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-   -   The Monster Memory (http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=6251)

Oramin August 7, 2013 15:31

Takkaria:

Fine. I've made my point. If you add it as a non-cheating option in Vanilla then you're changing the design philosophy of the game. You would be using the excuse of a cool convenience (allowing us to avoid note-taking) to provide free information within the game.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the other Rogue-like games have ever told the player what the monsters do prior to facing them. Nor has Vanilla without it being a cheat option.

And, yes, it does alter actual gameplay. Suppose that you're a Warrior with decent melee gear including a lucky Trident of Wrath drop and you're facing Mim for the first time. A player not knowing about the disenchant attack is likely to try meleeing Mim. A player with the free monster memory won't. If you're a Mage, you'll find out, in advance, that he's resistant to all the elements (IIRC) without trying out the attacks on him first.

Surprises are part of the game.

Sure, the information is easy enough to get because people have provided the spoilers. People have provided spoilers for many other games as well; should the devs go back into those games and provide that information at the start of the game in-game because of that fact?

Just because it is easy to "cheat" doesn't mean that it should be declared not to be cheating.

Also, note that one of your examples, being able to see what is in the stores while you're in the dungeon, IIRC it shows you what was in the stores the last time you were in town, so it is information that you *could* have found in-game and copied down.

If you want to have something like Scrolls of History or Scrolls of Probing within the game to make monster info easier to come by then I don't have a problem with it. I do have a problem with free in-game information for the player that isn't something the character could reasonably have discovered.

Oramin August 7, 2013 15:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scatha (Post 83309)
Just to give a data point: while I think there's something cool about the exploration aspect of not knowing what a monster does when you first meet it, I only have a certain amount of time to play games in and I'm much more likely to want to engage with a turn-based game (such as a roguelike) if it's telling me all of the relevant rules (such as what that red 'D' can do).

So something's which changed since Angband was first written is that people have many more games competing for their time. If I knew ahead of time that I'd be sinking 100 hours into the game, I might prefer the exploration aspect of no monster memory. But presenting the information freely allows me to engage with the game more quickly. I think this would actually be a great precedent to set, as it would encourage variants to go the same way by default, which would in turn make them easier to try out.



An interesting argument but why can't people simply use the spoilers if they have limited time and want information about the game? Why make it a non-cheating option for free in-game information?

Besides, how many people who play Angband aren't going to have a pretty good idea of what a red 'D' is going to do? ;)

Seriously, a lot of the monsters in the game are based on monsters from other sources. Folks who have read Tolkien have a general idea of what those monsters do. Folks who have played AD&D have a general idea of what those monsters do.

If you want to provide information in the base descriptions to help people avoid insta-death situations (e.g. with the Tarrasque "Many of the greatest Warriors throughout history have been instantly slain by the noxious breath of this foul beast."), then do it. Don't tell people in advance information that their characters haven't discovered by playing the game.

takkaria August 7, 2013 16:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by Oramin (Post 83321)
Takkaria:

Fine. I've made my point. If you add it as a non-cheating option in Vanilla then you're changing the design philosophy of the game. You would be using the excuse of a cool convenience (allowing us to avoid note-taking) to provide free information within the game.

I really don't think that it's changing the design philosophy of the game; I think it follows a lot of design decisions from the beginning of Angband to now, where information previously unavailable in-game is made available in-game.

Quote:

And, yes, it does alter actual gameplay. Suppose that you're a Warrior with decent melee gear including a lucky Trident of Wrath drop and you're facing Mim for the first time. A player not knowing about the disenchant attack is likely to try meleeing Mim. A player with the free monster memory won't. If you're a Mage, you'll find out, in advance, that he's resistant to all the elements (IIRC) without trying out the attacks on him first.
Sure, I never said it didn't alter gameplay.

Quote:

Surprises are part of the game.
Yup, they are - I'd prefer to play without full monster info.

Quote:

Sure, the information is easy enough to get because people have provided the spoilers. People have provided spoilers for many other games as well; should the devs go back into those games and provide that information at the start of the game in-game because of that fact?
I don't really have an opinion on that. What other devs do with their games should depend on what they think.

Quote:

Just because it is easy to "cheat" doesn't mean that it should be declared not to be cheating.
I really don't think looking at monster spoilers is cheating, especially not for an experienced player.

Quote:

Also, note that one of your examples, being able to see what is in the stores while you're in the dungeon, IIRC it shows you what was in the stores the last time you were in town, so it is information that you *could* have found in-game and copied down.

If you want to have something like Scrolls of History or Scrolls of Probing within the game to make monster info easier to come by then I don't have a problem with it. I do have a problem with free in-game information for the player that isn't something the character could reasonably have discovered.
This is an argument from realism and I find those very unconvincing in Angband. There's loads of information in the game that the character in the fictional game universe wouldn't know - like the damage dice of the weapon, the numbers on the character screen, the number of turns you've been playing for etc.

I understand you feel strongly on this issue but you can just not play with the option on. Angband's got loads of difficulty options already and I don't see why this can't be another one.

Oramin August 7, 2013 16:19

Takkaria:

Right, that why I put "cheat" in quotes. I don't consider experienced players looking something up outside of the game to be cheating because they've already discovered the information. It isn't any different from referring to your own notes.

On the other hand, I believe that getting free information without discovering it in-game *is* a form of cheating and so did whoever originally came up with that cheat option.

Regarding realism, showing the damage dice on weapons is a representation of what our characters should know by having lived in that world. A dagger generally does much less damage than a long sword. To convey the information that our characters have to our players we get to see the damage dice. Ditto with our stats since we don't get to admire our characters' bulging muscles in handy-dandy mirrors. Number of turns is just time keeping - how long since you graduated from college? (Not actually asking, just using that as an example.)

Incidentally, if we want to ignore realism, why don't we completely eliminate food and light sources from the game?

Timo Pietilš August 7, 2013 16:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Oramin (Post 83322)
An interesting argument but why can't people simply use the spoilers if they have limited time and want information about the game?

Because it spoils the game? Hence the name "spoilers".

I think you are asking a wrong question, I think better question is why people think they need to use spoilers?

If person is interested about finding things without actually playing the game then they could always have text-editor open with monster.txt in it. This finding things outside game is a engineer phenomenon: you have some neat gizmo and you tear it apart trying to figure out how it works instead of just use it for what it is supposed to be used to.

debo August 7, 2013 16:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scatha (Post 83309)
Just to give a data point: while I think there's something cool about the exploration aspect of not knowing what a monster does when you first meet it, I only have a certain amount of time to play games in and I'm much more likely to want to engage with a turn-based game (such as a roguelike) if it's telling me all of the relevant rules (such as what that red 'D' can do).

So something's which changed since Angband was first written is that people have many more games competing for their time. If I knew ahead of time that I'd be sinking 100 hours into the game, I might prefer the exploration aspect of no monster memory. But presenting the information freely allows me to engage with the game more quickly. I think this would actually be a great precedent to set, as it would encourage variants to go the same way by default, which would in turn make them easier to try out.

+100000

I don't really care how this ends up going in V one way or another, but I personally played V with spoilers the first time around because it is incredibly long. I'm not going to play to 4000' just to die to something that has a 1600HP damage breath because I didn't know it could do that -- or if I do, I'm probably never going to play again. With things like Nexus in the game, it's even worse -- although most nexus things advertise their powers in their names, IIRC.

I was also lucky that people here were so responsive to questions, which avoided a lot of the dying-at-3000'-because-I-didn't-know-it-was-coming problems. Even if you know what a monster does, you still have to learn how to deal with it reliably, or in combination with other things -- that's a whole other level of learning that, for me, is really the fun part.

I tried to sort of play Sil without any spoilers or reverse engineering the first few times because it's relatively much shorter. I still ended up gunning for loremaster pretty early on, though, because I don't have fun discovering stuff about what things can do, I have fun figuring out what to do with it once I know what it does.

Places where I do find discovery interesting are e.g. new area types ("cool I've never seen this terrain / situation before") which many variants are good at. in V, I think I probably would have appreciated the ability to play with spoilers on right in-game as a new player. I'd still appreciate it if I were to play again.

Oramin August 7, 2013 17:11

Debo:

So your argument is that you want the information because the game is so long?

Angband was, to an extent, designed to be a marathon. In Rogue, you had to go down to the 26th level to pick up the Amulet of Yendor. In Larn, there were 10 levels of the dungeon (which you don't actually need to complete) and 3 levels of the volcano. In Moria, there were 50 levels. I don't know the specifics for NetHack or Omega.

Length is sort of the point of Angband.

As I indicated, I can understand wanting to avoid insta-death situtations and making the information easier to obtain by playing the game. I don't think that a free complete monster-memory should be a non-cheating option. That's sort of like saying that you want to play the game by not playing it.

Derakon August 7, 2013 17:16

Just because Angband is a long game and there's a sizable time investment doesn't mean that the player should be okay with dying over and over again. Sure, that's how many people play the game, myself included, but I can definitely understand the opposed attitude of "Look, I only have so much time to dedicate here, and I'm not gonna spend it replaying the game just so I can learn each new way to die."

For most games, I figure anywhere from 10-40 hours is a reasonable time investment; if the game expects me to invest more than that then it's doing something wrong. Angband may be an exception to that rule for me, but that doesn't mean that it's exceptional for everyone.

In any event, the bottom line is that it's a singleplayer game, so however you choose to enjoy it is up to you. Your use of spoilers does not harm my game. If we want to move the "always have full monster memory" option from the cheats section to the birth options section, then I am totally fine with that (barring the technical problem of us being full up on birth options already, anyway...).

Oramin August 7, 2013 17:44

Ok, let me see if I can explain it differently.

Consider the two spells Clairvoyance and Probing.

Suppose we had an option to allow auto-mapping of the entire level the instant you enter it. I suspect many of us would regard that as cheating (if not, feel free to pipe up). IIRC, that's part of what Wizard mode in an earlier version of Angband used to do (might have been Moria, this is from 20 years ago).

That's the equivalent of being given an infinite supply of the Clairvoyance spell.

A free complete version of the monster memory is like being given an infinite supply of an improved version of the Probing spell (don't even need to be in LOS).

Either both are cheating, neither or cheating, or you can draw a distinction between the two. Personally, I think both should be considered cheating.


Derakon:

You are correct that since this is a single player game what one player does ostensibly does not affect any other player.

So, are you fine with eliminating *all* cheating options?

Infinite lives, you still get to be a *WINNER*. Creating items, you still get to be a *WINNER*.

I also understand that people want to invest limited amounts of time, but they are quite capable of just looking at the spoilers as opposed to the game providing them the information.

(If you like, we can get into a discussion of whether players in the steroid era belong in the Hall of Fame. ;) )


Edit:

Also, the simple fact that we're having the discussion not of adding an option for a free complete monster memory but of removing the cheating flag for using that option pretty much demonstrates that it does matter. If it didn't then the people using the option wouldn't have a problem being flagged as cheaters in their single player high score list, would they?

bio_hazard August 7, 2013 20:52

I'd prefer NOT to have auto-monster memory labeled as a cheat. I'm a pretty casual (and pretty bad) player who doesn't play that often. Sometimes I play with the monster memory cheat on, because I really don't care about my ladder scores. At the same time, there are clearly degrees of cheating, and that one is pretty minor. It shows up in the birth options, so if someone really cares about it their mark of shame will be there for all to see even if it doesn't say CHEAT all over in big bold letters.

Thematically, it doesn't make any sense to me why player memory would transfer @-to-@, but @ never brags about anything to the shopkeepers who are actually persistent game-to-game. Also, the uniques are, you know, famous things in the world of Angband.

Since the monster attributes are static game-to-game, the "get knowledge" part of the game is not interesting (i.e. fun) to me. To me it seems like an artificial hurdle because it's something that mostly affects beginners.

If monster attributes were variable, then everyone would have to play the "get knowledge" minigame every time the head into the dungeon. I would actually prefer something like this if it were well implemented.

but hey, this is all just my opinion. I'm not that passionate about it one way or the other, and I think it's kind of neat that not only is there a team of coders working to keep the polish on a 30 year old game, but there are players who are ready to write thousands of words in an internet forum defending her honor. Go on, buddy, tell us what's what! :D


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