Complete Roguelike Tutorial, using python+libtcod

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Revision as of 22:02, 30 October 2014 by Jice (talk | contribs) (fix libtcod links)
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Short introduction


Welcome to this tutorial! As you probably guessed, the goal is to have a one-stop-shop for all the info you need on how to build a good Roguelike from scratch. We hope you find it useful! But first, some quick Q&A.

Why Python?

Most people familiar with this language will tell you it's fun! Python aims to be simple but powerful, and very accessible to beginners. This tutorial would probably be much harder without it. We recommend that you install Python 2.7 and go through at least the first parts of the Python Tutorial. (Note for Windows 7 64-bits users: install the 32-bits version, since the 64-bits version of Python seems to cause problems with libtcod.) This tutorial will be much easier if you've experimented with the language first. Remember that the Python Library Reference is your friend -- the standard library has everything you might need and when programming you should be ready to search it for help on any unknown function you might encounter.

Python 2 is the most used version, and it's very stable. Currently libtcod is not compatible with Python 3. There's also a section on other languages.

Why libtcod?

If you haven't seen it in action yet, check out the features and some projects where it was used successfully. It's extremely easy to use and has tons of useful functions specific to RLs.

The tutorial uses libtcod 1.5.1. If you would prefer to use version 1.5.0, follow the link at the top of each lesson and code page for the older version.

Start the tutorial

Follow the first link to get started!

  • Part 1: Graphics
    Start your game right away by setting up the screen, printing the stereotypical @ character and moving it around with the arrow keys.

  • Part 2: The object and the map
    This introduces two new concepts: the generic object system that will be the basis for the whole game, and a general map object that you'll use to hold your dungeon.

  • Part 5: Preparing for combat
    Place some orcs and trolls around the dungeon (they won't stay there for long!). Also, deal with blocking objects and game states, which are important before coding the next part.

  • Part 7: The GUI
    A juicy Graphical User Interface with status bars and a colored message log for maximum eye-candy. Also, the infamous "look" command, with a twist: you can use the mouse.

  • Part 8: Items and Inventory
    The player gets to collect ("borrow") items from the dungeon and use them, with a neat inventory screen. More items added in the next part.

  • Part 9: Spells and ranged combat
    The player's strategic choices increase exponentially as we add a few magic scrolls to the mix. Covers damage and mind spells, as well as ranged combat.

  • Part 13: Adventure gear
    Swords, shields and other equipment can now help the player by granting hefty bonuses. The bonus system can also be used for all kinds of magics and buffs!


Some stuff that is entirely optional and didn't make it in; check this out if you finished the tutorial and are looking for some modifications and improvements to your game -- some are easy, others are more advanced.

  • Real-time combat
    A speed system to change the tutorial's turn-based combat to real-time!
  • Scrolling maps
    Placeholder page for the scrolling map code. Tutorial text will be written soon.

Other languages

A partial, work-in-progress C++ port of this tutorial can be found here.


Code and tutorial written by João F. Henriques (a.k.a. Jotaf). Thanks go out to George Oliver for helping with the layout, sections rearrangement, and syntax highlighting; Teddy Leach for his text reviews; and all the folks in the libtcod forums for their valuable feedback!

Feel free to stop by the libtcod/Python forum or the forum on this tutorial if you're stuck, to show your own project, or just to say hi! It's always cool to get some feedback on the tutorial, and hear about other roguelikes in development.