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-   -   suggestion: remove fuel, darkness/turn draining revisions (http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=7463)

mushroom patch September 6, 2015 13:19

suggestion: remove fuel, darkness/turn draining revisions
 
Hi angband guys.

tl;dr, see subject line. More specifically: Fuel for lamps and torches has little or no gameplay impact (outside of eating inventory slots in the early-to-mid game). This situation could be improved by simply not having fuel in the game. (Flasks of oil are a bit cheezy in the very early game anyway.)

Now you might say, "Wait, there are monsters that drain turns!" Indeed, but these also have little impact on reasonably competent play. Most of the time you can just not fight these monsters, but even when you do, this is about the least interesting/relevant monster ability.

Even so, you can keep silver jellies, etc. by making them instead inflict a stackable status that reduces light radius. I would recommend making the effect wear off with xp gathered rather than with time, so that it's legitimately dangerous to get. Similarly, I recommend that darkness effects inflict the same status.

If you're feeling really ambitious, this same logic would apply to food and hunger attacks, but baby steps...

Nick September 6, 2015 22:06

Both of these do have a considerable effect in ironman games.

Antoine September 6, 2015 23:52

Still its a nice idea about silver jellies

mushroom patch September 7, 2015 04:44

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 104184)
Both of these do have a considerable effect in ironman games.

Unless the drop rates for fuel have changed a lot since the last version I played, I doubt that. 8000 turns is like a quarter of what you can expect to play before gaining access to unlimited light sources. That's probably a conservative estimate.

In any case, it sounds like we agree that with default options the situation is as I described it.

Whelk September 7, 2015 06:04

I've always thought that creatures that consume light were neat and flavorful, if nothing else. The lowering light radius effect sounds nifty as an alternative/addition, in any case.

Almost overreacted to the original post. The word "uninteresting" terrifies me these days, seeing what it's done to Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

mushroom patch September 7, 2015 06:52

DCSS is in an awkward transitional stage right now where it's cut a lot of tedium that was there purely (or at least largely) for flavor, but not enough to where it's achieved really tight, clean gameplay. It's slowly getting there though. There seems to be serious talk about removing hunger from the game, for example. That's a big step for crawl and a necessary one, imo.

Angband is in a place where it has some odds and ends that make it brutally hard if you don't know what you're doing and don't use spoilers, but if you do know what you're doing, it's quite easy, easier than, say, crawl. To look at the big picture re: angband, the basic problems are an underdeveloped tactical game and the overpowered mechanics that create that situation. It's a deep problem, imo. The problems center around a simplistic stealth system in which you don't have to run any risk of unintentionally waking up monsters, lack of incentives to move during combat (this is a big problem, maybe the biggest, imo), overpowered teleportation/summoning mechanics, and to a lesser extent overly high-damage breath weapons. They're all interrelated and it would take a serious effort to unravel the web that's been weaved here.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand, it's dangerous to justify mechanics by reference to flavor instead of gameplay. I don't think light draining has ever been a factor in any game of angband/moria and I've been playing since kindergarten. (Keep in mind, when I was a kid I was so bad I died to lice infestations.) Light radius reduction, especially if it can get you down to no light, would be a real threat.

AnonymousHero September 7, 2015 07:22

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104193)
lack of incentives to move during combat (this is a big problem, maybe the biggest, imo)

Do you only play Warriors? I use Phase Door quite a lot! Perhaps you're talking strictly about movement as in arrow keys?

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104193)
Anyway, back to the subject at hand, it's dangerous to justify mechanics by reference to flavor instead of gameplay. I don't think light draining has ever been a factor in any game of angband/moria and I've been playing since kindergarten. (Keep in mind, when I was a kid I was so bad I died to lice infestations.) Light radius reduction, especially if it can get you down to no light, would be a real threat.

I have never run out of light in Angband even when I started just diving a lot more instead of going back to town (yay, no_selling!) -- drain or not. It's just not a factor -- it's a minor inconvenience and an inventory slot spent. (However, I don't play ironman, so I can't speak to that.)

I kind of like the light radius idea, but it'd quite a bit a balancing to get the danger level right. (I mean silver jellies are a level 1-10ish monster right?)

Personally, I think fuel should just be removed -- and if that means silver jellies go, then so be it.

mushroom patch September 7, 2015 07:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnonymousHero (Post 104194)
Do you only play Warriors? I use Phase Door quite a lot! Perhaps you're talking strictly about movement as in arrow keys?

I use phase door in the early game, yes. I play mostly rogues, some priests and paladins. Never warriors. And yes, I mean movement movement.

The very early game isn't as bad from a positioning perspective. It often makes sense to move! Later in the game, it's a thing where you move to lure and perhaps retreat to a summoning/breath corridor only. In actual combat, movement is a waste of turns and you don't want to have anywhere to move to anyway. You don't even want to teleport within a level. Late game teleports are teleport level and teleport other, imo. (I mean, ignoring monsters that are both slower than you and neither breathe nor summon, which are monsters that don't matter anyway. Here you can do the move and attack thing, but w/e. Pretty thin combat movement, imo.)

Whelk September 7, 2015 07:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104193)
it's dangerous to justify mechanics by reference to flavor instead of gameplay. I don't think light draining has ever been a factor in any game of angband/moria and I've been playing since kindergarten. (Keep in mind, when I was a kid I was so bad I died to lice infestations.) Light radius reduction, especially if it can get you down to no light, would be a real threat.

The terror that flaps in the night is the "it may be flavorful, and it's not harming anyone, but it doesn't make me change my gameplay significantly, so it should be axed" mindset. Suggesting alternatives and improvements is one thing, but hacking flavorful things out because they're not significantly gameplay-impacting drives me batty. I don't come to roguelikes for serious flavor and storytelling by any means, but the flavor that does exist is absolutely desirable. It's what initially drew me to DCSS, and the recent gutting in the name of efficiency and "it should only exist if it's making me change my strategy by making things more challenging" is what made me abandon it. Got a little too axe-crazy over there.

But that's my paranoia talking, and getting off-topic. I do like the light radius effect suggestion.

mushroom patch September 7, 2015 07:45

Interesting, though. What specifically prompted your flight? Or what were the main contributing factors?

AnonymousHero September 7, 2015 07:54

Quote:

Originally Posted by Whelk (Post 104196)
The terror that flaps in the night is the "it may be flavorful, and it's not harming anyone, but it doesn't make me change my gameplay significantly, so it should be axed" mindset. Suggesting alternatives and improvements is one thing, but hacking flavorful things out because they're not significantly gameplay-impacting drives me batty. I don't come to roguelikes for serious flavor and storytelling by any means, but the flavor that does exist is absolutely desirable. It's what initially drew me to DCSS, and the recent gutting in the name of efficiency and "it should only exist if it's making me change my strategy by making things more challenging" is what made me abandon it. Got a little too axe-crazy over there.

But that's my paranoia talking, and getting off-topic. I do like the light radius effect suggestion.

Flavour is fine (at long at is isn't at the cost of game play, obviously[1]), but I'd have a hard time arguing that a light counter is flavour. But maybe that's just me.

[1] ... and that's kind of the point here: It does hurt game play... albeit very slightly.

fph September 7, 2015 09:01

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104193)
Angband is in a place where it has some odds and ends that make it brutally hard if you don't know what you're doing and don't use spoilers, but if you do know what you're doing, it's quite easy, easier than, say, crawl. To look at the big picture re: angband, the basic problems are an underdeveloped tactical game and the overpowered mechanics that create that situation. It's a deep problem, imo. The problems center around a simplistic stealth system in which you don't have to run any risk of unintentionally waking up monsters, lack of incentives to move during combat (this is a big problem, maybe the biggest, imo), overpowered teleportation/summoning mechanics, and to a lesser extent overly high-damage breath weapons. They're all interrelated and it would take a serious effort to unravel the web that's been weaved here.

As others have noted, the part on moving during combat is a bit harsh (even as a warrior, one uses ?phase door and looks for good positioning, although mostly before and not during combat). The rest of the analysis is spot-on, though. You can't have one-turn guaranteed escapes via teleports and destruction without also having dangerous one-turn killers. To compensate for this fact, you make escapes either scarce (tlevel, destruction) or with a small probability of landing you in a pack of time hounds and killing you (teleport). These elements of randomness (one-turn off-screen killers and the teleportation lottery) make the risk management game frustrating for a beginner, until they figure out how to deal with them. It is a structural problem that is difficult to fix without changing completely the mechanics and turning Angband into a completely different game (like Sil did, for instance).

(That said, we all like Angband or we wouldn't be here, and the devs are doing an amazing work of keeping it vital, adding new features and improving the existing ones).

Nick September 7, 2015 09:15

I would argue that you don't want to improve either of flavour/realism or gameplay at the expense of the other. Both are essential ingredients, and the aim should be to improve (whatever that means) both.

Angband is many-faceted game, and different aspects appeal to different people. Looking at it purely as a strategic and tactical challenge - a complicated puzzle, essentially - there probably isn't a lot of need for something like the hunger mechanic. But it adds to the sense that you're controlling a character which is descending into a dungeon and fighting monsters - it's a constant reminder that your character is alive (and just be grateful we don't have a defecation mechanic).

All that said, I'm inclined to agree that the "lose fuel" effect of silver jellies is a bit silly. I suspect it's a hangover from the very early days where just getting down a few levels was a challenge, and nobody's really rethought it. I think oil itself is still on the whole worthwhile, but the light radius effect has promise.

Nivra September 10, 2015 03:23

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104195)
I use phase door in the early game, yes. I play mostly rogues, some priests and paladins. Never warriors. And yes, I mean movement movement.

The very early game isn't as bad from a positioning perspective. It often makes sense to move! Later in the game, it's a thing where you move to lure and perhaps retreat to a summoning/breath corridor only. In actual combat, movement is a waste of turns and you don't want to have anywhere to move to anyway. You don't even want to teleport within a level. Late game teleports are teleport level and teleport other, imo. (I mean, ignoring monsters that are both slower than you and neither breathe nor summon, which are monsters that don't matter anyway. Here you can do the move and attack thing, but w/e. Pretty thin combat movement, imo.)

I'm about to finish my first mage, after having won with warrior.

This is an issue, IMO. It's practically trivial to win with mage by drawing everything into an ASC and using runes to protect yourself. OTOH, it's almost impossible to kill a greater balrog in an open floor plan. As a warrior, I could do enough damage in a cooridor to get one down, but as a mage, the only way I can beat a greater balrog is by building an ASC. Same goes for most things with high HP that summon at high frequency.

I'd love to play a mage with more flexibility in open floor plans and not feel like I have to retreat into an ASC for every unique I encounter. But most major deep monsters are threats to start summoning like crazy. Lich's, Ainu, Wyrms, etc. Some of these I can kill now within just a cooridor, but I think fundamentally, there's a gameplay element missing here.

Nivra September 10, 2015 03:31

A quick note on the light mechanic.
 
FWIW, in my first few tried with a mage, I actually ran out of light once in the dungeon. I assumed the starter torches were enough, and didn't encounter any light sources in the dungeon while resting and recovering my piddly mana to use for magic missile slowly. Next thing I knew... my 5000 turns was up and I was lightless and spell-less and lost in the blackness to die a lonely death.

mushroom patch September 10, 2015 08:00

Yeah, the dynamics of summons in angband are totally broken.

As mentioned elsewhere, the point is that all actions in angband have instantaneous effects, including, crucially, teleportation.* This removes the possibility of tactics from angband combat. If monsters can't kill you instantly, they can't kill you at all. The result is that every threatening monster has to be able to breathe on you for max, cast high powered mana storms, etc. or summon something that can.

Assuming for a moment some series of monster and player nerfs that untangled that situation, you'd then have to look at the exponential nature of summoning. The instantaneous summons combine with summoning summoners to create another broken situation.

*: Except, oddly, word of recall -- so it's clear that from the beginning developers understood the need for limits on teleportation mechanics, but somehow failed to see the importance for other types of teleportation.

Bogatyr September 10, 2015 13:08

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nivra (Post 104302)
I'm about to finish my first mage, after having won with warrior.

This is an issue, IMO. It's practically trivial to win with mage by drawing everything into an ASC and using runes to protect yourself. OTOH, it's almost impossible to kill a greater balrog in an open floor plan. As a warrior, I could do enough damage in a cooridor to get one down, but as a mage, the only way I can beat a greater balrog is by building an ASC. Same goes for most things with high HP that summon at high frequency.

I'd love to play a mage with more flexibility in open floor plans and not feel like I have to retreat into an ASC for every unique I encounter. But most major deep monsters are threats to start summoning like crazy. Lich's, Ainu, Wyrms, etc. Some of these I can kill now within just a cooridor, but I think fundamentally, there's a gameplay element missing here.

The trade-offs and choices differences between classes/races are what make the game interesting. Mages are very fragile for almost the entire game (unless you stubbornly stay at stat gain until con is maxed) so have to take much more care not to get into situations where multiple monsters have LOS. They also don't get the biggest damage dealing spells until late in the game (although the attack wands do quite well). In return they get the best utility spells for controlling the contents of the dungeon and the monsters in order to prepare for fights in the way that benefits them most.

Warriors OTOH can be a bit more cavalier about dealing with groups of monsters.

You could always play against those greater balrogs the same way as one plays the final fight. You can TP the GB away then mass banish the rest. I prefer in fact an open floor plan as a mage against Morgoth: he will spend a lot of turns just walking towards you while you can use those to fire wands/spells. I did this with my last mage, who also had a great Sling of Buckland and rounded pebbles of Holy Might, which did more damage per round than the wands of annihilation did I think.

Timo Pietilš September 10, 2015 14:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104155)
Hi angband guys.

tl;dr, see subject line. More specifically: Fuel for lamps and torches has little or no gameplay impact (outside of eating inventory slots in the early-to-mid game). This situation could be improved by simply not having fuel in the game.

I would go other way around, make light sources a bit more versatile, lit flasks of oil could cause temporary fire trap that hurts monsters and lit that area, you could drop lit lanterns that keep illuminating that part of the dungeon and so on.

IIRC NPP rogues could create traps that hurt monsters. That is one feature I really wish vanilla angband could have too. Runes that hurt instead of block.

Mondkalb September 10, 2015 14:22

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš (Post 104319)
I would go other way around, make light sources a bit more versatile, lit flasks of oil could cause temporary fire trap that hurts monsters and lit that area, you could drop lit lanterns that keep illuminating that part of the dungeon and so on.

IIRC NPP rogues could create traps that hurt monsters. That is one feature I really wish vanilla angband could have too. Runes that hurt instead of block.

Rogues can set traps in FAangband, I reckon this could "easily" be imported to Angband? ;-)

Regarding light sources, this seems to be mostly a flavor issue, which is quite right in my view. I don't think that I ever run out of light in years, but it did happen during my learning time. (I remember many times stumbeling through the dungeons of Moria, finding my way only by touching the walls ...)
It definitely adds to the gaming atmosphere, if only for newbies.

fizzix September 10, 2015 14:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nivra (Post 104304)
FWIW, in my first few tried with a mage, I actually ran out of light once in the dungeon. I assumed the starter torches were enough, and didn't encounter any light sources in the dungeon while resting and recovering my piddly mana to use for magic missile slowly. Next thing I knew... my 5000 turns was up and I was lightless and spell-less and lost in the blackness to die a lonely death.

For your next character, try playing never using an ASC, only use natural terrain. Then you enjoy the tactical challenge of luring a monster into favorable terrain. I agree that ASCs make things boring. But they're not necessary.

That being said, I've had a long history of wanting to refine summoning and summoning mechanics. I think Nick's changes moving towards cone-breath spells finally allows some of this stuff to occur.

fizzix September 10, 2015 14:33

I disagree with Nick that light makes a difference in ironman games. With the current drop rates you find far more light than you need. Of course, we could tweak things so that they did make a difference, but I'm not sure that's what we want. At the very least, if we were going to look at making light and light-radius important, I would strongly consider nicking things from Sil, which does a great job of playing with the light/darkness interface.

Nivra September 10, 2015 22:27

Light very much makes a huge difference in Ironman games.

I just YASD a lvl 28 ironman priest on dlvl 33. The first 15k turns were harrowing, as I only had my default torch to start with. I meant to purchase a second one, but bought a flask by accident. I found the second torch with 500 turns left on the first one. Then I actually ran out of light for a short while, but was able to stumble upon another torch around 10500 turns.

Once I got a lantern around 15k turns, things went much easier. That is, until I decided to try and kill Mihm and Beorn on the same level: dlvl 32. Due to Mihm's Disenchantment and Beorn's insanely heavy melee, and my own slow speed (-2), I had to constantly portal away, then find myself back to them, and lob off one or two OOD, activate my DSM and rings, then portal away again. For Mihm, I ended up digging a custom long passageway so I could portal west and east of it, to kill him. His AI pathing sucked.

Within a couple hundred turns after taking down both, I found myself lightless. My lantern had run out. Now, please note, that I had decided to not stockpile flasks because of ironman inventory constraints. If I had, this wouldn't have been a problem. Also, I had the opportunity to pick up a =Light earlier, and passed on it for similar reasons, never thinking that I might run out of light.

Luckily, I found a ?Enlightenment, and was able to finish up the level, loot my 2nd and 3rd randarts which were both awful, and descend...

into a lightless new dungeon level with no source of light. I stumbled around again across 1/4 of the dungeon, even having to kill this strange "It" that took quite a pounding: several hundred hp of activations, and kept dishing out acid bolts to destroy my gear. I thought he was going to kill me, but @ survived, then found his way to a Fire Hound, and was able to read the Prayer of Light while crouching next to the hound's inner flame. I then took to the methodology of casting Light every 30', so as to preserve my ability to see and cast. While doing so, I came across a reptile that I thought was a small salamander. Turned out it was a Basilisk, breathed on my twice, and YASD.

Of course, next time playing ironman, I'll have learned my light lessons, and prepare for it better.

[Update: Why don't Light Hounds light up a room with their breath?]

[Update 2: Oh, I just remembered. The first time my light failed was actually around 3000 turns. I had found a silver jelly, and successfully avoided it. Then as I cleaned out the level, I circled back, and mindlessly went in to melee it. Boom. No more light. Luckily I stumbled upon the torch a few hundred turns later.]

MattB September 10, 2015 22:33

I *LOVE* the fact that you read a scroll by the light of a firehound!
That's awesome.

AnonymousHero September 11, 2015 06:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nivra (Post 104330)
Light very much makes a huge difference in Ironman games.

(...snip...)
Within a couple hundred turns after taking down both, I found myself lightless. My lantern had run out. Now, please note, that I had decided to not stockpile flasks because of ironman inventory constraints. If I had, this wouldn't have been a problem. Also, I had the opportunity to pick up a =Light earlier, and passed on it for similar reasons, never thinking that I might run out of light.

Well, obviously light makes a difference if you just ignore all sources of light! :)

I'll bet that it won't make any difference for all subsequent games you play -- other than "wasting" an inventory slot. From now on it'll just be a "do X every once in a while to avoid dying" mechanic, i.e. uninteresting.

mushroom patch September 11, 2015 06:09

Just wanted to say it's not good that you can survive by casting light area every few turns. That's ridiculously tedious! Also, from the way you describe your ironman game, I am not convinced that you ran out of light because the rate of fuel generation is too tight. Walking around at -2 speed suggests to me there were other problems...

[edit: lol, sry, skimmed the middle of the post. Your story is literally that you ran out of light because you didn't pick up light sources and this is why you think fuel is relevant in ironman games? You have to understand that when people talk about these kinds of issues, they assume a baseline of competent play.]

Nivra September 11, 2015 06:20

Well, the first time was actually running out of light due to a silver jelly. The second one was an ironman learning experience. Obviously, the degree of tolerance for light-starvation is different in ironman. In a normal game, I would've been able to recall to town on the level my light had run out. In ironman, that wasn't an option.

mushroom patch September 11, 2015 06:24

Yeah, but like, running out of light is usually game over if it happens even in a normal game, so it's kind of important to make sure it doesn't. The point is, though, you always can make sure it doesn't happen quite easily, unless, as in your case, you just decide not to.

Carnivean September 11, 2015 16:37

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104334)
Just wanted to say it's not good that you can survive by casting light area every few turns. That's ridiculously tedious!

Not when you're doing it for the first time. It's new, fun and scary.

Quote:

You have to understand that when people talk about these kinds of issues, they assume a baseline of competent play.]
Why? Because cynical curmudgeons are the only market for the game? The adventure of learning the basics is part of the fun. Once you've learned them, you get to go further into the dungeon and learn new things.

You regularly hear people say they never got past x feet in the dungeon before, and light, food, breeders, poison from worms, paralysis from eyes, etc, are the obstacles that make a huge difference to beginners.

Sure, once you have ingrained how to progress down to stat gain and beyond, they're irrelevant. People that can do that regularly are the minority of players, though more prevalent on this forum.

debo September 11, 2015 17:57

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carnivean (Post 104341)
Sure, once you have ingrained how to progress down to stat gain and beyond, they're irrelevant. People that can do that regularly are the minority of players, though more prevalent on this forum.

It's true. We shouldn't be taking this subject so lightly; new players frequently fizzle out before getting very far. They just seem to run out of gas.

AnonymousHero September 11, 2015 18:02

Quote:

Originally Posted by debo (Post 104343)
It's true. We shouldn't be taking this subject so lightly; new players frequently fizzle out before getting very far. They just seem to run out of gas.

Sure, but would new players notice the absence of fuel for lights? I don't think they'd care.

Nick September 12, 2015 02:01

WARNING: Rant ahead

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carnivean (Post 104341)
Why? Because cynical curmudgeons are the only market for the game? The adventure of learning the basics is part of the fun. Once you've learned them, you get to go further into the dungeon and learn new things.

Thank you, thank you. Everyone needs to remember this whenever commenting on the game. Get it tattooed on your arm if necessary.

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnonymousHero (Post 104345)
Sure, but would new players notice the absence of fuel for lights? I don't think they'd care.

No, but then new players wouldn't notice if you removed all the undead from the game either, and I don't see anyone suggesting that. I don't think removing stuff from the game because people who have been playing it for ever are over that particular feature is good game design (whatever the hell "good game design" means - I've only ever seen it used to mean "my current opinion").

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104314)
Yeah, the dynamics of summons in angband are totally broken.

As mentioned elsewhere, the point is that all actions in angband have instantaneous effects, including, crucially, teleportation.* This removes the possibility of tactics from angband combat. If monsters can't kill you instantly, they can't kill you at all. The result is that every threatening monster has to be able to breathe on you for max, cast high powered mana storms, etc. or summon something that can.

Assuming for a moment some series of monster and player nerfs that untangled that situation, you'd then have to look at the exponential nature of summoning. The instantaneous summons combine with summoning summoners to create another broken situation.

*: Except, oddly, word of recall -- so it's clear that from the beginning developers understood the need for limits on teleportation mechanics, but somehow failed to see the importance for other types of teleportation.

Rarely in my life have I come across a set of generalisations so sweeping and so utterly baseless.

NO IT IS NOT BROKEN. THIS IS HOW ANGBAND WORKS.

If you don't like that, you should of course feel free to make your own version, or to go and play some sort of generic dungeon crawl game which suits your picture of how a generic dungeon crawl game should behave. But the way you are talking about it makes it sound as if the people who have been playing Angband for the last 20+ years have just been deluded that it's a good game.

Also, specifically, teleport is not a failsafe escape - teleporting and being killed on landing is quite a common occurrence among actual players.

If you have any actual backup for any of these statements, I'd like to hear it, but it seems to me to be just extreme claim after extreme claim, strung together with logic you could drive a truck through.

My apologies if I offend :)

AnonymousHero September 12, 2015 03:26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 104348)
No, but then new players wouldn't notice if you removed all the undead from the game either, and I don't see anyone suggesting that.

Indeed not, but that is actual flavour and undead do serve (somewhat of) a purpose as being different from other types of monsters in various ways. (E.g. immunity to Nether, level draining attacks.)

Light fuel... I don't think so. Anyway, I don't care enough to keep arguing about it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 104348)
I don't think removing stuff from the game because people who have been playing it for ever are over that particular feature is good game design (whatever the hell "good game design" means - I've only ever seen it used to mean "my current opinion").

Over time, game designers have distilled some actual general overarching rules for what constitutes a good game (you can use various scales here, but they tend to correlate). We call that "good game design".

Trying to pretending that there are no such lessons to be learned from the past by characterizing it is "my current opinion" is bizarre.

Anyway, I'm done with this thread. As I say, I don't care enough about light, though I think mushroom patch's idea for light radius is a lot better than what Angband has currently.

Nick September 12, 2015 03:41

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnonymousHero (Post 104349)
Over time, game designers have distilled some actual general overarching rules for what constitutes a good game (you can use various scales here, but they tend to correlate). We call that "good game design".

Trying to pretending that there are no such lessons to be learned from the past by characterizing it is "my current opinion" is bizarre.

Yeah, that was probably a bit over the top. That said, it is quite common to see things classified as good or bad game design without much backup, as a kind of "proof by authority".

mushroom patch September 12, 2015 04:06

Monsters that can produce dozens of new monsters in a matter of 3 to 5 turns, most of which can kill the player in a single turn is broken. Just to make sure I've been sufficiently emphatic here, I repeat: BROKEN. But you know what's more broken than that? The fact that it doesn't matter that monsters can do that, because you can always just instantly escape. That too is broken. (BROKEN!)

Yes, I know that's how angband rolls. Angband's cool like that. That's just how it works!

You say I should go play some generic dungeon crawling game where you do things like move in combat. I did. It was pretty good. So good I would even say that if angband had combat mechanics where it made sense to move around instead of instantly teleporting, that might also be good.

As for your contention that players get killed teleporting, yes, I used to do that too. Of course, I also used to get killed by lice. Either you overestimate the danger of teleportation or you have really weird ideas about game balance, because in reasonably competent play, the odds of being forced to teleport within a level in a situation where doing so is actually dangerous are essentially zero.

debo September 12, 2015 05:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 104348)
My apologies if I offend :)

I'm offended that no one commented on my amazing puns.

AnonymousHero September 12, 2015 05:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 104350)
Yeah, that was probably a bit over the top. That said, it is quite common to see things classified as good or bad game design without much backup, as a kind of "proof by authority".

We can certainly agree on that! :)

Nick September 12, 2015 06:01

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104351)
Monsters that can produce dozens of new monsters in a matter of 3 to 5 turns, most of which can kill the player in a single turn is broken. Just to make sure I've been sufficiently emphatic here, I repeat: BROKEN. But you know what's more broken than that? The fact that it doesn't matter that monsters can do that, because you can always just instantly escape. That too is broken. (BROKEN!)

Yes, I know that's how angband rolls. Angband's cool like that. That's just how it works!

All right then, I guess we mainly disagree on what the word broken means. And to be perfectly honest, I am probably looking at some movement of the game mechanics toward what you're suggesting.

Quote:

Originally Posted by debo (Post 104354)
I'm offended that no one commented on my amazing puns.

My profound apologies debo, your puns were so subtle I failed to notice them.

AnonymousHero September 12, 2015 06:49

(I know, I know... I promised I was done with the thread, but...)

One little additional bonus with removing fuel would be the removal of a single-purpose keystroke :).

Nick September 12, 2015 07:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnonymousHero (Post 104358)
One little additional bonus with removing fuel would be the removal of a single-purpose keystroke :).

That's the best argument yet :)

Nivra September 12, 2015 07:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104336)
Yeah, but like, running out of light is usually game over if it happens even in a normal game, so it's kind of important to make sure it doesn't. The point is, though, you always can make sure it doesn't happen quite easily, unless, as in your case, you just decide not to.


Not really. in most normal games, if you run out of light mid-dungeon, you can just return to a lighted area, WoR, and go home. I guess if you run out of light at the very beginning of a level before lighting up a room, or if you run out of light in the middle of a fight in a corridor, but even in the latter case, you can usually just retreat to the previous room.

In iron man games, you die. There's a difference, and it's part of the learning curve of iron man.

Ingwe Ingweron September 12, 2015 11:41

So, while we're at it should we remove food too? Substitute the word "food" for "light" in these posts and pretty much the same logic applies.

Personally, I don't think we should remove light, or food, for that matter.

Oh, these line drawing problems. Slippery slopes. But for Adam. And lot's of other mixed metaphors. :)

AnonymousHero September 12, 2015 12:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ingwe Ingweron (Post 104361)
So, while we're at it should we remove food too? Substitute the word "food" for "light" in these posts and pretty much the same logic applies.

Well, I certainly wouldn't object to removing food, but...

Wasn't there a change to the rate of food consumption which makes it essentially irrelevant once you get Slow Digestion? Or was that reverted?

mushroom patch September 12, 2015 12:08

No one said remove light. Removing fuel and removing light are separate and unrelated issues.

And yes, food should also be removed, as I mentioned in the OP. Dying from starvation is, like running out of light, not really possible in reasonably competent play. Food only wastes inventory slots and pesters you about eating about ten times per game. There's no value added there.

Ingwe Ingweron September 12, 2015 12:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnonymousHero (Post 104362)
Well, I certainly wouldn't object to removing food, but...

Wasn't there a change to the rate of food consumption which makes it essentially irrelevant once you get Slow Digestion? Or was that reverted?

You are correct. Of course, light is irrelevant once you get the Phial, Star, Arkenstone, great lanterns, weapons that emit light, etc.

Not sure if your argument was that making food less of a problem argued for keeping the mechanic, or getting rid of it entirely. Whichever it was, light doesn't seem any different.

Ingwe Ingweron September 12, 2015 12:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104363)
No one said remove light. Removing fuel and removing light are separate and unrelated issues.

And yes, food should also be removed, as I mentioned in the OP. Dying from starvation is, like running out of light, not really possible in reasonably competent play. Food only wastes inventory slots and pesters you about eating about ten times per game. There's no value added there.

One of the challenges of the game is supposed to be inventory management. Food and light are part of that. Make an infinite pack, make an infinite home, give me unlimited health, cheat death, make it easy. Why play the game at all?

I've had @'s die of starvation or lack of light. I've also had @'s survive those situations and they've been some of the most entertaining and memorable problems overcome, even though they are so basic.

For a truly entertaining example of a food dilemma, check out one of Fizzix's "Let's Play Angband" series (I don't remember which one). He was playing a priest and was quickly starving. Desperately, quaffing potions to stay alive. And the whole time had MB2 in his pack and could have cast a Satisfy Hunger prayer at anytime! :)

mushroom patch September 12, 2015 12:30

It's weird how when supporters of fuel and food come at you with anecdotes about how integral the two are to angband gameplay, you get stories of games where someone chose to run out of fuel or chose to starve by not using or picking up items that were available to them. I guess this is what people mean when they say angband lets the player do what they want. (???)

I would be totally cool with reducing the number of inventory slots available by 1 after removing food.

edit: re: posts upthread about food being irrelevant in certain situations, in fact, food is irrelevant in all situations. A competently played game, played to win takes between 50k and 100k turns (this is being generous on the high end). That's between 10 and 20 rations of food, if the information I'm looking at is accurate. You can buy that in town in the first 100 turns of any game. But even if you don't, the amount of food you find on the ground exceeds that total many times over.

Carnivean September 12, 2015 13:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104366)
A competently played game, played to win takes between 50k and 100k turns (this is being generous on the high end).

You are occupying a different realm to the average player. Clearly you've superseded this game. You should try a game that doesn't have summoning, escapes, food, fuel or any of the other basics of Angband.

I suggest chess or go.

mushroom patch September 12, 2015 14:03

I don't get it. Am I to infer from your sarcasm that you believe no one can transcend the depths of angband?

I can assure you, no matter how hard it is for you to believe, angband is quite easy by the standards of roguelikes and it's because the game does not have enough tactical depth. It's too easy to control what happens. That's just a fact.

Carnivean September 12, 2015 14:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104368)
I don't get it. Am I to infer from your sarcasm that you believe no one can transcend the depths of angband?

No, you may not. What I am saying is that the game you want isn't Angband. If it is a roguelike, then you should probably start your own variant, because what you want is so far from Angband that it would be a completely different game.

My recommendations are because you are so minimalist that I can't imagine you playing a game other than the purest tactical/strategic games.

Philip September 12, 2015 14:32

I agree with mushroom patch that summoning is out of control - summoning a monster that is somewhat weaker than the summoner, but still is a larger threat than just the one turn from the summoner is great, because it forces the player to react in some way (assess threat, ignore, reposition to avoid, kill, remove), summoning lots is bad because it forces the player to react in variations of the same way (assess threat, then ignore or remove).

On the food/light debate. I don't see why "no one who is experienced and/or competent dies of this" is a valid argument. Things don't need to kill you to justify continuing to exist. Food and light are interesting parts of the game, and do have an effect. Do you risk running out of food or light in the dungeon to get those two slots? Admittedly, recall being easy to acquire screws with that. I would be in favor of making food and light more interesting, perhaps by nerfing recall somehow. If you had no clue how long the dive would be taking you it could be pretty interesting - perhaps make portals to the surface appear randomly in the dungeon?

Is there an actual reason to assume competent play? I play idiotically all the time, and learning what not to do is a great part of the game.

nppangband September 12, 2015 14:33

Some other things that add nothing to gameplay:

1) Doors - you open them and walk through them. Boring. I can do that in my own home.
2) Corridors - put the rooms close together so we don't have to walk so far. If I wanted to walk, I would go outside. Boring.
3) Gold - We should be able to kill the shopkeepers and take their inventory as we see fit. Get rid of it.
4) Stats - just have one, called "power". The helpfiles are way too long as is.
5) Races - eventually they all play the same. Who cares? Plus, it promotes prejudice.
6) Hit points - You can always heal as needed with a couple button presses. Call of Duty doesn't have hit points, and look how popular that is. Angband needs to adapt or die.
7) Leveling up - There should be only 2 character levels. Anything more is just needless repetition. Yawn.

Nick September 12, 2015 14:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104368)
I can assure you, no matter how hard it is for you to believe, angband is quite easy by the standards of roguelikes and it's because the game does not have enough tactical depth. It's too easy to control what happens. That's just a fact.

So why doesn't everybody just win all the time? Do you win every game you play? If not, what kills you?

AnonymousHero September 12, 2015 14:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by nppangband (Post 104372)
Some other things that add nothing to gameplay:

1) Doors - you open them and walk through them. Boring. I can do that in my own home.
2) Corridors - put the rooms close together so we don't have to walk so far. If I wanted to walk, I would go outside. Boring.
3) Gold - We should be able to kill the shopkeepers and take their inventory as we see fit. Get rid of it.
4) Stats - just have one, called "power". The helpfiles are way too long as is.
5) Races - eventually they all play the same. Who cares? Plus, it promotes prejudice.
6) Hit points - You can always heal as needed with a couple button presses. Call of Duty doesn't have hit points, and look how popular that is. Angband needs to adapt or die.
7) Leveling up - There should be only 2 character levels. Anything more is just needless repetition. Yawn.

I realize this is tongue-in-cheek, but I think it's a gross mischaracterization, i.e. a straw man.

Generally speaking, I don't think anyone said flavourful things shouldn't remain in game. Things that basically add nothing of value (including flavour) could just as easily go.

Moreover, most of the things you mention actually do have a purpose. Let's just take race and stats: These determine pretty strongly how good your survivability will be at the start of the game, and thus how likely you are to survive to the mid and end game. They also determine how easy a time you'll have getting all the needed resistances and protections from gear. (E.g. High-Elf gets SeeInvis and thus doesn't need it from gear.)

Can we please avoid this kind of caricature? It doesn't help discussion one bit and promotes an us-vs-them mentality. (Although I did get a chuckle out it!)

I can assure you that all I want is a better Angband, I'm not out to destroy Angband. (Whatever "better" means!)

EDIT: Stats: Except CHA which was in fact removed because it had no noticable effect on the game.

AnonymousHero September 12, 2015 14:52

@mushroom patch: I think the whole summoning/teleport discussion is probably off-topic?

(Not that we don't have a proud tradition of almost certainly always veering off-topic in these forums, but I think that particular discussion is probably important enough to not bury in this thread?)

Carnivean September 12, 2015 15:05

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnonymousHero (Post 104374)
I can assure you that all I want is a better Angband, I'm not out to destroy Angband. (Whatever "better" means!)

I can assure you that I am not lumping your opinions in with anyone else's.

Quote:

Generally speaking, I don't think anyone said flavourful things shouldn't remain in game.
Not in this thread, directly. In a broader context, that's the general gist of mushroom patch's posts, whether he realises it or not.

debo September 12, 2015 15:43

If you people were really serious about a better angband, we would have had rocket launchers in vanilla like a billion years ago.

AnonymousHero September 12, 2015 17:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by debo (Post 104377)
If you people were really serious about a better angband, we would have had rocket launchers in vanilla like a billion years ago.

+1000. I'll be submitting a pull request shortly. (Or not.)

Ingwe Ingweron September 12, 2015 20:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104368)
I don't get it. Am I to infer from your sarcasm that you believe no one can transcend the depths of angband?

That's not what I got out of what he was saying. What I inferred is that you have implied that anyone who plays the game and runs out of food or light is incompetent.

Whelk September 13, 2015 00:15

Sorry if I stirred up the pot by mentioning my fears. I'm glad to see, though, that people seem to be aware of the dangers and slippery slopes of calling for parts of the game to be removed or made less important due to being "boring" or "uninteresting".

A previous poster touched on what I perceive the issue is that has ruined DCSS for me: The constant refrain of "this part of the game isn't interesting and doesn't affect gameplay significantly" when what they should be saying is "this part of the game isn't interesting to me anymore and doesn't affect my current method of gameplay significantly because I've learned the most effective/efficient way to handle it due to previous experience.

I don't think game features, mechanics, or flavors should be adjusted/removed just because they get "boring" to people who figure out how to best handle them with minimal effort. It's a minor hassle and inconvenience to you because you've played the game and learned how to tackle that particular thing. For people just starting or still learning, it can well be an "interesting" challenge that they still need to learn how to overcome or best manage.

Tarrasque September 13, 2015 02:40

Food and fuel management is definitely not an interesting challenge by themselves outside of ironman.

They have a little influence on inventory management in general though. If you find an endless source of light you get either a bit less weight to carry and an extra inventory slot, or more time in the dungeon. I'd like it if fuel and food were more relevant deeper down and had more of an effect on strategy/tactics/the game. *waves hands around in a vague manner

ScaryMonster September 13, 2015 04:53

An unsolicited lurkers opinion.

There are numerous game mechanics in angband that interact w/ one another in various
ways to produce the charm which draws us all here. This charm is such that it is
able to include the wide range of playstyles that are voicing their viewpoints so
nicely. This charm, as far as I can see, accreted from discussions just like this one,
leading to one coder taking the idea and implementing it. Then the idea mutates and
spreads and some of them are from such a distant point in time that styles have changed.
I think that food and light source play suffers from the effect of fashion to a certain
degree, which is to say whim.

But that's where it's time to have a new haircut.

So, here's an notion of how to leverage the modularity of 4.0 that we are hearing about.
Use it to openly playtest the various subsystems of the game. In this specific case,
consider handling food thus...

Suddenly there appears an option in the preferences which says...
3.5-food
no-food
and
potentially future viewpoints on how food might be factored into the interplay.

From this point, something set w/ the prefs at the start of the game, just like the
ironman, randart, etc variants.

For the coder, I think tracking down and removing every trace of food inside the
mechanism creates a perfect base line for open minded consideration of things. It also
creates a roadmap for new interpretations to work from, namely the diff from the w/ food
version to the new nofood one.

There is more than enough interest and creativity in this group to easily come up with
multiple new interesting approaches.

I think that food could be quite cool but, it would take sweeping changes. This is the
least effort way that I can see for changes that large to make it into vanilla.

mushroom patch September 14, 2015 09:26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 104373)
So why doesn't everybody just win all the time? Do you win every game you play? If not, what kills you?

I can't speak to everyone. I don't win every game. Last time I played I died by incorrectly assessing the threat of new monsters in a recent version and not having adequate escape options to get out of it when I realized I had made a mistake. I believe the last time I died before that was trying to speedrun a mage and not having a good feel for the pace to keep in the early game.

I think all deaths in recent memory were in the early part of the game, < xl 15, where the escape options I've been talking about were not available. I don't think I've ever died when I had teleport level, banishment, or teleport other (again, in recent memory -- years ago I died to things like high damage breath and whatever, the usual stuff people get killed by). Recently, I more often fail to win a game by getting bored with it than by actually dying.

But we can sit here all day talking about how I die or how the hypothetical median angband player usually dies and so on, but it would be a lot more useful to know through actual records. I've suggested it before and I'll suggest it again: If we really want to know where the state of play is, what works and what doesn't without just appealing to our own intuitions, we need public servers with rigorous record keeping.

mushroom patch September 14, 2015 09:51

Sorry for the double post...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philip (Post 104371)
On the food/light debate. I don't see why "no one who is experienced and/or competent dies of this" is a valid argument. Things don't need to kill you to justify continuing to exist. Food and light are interesting parts of the game, and do have an effect. Do you risk running out of food or light in the dungeon to get those two slots? Admittedly, recall being easy to acquire screws with that. I would be in favor of making food and light more interesting, perhaps by nerfing recall somehow. If you had no clue how long the dive would be taking you it could be pretty interesting - perhaps make portals to the surface appear randomly in the dungeon?

Is there an actual reason to assume competent play? I play idiotically all the time, and learning what not to do is a great part of the game.

The problem is you only learn what not to do once. It can't be as simple as "well, you're supposed to pick up and/or buy fuel" or "you're supposed to use detection and/or stealth to avoid being surprised by monsters with high damage breath attacks." It can't be that you learn a relatively short list of lessons and become an untouchable god of the dungeon. Knowing about a threat should not, in general, be enough to render it unthreatening, yet this is basically the situation in angband.

The reason you assume the player is competent is so that you're creating challenges that remain interesting even when you've come to terms with the basics of good play.

Nivra September 14, 2015 21:48

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104416)
Sorry for the double post...
The problem is you only learn what not to do once. It can't be as simple as "well, you're supposed to pick up and/or buy fuel" or "you're supposed to use detection and/or stealth to avoid being surprised by monsters with high damage breath attacks." It can't be that you learn a relatively short list of lessons and become an untouchable god of the dungeon. Knowing about a threat should not, in general, be enough to render it unthreatening, yet this is basically the situation in angband.

The reason you assume the player is competent is so that you're creating challenges that remain interesting even when you've come to terms with the basics of good play.

But even after you learn what to do, there are still ramifications. Would you use a lantern of true sight or the Phial? What if you are a warrior with major inventory constraints, and your current kit already has rBlind?

In my warrior winner, I eventually decided to go without both fuel and food. It meant I had to keep an eye out for ?Satisfy Hunger, Rations, and also I set up a macro to auto-refuel my lantern anytime I saw a flask or another lantern. It was my inventory constraints that caused me to do this. The safer way to play would have been to at least hold onto flasks so I wouldn't have to recall up/abandon a meaningful level if I ran out.

One of the advantages of caster classes is having access to Satisfy Hunger. Thus, you save an inventory slot. One of the advantages of the Phial/Arkenstone/Everburning is the same. Granted, it's a minor mechanic, but it's ramifications do affect the overall inventory-management aspect of Angband.

I know that I've held onto the Phial even while using ~True Sight because I wanted to switch back to it if given the chance. And in one game, i did switch back to it when I had rBlind from elsewhere.

Are these all minor in the grand scheme of things? Sure, but they do have impact.

All this being said, I do really like the idea of light radius being affected. Speaking of which, I think =Light could use a boost, maybe make the light radius 1d3 instead of just 1?

mushroom patch September 15, 2015 00:25

rBlind does not matter. Inventory management is straightforward. People who have problems with inventory management are the same ones who try to get all resistances, can't part with a weapon that does 200 damage per round but 275 against trolls when their main does 250 per round against everything, etc. If you're playing to win, rather than for unnecessary intermediate goals (like getting all resistances, collecting all mushrooms, w/e), inventory management is not an issue.

Nivra September 15, 2015 00:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104438)
rBlind does not matter. Inventory management is straightforward.

Yah, I disagree. Inventory management is one of the core challenges of Angband. Which artifacts can you leave on the dungeon floor in order to stockpile more *Healing* potions? Which artifacts can you just discard? There is nothing "straightforward" about a lot of these questions. It depends on what stage i the game you are, where your character is, what other gear you have, etc.

Derakon September 15, 2015 02:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104438)
rBlind does not matter. Inventory management is straightforward. People who have problems with inventory management are the same ones who try to get all resistances, can't part with a weapon that does 200 damage per round but 275 against trolls when their main does 250 per round against everything, etc. If you're playing to win, rather than for unnecessary intermediate goals (like getting all resistances, collecting all mushrooms, w/e), inventory management is not an issue.

You keep making these absolutist statements about the game when one of its greatest strengths is that it can be enjoyed in many ways. Why should the game be designed specifically to favor your viewpoint?

mushroom patch September 15, 2015 02:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derakon (Post 104442)
You keep making these absolutist statements about the game when one of its greatest strengths is that it can be enjoyed in many ways. Why should the game be designed specifically to favor your viewpoint?

This is also one of the greatest strengths of cardboard boxes and I suppose by extension Monopoly. To say something can be enjoyed in many ways does not say much for its merits as a game.

What these conversations in fact come back to is the idea that there's no standard by which to find angband deficient.

wobbly September 15, 2015 03:29

Thing is by your own admission food & fuel is making zero difference to your own play while other people seem to like having them in. Why does it matter so much to you if it isn't in fact affecting your game experience. Personally I couldn't care less either way on this, though I do like having food in variants with wilderness & having the code already there in Vanilla is I assume a bonus for variant maintainers.

Regarding summons & teleports I'd be happy to see things change there. Other than being dead, confused or blind what stops tele-level being a perfect escape? I'd be happier with a short delay on it. A bit of tension while you try & stay alive while waiting for it to kick in.

Grotug September 15, 2015 03:44

I guess I am the type of player mushroom patch refers to as I go bat-crazy trying to juggle what to keep and what to leave behind; and which artifacts and non-artifacts to stop saving in my home (and other useful items). I find inventory management to be one of, if not *the* most challenging part of the game.

I thought 'solving' the character was a very desirable thing to do before facing Morgoth or the last levels of the game? I find I don't have the mental acuity to keep up with holes in my character. If I lack rDisenchantment I hate that the solution is to just TO everything that might Disenchant me. I fatigue easily from checking everything I encounter for its details.

I die all the time to stubbornness and impatience. I suffer from 'attachment' syndrome, in which I want to kill the thing because it might drop something or because I want to secure the level. I hate leaving battles or levels before I've seen everything. And whenever I confront a Unique I feel a strong desire to kill the monster.... I want its drops. I want the vindication that the dungeon does not win; that I am not here to flee, but to fight. I am stuck in the mentality that I have to kill everything on my way to the final boss fight. I'm an explorer, I don't want to miss anything. I don't want to leave a stone unturned, a vault, a special room, a dingy corner of the map unscrutinized.

I tend to stockpile a lot of powerful escapes (?*destruction*, both ?banishes, TOs and others but rarely using them, though I do happily use ?Banish for Hellhounds and other things that are useless to my progression). I die because I'm too optimistic that RNG will roll in my favor. I die because I'm greedy, etc. Needless to say I have never won the game despite many times and hours playing. ;)

Anyway, I totally agree with and relate to Nivra; I also had Phial and Truesight but no ability to see Invisible so I mained Phial and then swapped it out for Trusight when I started being attacked 'by something'. I also carried 2 other weapons in addition to my main because *slay demons* was so key against major demon hoardes as was *slay undead* for those hoardes (my other weapon). +++Speed made up for the overweight.

One of these days I'll play the game 'properly' and win. Morgoth knows I have enough experience to play properly and know what to look out for.

Mushroom patch, you make use of a good analogy with cardboard boxes to make your point, but I don't see how it applies to Monopoly? (I love that game and it was my favorite growing up), though I guess not everyone does. There really is only one proper strategy in monopoly. Get the best one you can and build as many houses as fast as you can without leaving yourself so vulnerable you have to sell them immediately.

Bogatyr September 15, 2015 09:50

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104443)
This is also one of the greatest strengths of cardboard boxes and I suppose by extension Monopoly. To say something can be enjoyed in many ways does not say much for its merits as a game.

What these conversations in fact come back to is the idea that there's no standard by which to find angband deficient.

I'll tell you what standard works to find angband awesome: the fact that I keep returning to it year after year, decade after decade. The cardboard box was fun when I was 5, but never again.

mushroom patch September 15, 2015 16:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grotug (Post 104446)
Mushroom patch, you make use of a good analogy with cardboard boxes to make your point, but I don't see how it applies to Monopoly? (I love that game and it was my favorite growing up), though I guess not everyone does. There really is only one proper strategy in monopoly. Get the best one you can and build as many houses as fast as you can without leaving yourself so vulnerable you have to sell them immediately.

I say "and by extension Monopoly" because Monopoly comes in a cardboard box, with which one can have all the same kinds of fun as any cardboard box of that size and shape, but doing so ignores what makes Monopoly a game rather than a toy.

When someone says, "hey mushroom patch, you should stop taking angband so seriously and go play chess," they're not really defending angband as a game. They're defending it as a toy.

Part of what I'm saying here is that mechanics like food or fuel (and even resistances that don't contribute usefully to winning, which is quite a lot of them) are trappings of the game not very different from the box Monopoly comes in. When you spend a lot of time thinking about these things, deciding what kind of food items to buy at 1 or obsessing over details of your equipment that are totally unimportant, you're doing something more or less like playing with a tomagotchi (a digital pet keychain thing, for those who don't remember them). Tomagotchis are toys. I don't think games should get a lot of credit for encouraging this kind of thing.

Timo Pietilš September 15, 2015 17:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104463)
I say "and by extension Monopoly"
...
this kind of thing.

Pardon my language, but that's utter bullshit. Light has very important job in angband, you should try to expand that feature instead of make it go away.

Ingwe Ingweron September 15, 2015 17:45

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš (Post 104466)
Pardon my language, but that's utter bullshit. Light has very important job in angband, you should try to expand that feature instead of make it go away.

+1 here!

That, and I'm tired of being called "incompetent" by mushroompatch if I happen to have a @ die of starvation or lack of light. In some situations, it happens in the early game. Glutton ghosts, burned scrolls of recall, light drainers ... I win quite often, but not always. And sometimes @ dies even to the most mundane cause.

Light and food are both important learning curves for beginning players. They help prepare a player for more challenging problems later. Just because mushroompatch has apparently "perfectly" conquered this problem, doesn't mean everyone else has or that the problems are irrelevant or useless to others.

Derakon September 15, 2015 18:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104463)
Tomagotchis are toys. I don't think games should get a lot of credit for encouraging this kind of thing.

Feel free to correct me if I'm misunderstanding, but your stance appears to boil down to "games should consist of nothing more than a set of rules and a win condition". In other words, "gloss" and "flavor" are irrelevant, and game rules that exist solely to further gloss and flavor (with minimal game impact) should be discarded.

I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from. Your base premises are clearly very different from those of many users on this forum, and frankly you're not doing the greatest of jobs in explaining yourself without putting labels on players who don't agree with you.

Nick September 15, 2015 22:05

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104415)
I can't speak to everyone. I don't win every game. Last time I played I died by incorrectly assessing the threat of new monsters in a recent version and not having adequate escape options to get out of it when I realized I had made a mistake. I believe the last time I died before that was trying to speedrun a mage and not having a good feel for the pace to keep in the early game.

I think all deaths in recent memory were in the early part of the game, < xl 15, where the escape options I've been talking about were not available. I don't think I've ever died when I had teleport level, banishment, or teleport other (again, in recent memory -- years ago I died to things like high damage breath and whatever, the usual stuff people get killed by). Recently, I more often fail to win a game by getting bored with it than by actually dying.

But we can sit here all day talking about how I die or how the hypothetical median angband player usually dies and so on, but it would be a lot more useful to know through actual records. I've suggested it before and I'll suggest it again: If we really want to know where the state of play is, what works and what doesn't without just appealing to our own intuitions, we need public servers with rigorous record keeping.

OK, I think I have a reasonable understanding of where you're coming from now.

I think I want to deny the original feature request - although the light radius idea is cool, and I will keep it in mind. One of the main reasons is the current state of the game. The 4.0 -> 4.1 transition is mainly about cleaning up long-running problem areas, like traps and ID (cone breaths is not really one of these, except maybe in my mind). This thread illustrates that light isn't really one of those. We've had copious discussion about it, which will inform future plans.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104463)
When you spend a lot of time thinking about these things, deciding what kind of food items to buy at 1 or obsessing over details of your equipment that are totally unimportant, you're doing something more or less like playing with a tomagotchi (a digital pet keychain thing, for those who don't remember them). Tomagotchis are toys. I don't think games should get a lot of credit for encouraging this kind of thing.

Obligatory xkcd

Nivra September 15, 2015 23:52

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104463)
Part of what I'm saying here is that mechanics like food or fuel (and even resistances that don't contribute usefully to winning, which is quite a lot of them) are trappings of the game not very different from the box Monopoly comes in. When you spend a lot of time thinking about these things, deciding what kind of food items to buy at 1 or obsessing over details of your equipment that are totally unimportant, you're doing something more or less like playing with a tomagotchi ...

OK... so I'm going to go concrete here, using my latest Ironman HE Ranger. Firstly, I ran out of light again, on the level I'm at. I picked up every flask and lantern possible, and refilled only when less than 500 turns would be wasted. Perhaps I'm playing the ranger a bit too mage'ish and waiting for SP to regen so I'm burning turns. I stopped picking up torches after I had over 22500 turns banked(a full lantern and a spare flask). Sure, the Ranger is progressing uber-slowly. But the RNG has not been kind, and there have been very scarce drops. Every level except those lost to ?Deep Descent have been cleared. Luckily, on the current level where he ran out of light, he was 2/3rds of the way through clearing it, and it had a medium vault left (his first!). He cleared the path to the vault and the vault itself using spells for light and beam of light, and there was a flask left in the vault. So he's back up to 7500 once he fills his lantern before descending.

So firstly, unless you think I should've stockpiled both torches and lanterns, which would've cost another already scarce ironman inventory slot as well as weight, then light as a resource made an impact on this character.

Secondly, inventory management. Here's a link. I dropped all 4 spellbooks, and a stack of 17 !CLW on the floor to take this screenshot. So, in order to move down, he'll have to drop 5 items from his inventory. I've already made my decision, but I feel like it's anything but "straightforward." I could go for max damage (+9dam ring,=FA,ScimXA,117mana), max mana (cardrote, =Int, GlovesFA), or some happy medium using the artifact spear. At the heart of it is how I want to play my ranger, with ~200 mana and weak melee, or ~100 mana and strong melee. Do I want to use the spear for the sprint activation all the time? etc. Given the scarcity of arrows he's encountered, he can't really lean on ranged attack for most monsters.

So maybe you think this is "straightforward." Or maybe you think gear decisions at this level are all Tamogotchi, and it doesn't matter if the ranger plays like a warrior or a mage. But note that at dlvl 33, he's descending into some hairy territory, doesn't have RoPoison, Hold Life, and with only 200+ HP and weak AC can't stand in melee with a lot of mobs, but with ranger casting and no spare arrows, can't do much sustained damage at ranged. (Hence the constant resting and using up fuel). Finally, the fact that he has only 7500 turns of light left is pushing him to rest less and take more risks.

IMO, this is a great example of how light interacts with inventory management for ironman play.

http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=18135

MattB September 16, 2015 01:27

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grotug (Post 104446)
I guess I am the type of player mushroom patch refers to as I go bat-crazy trying to juggle what to keep and what to leave behind; and which artifacts and non-artifacts to stop saving in my home (and other useful items). I find inventory management to be one of, if not *the* most challenging part of the game.

I thought 'solving' the character was a very desirable thing to do before facing Morgoth or the last levels of the game? I find I don't have the mental acuity to keep up with holes in my character. If I lack rDisenchantment I hate that the solution is to just TO everything that might Disenchant me. I fatigue easily from checking everything I encounter for its details.

I die all the time to stubbornness and impatience. I suffer from 'attachment' syndrome, in which I want to kill the thing because it might drop something or because I want to secure the level. I hate leaving battles or levels before I've seen everything. And whenever I confront a Unique I feel a strong desire to kill the monster.... I want its drops. I want the vindication that the dungeon does not win; that I am not here to flee, but to fight. I am stuck in the mentality that I have to kill everything on my way to the final boss fight. I'm an explorer, I don't want to miss anything. I don't want to leave a stone unturned, a vault, a special room, a dingy corner of the map unscrutinized.

I tend to stockpile a lot of powerful escapes (?*destruction*, both ?banishes, TOs and others but rarely using them... I die because I'm too optimistic that RNG will roll in my favor. I die because I'm greedy.

I love this post.
I'm not alone!

mushroom patch September 16, 2015 03:25

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš (Post 104466)
Pardon my language, but that's utter bullshit. Light has very important job in angband, you should try to expand that feature instead of make it go away.

My God, how many times do I have to say straight out that I am not advocating removal of light? I've literally said this in at least three posts including the OP. The OP is exactly a suggestion for expanding the light feature.

Quote:

Feel free to correct me if I'm misunderstanding, but your stance appears to boil down to "games should consist of nothing more than a set of rules and a win condition". In other words, "gloss" and "flavor" are irrelevant, and game rules that exist solely to further gloss and flavor (with minimal game impact) should be discarded.

I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from. Your base premises are clearly very different from those of many users on this forum, and frankly you're not doing the greatest of jobs in explaining yourself without putting labels on players who don't agree with you.
No, that's not quite what I think. I think flavor is good when it provides useful intuition for how the game can be played effectively. To take the Monopoly example, it's good that it uses concepts from real life (money, property, mortgages, development, etc.) because it helps the player grasp the rules. Similarly, it's good when a game like angband uses medieval melee weapons, bows and arrows, and to a lesser extent magic spells and devices because they provide accurate intuition about how the game's rules work.

Flavor, done right, is a collection of symbols that communicate game rules to players by analogy to their understanding of something familiar, either real or imagined. It also provides a language for talking about game rules with other players in a way that sounds less technical and more familiar.

Flavor can also be done badly. The signs of bad flavor are rules that are motivated by "realism" as understood in the model on the flavor side, but that have tedious or uninteresting consequences on the rules/gameplay side.

[edit:] One other bit about good flavor and bad flavor: It's good for flavor also to suggest effective strategies and tactics. It's bad for flavor to create complexity that obscures effective strategy/tactics and very bad for flavor to suggest outright bad strategy/tactics. Angband has a little bit of the former problem, not so much of the latter. It looks to me like bad strategy/tactics are mostly caused by the trauma of losing characters to instant deaths and the particular manifestation of caution that inspires in most RPG players, namely "level up a lot so you won't die in one hit :^D" -- not really a flavor issue. (In fact, the right response is just not to get hit.)

Whelk September 16, 2015 04:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104495)
Flavor, done right for me, is a collection of symbols that communicate game rules to players by analogy to their understanding of something familiar, either real or imagined. It also provides a language for talking about game rules with other players in a way that sounds less technical and more familiar.

Fixed that for you. I'm thrilled to see flavor stuff that doesn't give me any sort of hint or clue or rule explanation or example of something technical to help me win. A cool-looking room? Fun to see! A monster that eats light? Neat concept! A bloodstained corridor? Creepy! A dining-hall-themed room with a bunch of rations and wine and hard biscuits and jerky and potions of water/apple juice? Nice touch! A winding corridor off to the side of the normal dungeon with a dwarf skeleton and completely mundane shovel or pick at the end? Evocative!

These are the types of things that make this "game" more "fun" for me, even though they aren't making me learn some tip to improve my chances of winning or providing some kind of challenge. They're just neat. They add to the feel and the experience, and remind me that this isn't just a card or chess game, but that we're in a world that has some history, legend, and atmosphere to it.

I mean ... game, right? For fun? Isn't that what this is? Not just some challenge/tournament system that needs to be refined for Maximum Challenge and Tactical Requirement? I mean, if that's what Angband is actually supposed to be, then by all means; I'll move on to something else more to my taste, but Angband never struck me as that type of game; it's always had a decent balance of tactics/challenge with overlying flavor. Different people like different things; derive fun from different aspects of the same activities. I'm hearing a lot of definitive-sounding statements about what constitutes good and bad, but all the conflicting and contrasting opinions seem to indicate that perhaps there isn't One True Way to Good Game Design.

mushroom patch September 16, 2015 06:26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Whelk (Post 104496)
Fixed that for you. I'm thrilled to see flavor stuff that doesn't give me any sort of hint or clue or rule explanation or example of something technical to help me win. A cool-looking room? Fun to see! A monster that eats light? Neat concept! A bloodstained corridor? Creepy! A dining-hall-themed room with a bunch of rations and wine and hard biscuits and jerky and potions of water/apple juice? Nice touch! A winding corridor off to the side of the normal dungeon with a dwarf skeleton and completely mundane shovel or pick at the end? Evocative!

You're talking about something that doesn't exist or at least isn't angband (unless this is a recent addition, in which case, fellas... smh). These things are a poor substitute for reading a book, watching a movie, or taking a walk.

Quote:

I'm hearing a lot of definitive-sounding statements about what constitutes good and bad, but all the conflicting and contrasting opinions seem to indicate that perhaps there isn't One True Way to Good Game Design.
That people have a lot of conflicting opinions, as usual, indicates nothing.

Tarrasque September 16, 2015 06:35

Well there used to be bones lying around on the floor, I forget if there were any dwarf skeletons though.

Mondkalb September 16, 2015 06:50

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tarrasque (Post 104498)
Well there used to be bones lying around on the floor, I forget if there were any dwarf skeletons though.

There were rodent skeletons and also shards of pottery and empty fllasks as well as broken armor and broken swords. And sticks. And broken doors.
All that has been removed already for good or bad. I am not sure about a variety of food and drinks, I think some of them is gone also.

Now we are on the way to take away food and light sources completely. While you are on it, you could take away hidden treasure, nobody needs it. There are still different wall tiles (at least in the graphic version of the game). Take them away, they are nothing but a diversion from our quest "Buy a lantern, kill Morgoth!"!

I like FAAngand as a whole more than vanilla because of it's many flavorful details. Vanilla is stll fun to play, but it gets more and more streamlined and stripped of all flavors.

Nivra September 16, 2015 07:12

Speaking of which, I guess the corpses of your own prior YASD's were also taken out. I always thought it would be cool if you could loot an artifact from your own predecessor's corpse.

Nick September 16, 2015 07:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by mushroom patch (Post 104495)
I think flavor is good when it provides useful intuition for how the game can be played effectively. To take the Monopoly example, it's good that it uses concepts from real life (money, property, mortgages, development, etc.) because it helps the player grasp the rules. Similarly, it's good when a game like angband uses medieval melee weapons, bows and arrows, and to a lesser extent magic spells and devices because they provide accurate intuition about how the game's rules work.

Flavor, done right, is a collection of symbols that communicate game rules to players by analogy to their understanding of something familiar, either real or imagined. It also provides a language for talking about game rules with other players in a way that sounds less technical and more familiar.

Flavor can also be done badly. The signs of bad flavor are rules that are motivated by "realism" as understood in the model on the flavor side, but that have tedious or uninteresting consequences on the rules/gameplay side.

I think, then, that Derakon had the nub of it. The essence of the game, to you, is a set of rules and a win condition, and the "flavour" elements are only useful in as far as they serve to give good information about those rules.

Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with viewing the game like that. I'll even roughly agree on a mechanical level with your characterisation of when flavour is done well and when it's done badly. But the simple fact is that (evidenced by the posts from pretty much everyone but you in this thread) other people see it differently.

To take a trivial example, killing Singing Happy Drunks in town is a no-brainer, mechanic-wise - it's just free gold. But every now and then, as I pick up the gold, I think "He was happy, and I just killed him and took everything he owned". And I tend not to ignore potions of water, because when my character finds one and quaffs it I actually feel physically refreshed.

So by all means go on playing as a purely intellectual exercise - Angband makes a great form of complex solitaire. But don't for a moment kid yourself that everyone else is doing the same thing, because we're not.

wobbly September 16, 2015 09:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 104502)
To take a trivial example, killing Singing Happy Drunks in town is a no-brainer, mechanic-wise - it's just free gold. But every now and then, as I pick up the gold, I think "He was happy, and I just killed him and took everything he owned". And I tend not to ignore potions of water, because when my character finds one and quaffs it I actually feel physically refreshed.

You do? Strange I've always favoured using the most overpowered attack spell for the singing happy drunk. Very cathartic.

MattB September 16, 2015 09:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by wobbly (Post 104505)
You do? Strange I've always favoured using the most overpowered attack spell for the singing happy drunk. Very cathartic.

I've just been very disappointed to discover that you can't kill a singing happy drunk by flinging flasks of fine wine at him. Please fix this. For flavour reasons.

mushroom patch September 16, 2015 10:35

Well, at least I know why the game still has potions of water now.

Carnivean September 16, 2015 11:08

Quote:

Originally Posted by MattB (Post 104507)
I've just been very disappointed to discover that you can't kill a singing happy drunk by flinging flasks of fine wine at him. Please fix this. For flavour reasons.

But not from the impact, from the cirrhosis. Have them give a stream of messages as they die please.

Derakon September 16, 2015 14:47

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nivra (Post 104501)
Speaking of which, I guess the corpses of your own prior YASD's were also taken out. I always thought it would be cool if you could loot an artifact from your own predecessor's corpse.

Angband never had corpses of previous characters; that's a NetHack thing. It did used to have player ghosts, monsters based on your old dead characters that you could fight. That got taken out years ago and for some reason never returned. Of course several variants have restored this feature.

(Especially nasty was that if you had another character around that wasn't dead, you could encounter a player "ghost" based on them in the town, which could create some really dangerous fights)


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