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Old November 4, 2015, 22:19   #21
Nick
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
And there's nothing to explain how the player gets these level feelings. Are Angband characters simply psychic? If so they do a very bad job of it (due to the vagueness of the feelings). Why are they psychic for the general value of items on the floor but not in monster inventories? The mechanic doesn't make any kind of internal sense and has no explanation; it's just an extra bit of incredibly imprecise information that the player gets handed for no reason.
I don't think it's as nonsensical as pseudo-id. I probably agree that there's not a lot of basis for it, but one could argue that it's just the way this world works - a bit like dwarves having infravision of things 50 feet away.

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Then we get into the gameplay effects, i.e. what the level feelings actually accomplish. Players who use level feelings: how does that impact their behavior? It seems to most prominently have two effects: first, that they avoid levels that have high danger ratings and that they might otherwise have explored, and second, that they fully explore levels with high treasure ratings that they might otherwise have left earlier. So level feelings encourage players to leave when the game would (in theory) be more interesting due to dangerous monsters, and they encourage players to stay when we all know that obsessively clearing levels is a more boring way to play compared to moving on when you feel "done" with the current area.

So in short my thesis is that level feelings have no in-game justification for their existence, and they encourage players to play in a way that is actually less fun for them (even if they don't realize it).
This is where I have to seriously disagree. I think of Angband as a game for adults, or rather for people with full agency. A big part of it is the choice. I do not want to get into the business of protecting people from themselves.

In fact, I would argue that one of the main features of Angband in comparison to other games is that the player is not shoved in a "better" direction. They are for the most part left free to make up their mind how to play, whether that be optimal or not. So the fact that there are a lot of people who like level feelings is to me enough reason to leave them in, for now at least. They are, after all, optional.

I might be prepared to consider defaulting them to off and see what happens.
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Old November 4, 2015, 23:15   #22
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
Then we get into the gameplay effects, i.e. what the level feelings actually accomplish. Players who use level feelings: how does that impact their behavior? It seems to most prominently have two effects: first, that they avoid levels that have high danger ratings and that they might otherwise have explored, and second, that they fully explore levels with high treasure ratings that they might otherwise have left earlier. So level feelings encourage players to leave when the game would (in theory) be more interesting due to dangerous monsters, and they encourage players to stay when we all know that obsessively clearing levels is a more boring way to play compared to moving on when you feel "done" with the current area.
As someone who does use level feelings, I'd say how they are used depends on the player. For example, if I get a dangerous level and have a good source of detection, I'm more likely to explore and find out what is causing the feeling. If I find it is something I can handle, I know I'll get an experience kick from it (and possibly some good drops). Obviously if I don't think I can handle it, I run away.
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Old November 4, 2015, 23:56   #23
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I don't think it's as nonsensical as pseudo-id. I probably agree that there's not a lot of basis for it, but one could argue that it's just the way this world works - a bit like dwarves having infravision of things 50 feet away.
With pseudo-ID you're close to the item in question and can inspect it, notice it glowing or refusing to get dirty or whatever other signs there are of it being more than mundane. And this is clearly a skill the player practices, as they get better at it with time, needing less time to pseudo a given item as their level increases. Pseudo-ID works pretty well. It could maybe use some flavor enhancement but as a mechanic it's fine.



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This is where I have to seriously disagree. I think of Angband as a game for adults, or rather for people with full agency. A big part of it is the choice. I do not want to get into the business of protecting people from themselves.

In fact, I would argue that one of the main features of Angband in comparison to other games is that the player is not shoved in a "better" direction. They are for the most part left free to make up their mind how to play, whether that be optimal or not. So the fact that there are a lot of people who like level feelings is to me enough reason to leave them in, for now at least. They are, after all, optional.
As I've said several times now, I'd be happy to see level feelings get improved*, so that they're more grounded in the game world and less "here's two numbers you can use to decide whether or not to keep exploring this level." Because that's really literally all they do right now.

And yes, of course some (many) players like level feelings. They're free information. If historically characters were born with ESP, there'd be a revolt if the devs decided to remove it. The fact that players like a feature does not mean it is a good feature. It does mean that you need to tread carefully when mucking with it and engage the community with a bit more tact than I have been using, but that's all, really.

Remember when we removed stat-restore potions from the town? Weren't we removing some player agency there? After all, you didn't have to townscum to restore your single lost point of STR.

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I might be prepared to consider defaulting them to off and see what happens.
Do it!

* If I had copious spare time like in the good old days, I would actually seriously consider working on implementing this myself, in fact. But I don't.
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Old November 5, 2015, 05:41   #24
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I think prophetically vague feelings would be a lot more fun.

Let's say, for example, that the adventurer has brought a tarot deck, and draws a card when he enters a level. The deck is enchanted to it is "accurate", but also inscrutable.

"Pausing for a moment on stairs you draw a card: The Fool.

Is it mockery? A warning of trickery awaiting?"

Link it to some outcomes:

- A vault that's actually a trap for the player (e.g. master rogues spawn when the inner sanctum is reached and make off with his or her loot.

- A handful of secret doors that don't show up from the detection spell.

Or if those are too nethacky, then just some vague prophecies like "light in the darkness" or "La Morte" lend themselves to any number of possibilities. Artifacts that provide light, or Light Hounds, or whatever.

Of course if they're worded vaguely enough you can just as well have the feeling do nothing at all 80% of the time, and the imagination of people will fill in the rest.
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Old November 5, 2015, 14:28   #25
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Enough possible in-world explanations for level feelings have been given that it doesn't just seem like psychic power to me. Yeah, there's a number at the bottom, but it really does help to make the game more interesting.

I know some people refuse to explore a level that isn't 2-9 or whatever- that's their choice. I'm one of the people who will explore if either number is above 4. There's often some good adventuring/treasure, sometimes it's boring- but nowhere near as boring as if I had feelings turned off and was doomed to explore countless 1-1 levels. My vote's for keeping feelings as an option.

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As I've said several times now, I'd be happy to see level feelings get improved*, so that they're more grounded in the game world and less "here's two numbers you can use to decide whether or not to keep exploring this level." Because that's really literally all they do right now.
Are you talking about just writing some creative flavor-text, or actually changing how they work? I think the former risks changing only the form but not the function.

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If historically characters were born with ESP, there'd be a revolt if the devs decided to remove it.
Would you be in favor of making level-feeling-discernment a separate character ability, like ESP? Could be something that develops with the WIS stat or even a low-level ego item feature. But even then, once @ has it, some players will just boil it down to numbers.
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Old November 5, 2015, 15:08   #26
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In-game explanations always tend towards the absurd. I mean, who's to say "those two numbers" are not simply an encoding of the player noticing "bits of jewel dust" and "undead tyrannosaurus turds" lying around?

"It's not realistic" or "It has no basis" arguments really make no sense in the context of a fantasy game.
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Old November 5, 2015, 15:10   #27
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post

Would you be in favor of making level-feeling-discernment a separate character ability, like ESP? Could be something that develops with the WIS stat or even a low-level ego item feature. But even then, once @ has it, some players will just boil it down to numbers.
Why cater to a minority opinion?

I'm all for game variables. If you don't like it, turn it off. Don't enforce your opinion on the community.
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Old November 5, 2015, 15:53   #28
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Are you talking about just writing some creative flavor-text, or actually changing how they work? I think the former risks changing only the form but not the function.

Would you be in favor of making level-feeling-discernment a separate character ability, like ESP? Could be something that develops with the WIS stat or even a low-level ego item feature. But even then, once @ has it, some players will just boil it down to numbers.
The proposal I liked best for level feelings is to have what's in the level create various clues that the player can notice. Hounds leave tufts of fur in the corners; dragons scrape their scales off on the walls; you can hear orcish drums. So basically you'd go through the monster list and associate each [type of] monster with a message, and then the "danger feeling" would instead be a message associated with the most dangerous monster on the level. Possibly some extra logic for when said monster is in a vault or monster nest.

I don't think it's necessarily a great idea to make level feelings depend on a stat. Initially I liked it, but then I realized that it would basically make them pointless for many characters until post-stat-gain, which in turn means that many characters would never see the "You hear dogs barking" message that means that Grip and Fang are the most dangerous monsters on the level.

I'm not certain what to do with the treasure quality message though. Items don't generally leave evidence of their presence just lying around. Which is another reason I think the treasure feeling is dumb.

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Why cater to a minority opinion?

I'm all for game variables. If you don't like it, turn it off. Don't enforce your opinion on the community.
The goal is to improve the game. Despite all I've said about my opinion of the current level feelings, I would rather play with level feelings on -- just, only if they were improved. How would you improve them? Clearly you don't think there's much if any of a problem with them currently, but surely you can still think of improvements.
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Old November 5, 2015, 16:20   #29
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The proposal I liked best for level feelings is to have what's in the level create various clues that the player can notice. ... tufts of fur ... scales ... orcish drums. ...the "danger feeling" would instead be a message associated with the most dangerous monster on the level. Possibly some extra logic for when said monster is in a vault or monster nest.
I do greatly prefer this idea. There are a number of issues that would need to be addressed, though:

-Would uniques trump non-uniques and get the message? It would suck to to get the Uvatha message and find out there are also death drakes and drolems.
-Would there be subsequent messages when the player defeats the most powerful enemy? "The orc drums die down." Would there be a replacement feeling for the most powerful remaining enemy?
-I think there would need to be multiple entries for each type of monster- for example you wouldn't like the sound of rattling bones to mean both a Skeleton Orc and also Cantoras.
-What about a separate message for out-of-depth enemies, something like "You notice orcs fleeing this level" or some such?

I do really like your idea. It will just take a lot of development to make it really interesting and varied- and a lot more to make it what people would call "useful."

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I don't think it's necessarily a great idea to make level feelings depend on a stat.
I don't either- just trying to think of a way to make it optional-yet-attainable.

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I'm not certain what to do with the treasure quality message though. Items don't generally leave evidence of their presence just lying around. Which is another reason I think the treasure feeling is dumb.
True that. Maybe get a level feeling when detection is used? (Yeah I know this would make it even easier than the way we currently get a treasure feeling, but it does make more in-world sense than just seeing patches of floor.)
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Old November 5, 2015, 18:15   #30
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Maybe a simple improvement would be to have the danger message require some exploration using exactly the same mechanism as the treasure message. I wouldn't be averse to this.

As a related alternative, the player could learn danger messages from monsters, either seeing or killing certain random monsters (in the same way treasure feelings are linked to revealing random squares), or by accruing a certain random amount of XP on the level. If you want a in-theme mechanism- some monster gives up info before dying, or drops a scroll with level specific info (kind of like ToME 4 did/does?) These could be squelched by players who don't wan the info.

I really do like the flavor of "left evidence" clues, but that is a big departure from the spartan dungeons we have now. The dungeon will be more interesting once terrain comes in, and I think it would fit in better then, once the player is already inspecting more details of its surroundings.
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