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Old November 24, 2017, 12:36   #1
Sky
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special level - cave

ever since cave levels have been introduced ... i don't mean the long, thin cave level, but the huge, wide-open cave levels, i thought they sucked.
they are far more dangerous than regular levels. if you are recalling, even more so, because you might easily be far from any corridor and outside the range of a !phase. you can easily be mobbed by hordes of monsters and if they breathe then you are just screwed.
and to make it even worse, i've never had any of them generate anything decent.

how about we give special levels a boost on item generation? or do we want "oh, a cave level - i'd better leave it immediately" in the game.
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Old November 24, 2017, 13:12   #2
Talharim
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A cave level full of time hounds or dragons with nowhere to hide?
*shudder*
I don’t know if I ‘d stick around no matter what was there.
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Old November 24, 2017, 22:14   #3
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Normal levels have rooms and hallways and the exploration tools you get are designed for that: light spells light a room, light rays a hallway, the things you can do with your limited geometric patters fit the environment. You get a playground and toys to play with.

Cave levels take away many of those toys and give you nothing in return. This is a very negative design approach and imho hasnt led to interesting play. Why doesnt the light spell have radius 5 or something to be at least of some use in undetermined terrain ? I dont think that would be enough to salvage caves for me, but it would help.

Increasing loot quality, again imo, is counter productive. It encourages longer stay in a place I dont want to be in.

Vaults are different in that they are specifivally designed to give interesting approach challenges. Caves are randomly generated, which is great, but there is a lack of useful things the player can do. Long range hockeystick practice around differently shaped corners is not enough.

Maybe just make them rarer, along with the vaults when you get there.
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Old November 25, 2017, 00:42   #4
Philip
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I agree that cave levels are rather boring - way fewer items, way less friendly architecture. Making Light Area more potent would definitely help

In O/FA, cave-type levels have a lot of orcs/ogres/trolls, including the Moria special level. I feel like transposing that design to V would make the levels more interesting, if not necessarily more attractive for the vast majority of characters. To add interest, perhaps some kinds of secret stashes/treasuries/armories hidden around the level, with like 5-10 ordinary objects clumped together? Maybe a vault version (resembling the stash Bill/Bert/Tom had) with fewer, better items, guarded by a couple tough monsters? The entrances to the secret stashes would also provide a limited number of bottlenecks for characters who use those extensively.
This would mean that characters who are good at moving around the level would get to have fun raiding the stashes, while stand-and-fight types would have mobs of orcs and trolls to kill.
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Old November 25, 2017, 01:36   #5
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I thought there was someone trying to figure out how to make only a subset of the level use the cave layout, so you'd have a mix of normal and cave styles on the same level. Whatever happened to that?

I mean, it'd still mean that there'd be a section of the level that the player has little incentive to go into, but that's not exactly unusual with current level designs anyway. Graveyards and demon pits, for example, create an exclusion zone around them for most characters.
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Old November 25, 2017, 02:37   #6
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What would be needed to make caves interesting would be something you could do there better than in normal layouts, for example a spell effect that travels along a wall similar to running that maybe does damage in a 2-3 tile wide strip; if it travels for a long time, you could use it in caves to shoot around the corner in a way better than in small rooms. Or a LoS breaking terrain change somewhere between the perfect, but tiny create door and the epic, dungeon ruining earthquake/destruction; maybe grow bushes with a ~4 tile radius with a random element to it like earthquake.

Something to play to go with the caves.
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Old November 25, 2017, 02:53   #7
Nick
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If I understand correctly, Sky was talking about huge rooms.
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Old November 25, 2017, 03:38   #8
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those would have the same problem, but i was thinking about those levels which has 2-3 large cave-like rooms, generally oblong (30-40 squares in length, 10 or so in height) with small corridors connecting them.

basically we have now in the game caves, large caves, and huge rooms.

with large caves, one of the problems is, you recall in. in your first turn, if you light the room, you can easily wake 20+ mobs. if you walk to find a wall, it can be several steps before you realize where you are, and you wake several mobs by noise, none of which you can see. and maybe then you light up the room and then you are royally screwed.

huge rooms are just as dangerous, but they generally have something worth fighting for. they also only make up a small part of the dungeon so you can have a fighting chance if you move away from them quickly enough.

also, im not totally sure, but i think huge rooms are themed? if so, they are unlikely to generate anything terribly dangerous before you have the means to escape it. But large caves can easily pack ogres and orcs and uruks which are just not avoidable by anyone who can't TS with confidence (and sometimes, even then you can die).
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Old November 25, 2017, 04:00   #9
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Well, if you appear in a room and see no wall the first thing you do is detect (evil, monster, even invisible - whatever you have) and that would normally give you enough information to not be surprised by large rooms.

If you find yourself in the middle of a large pack of ogres and orcs and dont have teleport yet, there are various ways of escaping which arent guaranteed but good enough: use of mapping for orientation, drinking a speed potion, reading phase door multiple times hoping to get closer to an exit and others.

That said, very large rooms share the problem with caves in that they are featureless and there isnt much you can do there. The only consideration is how to get out asap.
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Old November 25, 2017, 09:40   #10
Sky
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if you detect evil and see a bunch of uruks 13 squares away, *how* do you know they are not in an adjacent room?
you need to find enough walls to determine you are in a cave. if you don't read a magic map when you first land, you die. nice.
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