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Old November 17, 2011, 11:24   #1
Timo Pietilš
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Future of Angband development

Because there is no real design plan or roadmap for angband, referring to my own post lets discuss this:

1) What is broken in current 3.3 vanilla?
2) how to fix it?
3) what new should/could we incorporate into game without breaking the general feel.

I'll start:

Broken constantly repeated "press this button to avoid death" -thing:

Traps, trap disarming and detection. This is currently broken and has been broken actually for entire game history. There is searching ability that is tied to this and it's main function was to detect traps and secret doors.

However after few first levels this becomes "press this button to avoid death" situation, and searching loses it's importance. Warriors use rods, magic users use spells. Traps can't be ignored because they are too deadly, and detecting them is too trivial and just incorporates tedium into game. Same applies to secret doors.

We either

1) need to make traps less deadly so that detection can go away
2) need to make detection less "press this button to avoid death"
3) need to make trap disarming less easy or unnecessary task

I think potentially deadly traps should stay, and we should concentrate on detection and disarming instead.

There is already searching ability which is next to useless that has PVAL. Lets make is useful. Make trap detection LoS thing (requiring visibility) that depends of your searching ability. With 100% searching detect traps as soon as it is in LoS. Remove all magical aids for trap detection.

How to deal with trap after it is discovered:

Make traps avoidable. With stat/skill-depended saving throw you can just plain walk thru a trap field without triggering them. I prefer DEX for such a stat "you carefully avoid triggering the trap". Maybe even for undetected traps if you make a save with increased failure chance.

Trap disarming should be skill that can reach 100% while trap avoidance cannot, but with usually much higher failure chance at early levels (more difficult skill). Maybe only rogues could reach that 100%.

Door detection could go away as well, but there is a catch in that. With door detection you get an idea about dungeon layout, where to expect rooms and corridors. If there is a door, there must be at least an corridor. That means there is something there that you might want to investigate. Do we want to keep that? Does it matter? If it does, how would we compensate if door detection goes away?

Currently door detection does not detect only secret doors, it detects all doors as well as stairs. It is into game not for secret doors (those are pretty trivial to find even without spell), but for giving you info about where to go. This is important for player, but it isn't something you absolutely need to do like trap detection (there is no border mark for door detection). Doors wont kill you. I think that should stay.
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Old November 17, 2011, 12:16   #2
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I think this thread is an excellent idea. Not that I think there will be a huge amount of agreement, but just having a big list of things that someone thinks are broken is a great starting point for discussion.

As far as traps go, I like Therem Harth's approach in this thread.
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Old November 17, 2011, 13:55   #3
Djabanete
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The problem with traps is that they are inherently less interesting to deal with than monsters. If you fall into one, it was either bad luck (if you couldn't have known about it) or sloppiness (if you could have). This is not very interesting or exciting. The only interesting thing here is inventory management, assuming you don't have a detect traps spell, which almost every class has.

However, traps can be very interesting in combat situations. If you are fighting monsters and the area is riddled with traps, suddenly the fight becomes ten times more interesting (whether or not you can see the traps). Do you move next to the summoner to kill him, or do you play it safe to detect traps first? Can you afford to trigger the poison trap? The dart trap?
Sometimes you are forced to stand still and rely on a ranged weapon until your rod can recharge.

Teleport traps and trap doors also become exciting means of escape. When you deliberately trigger a trap in order to get away, you feel like a ninja.

I advocate the addition of a Create Traps monster spell. I have had some nail-biting early game fights against Wormtongue in variants that have this. It's oh-so-satisfying to kill an enemy that demands resourcefulness on your part. (Edit: most monsters shouldn't have this. Only monsters with DROP_GREAT are worth the headache )

The other situation in which you experience combat near traps is in vaults. I like the puzzle element of cracking a vault, and abundant traps make things especially interesting.

I would not mind if traps never occurred at all except in vaults (and special rooms, like checkerboard rooms) and as a monster spell. To me these are the only times when traps are exciting and call for problem solving.
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Old November 17, 2011, 15:12   #4
Timo Pietilš
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djabanete View Post
I advocate the addition of a Create Traps monster spell. I have had some nail-biting early game fights against Wormtongue in variants that have this.

I would not mind if traps never occurred at all except in vaults (and special rooms, like checkerboard rooms) and as a monster spell. To me these are the only times when traps are exciting and call for problem solving.
Wormy has create traps in vanilla. Few others have it too, but I don't remember right away which ones (Ogre mage, Master thief and Harowen comes to mind, but I'm sure there are more)

Your way to solve the detection problem still leaves the fact that you need to cast the spell in order to find the traps, and searching stays useless. If you remove traps from everywhere else except vaults and special rooms then you don't need to cast it all of time, but you still need to cast it.
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Old November 17, 2011, 15:12   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djabanete View Post
<snip>
<TLDR>
* Traps suck but they could be useful if used only in vaults and as a monster spell
</TLDR>
I totally agree, kind of jealous I did not come up first with that..

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Old November 17, 2011, 15:43   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
Wormy has create traps in vanilla. Few others have it too, but I don't remember right away which ones (Ogre mage, Master thief and Harowen comes to mind, but I'm sure there are more)

Your way to solve the detection problem still leaves the fact that you need to cast the spell in order to find the traps, and searching stays useless. If you remove traps from everywhere else except vaults and special rooms then you don't need to cast it all of time, but you still need to cast it.
For that, the Strawberry approach(?) where searching skill goes up with gained levels would make searching useful again.

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Old November 17, 2011, 20:12   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
Wormy has create traps in vanilla. Few others have it too, but I don't remember right away which ones (Ogre mage, Master thief and Harowen comes to mind, but I'm sure there are more)
Incidentally, Quickband 2.0.5 has monsters with a create traps spell that works on their location (not yours), which they will happily use when out of your LOS. Quite nasty as they can cast it in an area that you had already trap-detected.

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Old November 17, 2011, 22:07   #8
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I personally would like to see more trap variations, and make it more time consuming and skillbased to disarm a trap, for example traps that are identified with "routine", "normal", "hard" based on the difficulty to disarm them, and you have a time window or some other gameplay mechanism to disarm them.
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Old November 17, 2011, 22:30   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
Wormy has create traps in vanilla. Few others have it too, but I don't remember right away which ones (Ogre mage, Master thief and Harowen comes to mind, but I'm sure there are more)

Your way to solve the detection problem still leaves the fact that you need to cast the spell in order to find the traps, and searching stays useless. If you remove traps from everywhere else except vaults and special rooms then you don't need to cast it all of time, but you still need to cast it.
I'm not sure that searching is really a salvageable mechanic. Any character will stop using the unreliable method as soon as they have something reliable.
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Old November 17, 2011, 22:53   #10
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In my opinion, the problem with traps is the discovery mechanic. So the simple solution here is to make trap discovery automatic. In other words, traps should never be hidden; they are revealed instantly when the player enters LOS of them. What they do can be hidden, to an extent (failing to recognize that a dart trap will drain your DEX vs. poisoning you until you've triggered it, though you know that it is a dart trap), but not the fact that they exist. Bam, no more tedium.

By way of compensation, you can then make traps harder to disarm or move through safely, allow them to affect tiles they are not themselves on (c.f. tripwires, NPP's "turret" traps), etc. The goal is to make the dungeon terrain more varied, basically. Given the choice, the player will generally want to simply avoid a trap, but the tactics of the moment may demand that they decide between the expedient movement that puts them at risk of a trap, or the safe movement that puts them at risk of a monster or other threat.

I do like the idea of having a skill that allows the player to move through trapped tiles safely. It would serve as an ideal replacement for the existing searching skill. Items that currently boost searching could then boost trap evasion; contrarily we could have items that boost trap disarming skill.
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