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Old March 16, 2011, 13:23   #1
Magnate
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Monster power - calling for views

Hi all,

If you dislike the concept of giving monsters a "power" rating, I'd be most grateful if you could express your views about that in a different thread.

If you are interested in the concept, I have finally committed the work Nullfame did about six months ago to improve the power calculation. The results are in a spreadsheet here. There are four tabs, sorting the same data four ways:

absolute overall power rating
"scaled" power rating (i.e. relative to creature's natural depth)
melee power rating
spell power rating

I'd be very interested in people's views and suggestions. If you want to look at the details, look at the function eval_r_power() at line 2388 here.

My own view is that the absolute power ratings look reasonable, but something is a bit wrong with the scaling (because Ancalagon drops too far down). Similarly the melee ratings look ok at first glance but the spell ratings show that top-end immotiles end up under-rated.

Many thanks to UnAndrew for his original work on the algorithm, and to Nullfame for his improvements.
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Old March 16, 2011, 14:26   #2
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For those of us who don't have Excel and don't want to deal with installing Open Office right now, I went ahead and made a copy of that file on Google Documents here. Let me know if you want it taken down, Magnate.

I'm mostly interested in the scaled power rating. Without having looked over the entire file, here's my thoughts:

* Disenchanter bats may not be very dangerous, but disenchantment makes them nasty in other ways. Ditto nexus quylthulgs. Do we want annoying monsters to rate highly?
* Crebains are underrated. Shrieking is a powerful ability
* The various eyes are overrated. Certainly a radiation eye isn't more dangerous for its level than a xorn is for its.
* Time vortices, storms of unmagic: same deal as disenchanter bats
* Large brown snakes are surprisingly powerfully rated considering that they're slow and thus a complete non-threat unless you persist in carrying on a fight that you're obviously losing. Slow monsters are generally no threat.
* The <player> is clearly too low.

And that's where I had to stop for time. Will try to look at the rest later.
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Old March 16, 2011, 14:57   #3
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I should read more about the strategy before commenting, but it occurs to me that certain abilities probably scale with dlvl. E.g. shrieking on a dlvl 1 monster isn't really a big deal at all, but shrieking on a dlvl 50 monster would be pretty bad (given what can be woken/hasted).
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Old March 16, 2011, 15:19   #4
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Hm, yeah, if I'm looking at their scaled power level, then that has to do with how dangerous they are when encountered in-depth. Whoops. Forgot that for a moment. I guess crebains are one of the few monsters that gets more dangerous when encountered later rather than earlier.
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Old March 16, 2011, 16:18   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
For those of us who don't have Excel and don't want to deal with installing Open Office right now, I went ahead and made a copy of that file on Google Documents here. Let me know if you want it taken down, Magnate.
Not at all - thank you for the assistance. I apologise for presuming that everyone not using Micro$oft has OpenOffice installed. Just out of curiosity, are there other alternatives, or do many people simply never open spreadsheets?
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Old March 16, 2011, 16:25   #6
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MS Office, Open Office, and Google Docs are the only major contenders, to my knowledge. I don't work with spreadsheets at all often, nor ordinary text documents, so I have little reason to have either of the big *Office suites installed. In the rare event that I need to make a nice-looking document I use LaTeX instead, and Google Docs suffices for reading what other people send me.
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Old March 16, 2011, 17:33   #7
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I guess I don't understand what's being measured. I was looking at scaled power. When I try to think of the monsters that cause my @s serious problems when I encounter them in level, I think of sabretooths, umber hulks, gravity and time hounds, ethereal dragons. I also want to include wyverns and colbrans even though they don't belong. Then there are the monsters that kill me without necessarily doing the final blow, crebains and time vortex and the unlucky nexus attack come to mind. Also, the breeders that confuse, hummerhorns and blue icky things. Maybe ghouls because they paralyze at distance, but that's maybe more about playstyle than it should be.

I suppose Glaurung is very powerful from any spreadsheet point of view, but he never kills me unless I do something incredibly stupid. I'd want to put a hummerhorn above Glaurung.
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Old March 17, 2011, 07:35   #8
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There's a 2nd value missing from this from the original algorithm, which is the highest_threat. The highest_threat value is the single instantaneous maximum damage that can be inflicted in one turn by an attack, times a group size multiplier if the monster has friends or multiplies.

It's also not clear where you're going with this. Are you planning on adopting the Unangband approach of using this to reorder the monster list?

(FYI - In Unangband, power is used to detemine monster depth, highest_threat determines monster rarity, plus if depth < k * highest_threat, the monster is moved deeper in the dungeon so that depth >= k * highest threat, for some k which I can't remember).

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Old March 17, 2011, 11:23   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewdoull View Post
There's a 2nd value missing from this from the original algorithm, which is the highest_threat. The highest_threat value is the single instantaneous maximum damage that can be inflicted in one turn by an attack, times a group size multiplier if the monster has friends or multiplies.

It's also not clear where you're going with this. Are you planning on adopting the Unangband approach of using this to reorder the monster list?

(FYI - In Unangband, power is used to detemine monster depth, highest_threat determines monster rarity, plus if depth < k * highest_threat, the monster is moved deeper in the dungeon so that depth >= k * highest threat, for some k which I can't remember).

Andrew
Hi Andrew,

I don't think highest_threat has been removed from the code - I'll check this evening. If it's still there, it's probably a good idea to add it to the spreadsheet.

Does UnAngband include non-damage spells in the calculation of highest_threat (e.g. hold, summon, confuse etc.)? If so, are they assigned arbitrary damage-equivalent values (which is the case in V) or are they calculated in some way?

I was not intending to make changes to the shipped monster list - V has a run-time argument (arg_rebalance) to use monster power to change rarities and xp values of monsters if people want to use it. I was intending to leave that option available (but perhaps move it from a run-time argument to an in-game birth option).

My simple goal is to make the algorithm as good as possible, i.e. so that the results, when viewed by any experienced player who is interested, make intuitive sense.

That said, it is important to note that we're measuring the power of individual monsters. A hummerhorn can indeed be more dangerous than Glaurung in certain tactical situations, but not in a one-to-one arena fight. That's all we can achieve with a numerical rating, IMO.

My longer-term goal, once we have a power rating that is generally satisfactory (and I'm not yet satisfied with the ratings for the various RSF_ flags), is to use it to inform the rewrite of obj-power.c. It's currently only used for calculating the values of slays and brands, but it could be used to affect the values of a large number of other object flags. (For an extreme example, if every monster in r_info has EMPTY_MIND, then telepathy is worthless.)
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Old March 17, 2011, 18:04   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
My simple goal is to make the algorithm as good as possible, i.e. so that the results, when viewed by any experienced player who is interested, make intuitive sense.

That said, it is important to note that we're measuring the power of individual monsters. A hummerhorn can indeed be more dangerous than Glaurung in certain tactical situations, but not in a one-to-one arena fight. That's all we can achieve with a numerical rating, IMO.
Looking at scaled power, some things jump out. Osyluths appear much too high. Perhaps it is because they are easily avoided, but still. Ancalagon and Glaurung are adjacent, and that's off too. Ancalagon is much tougher. I'm not sure you can go linear with resistance flags. There is a big difference between the monster covering all 5 elements vs 4, and between 4 and any smaller number. The bile wyrm looks too high as well, much too close to a hell wyrm. Are you assuming the player double-resists fire but not acid? Otherwise, the halving of acid breaths from armor should cause a bigger difference. Azriel is much tougher than Uriel. I don't know about the numbers, but this forum warns people about Azriel and not about Uriel. Nightwalker is above black reaver, which feels wrong. Perhaps you need to boost the value of KILL_WALL.

Vrocks are above dreads. Maybe this sums it up. A pack of vrocks is a bunch of experience and items waiting for pickup. A pack of dreads is much scarier. Wakefulness, passwall, ranged attacks and speed are all significant differences, more than making up for the difference in hp and melee damage. The vrocks are dangerous if you have to step up and melee them sequentially without resting, but you don't have to so you don't do that. I don't know how you encapsulate this within the parameters of arena combat, but it would be nice if you could try to address it somehow.
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