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Old August 17, 2007, 19:35   #1
andrewdoull
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Unangband comments & criticism

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Originally Posted by Matthias View Post
Unangband, the raw gem...
Did you know that you can increase the damage of fire branded arrows by throwing a flask of oil onto the target?

Un is full of them, little details that give, in theory, the game a kind of life that is nowhere to be found in any *band. Too bad there are way way too many of them , so it is ultra hard to get into the game. I have played 5 or 6 characters to level35 and I still don't know which of the 3 or 4 instances of Bree I have to avoid at nights at all costs.

Too many options, too many things to look out for, resulting in playing takes forever. Especially with the new monster generation you can't just clear a level. Doing so might take an hour of careful planing. That is: If the features allow you to. Features... I don't like them in NPP where they are a minor danger/annoyance. And Un is so overfull of them, even lacking a normal dungeon more or less all the game. Did anyone ever try to play in those water dungeons?!? Seriously... Or those chasm ones? I guess one could disable the campaign, but that would take away half of what makes Un special, so I'd rather not do that. The campaign itself is a great idea... It is huge, I bet half of the levels have never seen an @.
Dialling down the feature frequency should be fairly straightforward. I was waiting for persistent levels and a couple of other features before finalizing how it works. Of course, I also would like lots of feedback.

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So what does Unangband need?

Playtesters:
Many of them. I can talk about how charging is too weak deeper down, with noone else playing, I could be right or just not good enough.
Playtesters are always needed.

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Get rid of the annoyances:
Allow going back the route you have taken for two ingame hours (say backtrack own footsteps) in all but a very few cases (entering lonely mountain should stay the way it is ...).
I finally got rid of the exploits that required I have one-way connections. Its quite a bit of work to tidy up and test this. Would FAAngband style wilderness level connections help?

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Get someone to draw a map of the campaign. Not the autogenerated one that, I think, Pete made, but a jpg one with descriptions. Heavy spoilers.

Offer some goodies:
Heng's Big home is a nice start. There is way more stuff I want to store than those 24 places can hold. Further, allow all ego item melee branding combos. Allow branding of Magic items. Remove penalties from ego boots. Yes this makes the game easier. The game is hard, it needs rewards to make it worth going for. Take Heng again as an example... Scrolls of Artifact creating... where are those in Un.. Scrolls of Magic item creating could be available too, and not deeper then ?acq.
The perfect variant, in my eyes is challenging to the max, but still very fast to play and very rewarding. In Heng there are two uniques that can actually stop the time! In Un, the generation of only deep monsters should be challenge enough alone...
All good ideas. Its always easy to get on the wrong side of the goodies balance. I've already got a design for forgable items - which will be similar to and heavily inspired by Sangband. I'm enjoying the cerebral play that Unangband encourages at the moment, but you're right, it takes a while to play.

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Yes I know you hate color coded recall screens, but with all the new things, a well readable monster/feature recall is necessary to speed up the gameplay.
That's the problem with machine generated text. I really want to have comments like - watch out if you don't have resist conf with these guys. Use fireball against these guys and so on. I might be able to write a 'You feel your wand of stinking clouds is the most effective' algorithm, but its a lot of work.

Andrew
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Old August 17, 2007, 23:07   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewdoull View Post
I finally got rid of the exploits that required I have one-way connections. Its quite a bit of work to tidy up and test this. Would FAAngband style wilderness level connections help?
I think the wilderness connections for Un are fine as they are. FA needs them like that because it's a few dungeons separated by lots of wilderness.

FWIW, I think the "so many features it's hard to get a handle on" issue is probably the main one for me (along with, and compunded by, lack of time). Too many ideas, Andrew - it's easier for people like me who only have about one a month
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Old August 18, 2007, 14:12   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
I think the wilderness connections for Un are fine as they are. FA needs them like that because it's a few dungeons separated by lots of wilderness.

FWIW, I think the "so many features it's hard to get a handle on" issue is probably the main one for me (along with, and compunded by, lack of time). Too many ideas, Andrew - it's easier for people like me who only have about one a month
I like the 'got to get from the left side to the right side' mechanic in FAAngband. It works even better than NPPAngbands wilderness levels, which can feel a little big and boring.

I haven't even started to implement half of what I want to do yet...
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Old August 18, 2007, 14:27   #4
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Originally Posted by Nick View Post
FWIW, I think the "so many features it's hard to get a handle on" issue is probably the main one for me
Me, I'm really enthusiastic about all the quirky features, but there is a problem. When I see them, I invest a lot of time into learning them, learning their combinations and optimizing tactical use of them. This is really a lot of fun --- easily several days of quality fun without even descending below DL5. However, then I encounter a BUG, invent an EXPLOIT, indulge in MICROMANAGMENT or see my tactics destroyed by an UPDATE to my favourite feature's mechanics. (I play SVN versions, so this partly my fault. But I also code-dive to supplement the lack of docs and fix trivial problems myself, so I'm in a better position than most players.)

In other words, the main advantage of the game: that it is very complex and very different from V, requires that it be nearly perfect or else it becomes a disaster.

A variant that just adds 5 features to the rock-solid V can afford to have one of the features buggy, another encouraging micromanagment and the whole 5 somewhat unbalanced. UnAngband, I think, could get away with lack of balance from DL20 onward, as this can be tweaked on the fly as complains are filed, as long as there are no serious problems elsewere. However, balancing is futile if 30% of features are half-implemented and 20% broken and 100% more pending.

I guess Un needs two branches, stable and development (and probably two maintainers ;>). The development branch would be the same as currently. The stable branch could start with NPP 5.0 and add features from development branch one by one or in balanced pairs, maintaining stability, documentation and a semblance of balance. 3-way diff would allow to incorporate future NPP changes, while merging most bugfixes between the two branches would be automatic. No new features would be added until the previous ones are play-tested and many classes and races provide feedback. Dreams, sweet dreams...

Edit: embarrasingly many typos.

Last edited by Bandobras; August 18, 2007 at 21:27.
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Old August 18, 2007, 17:30   #5
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I would just like a resource which lists all the available commands, so I know what the heck I'm suposed to do when I encounter a chain on the floor, or since I can apparently cross a chasm with spikes and a chain, how in heck am I supposed to DO that? I feel like a newbie trying to play a text adventure in a foreign language, sometimes. I have this feeling there is probably something cool in a spot, I could be doing in a certain place with some certain stuff, but I have no idea what it is I should be doing, or how I could do so.
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Old August 18, 2007, 19:26   #6
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Sounds like Unangband ist some version if Nethack :P
With too many things able to be done and such ...
Sorry, that came to my mind
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Old August 18, 2007, 21:41   #7
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Originally Posted by TJA View Post
Sounds like Unangband ist some version if Nethack [...]
UnAngband, unlike Nethack, is quite serious, both in the mood, background and physics. Features are not added randomly or as a joke and they don't operate in a fairy-tail manner, but in a high-fantasy or simplified-realism manner. Moreover the main focus of the additions, in my opinion, is gameplay and, in a roguelike vein, gameplay by repliability, tactics and immersion through intuitive game mechanics, and not one-time surprises, jokes and a never ending stream of suggestive prose/images/etc. Even if some content is added, like the Un room descriptions, they freshly generated for each room and bear a connection to the tactical situation on a level.
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Old August 19, 2007, 01:43   #8
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That sounds much better!
Thanx
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Old August 20, 2007, 17:33   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandobras View Post
Me, I'm really enthusiastic about all the quirky features, but there is a problem. When I see them, I invest a lot of time into learning them, learning their combinations and optimizing tactical use of them. This is really a lot of fun --- easily several days of quality fun without even descending below DL5. However, then I encounter a BUG, invent an EXPLOIT, indulge in MICROMANAGMENT or see my tactics destroyed by an UPDATE to my favourite feature's mechanics.
As always, appreciate the feedback. I'm assuming you're referring to my removal of many of your race and class changes...

I have to agree on the heaps of fun at shallow levels...
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Old August 20, 2007, 20:30   #10
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Originally Posted by andrewdoull View Post
As always, appreciate the feedback.
You're welcome.

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I'm assuming you're referring to my removal of many of your race and class changes....
As much as I like to whine about that particular deadly offence , I was talking generally about feature changes, and at the time of writing I had in mind the adventures of my hobbit throwers that used to ignite dirt below monsters (which turned out to be a bug, promptly fixed) collect tens of torches from the walls for throwing (exploit removed soon afterwards, with many different interim solutions), etc. Generally, very reasonable changes --- just frustrating for a player, especially a role-playing one, that invested a lot of time into justifying why running with 99 torches at -5 speed is so in-character.
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