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Old January 25, 2013, 04:26   #61
Patashu
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Dodge + Flanking also makes it more desirable to fight in a room than in a corridor (something that's been discussed recently), which I enjoy
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Old January 25, 2013, 16:51   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
Extra Credits has extra discussions about how to lead a player into a complex game, including on building tutorials (pithy summary: keep interesting things happening even if they don't require much skill on the player's part; don't frontload everything). Since it's generally-agreed that Angband ought to have a tutorial, this would be a good starting point for someone thinking about working on one.
A very good starting point is to just play the Sil one, and then copy it (or whatever aspects of it you like). The technical side of it is that it is a save game file that is stored in the folder with the high scores. It requires a new item type (a note) that displays its description when someone walks onto it.

It also requires a few changes to debug mode. Firstly, it requires a new command to reset the experience; to forget the map, item flavours, and and monster memory; and to take it out of debug mode. It also requires a modified look command accessible in debug mode that lets you modify the dungeon. I have it such that if you are looking at a square and type a letter, it creates the first monster/terrain represented by that letter. If you hit space, it iterates to the next one of the same type, if you hit tab, it generates a new random one of the same type. There is also a key that toggles permanent light on the square. Then I started a new debug character and built the level! It is pretty easy to find all this in the Sil source code.

(There are a few other things such as setting a tutorial flag such that you can't save during the tutorial).

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There's also some discussion of "first-order optimal strategies", which are basically the easily-learned, reasonably-effective techniques you use early in a game (e.g. in Angband, Potion of Speed + whack'n'back).
This is a pretty subtle point in game design and I completely agree with it. Some players have enough knowledge to be able to play games well and to improve the balance of them, but tend to over-balance the early game. People often say that we need the choices to be non-obvious. There is an important truth here, but it is not that *every* choice should be non-obvious. We need lots of choices with different shades of obviousness. Then people get a natural learning curve as they learn how to optimise more and more of these choice situations.
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Old January 26, 2013, 18:02   #63
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Yeah, that was a great article: I should start reading MaRo...



I think this is right if you are distinguishing tactics from strategy. I think MaRo's terms let strategic complexity involve tactics too. He was talking about whether you cast Terror on their Grizzly Bear to avoid about 6 damage or wait until they cast a better creature.

One could certainly see this as corresponding to tactics in a roguelike. For example, do you spend a turn drinking a potion of Quickness and take extra damage now, in exchange for some extra turns later? Or do you heal as you are now down to 30% of your health and could be killed by a lucky blow? Quickness first is the best long run, but maybe you won't get a long run? Of course Vanilla has less of this type of decision too as its escapes are too easy. It more often becomes: play casually without thinking about stuff like this and when it goes pear-shaped, you just scarper (Teleport, Teleport Level, Word of Destruction etc).

In terms of Strategic complexity, Sil gains from having a skill system as you mention, but also from two key inventory things. Not having shops or unlimited scumming for potions means that using consumables is regularly an interesting decision (instead of just for the top-level consumables). I found the lack of trade-off for using potions of CCW / scrolls of phase door in Angband and potions of Health/Mana in Diablo to be a major turn-off in both games. It just looked like broken game design.

Not having a home in Sil leads to a different type of interesting strategic choice about the way you build up your equipment set. Deciding to drop the artefact sword constrains your options in the future. Players would howl in protest about being constrained in such a way if put into Vanilla, but choosing between different long term constraints just *is* strategy. If players won't let the developers get rid of practically unlimited home storage, common consumables, and easy escapes, then they are effectively saying they don't want strategy in their game. I think they often don't realise this though!
Playing vanilla, I am one of those who would indeed howl loudly if storage space got reduced further.

There is the option to play ironman (which I do occasionally) that I believe is similar to Sil play in that regard. The decision what to keep if you have 3-4 storage slots (assuming the rest is occupied by non-negotiable stuff like ccw pots) might be called "strategical", but that doesnt make it any more intersting. Having 5 options for 4 slots allows for the complexity of tic-tac-toe at best. I can recall exactly 1 instance where it took me more than a few seconds to figure out what I wanted to keep and what to ditch in an ironman game.

In contrast, looking at a home storage full of (random) artifacts with 2-3 different options for every slot creates a much more intrigueing puzzle. Most of the time there is an obvious best solution, but not always.

There would be more occasions of interesting puzzles with more space. A randart helm with very high AC and not much else might end up to be the best option in an endgame setup, but its very unlikely and if space is an issue, it will be first to go.

Having played ToME 2 for years, which had practically unlimited home storage, I can say that for me, reducing it like vanilla does takes away much from gameplay and adds nothing.
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Old January 27, 2013, 00:06   #64
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There is the option to play ironman (which I do occasionally) that I believe is similar to Sil play in that regard. The decision what to keep if you have 3-4 storage slots (assuming the rest is occupied by non-negotiable stuff like ccw pots) might be called "strategical", but that doesnt make it any more intersting. Having 5 options for 4 slots allows for the complexity of tic-tac-toe at best. I can recall exactly 1 instance where it took me more than a few seconds to figure out what I wanted to keep and what to ditch in an ironman game.
Thanks for sharing your experience of inventory in Vanilla ironman. This sounds *very* different to Sil and I'm not sure what is going on. Of the 23 inventory slots, you say that 19 or 20 are filled with non-negotiable things, leaving very little room to play with. In contrast in Sil there are only about 6 slots that are filled with non-negotiable things, leaving about 17 to play with. Having about 30 things vying for 17 slots is more than 100 million combinations, so a lot more than your example! Sil players carry all sorts of different interesting things with them through the game. I'm not sure why V plays so differently there. The spellbooks are a big part of it, but not the whole story.
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Old January 27, 2013, 00:15   #65
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It's certainly true that my inventory in Vanilla tends to be rather full. Let me see if I can remember what all I tend to carry...
Code:
1. Spellbooks. Assume 6-7 books carried.
2. Escapes. Scrolls of Phase Door, Teleport Level, Word of Recall; staves of Teleport, Destruction.
3. Potions of CCW, Healing
4. Staves of Speed (if not playing arcane caster)
5. 2x slots for ammo (max 80 units)
6. Swap gear (typically at most one slot)
I'm doubtless forgetting something, but already that's 17-18 slots used up. Spellbooks and escape items are the most obvious slot-gobblers.
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Old January 27, 2013, 10:31   #66
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Let me see if I can remember what all I tend to carry...
Thanks for the list. It makes me wonder why many of these are inventory items. After the first 20% (by time) of the game, you have unlimited access to:

The first 4 spellbooks, phase door, CCW, word of recall

These take up about a third of the inventory slots and all offer such useful abilities that they really are no-brainers. They don't really act like stereotypical roguelike items though. Firstly, they don't run out. They are either infinite use items, or they could run out but it is a no-brainer to get more in town. Now, not all stereotypical roguelike items run out (e.g. bags of holding or fancy swords). However, these other items are difficult to acquire and there is much excitement when you find one. In contrast the seven items I mentioned are also trivial to acquire in the first place. They thus don't serve any strategic purpose by being in the inventory.

One reason that they are inventory items is that they seem implausible as things an unassisted person could do, so the flavour needs them to be items in the inventory. For the spellbooks, there is also the idea of balancing the power of magic by making magic users get fewer free slots. There is also the fact that when CCW potions and PD scrolls were first coded, the coders probably didn't envision that everyone would wander the dungeons with stacks of 50 of each and recall as soon as they started running out.

Evidently I had some subconscious idea of how a classic inventory item should work when I designed Sil, and this led to *very* different constraints on inventory space than in V. In fact for V, I'd change my tentative recommendation to get rid of or reduce the home, to only do that if you were adding more slots for the personal inventory or making it so there are fewer must-have items.
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Old January 27, 2013, 12:28   #67
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I was pleased to see D3 dispense with TP scrolls (== recall) and replace them with a learned ability. We could do this for various must-have items. We could also use cooldowns...
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Old January 27, 2013, 15:19   #68
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The solution in my mind to the "inventory annoyance" is to go with the pyrel route. In each inventory slot you can either put an item or a container. Containers would be things like spellbooks, potion bags, quivers, etc. Each container has a maximum amount of stuff that you can put in, and specific types that it allows. As you progress in the game you can get upgrades to containers to hold more potions or whatnot.

When using items the game automatically looks through all containers and pools them into a generic list to avoid needing an extra keypress. (the potion of CCW is identical regardless if it's in the cold-proof bag, or the bag of reduced weight.) This will take some working and probably some user preference settings. The alternative is to only allow one container of each type. The mage only gets one spellbook to put their spells in, and burning just makes some pages illegible. I think both methods will work, and it will be fun to play around with them.

Rod of recall being a special item or innate ability as in tome4 is also an option, that we could put in V as is. We'd have to make it cost gold to use though. I'm not sure how much this gets us though.
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Old January 27, 2013, 16:31   #69
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Thanks for the list. It makes me wonder why many of these are inventory items. After the first 20% (by time) of the game, you have unlimited access to:

The first 4 spellbooks, phase door, CCW, word of recall

These take up about a third of the inventory slots and all offer such useful abilities that they really are no-brainers. They don't really act like stereotypical roguelike items though. Firstly, they don't run out. They are either infinite use items, or they could run out but it is a no-brainer to get more in town. Now, not all stereotypical roguelike items run out (e.g. bags of holding or fancy swords). However, these other items are difficult to acquire and there is much excitement when you find one. In contrast the seven items I mentioned are also trivial to acquire in the first place. They thus don't serve any strategic purpose by being in the inventory.

One reason that they are inventory items is that they seem implausible as things an unassisted person could do, so the flavour needs them to be items in the inventory. For the spellbooks, there is also the idea of balancing the power of magic by making magic users get fewer free slots. There is also the fact that when CCW potions and PD scrolls were first coded, the coders probably didn't envision that everyone would wander the dungeons with stacks of 50 of each and recall as soon as they started running out.

Evidently I had some subconscious idea of how a classic inventory item should work when I designed Sil, and this led to *very* different constraints on inventory space than in V. In fact for V, I'd change my tentative recommendation to get rid of or reduce the home, to only do that if you were adding more slots for the personal inventory or making it so there are fewer must-have items.
Removing home is already implemented in vanilla. There is a birth option for it, and afaik it has been there since frog-knows.

While I think increasing inventory space is a great idea, I cannot help but be surprised that it is being considered. Just recently stack sizes have been reduced from 99 to 40, the only gameplay effect of which is to reduce inventory space.

The home size is a different matter from inventory though. Having a number of possibilities for the set of equipment slots creates this complex puzzle of figuring out the best combination. It is a non-trivial task and indeed complex enough for the Borg to have 2 settings, one of which uses an inferior algorithm to speed up the game or reduce load on the computer.

This equipment setup minigame is one of the reasons for me to play (vanilla) Angband in preference over other computer games (like Sil). Picking between a stack of temporary buffs (speed potions, herbs) and a lesser, but permanent option (a swap weapon) has possibly strong impact on the game, but is linear. Choices for equipment in vanilla are more interdependant and can become very tricky:
if I use this weapon I would do more damage but my old one provided poison resistance, so I would need to get it from elsewhere. Theres this helm with poison resistance, but it would replace my hat of seeing with blindness resistance....aso.

Now increasing inventory space has one very major effect: it makes the game easier. This, I think, is the reason for the current state of "90% of items are absolutely needed".
This is however _NOT_ the case with home inventory. The beauty of the home is that it gives the player a ton of options for his setup without allowing him an infinte amount of consumables/other things in the field. It is imo one of the best features in Angband.

My take on the matter is this: it would probably be good to increase inventory somewhat at this stage, even at the cost of losing difficulty. But there should remain a noticable difference between "would like to have" and "can carry", for obvious reasons.
Home inventory otoh can be increased infinitely with virtually no effect on difficulty. More is always better.
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Old January 30, 2013, 10:56   #70
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hey, dont remove 18/x or we can forget dnd?

nn abuse,

dont stack resists or is this gonna be diablo2
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