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Old May 19, 2014, 20:32   #1
fruviad
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Spellcasting suggestion (avoiding the dreaded "MBF ---er, what do you mean 'I die?'")

(With apologies in advance if this is already being discussed / developed for v.4; I've not seen it in 3.5, yet.)

I'd be surprised if fellow spellcaster-players haven't also been in a position of being in the middle of a heated battle and failing to realize that your spellbook inventory had been reduced by some fire-breathing critter.

This sets one up for a scenario in which you automatically cast a spell using the key combo that you always use, only to realize (too late) that the loss of that spellbook has changed the key combo for the desired spell.

An example: You're in the middle of a battle and type "MBF" to teleport away. However, instead of casting "Teleport Self," you end up casting "Identify" because both are spell "F" in their books, and the "B" inventory letter has been reassociated with a different spellbook by the change in your inventory resulting from destruction of "Magic for Beginners."

As a result of this mistake, that Balrog standing over you wonders for a moment why you stopped fighting to identify the item you're standing on before shrugging and eating you.

In addition to that brown-trouser-inducing scenario, casting spells just becomes a bit of a headache if you don't have the full suite of books and you've trained yourself to cast the spells automatically. If you decide you don't want to carry the full set, you have to stop and think about each key combo before casting a spell. This slows the game and increases the likelihood of mistakes.


My suggestion is: Instead of referencing the dynamic inventory letter for a spellbook when casting, the Angband engine would instead reference an internal table which always uses the same identifier to refer to the books regardless of which books you have in your inventory at the time you cast a spell. This table would, of course, key off the adventurer's inventory & books on the ground, and the player could not cast spells if they don't have the corresponding spellbook.

Thus, if I do not have "Magic for Beginners" but I do have "Conjurings and Tricks", the key combo "MBF" would still find & cast "Teleport Self" even though "Conjurings and Tricks" has an inventory letter of "A".

If I had "Conjurings and Tricks" but it has been destroyed without my realizing it, then "MBF" would fail in a way that makes it obvious that the requested action isn't possible rather than interpreting their "MBF" literally and acting upon it by casting the "wrong" spell, and giving that Balrog an additional attempt at eating our tasty adventurer.

Thoughts? Is there a reason that the game doesn't already do this?
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Old May 19, 2014, 21:04   #2
Derakon
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I'd wager that most players here make heavy use of inscriptions and keymaps when playing as spellcasters. For example, if you inscribe "@m1" onto your Magic for Beginners spellbook, then when you go to cast a spell, you can hit "1" instead of "a" to select that spellbook. You can then set up a keymap to do "*tm1a", which casts Magic Missile at the nearest valid target (assuming the "use old target by default" option is set, anyway). If your copy of Magic for Beginners is not present, then the keymap will fail when it tries to select which spellbook to use, and nothing will happen after that point.

That's not to say that the current spellcasting interface couldn't stand to see a serious update. It hasn't been overhauled since the Moria days; it's just received a little spit&polish. The biggest problem I have, personally, is that for the spells I haven't set up keymaps for (since I cast them rarely), there's no way to put a "prompt before casting this" inscription on them (like you could, say, inscribe your Rod of Recall with "!z" to get a prompt before zapping it). So I go to cast, say, Stone to Mud, and my finger slips and I hit Teleport Self instead, land in a pack of Gravity Hounds, and RIP.
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Old July 17, 2014, 16:33   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
I'd wager that most players here make heavy use of inscriptions and keymaps when playing as spellcasters.
Does that mean that there should be no desire to improve the behaviour of the game for those who don't? Those who, for instance, aren't well-versed in setting up macros, or don't even know about the various useful properties of inscriptions?
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Old July 17, 2014, 17:28   #4
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Wouldn't it add even more confusion, because when your inventory was scrambled you still should remember what book is actually assigned to what letter when those letters don't match inventory anymore. Also some angband variants may have several magic schools each has its books...
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Old July 17, 2014, 17:29   #5
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I see two possible ways to solve this:

1. In ToME2 (and probably ToMe4 as well), there was the option of making macro's with the actual spellname in them, which, honestly, was more of a hassle than inscribing @m1@b1@G1

2. Have a capability (like in Crawl IIRC) to 'lock' items at a specific letter in the inventory. This option also requires players to know this and, again, seems like an equal hassle to inscribing @m1@b1@G1.

Reading this to myself.. perhaps the option is to auto-inscribe readable spellbooks with @#@m#@G#.... otherwise it seems way too much effort for very little gain.
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Old July 17, 2014, 17:45   #6
Derakon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danaris View Post
Does that mean that there should be no desire to improve the behaviour of the game for those who don't? Those who, for instance, aren't well-versed in setting up macros, or don't even know about the various useful properties of inscriptions?
You didn't read the second half of my post, clearly.

There was some discussion (on, if I recall correctly, #angband-dev) about alternate approaches to handling spellcasting. One of them was to have a "spell screen" that would have every spell in the game that your class can cast. Spells would be available if you had the spellbook in-inventory (and had learned the spell), but since all spells would be shown at all times, they'd always have the same letter/number/whatever assigned to them. This wouldn't fix the problem of accidentally casting the wrong spell due to a typo, though.
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Old July 18, 2014, 01:11   #7
Malak Darkhunter
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Can't say I've ever really had a problem with the current setup and I've never used inscriptions or keymapping...although I will admit im abit of an old style player.
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let me try this workaround...oh crap computer just went black
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Old July 18, 2014, 04:25   #8
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Macros are very easy though, I dunno how I would play archers without them.
The help might be a bit unclear though, it's verbose but hardly have any recipes for a complete newbie like me, I had to ask them on the forum. and google.

So, if you press { and inscribe your spellbook with @m1 you may now always call it by number 1 when you use 'm' command.
You may call, say, magic missile as m1a now and if you lost that spellbook you won't call the first spell from another one.

It's already convenient, but it may be even more convenient, for Vanilla, press =md for menu to create a new macro, if you add something like [F1] as the key and m1a*t as the action, each time when you press F1 you will cast magic missile at the nearest target. Or simply m1a if you want to be proposed to choose your target and still you press 1 button instead of 3 and shouldn't care where the book sits in your inventory. It's very convenient.
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Old July 18, 2014, 18:14   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorbad View Post
perhaps the option is to auto-inscribe readable spellbooks with @#@m#@G#
I've often wondered why this isn't already the case (even if the inscription is hidden to the player).
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