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Old May 15, 2012, 00:55   #1
fizzix
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Compband

So this is an idea that I've had for a while for a new variant that's specifically designed for competitions. The main goals are to remove *some* of the game's variation to allow for better comparison between players (or competitors), and to allow the user to build their own competitions and challenges with custom goals. My hope is that it can accommodate competitions like we currently have on the competition page, but also to accommodate real-time competitions if there's some desire for that. It's still in the idea phase, and any work that I'd put into it is going to wait at least until 3.4 is out the door.

The purpose of this post is to throw out the ideas I have and get others, as well as to gauge interest.

Here are the gameplay changes:

1) Permanent levels, that are created upon game start. I would say the success of the project hinges on whether I can figure out how to implement this.

2) Destruction and Banishment removes monsters from the level, heals them, and places them on a different level. (destruction usually moves deeper)

3) Similarly Destruction moves artifacts and items to a new level, usually downwards.

4) Summoning "calls" monsters, first looking through the current level and then looking at nearby levels. If you've killed all the monsters on all other levels, Morgoth's summons will come up empty.

5) No monster spawning, no breeding of monsters with drops (although I'm not too worried about this).

6) No restocking items in town. The goal of 4,5 and 6 to allow the creator to specify all the monsters/items that will appear in the game.

7) probably remove curse armor, curse weapon and the acquirement scrolls.

In addition to that the game will allow a new mode similar to wiz-mode called creator mode. This will allow someone to customize a particular challenge. In this mode you can jump to levels and do the following tasks.

1) Modify terrain, adding/removing walls, perm walls, doors, stairs, etc.

2) Add/remove items from shops

3) Place monsters and specify/modify drops. (Placing unique monsters will tell you where the monster was moved from, in case it was. This way you can go delete its previous escorts if you desire.)

4) Create/remove items.

5) Mark monsters or items as goal items, (or quest items I guess...) Similarly, you can mark floor squares as quest squares.

6) Broad commands are probably desirable. The procedure for this would be. Wipe level, specify if you want a vault/pit on the level and which type. And some basic info like number of rooms. This might be hard, but I think it's doable.

High level creator commands would also be supported, these could look like.

1) Inhibit creation of an item/ego (i.e. no rings of speed, or no -teleport other)

2) Inhibit availability of a spell (i.e. you get MB4 but no haste self).

3) Query how often specific items appear in the game, sorted by level. (this is probably the 2nd hardest task in these lists)

4) Adjust player equipment/armor.

5) Place player in dungeon and start competition.

The last difference is the creation of goals. Completing all the goal or goals causes the competition to finish. These goals could be like.

1) Defeat a specific monster, or multiple monsters.

2) Get to a specific place. (i.e. get to the 'goal' square on dlevel 40)

3) Recover a specific item. (i.e. Find the ring of power "Narya")

They could be mixed. For example you can have something like, find the short sword "sting", kill Ugluk, Shagrat, Bolg, and Azog, and get to the down stairs on dlevel 25.

Thoughts?
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Old May 15, 2012, 03:42   #2
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Sounds interesting, but I'm sure you realize that permanent levels automatically makes it a completely different game than any *band, more like nethack in a lot of ways. Is that what you want?

It'd be fun for a comp creator to customize the dungeon like that though.
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Old May 15, 2012, 05:29   #3
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OK, here's a suggestion (inspired by Immir and Brogue) which implements some of your ideas and would be a first step for some others.
  1. Store the initial RNG seed
  2. Every time the character arrives on a new level, apply a function (which you would want to be a permutation on seeds) of the initial seed, the depth, and the number of times the character had visited that depth, and use that as the new seed.

Result: For a given starting savefile (as we have with the comp), all levels would be predetermined.

This would be a pretty easy change to make - the biggest impact would be the need to store the initial seed and the number of times each level had been visited in the savefile.

Making the seed user choosable is an optional extra.
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Old May 15, 2012, 06:11   #4
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This seems like the kind of thing where foreknowledge starts getting really powerful. If you find Ringil at 2400' and then die later, your next character will make a beeline for that item. It'd be up to the comp designer to make certain that the weapon would be appropriately guarded...which just sounds like a massive amount of work since you're basically saying that every level would need to be intelligently designed.

That said, for smaller-scale challenges I do like the idea of a "creator mode". Like, you get handed a half-troll mage at 1000' and are told to extract the artifact from the greater vault on the level, fewest turns wins.
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Old May 15, 2012, 14:24   #5
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@Nick: I don't think that plan would allow for summoning monsters from different levels, or including modified levels. I guess there's a way to store a seed and then add the modifications to it, but that seems like more work than it needs.

@Derakon: These seem like very good points. I guess, the least-moves game comes into a challenge of optimizing a route, which some people find fun, but probably doesn't appeal to the vast majority of players. I guess in my mind, these challenges would always be smaller, 10 level range max, where optimizing a route could still be fun.

I guess it's better in a real time competition, with some sort of cheat death enabled. (dying sends you to the beginning, cuts your XP by some amount, and heals all monsters.) I don't see real time competitions being full game though. That would take some dedication.

So I don't think either case really works for a full-game competition. So it's one of those things where I'd want the full spectrum of levels/abilities available, but no competition, except for the most cleverly crafted, will ever use the full game.
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Old May 15, 2012, 14:26   #6
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I love the creator-mode mini-challenge idea. You would eventually create a database of scenarios that could be used as a learning tool to showcase situations where skill and techniques make considerable differences. Also, it would give a glimpse for new players some of the fun that awaits them if they hang with the game long enough. It could become sort of like, a survival manual...The Angbander's Guide to the Universe. Please refer to comp 293 for strategies dealing with red dragon pits and low level rangers...

Sorry to tangent. I like your compband idea. I would play it simply for the no-monster-spawn and permalevels.
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Old May 15, 2012, 14:34   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
@Nick: I don't think that plan would allow for summoning monsters from different levels, or including modified levels. I guess there's a way to store a seed and then add the modifications to it, but that seems like more work than it needs.
No, it's a much more modest plan. It does, though, have the feature that it could be added to regular angband with essentially no effect, but would have a big effect on competition play.
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Old May 15, 2012, 18:36   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HallucinationMushroom View Post
I love the creator-mode mini-challenge idea. You would eventually create a database of scenarios that could be used as a learning tool to showcase situations where skill and techniques make considerable differences. Also, it would give a glimpse for new players some of the fun that awaits them if they hang with the game long enough. It could become sort of like, a survival manual...The Angbander's Guide to the Universe. Please refer to comp 293 for strategies dealing with red dragon pits and low level rangers...

Sorry to tangent. I like your compband idea. I would play it simply for the no-monster-spawn and permalevels.
There was a weird roguelike called "Shiren the Wanderer" for super famicom (later released on DS) that did exactly this -- there was this room with like 100 "minigame" scenarios in it, where you were basically taught to handle really specific difficult situations that you might encounter in the dungeon. They also showcased some object interactions that you wouldn't necessarily have discovered on your own, had you not been forced into it.

One of the best games I've ever played, hands-down.
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Old May 16, 2012, 01:30   #9
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You could create a save file that resets itself at the upon death. This would re-randomize the flavors and increment the death counter, where number of deaths would figure, at least moderately, in the scoring. So finding Ringil at 2400' isn't all that, even if it is repeatable, if it took you 4 lives to find it, and your competition only 2. You wouldn't be able to commit suicide and then race to 2400' for the astoundingly low turn count. Well, you could, but it would cost ya.

Maybe redact certain portions of the dumps too... flavors, depths, etc.
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Old May 16, 2012, 16:05   #10
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Hey, cool... I'll tell my nephew to buy it so I can play it at X-mas. Heh.
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