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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>.


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