Submissions open from 2024-03-01 05:00:00 to 2024-03-11 05:00:00
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From March 2nd to March 10th, 2024, developers are challenged to create a complete roguelike game in 7 days, for the 20th Annual 7DRL Challenge!

Check out a quick recap of last years' highlights and the "theme reveal" for 2024 below!

History and Rationale

In 2005, the roguelike community established a yearly event, the 7DRL Challenge, in which developers are challenged to create a roguelike in seven days. This allows one to have the shared misery of knowing you are not the only one rushing to patch game-breaking bugs at the 167th hour. The annual event occurs during a week in early March. 

7DRL Challenges are NOT about being a fast coder, but rather proving you can release a finished, playable roguelike to the world. There is no winner of the challenge, but rather all those who finish are honored for their work, the main criterion is completeness.

The goal is building a finished and reasonably polished game: not the prototype of a game. Watch your scope! Likewise, the goal is a new game, not just another week of work on an existing game.

There are many interpretations of what a roguelike is which may serve as a guide. As organizers our baseline definition of roguelikes is procedurally generated RPGs in the mold of Rogue, with turn-based interactions in a grid-based environment, where levels are procedurally generated each play-through and death is permanent. However, 7DRLs may bend or even break these interpretations in the name of Innovation. 

Read before joining!

This is a long-running event (20 years now), not your standard itch.io jam. Entries will be checked to make sure they comply with the rules and follow the spirit of the challenge. 

Do NOT submit your game (roguelike or not) if you developed it outside the time frame and are just trying to get some exposure. These entries will be immediately deleted at the discretion of the organizers.

Do NOT submit your game if you have no interest in roguelikes and don't intend to learn about them, as evidenced by entries that lack any effort to contain elements of the roguelike genre. The community will spot your entry, and if the organizers determine you had bad faith your entry will be removed.

However, don't be afraid of innovating, we welcome additions to the roguelike formula, games that build on top of what a roguelike is, and mix it with ideas from other genres, are more than welcome. If you feel your idea is at the boundaries of what a roguelike is, ask the organizers in the community forums.

As a way to maintain the spirit of the challenge, we are asking all entries to contain elements of procedural content generation that impact gameplay in a substantial way. Advanced algorithms are not required, as long as you are providing a new experience with every run, but just placing enemies randomly in a fixed map may not cut it. If in doubt, ask the organizers in the community forums. 

Event rules

  • Your game must contain elements of procedural content generation that impact gameplay in a substantial way.
  • You CAN use external libraries, game engines, pre-existing code/algorithms, pre-existing art, etc. You can even start your game from an existing game if you are planning to turn it into something unique. If in doubt, be clear about what resources were reused.
  • You can work solo or as part of a team.
  • It is allowed and recommended to have a rough design idea of your project before starting.
  • When submitting, make sure to add screenshots to your entry page.

Timing

The 7DRL Challenge has special rules regarding timing, so the normal itch.io jam time counter is not accurate. 

  • You have a maximum of 7 days to work on your game, and they have to be consecutive.
  • The date you pick to start working must be between March 2 and March 10 in your local time.
  • If you start on or after March 4, you must still submit before March 10's end of the day, so you will have less than 7 days to work on your entry.

How to participate

  • Join the jam here at itch.io to show your intention to participate!
  • Pick a start time on Saturday or Sunday in your local time. Start coding at this time! Note the countdown is likely before your possible start date: this is because we support all timezones.
  • 168 (or less) hours after starting, submit your entry on the portal. 
  • You can mark your entry as Successful or Incomplete, based on your own judgment of how complete your game is. There is no prize for success or punishment for failure, so use your own judgment if your game is Done and Polished.
  • The challenge time window is always Saturday to Sunday; if you start after the first Sunday, you will have less than 168 hours as in-challenge 7DRLs must be completed by the closing time.

Feedback

A committee of volunteers will review the Completed entries; note that their list is not meant to be an authoritative ranking of the games but instead, a tool to help players find which 7DRLs are likely to have things of interest, and to provide developers with feedback on their work.

Resources

  • libtcod (C++), rot.js (JS), jsrl (JS/TS) and T-Engine (Lua) are all dedicated roguelike libraries/engines which can be very useful for completing a game within the week.

Other info

Previous Challenges

Up to 2024, there had been nineteen annual 7DRL challenges.