MAngband, or Multiplayer Angband, is a realtime multiplayer variant of the dungeon-crawling roguelike Angband. While roguelikes are conventionally single player and turn-based, MAngband uses a realtime structure to allow multiple users to play simultaneously on a server . A is saved on the server, instead of locally, in a manner similar to MMORPGs.
MAngband was initially made by Keldon Jones in 1997, who created the variant using version 2.7.9 of Angband. Maintainership was first passed on to Alex Dingle in 1999, and then to the current maintainer, Robert Seifer, in 2002. Significant modifications were implemented to adapt the game to realtime operation, to allow multiple simultaneous players via the Internet, and to provide features needed for a multiplayer setting. Noteworthy additions include a custom client to allow users to connect to a server, a player ghost and resurrection system, modifications to manage game speed at different dungeon depths, and basic support for Player versus Player combat.
How MAngband deals with the passage of game time is fundamentally different from its parent Angband. In conventional roguelikes, character speed, as an example, is more of a numerical abstraction. A player may perform any number of actions, each using a certain amount of a turn, as frequently as preferred. Game time is paused in-between each turn the player takes. In MAngband, however, the speed at which a character performs actions passes in realtime: the game world operates on a fixed clock that advances independently of the player. This setup allows multiple players to be present simultaneously in the game world, keeping any one player from "holding up" the clock due to inactivity.
Eschewing a turn-based structure for a realtime one creates notable differences in the style of gameplay found in MAngband, compared to Angband. Pausing the game world through inactivity is not possible in MAngband, leading to an action-based environment where players must rely on reflexes and quick decision making. Some features present in Angband become less useful in MAngband, while others become central. For example, the macro system, which allows a user to create complex combinations of commands, is a convenience in Angband. The realtime nature of MAngband, however, renders use of this feature a necessity.
The multiplayer aspect of MAngband results in a user environment similar to what is found in contemporary MMORPGs. Players buy, sell, and trade equipment with each other, as well as engage in player versus player combat. Cooperative play is possible via a rudimentary party system.
Spells, monsters, and equipment in MAngband are based on Angband version 2.7.9. Equipment types native to MAngband allow players to deal with the relative scarcity of artifacts normally found in Angband.
As a nod to the multiplayer, and frequently cooperative, nature of MAngband, when a player's character dies, that character is not deleted immediately as in Angband. Instead, the player's collected equipment is dropped on the dungeon floor, and the character becomes a ghost. This ghost version of the player can be killed, at which time the character is deleted. As a ghost, the player can perform an additional set of actions, such as casting spells from a ghost-only list of spells, floating through walls, or floating up and down to new dungeon levels. A player ghost can be resurrected by other players, or by visiting the town-level temple shop, to resume play. When this is done, the character loses half of its experience.
Development and Variants
After a long period of initial activity, development and maintenance of MAngband slowed. Although a small community of active players persists, and although a maintainer is present, development of MAngband has grown infrequent.
MAngband users have made their own variants and tools over time. Dan Liberatore created informational tools for player use, as well as the DServ variant which adds functionality and content to the game. Graham King created the single-death Ironman MAngband variant, bringing an updated list of monsters and items from later versions of Angband. This variant also added features and functionality to create a gameplay environment similar to that experienced in Angband. Japanese users created a custom Japanese-language client, allowing servers and users to exclusively use that language. TomeNET, a multiplayer version of the popular roguelike ToME, was originally based on MAngband version 0.7.0.