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Old November 23, 2020, 13:32   #11
Aldernut
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Originally Posted by Nick View Post
I have given this some thought, and come up against the problem that fully explaining why this is bad - or rather why it is no longer in Angband - would require a summary of years (probably decades) of discussion and player experience in the Angband community. These things did not happen suddenly, but rather as the result of a long process of trying to get the game mechanic that best suits this game.

I'll try to illustrate with the example of traps (and I hope I have my history close enough to correct). Originally we have traps, and the player can search for them, and maybe some classes have magic to deal with them.
This seems good, but then how often should the player search, and when? Some players learn by experience when traps are likely to be present and can make an informed choice (and I guess we only see Indiana Jones searching for traps when there is one there because that's how movie heroes work, and he doesn't do it as often as someone has to in a winning game of Angband).
But for many players it's just a randomish chore with arbitrary punishments, and for those with obsessive tendencies (in my experience, not under-represented in roguelike communities) it can be psychologically painful. So we introduce more magic to detect traps, until every spellcasting class gets a utility "Detect Traps" spell fairly early on.
But now what about warriors? And isn't it unfair that you can be killed by a pit trap on level 1 before you can detect it? So we nerf low level traps, and make rods of Trap Location easy to find. Now trap finding is straightforward, and everyone has access to it, and we even make marks in the dungeon showing where traps have been detected and where they haven't.
But now everyone can detect traps all the time, and the only chance to hit a trap unexpectedly is if you forget to detect - so the "oops I hit a trap" moment only teaches us to always remember to detect, and there is no interesting player choice remaining.

The current system in Angband is that the player has a (and one only) chance to notice a trap, depending on their searching skill. So while there's no tactical control over individual traps, there is a strategic decision (race, class, equipment) on what level of trap-hitting risk the player is prepared to accept. It undoubtedly doesn't mimic how traps work in relevant books or movies, or even in pen and paper RPGs, but a game the size of Angband is a completely different animal.

Of course, a different direction could have been taken at any of the decision points above, and we would have a different game. But we have Angband of the 20s, not Nethack of the 90s. The core gameplay of modern Angband, in my opinion, is that it has clear, consistent ways that the world works, and emergent gameplay comes from the interactions between these; and that these systems are generally designed to present the player with interesting gameplay choices.

I hope this has been helpful, or at least not unhelpful
But Nick - don't you see what's happened here?

By your own words, all this time people have been complaining about traps - to the extent that they find them psychologically painful - and the primary no-cost way to find them has been taken away.

You're also saying that all spellcasting classes have Detect Traps at a fairly low level. I checked - the only class that has the spell is mage. Rogue too, I gather.

With mage, that means using a significant portion of mana to trap detection. And mana is the primary combat power of a mage. I cannot actively search to save mana.

Now, as another class I could circumvent this by buying scrolls of trap detection. However, there aren't any available. Would I to buy staves or scrolls of magic mapping - do they even detect traps? - it would use all of my early game money. Instead of having a simple choice to search, I now have a character which chooses between weapons and armor or trap detection. The first is mandatory, the second is not, so it's not really a choice at all.

There are rings of searching available at a fairly low price. What they mean, effectively, is using the ring slots for an uncertain, passive boost. The effect of this is making characters one-sided to circumvent lack of searching. Instead of many options, I again have only one.
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Old November 23, 2020, 14:54   #12
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Personally, the biggest psychological pain to me came from hitting (s)earch all the time. Automatic search system of full LOS is far better imo. I never did rate +search item high earlier and I do not rate it high today either. But traps are there, so it's not completely negligible. Wand/rod of disarm trap is a good choice to carry unless your inventory is stacked with great items.

Race, class and character level all affect your search%. Not just items you find. Kobold and High-elf are the races with best searching skill, rogue naturally is the best class. Hitting s all the time to avoid falling in trap door on a level with great promise of a treasure, is something I don't ever want to see again in V.

Oh, and secret doors can be removed the way they are now.

EDIT: If I may add that just give it a chance Aldernut. I like the new system, and I've played from the mid-90's too. I had to get accustomed to new trap mechanics too. Complaining about traps is different than complaining about the chore of searching them. I cannot help if you really like searching for traps and doors and consider that action to be immersive. I just hope you don't find Angband unplayable now, because for me it's more playable today than it ever was.

Last edited by Sphara; November 23, 2020 at 16:44.
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Old November 23, 2020, 16:34   #13
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Originally Posted by Aldernut View Post

You're also saying that all spellcasting classes have Detect Traps at a fairly low level. I checked - the only class that has the spell is mage. Rogue too, I gather.
I believe Nick was describing the situation before the last major release.
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Old November 23, 2020, 17:59   #14
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Race, class and character level all affect your search%. Not just items you find. Kobold and High-elf are the races with best searching skill, rogue naturally is the best class. Hitting s all the time to avoid falling in trap door on a level with great promise of a treasure, is something I don't ever want to see again in V.
I hated trapdoors as well. Nothing like suddenly dropping from a special feeling level to a stat-draining monster pit.

However, this is still a problem. The change here is that you now have only _one_ chance to detect the trap and no option for second chances. You don't detect that trapdoor in your LOS, dropping through it is a matter of pure chance. You can't avoid what you don't know is there.

With searching, you have a chance to detect it every time. That way, searching is valuable in places especially likely to contain traps - like treasure vaults. Here my own choice for through search can keep my paws on the treasure.
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Old November 23, 2020, 19:35   #15
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Admittedly, I'm a new player, so the only Angband I've ever known is 4.1.3(? just before 4.2.0) and on. I have put a fair number of hours into Frogcomposband, which does have manual searching trap detection and all that stuff though.

In my experience, I don't think manual searching adds anything. If anything it detracts from the game (though by a negligible amount), because spamming 's' is SOOOOO tedious. I don't want to spend precious time mashing the 's' key to find secret doors and traps. So in Frog, I just straight up ignore them. They're random "the game has made your life slightly more interesting for a few rounds" events as far as I'm concerned, until you get to vaults. But by then I'll have a Rod of Detection. So meh.

I did however waste way too much time when I was first playing Frog manually searching for secret doors because I couldn't find a downstairs. Now, I carry some Magic Mapping scrolls in the early dungeon precisely to use in those situations. Because walking around smashing the 's' button is incredibly tedious, and I will do anything to avoid engaging with that mechanic.

And, incidentally, Vanilla has a neat feature where traps can only be magically disabled for a short period of time, so there's some incentive to get the loot and get out before traps regenerate and you have to burn another charge on your wand. I find that much more compelling than manual search. It also does a much better job in ratcheting up the tension I think, because you know there's a problem there but you don't know when exactly it'll pop up back up.

If we want a more compelling trap minigame, I'd rather see less "search blindly for traps" and more "a variety of ways of dealing with traps you know are there." That I think is what makes the traps in Indiana Jones compelling. Not hours searching for traps that aren't there. But rather minutes trying to figure out how to bypass the trap he knows is there.

(Incidentally, I feel this way about tabletop D&D as well. Having to explicitly tell the DM "we search for traps" is obnoxious, and just slows the game down as far as I'm concerned.)
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Old November 23, 2020, 19:54   #16
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In my experience, I don't think manual searching adds anything. If anything it detracts from the game (though by a negligible amount), because spamming 's' is SOOOOO tedious. I don't want to spend precious time mashing the 's' key to find secret doors and traps. So in Frog, I just straight up ignore them. They're random "the game has made your life slightly more interesting for a few rounds" events as far as I'm concerned, until you get to vaults. But by then I'll have a Rod of Detection. So meh.

I did however waste way too much time when I was first playing Frog manually searching for secret doors because I couldn't find a downstairs. Now, I carry some Magic Mapping scrolls in the early dungeon precisely to use in those situations. Because walking around smashing the 's' button is incredibly tedious, and I will do anything to avoid engaging with that mechanic.
If you don't want to do it, just don't do it?

It has ever been entirely optional. The thing here is that there's now not even an option for it, even when it's immersive, fitting to the situation and other game mechanics, plus adding to player agency.

Please allow that option for me, just like I'd allow the option for you not to use it.

The substitute for "s" key is now steal from monster. As the game is primarily about killing monsters, I find this to be really niche to use. Of course, it's an option as well, and could be remapped to something else.
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Old November 23, 2020, 22:06   #17
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You do want to press 's' all the time, to search for traps (and doors)? You want to make absolutely sure you do not step on one? Role-play aspect concerning traps and doors is this important?

I can understand all of this. It's just personal preference, I just fully disagree as far as the game-play goes. Good luck convincing Nick to make 's' command an option in future versions.
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Old November 24, 2020, 03:37   #18
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Originally Posted by Aldernut View Post
But Nick - don't you see what's happened here?

By your own words, all this time people have been complaining about traps - to the extent that they find them psychologically painful - and the primary no-cost way to find them has been taken away.

You're also saying that all spellcasting classes have Detect Traps at a fairly low level. I checked - the only class that has the spell is mage. Rogue too, I gather.

With mage, that means using a significant portion of mana to trap detection. And mana is the primary combat power of a mage. I cannot actively search to save mana.

Now, as another class I could circumvent this by buying scrolls of trap detection. However, there aren't any available. Would I to buy staves or scrolls of magic mapping - do they even detect traps? - it would use all of my early game money. Instead of having a simple choice to search, I now have a character which chooses between weapons and armor or trap detection. The first is mandatory, the second is not, so it's not really a choice at all.

There are rings of searching available at a fairly low price. What they mean, effectively, is using the ring slots for an uncertain, passive boost. The effect of this is making characters one-sided to circumvent lack of searching. Instead of many options, I again have only one.
I think you have misunderstood. The thing which I described as psychologically painful was the manual searching: Do I move, or do I search just one more time because maybe there's a trap there?

As Estie said, the case of everyone having easy access to Detect Traps was before the new system was implemented.

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It has ever been entirely optional. The thing here is that there's now not even an option for it, even when it's immersive, fitting to the situation and other game mechanics, plus adding to player agency.

Please allow that option for me, just like I'd allow the option for you not to use it.
The problem is that allowing that option amounts to reinventing an entire game subsystem that has been removed and aligning it with the different system that has replaced it, for the sake of including an option that (I believe) most people here think is actively bad for gameplay.

If manual searching is important to you, I suggest you either play a previous version where it still existed, or another Angband variant or roguelike which has it.

I would also encourage you to enjoy the immersive elements that are in the game, rather than mourning those which are not.
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Old November 24, 2020, 09:21   #19
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Do I move, or do I search just one more time because maybe there's a trap there?
real men walk on traps for XP.
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Old November 24, 2020, 10:37   #20
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I think you have misunderstood. The thing which I described as psychologically painful was the manual searching: Do I move, or do I search just one more time because maybe there's a trap there?
Indeed. However, that searching happens because of traps. The traps are the threat and searching is the solution. Now, the primary solution is removed. Player agency is removed. Now, you have one chance to detect them and if not, blindly stumble into them. Only possible way to circumvent this, outside of magical solutions which have been there for decades, is guessing at trap squares at likely places with veteran player meta-knowledge.

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As Estie said, the case of everyone having easy access to Detect Traps was before the new system was implemented.
Yep. However, you ignored all my feedback describing the actual current gameplay situation. You also ignored the implications of this point. People wanted easy trap detection and it's been removed.

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The problem is that allowing that option amounts to reinventing an entire game subsystem that has been removed and aligning it with the different system that has replaced it, for the sake of including an option that (I believe) most people here think is actively bad for gameplay.
This system was in place for decades. No searching is the new system that has been invented - and with option to search, people who don't like to search lose nothing. Options are not bad for gameplay, but instead cater to different gameplay styles.

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If manual searching is important to you, I suggest you either play a previous version where it still existed, or another Angband variant or roguelike which has it.

I would also encourage you to enjoy the immersive elements that are in the game, rather than mourning those which are not.
This sounds like "enjoy the game my way or play something else". Very well then, I will play something else. For the record, here's my protest for this change.

Last edited by Aldernut; November 24, 2020 at 10:43.
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