to say about the game. If you want more information please use the menu which has been so conveniently provided at your left.


Wouter van den Wollenberg, 27 sept 2008