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Java is a reflective, object-oriented programming language initially developed by James Gosling and colleagues at Sun Microsystems in 1991, as part of the Green Project. It was initially called Oak, and was intended to replace C++, although its feature set resembles more that of Objective-C. Sun Microsystems is currently owned by the Oracle Corporation, which maintains and regularly updates the Java platform.

Java should not be confused with Javascript, a scripting language with which it shares only the name and a similar C-like syntax. The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) does contain a JavaScript interpreter, however, based on Mozilla Rhino.

Specifications of the Java language, the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and the Java API are community-maintained through the Sun-managed Java Community Process.

After first being made public in 1994, it achieved prominence following the announcement at 1995's SunWorld that Netscape would be including support for it in their next version of the Navigator browser.

Language Characteristics

  • Object orientation
  • Platform independence
  • Automatic garbage collection

See The Choice of Java, which contains a more detailed evaluation of the language.

Roguelike Development

Pros Java has excellent features for roguelike development:

  • Object Oriented
  • Platform Independent
  • Garbage Collected (i.e. no need to manage memory by hand)
  • Ability to run on a web page as an applet.
  • Generally easier to learn and use than other high-level languages like C and C++.
  • Serialization to files makes it easier to implement and maintain game save and load.
  • For developers of tiled roguelikes, the AWT and Swing libraries provide an excellent alternative to the 3rd party (or native platform) graphics libraries used in C and C++ since the developer can ensure that these libraries will be present in every Java implementation.

Cons However, it still has some disadvantages:

  • No native console support. Developers of ASCII roguelikes must decide whether to
  • Longer initial program startup time. Java has no issues with speed once running [1], especially for RL games.
  • Dependency on a Java Runtime Environment (JRE)
    • Ahead Of Time (AOT) compiling to a specific OS is possible, e.g. using the GNU Compiler for Java (GCJ). A Windows implementation is available with MinGW [2].

Java Roguelikes

The features of Java have led many roguelikes to adopt this language:

Status Name
7DRL Attack The Geth
αlpha Beggar
7DRL CastlevaniaRL
stable Caverns of Underkeep
Dimension Dungeon
Dweller (using Java Micro Edition, J2ME)
Earl Spork (using Libjcsi)
Excitable Digger (using Libjcsi)
Fortress of the Goblin King
Fruits of the Forest
Guardian Angel
Hokuto no Rogue
stable Javelin
Kamyran's Eye (for mobile phones)
Mt. Drash: the Roguelike
stable Pixel Dungeon (for Android)
Plutonium roguelike
stable QuickHack
Roguelike Runner
Sigmore Mines
Sigmore Mines 2
Tower of Druaga RL
Valley of Ge-Hinnom
Wayfarer (Written in Processing)
defunct a small freeware roguelike applet created by Will Thimbleby

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