Retro Kotaku: The Roguelike I Made In Seven Days

Back in 2008, I wrote a game called Wizkill for this very site. I gave myself seven days to design, code and test it and, somehow, I managed to do it.

Seven days is really nothing, especially when game jams see teams cranking out excellent treats in 48 hours. But for me, it was a squeeze — I was working by myself and I was still doing my day job as Kotaku AU's inaugural editor (yep, we've been around since 2007).

Since Wizkill, I've:

  • Worked as a games designer at Tantalus for two-and-a-half years.
  • Done PR for Firemint and experienced what it's like to be in a company acquired by EA.
  • Started an indie studio that's gearing up for its first release (more on this in the coming weeks).

While I've been making games for 15 years in some capacity — be they unfinished hobby projects, experiments or prototypes — it's odd to think that Wizkill was the catalyst... in a way. It made me realise that actual games development wasn't out of my reach and the most important skill to learn is how to finish something.

It's like the critical piece of the development puzzle; if you can't transition from doing to done, you're going to struggle.

Today, I wanted to share the post — and the game — that served as a stepping stone for me into games development. In terms of building a game from scratch and letting people other than close friends see it, Wizkill was my first.

If you're interested in playing WizKill, it can be downloaded here.

Kotaku AU’s First Homemade Game A Week: Wizkill, A Roguelike [Kotaku AU]


    I had the opportunity to meet a couple of the Tantalus people back in 2000 when they came up to Brisbane. Seemed like an awesome bunch of people to work with/for. Wish I'd had the courage to pack up and move to melb to work instead of staying in Bris. Would like to have had the chance to work with a small tight knit team.

      Tantalus is still around -- one of the few that survived the GFC. I don't think it's based in the Tea House opposite the casino any more, but kick it still does.

      Tantalus had quite a few people when it was at its peak... I'm not sure how many are there now.

    Yeah I know they're still around.. that's kind of my point.. I chose to stay in Bris, and.. well you know how that's worked out for us ;) Auran, THQ, Krome, Pandemic, EA (gold coast).. all gone.. I went to college with the guys who started HalfBrick.. kinda wish I had've jumped on board with them instead of going to Krome :0

    It's never too late to jump.
    I just relocated to Vienna for a job at AiGameDev.

    Just figure out where you want to end up and work towards that.

      yer.. i know it's never too late.. but I've invested too much effort in to my own business to give it up now..
      I'll never stop modeling and animating though.. too much fun!

    Still waiting for Zafehouse 2!

    Oh man i remember Wizkill was my first (and last) roguelike. It was haaaard. :)

    Great nostaligia! Well done Logan, keep on coding eh!

    hmm. would be so thrilled if I could do even a basic Roguelike.. but I have no programming skills.
    where would someone who only finished year 10 computers go to start learning programming these days?

      Qantm College would interview you for a position as a programmer.
      Take a look in to basic programming yourself to prove you have some direction as to what you want to do and book an interview.

      There is a September intake this year still.

      I am doing Games Design there myself, so happy to answer any questions.

      A good start might be the source code for this one + a textbook in the language it's written in. I notice in the older article Logan gave an email address for those interested in obtaining the source. Is that email still valid and are you still offering Logan?

      Seriously, the best way to learn programming is to grab a textbook and try writing the simplest things. It helps to have someone to look over your shoulder and recommend resources, but it's not necessary.

        I've uploaded the source here:

    That sounds like a good start to me. I work full time and don't want to spend money to learn, I'd just like to try and teach myself at least for some time. I don't think I'd need a tutor for the very basics.

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