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Old February 7, 2013, 17:00   #71
LostTemplar
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I will not argue agains randomness here, I just have given an example that deterministic stealth can be done it priciple.
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Old February 7, 2013, 17:16   #72
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Originally Posted by taptap View Post
Personally, I didn't understand some of the comments in roguelike radio. Having found Sil after an advertisement on the Wesnoth forum I probably don't have to state my preference regarding randomness (other than a little dwarf fortress I am not into roguelikes otherwise).
I also love Wesnoth. I've finished about 10 different campaigns (typically playing 'hardcore' or minimising the number of reloads over the campaign) though I haven't played much multiplayer. Both Sil and Wesnoth have some serious things that can happen about 1% of the time (e.g. all attacks hit in Wesnoth or an unsually good critical in Sil) and are long enough that you see things like this happen and so can't complain that '1% should mean impossible'.

Wesnoth has several elegant systems going on simultaneously. I really like day/night and melee/ranged, as well as the basic combat system (multiple strikes with chances to miss but fixed damage per hit). The terrain defence is also good (though what I'd expect rather than revolutionary). I'm a bit less sure about the piercing/slashing/bashing as even after all this time I don't have good intuitions for who resists what and thus either have to do lots of checking or blunder into suboptimal things. With a short, well designed campaign (or before you have too many max level units) it is great fun.


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Dice in combat: It makes a lot of difference whether you do 1d15 or 2d7 damage (despite the same average damage, because of the different distribution, very important against armor and of course criticals) - adding a lot of flat modifiers would take many tactical choices out of the combat system - it makes much less difference if you only choose between 2d6+6 and 1d6+9 because the modifiers make everything too similar. You also would have to scrap the whole system of critical hits when you start with flat modifiers.
Spot on. I'm glad the system is inspiring you to think these things through carefully. Scatha and I spent a *lot* of time tweaking things to guarantee these kind of emergent behaviours.

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Actually, the combat system which you can summarize as strength adds sides, criticals add dice is a piece of simplicity and beauty.
Thanks!

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However, I am annoyed by advice "you could use the second floor forge to make xy". If you don't want to play a melee build and don't have high-dex/con noldor and don't find armor until the second floor it is in no way guaranteed that you can actually use the forge - a group of orc soldiers and white wolves, or some nasty molds or even better some alerted annoying multiplying green worm masses can already be too much for your poor Edain or Sindar... I more than once had to give up the forge even when I badly wanted to use it - if you play a smith with large initial investment in smithing at start this makes it very hard to go on.
Are there any things you think it would be good to guarantee for the player? Even before we added smithing, I think things mostly worked out. Bows and arrows are probably the thing that can go most frustratingly in my view. I think diggers are essential in the late game, but you will have several forges before needing one and probably several diggers too.
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Old February 7, 2013, 17:21   #73
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Originally Posted by taptap View Post
An easy way for early game variance could be (random) change in the initial weapon lying around - let it be a spear once, or even a bow + some arrows, or an axe instead or maybe sometimes no weapon but a shadow cloak. Somehow the christmas presents made many interesting possibilities and different specialisations viable that I rarely try otherwise.
That is interesting. The main problem with Christmas presents is encouraging start-scumming, which several players were tempted into. It is a fun change of pace though and only lasts a week or so.

We try not to guarantee objects in Sil, but since we are already guaranteeing something here, merely randomising between a few options might be OK. Especially if none are worth start-scumming for.

The main theory behind the curved sword is that you have somehow got into Angband (perhaps disguise, or being captured) and are unarmed (you would lose the fun of upgrades if you had a good starting setup) and you see a discarded orcish weapon nearby, which lets you turn your situation around and start trading up to good equipment. We tried having a broken sword instead for a while and found this a little too hard (though fun) so you will only find a broken sword in Nightmare mode when that is added.
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Old February 7, 2013, 20:13   #74
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Are there any things you think it would be good to guarantee for the player? Even before we added smithing, I think things mostly worked out. Bows and arrows are probably the thing that can go most frustratingly in my view. I think diggers are essential in the late game, but you will have several forges before needing one and probably several diggers too.
I am usually dead at about 600ft. but then I usually had enough diggers available I just wanted to mention that your sindar-archer that hopes to make his first bow and arrows in the guaranteed forge (which I usually try to do, because I want to forge arrows later) is far from guaranteed to be able to use it. Of course archery goes well with stealth so you can spend the first levels just searching for a bow without big problems and start killing things only later. Sometimes I even had to leave it with a Naugrim despite only smithing + melee investment (especially when I have no body armor) it is a bigger problem in such cases, but I wonder whether this happens only to me.

Having a glaive, bastard sword or battle axe in the starting room would be too good, but variation between a spear, a curved sword and a throwing axe doesn't break the game but probably it doesn't matter enough to be a really useful change.
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Old February 8, 2013, 09:20   #75
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Originally Posted by taptap View Post
Sometimes I even had to leave it with a Naugrim despite only smithing + melee investment (especially when I have no body armor) it is a bigger problem in such cases, but I wonder whether this happens only to me.
I guess we differ in that I would never give up the first forge. If I die trying to clear the area, then I have only lost the few minutes it takes me to get that far.
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:04   #76
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Woohoo, this thread isn't dying!

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Originally Posted by taptap View Post
But how is it even possible to make a deterministic stealth other than invisibility on/off?
What's wrong with invisibility on/off? Let's break out some examples... The following are all stealth-centric roguelikes. They're short games but they specialise entirely on stealth, so they tend to do it well.

kusemono - You can always see an enemy's viewable area on the map. Normal combat is weighed against you, but hitting an unaware enemy insta-kills them. You have a rush ability that lets you get close quick and kill before they see you. The stealth tension comes from trying to kill groups and meeting unexpected enemies around corners.

Rogue Assassin - Play as a stealthy assassin. Again you're aware of enemy field of view and must sneak around/kill them. Various items help. Trying to throw enemies off the chase is fun.

sick peter - A game by me (written in 5 hours, so lacking some polish). An enemy cannot see you if you are more than 3 squares away. They lose track of you if you run away. You're faster than them, so this isn't too hard, but movement costs stamina, forcing you to rest now and then. You cannot attack, so this is a pure stealth game.

Toby the Trapper - A little off theme here, but this has stealth elements. Again written by me (a 7DRL) - you move twice as fast as enemies and leave a "scent" behind. It's easy enough to lose enemies, but the objective is more to lure them about carefully.

Shadow Rogue - I can't remember this precisely, but it's a 7DRL with some stealth mechanics that I seem to remember were done pretty well.

Outside of the sphere of roguelikes there are the Tenchu and Metal Gear Solid games for inspiration - both are very clear to the player about their situation.

A deterministic stealth system relies on some information not being known to the player. In particular you won't know what's around the next corner, and you can't always predict what the enemy will do next move. Though you are certain in your current turn future turns involve risk, and you have to keep reassessing your situation turn by turn. I quite enjoy this sort of gameplay myself.

I didn't say I wanted a purely deterministic system by the way (though as seen above it can be done). Just one where you feel less at the mercy of the dice rolls and the modifiers. Or at least more transparency so you know when you're in a secure situation or not.

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As it works currently you can't even give the player full disclosure of the odds, because they are perception checks for monsters you might not even see yourself (nor know their perception skill). For me it would be a complete immersion breaker when I could play a stealthy character without detection risk - risk requires randomness.
Chess is the counter example. Chess involves risk, but has no randomness - the risk comes from not knowing what the other player will do and only being able to hold so many scenarios in your head at once. Risk requires imperfect information. Randomness can do that, but I'd much rather it be from AI decisions and unknown map layout than a straight roll every damned turn. It feels more fair in the context of a game that should reward tactical decisions.

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Dice in combat: It makes a lot of difference whether you do 1d15 or 2d7 damage (despite the same average damage, because of the different distribution, very important against armor and of course criticals) - adding a lot of flat modifiers would take many tactical choices out of the combat system - it makes much less difference if you only choose between 2d6+6 and 1d6+9 because the modifiers make everything too similar.
I haven't seen a 1d15 in Sil. In fact the dice ranges seem very very restricted. What's the difference tactically between 2d7+1 and 3d5? There is a little bit of decision based on strength and weapon weight but overall I found no hard decisions between weapons in the game. Of course I didn't get that far, so I'm happy to be corrected on this.

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You also would have to scrap the whole system of critical hits when you start with flat modifiers. Actually, the combat system which you can summarize as strength adds sides, criticals add dice is a piece of simplicity and beauty.
You hit the monster. Critical hit! 0 damage.

I don't see the relevance of critical hits in Sil. They don't feel special when x% of the time a regular hit does more damage. The critical hit chance may as well be changed into a constant modifier on the dice rolls for all the good they really do - much more simple and beautiful. There is no way to tactically take advantage of critical hits, and in normal play you only notice them against very strong enemies. Does anyone actually build characters around maximising crits at the expense of other bonuses? Because I can't see how this would actually work well in Sil. It's just too random to take advantage of.

But please, do correct me if I'm completely wrong about this!
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:15   #77
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Originally Posted by half View Post
The main theory behind the curved sword is that you have somehow got into Angband (perhaps disguise, or being captured) and are unarmed (you would lose the fun of upgrades if you had a good starting setup) and you see a discarded orcish weapon nearby, which lets you turn your situation around and start trading up to good equipment. We tried having a broken sword instead for a while and found this a little too hard (though fun) so you will only find a broken sword in Nightmare mode when that is added.
The disguise entry doesn't make a great deal of sense story-wise, and still doesn't explain not bringing a few more basics. Beren brought a rather nice dagger into Angband whilst disguised!

If the story is meant to be one of an escaped thrall, it would be nice to see this reflected a bit more in the gameplay. Escaped thrall certainly makes some sense; you manage by cunning to get out of your prison and reach the terrible gates, but before dashing away a thought creeps over your mind, and the temptation to try something daring and heroic takes over your being. But if one has escaped from servitude in the pits of Angband then some shadow of that should still lie over you - not to the crippling extent of Gwindor, but there could still be a darkness on the player that must be overcome before one can touch the Silmaril. This could be a route to introducing some light/darkness mechanics earlier in the game.
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Old February 8, 2013, 13:42   #78
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Originally Posted by Darren Grey View Post
I haven't seen a 1d15 in Sil. In fact the dice ranges seem very very restricted. What's the difference tactically between 2d7+1 and 3d5? There is a little bit of decision based on strength and weapon weight but overall I found no hard decisions between weapons in the game. Of course I didn't get that far, so I'm happy to be corrected on this.
Great Spears have one large die (1d13 I think), and your strength adds sides to it.


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There is no way to tactically take advantage of critical hits, and in normal play you only notice them against very strong enemies. Does anyone actually build characters around maximising crits at the expense of other bonuses? Because I can't see how this would actually work well in Sil. It's just too random to take advantage of.
Yes, here's an extreme example by Psi: http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=13440 (note that each ! in "You attack..." is a critical hit).

Anyone who takes the Assassination ability should be optimizing critical hits, and this is a large part of the choice between a lightweight, low-dice weapon like a shortsword and a heavy, more-dice weapon like a Great Axe or Mattock at the extreme. Light weapons are easier to get critical hits with. Also, all of the abilities that increase your melee score beyond what you need to hit the enemy factor into this: Song of Slaying, Focused Attack, Concentration, Assassination; and the melee abilities Finesse and Subtlety decrease how much your roll needs to win by to get critical hits.
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Old February 8, 2013, 14:03   #79
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What's wrong with invisibility on/off?

Just one where you feel less at the mercy of the dice rolls and the modifiers. Or at least more transparency so you know when you're in a secure situation or not.

Chess is the counter example. Chess involves risk, but has no randomness - the risk comes from not knowing what the other player will do and only being able to hold so many scenarios in your head at once.

I haven't seen a 1d15 in Sil. In fact the dice ranges seem very very restricted.

I don't see the relevance of critical hits in Sil. ... There is no way to tactically take advantage of critical hits, and in normal play you only notice them against very strong enemies. Does anyone actually build characters around maximising crits at the expense of other bonuses? Because I can't see how this would actually work well in Sil. It's just too random to take advantage of.

But please, do correct me if I'm completely wrong about this!
You are wrong!

It took me a while to understand, but I once found a nice artefact shortsword (1d8) and started to use it instead of the bastard swords I had used before and I realized that my damage output didn't suffer while survivability (it had +3 evasion and I had parry, and I got a free attack by riposte almost every turn further increasing damage output) was suddenly much increased. You can build toward criticals - w/ finesse and subtlety and a 1lb shortsword you get a critical for every 5 points (or 6 points for the artefact shortsword I found or the 2lb longsword many players prefer) you roll above your opponent, with some investment into melee you can reliably do double and triple criticals - combined with boni from stealth (assassination), perception (focus, concentration, master hunter) or song tree (slaying) this can get really deadly - especially assassination(full stealth bonus)+focus(50% perception bonus) often leading to 1-hit kills. Further you can cripple opponents with criticals (and an ability) which helps a lot defensively. If you play a little further you will find that even some of the deadliest monsters in Sil only do 1d9 or similar damage, but rely on high skill and criticals (cats, deathblades).

A simple great spear with 2 strength already does 1d15 on the other end of the spectrum are 4d1 warhammers (wielded two-handed with 3 strength this is already 4d6) - I uploaded an unfortunate char dying early at 350ft. to the ladder (the newest one) who already had such a weapon for a while so you get them fairly early or you could forge them with little investment in smithing.

I don't play chess, in Go there is no risk, just an opponent that thinks too.

In stealth you have very important and completely declared modifiers (though you don't always know monster perception and monster presence) you can get 1d10+10 as your stealth right from start add all modifiers as distance, stealth mode etc. and the random part is in fact pretty small already just giving a window where risk as opposed to invisibility toggling happens. Endgame stealth is easily 20-25 for stealthy characters or even higher with equipment the 1d10 really is just the spice to the system.
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Old February 8, 2013, 14:13   #80
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Chess 960, for the win. Random map + complete information of battlefield. Everybody wins. Wait, wrong forum.
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