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Old August 10, 2011, 12:23   #1
Timo Pietilš
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Ideas from old angband.

Consensus is that game is now too easy, however ways to make it more difficult are a bit limited, because making monsters more difficult just means that more monsters get avoided completely and/or people scum for better equipment until they can kill those hard monsters. Making things more rare just means that this scumming just takes longer.

So. What made old versions more difficult than current one without doing either of the two above:

1) inventory management. Things with charges didn't stack unless charge amount was identical, and staves didn't stack even with identical charges. We could revert that partially so that at least staves no longer stack.

2) inventory management (still). Ammunition took space from inventory. Now quiver basically adds ten additional letters to inventory making missile combat way more effective than it was. I vote for removal of quiver. If you wanted to have multiple stacks of ammo, you need multiple slots from inventory. This creates IMO necessary problems for what to carry and what not to carry. You are not supposed to be able to carry half the town with you.

3) floor stacking. This is anti-summon corridor prevention. You could create ASC, but you pretty much lost the loot if you did this. How about making things "radiate" from point of origin, but never stack more than three items deep piles? If at all.

4) item detection. No items could be identified beyond what you could look and you couldn't look beyond what you really saw. Item symbol was the only way to distinguish items from each other. Treasure detection didn't detect items, only treasure.

5) monster detection. Pretty much same as above, you couldn't look beyond what you really saw, so distinguishing monsters from each other required seeing them. No extra term windows with monster lists. I vote for partial detection removal so that monsters that are detected by ESP still get identified, but other non-visible ones do not. This creates nice "fog of war" -effect intensifying the mood of the game.

6) monster coloring. This is something I don't know if it is worth changing, but in older versions it was more difficult to distinguish monsters from each other, and I have lately started to think that it was at least partially deliberate decision more than just limitation of colors in old versions. Grip and Fang were indistinguishable from jackals, even that there were plenty of colors free to use for canine uniques for example.

7) More restricted item abilities. Acid and poison -brands didn't exist at all. Elec brand was x5 brand and was really rare, only few items had it. Way less random ability items existed. Whole selection of abilities and items was more compact, stunning was prevented by sound and chaos did prevent confusion. No trickery, weaponmastery, ESP, Devotion, sustenance, magi cloaks, lothlorien bows, Buckland slings etc etc etc. This lead to less variation in items at the endgame, but more variation in gameplay, because you were not guaranteed to find everything you think you needed in one form or another. You actually used Anarion at the endgame more often than not, how many games you now play that you even consider using that one?

8) class/race selections were restricted. Only humans and dunedain could play paladins, and warrior was only class allowed for everybody etc.

7) Town shops were way more random. That created an situation where you were not guaranteed anything, but they also did have occasional discounts which created nice flavor for shopping.

8) games were shorter. Less (and easier) monsters to kill did mean you got to bottom faster if you wanted, but it also did mean that you were less prepared to really tough fights which did mean more deaths. Difference between uniques and tough normal monsters was bigger.
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Old August 10, 2011, 13:46   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
Consensus is that game is now too easy, however ways to make it more difficult are a bit limited, because making monsters more difficult just means that more monsters get avoided completely and/or people scum for better equipment until they can kill those hard monsters. Making things more rare just means that this scumming just takes longer.
I read you whole post and while I agree that the changes mentioned will make the game harder and merit some consideration, most make me cringe (from a UI perspective, I want the game to remember stuff for me). Nightmarish visions of that Fangband competition still haunt me. I'd rather evasion became harder, scumming restricted, obvious exploits nerfed, and AI improved. No surprises here. I mean, what if 0% failure evasion wasn't possible (or was incredibly rare).
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Old August 10, 2011, 14:19   #3
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Nightmarish visions of that Fangband competition still haunt me.
My work here is done
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Old August 10, 2011, 14:27   #4
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Some random ideas :

* Allow for the Z monster spell where the monster can teleport the player next to him/her ( if Vanilla has this already, give it to a few more monsters ).

* More vaults ( risk/rewards et all )

* inventory management : make things more vulnerable to acid/fire/cold attacks ( I would hate that of course, but you asked how to make it harder

* traps, make some of the traps odds based to find, even with spells.

* reduce player hitpoints and spell points by 1/3 ( or whatever fraction you feel like )

The problem with fiddling with UI/info is that offscreen monsters can kill you, I dont think any other roguelike allows for that. And because of that auto-travel from stone soup will never work nor fog of war ( you would just need to be lucky from then on instead of skillful).

T.
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Old August 10, 2011, 15:23   #5
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Regarding the quiver, I've said for awhile now that it's overshot its goal, which was to encourage the player to continue using a stack of ammo even after half its units have been broken through use. The quiver should be using about 30 ammo/inventory slot, instead of the current 99. That makes inventory management harder while still allowing the player to continue using a "marginal" stack, which IMO is a good thing.
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Old August 10, 2011, 19:09   #6
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please i understand that u might think it is easy but that dnt mean go back 2 oldschool,, here try this from suggest.doc of frog-knows... maybe it has actual legit suggestions:

Code:
	Currently, the Chaos, Gold, Bronze, Shimmering, Law, Balance Dragon
Scale Mails do not work properly - they only do damage of a particular sort to
creatures at the moment. Ideally, Bronze should confuse creatures in its are,
Gold should stun etc.
	Add some more monster pits, particularly Giant pits.
	Have the no. of turns played printed on the character sheet (converted
to days gametime perhaps?) and perhaps have particular monsters appearing at
particular times of the day e.g. undead more at night etc.
	Have more resists for creatures... chaos, disenchantment, sound,
confusion etc. and even spell resist. I mean, you can have em, so why not
them?
	Add Chris Wilde's targetting code - not sure about upsetting the
balance too much with this one, but it's an idea.
	Instead of having to wait until a rod has recharged before being able
to use it, have a chance of getting it to work before being fully charged, and
if it fails, destroy the rod.
	Different types of dungeon level... some with more corridors etc.,
some with more rooms.
	Write the quest plane code again, the old code was somehow lost, and
all I have left are the maps for the elemental and dragon planes. The idea is
that at certain levels there are particular quests to do before you can
proceed... the code will take a fair bit of writing though. I am including the
quest files in the tar.
	A new spell for mages and/or priests... set recall spell.
	New weapon to wield... the rod. Then we can have more Tolkien sceptres
and rods actually in the code and useful.
	Digging/quiver slots.
	The priest spell unbarring ways is in the wrong book really... needs
to be moved as well as adding more mage and priest spells. Priest spell of
cure poison should come at a lower level - currently mages get it earlier.
	Add two new flags for creatures... environment (things like cold,
desert etc.) and a friendly flag... add creatures that don't attack you, maybe
aid you instead.
	Perhaps have injuries to characters to give a more authentic feel...
scars and things to make your character more personal.
	Shouldn't be able to genocide uniques, or polymorph other creatures
into uniques.
	Add efreeti, djinni as high level elementals.
	Add a command to show (or dump to a file) total numbers of particular
creatures killed, as well as the total killed.
	Larger than normal are of effect for powerful ball spells/dragon
breath.
	Perhaps have the caster take some damage from ball spells if they are
cast too close.
	Let monsters carry specific treasure (only Morgoth does this at the
moment, with the Iron Crown and Grond)
	Communication with monsters.
	Monsters can use items too.
	Stores in the dungeon.
	Different kinds of floor.






eeeeee plz no rage
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Old August 10, 2011, 19:41   #7
Timo Pietilš
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Quote:
Originally Posted by konijn_ View Post
Some random ideas :

* Allow for the Z monster spell where the monster can teleport the player next to him/her ( if Vanilla has this already, give it to a few more monsters ).
Already exists. Quite a few monsters already have it. It requires LoS to monster though. As non-LoS spell it would be just too deadly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by konijn_ View Post
* More vaults ( risk/rewards et all )
I agree with this. Dungeon is too boring in 3.3. Less boring monsters, more dungeon features.

Quote:
Originally Posted by konijn_ View Post
* inventory management : make things more vulnerable to acid/fire/cold attacks ( I would hate that of course, but you asked how to make it harder
That makes it more annoying, not harder. Inventory management difficulty comes from limited space. Remove just two letters and it hurts. Really hurts. Burn some scrolls, who cares, you just buy a few more to compensate. Limiting space makes your choices more limited which makes playing harder, but less annoying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by konijn_ View Post
* traps, make some of the traps odds based to find, even with spells.

* reduce player hitpoints and spell points by 1/3 ( or whatever fraction you feel like )
Those I would hate a lot. It would take fun out of the game.

You are supposed to be able to get a char that is easy to win with. Getting there should be difficult, but not impossible, and reducing HP would make just that: impossible to get magnificent characters. I would prefer a game where even dumbest newbie could find a CGV at dlvl 4950' after reading 50 deep descent scrolls he didn't know what they do and after killing all the white icky things in that unlikely GCV has a equipments that make Morgoth tremble. Just make it unlikely, but you need a lucky break every now and then to keep game interesting. Self-punishment isn't fun very long without some great rewards every now and then. (for this reason I actually hate the fact that *destruction* now removes artifacts as well).

Traps are just annoyance currently. They need to be redesigned completely. Preferably so that you don't need detect traps at all. Traps are too easy to detect and too deadly to ignore causing just unnecessary repetitious action made every now and then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by konijn_ View Post
The problem with fiddling with UI/info is that offscreen monsters can kill you, I dont think any other roguelike allows for that. And because of that auto-travel from stone soup will never work nor fog of war ( you would just need to be lucky from then on instead of skillful).

T.
Offscreen monsters were quite well handled by even frog-knows angband where monster lists didn't exist at all and all you could see was the main screen. Disturbance. Look-command (change sectors). What I would like to see is same "fog of war" that it had. Too much information is now given away with way too little effort. It was quite possible to win without extreme luck even in Moria, where you never got to situation where instant death from single monster was not possible (AMHD, no poison resistance).

There is a situation in current vanilla that can cause instant death even for best skilled players, and I have already lost one char to that: spell range is same as your visual range.

You move, monster appears in LoS because of that, it is monsters turn. RIP. That is new for 3.2, spell range was shorter before and was changed to satisfy one tiny issue too big multiplier in Umbar caused. I'd like to get that one reverted back to what it was. Granted it is rare, but it is unavoidable and unavoidable deaths is something that was serious design bug/error/mistake in older angband philosophy.

It also removed two tactical aspects of the game:

1) you can no longer lure monsters to where you want them to go unless monster has bigger detection range than your visual range. Especially same speed, but too difficult to handle monsters.

2) you could remove a wall between you and insta-killer monster with stone to mud at the edge of the spell range without getting immediately blasted to pieces by that monster while being inside the detection range of the monster.

It also made Nexus Q even more annoying than it was before. Now it can cast the "go away" spell as soon as it can see you, and that can make some places very very hard to reach.
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Old August 11, 2011, 11:51   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
That makes it more annoying, not harder. Inventory management difficulty comes from limited space. Remove just two letters and it hurts. Really hurts. Burn some scrolls, who cares, you just buy a few more to compensate. Limiting space makes your choices more limited which makes playing harder, but less annoying.
I think the real problem is that there is no consensus on the distinction between "harder" and "more annoying". One person's challenge is another's annoyance and vice versa.

My own views are:

Making inventory management harder very quickly becomes annoying. Making stuff not stack, for example, sounds like a step backwards. Having said that, I could see us adopting the Sangband approach to staves not stacking, making them robust and powerful enough that you'll only carry one. I also accept that the quiver provides a little too much space, and should take more inv slots. I think item destruction is ok now it honours resists - it's still a feature, but it's not annoying like it was.

Yes we already have TELE_TO but we don't have TELE_SELF_TO, which NPP has and which makes the game significantly harder. This should be a no-brainer to add challenge.

More interesting and varied dungeons are here (caverns, labyrinths, new pits), and these improvements will continue. IMO spamming vaults is not the right solution.

Detection needs to become less infallible. I completely agree with Timo's points about traps, and about making it impossible to know exactly what an item is until it's in LoS (so long-range detection reveals only "potion", etc.) - but I don't agree that making Grip and Fang the same colour as jackals would be an improvement. (But I do agree that @ should not be able to 'l'ook at monsters outside LoS.)

I also don't agree that the spell range being the same as the visual range is a problem. IMO this is something that makes the game harder (it's more important to detect and avoid monsters which can one-shot you) - whereas for Timo it's just annoying. See my point above.

Thanks to dos350 for your most valuable post yet - that list of suggestions from f-k is very interesting. Lots of them have been implemented over the years, but I like the ones about making monster/player resists consistent, and making rods/sceptres for mages/priests.

Floor stacking should stay - the idea of items disappearing is silly, and the meta-gaming of manoevring creatures onto empty floor wrecks any suspension of disbelief. We should address the ASC problem in other ways.

I don't see how restricting race/class combinations, or reducing the number of different items available, would enhance the game. Yes the game would be harder if there were no Trickery, Weaponmastery, Devotion, etc. etc. etc., but it would also be vastly duller. Again, I think the problems caused by these things being available too often, or being too powerful, can be addressed other than by removing them. Trickery in particular needs to be slightly less awesome.

I continue to have very little interest in the game of shopping. Shop inventories being more random seems like a recipe for more scumming and more calls for a buyout button.

I don't agree that games used to be shorter. Quite the opposite - winning in under a million turns was quite unusual, and taking two or four million turns was nothing to be ashamed of. Lots of that was grinding, level-clearing and waiting to find foo before descending. I don't think we want to go back to any of that - but we do want to make Deep Descent rarer, and slow down diving a bit by making the power curve through the dungeon smoother (i.e. fewer really powerful items dropping early, more tougher monsters earlier).
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Last edited by Magnate; August 11, 2011 at 14:50. Reason: I said TMJ where I meant ASC
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Old August 11, 2011, 12:23   #9
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More interesting and varied dungeons are here (caverns, labyrinths, new pits), and these improvements will continue. IMO spamming vaults is not the right solution.
I think one thing that would really help is more structured dungeon construction: not more vaults full of OOD stuff, but more vault-like designs for the in-depth stuff, so stairwells and floor items are commonly placed within layouts that require passing monsters and traps to get to the prize. The ideal, I think, would be a rooms.txt edit file similar to vault.txt that the game can pick room designs from at level generation. But I'm sure that's a hideous coding nightmare to implement.

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we do want to make Deep Descent rarer
I think it would help a lot to ensure that the black market only sells scrolls of Deep Descent, Teleportation and Teleport Level singly, rather than in stacks. I don't think they're overly common in the dungeon, but once you've got enough cash it's easy to buy up big stacks of them when they appear for sale in town.
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Old August 11, 2011, 12:52   #10
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Quote:
I also don't agree that the spell range being the same as the visual range is a problem. IMO this is something that makes the game harder (it's more important to detect and avoid monsters which can one-shot you) - whereas for Timo it's just annoying. See my point above.
I find this annoying too, just to chime in. For one thing, this means that my warriors have no gap between "I can see this monster via telepathy" and "this monster can attack me". I agree that this makes the game harder but IMO not in a good way.

Quote:
Floor stacking should stay - the idea of items disappearing is silly, and the meta-gaming of manoevring creatures onto empty floor wrecks any suspension of disbelief. We should address the TMJ problem in other ways.
Timo wasn't talking about TMJ here as much as he was an interesting tradeoff of ASCs -- you either killed the monster safely or you got a lot of loot, not both. It'd be interesting if we could replicate that choice in a more believable manner.

Quote:
I don't see how restricting race/class combinations, or reducing the number of different items available, would enhance the game. Yes the game would be harder if there were no Trickery, Weaponmastery, Devotion, etc. etc. etc., but it would also be vastly duller. Again, I think the problems caused by these things being available too often, or being too powerful, can be addressed other than by removing them. Trickery in particular needs to be slightly less awesome.
The game was balanced around the amulet slot sucking, with pretty much the only worthwhile amulets in the end being WIS+6 and Ingwe (or Carlammas if you're really desperately short on CON). Now we have all these awesome amulets that provide very significant benefits. It's a lot easier to scale the amulets back down than it is to scale everything else back; something needs to change.

(Off on vacation for a week; I won't be checking the forums for awhile.)
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