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Old January 22, 2013, 19:35   #51
Magnate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
I'm skeptical that terrain, no matter how varied, will add more strategic gameplay options. The main strategic difference is open room vs corridor, with the obvious result that in a 1 v many the 1 will always choose a corridor. Different terrains, like forest, ice, tables, etc. might increase strategy, but the effect is not as large as might be thought. My approach to dungeon generation assumes that varying terrain in V is mainly for flavor purposes, and the goal is to keep the dungeons interesting to explore (and maaaaybe internally consistent.) rather than level after level of the same room types.

That being said, I'm hoping to get back to pyrel development this week. I took a little break after January 1 to focus on other things. Now that mystery hunt is over, I should have more free time the next few months. Unfortunately, with mystery hunt 2013 over it means that mystery hunt 2014 just begun, which matters because I'll be on the writing team next year. I'm not expecting that to start eating free time until March-April or so and then eat all of my free time around October-December. So there's no time like the present for pyrel work!
Good to hear it. I lost my momentum too, so am waiting for it to come back.

I wasn't really talking about terrain btw; I was assuming that the monster placement aspect of your dungeon generator would be a bit improvement on V (e.g. themed areas, lairs, former lairs now inhabited by other things, etc.).
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Old January 22, 2013, 19:42   #52
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Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
I wasn't really talking about terrain btw; I was assuming that the monster placement aspect of your dungeon generator would be a bit improvement on V (e.g. themed areas, lairs, former lairs now inhabited by other things, etc.).
Ah yes, that will be a big improvement. Although, I'm thinking of also as more of a flavor thing with the condition that it can't make gameplay worse. I've really only focused on terrain so far, it's hard. I have a feeling that once we start thinking about monster placement, a lot of that work is going to be a collective decision.
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Old January 22, 2013, 19:45   #53
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
Ah yes, that will be a big improvement. Although, I'm thinking of also as more of a flavor thing with the condition that it can't make gameplay worse. I've really only focused on terrain so far, it's hard. I have a feeling that once we start thinking about monster placement, a lot of that work is going to be a collective decision.
d_m had some really fantastic ideas on this - I really hope he wrote them up somewhere!
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Old January 22, 2013, 19:54   #54
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Yeah, making terrain features matter in combat is so hard that it may be not worth trying in Vanilla. Most fights happen in corridors.

I think I've succeeded in Mist, but it took some extreme measures. I gave the player the ability to fight with two monsters in melee at the same time. Many "realistic" role playing games have opposite rules, giving all sorts of penalties to the one-against-many fighter. I decided tactical fun is more important than realism.

Some features, like teleportation gates, would work well. Moving a portion of escape possibilities from the player's inventory/spellbook to the map might be fun.
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Old January 22, 2013, 21:29   #55
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Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen View Post
Yeah, making terrain features matter in combat is so hard that it may be not worth trying in Vanilla. Most fights happen in corridors.

I think I've succeeded in Mist, but it took some extreme measures. I gave the player the ability to fight with two monsters in melee at the same time. Many "realistic" role playing games have opposite rules, giving all sorts of penalties to the one-against-many fighter. I decided tactical fun is more important than realism.

Some features, like teleportation gates, would work well. Moving a portion of escape possibilities from the player's inventory/spellbook to the map might be fun.
There are ways to make 1 v many situations appealing for the 1. V already has one, which is ball or LoS spells which allow you to hit many monsters at the same time, maximizing damage/mana. There's also the rare situation where you have immunity to an element and you can damage monsters by having other enemies breathe on you. (I've used this once with summoned hellhounds and draugluin.) A simple approach which is applicable to V is to make something like bedlam actually work well (~30% of the monsters will be confused, and when confused, have a chance to attack an adjacent monster or breathe at a random spot.) You could sidle up to a giant pit, cast bedlam, and then scurry away while the monsters pound on each other. Or you could use escorts to take down tough uniques, i.e. gelugons and lungorthin.

A whirlwind attack that allows you to attack all adjacent monsters may make group fighting advantageous when it's combined with other temporary buffs (HM's approach to killing morgoth in Sil). This could also be implemented in V, although 1 v many situations are often too deadly to even consider using this.

There are other options but they may violate the depth vs complexity mechanic. For example, you can have player skills that give you extra combat expertise when more than one enemy is adjacent. You could have spells that you cast on an enemy and it then damages the monster based on how many there are around. You could have a leech life spell which sucks some life from all adjacent enemies and heals you in the process. You could have shielding spells which allow you to absorb some amount of damage, giving you temporary invulnerability and allowing you to put yourself in high damage situations.

When it comes down to it, most of the ways to make 1 v many situations appealing is to turn the enemies into (unwilling) allies.
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Old January 23, 2013, 18:35   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen View Post
I think I've succeeded in Mist, but it took some extreme measures. I gave the player the ability to fight with two monsters in melee at the same time.
I think that is a pretty interesting approach. It doesn't feel too unrealistic either. It is not that the player is stronger against groups, just that they can't use their ability to attack in multiple directions in corridors.

Quote:
Many "realistic" role playing games have opposite rules, giving all sorts of penalties to the one-against-many fighter. I decided tactical fun is more important than realism.
Sil takes the 'realistic' approach here. When a monster attacks in melee, you get [-2] to evasion for each monster on the three sides of you that are furthest away from the attacker and [-1] for any other adjacent monster. This means that if you are surrounded, then as well as taking 8 attacks for each one of yours, you are at [-10] to evasion to all of them! This makes being surrounded very bad, and the monsters in Sil know how to take advantage of this and they try to surround you. However, in practice you choose to move to a wall for 5v1 or a corner for 3v1, or ideally a corridor for 1v1.

The main effects are to keep weaker monsters interesting (the horde of orcs can still take down Boromir...) and to make tactical positioning more interesting (you'd rather have the two Trolls adjacent to each other than one on each side of you, so you manoeuvre to achieve this).

Sil compensates for this anti-room mechanic in three ways. Firstly there are ways to be able to attack all adjacent monsters: herbs of rage and the Whirlwind Attack ability. The latter only works if all adjacent squares are passable so it really entices people to the centre of rooms. Of course 8 of your attacks to 8 of theirs is still not brilliant. It is most useful in situations where you can't avoid a many-to-one fight and need to do it as well as possible. It is also useful when you don't want to waste turns in combat, when you are getting a bonus for killing creatures quickly due to Song of Slaying, and a few other cases.

The second thing that pushes people out of corridors in Sil is the lack of escapes: corridors are really dangerous if 5 orcs come up to you from either end. In contrast, in a room you can see monsters coming from further away and can flee even if a few of them remain.

The third (and largest) effect is the use of an improved version of the 'pack AI' so that intelligent enemies won't go 1 on 1 with you in a corridor unless it is in their favour (e.g. you are wounded or confused). You often end up fighting 3v1 at doorways or 2v1 at corridor corners until you are wounded enough that they will pursue you to 1v1.

Overall, it is still pretty corridor based, but there is quite a bit more of interest. In general, there is a surprising amount of geographical tactical complexity possible with just walls and floor.
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Old January 23, 2013, 18:41   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
A whirlwind attack that allows you to attack all adjacent monsters may make group fighting advantageous when it's combined with other temporary buffs (HM's approach to killing morgoth in Sil). This could also be implemented in V, although 1 v many situations are often too deadly to even consider using this.
I think having the beserk rage effect make you attack all adjacent enemies when you bump into one would be a really cool and pretty balanced improvement to V. It would also be really quite easy to implement: just run a loop through all adjacent squares and run the attack function on them if there is a monster present (in Sil I went for bonus points and make sure to start with the square they bumped and then go clockwise or anticlockwise at random).

Code:
	if ((p_ptr->rage) && (adj_mon_count(p_ptr->py, p_ptr->px) > 1) && !p_ptr->afraid)
	{
		int i;
		bool clockwise = one_in_(2);
		
		// message only for rage (too annoying otherwise)
		if (p_ptr->rage)
		{
			msg_print("You strike out at everything around you!");
		}
		
		dir = dir_from_delta(y - p_ptr->py, x - p_ptr->px);
		
		/* Extract cycle index */
		dir0 = chome[dir];
		
		// attack the adjacent squares in sequence
		for (i = 0; i < 8; i++)
		{
			if (clockwise)  dir = cycle[dir0+i];
			else            dir = cycle[dir0-i];
							
			yy = p_ptr->py + ddy[dir];
			xx = p_ptr->px + ddx[dir];
			
			if (cave_m_idx[yy][xx] > 0)
			{
				if (p_ptr->rage)		py_attack_aux(yy, xx, ATT_RAGE);
			}
		}
	}
	else
	{
		py_attack_aux(y, x, attack_type);
	}
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Old January 24, 2013, 09:15   #58
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With "attack two monsters" mechanic I wanted to push the player to utilize tables, magic circles, forests and warding runes in rooms. Mission accomplished.

Berserk rage allowing attacks against all adjacent enemies is a good idea.

How about a Potion of Whirl, or a mage spell of the same name. Whenever a monster attacks you in melee, you try avoid the attack by moving in a random direction. If there's no space in that direction, bump, the attack hits you.
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Old January 24, 2013, 10:37   #59
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Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen View Post
How about a Potion of Whirl, or a mage spell of the same name. Whenever a monster attacks you in melee, you try avoid the attack by moving in a random direction. If there's no space in that direction, bump, the attack hits you.
I'm not sure being randomly moved around the room sounds fun. I'm also not sure it is worth it to avoid one attack. If it is worth it, perhaps in a positional tactical game it shouldn't be.

The way this works in Sil is that there are abilities called Dodge and Flanking. Dodge gives you [+3] to evasion (a fairly large bonus) if you spent the turn moving. This is not super useful on its own, but helps with escaping a little. Flanking gives you a free attack on a creature if you move between two squares both of which are adjacent to it. If there is more than one valid creature, it chooses the targeted creature by preference, and a random one if none are targeted. In Sil, attacking a creature moves the target to it.

Together these abilities lead to the kind of dynamic combat you are imagining, but without any random movement. Others also work particularly well with these, such as Whirlwind Attack, Sprinting, Charge.
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Old January 24, 2013, 10:56   #60
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Dodge + Flanking sounds awesome. Now what would be the best way to copy the mechanic to Mist... (Edit: I'm developing a possible mechanic here.)

I still haven't played Sil properly. I will.

Last edited by Mikko Lehtinen; January 24, 2013 at 11:17.
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