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Old January 9, 2012, 12:59   #11
Magnate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by half View Post
Of course it is a lot of work to change the stats of 600 monsters, and all items etc when changing a combat system, but quite a bit of it can be done via spreadsheets (this is what we did) and it can indeed be best to change several systems simultaneously to avoid spreading the pain. I doubt there would be much interest in using Sil combat in V (at least without modification), but thought I'd show how it *can* be done.
Your system is not a million miles from the one Derakon introduced to v4: we use only one die roll in each case, since evasion and absorption are constant, but the concepts are identical. (We have so far only introduced these concepts for attacks by the player - monster melee attacks are as yet unchanged.)

Would you be willing to share your spreadsheets? Or, better still, the script you used to create them from monster.txt? I'm assuming you didn't enter all 600 monsters by hand!

I think I'm a bit confused by the lack of hp scaling. I had assumed that if we ever did this in v4, the basic figure of 28hp (or wound points, or whatever we'd want to call real physical damage) would be supplemented by a higher figure of fatigue points (or whatever you want to call the quantity which is eroded by physical combat). You don't seem to have introduced a second figure, so does this mean that you've been careful that monsters can't exceed certain damage caps, or that one-hit kills are likely to be more common in Sil? I noticed that you limited OODness to +/- 2 levels, which will help. But even then, a lightly armoured character must surely be in great danger of being one-shotted later on in the game?
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Old January 9, 2012, 14:37   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
Would you be willing to share your spreadsheets? Or, better still, the script you used to create them from monster.txt? I'm assuming you didn't enter all 600 monsters by hand!
I can certainly share the spreadsheets I have, though they're a little messy. But the key component was a function which takes in attacker's and defender's stats, and outputs average damage/round (we used this to balance different types of base weapon against each other as well as monster attacks). As the combat system in v4 is different, this function would also be different, but presumably not too hard to write.

Entering the monster values was semi-automated; half sent me a monster spoiler document (which I think may have been generated by the game?) which was not spreadsheet-readable, but not so far off. Sil has less than a hundred monsters, so this wasn't too bad to do by hand; you could presumably change the output format for the spoiler file slightly to make it easier to put straight into a spreadsheet, though. What we did do by hand was rank monsters by roughly how much of a threat they should represent against different character archetypes, so we had something to aim at when tweaking their stats.

Quote:
I think I'm a bit confused by the lack of hp scaling. I had assumed that if we ever did this in v4, the basic figure of 28hp (or wound points, or whatever we'd want to call real physical damage) would be supplemented by a higher figure of fatigue points (or whatever you want to call the quantity which is eroded by physical combat). You don't seem to have introduced a second figure, so does this mean that you've been careful that monsters can't exceed certain damage caps, or that one-hit kills are likely to be more common in Sil? I noticed that you limited OODness to +/- 2 levels, which will help. But even then, a lightly armoured character must surely be in great danger of being one-shotted later on in the game?
As you observe, Sil doesn't have any kind of fatigue points or similar. (I do think this leads to a couple of odd effects which you might try to correct if being more simulationist, such as being able to fight against hordes of foes indefinitely without getting tired, or able to heal what are presumably large physical wounds by resting a little in the dungeon.)

I don't think the lack of scaling of some form of health is really a problem, though. Rather, monster damage needn't increase that much with depth, since increasing their melee is already enough. As it happens, we do increase monster damage somewhat with depth, so that early on a hard-hitting enemy might be an orc warrior, doing 3d7 with a battle axe. A great dragon, on the other hand, can claw for 3d13 damage or bite for 2d23. Flavourwise, this is clear: the increase represents not that the dragon is better at fighting (that's covered by melee), but that the dragon is bigger and hits harder. Mechanically, this is a modest increase in damage, which counteracts the fact that players are likely to have better armour later in the game, and also on average perhaps slightly higher Constitution (which will mean increased health, just not by very much). There is a theoretical small risk of one hit kills in the late game, as opposed to very little in the early game where the enemies are smaller (I think the first ones which might viably do this are giants), but in practice I'm not sure we've ever had it happen despite fairly extensive playtesting. So I guess that roughly speaking it is true that monsters don't exceed certain damage caps.

Two exceptions in Sil:
- Dragon fire from the older dragons is very dangerous, and might well kill players without at least one source of fire resist.
- Humans are quite a lot more fragile (lower Constitution) than the other races. So far I don't think we've got any past the mid-game, and it's possible there would be some unfair deaths later on. Still, they are meant to be a challenge race, and Sil is a relatively short game, so I'm not too concerned about this at the moment.
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Old January 9, 2012, 14:58   #13
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Thanks for the detailed response - I had of course forgotten how much you have changed monster stats. I was still thinking in terms of greater titans doing 4x 12d12 damage - but 3d13 and 2d23 are much more sensible numbers.

I don't have any problem per se with not scaling hp - I was just very interested to see how you'd made it work.

You are right that the monster spoiler can be generated in-game (either via debug mode (ctrl-a) or the death menu), and yes it is fairly easy to automate it. Fizzix has been doing some spreadsheet work on estimated damage outputs for different classes at different clevs, so we're using roughly the same methodology.

Time to stop surfing and give it a play ...
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Old February 14, 2012, 00:35   #14
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One goal in balancing the combat in Sil was to give interesting choices between the different weapons and armour.

For instance, heavier armour gives more protection but penalties to melee/evasion. We used to have it such that you'd normally exchange a skill point for an increase of 1 in the average protection. It wasn't clear which was better, so it wasn't clear whether light or heavy armour was better.

However we later realised that as it is often more effective to specialise in a strategy (evasion/protection), most characters would prefer one of the armour types at the extremes. We thought that this was bad: there should be characters whose preferred armour is a mail corslet, etc. So we changed so that you get diminishing returns when upgrading to heavier armour types. Almost everyone now wants to have leather armour rather than a robe, many prefer studded leather, but only protection specialists would prefer a long corslet to a corslet. I'm not sure which is typically the best of the regular types of armour (would be interested to hear opinions).

We used the spreadsheets mentioned above to check that we were creating similar kinds of choices with the weapons, and also that the best weapons with increasing strength got appropriately better.
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Old February 14, 2012, 04:24   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
One goal in balancing the combat in Sil was to give interesting choices between the different weapons and armour.

For instance, heavier armour gives more protection but penalties to melee/evasion. We used to have it such that you'd normally exchange a skill point for an increase of 1 in the average protection. It wasn't clear which was better, so it wasn't clear whether light or heavy armour was better.

However we later realised that as it is often more effective to specialise in a strategy (evasion/protection), most characters would prefer one of the armour types at the extremes. We thought that this was bad: there should be characters whose preferred armour is a mail corslet, etc. So we changed so that you get diminishing returns when upgrading to heavier armour types. Almost everyone now wants to have leather armour rather than a robe, many prefer studded leather, but only protection specialists would prefer a long corslet to a corslet. I'm not sure which is typically the best of the regular types of armour (would be interested to hear opinions).

We used the spreadsheets mentioned above to check that we were creating similar kinds of choices with the weapons, and also that the best weapons with increasing strength got appropriately better.
In my opinion I think that leather or studded leather is the best, why? Because you can avoid blows by things like giants and you don't have melee penalties so you are more likely to hit. But then again I'm more of the stealth type of player
so what works for me might not work for another type of player.
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Old February 14, 2012, 04:34   #16
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I very rarely wear anything heavier than plain leather armor in Sil, but I tend to specialize in evasion.
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