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Old May 9, 2016, 22:01   #1
Egavactip
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The Future of Angband?

There seems to be a lot of energy being spent throwing out or revamping longstanding (and seemingly working) aspects of Angband such as identification and so forth.

This confuses me and raises some questions in my mind, such as:

1) When was the last time a new character class or race was added to Angband?

2) When was the last time a new monster was added to Angband?

3) When was the last time a new magic item or magic item ability was added to Angband?

4) When was the last time a new terrain or dungeon feature was added to Angband?

It seems to me that, in the years I've been playing Angband, there has only been one major addition to the components that make up the play and replayability aspects of Angband and that is the welcome addition of the many new room layouts.

When I play Angband, I do not typically seek revamps of existing systems that work perfectly fine. What I like to see is variability and expansion, to encounter things when playing Angband that I have not encountered before.

But there actually seems to be little interest in increasing Angband's replayability and variety.

I confess I have to question the priorities that would lead to these aspects of Angband being so neglected.
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Old May 9, 2016, 22:37   #2
Estie
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The things you list have traditionally been the realm of variants. All those items and more exotic ones can be found aplenty in the dozens of variants, many of which are still maintained today, but most of which are perfectly playable even if not maintained.

"New" features, monsters/rooms/magic items, add nothing to replayablility. They are exciting because they are new, and once learned, the different game has the same replay value as the initial one.
Removing the tedious identification routines from the lategame, otoh, goes a long way towards making the game more replay-friendly.

So if youre looking for new challenges: they are out there, try some variants!
Most players do this at some point. And some, like me, return after a hiatus to old Vanilla. You see, they cant really change Vanilla that much. If they do, variant players return to an older version, and the new game ceases to be Vanilla.
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Old May 9, 2016, 22:54   #3
Derakon
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In general, maintainers have a few things they can do when they maintain a game: they can change content, they can change rules, they can change interfaces, or they can fix bugs.

A nontrivial number of people want the Vanilla developers to restrict themselves to improving the UI and fixing bugs, to which the general response from said developers is to laugh (politely) in their faces and ignore them. Getting to tweak how Vanilla plays is the reward for being willing to maintain Vanilla.

It just so happens that Nick and his pet horde of developers have been more interested in changing rules than in changing content lately. Some maintainers favor content, others favor rules. Nick has talked about all kinds of content he wants to add eventually, though. He's just biding his time and getting what he views as more important work done first.
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Old May 9, 2016, 22:59   #4
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I am so glad you asked this question! It's a really good one, and I'm going to answer with a step-by-step version of (my view of) the general direction we're going in.
  1. First was the codebase restructure. The aim of this was to make the code more flexible and general so that it was easier to change existing features and systems, and introduce new ones. An important aspect of this was moving as much data as possible from the codebase out to text files that anyone could easily change. This was moderately successful, I think, although incomplete. Code restructuring was always going to be an ongoing business - in fact calris seems to be currently doing a massive and long-needed rewrite of the visual system.
  2. Next was dealing with some longstanding issues. ID and traps are the two most obvious (and controversial), but there are other less obvious ones (like the player knowledge stuff) which didn't have a huge effect on gameplay, but did affect other game systems. This is still in progress, but largely done.
  3. Now we get to the fun bit. With all the fundamental game systems in place, we can do stuff like introduce new terrain (note there's already a preview in the town), start re-organising the monster list, add new ego items, update the randart code to take advantage of the new flexibility, etc. All this is planned for 4.1. Then 4.2 is slated to have a serious look at races and classes, potentially adding new ones (and yes, make changes to the old ones ).

I'm thinking of it as like a building - foundation, then frame, then skin. With the complication that it's an existing building with people living in it
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Old May 10, 2016, 00:42   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egavactip View Post
1) When was the last time a new character class or race was added to Angband?
3.0.0 (in 2002), the kobold race. The last class was earlyish in the 1990s.

Quote:
2) When was the last time a new monster was added to Angband?
At a guess, also 3.0.0.

Quote:
3) When was the last time a new magic item or magic item ability was added to Angband?
The last time this happened in any significant way was 3.1.0beta, in 2009.

Quote:
4) When was the last time a new terrain or dungeon feature was added to Angband?
4.0, and a bunch are scheduled for 4.1.

Quote:
It seems to me that, in the years I've been playing Angband, there has only been one major addition to the components that make up the play and replayability aspects of Angband and that is the welcome addition of the many new room layouts.
I think you're underselling the years of labour that have gone into the game. Adding new stuff is not the only marker of progress. The problem with adding more stuff is that it all has to fit together somehow, as I found when I added a bunch of new mushrooms, rings and other miscellany in 3.1. Some of them seem to have worked out OK - mostly the ones that used the existing mechanics - but the ones where I tried to get creative and introduce new mechanics, I'm not really sure that they work. The problem with new stuff is that it has to be sufficiently different from the old stuff without being unbalancing, and that is difficult, especially if you want to preserve the character of the game (whatever that might mean to you). Whereas finding new ways to use existing game elements, tweaking them, adding more variation or trying to make them play better doesn't have the same problems.
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Old May 10, 2016, 04:15   #6
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Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Code restructuring was always going to be an ongoing business - in fact calris seems to be currently doing a massive and long-needed rewrite of the visual system.
Ah crap - I guess it's official now
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Old May 10, 2016, 05:01   #7
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Ah crap - I guess it's official now
See? This is what happens when you help people!
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Old May 10, 2016, 09:54   #8
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Originally Posted by Egavactip View Post
2) When was the last time a new monster was added to Angband?
3.5.0. Two monsters that only appear SEASONAL.
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Old May 10, 2016, 10:02   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egavactip View Post
It seems to me that, in the years I've been playing Angband, there has only been one major addition to the components that make up the play and replayability aspects of Angband and that is the welcome addition of the many new room layouts.
Welcome to Angband

I started playing with 2.7.9v6. Major changes were made in 2.8.1, in 3.0, and in 3.5.
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Old May 10, 2016, 12:12   #10
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The most interesting development by far in angband history over the last two decades was the release of rocketband, which happened just this april. You should probably stop whinging and spend at least 72 hours contemplating the magnitude of the achievement that this variant represents. In my mind, it is the future of videogaming, and possibly represents a complete re-imagining of what it means to participate in a shared experience with a computer.
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