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June 2, 2007, 05:59   #2
CJNyfalt
Swordsman

Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 289
Quote:
 Originally Posted by camlost 1) Skill Proliferation: This is probably the simplest to fix. If you've looked at the ladder, there are a lot of players and winners who've invested in 10, 20, or even all the skills they're allowed to do (me included). This does a couple of things. First, it means that you get a crappy score. Second, you've now seen everything so there is nothing much new to the game. Third, it means that you're basically always behind in ability, and its hard to get experience without infinite patience. To solve this, we merely need to change one function. int tmp_pow = MAX(2, (p_ptr->power - 8) * 8 / 10); This means that the game will pretend that you have a skill equal to (power - 8) * 8/10. In my mind this is too cheap of a cost, and allows for increasing a skill from zero (or other small numbers) too easily, or allows you to maintain too many skills at the minimum level. Thus I propose the following function: int tmp_pow = MAX(1, -8 + (p_ptr->power * 8) / 10 + (p_ptr->power*p_ptr->power)/400); This is the same, but adds a quadratic term such that at power 100, you get a final minimum level of 98, which makes investing in new things rather slower (by around a factor of 4), but doesn't penalize early investments of skills overly much. I've played with this function through several winners, and it does help maintain focus with characters. Alternately, since the experience curve is almost completely exponential (except at very low and very high skills, it is), a simple offset is simple enough to use, i.e. int tmp_pow = MAX(1, p_ptr->power - 10); Benefits include being easy to compute on the fly in your head, and fairly straightforward functionality.
First, you need to explain what tmp_pow does. It's not clear from you post.
Second, I dislike things that makes Sangband a variant for the *band elite only, the skill system already quite hard for beginners to get into.
Third, the second formula is too complicated and would require math degrees from players to understand. The third one is better.

Quote:
- I agree that infra-vision should be able to map.
- I agree that oath-bound burglars should get no device/disarm/open penalty in dark.
- I agree with giving the necro school ability to cast spells in the dark.
- I disagree with allowing certain scrolls to be read in the dark.

Quote:
 3) Martial Arts are internally marked as a section for improvement in the Sangband code, and I agree. The fixed number of blows and lack of any accompanying flavor text make them pretty bland. That, and I think wrestling is far better than karate. Both are generally poor in the very late game, and a little too good in the early and middle game. Add in the fact that you are not dependent on equipment, and they critical strangely, and they start to look nothing like the weapons which they replace. First, we have to decide what we want the skills to do. I like associating karate with dexterity entirely and wresting on strength entirely, and I'd have the skills grant the following: Karate: +1 Stealth@50 +1 Dex@30, 60, and 90 +1 Speed@50, 80, and 95 Free Action@75 Resist Confusion@90 Wrestling: +1 Str@30, 60, and 90 +1 Tunneling@17,50,84 (this is how it is currently...) +1 HP@ 51-100 Free Action@75 Resist Sound@90 Second, I'd like to: a) Use the blows table somehow, so that players have the similar/same choices to make b) Rely entirely on Dex (Karate) or Str (Wrestling) c) Wrestling should max out at 4 blows, Karate at 6. Wresting shold do a little more damage in general, Karate should do more when branded with scrolls d) Actually balance this thing at all levels. A high level character with a big weapon (say, the glaive of pain) can deal up to 5 blows at 6d8 each, with, say, a +150 to 200% increase in damage from deadliness (str, gloves, and . Before criticals, this comes to 405 dpr. If you brand it, you can get another +10 or +14 per blow for up to 475dpr. Other high end weapons (Aule, Deathwreaker, Ringil, Zaracuthra, Crisduin, Eonwe, etc.) do similar amounts of damage, at least when their brands apply. Wrestling does at most 120 twice per round, however, it only takes experience, not drops to get it, so it should be a little worse damagewise than a high end weapon. For wrestling, let's target 320 dpr, or 80 per hit. For Karate, let's target 300 dpr, or 50 per hit. To make it work the best, the damage should behave mostly like weapons. There should be a base damage based on the skill of the wielder, deadliness should apply (up to 84% from str and +117 with full str and +12 gloves). This means the target number for damage should be half that of previously stated for wrestling and karate. Each should probably be composed of a linear and a quadratic term, and should start at no less than 2. Thus we might consider these functions for damage, though perhaps there is a better one: Karate = 2 + skill/7 + skill*skill/700 Wrestling =2 + skill/5 + skill*skill/550 Ideally, these numbers would be tweaked (and lowered) for non-Oath of Iron Characters, but these might be a reasonable baseline, or maybe the difference in to hit will even that out just fine.
- Twisted had some good suggestions about these skills. (Flavor from O-druid, benefits from not using a shield, ....)
- Another problem with the martial arts are monsters that are bad business to hit. Perhaps give characters that have high skills in both a martial art and one of the spell schools availability to brand their limbs with an element and get protection from cetain hazard when attacking barehanded?

Quote:
 4) Oath Requirements and Restrictions Perhaps I'm the only one who finds it weird that spellcasters get to take their oaths first, followed by burglars, followed by warriors. Personally, I'd like all the oaths to be available at the same time, probably starting around a skill of 20 in any of the appropriate skills (burglary, melee/ranged, mana/spellcasting/spell failure). As it stands, warriors get few bonuses over a non Oathed spellcaster, and that seems funny to me. Also, I'm not sure I like how the restrictions on oaths are done currently. Back in the day, Oath of Iron characters had a restriction on magic devices at 50%. Now, they simply have a 50% penalty to using that skill. I prefer the latter version. I don't see why spellcasters don't have similar penalties to weapon (and martial arts!) use in that fashion. I'd like to see spellcasters get a flat 20 to 40% penalty onto their melee (and archery?) skill, rather than being capped at an arbitrary number. Of course, I'm not quite sure what those numbers should be, and they'll differ between priests and nonpriests. Finally, I think the 50% penalty to magic devices is a bit extreme. I think a 1/3 penalty on magic devices should be sufficient to keep warriors from overusing them, and actually allow them some use with them. -- There are two other pretty reasonable ways to limit a character's versatility: a) Penalize skills by a fixed amount, as in warriors get a -10 penalty (or whatever) to their device checks b) Change the costs of a skill post-oath. This is basically similar to #a (at least with exponential experience costs), but doesn't do funny things like make you suddenly worse at something after taking an oath, and means that you can raise everything to the same level with enough patience (which is probably a bad idea in Sangband, but maybe not). It will also induce interestingness in the calculation of power afterward (i.e. the game can think that you suddenly found and got a whole lot of xp) I'm not sure which of the three options I like the most.
I agree that some adjustments needs to be made, but I'm not quite sure about what. Haven't thought so much about this issue, because IMO the skill system needs a major overhaul for version 2.0.0.

June 2, 2007, 18:26   #3
camlost
Sangband 1.x Maintainer

Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 522
Quote:
 First, you need to explain what tmp_pow does. It's not clear from you post. Second, I dislike things that makes Sangband a variant for the *band elite only, the skill system already quite hard for beginners to get into. Third, the second formula is too complicated and would require math degrees from players to understand. The third one is better.
Thanks, tmp_pow is what the game treats as the minimum skill level for the purposes of increasing your skill. As you go up in level, you might notice that while it only took 1 XP to increase Armor Forging from 0 to 1 skill level, Now it take 10. This is because the game is treating it like you have a skill of 15 in the skill already, for the purpose of buying new skills. This prevents a player from buying too many skills, or buying them really quickly. Imagine if you could buy a new skill when you were already high level, but you got to buy it as if you were low level. One kill could net you 20 or 30 or more points in a skill. It's also there to prevent you from investing in too many skills, which makes it hard to advance and face appropriate foes.

Regardless of the formula used, I would advocate listing tmp_pow on the skill screen. Also, I don't think quadratic equations are exactly college level math -- in the US, they're taught in 7th or 8th or 9th grade (out of 12 precollege). I only listed the quadratic formula because I know it works, since I've played an won with it. It also allows for a great deal of playing around with skills in the early game, but requires you to focus more by the end, which you should be doing to advance reasonably.

I'm confused as to why my suggestions would shift Sangband to *band elites. Care to elaborate? I'm not introducing a new mechanic, just trying to adjust it to work better (IMO).

Quote:
 - I agree with giving the necro school ability to cast spells in the dark. - I disagree with allowing certain scrolls to be read in the dark.
I'm just not sure that Shadowstalkers are survivable if you don't let them read scrolls. I guess if they're oathbound, then using a staff of teleportation isn't too bad. This might want some playtesting. As for casting necromancy spells in the dark, I agree that it's great flavorwise, but it means that all your shadowstalkers will cast necromancy spells or they'll have a bad character, which seems wrong to me. I could deal with a spell failure (power?) penalty to the other magics.

Quote:
 - Another problem with the martial arts are monsters that are bad business to hit. Perhaps give characters that have high skills in both a martial art and one of the spell schools availability to brand their limbs with an element and get protection from cetain hazard when attacking barehanded?
I've always figured that you were supposed to either run away (or leave the level), or deal with them another way. Of course, I generally play primary spellcasters, so that's usually plausible. If I were to put such a spell in the game, then I'd put it in with druids, or make it a feature of shapechanging.

 June 2, 2007, 21:56 #4 FV20X6 Rookie     Join Date: May 2007 Posts: 7 Just giving it a read, I also feel like the first bullet point sounds like it's making the game more difficult. "Without further ado, here are the changes that I feel are necessary: 1) Skill Proliferation: As is, it is too cheap to keep a skill above the minimum cost limit, which leads to people investing in too many skills (IMO)." (sorry, not sure how to quote partial posts) Normal class-based versions already raise those hidden things like some perception effects, stealth, saving throw, and the like over levels, here you have to properly invest in the skill to get a balanced character, and the split of "fighting" into three different skills for weaponry induces bloat of skillcount. I can't see "Pick 5 skills only for the game" as anything but a challenge game, especially for a newbie. The character I'm playing most right now relies on...8 or 9, though it is a mage. It certainly sounds like you want to restrict the avilability of multiple skills down, making choices painful and any single character more difficult to win with: and that's where one gets the idea of making the game for the elite. I still haven't properly won lately, and that's WITH 10 or so skills: How am I supposed to come to the game with no experience and win with 5, or with 14 if you gimp the multiple skill approach? If I never win, why should I care about score in the first place? If I never see a character through to the end because the system is too hard to make a usable beginner character with, is that any better than seeing everything a no-oathed character can in my one win? Of course, I'm not the OP, so I'll defer to him... I just wanted to make it clear that I got that feeling as well. The rest of the changes do sound excellent, including the skill bonuses: I've mages that would love more HP or extra dex for dodging by raising an unarmed combat skill.
 June 3, 2007, 00:41 #5 camlost Sangband 1.x Maintainer     Join Date: Apr 2007 Posts: 522 It's not the players that are investing in 8-9 skills that are a problem. It's the people investing in all of them, or 15 of them. They're actually making the game harder for themselves, because the experience that they get will be too small, making the game longer, increasing the odds of a mistake and a death. Plus, if you focus on a smaller set of skills, you'll get better at the game faster, see more of the dungeon, and have a better shot of winning. You can still increase a small number of side skills, so long as we don't let you keep a dozen at the minimum level cap (which will incline people to think that's where they're supposed to be, or at least me). They'll cost some extra experience, but that's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Also along with this, I'd like to a see maximum expenditure on skills, perhaps capped at like 120% of the experience required for level 100.
June 3, 2007, 06:19   #6
CJNyfalt
Swordsman

Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 289
Quote:
 Originally Posted by camlost I'm confused as to why my suggestions would shift Sangband to *band elites. Care to elaborate? I'm not introducing a new mechanic, just trying to adjust it to work better (IMO).
FV20X6 put it to words better than I could.

 June 3, 2007, 21:20 #7 zasvid Rookie     Join Date: Apr 2007 Location: Poland Age: 33 Posts: 11 Hoom... I haven't played Sangband (yet), but I for one would be more inclined to start and stay with it if it restricted my choices in skill department, because I tend to be discouraged when presented with many many options (and restrictions breed creativity).
 June 3, 2007, 22:37 #8 Arendil Apprentice   Join Date: Jun 2007 Posts: 78 First of all, I must say that Sangband is my favourite variant. Period. And I must admit that I'm one of those players that use many skills, preferably at *least* 15. I don't really care about score, but for me fun means using many different features in one particular game: creating weapons, armor, jewelery, potions, everything with the same character. Add resistance, few weapon skills, throwing, devices, etc and you can easily get more than 15 developed skills. Believe or not, but even creating many nearly identical characters is fun for me in this variant. Otherwise, changing race and/or Oath is enough for replayability. Forcing player to choose only few skills, and severely penalizing those that want to use more is, in my opinion, by far the worst thing that can happen to this variant. Not to mention maximum number of skills that a character can learn. That's even worse. Sacrificing fun for balance is pointless, in my opinion. As for martial arts, from warrior type character's point of view it's useless. Plain and simple. Even average weapon is much better. At the moment, I only invest points in karate/wrestling to get stat bonuses. Just my two cents.
 June 4, 2007, 08:46 #9 Fuma Adept     Join Date: May 2007 Posts: 114 I agree that limiting the number of skills one can raise is a bad choice. There's a penality for it already, so why make it even worse? If someone wants to train *all* skills, that's fine with me. His choice. If someone wants to be able to train three skills max, that's also fine. You can just learn to limit yourself and not raise any more skills. __________________ www.snowleopard.org - International Snow Leopard Trust
 June 5, 2007, 05:23 #10 Neil Stevens Scout     Join Date: May 2007 Location: California Posts: 26 It's already been said, but it bears repeating: What's wrong with having a player-chosen difficulty level? If someone wants to raise every skill, get a low score, but get a win, what's wrong with that?

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