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-   -   Ascii Dreams poll (http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=5161)

Antoine December 13, 2011 19:21

Ascii Dreams poll
 
Hi all

You might like to vote for your favorite variant (or other roguelike game) at ASCII Dreams.

Don't miss this poll which comes round only once a year! TOME 4 is currently in the lead but Crawl Stone Soup is not far behind.

A.

LostTemplar December 13, 2011 20:30

Nobody likes FAangband :(

Antoine December 13, 2011 20:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by LostTemplar (Post 64747)
Nobody likes FAangband :(

Lots of people like FAangband, they just haven't voted yet! So get on down the polling booth...

A.

Malak Darkhunter December 13, 2011 22:27

FA has my vote.

andrewdoull December 13, 2011 23:21

FayAngband missed the cut because it wasn't announced in the places I use to compile this list.

Feel free to vote for it in the comments though.

Nick December 13, 2011 23:34

Quote:

Originally Posted by LostTemplar (Post 64747)
Nobody likes FAangband :(

It's not the quantity, it's the quality :)

There is ancient Angband wisdom that any players of a variant aside from the maintainer are sheer bonus. FA has 5 forks on github; that's enough of a vote for me.

buzzkill December 14, 2011 01:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 64760)
It's not the quantity, it's the quality :)

Says the man who maintains how many variants?

Timo Pietilš December 14, 2011 07:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Antoine (Post 64746)
Hi all

You might like to vote for your favorite variant (or other roguelike game) at ASCII Dreams.

Don't miss this poll which comes round only once a year! TOME 4 is currently in the lead but Crawl Stone Soup is not far behind.

A.

Lack of votes for vanilla angband is worrisome. After my vote there is only 26 votes. In the past Angband has been in top few, now it is lagging far behind.

buzzkill December 14, 2011 23:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 64758)
FayAngband missed the cut because it wasn't announced in the places I use to compile this list.

Feel free to vote for it in the comments though.

No RePosBand either :(. At least I got to vote for 2 of the 4 that I wanted to.

getter77 December 15, 2011 03:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš (Post 64767)
Lack of votes for vanilla angband is worrisome. After my vote there is only 26 votes. In the past Angband has been in top few, now it is lagging far behind.

I reckon these things will sway wildly in the years going forward as the Roguelike scene enlivens solidly past the "perceived" stagnation/slow growth.

It is probably worthwhile food for thought for people to consider what factors lead to the eventual top contenders garnering their spots/number of supporters/awareness and see what could be incorporated even just piecemeal.

For Angband, the variants have been the most "visibly"(:gives the yearning eye for all to get done up properly in the dated listings over on Roguebasin: ) lively here in 2011 in terms of public releases and whatnot. Further, many of the relative newcomers popped into the stream of awareness with various flashy/fresh bits, use of A/V assets with video trailers and such, and a full head of steam, ie Dredmor/ToME 4, as opposed to being the latest meticulously placed pieces on top of something long-standing like Vanilla.

Vanilla is clearly livening up around here though, and I'd suspect is on track to make some significant inroads for 2012, if not earlier, as far as this polling and general awareness goes. LambdaRogue will have a very spiffy new release by year's end, Portralis is due to rise from the dead re-Alpha limbo proper come Jan 1, Infra Arcana slyly knocked out a nice version increase with a tileset that should help it garner extra votes, etc.

The winners have much to enjoy when the dust settles, but everybody can stand to sharpen their respective knives after all is said and done---the spotlight may be off of Angband at the moment but that just means few shall suspect the many Phials of Galadriel being duct taped together until it is upon them. :cool:

Timo Pietilš December 15, 2011 06:57

Quote:

Originally Posted by getter77 (Post 64811)
I reckon these things will sway wildly in the years going forward as the Roguelike scene enlivens solidly past the "perceived" stagnation/slow growth.

Vanilla is clearly livening up around here though, and I'd suspect is on track to make some significant inroads for 2012, if not earlier, as far as this polling and general awareness goes.

That's what worries me. Angband has been developed enormous speed in last year or two and still that low number of votes. It should have more votes from people from here alone.

Maybe that "fast development" has actually driven people off the game, not the other way around. Also my perception about game development currently is that nothing is getting done for actual game, only to coders new playground the v4. At least I haven't heard that anything in it is even considered for actual game. That leads to perceived stagnation as you so accurately put it.

So: those that know what is happening don't vote because they do not like the current vanilla, and those that don't know what is happening perceive it as stagnate game.

I hope that is a wrong impression.

Magnate December 15, 2011 10:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš (Post 64814)
Also my perception about game development currently is that nothing is getting done for actual game, only to coders new playground the v4. At least I haven't heard that anything in it is even considered for actual game. That leads to perceived stagnation as you so accurately put it.

People can't have it both ways. v4 was created because there were lots of complaints that V was changing too fast. So V will be changing much more slowly in future - if that's perceived as "stagnation", that's too bad. It's actually what people asked for.

Those who have been paying attention will see that bugfixes are consistently ported from v4 back to V because nobody objects to bugs being fixed. Beyond that, neither V nor v4 has seen much activity in the last couple of months because devs are all busy with RL. Anyone who wants to make uncontroversial changes to V, or make changes to v4 which they want to demonstrate are so popular that they can get ported back to V, is very very welcome to do so. We still, as always, welcome pull requests from additional devs - anyone is welcome to join the devteam at any time.

Antoine December 15, 2011 10:23

I wouldn't read too much into the V vote. It would be higher if there was actually a get-out-the-vote campaign. Younger funkier games tend to do better in the Ascii Dreams poll anyway.

The level of activity here (especially chardumps) may be a better indicator.

A.

ghengiz December 15, 2011 10:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by Antoine (Post 64817)
I wouldn't read too much into the V vote. It would be higher if there was actually a get-out-the-vote campaign.

I found a bit unclear what do you mean by get-out-the-vote campaign :confused:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Antoine (Post 64817)
The level of activity here (especially chardumps) may be a better indicator.

A.

Agreed

getter77 December 15, 2011 12:44

On vote getting: For example, Dungeons of Dredmor and ToME 4 leverage social media/twitter followers/etc to let people know that the vote even exists and hopes their energized fanbase will head to the site and get counted.

Angband, thus far, lacks that "media" angle that can make some waves to get picked up by Rock, Paper, Shotgun or anywhere else that PC gaming folk a tad outside the mainsteam are apt to pay attention to and gain new bookmarks/twitters/etc to follow based on whatever interesting story.

Part of this is a long-standing perception issue of Angband = Grind same as Nethack = Complex, whereas the lack of updates to the latter, Nethack base at least, counts towards the mystique of it all yet that there HAS been updates to the former never seem to break past the "Grind" perceived aspect as it dwarfs the lot of it.

buzzkill December 15, 2011 13:11

IMO this can be attributed to a lot of the new RL's having graphics/better graphics/animation. I know Angband has never been about graphics, but for a younger generation that never knew any less than 16-bit color, colorful things that move about the screen count for something, have you played ToME4? That and what getter77 said. I wouldn't pin this on recent development, not by a long shot.

Let's just see where the winners are in 20 or 30 years. Angband has nothing to prove.

getter77 December 15, 2011 15:51

A timely article arrives that also kind of lends to what buzzkill and myself have mentioned....and indirectly has a tiny, tiny chance of spawning an interesting sounding new Angband variant fork in the comments section somehow.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011...in-roguelikes/

nppangband December 16, 2011 16:40

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzkill (Post 64823)
IMO this can be attributed to a lot of the new RL's having graphics/better graphics/animation. I know Angband has never been about graphics, but for a younger generation that never knew any less than 16-bit color, colorful things that move about the screen count for something.

Speaking of which, was Shockbolt's tileset incorporated into Angband? I saw when he finished it, but I wasn't sure what happened from there.

buzzkill December 16, 2011 17:02

Quote:

Originally Posted by nppangband (Post 64918)
Speaking of which, was Shockbolt's tileset incorporated into Angband? I saw when he finished it, but I wasn't sure what happened from there.

Last I knew he was assembling them into a tileset and was then never heard from again, but I'm not in the loop... assuming there is a loop.

This made me think of the scene from Monty Python "The horrendous Black Beast lunged forward! Escape for Arthur and his knights seemed hopeless... when suddenly, the animator suffered a fatal heart attack!"

I really hope that everything in the world of Shockbolt is A-OK.

bio_hazard December 16, 2011 18:36

You guys made me feel guilty, so I went back and changed my vote. I originally selected just Brogue. Went back to include all the games I had spent some time playing this year (Angband, Quickband, Brogue, and ToME 4).

I've downloaded FA but haven't played yet :( Also have been intrigued by Fay but wasn't sure about the OSX compatibility, so haven't tried that either.

andrewdoull December 16, 2011 22:36

I'm surprised Antoine didn't mention it but I've been airing my views about Angband's "ghetto-ization" on Roguelike Radio the last few episodes.

The tl;dr is that IMO Angband was great during the nineties, but there's been a complete lack of cross pollination between Angband (and variants) and other roguelikes, which have moved on considerably from where more=better.

The recent devteams supposed focus on 'improving the UI' actually hasn't - see Tome 4 and Brogue for examples of good to great roguelike UI.

The current focus on balancing and creating more interesting item affixes is just mimicing the path Diablo took, which is another game from the 90s.

There was a window of opportunity in the early 2000s to merge back a whole lot of great ideas from Angband variants (4GAI, monster mana, actually interesting monsters, the TK user interface) into Angband, in order to improve the game, but I think that window has since passed. Playing Quickband recently just reminded me how colourless and hard to get into a game Angband really is in many ways.

I'm not sure what to do to fix Angband these days. Whatever magic it had is being done much better elsewhere.

andrewdoull December 16, 2011 22:40

Sorry to be so negative btw. Here's what I recommend the devteam should do to fix the problems:

1. Play Brogue.
2. Get below level 20 (ideally win, but you may not have time for that).
3. Have a think about what Angband should be.

buzzkill December 16, 2011 23:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 64927)
1. Play Brogue.

After reading a bit and watching a you tube video, I think that I will do that. The 'graphics' look half way decent considering it's all ASCII.

Mikko Lehtinen December 17, 2011 00:20

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 64926)
I'm surprised Antoine didn't mention it but I've been airing my views about Angband's "ghetto-ization" on Roguelike Radio the last few episodes.

I've been enjoying Rogulike Radio tremendously. After each episode, I've been incorporating new ideas from the show into the next version of FayAngband.

New take on deity systems? Check.

Replace "food clock" with something more interesting? Check.

Items that interact with terrain features in interesting ways? Check.

Cute little "magic systems" that don't depend on your class but on the items and terrain features you happen to find? Check.

Adding new tricks to resource management? Check. (You can get more power out of melee weapons in tight spots by risking breaking them.)

Remove boring things that are only in the game because of the roguelike legacy? Check.

Paying special attention to the world, theme, story, and mood of my game? Check. (I actually have to change the name of the game -- and drop the *band -- to reflect the new theme better.)

It's funny how much time I've saved by listening to the show. I don't need to spend years playing all those great games because you guys have collected all the best ideas for me. Thanks!

getter77 December 17, 2011 04:20

Incorporating general good ideas from all directions coupled with one's own hook offerings for the grand buffet table is definitely the way to go---not too late for Angband so much as it come down to closing some long-standing gaps and discerning said aces in the hole to employ. LambdaRogue recently, apparently, had something of an epiphany along these lines based on a cursory browse of ToME 4's website/state of popular affairs for whatever reason and has kicked several things into high gear that stand to substantially enrich the project's identity going forward---much of this happening in rather short order in the grand scheme of things too once the targets were set.

Granted, I don't really mean to drone on and on with respect to LambdaRogue, Portralis, and if things hold in 2012, Peleron's Brilliant Rebirth, but it would seem to me that these projects, like ToME 4, that went so far beyond "Angband variant/*BAND'ish in general so as to break forward----that those are of special merit to partake as glimpses into a next generation Angband or at least bits of further evolution as they are rather likely onto various things.

buzzkill December 17, 2011 05:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzkill (Post 64928)
After reading a bit and watching a you tube video, I think that I will do that. The 'graphics' look half way decent considering it's all ASCII.

I achieved DL 21 on my third game, after dying quickly the first two, and having done so I must say that it's an interesting little game. Short and sweet. Deceptively simple and compact. The dungeon itself is every bit as dangerous as the enemies which are surprisingly sparse, as is everything except perhaps the terrains. But every limited resource comes together in a way that works. The coolest thing about Brogue might be what was done with the color shading and pseudo-ASCII.

Antoine December 17, 2011 06:34

It's not obvious to me that the goal is to convert Angband into a great game of the 2010s. I'd rather see it remain a (mildly updated) great game of the 1990s, and let its successors (including variants, Brogue and who knows what else) claim the 2010s.

A.

LostTemplar December 17, 2011 08:41

Quote:

1. Play Brogue.
2. Get below level 20 (ideally win, but you may not have time for that).
3. Have a think about what Angband should be.
And maybe not. Why try to do something, already done ?

Mikko Lehtinen December 17, 2011 09:13

Quote:

Originally Posted by LostTemplar (Post 64935)
And maybe not. Why try to do something, already done ?

I think that's not what Andrew suggested. Rather, every game designer should know his trade, and learn what makes other games enjoyable, especially the best games in the same genre. Then, with fresh eyes, the designer can take a good hard look at his own game and put the basic assumptions of the game to test.

That might (for example) mean recognizing the core things that make Angband gameplay great compared to these other games, cutting all the crap that doen't enhance that core, and adding things that do.

Magnate December 17, 2011 10:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 64926)
The current focus on balancing and creating more interesting item affixes is just mimicing the path Diablo took, which is another game from the 90s.

Diablo is far from the only game series with better and more interesting item generation than Angband - Titan Quest, Torchlight, Sacred, WoW ... all the modern graphical roguelike CRPGs (by which I mean those that are not story-driven like Dragon Age/NWN etc.) have item generation with near-infinite variety, rather than Angband's few dozen ego types. So does Crawl, to pick a more traditional roguelike. I'm not ashamed of aspiring to give Angband a system with similar variety in a way which is appropriate to its other internal systems (dungeon and monster generation, pvals and object flags).

People may not like affixes, and may prefer the system of a limited number of ego types. That's why affixes are in v4 and not V. The fact that this is my focus does not prevent anyone else from improving Angband's UI, or indeed anything else they want. So far one person has stepped up to join the devteam to work on something he thinks is important, and others contribute pull requests on various issues. I haven't noticed anyone since Pete Mack doing that for the UI (with the honourable exception of Blubaron's work on mouse support). So that's why it isn't being done.

People have really got to get out of the habit of telling the devteam what to do, or there won't be a devteam. There is already no maintainer, and it doesn't take a genius to work out why nobody was rushing to be one. There's also not much activity from other devs, for which RL may not be the only explanation. If you want to play Brogue and then make fabulous improvements to Angband, nobody is stopping you (that's a general you, not anyone in particular).

And before I get written off as a complete curmudgeon, I'll just say that I'm very happy with both suggestions and criticism. The difference between making a suggestion/criticism and telling the devteam what to do is very simple, and nothing to do with the content of the issue:

1a. Hey wouldn't it be great if Angband had <some cool things from another roguelike>.

1b. Angband sucks. I don't like x, y, or z. I think <another roguelike> is better because it has <some cool things>.

2. Angband sucks. The devteam ought to play <another roguelike> and <do some cool things>.

Mikko Lehtinen December 17, 2011 11:25

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 64926)
There was a window of opportunity in the early 2000s to merge back a whole lot of great ideas from Angband variants (4GAI, monster mana, actually interesting monsters, the TK user interface) into Angband, in order to improve the game, but I think that window has since passed.

I would love to see Andrew and the Angband dev team to work together to make the Vanilla monsters more interesting.

As a start, pick the 50 most interesting monsters from Un and work out how they could be ported to Vanilla. Preferably replacing boring monsters rather than adding new ones.

Malak Darkhunter December 17, 2011 14:48

Might I remind everyone that the dev team work on this game for free and for their enthusiasm to make people want to play angband? To make demands about how you feel the game should be is ony going to lead to nobody wanting anything to do with it. I think Magnate has to worry more about defending himself rather than being able to spend time on development.

Mikko Lehtinen December 17, 2011 16:02

Andrew mentioned that the "window of opportunity" to draw interesting things out of variants into Vanilla has passed.

Is it really? Looks like the dev team is perfectly willing to take contributions from variant maintainers with both skill and vision. Maybe in this era of the the dev team and V4 the window is more open than ever.

It just might be a time to step up, negotiate some kind of deal with the dev team, and get your hands dirty!

Magnate December 17, 2011 17:47

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 64947)
Andrew mentioned that the "window of opportunity" to draw interesting things out of variants into Vanilla has passed.

Is it really? Looks like the dev team is perfectly willing to take contributions from variant maintainers with both skill and vision. Maybe in this era of the the dev team and V4 the window is more open than ever.

It just might be a time to step up, negotiate some kind of deal with the dev team, and get your hands dirty!

Yes. I'm not sure what he meant by that statement either. Admittedly we've had certain things on the to-do list for an awfully long time (e.g. 4 years for monster mana), but we're slowly getting round to stuff.

Mikko Lehtinen December 17, 2011 19:29

Re: harsh Angband critique

In certain contexts, like in the forums here, criticizing Angband too harshly and demanding dev team to do this or that might be inapproriate, and it really often depends on your tone of voice.

But IMO criticizing Angband or any other game in the Roguelike Radio (or in your blog about roguelike history, or whatever) is a totally different case. If you wear the hat of the game critic and historian, you are expected to speak your mind. Being honest and even blunt if necessary is what makes the program worth listening.

That's an important job.

Magnate December 17, 2011 20:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 64955)
Re: harsh Angband critique

In certain contexts, like in the forums here, criticizing Angband too harshly and demanding dev team to do this or that might be inapproriate, and it really often depends on your tone of voice.

But IMO criticizing Angband or any other game in the Roguelike Radio (or in your blog about roguelike history, or whatever) is a totally different case. If you wear the hat of the game critic and historian, you are expected to speak your mind. Being honest and even blunt if necessary is what makes the program worth listening.

That's an important job.

Yes, that's a fair distinction.

Timo Pietilš December 17, 2011 23:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malak Darkhunter (Post 64946)
Might I remind everyone that the dev team work on this game for free and for their enthusiasm to make people want to play angband? To make demands about how you feel the game should be is ony going to lead to nobody wanting anything to do with it. I think Magnate has to worry more about defending himself rather than being able to spend time on development.

I don't blame them about what they do, just how they do it. It should raise some alarm among devs to see that non-devs just plain don't have any clue what's going on.

I also suspect that there is no general plan what to implement in vanilla, or even any method to validate what could be implemented in vanilla from v4. That was the job of maintainer. Now there is no such thing AFAIK.

I asked about roadmap or plan or something soon after Takkaria retired from maintainership. No real answer to that question was given. I guess the reason to that is that there is no plan how to proceed. That should have also raised some alarm, but no.

Devs. Discuss among yourselves about this. Make a plan. Publish it and stick to it unless later there appear to be obvious error. Development without plan doesn't work.

nppangband December 18, 2011 00:41

I took Andrew's advice, downloaded Brogue and played for about 5 minutes. Even in that short of time I came to the following conclusions:

1) Brogue's UI puts Angband's UI to shame. Information is constantly popping up in the screen explaining what is happening. The player doesn't even have to ask for it. Just move your mouse and the game tells you everything you need to know.

2) The biggest limitation to Angband's UI is that it is married to having a single line at the top and bottom of the screen, and about 18 spaces on the left side to give the player information. The rest of the screen is reserved for the dungeon. It seems other roguelikes make much more effective use of the screen space.

I am going to give TOME, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, and Jade a quick try. I encourage others (especially the other maintainers) to do the same, and post your impressions of the game.

andrewdoull December 18, 2011 00:41

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses to what was essentially a throwing bricks in glass houses post.

A lot of what I said was bearing on the point raised earlier in the thread which was asking why have so few people voted on the Ascii Dreams poll for Angband. So what I've said should be taken in the wider context of 'why are people playing roguelike x instead of Angband?' I had hoped I could get away with hiding it in a really off topic forum :)

Now it is worth pointing out that there are more votes for Angband this year than last year, so the total number of people playing Angband is probably growing. However, in percentage terms, it is about half last years result.

My window of opportunity statement was very much in that context - if Angband had adopted some of the interesting ideas from variants at the time those ideas were relatively new, then IMO there may be more people who play other roguelikes more interested in this game.

Now the question really is:

Do we care whether the Angband and other roguelike communities should be as separate as they currently are?

And a separate, but perhaps unanswerable question is:

What makes Angband a great game?

(Not what made Angband a great game; that is much easier to answer).

BTW I think Magnate is on the money in many ways. The item affix work is very much 'scratching an itch' approach which is entirely the right way to do open source development, and the devteam shouldn't feel guilty about not having a vision for where Angband is going, because that is very much the task of the maintainer, and Angband doesn't currently have a maintainer.

Quote:

As a start, pick the 50 most interesting monsters from Un and work out how they could be ported to Vanilla. Preferably replacing boring monsters rather than adding new ones.

I did something better.
Also see variants which don't add that many monsters.

But as Antoine and others have pointed out, the question really is 'Should every monster in Angband have the ability to be interesting?'. That is in itself a question that needs answering. I know where I stand, but that is not necessarily the right answer.

Mikko Lehtinen December 18, 2011 05:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 64969)

I did something better.
Also see variants which don't add that many monsters.

Great! I'll give that a play and see what can be adapted to Fay.

It would be very interesting to hear a Rogulike Radio episode about Unangband monster design and maybe about roguelike monster design in general, although a designer's point of view would be of more interest to me. Featuring a Top 10 list of your favorite Un monsters.

Mikko Lehtinen December 18, 2011 05:38

I think the Angband critique in all episodes of Roguelike Radio can be mostly summed by three points: monsters, UI, and that having infinite dungeons is not good game design.

That third one is tough. Of course it can be solved easily enough in variants like Fay and Ironband, but I believe Vanilla will always have infinite dungeons. And many, many people really prefer choosing their own difficulty level.

One of the things that can be done is to design a scoring system that rewards risk-taking and actually reflects your playing ability. Sangband tried that. Would the Sangband scoring system be robust enough to be ported into Vanilla?

Antoine December 18, 2011 06:22

Quote:

Originally Posted by nppangband (Post 64968)
I am going to give TOME, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, and Jade a quick try. I encourage others (especially the other maintainers) to do the same, and post your impressions of the game.

Well Crawl is blimmin' hard. I tried it a few years back and quickly realised I wasn't going to get far without some form of cheat mode.

A.

Magnate December 18, 2011 06:52

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 64979)
I think the Angband critique in all episodes of Roguelike Radio can be mostly summed by three points: monsters, UI, and that having infinite dungeons is not good game design.

That third one is tough. Of course it can be solved easily enough in variants like Fay and Ironband, but I believe Vanilla will always have infinite dungeons. And many, many people really prefer choosing their own difficulty level.

One of the things that can be done is to design a scoring system that rewards risk-taking and actually reflects your playing ability. Sangband tried that. Would the Sangband scoring system be robust enough to be ported into Vanilla?

Yes, I think it would. OT1H the character's power is much more clearly defined in S, but monster power is better defined in V, so it should end up with roughly the same accuracy. Note that many people consider it very broken, but it's still better than the current V scoring algorithm!

@Andrew: I'd forgotten about your rebalanced monsters - I played with them when you first released them, before I joined the devteam, and found them excellent. It's exactly the kind of thing that should be put into v4 for wider testing. Fizzix is currently monster-tweaker-in-chief, so hopefully he'll have a look.

Interesting point about the vision being the responsibility of the maintainer. I'm not aware of any maintainers prior to takkaria having (much less publishing) a vision for Angband. But since development was so conservative, maybe they didn't need to, and left visions to variants.

Mikko Lehtinen December 18, 2011 07:27

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magnate (Post 64981)
Yes, I think it would. OT1H the character's power is much more clearly defined in S, but monster power is better defined in V, so it should end up with roughly the same accuracy. Note that many people consider it very broken, but it's still better than the current V scoring algorithm!

Another plus for V is that experience level can't be gamed like Power in S. You can't decide to stay at lower level after killing monsters.

Magnate December 18, 2011 09:04

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 64984)
Another plus for V is that experience level can't be gamed like Power in S. You can't decide to stay at lower level after killing monsters.

I'm pretty sure Leon fixed that before he departed - unspent xp is included in the power calculation for score purposes. (Camlost will, I'm sure, correct me if I'm wrong.)

Nick December 18, 2011 12:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 64926)
I'm surprised Antoine didn't mention it but I've been airing my views about Angband's "ghetto-ization" on Roguelike Radio the last few episodes.

So this post finally gave me the impetus to listen to some of RR, and I found the Quickband episode interesting.

Quote:

The tl;dr is that IMO Angband was great during the nineties, but there's been a complete lack of cross pollination between Angband (and variants) and other roguelikes, which have moved on considerably from where more=better.
The point was made during RR that one of the defining features of Angband versus other roguelikes is its epic scale. IMHO this gives it a sense of gravitas that the others fail to have (that's on top of the fact that the aim in some of the more popular other roguelikes is to fetch a necklace named 'Rodney' spelt backwards).

Quote:

The recent devteams supposed focus on 'improving the UI' actually hasn't - see Tome 4 and Brogue for examples of good to great roguelike UI.
In the interests of balance, I downloaded these two to compare UI. Now I am aware that this is a matter of taste, but I felt that Brogue was a bit busy - I like the clean, uncluttered feel of Angband. No offence to DarkGod, but Tome 4 made me want to put my eyes out.

Quote:

The current focus on balancing and creating more interesting item affixes is just mimicing the path Diablo took, which is another game from the 90s.
I don't believe this was a conscious attempt to mimic Diablo. Given that, I think it is better to see how the new affix system works in Angband (well, v4 for now) and judge based on that rather than on perceived parallels.

Quote:

There was a window of opportunity in the early 2000s to merge back a whole lot of great ideas from Angband variants (4GAI, monster mana, actually interesting monsters, the TK user interface) into Angband, in order to improve the game, but I think that window has since passed. Playing Quickband recently just reminded me how colourless and hard to get into a game Angband really is in many ways.
If something was worth doing in the early 2000s, it could surely be done now. The difficulty with UI work in particular is getting people interested in doing it, and keeping it up to date.

As for the last comment, I suspect it is actually a reflection on how long it is since you've played Angband...

Quote:

I'm not sure what to do to fix Angband these days. Whatever magic it had is being done much better elsewhere.
In case you haven't realised yet, I disagree. The magic of Angband and variants is in the seriousness and the scale and the glorious enormity of it all. It's not a game that you pick up and play for a bit before moving on to the next shiny object; it's a game for devotees. It doesn't suit everyone - it's not even close to suiting everyone - but the people it does suit tend to fall deeply and lastingly in love with it.

I only started playing Angband about 8 years ago, but I realised very quickly that I had been looking for it for a long time without realising. And I don't think I am the only one, and I think it needs to be maintained in its current spirit for those who, after wandering lost in the wilds of the internet, come upon Angband and find that they are home.

Mikko Lehtinen December 18, 2011 13:18

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 64989)
The magic of Angband and variants is in the seriousness and the scale and the glorious enormity of it all.

Now we're getting somewhere! Great post.

If I had to pick two games that do this epic seriousness best, I would choose Moria and Oangband.

getter77 December 18, 2011 13:25

I see nothing wrong with the concept of an infinite dungeon so long as it is paired with not being the same infinite dungeon. A better goal/mindset has to be attainable than "well, it is deadly as per normal design come lvl 50 (or whatever the last boss habitates), just have the monster spawning increase on down until they kill the player"

For something nigh-infinite to work, it has to lean more towards improvisation than..er.... an ideal sort of Descension Kit in this case---as the very nature of populating a list skews towards you pretty much rounding it out rather early on beyond complexity for the sake of complexity like having you hunt for 100 Immunities or some such padding. Special levels, rules, thinking about time and space and settings---you'd pretty much want to have the player getting a feel for the general style the gravitate for on a given character while generally keeping them guessing.

The score attack notion could also work pretty well as far as means to ferret out things in the context, so long as it goes balls out 80's/ 90's Arcade-level of pomp about it---probably be a bit much to chase after the bullet hell's Billion/Trillion+ range though. :)

Malak Darkhunter December 18, 2011 15:27

The thing that attracted me the most about moria and angband is the infinite dungeons, and also NWN game has copied that from angband and moria and produced their own game called Infinite Dungeons, There was also a very good game desighner called primogenitor who made games for NWN fans and he was working on a game called NWN Angband, the concept: randomly generated dungeons. So in reality this has been a big "seller" of angband for a long time.

Mikko Lehtinen December 18, 2011 15:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 64989)
The magic of Angband and variants is in the seriousness and the scale and the glorious enormity of it all.

Angband is an epic and serious game about a lone hero fighting the army of darkness.

Maybe from this statement we can derive something about how the game mechanics of our Dream Angband should look like.

I'm imagining quite crunchy and simulationist combat mechanics, like in Rolemaster, MERP, AD&D, and RuneQuest. There should definitely be interesting tactics and puzzle-like elements in combat, but most importantly it should always feel "real", and puzzles should never break the simulation, the illusion of being there.

Oangband combat feels just right to me. It's possible that the combat system that is being developed for V4 is an even better fit. It's funny how the dev team members talk so much about "realism" of the combat system. Realism is not at all fashionable in either roguelikes or in tabletob RPGs at the moment. These guys are old-school grognards.

What I want from my own variant is something completely different: I want to make a fast-playing tactical toy with only a touch of epic in it, something much like Brogue I guess. But for Vanilla Angband, I think semi-crunchy simulationism is the way to go.

Mikko Lehtinen December 18, 2011 15:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malak Darkhunter (Post 65000)
The thing that attracted me the most about moria and angband is the infinite dungeons, and also NWN game has copied that from angband and moria and produced their own game called Infinite Dungeons, There was also a very good game desighner called primogenitor who made games for NWN fans and he was working on a game called NWN Angband, the concept: randomly generated dungeons. So in reality this has been a big "seller" of angband for a long time.

Every roguelike player loves randomly-generated dungeons.

But many people criticize Angband for the fact that you can spend an eternity collecting experience and items on easy dungeon levels, and the game puts no pressure on you. That's what I meant with infinite dungeons.

Malak Darkhunter December 18, 2011 16:20

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 65004)
Every roguelike player loves randomly-generated dungeons.

But many people criticize Angband for the fact that you can spend an eternity collecting experience and items on easy dungeon levels, and the game puts no pressure on you. That's what I meant with infinite dungeons.

That kind of seems like a matter of choice for the player, you can always keep going down after you clear a level, if you want to or select the birth option-no stairs back the way you came, or their is an option to play in ironman mode, the game could be difficult if you select the right options, if you want to play that way. for me I like having the option to hang out on easy levels before proceding forward, It is sometimes kind of necessary as the RNG dosen't always give you what you need, and it is a very good choice not to go farther until you have basic resists, Free Action, covered.

Nomad December 18, 2011 16:27

The big selling points of Angband for me are that there are no fixed dungeon branches to be cleared game after game, and the fact that randomised egos and the option of randarts allow (near) infinite possible combinations of equipment, instead of the "find universally agreed best item for this slot, enchant to fixed maximum of plusses" approach that leads to assembling a very fixed endgame kit.

I've won Nethack and played a bit of Crawl, and both eventually suffer from the fact that certain steps are very repetitive - in Crawl, if you're not a good player (like me) you're clearing the same early branches again and again, in Nethack you're looking for the exact same kit and completing the same required steps every game... It diminishes the replay value a lot when you're playing many games one after the other, particularly at the two extremes of the curve where you're either dying early every time or winning nearly every time and you end up doing the same stuff over and over.

It's a joke, and an out of date one at that, but to me, "Buy lantern, kill Morgoth" is kind of the essence of Angband's appeal. There's no rigid sequence of 'must collect these specific items and do this stuff in this order' steps along the way. You just get down to 99 and then 100 with whatever's the best kit you've managed to pick up on your way down, and the only part that you have to repeat is killing the last two uniques.

Mikko Lehtinen December 18, 2011 16:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malak Darkhunter (Post 65006)
That kind of seems like a matter of choice for the player, you can always keep going down after you clear a level, if you want to or select the birth option-no stairs back the way you came, or their is an option to play in ironman mode, the game could be difficult if you select the right options, if you want to play that way. for me I like having the option to hang out on easy levels before proceding forward, It is sometimes kind of necessary as the RNG dosen't always give you what you need, and it is a very good choice not to go farther until you have basic resists, Free Action, covered.

Well I've made my own semi-ironman variant FayAngband that addresses this problem for me. :)

When I'm playing Vanilla, there's always a tiny voice in my head that says: "This is not a game that I can play with my full ability." It bothers me that if I played this game optimally, it would get boring. I want the game to kick me in the head.

But I've accepted the fact that many Angbanders actually prefer setting their own difficulty level, and this is actually one of the reasons why they are playing Angband and not some other roguelike. So I'm not complaining really, it's just that tastes differ.

A better scoring system (as discussed earlier in this thread) would help a bit.

Malak Darkhunter December 18, 2011 16:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 65008)
Well I've made my own semi-ironman variant FayAngband that addresses this problem for me. :)

A better scoring system (as discussed earlier in this thread) would help a bit.

I agree with that completly something that rewards the daring player, and it should reflect that on the ladder as well.

buzzkill December 18, 2011 17:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 64989)
Now I am aware that this is a matter of taste, but I felt that Brogue was a bit busy - I like the clean, uncluttered feel of Angband.

I don't know how you call Brogue "busy", unless it just the vibrant shimmering colors.

It's certainly more compact than Angband, it's a tighter dungeon but not much more or less interesting. It has a few more terrain types, a few more than Angband's two. But, way less monsters, less levels, less commands, less to do to get started, less to remember, no speed, no stats, no 100's of armours and weapons and items, no ego, no artifacts, no uniques, and less is more in this case.

Maybe it's just that 99% Angband's complexity is buried in the details, and 90% of Brogue's is right there on the screen for you to see.

Derakon December 18, 2011 17:27

Just to back up a bit about Mikko's post about realism and the ideal Angband: at least when I talk about realism, I'm trying to guide intuitive gameplay, not include lots of simulationist details. It makes intuitive sense that STR affects how hard you hit things while DEX affects how accurate you are. That kind of thing. To the extent that Angband is unintuitive, we'd better have a good gameplay reason for it. Stuff like abstracting out hitpoints instead of dealing damage to individual limbs and organs Dwarf Fortress-style is a good gameplay reason.

What I'd like to see Angband do more of in the future is encourage the player to take risks. There's little incentive right now to stick it out if things start getting even a little hairy, since you can always find the stuff you need elsewhere and you're not risking anything permanently by leaving. Preserve mode is an example, though perhaps a heavy-handed one.

My personal roguelike design document which I have lurking in the back of my head has the risk and the reward of the dungeon scale up based on how long you spend in the dungeon, not how deep you are; you're an intruder, so as the residents propagate the alarm more dangerous monsters with better gear start showing up to try to eject you. Once you flee back to the surface (or wherever) the alarm dies down again. In the interests of helping players choose their own difficulty level, whistles could be sold to increase your alert level.

However, I don't know that such an approach would necessarily work well with Angband, where a big part of the feel is delving deep into the earth, having most of a mile of solid rock above you by the time you get down to the bottom. Alarms work best with "infiltrating a facility" type of designs, not so much "exploring a massive semi-natural cave system" designs.

LostTemplar December 18, 2011 17:33

Quote:

The magic of Angband and variants is in the seriousness and the scale and the glorious enormity of it all. It's not a game that you pick up and play for a bit before moving on to the next shiny object; it's a game for devotees. It doesn't suit everyone - it's not even close to suiting everyone - but the people it does suit tend to fall deeply and lastingly in love with it.
I agree with this, Angband (at least old vanilla and many variants) is not a good game for many, but great game for a few. It have some fetures, never found in other modern games.

Mikko Lehtinen December 18, 2011 18:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derakon (Post 65013)
Just to back up a bit about Mikko's post about realism and the ideal Angband: at least when I talk about realism, I'm trying to guide intuitive gameplay, not include lots of simulationist details. It makes intuitive sense that STR affects how hard you hit things while DEX affects how accurate you are. That kind of thing. To the extent that Angband is unintuitive, we'd better have a good gameplay reason for it. Stuff like abstracting out hitpoints instead of dealing damage to individual limbs and organs Dwarf Fortress-style is a good gameplay reason.

I want simulationism that is at the same time streamlined, easy to understand, and intuitive. And it has to play very fast. Fortunately, what you're creating seems exactly what the doctor ordered.

A system like O-combat is perfect: elegant, functional, but not the simplest possible, with some nice simulationist crunch in it.

I love the elegancy of Ey-combat but it is too bare-bones and abstracted for Angband. It feels a like a system from a tactical console RPG. The fact that weapons get higher and higher damage dice and more and more exotic sounding names as you go deeper in the dungeons is PURE FUN but it isn't realistic.

And the old Vanilla combat system is simply bad. It's crunchy in all the wrong places, and doesn't feel anything like real combat.

I'd love to see some more magical realism added, too. The elemental system is in the core of Angband, and therefore we should spend some worldbuilding effort on it. Are we calling our spells effects from the Elemental Planes? What is this Nexus thing exactly? Maybe we could browse Rolemaster books for inspiration. It could just be some notes in the help files, or maybe the scientific explanation for the elements could have some real effects in the game.

Oh yes, and a game with clerics and paladins simply has to have gods, somehow, at least in the help files if nowhere else. Their flavour sucks. (I have a nice simple deity mechanic with semi-randomly created gods in the next Fay. It *might* work with the deities of Middle-Earth, too.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derakon (Post 65013)
What I'd like to see Angband do more of in the future is encourage the player to take risks. There's little incentive right now to stick it out if things start getting even a little hairy, since you can always find the stuff you need elsewhere and you're not risking anything permanently by leaving. Preserve mode is an example, though perhaps a heavy-handed one.

This is the biggest issue for me, as you've probably noticed.

The Fay stair system is working very well, but unfortunately it needs smaller levels, so maybe it isn't suitable for Vanilla.

LostTemplar December 18, 2011 18:38

Quote:

you're not risking anything permanently by leaving.
This is also true for most other roguelikes which have permanent levels. You can allways return later. What I dont like the most in e.g. Dungeon Crawl, is how limited items are, and how they are independent on depth, so e.g. the only copy of some cool book or the only ring of "type you need" may be located at dlvl 1. This basically means, that obviosly the best way to play is to clean out levels.

PowerDiver December 18, 2011 19:29

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 64989)
In case you haven't realised yet, I disagree. The magic of Angband and variants is in the seriousness and the scale and the glorious enormity of it all. It's not a game that you pick up and play for a bit before moving on to the next shiny object; it's a game for devotees. It doesn't suit everyone - it's not even close to suiting everyone - but the people it does suit tend to fall deeply and lastingly in love with it.

What used to make angband great, to me, was replayability. Even after you won, the game kept getting better. 3.0 was a great game. I still play it. I can't play 3.3. It no longer has depth of gameplay. Every char gets too powerful too fast. Balance matters over everything else when the goal is replayability, but the recent development attitude is just to add the next shiny idea irrespective of balance.

PowerDiver December 18, 2011 19:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 65008)
A better scoring system (as discussed earlier in this thread) would help a bit.

There is a fine scoring system, if you choose to embrace it. Minimize game turns.

Mikko Lehtinen December 18, 2011 19:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by PowerDiver (Post 65026)
There is a fine scoring system, if you choose to embrace it. Minimize game turns.

That's an excellent point. Unfortunately I've never managed to actually win any *band, even my own. Minimizing game turns to the moment you die is kind of pointless. :)

But hey, I've won Larn! Multiple times, with increasing difficulty levels! And I always paid my taxes, too!

Nick December 18, 2011 20:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by PowerDiver (Post 65025)
What used to make angband great, to me, was replayability. Even after you won, the game kept getting better. 3.0 was a great game. I still play it. I can't play 3.3. It no longer has depth of gameplay. Every char gets too powerful too fast. Balance matters over everything else when the goal is replayability, but the recent development attitude is just to add the next shiny idea irrespective of balance.

Eddie, if you haven't already, I think you should read this - I think any such process would really benefit from your input. I also think that you could make some interesting suggestions for v4. Contrarian voices are always valuable ;)

Mikko Lehtinen December 18, 2011 20:47

Tell me if I'm wrong, but looking at people's posts, many think Angband is great because it is (or used to be) competitive, a genuine challenge. And what's more, it get's better after you have won it at least once.

Surely a game for devotees!

Could there be a way to bring some of this same enjoyment to us players who are not good enough or patient enough to win?

For example, let's introduce a lower level boss on DL 30. You would have to prepare for the combat, collect consumables and missing resistances, etc. Exactly like with Morgoth, but on a smaller scale. The game would count game turns until you slay this first boss and reward you for a low turn count (with points at least). And then you could brag about your low turn count on the forums.

D&D 4e introduced "Tiers of Play": Heroic, Paragon, and Epic. What if Angband had similar "Tiers", with a boss fight at the end of every Tier?

First time players wouldn't even need to be told about the final mission (slay Morgoth) at fist. They would be given a mission to slay some evil king that serves an evil god, or some such. That would give them something to strive for. Morgoth is so far away at level 100 that for most players, he might as well not even exist.

What's more, every Tier of Play should be balanced just as well as the Morgoth quest is now. The Heroic Tier would be a good game in itself.

(Edit: If I'll ever introduce this system in my own variant, I might have different racial bonuses for each Tier. An Elf Hero, Elf Paragon, and Elf Demigod could have entirely different stats and special abilities.)

andrewdoull December 18, 2011 22:06

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 64979)
I think the Angband critique in all episodes of Roguelike Radio can be mostly summed by three points: monsters, UI, and that having infinite dungeons is not good game design.

That third one is tough. Of course it can be solved easily enough in variants like Fay and Ironband, but I believe Vanilla will always have infinite dungeons. And many, many people really prefer choosing their own difficulty level.

One of the things that can be done is to design a scoring system that rewards risk-taking and actually reflects your playing ability. Sangband tried that. Would the Sangband scoring system be robust enough to be ported into Vanilla?

I don't believe infinite dungeons is an issue. As Ido points out, you can balance the game around either battles, between which you can effectively completely recover, or the complete dungeon, which requires a finite dungeon. Provided Angband is balanced around making sure each battle is challenging, I believe infinite dungeons is fine.

Of course, by that I mean Hengband infinite dungeons, not any other type...

andrewdoull December 18, 2011 22:13

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 65017)
I love the elegancy of Ey-combat but it is too bare-bones and abstracted for Angband. It feels a like a system from a tactical console RPG. The fact that weapons get higher and higher damage dice and more and more exotic sounding names as you go deeper in the dungeons is PURE FUN but it isn't realistic.

I tweaked the Unangband weapons to go a little more in this direction without being over the top, and it seemed to work. See http://roguelikedeveloper.blogspot.c...apons-for.html for details.

fizzix December 19, 2011 00:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 64969)


I did something better.
Also see variants which don't add that many monsters.

Might be much to ask so many years down the road. But do you happen to have either a diff between your tweaked monsters and the list from 3.0.7, or even the 3.0.7 monster list itself would be useful. (I can't seem to download it from rephial).

myshkin December 19, 2011 02:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by fizzix (Post 65034)
Might be much to ask so many years down the road. But do you happen to have either a diff between your tweaked monsters and the list from 3.0.7, or even the 3.0.7 monster list itself would be useful. (I can't seem to download it from rephial).

If I were more on the ball, I would point you to a github tag. Until that work is complete, though, you can see http://rephial.org/downloads/3.0/ang....0.7s3.tar.bz2

Mikko Lehtinen December 19, 2011 05:29

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 65029)
D&D 4e introduced "Tiers of Play": Heroic, Paragon, and Epic. What if Angband had similar "Tiers", with a boss fight at the end of every Tier?

When Angband doubled the dungeons levels from 50 to 100, it might have lost some very important structure, too. Now there's an effort to rebalance the monsters for 100 levels; perhaps it should be accompanied by adding end bosses, too.

Levels 33, 66, 99, and 100 seem intuitive to me.

Oangband is the closest to my ideal Angband: serious, tough, epic. Perhaps I should try this idea there, and tie learning specialties to killing end bosses... Who should the end bosses be?

myshkin December 19, 2011 05:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 65038)
When Angband doubled the dungeons levels from 50 to 100, it might have lost some very important structure, too. Now there's an effort to rebalance the monsters for 100 levels; perhaps it should be accompanied by adding end bosses, too.

Levels 33, 66, 99, and 100 seem intuitive to me.

Oangband is the closest to my ideal Angband: serious, tough, epic. Perhaps I should try this idea there, and tie learning specialties to killing end bosses... Who should the end bosses be?

If we sort the V list of uniques by level and divide in thirds, the likely candidates are
  • 33: Mim; Lokkak; perhaps Bert, Bill, and Tom together; Lorgan; Kavlax if we want to be mean
  • 66: The Balrog of Moria; Shelob; Saruman; The Mouth of Sauron; Thuringwethil; Glaurung

Saruman seems like the clear winner to me for the second third. None of the first third candidates is particularly thematic. Uvatha lurks a little deeper, and I could certainly see the first ringwraith as a decent first boss.

Derakon December 19, 2011 06:22

My main concern with minibosses is that they force the player to stop and power up enough to deal with them. My preferred style of play involves diving much deeper than I "should" be and then very carefully choosing my fights, which doesn't mesh well with being forced to stop and kill a specific powerful-for-his-depth enemy.

We had discussions of good ways to implement minibosses in other threads, though. Specifically this one, with my personal opinion.

Mikko Lehtinen December 19, 2011 09:17

I like both myshkin's and Derakon's ideas.

Magnate December 19, 2011 09:45

Quote:

Originally Posted by myshkin (Post 65036)
If I were more on the ball, I would point you to a github tag. Until that work is complete, though, you can see http://rephial.org/downloads/3.0/ang....0.7s3.tar.bz2

And I kept the diff for precisely this purpose, if you want it.

Mikko Lehtinen December 19, 2011 10:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 65030)
I don't believe infinite dungeons is an issue. As Ido points out, you can balance the game around either battles, between which you can effectively completely recover, or the complete dungeon, which requires a finite dungeon. Provided Angband is balanced around making sure each battle is challenging, I believe infinite dungeons is fine.

Of course, by that I mean Hengband infinite dungeons, not any other type...

I had to google that:

Quote:

The biggest change is addition of the 'Saved Floors' which is added only on the Hengband 1.5.0. You can climb back stairs to get back former floors, but different stairs will always take you to (infinite) different floors. More over when you get back to the surface using stairs, Word of Recall, or some other way, all saved floors will be cleared and you can explore entirely new infinite number of floors. Artifacts and unique monsters will appear freely on any new floors, and if old ones are already in saved floors, they will disapper from saved floors(they had moved to new floor). Random quest level is 'only-once' and stairs will be blocked from the inside once the player exited the quest level. Level-teleport, trap door, and stair creation take you to the floor right above or right under the former floor which is connected with one of the stairs in the former floor; so you can get back to pick up the long sword (4d5) even *after* you have fallen from trap door.
Interesting!

andrewdoull December 20, 2011 07:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magnate (Post 65048)
And I kept the diff for precisely this purpose, if you want it.

At one point the algorithm I used was included in the Angband source - in init1.c

Which begs the question when that file was removed.

Mikko Lehtinen December 20, 2011 07:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 65030)
Provided Angband is balanced around making sure each battle is challenging, I believe infinite dungeons is fine.

Of course, by that I mean Hengband infinite dungeons, not any other type...

This combination really could work!

OK, how do we make each battle challenging then?

Maybe there should be some monsters, or some monster abilities, that wouldn't get any easier to defeat as you gain levels. That way even a level 50 character would face some real danger even on DL 1.

One idea, just to pick an example: Sanity score, which would depend only on race and class but not on character level. It would work just like hitpoints against some monster attacks.

Or divide hitpoints into endurance and life, with life points not increasing with levels. Usually life points would be reduced only after endurance is at zero. But some kind of attacks would reduce life points directly, like curse spells and poison.

Magnate December 20, 2011 09:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 65070)
At one point the algorithm I used was included in the Angband source - in init1.c

Which begs the question when that file was removed.

It was removed circa 3.1.2, when all the text file parsing was replaced with a new system that lives solely in init2.c. Thanks for the reminder - I'll dig up the algorithm for fizzix as well, in case he's interested in seeing how the changes were derived.

fizzix December 20, 2011 16:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magnate (Post 65073)
It was removed circa 3.1.2, when all the text file parsing was replaced with a new system that lives solely in init2.c. Thanks for the reminder - I'll dig up the algorithm for fizzix as well, in case he's interested in seeing how the changes were derived.

Anything is useful. From what I gathered, the rebalancing mainly sorted out monsters in the first 40 levels, but there are some curious differences, like time hounds being moved up.

ekolis December 20, 2011 19:57

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 65072)
Or divide hitpoints into endurance and life, with life points not increasing with levels. Usually life points would be reduced only after endurance is at zero. But some kind of attacks would reduce life points directly, like curse spells and poison.

Hmm, that sounds similar to Steamband's Hitpoints/Woundpoints system... except in Steamband, I think WP did increase with levels, and also, it was possible to lose WP even if you had HP remaining; the chance of losing WP instead of HP from any given point of damage was simply WP / (HP + WP).

Malak Darkhunter December 20, 2011 22:44

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 65072)
This combination really could work!

OK, how do we make each battle challenging then?

Maybe there should be some monsters, or some monster abilities, that wouldn't get any easier to defeat as you gain levels. That way even a level 50 character would face some real danger even on DL 1.

One idea, just to pick an example: Sanity score, which would depend only on race and class but not on character level. It would work just like hitpoints against some monster attacks.

Or divide hitpoints into endurance and life, with life points not increasing with levels. Usually life points would be reduced only after endurance is at zero. But some kind of attacks would reduce life points directly, like curse spells and poison.

No offense and it might just reflect the type of player I am, but the first thing that popped into my mind reading this was "Uh Complicated, not going to play it" I'm not a big fan of complexity, but that is just my opinion.

andrewdoull December 21, 2011 04:06

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 65072)
This combination really could work!

OK, how do we make each battle challenging then?

Maybe there should be some monsters, or some monster abilities, that wouldn't get any easier to defeat as you gain levels. That way even a level 50 character would face some real danger even on DL 1.

Sorry??

I'm not sure how B follows A here? There is no need to have 1st level monsters be challenging at level 50... what you need is monsters at the right depth be challenging at level 50.

andrewdoull December 21, 2011 04:08

Quote:

Originally Posted by fizzix (Post 65077)
Anything is useful. From what I gathered, the rebalancing mainly sorted out monsters in the first 40 levels, but there are some curious differences, like time hounds being moved up.

That's because the monster power evaluation function underrates the danger of time attacks.

Mikko Lehtinen December 21, 2011 07:02

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 65091)
Sorry??

I'm not sure how B follows A here? There is no need to have 1st level monsters be challenging at level 50... what you need is monsters at the right depth be challenging at level 50.

Why do you expect the player to be at the "right" DL for his power? The optimal way to play Angband is to play at a DL that isn't too risky.

(If by optimal we mean that we want *this* character survives and wins. If we want to minimize playing time, by contrast, the optimal way is to dive fast. But I would rather like to play for survival.)

I thought you meant this problem, but I guess you didn't.

My proposal would push the player to dive faster in search for better loot, because there's more danger at *any* level.

Mikko Lehtinen December 21, 2011 08:52

I believe Angband would be a better game if the most fun way to play the game would also be the optimal one.

I'm not especially in love with my lifepoints-suggestion, it was just the first one that popped in my mind.

Again, a scoring system that rewards taking risks would actually accomplish this in a way: the most fun way to play would get you the most points.

I'm not sure whether it's enough by itself. Survival and winning is more important than score to most players. Many players are willing to do even super-boring things if it gives their characters a better survival rate -- just witness how people play MMORPGs. (One of my friends used to spend hours each day to collect unguarded gold bags in Guild Wars, until he was kicked out of the game because admins though he was a bot. :D) That point was also discussed in Roguelike Radio.

Maybe Angband should flash a welcome screen to new players:

"Welcome to Angband!

This game is most fun if you dive fast and take risks. You will die more often, but don't take that too seriously. Taking risks will also give you more points."

We veterans know what is the most fun play to play Angband, but many newbies really don't.

Mikko Lehtinen December 21, 2011 09:10

To clarify another point:

At the moment, with connected stairs on, it is all too easy to switch levels once they start to get dangerous. Adopting Hengband method of saving floors would get rid of this problem. A huge improvent, in my opinion.

(I suppose Andrew was suggesting Hengband method for this exact same reason? If not, let us know!)

Magnate December 21, 2011 09:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 65092)
That's because the monster power evaluation function underrates the danger of time attacks.

I fixed that when I did the monster spell refactor. The side effects of time attacks now have significantly higher damage-equivalent values, which should increase the max_dam result for them.

In case anyone is interested, I put up Andrew's original code (see the eval_r_power function), and the diff from this code against 3.0.8's monster.txt. These can be compared with the current code in mon-power.c (same function names) and the monsters generated with the -r runtime option.

andrewdoull December 21, 2011 10:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 65095)
Why do you expect the player to be at the "right" DL for his power? The optimal way to play Angband is to play at a DL that isn't too risky.

What kills most characters is the player playing not risky enough which results in deaths from boredom and inattention. Therefore the 'real' optimal way to play is be too risky...

If you want to go the whole way, the real fix for the problem is not having character levels. But I don't think that game is Angband.

andrewdoull December 21, 2011 10:13

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magnate (Post 65102)
I fixed that when I did the monster spell refactor. The side effects of time attacks now have significantly higher damage-equivalent values, which should increase the max_dam result for them.

In case anyone is interested, I put up Andrew's original code (see the eval_r_power function), and the diff from this code against 3.0.8's monster.txt. These can be compared with the current code in mon-power.c (same function names) and the monsters generated with the -r runtime option.

Ah. So the code is still in there. Nice moving it to a runtime argument... has anyone tried this recently?

LostTemplar December 21, 2011 10:13

Quote:

At the moment, with connected stairs on, it is all too easy to switch levels once they start to get dangerous. Adopting Hengband method of saving floors would get rid of this problem. A huge improvent, in my opinion.
I am trying another simple solution currently, using stairs just costs a lot of food in my variant (with some other changes to make food mechanics interesting).

Mikko Lehtinen December 21, 2011 12:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by LostTemplar (Post 65106)
I am trying another simple solution currently, using stairs just costs a lot of food in my variant (with some other changes to make food mechanics interesting).

Ok! That makes perfect sense if you assume travel between "interesting" levels takes a lot of time.

I've recently removed the food clock from the development version of Fay altogether, and made torches more interesting and scarce. It will be nice to see your version. :)

Mikko Lehtinen December 21, 2011 12:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 65104)
What kills most characters is the player playing not risky enough which results in deaths from boredom and inattention. Therefore the 'real' optimal way to play is be too risky...

I think many people just get bored eventually and move on to other games, because they just don't realize what's the proper way to play Angband. There must be better answers.

And let's imagine a veteran player who usually plays risky. Then, with one character, he finds some very cool stuff and realizes that he *really* doesn't want to lose this character. He decides he is willing to accept days of boredom if that's the way to keep this character alive. Is this good game design?

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 65104)
If you want to go the whole way, the real fix for the problem is not having character levels. But I don't think that game is Angband.

Well, limiting dungeon levels is easier and it works... (I'm not proposing it for Vanilla.)

Mikko Lehtinen December 21, 2011 14:02

I was actually not planning to start advertising my views about the problems of infinite dungeons. I really just misunderstood what Andrew meant with "you can either balance the whole dungeon or individual battles", and got a bit carried away.

I'm happy that the dev team is considering adapting a better scoring system. In my mind this goes a long way in aligning "fun" with "optimal".

In addition to that, I'm proposing that Angband's playing philosophy should be stated very clearly to beginners!

Tell them that diving fast is fun, that you are not supposed to kill all monsters, and that stealth and avoidance is a viable strategy. People who come from other games just don't get these ideas, and may easily come to the conclusion that Angband is a boring game.

I don't think it's wise to advertise too much that "this game can be played in many ways" when clearly some of the ways are much more fun than others.

I've been playing Angband a long time. For a long, long time I didn't have a clue that Angband was designed for this stealth/avoidance playing style. I've always considered switching dungeon levels in a tight spot "cheating" because it is so, so easy. I've always played with disconnected stairs (coming from Moria), but even then. I thought this was a "bug" in the game and avoided it. Maybe that's the reason why I've never won.

I wish somebody had told me right from the beginning how this game was supposed to be played.

chris December 21, 2011 16:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen (Post 65115)
I've always considered switching dungeon levels in a tight spot "cheating" because it is so, so easy.

Unless monsters could chase you down the stairs!

Magnate December 21, 2011 19:52

Quote:

Originally Posted by chris (Post 65116)
Unless monsters could chase you down the stairs!

Crawl does that, and IMO it is the single mechanic which makes Crawl harder than Angband. Much, much harder. I don't actually like the mechanic (persistent levels or no) - it basically means that if you wake up/aggro a too-tough monster, you are pretty screwed. Much much less forgiving of mistakes. (Note also that teleport is much harder to acquire in Crawl.)

I don't think it's unbalanced in Angband, providing that tele isn't too common. Lots of the most hair-raising survival stories are about running for stairs when your last means of tele got burned up.

Mikko Lehtinen December 21, 2011 20:45

I guess the thing I most dislike about stairs is this:

As a newbie, everybody eventually learns that repeatably going up and down the stairs is a good method for keeping you safe. So good that it must be unethical somehow! And then everybody has to make his own rules regarding "how much do I want to cheat with the stairs".

I'd much rather let the game designer do this job for me.

I think I went overboard with my own "rules" and missed some enjoyment -- I never realized you should be using stairs to actively search for deep monsters that you can kill. (Do you guys play like that?)

nppangband December 21, 2011 21:05

How about playing with the connected stairs option turned off? That should be a good way for the player to address this.

Mikko Lehtinen December 21, 2011 21:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by nppangband (Post 65129)
How about playing with the connected stairs option turned off? That should be a good way for the player to address this.

I do, of course. That option is one part of that "choose your own ethics" thing. I went further than that and always tried to clear even the hardest of levels because I had learned to associate stairs with cheating. And then died a lot, of course.

There are other similar features that cannot be turned off by an option, like town scumming.

That's the one thing I like most in my own variant: no fuzzy ethics. No forbidden tricks.

Mikko Lehtinen December 21, 2011 23:53

I want to end with a positive note. To me, Angband is great -- and beats all other roguelikes I've tried -- because it is so competitive. Man versus computer at its purest.

No hidden rules like in those other roguelikes. Pure sweet tactical hack'n'slash and resource management with no pretentions for being an "adventure" or "puzzle-solving" game.

Only because I see the potential for an even greater game in this aspect have I been so obsessive about the minor flaws. And basically that's also why I made FayAngband: I'm trying to enhance the one aspect in Angband that I like the most.

Malak Darkhunter December 22, 2011 01:36

Mentioning from earlier posts about levels and monster threat level, some rpg's mainly NWN uses monster to character level scaling, so no matter the dungeon level the monsters generated depend on character level. This is interesting but possibly problamatic in itself, but you could in a since use this algorithim for each dungeon level, and take 1 unique weakest to strongest and place them on each dungeon level, a goal somewhat to complete that level and then go down to the next, then if a character gains levels and then tries to go back up a few DL's then they are still faced with the same amount of danger as monsters are generated and scaled by character level, and there is no sense of "overpowered for the dungeon level." This however would be hard to balance but is an interesting idea.


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