Roguelike Tutorial, using python3+tdl

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The tutorial uses tdl version 3.1.0 and Python 3.5
It is a work in progress, and currently only features Parts 1 to 10

This article is the first part of a series closely based on by Jotaf's excellent Complete roguelike tutorial using python + libtcod ("closely based on" meaning "copy-pasted"). This version is for people who would like to follow the same steps, but use Python 3 along with the tdl module, rather than libtcod.

Lots of the code comes from a script on the tdl maintainers' github page which showed the completed code for the tutorial up to Part 6.

It is hoped that the tutorial will be useful for beginners and people who want to learn to create a simple roguelike video game. It covers both Linux and Windows operating systems.


Why Python?

Most people familiar with this language will tell you it's fun! Python aims to be simple but powerful, and very accessible to beginners. This tutorial would probably be much harder without it. We recommend that you install Python 3.5 and go through at least the first parts of the Python Tutorial. This tutorial will be much easier if you've experimented with the language first. Remember that the Python Library Reference is your friend -- the standard library has everything you might need and when programming you should be ready to search it for help on any unknown function you might encounter.

This tutorial is for Python 3 only, and it is recommended you use the latest version of Python 3.5 or 3.6.

If you choose to use earlier versions of Python 3, you may encounter problems you need to overcome.
If you choose to use Python 2, see the link below for the libtcod tutorial.

What is tdl?

TDL is a port of the C library libtcod which attempts to make it more “Pythonic.” Unlike libtcod, which closely follows the C code, it uses an object-oriented approach that is more familiar to Python users. It may also have better compatibility with Python 3, and it can easily be installed using Pip.

For more information, see the official documentation and the github project page.

Other languages

  • Python 2 with libtcod:

Complete Roguelike Tutorial, using python+libtcod

  • C++ with libtcod:

Complete roguelike tutorial using C++ and libtcod

Start the tutorial

Follow the first link to get started!

Note: I highly recommend that you keep the tdl manual open at all times for reference while working on this tutorial.

  • Part 1: Graphics
    Start your game right away by setting up the screen, printing the stereotypical @ character and moving it around with the arrow keys.

  • Part 2: The object and the map
    This introduces two new concepts: the generic object system that will be the basis for the whole game, and a general map object that you'll use to hold your dungeon.

  • Part 5: Preparing for combat
    Place some orcs and trolls around the dungeon (they won't stay there for long!). Also, deal with blocking objects and game states, which are important before coding the next part.

  • Part 7: The GUI
    A juicy Graphical User Interface with status bars and a colored message log for maximum eye-candy. Also, the infamous "look" command, with a twist: you can use the mouse.

  • Part 8: Items and Inventory
    The player gets to collect ("borrow") items from the dungeon and use them, with a neat inventory screen. More items added in the next part.

  • Part 9: Spells and ranged combat
    The player's strategic choices increase exponentially as we add a few magic scrolls to the mix. Covers damage and mind spells, as well as ranged combat.

  • Part 13: Adventure gear
    Swords, shields and other equipment can now help the player by granting hefty bonuses. The bonus system can also be used for all kinds of magics and buffs!


Some stuff that is entirely optional and didn't make it in; check this out if you finished the tutorial and are looking for some modifications and improvements to your game -- some are easy, others are more advanced.

  • Real-time combat
    A speed system to change the tutorial's turn-based combat to real-time!
  • Scrolling maps
    Placeholder page for the scrolling map code. Tutorial text will be written soon.


This tutorial is a python 3/tdl "translation," by Weilian, of Jotaf's excellent Complete roguelike tutorial using python + libtcod. As this version of the tutorial is incomplete, please see the original for more information. As mentioned above, lots of the code comes from a script on the tdl maintainers' github page.

The most active place to discuss this tutorial is the roguelikedev subreddit. Post if you're stuck, to show your own project, or just to say hi. It's always cool to get some feedback on the tutorial, and hear about other roguelikes in development.

The best way to reach me as on reddit as u/weilian82.