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Old September 13, 2018, 07:58   #41
t4nk
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Originally Posted by Quirk View Post
My suspicion is that one of the things that puts many people off Sil is the perception that the loot isn't very exciting, and that Angband and its more faithful derivatives provide more enticing discoveries.
That got me thinking. This is certainly true for me, I distinctly remember that feeling (when playing Sil): "items are pretty boring, it would be more fun if more of them gave abilities and stuff" (although that wasn't one of the biggest problems).
Angband, on the other hand, does provide a very interesting minigame with its equipment. Trying to maximise resistances and stats in Angand is (I think) a variant of bin packing problem, which is a good, fun puzzle (as the eggheads put it: "this problem is NP-hard" ).
Some might say "but you don't need to get all resistances to win the game", and sure, you don't... But that's not saying much; you don't need to win the game either, you don't need to play it at all. It's the question of "want", not "need", and it seems to me plenty of people do try to get as many blue lines in the 'C' screen as possible. It does provide some tangible advantage in the game, even though you can do without. That seems like a good design to me.

edit: And this is probably one of the things that Poschengband does much better than Vanilla?

Last edited by t4nk; September 13, 2018 at 08:08.
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Old September 13, 2018, 12:46   #42
Philip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t4nk View Post
That got me thinking. This is certainly true for me, I distinctly remember that feeling (when playing Sil): "items are pretty boring, it would be more fun if more of them gave abilities and stuff" (although that wasn't one of the biggest problems).
Angband, on the other hand, does provide a very interesting minigame with its equipment. Trying to maximise resistances and stats in Angand is (I think) a variant of bin packing problem, which is a good, fun puzzle (as the eggheads put it: "this problem is NP-hard" ).
Some might say "but you don't need to get all resistances to win the game", and sure, you don't... But that's not saying much; you don't need to win the game either, you don't need to play it at all. It's the question of "want", not "need", and it seems to me plenty of people do try to get as many blue lines in the 'C' screen as possible. It does provide some tangible advantage in the game, even though you can do without. That seems like a good design to me.

edit: And this is probably one of the things that Poschengband does much better than Vanilla?
Personally I don't think this can be reduced to "done better or done worse". There are definitely things you can do with the equipment optimization puzzle to make it more or less complex, and things to change the form it takes (notably, only packspace in Sil, limited home in V, and unlimited home in PosCheng are all different optimization puzzles). However, I don't think any of these is fundamentally better or worse than any of the others.

The Sil optimization puzzle, since anywhere past early game you have little packspace and weight is also a concern, doesn't let you keep much stuff you're not wearing. You can have a couple swaps, but that's about it. This means in Sil, the largest part of the optimization puzzle is "what do I keep and what do I ditch", and it occurs without you knowing very much about what other stuff you might find or what challenges you'll face. The fun of the puzzle is trying to predict those things, and also, due to the way XP works, the way what you find affects your build.
In Angband, there are two main parts of the optimization puzzle. First, you have to decide what's worth keeping at home, and what you won't use no matter what else you might find. The second part is figuring out which permutation of the stuff you kept covers the most important abilities and gives you the most stats/damage/hp.
In PosChengband you can keep everything. The puzzle is mostly wading through 30 pages of home inventory, if you're like me. If you're not like me, the puzzle is similar to the one in Angband, except suddenly having stuff covered multiple times is good and there's more stuff to consider.

I think these are sufficiently different that none of them can really be described as "better". I'd be wary of "harder" as well, really.
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Old September 13, 2018, 13:12   #43
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Nick, while I respect and admire your forbearance on your own behalf, I think a line is being crossed at this point.
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Old September 13, 2018, 13:58   #44
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Nick, while I respect and admire your forbearance on your own behalf, I think a line is being crossed at this point.
Yes, I guess you're correct.
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Old September 13, 2018, 14:31   #45
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Personally I don't think this can be reduced to "done better or done worse". There are definitely things you can do with the equipment optimization puzzle to make it more or less complex, and things to change the form it takes (notably, only packspace in Sil, limited home in V, and unlimited home in PosCheng are all different optimization puzzles). However, I don't think any of these is fundamentally better or worse than any of the others.
I think that in this area, and probably others, this is where personal preference makes a big difference to what we perceive as "better". There's no objective "better" in a spectrum.
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Old September 13, 2018, 21:57   #46
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Originally Posted by t4nk View Post
"this problem is NP-hard"
Oh dear. We now have "NP-hard", "optimization" and "spectrum" on one page. If someone could squeeze in the LLL algorithm this could go into a research proposal.

Also, I like the thought of persuading my grad students to play Angband on the off chance that one of them becomes good enough at the packing problem to prove P=NP...

With apologies for being silly...
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Old September 13, 2018, 22:55   #47
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Really the takeaway from this discussion is that NPPAngband should have been called PNPAngband...
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Old September 14, 2018, 06:53   #48
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Originally Posted by t4nk View Post
That got me thinking. This is certainly true for me, I distinctly remember that feeling (when playing Sil): "items are pretty boring, it would be more fun if more of them gave abilities and stuff" (although that wasn't one of the biggest problems).
This is fairly deceptive. A pair of boots[+0,1d2] in Sil is fairly strong, the same with FA on it is endgame quality. The trouble is you have to know the game well enough to realize something dull looking is actually an exciting find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by t4nk View Post
edit: And this is probably one of the things that Poschengband does much better than Vanilla?
I'd say Poschengband does the equipment puzzle straight out better then Vanilla. Pos has great items that involve a big sacrifice somewhere else. You rarely have to give anything up in V. Your shield of fire resistance gets upgraded to resistance. There's less puzzle and more replace with bigger & better.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip View Post
The Sil optimization puzzle, since anywhere past early game you have little packspace and weight is also a concern, doesn't let you keep much stuff you're not wearing. You can have a couple swaps, but that's about it.
Again this is deceptive. I'm generally fitting about 5 swap weapons in my pack for most of the game sometimes more. The trouble is Sil's equipment puzzle starts disappearing as you get better. There are "natural" sets. I pretty much know from the start that FA will end up in the boot slot for instance. Warmth will be on cloak or shield & I can just do without anyway, stuff like that.
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Old September 22, 2018, 12:21   #49
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All I can say is what makes angband fun isn't winning, because I've been playing it for 20+ years and I still haven't won (though I have reached the endgame twice).

I suspect that if I ever do win, it will be more disappointing than anything else. I think for me it's the neverending challenge that appeals most.
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Old September 24, 2018, 22:44   #50
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When I started playing Angband (25 years ago) it was fun in a nerdy slot machine kind of way. Always more to explore, always the chance of a big item. I don't say this proudly, but fun milestones would be scumming the death of Wormtongue or someone else with a potentially nice drop to see what I would get. The selling game was also a big part of it, since you could always blow it on a !Exp if there wasn't a dragon scale mail or boots of speed in the black market. The Tolkien veneer was part of the draw as well.

I appreciate the emphasis on the tactical game that's occurred during development, and I've become a bit of a better player. Regarding the earlier discussion of the meta game, I think that artifacts and item drops are also part of this. Particularly early drops are maybe as memorable as encounters with monsters, and crazy randarts are fun even if unbalancing.
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