Angband (video game)

Last updated

Developer(s) Angband Development Team
Initial release1990
Stable release
4.1.3 / 18 July 2018;11 months ago (2018-07-18)
Operating system Unix-like, Windows, Mac OS
Type Roguelike, Single player

Angband is a dungeon-crawling roguelike computer game derived from Umoria . It is based on the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien, in which Angband is the fortress of Morgoth. The current version of Angband is available for all major operating systems, including Unix, Windows, Mac OS X, and Android.

Dungeon crawl video game genre

A dungeon crawl is a type of scenario in fantasy role-playing games in which heroes navigate a labyrinthine environment, battling various monsters, and looting any treasure they may find. Because of its simplicity, a dungeon crawl can be easier for a gamemaster to run than more complex adventures, and the "hack and slash" style of play is appreciated by players who focus on action and combat. However dungeon crawls often lack meaningful plot or logical consistency.

Roguelike subgenre of role-playing video games

Roguelike is a subgenre of role-playing video game characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels, turn-based gameplay, tile-based graphics, and permanent death of the player character. Most roguelikes are based on a high fantasy narrative, reflecting their influence from tabletop role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons.

J. R. R. Tolkien British philologist and author, creator of classic fantasy works

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, who is best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.



The goal of Angband is to survive 100 floor levels of the fortress Angband in order to defeat Morgoth. [1] The game is reputed to be extremely difficult. [2] [3]

In J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy world of Middle-earth, Angband is the name of the fortress of Melkor, constructed before the First Age, located in the Iron Mountains in the enemy's land Dor Daedeloth north of Beleriand.

Morgoth Bauglir is a character from Tolkien's legendarium. He is the main antagonist of The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, and The Fall of Gondolin, and is mentioned briefly in The Lord of the Rings.

The player begins in a town where he can buy equipment before beginning the descent. Once in the maze-like fortress, the player encounters traps, monsters, equipment, and hidden doors. [4] With the help of found objects and enchantments, the player's attack and defence power increases, and can even neutralise specific attacks. The player also meets characters and finds artifacts from Tolkien's legendarium. [1]

Tolkien's legendarium is the body of J. R. R. Tolkien's mythopoeic writing that forms the background to his The Lord of the Rings, a high-fantasy novel which is widely considered to be his magnum opus. Tolkien worked and re-worked the components of his legendarium throughout his adult life, a period of more than 50 years; the earliest drafts, published in The Book of Lost Tales (1983), date to 1916, with poems, paintings and nomenclature related to it going back to 1914.

Angband gameplay emphasises combat and careful resource management. The player has finite health points, and death is final. Although Angband records the player's progress to a save file, it does not allow one to resume a saved game in which the player character has already died. [4] If the player overcomes Morgoth on the 100th floor, the game continues, and the player may continue descending to further floors. The levels are procedurally generated, allowing for a unique game in every play.

Health (gaming) gaming-related attribute

Health or vitality is an attribute assigned to entities such as characters or objects within role-playing games and video games, that indicates their continued ability to function. Health is usually measured in hit points or health points, shortened to HP which lowers by set amounts when the entity is attacked or injured. When the HP of a player character or non-player character reaches zero, that character is incapacitated and barred from taking further action. In some games, such as those with cooperative multiplayer and party based role playing games, it may be possible for an ally to revive a character who has reached 0 hit points and let them return to action. In single player games, running out of health usually equates to "dying" and losing a life or receiving a Game Over.

Saved game piece of digitally stored information about the progress of a player in an electronic game

A saved game is a piece of digitally stored information about the progress of a player in a video game.

Player character fictional character in a role-playing or video game that can be played or controlled by a real-world person

A player character is a fictional character in a role-playing game or video game whose actions are directly controlled by a player of the game rather than the rules of the game. The characters that are not controlled by a player are called non-player characters (NPCs). The actions of non-player characters are typically handled by the game itself in video games, or according to rules followed by a gamemaster refereeing tabletop role-playing games. The player character functions as a fictional, alternate body for the player controlling the character.


The first version of Angband was created by Alex Cutler and Andy Astrand at the University of Warwick in 1990. [5] They wanted to expand the game Umoria by adding items, monsters, and features. After Cutler and Astrand, the source code was maintained at the University of Warwick by Geoff Hill and Sean Marsh. They released "2.4.frog_knows", which was enhanced by others and widely ported to non-Unix platforms.

University of Warwick public research university in Coventry, West Midlands, England

The University of Warwick is a public research university on the outskirts of Coventry between the West Midlands and Warwickshire, England. It was founded in 1965 as part of a government initiative to expand higher education. Within the University, Warwick Business School was established in 1967, Warwick Law School was established in 1968, Warwick Manufacturing Group was established in 1980 and Warwick Medical School was opened in 2000. Warwick incorporated Coventry College of Education in 1979 and Horticulture Research International in 2004.

In computing, source code is any collection of code, possibly with comments, written using a human-readable programming language, usually as plain text. The source code of a program is specially designed to facilitate the work of computer programmers, who specify the actions to be performed by a computer mostly by writing source code. The source code is often transformed by an assembler or compiler into binary machine code understood by the computer. The machine code might then be stored for execution at a later time. Alternatively, source code may be interpreted and thus immediately executed.

Following their departure, the later principals of Angband have included Charles Swiger, Ben Harrison, and Robert Rühlmann. Harrison was the maintainer responsible for the "Great Code Cleanup", modularizing, extending, and greatly improving the readability of the Angband source code. This in turn led to the large number of variants currently available, as well as the rather large number of ports. Like other maintainers, he eventually moved on to other interests, passing the title to Robert Rühlmann in 2000.

Rühlmann's contributions included releasing version 3.0, which included many monster and object changes contributed by Jonathan Ellis. He also introduced Lua, a lightweight scripting language, with the intention of simplifying development of both the main game and its variants. The Angband community, however, did not generally embrace the addition of scripting, with many expressing confusion over its usage, and it was therefore later removed.

The original Moria/Angband software license allowed distribution of the game, but only does so if "not for profit", which precludes packaging with many Linux distributions or inclusion within a magazine cover disc. The license also does not explicitly allow code modification, something which is in practice ignored by the Angband community. In light of these perceived issues, an initiative to re-license Angband was therefore started by maintainer Rühlmann in 2000. [6] [7] This "Angband Open Source Initiative" was designed to make Angband proper Open source under the GPL license. The process was completed on 9 January 2009. [8]

Rühlmann stepped down in October 2005, [9] leading to a brief period of uncertainty. [10] However, Julian Lighton was soon announced as the new maintainer in March 2006, but did not release a new version of the game. [11] Due to the absence of Julian, Andi Sidwell assumed maintainership, with the support of the community, in December 2007. [12] Under their watch, other developers have come on board and the game has seen significant gameplay and internal code changes. Maintainership passed over to the current maintainer Nick McConnell, starting from version 4.0.0 (2015) [13] .


Some loci of Angband discussion are the Usenet newsgroup, the Angband Forum website, and the IRC channels #angband (on WorldIRC) and #angband-dev (on Freenode). Some players continue to play Angband for several years. [14]

Derivative works

Among Angband's many derivatives [15] are MAngband (1997), a multiplayer variant; Zangband ("Zelazny"+"Angband") (1994), which incorporates elements of Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber novels; [16] and Tales of Middle Earth (1998), a Tolkien-themed game developed from the ZAngband code base. [1] Tales of Middle Earth's source code and story were later rewritten, and the game became Tales of Maj'Eyal (2012).

See also

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  5. history in version.txt
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  7. Opensource
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  12. Sidwell, Andrew (23 March 2007). "Re: Angband Maintainer". Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  14. Savage, Laurence (21 April 2013). "Well Into Its Second Decade Angband Still Delights". Retrieved 3 November 2013.
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  16. "". Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009.