Castle of the Winds/Introduction

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Castle of the Winds (CotW) is a Roguelike computer role-playing game (CRPG) designed to run under Windows 3.x. It will also run on Linux using the WINE Windows emulator 1.

History[edit | edit source]

CoTW was written in 1989 by SaadaSoft (a one-man, one-product company run by Rick Saada) and published by Epic MegaGames. It was one of Epic’s first two games for Windows (previous games had run on DOS), the other being a point-and-click adventure called Dare to Dream. The game was released in two parts: A Question of Vengeance, released as shareware; and Lifthransir's Bane, sold commercially. A license to continue using A Question of Vengeance and a copy of Lifthransir's Bane were sold together.

In 1998, Saada released the distributed files into the public domain. However, he has not released the source code, and has expressed no intent to do so 2.

Among Roguelikes, the game is notable for several innovations. Its interface is heavily mouse-based. Many commands are awkward to enter with the keyboard (requiring the use of the Alt key on the menu bar). Traditional Roguelikes (such as NetHack) were controlled completely by keyboard, sometimes with optional mouse input.

Castle of the Winds also allows the player to save the game at any point, and to restore saved games after dying — features never seen in a traditional Roguelike game (where “death is final,” although this could be circumvented with backups). Since graphics, mouse input, and resurrection from saved games would be features developed in later CRPGs, CoTW can be seen as the transitional step between old and new.

Still, due to its age, the game has few players today. It has only four known fan sites.

Basic concepts[edit | edit source]

Space[edit | edit source]

CoTW is a (square) tile-based game, meaning that movements may only occur in increments of one tile. Diagonal and orthogonal adjacency are treated the same way in terms of distance. To pick up an object, the player must be directly on top of it.

There is no way the player can walk through the rock walls of the dungeons, despite that some monsters can. Tiles (in diagonal corridors, etc.) that contain half a wall are treated as walls.

Time[edit | edit source]

CoTW is turn-based. Players and monsters cannot attack each other at the same time. However, their speeds can vary, which means the monster may be able to make several steps or strike at the player several times before the player can respond, or vice-versa.

Monster speed depends on the specific monster, and can also be affected by Slow Monster and Haste Monster spells. See Character Attributes for details on player speed.

Winning players are ranked in Valhalla’s Champions (the high score list) in order of shortest to longest time to complete the game.