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Old July 5, 2011, 17:49   #1
EpicMan
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Making levels interesting without just adding more loot

Problem (IMHO): Since levels are disposable/replaceable (not persistent),a level that is scarce on challenging/interesting monsters or items is boring. Furthermore, since the player can generate a practically infinite number of levels, boring levels only reduce player power growth temporarily, rather than capping max power. So limiting maximum player power is not accomplished, either.
Therefore, there is currently no reason to stay on a boring level, all they do is waste the player's time and increase tedium.

This is not true of ironman games, where there are only 99 levels between the player and Morgoth. This is also not really true of a ultra-low turncount game where the player is racing to the end. Both of these cases are unusual (by reasoning only the most experienced/best players play those types of games) so my thesis works for the majority of games/players.

Just adding good items or OOD monsters to a level (a la autoscummer) is one solution, but it makes the player power progression proceed much faster. It also gives the player more freedom to ignore good stuff protected by dangerous monsters or layouts since good items are guaranteed next time.

So what are other options for increasing interest other than giving out more good items?
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Old July 5, 2011, 17:58   #2
EpicMan
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Keys and locks.

What if occasionally levels had locked staircases (down, so that up staircases remain a safe escape) and the game scattered keys around the dungeon. Any key could unlock any downstairs so once you found one you could head for an exit, if so desired, and since stairs do not block movement you wouldn't need the complicated path-checking routines locking doors would entail.

This makes it somewhat harder to just abandon a level by adding a scavenger hunt minigame. This level type would need to be somewhat rare to avoid making it extra tedious. And you could circumvent it via any method other than staircases, so you could make the case it's a "screw warriors" mechanic.

You could prevent those level-escape items from working to make it affect non-warriors, but that is taking away a major component of player strategy then.
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Old July 5, 2011, 18:02   #3
CJNyfalt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EpicMan View Post
So what are other options for increasing interest other than giving out more good items?
Making individual monsters more interesting. Add interesting rooms like O and S.
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Old July 5, 2011, 18:02   #4
Derakon
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Vary the terrain more to increase tactical variety.

Add more types of sub-vault special rooms, e.g. mini-pits, small labyrinths.

Add ZAngband-style posses (small groups of monsters with like symbols).

Bring back pre-destructed levels.

Vary the level of interconnectivity in the level (anywhere from a linear sequence of rooms to a big network with many tunnel intersections).
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Old July 5, 2011, 18:08   #5
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
Bring back pre-destructed levels.
I liked your other suggestions, but this is horrible, just boring.
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Old July 5, 2011, 18:28   #6
Derakon
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Everyone says that and I don't understand why. I always found them to be interesting.
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Old July 5, 2011, 18:39   #7
jens
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It just takes time to traverse them, you can't run, lighting does not work. It's just easier to avoid it, or if you have to pass through it to reach the other part of the dungeon, I'll try my luck on teleport first. And no it is not a strategic decision when you do something riskier to avoid doing something boring...
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Old July 5, 2011, 18:52   #8
fizzix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EpicMan View Post
What if occasionally levels had locked staircases (down, so that up staircases remain a safe escape) and the game scattered keys around the dungeon. Any key could unlock any downstairs so once you found one you could head for an exit, if so desired, and since stairs do not block movement you wouldn't need the complicated path-checking routines locking doors would entail.

This makes it somewhat harder to just abandon a level by adding a scavenger hunt minigame. This level type would need to be somewhat rare to avoid making it extra tedious. And you could circumvent it via any method other than staircases, so you could make the case it's a "screw warriors" mechanic.

You could prevent those level-escape items from working to make it affect non-warriors, but that is taking away a major component of player strategy then.
How is "find the key and the staircase" different from "find the staircase" except for taking a little more time. I have played for a long time without paying attention to level feelings and the time it takes to find the next staircase is usually enough time to figure out whether I want to explore the level more or not.
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Old July 5, 2011, 18:57   #9
bulian
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The caverns and labyrinths are a nice move in this direction.

Reduce the number of levels from 100. A hack job would be to make all staircases go 100' instead of 50' except for town and DL99.
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Old July 5, 2011, 19:07   #10
Nomad
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I like the stuff that's been done to vary the look of the dungeon levels so far in 3.3, and I think there needs to be more added along those lines. Some ideas:

* More variety in level layouts and the shape and size of rooms in general. Maybe more use of permanent rock outside of vaults?

* More types of monsters found in pits and nests, and variable sizes and shapes for them. Dragon and demon pits could have toned-down varieties on the lower levels, say smaller rooms containing only baby and young dragons or lesser demons. There could be mixed dragon nests as well as pits containing only one variety. Ants, bats, birds, reptiles, snakes, spiders would all work well as lower-level nests; kobolds, dark elves, naga and hydra could appear in small-scale pits.

* How about nests themed by monster abilities rather than species, e.g. a nest full of all cold/fire/poisonous monsters? How about entire levels themed that way?

* More smaller-scale vault type rooms, with traps and/or monsters guarding say a single mildly OOD treasure, a level appropriate chest, or a guaranteed number of in-depth treasures. (How about 3x3 rooms containing a stash of similar items, such as cash, scrolls, potions or mushrooms? How about evil ones with a mimic or two slipped in there among the items?)

It would be cool if layouts for pits/nests and just general room designs could be loaded from edit files like the vaults, so everybody could have a crack at designing new types and share them around.
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