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Old July 7, 2011, 21:21   #1
Netbrian
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Summoning Speculations

It's come up in related posts a few times, but I think the topic of reworking monster summoning deserves its own thread.

Right now, I think that the power level of summoning puts some restrictions on what we can do with the game. Certain player abilities (such as teleport other, banishment, or destruction) may be unbalanced under most circumstances, but are often seen as necessary to deal with powerful summoners (I know I personally am not a good enough player right now to do without them.)

A few thoughts of my own --
  1. I think monster mana is a large piece of the fix summoning puzzle. Right now, if you want to deal with summons without teleporting or *destroy*ing them, you'll be giving the original caster plenty of time to summon more.
  2. I wonder if we shouldn't reconsider how many of their friends summons can bring along. This is especially important for the nastier hounds.
  3. Angband's non-persistent levels mean it can be more aggressive with monster summoning than most other Roguelikes. Whatever changes we choose to make, we should continue to capitalize on this.

What does everyone else think?
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Old July 7, 2011, 21:43   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Netbrian View Post
I think monster mana is a large piece of the fix summoning puzzle. Right now, if you want to deal with summons without teleporting or *destroy*ing them, you'll be giving the original caster plenty of time to summon more.
While I certainly agree with you that monster mana would be very helpful, this very well may be a long way off from Angband. (It's also beyond my abilities, which are meager, on the coding front.) I don't think we should wait for monster mana to work with summoning.

Quote:
I wonder if we shouldn't reconsider how many of their friends summons can bring along. This is especially important for the nastier hounds.
Yes, but for two reasons. As much as a group of Time Hounds means GTFO, a group of jackals are laughable. The summoning algorithm is weighted towards more difficult monsters, so jackals won't show up very often. But when they do...

Anyway, I don't like that summoning brings in gigantic groups of monsters. Often because the grouped monsters are weaklings (barrow wights, orcs) and block space for more powerful summonses.

Quote:
Angband's non-persistent levels mean it can be more aggressive with monster summoning than most other Roguelikes. Whatever changes we choose to make, we should continue to capitalize on this.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean that we can have aggressive summoning because @ can just leave the level if things get too hairy?


Anyway, I just made a branch on github to work on summoning and coded a first modification. It's not correct, but it's a start, and it's an opportunity to get myself comfortable with this section of code. What I did was limit total monsters summoned by total monster level. A new monster is added until the total level of summoned monsters is equal to the current dungeon level. Summons are a lot weaker but they're not laughable either. I like this method where the total power of the monsters is the limiting factor, not number of summons.

Some tweaks that I'm considering:

(easy) Discount the power of monsters that have the FRIENDS tag. Maybe they have level/5 or level/10 for their power.

(reasonably easy) Allow summons to be placed arbitrarily far away if closer places are filled.

(hard) Figure out ways to deal with ASCs.
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Old July 7, 2011, 22:02   #3
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NPP does a pretty good job of dealing with ASCs. Monsters won't move into the adjacent square, and will cast ball spells for splash damage.
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Old July 7, 2011, 22:30   #4
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Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
NPP does a pretty good job of dealing with ASCs. Monsters won't move into the adjacent square, and will cast ball spells for splash damage.
This would be great! Not for all monsters, some will just stupidly follow you in. But monsters using the same tricks as players is something I've been wanting for a long time.
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Old July 7, 2011, 22:32   #5
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I've seen several posts claiming that summon needs to be reworked, but could someone point out what the issues really are? i.e. what is the problem according to you?
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Old July 7, 2011, 23:24   #6
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Originally Posted by jens View Post
I've seen several posts claiming that summon needs to be reworked, but could someone point out what the issues really are?
Bad things! Bad things appear!
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Old July 7, 2011, 23:37   #7
Antoine
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I think y'all need to be careful when you try to limit the power of summoning

don't want to turn the late game into a cakewalk

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Old July 7, 2011, 23:39   #8
Netbrian
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Originally Posted by Antoine View Post
I think y'all need to be careful when you try to limit the power of summoning

don't want to turn the late game into a cakewalk

A.
The only reason I think it should be limited is that it would make it easier to nerf player abilities such as teleport other, *destruction*, ASC, and banishment, without making the PC helpless against summoners.
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Old July 8, 2011, 00:00   #9
Derakon
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Summoning is really the ultimate power escalation ability that monsters have. Otherwise they're more or less limited to dealing damage to the player or causing status ailments. If you reduce the power of summoning, then you will either have to compensate with something else or concomitantly reduce the power of the player -- and not just by removing the abilities the player has to deal with summoners.

In short, this will require some serious design work, not just some "Let's make this tweak and see what happens."
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Old July 8, 2011, 01:05   #10
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ASCs are exploitive and shouldn't be possible.

A simple solution is to change tunnelling/STM. For example, give tunnelling and STM a 30% chance to collapse an adjacent square whenever those abilities are used.

Last edited by bulian; July 8, 2011 at 01:08. Reason: edited for clarity
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