ADOM is a roguelike RPG available for free on the PC. There is an enhanced version available for sale on Steam that includes a few bonus features. Originally released in and continually developed from 1994 through 2002, ADOM followed the tradition of classic roguelikes in being amateur-made, non-commercialized (i.e. downloadable for free, and running in a text terminal (using ASCII characters for graphics).
In recent years, development has resumed via crowdfunding. Whereas the game was originally made entirely by one person, Thomas Biskup, current development is handled by himself, one additional programmer, one artist, and one composer, with all four of them working part-time on ADOM. The game now features tile-based hand-drawn graphics, original music and sound, a mouse-driven interface, and an achievement system. The new paid Steam version adds a few additional modes of play and minor features, and is largely intended for fans who want to financially support further development of the game.
As in its early years, ADOM is once again a game in continuous development. New features and content and being added regularly to both the free and Steam versions.
Thomas Biskup began development of ADOM (then untitled) on July 12, 1994, while still a university student. He first posted the game online for public download in early 1996 with version 0.7.0. Development continued steadily and the game's popularity grew through word-of-mouth. In 1997, ADOM was at the zenith of its popularity, rising to #1 on the Worldcharts ranking of best free downloadable games, topping other hit games of the time like Doom. Development of ADOM slowed in the years following, as Thomas moved on in life and found less and less time to afford his passion project. After the release of version 1.1.1 in 2002, Thomas put further development of ADOM on indefinite hiatus.
In July of 2012, Thomas launched a crowd-funding campaign to resurrect development of ADOM, giving the game one last chance to grow and try to reach its full potential before development could be retired permanently. The campaign was successful, reaching 188% of its goal. Promised new features included:
- Lots of new content, including new playable races and classes, new story and quests, new unique monsters, new artifacts, new locations, new corruptions, and more.
- Improved presentation with tile support and a complete custom tileset, a new user manual, audio and music, and UI usability enhancements
- Achievements and global leaderboards
- Countless bug fixes and balance tweaks
- There will continue to be a free version and it will continue to be released for lots of platforms (Windows, Linux, MacOS, Amiga, NetBSD, FreeBSD, etc.)
- A paid Steam version with some bonus features separate from the free core game
From late 2012 through late 2015, pre-releases of the new version of ADOM were made available to backers of the crowd funding campaign. On November 16, 2015, the Steam version of ADOM was released with version number 2.0.1.
In ADOM, the player controls a single character whose configuration of race, class, etc. can be either randomly determined or chosen by the player. Every character has a set of base stats that determined natural prowess and can be increased through various means during the game. Base stats include:
- Strength (St) - affects melee damage and accuracy, carrying weight, etc.
- Learning (Le) - affects success chance of learning new spells, spell power, etc.
- Willpower (Wi) - affects number of power points, resistance to mind status effects, etc.
- Dexterity (Dx) - affects missile damage and accuracy, success rate with many skills like lockpicking and pickpocketing, etc.
- Toughness (To) - affects number of hitpoints, resistance to physical effects, etc.
- Charisma (Ch) - affects favorability of reaction from NPCs, affects suggestibility of companions, etc.
- Appearance (Ap) - affects favorability of reaction from some NPCs, affects rate of becoming corrupted, etc.
- Mana (Ma) - affects number of power points, is spent to activate some special class powers, etc.
- Perception (Pe) - affects sight radius, etc.
Characters also have a base speed, which normally starts at 100, and affects how quickly the character gets to take turns compared to other creatures (higher speed means acting more often). Characters also have an alignment rating, which comprises a linear spectrum with nine possibilities that are roughly derived from the alignments used in traditional Dungeons & Dragons. Alignment can be radically altered by starting race and class, as well as many types of actions taken while playing the game.
Combat--the most common type of action in ADOM aside from simple movement--is handled just like movement: move into a space occupied by another creature to initiate a melee attack against it. There are many small exceptions to this, but they generally following common sense, such as a giving the player a prompt for confirmation before executing an attack on a friendly creature.
Missile weapons and some spells can be fired at limited range.
Saving and Dying
In ADOM, the actions the player takes are always final and sometimes carry considerable consequences. The game may only be saved as part of exiting (by pressing shift+s). ADOM keeps only one savegame file per character, so there is no saving and reloading to undo actions or decisions. If a character dies, its savegame file is deleted. Dead characters are enshrined in a local hall of fame, which serves as a scoreboard and memorial. Each character is given a score calculated from his or her lifetime accomplishments. Factors such as experience level, quests completed, number of turns taken, and many others all contribute to this final score. Each character's cause of death is also recorded beside their entry in the hall of fame for the player to be reminded of how each of their characters met its end.
Upon starting a new game of ADOM, the player gets to decide on some of the specifics of the character he or she wishes to play, while other details are randomly determined. The player may choose a race, a class, a gender, a name, answers to a random set of personal/moral questions to determine initial stat distribution, and his or her starting talents. The player also has the choice to leave each of these things except name to chance. Factors that are always randomly determined include birth star sign, auspicious birth events, eye and hair color, age, and biography.