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Old April 25, 2013, 10:29   #1
half
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Sil: What are your least liked features of Sil?

In the other thread, I asked for people's favourite features, but I'd also like to know what people like least about it. This would ideally be something that is fixable, but even if it is something basic and inherent to it, we'd love to know. This helps us see where Sil is in the landscape of roguelike games and who it is or is not appealing to. It should also help us to improve it.

Even if you really like the game, do speak up. We are more interested in having a game that some people absolutely love than a game everyone likes, and so we are particularly likely to improve things that the fans want improved.
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Old April 25, 2013, 12:10   #2
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1) How skills are learned.
1a) Possibility to stock exp. to learn skill only if needed is a huge drawback imho. It completely ruins all the strategy for me.
1b) Easy way get skill to it's cap e.g. perfect stealth (well, it is not too easy, so it is only a slight drawback imho)

2) Time limit implementation seems like a crutch to me, not like a part of a game it should be.

Overall it is fine if played with "learn things immediately" self restriction and ironman.
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Old April 25, 2013, 12:57   #3
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I realise I am probably part of the reason behind the way things are, but I do think that smithing costs are now prohibitively high, unless you eek out every last point of smithing that you can.

Survivability in the early game is down to how quickly you can find some armour. Not massively important as there is not much to replay, but it irks occassionally.

As has been mentioned the "forced descent" isn't the prettiest mechanic, but I haven't thought of any alternative to achieve the same ends.
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Old April 25, 2013, 14:36   #4
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I'm a little frustrated with gear drops, as I am not much interested in the Smithing skill (especially as it's being made more difficult to use, to accommodate the highly skilled players in the community who use it to beat the game like a redheaded stepchild). Given the severity of the level timer, I am often forced to dive to my death without gear of any consequence.


Another note on gear: a little bummed at how many items give penalties to hit or evasion. But that's balance and I can live with it.


Also: I read in passing somewhere on this forum that using stairs in Sil takes turns off the timer, to discourage stairscumming. If turns are being burned, should we be popping up on the next level fully healed and hungrier?


Related to the points above: sometimes I'd like to repeat a level at the depth I'm on. i.e. the next level down will be too dangerous, and the next level up won't have any monsters worth looking at for xp. Since using stairs has an impact on the timer, it's not a great idea to just go up then immediately back down. At least that's my understanding. Would it be possible to add a third kind of stairwell that takes you to a new level at the same depth? Call it a 'tunnel' or some such.


edit: i hate that 'mindless' monsters like molds still seem to have enough common sense to shoot spores at me, but not at the orcs/Easterlings/whatever that are chasing me. Ditto for the various bugs and worms. I'd love to be able to use those things against the more intelligent dungeon dwellers. Traps, too.
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Old April 25, 2013, 14:46   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starhawk View Post
Also: I read in passing somewhere on this forum that using stairs in Sil takes turns off the timer, to discourage stairscumming. If turns are being burned, should we be popping up on the next level fully healed and hungrier?
This got taken out when stairs were changed to randomly collapse if you've taken a lot of stairs lately, instead. So you don't have to worry about this.
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Old April 25, 2013, 14:47   #6
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I like the fact that you are explicitly looking for negative feedback; this speaks a lot about your attention to your users.

Anyway, here are some tips for improvement; but most of it are interface/minor stuff.
1) Two separate keymaps are used, when, with a little more optimization, one would probably suffice: none of the hjklyubn keys is really that important that it cannot be remapped.
2) Loremaster is too an easy way out of the identification minigame. It easily pays off for itself in XP.
3) the interface for increasing abilities and gaining skills could be unified; now they are too logically separate.
4) the final Carcharoth level is a bit dull if compared to Morgoth's lair. Only one way out, no real incentive to visit the other rooms.
5) a quiver-like interface for throwing weapons.
6) it should be easier to explore the forging options even when not at a forge ("what would I be able to forge if I took artifice?")
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Old April 25, 2013, 15:00   #7
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So I've hardly played 1.1.1 at all, so these might not be relevant at all.

a) I don't like how the 1.5lb two handed / 0.5lb throwing weight-per-damage-side-per-Str was changed to use 1lb across the board, and I also don't like the introduction of momentum. There seems to be little incentive to use two-handed weapons outside of flavour reasons anymore, and I actually did like the hilarity of stunning monsters with a two-handed axe.

b) I feel like the song tree could be tweaked a bit. The song tree in particular seems a bit unsuited to the same experience progression expense calculation as the rest of the trees, since it would conceivably be neat to have a "bard" type character who could situationally use 6 or 7 songs. Right now, songs seem relegated to the same status as throwing weapons, which is in the 'clearly you will only use 1 or 2 for support' bucket.

We've seen song-heavy builds that put all their eggs in one basket (be that lorien, or the majesty one) out of sheer expediency, but I for one would like to see more flexibility here. I haven't thought this one out much.

c) Throwing weapons continue to frustrate me. Maybe applying a bucketing rule like arrows (where you can only get a +0, 2d4 or a +2, 2d5 throwing axe or something) would help, because right now it's a pretty big pain to manage them. There's also a large range of available throwing weapons (daggers, spears, throwing axes), but I don't know how much value that adds. A throwing quiver might be nice too.

Again, I'd like to see throwing specialists made viable as a build, but this would suffer the same balancing problems as archery I think.

d) I know that archery is a big thematic part of this game, and that we want melee characters to use it as support, but I think the 50% evasion penalty is still a bit extreme in that regard. I'd like for melee characters to have to invest, say, at least 1 point per 100 feet of dungeon depth to make it viable.

I also think versatility is a bogus ability. If you're going to make an archery specialist, I think you should have to invest in melee to survive if things get up close, or get good at running away. As it stands, we've had characters with only ~15 archery kill V (although this might not be possible in 1.1.1. anymore?), so it's not like archer builds can't afford it.

e) I'm looking forward to having more options to test forging without actually having any skills / abilities in it.

That's all I've got for now. I'm sure I'll come up with more later I am generally not very good at reasoning about what makes a good game, so a lot of these may be useless whinging.

Edit: I also agree with Psi on the armor thing. I always thought it would be helpful but not easy-mode if you were to always find a [-1, 1d4] leather armor or something in that first room. It makes a huge difference in the first 200', and it's pretty common for me to only find boots or gloves before the first forge. You get used to it after a while, but it must be annoying to newbies?
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Old April 25, 2013, 15:14   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LostTemplar View Post
1) How skills are learned.
1a) Possibility to stock exp. to learn skill only if needed is a huge drawback imho. It completely ruins all the strategy for me.
Again, I've not played Sil yet, but AIUI different upgrades cost different amounts of experience, so there's no really reasonable way to say "you must learn a skill now" unless you've earned enough experience to buy anything that's currently available.

However, it occurred to me that you could possibly remove some of the gameism by only allowing the player to upgrade at fixed points, e.g. every time they reach a new dungeon level. Perhaps that's too rare though. *shrug*
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Old April 25, 2013, 17:13   #9
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* Some sort of forced decent is absolutely necessary, however I have a problem with one aspect of the current method: it almost always makes sense to do 900-950ft several times. There is a reward for diving quickly/playing well/playing riskily which is you get the maximum amount of time to do 950ft over and over, but I think this is a case of the best strategy not actually being much fun (diving is fun, repeating 950ft isn't).

Any sort of turncount clock will always have that aspect, I see a few other methods:

1) Ironman

The main change with ironman is not being able to use stairs as an escape, which I don't mind as that is fairly cheap (especially with connected stairs). If up stairs simply took you to a different up stairs on the same level, I think the game would play roughly the same.

2) Persistant levels

Similarly, persistant levels would act the same, you would go up stairs to the previous level and down a different set of stairs to a different part of the lower level. Persistance does bring in some largely negative things that anyone who plays crawl will be familiar with: The method of going up/down stairs I just described, stair scumming, which in crawl is repeatedly going up and down the same set of stairs to lure enemies up one by one, and the biggest one is that you can stash items (which is awful if you don't have autotravel). I don't like this option much for Sil.

3) Items drying up, similar to how XP does

You could take the average number of items per depth and when the player has seen ~150% of that number, remove all items from the level and do not generate any more at that depth (including drops). I would remove items from the current level because you could generate a new level when you are close to the limit and have an entire level of items over what you should have otherwise. Tracking this as the player sees items rather than on item generation is important, or else this causes the weak to stay weak and the strong to get stronger. The problem with this is staff of treasures, I'm not sure it should work.

The big advantage I see for option 3 is that you retain a few very important aspects of angband, having situations where you must completely abandon a level and not forcing you to fully explore each level. The latter of those is where I start to dislike playing ironman a bit.

* Perhaps this is just the way I play, but I feel song of sharpness is mandatory. Even for characters that can kill ancient serpents and kemenrauko, you still always want it for the throne room. This ties in to what debo was saying about bard type characters, it ups the price of all other songs by a lot so you can't experiment as much. I never use Este or Staying despite them being really good, because I can't afford the cost or convince myself to play without sharpness. Of course this all changes if you are lucky enough to find a weapon with sharpness, which I would say is the best thing you can possibly find.

There are a few skills that act a little the same on the silrun, sprinting is a must as is exchange places unless you are purposefully playing without stealth. This isn't as big of a deal because the game is over at that point, but still.

* I agree with debo about throwing weapons, simplification here would be good - only having +0,2d4 throwing axes would be fine by me.

* The Noldor being the best at everything. This certainly is just me, and it isn't even strictly true. I understand the point of the Noldor but it bothers me. If I were to make a personal version I would reduce their power to the same as Naugrim and Sindar which I think is the best difficulty setting. I like playing Edain too, but there is a lot of emphasis on getting con while playing them. Alternately to reducing Noldor power, I would simply make them the best at one thing (no frills melee combat) and add a perception niche to elsewhere.

* Early game monster variety. I don't like to mention this again as I've done so a couple of time before but this is definitely a place for improvement. I haven't thought too much about what monsters could come in, but I'm sure there are a lot of mechanics that could work well and keep in line with Sil's style.

* A couple of complaints I've heard introducting the game to people are: 1) centre map continuously option not working. 2) radius 1 lights are terrible.

On the lights, keen senses is in my "I can't stand playing without this" category.

I feel like an asshole posting here when I completely neglected the positive thread, there's obviously a lot about Sil that I love, but I couldn't bring myself to make such a glowing post, I am a negative person. I'll sum up briefly what I appreciate most about Sil.

* Minimalism, while retaining enormous tactical and strategic depth.
* Theme, feel and tone.

I've taken a lot away from Sil in a design sense.

Last edited by clouded; April 25, 2013 at 17:29.
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Old April 25, 2013, 18:05   #10
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1. Opaque forced descent turncount.
I feel like drying up exp / torches / light should make this worthwhile anyway. Maybe increase danger if you stay somewhere too long, like Morgoth's minions have caught on that there is an intruder. Accompanied by a message so the player is aware of the mechanic.

2. Skill/experience system.
I'm not a fan of "choose skill" levelups anyway, because mistakes are permanent and can cripple a otherwise decent character. I like DoomRL because its levelup system is simple enough to completely comprehend at once. Increasing costs and planning ahead is too difficult to "wing it". You have to die A LOT to figure out a good build or cheat and look at ladder characters.

2b. HOWEVER. I love the "see monster exp" and "kill monster exp" that becomes less significant. And without making increasing costs, of course unbalanced builds would be the only way to go. Im not sure how to improve, its just not my cup of tea.
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