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Old March 3, 2008, 06:15   #1
zaimoni
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Zaiband: Sidebar documentation

This needs revision. This is a first draft of what's scheduled for Zaiband 3.0.8 alpha (which is in AI freeze for preparing to release because truly fixing the pathfinding code is just too painful right now.) It goes between "the Town level" and "Townspeople".

Code:
Human        ##################################################################
Rookie       #................................................................#
Warrior      #................................................................#
LEVEL      1 #................................................#8######........#
NXT       10 #....................................#####.......########........#
AU       367 #.......##########....#####2.........#####.......########........#
             #.......##########....######.........#####.......########........#
STR:      16 #.......##########....######.........#3###.......########........#
INT:      10 #.......1#########....######.....................########........#
WIS:      12 #................................................................#
DEX:      18 #................................................................#
CON:      14 #................................................>...............#
CHR:       8 #................................................................#
             #......................#########..................########7......#
Cur AC     2 #........#####.........#########......#6######....#########......#
HP   19/  19 #........#####.........#########......########....#########......#
             #........5####.........########4......########....#########......#
Energy    10 #.....................................########...................#
[**********] #.....................................########...................#
    2 1/1    #.......................................t.......@................#
             #................................................................#
             ##################################################################
Town

=== The Sidebar ===
To the left of the main dungeon/town display, is a status panel containing
usually-present information of some importance.

The first three lines are: race, class title, class.
LEVEL is the character level.  It may range from 1 to 50 before defeating 
Morgoth.
NXT is how much more combat experience you need to attain the next character
level.  Should you attain level 50 in your class, this will be replaced by
EXP, which lists your total combat experience.

STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, and CHR are the typical abbreviations for Strength,
Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma.

Cur AC is your current (known) armor class.  Higher is better.  Note that
a high AC will reduce merely physical damage, up to a maximum of 60% reduction
for an AC of 150.  This is in addition to the reduced chance of having a hit
get though in the first place.

HP lists both current and maximum hit points, as a ratio.

Spellcasters (which a warrior is not) have an SP listing for current and 
maximum mana energy stored.  It goes between the HP and Energy lines.

The Energy line (specific to Zaiband, for now) lists your "energy" recovery 
(which controls how fast your character takes turns).  It is currently an 
internal statistic that monsters do not directly see.  Slow monsters have 
substantially less energy recovery than 10; fast monsters have substantially
more energy recovery.

The next line is the monster health bar, which provides a colored bar graph
of the relative health of the monster.  In Zaiband, the monsters are shown 
your health bar.

The next line is: maximum monster hit points, then a move ratio of the 
monster's moves to your moves.
* 1/1 means that the monster should get one move to your move.
* 2/1 means that the monster should get a double-move after you move.
* 1/2 means that you have a double-move on the monster; it should not move
after your next move, and the move ratio should read 1/1 after you move.[

Monsters do know your maximum hitpoints just like you know theirs.
Discerning whether they know how to use the move ratio information
is difficult at this time.
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Old March 3, 2008, 19:31   #2
roustk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zaimoni View Post
* 1/1 means that the monster should get one move to your move.
* 2/1 means that the monster should get a double-move after you move.
* 1/2 means that you have a double-move on the monster; it should not move
after your next move, and the move ratio should read 1/1 after you move.
Just kibitzing, but I read "2/1" as I get two moves to the monsters one.

I've been trying to come up with a decent display for 15 minutes (nothing compared to you), and I think that the most useful information can be captured in not that much space. Use a 3 character display that indicates the next 3 moves, considering just you and the monster.
Code:
mmm -- monster gets a triple move (or more) before your next move
mm@ -- monster gets a double move before your next move
m@m -- no double-moves for a while
m@@ -- you get a double-move (or more) next time
@m@ -- you get one more move before the monster
@@m -- you get two more moves before the monster
@@@ -- you get at least three more moves before the monster
Kevin
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Old March 3, 2008, 21:38   #3
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The point of posting the rough draft here, is to solicit kibitzing. (Most of this display should be recognizable from V; the only entry not even intended to be there in V SVN is the maximum monster hp and move ratio. I think the Energy line is slated to go in eventually.)

I thought about reversing that ratio as well (player then monster moves), but the maximum monster hp is to the left of the move ratio. I don't see a particularly strong justification either way, although if there was a strong intuitiveness bias I could turn it around (before release; after then we have the "old habits die hard" problem. E.g., the V3.0.8+ store interface change, which I think is a net improvement but is still a bit jarring to me.)

As for what you're proposing: I think that visually would work better as "next 12 moves after player" (restricted to currently-visible monsters). (No idea whether it's worth the screen space yet; might work better in an auxilliary window.)

Say, three snagas and the player in a hallway, all truly normal speed:

ooo@ooo@ooo@

Just read it left-to-right.
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Old March 4, 2008, 00:30   #4
Big Al
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I would think that the player would care about only the monsters that are directly beside them (in melee range). eg. if you use the "ooo@ooo@ooo@" idea, only one of those monsters would actually be hitting you at a time, so it's kind of pointless to show the other two. If you were surrounded by monsters however, it would be useful to know that three orcs will attack you before you get to back another move. I think that there is more than twelve visible monsters on the screen a lot of the time and wouldn't be terribly useful if it showed them all.

The "1/2 / 1/1 / 2/1" idea looks interesting, though I'd agree about switching the order around. I'm sure that players would get used to it either way though. I like the ratios better than the above idea because you can target specific monsters.

EDIT to add:
Also, I don't really see the need for the "energy" stat - speed pretty much already says the same thing, right (just on a different scale)?

Also, some kind of small label would be good for the max hp and speed ratio stats - otherwise they'd be the only numbers on the screen that don't have a description on the main screen of what they mean. Or, at very minimum, I'd be tempted to left- and right-justify respectively the max hp and turn ratio to keep it neater like:
Code:
Energy    10 #.....................................########...................#
[**********] #.....................................########...................#
2        1/1 #.......................................t.......@................#
             #................................................................#
Or preferably (though I don't know what you'd call the turn ratio thing - 'Nxt turn' is a bit long):
Code:
Energy    10 #.....................................########...................#
[**********] #.....................................########...................#
Max HP     2 #.......................................t.......@................#
Nxt turn 1/1 #................................................................#

Last edited by Big Al; March 4, 2008 at 00:48.
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Old March 4, 2008, 01:42   #5
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@ may care quite a bit whether a D (or other heavy breather) is going to get a single or double move. I haven't really thought about the "who moves next bar/window"; the move ratio is mostly implemented already.

I went with right-justification because that's what everything else on the V3.0.9 sidebar does.

[Speed vs. Energy]
Yes and no. Speed is the primary stat (energy recovery is calculated from speed by a table lookup), but energy recovery is the one that actually controls relative turn rates. Furthermore, more than one speed can give the same energy recovery.

For the kinds of characters I like to play (ranged tanks), the difference is important. Slow -3 and Slow -4 are equally bad (energy recovery 7), likewise Slow -5 and Slow -6 are equally bad (energy recovery 6). This change also concretely shows whether you're getting immediate benefit from speed items.
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Old March 4, 2008, 02:07   #6
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I just reviewed the current implementation (ripped from V3.0.9).
* it would make sense to put the Energy line immediately above the Speed indicator line (Town is Line 23, Fast/Slow is Line 22).
* I have two more blank lines, so splitting the current monster max hp and move ratio into two lines is possible.
** Please note that V3.0.6 and earlier have a dedicated line Max HP for player max hp. I'd prefer to avoid colliding with this usage, and I need 5 characters' width to display the hit points. This doesn't give me many options for the abbreviation. M.MHP comes to mind (and is pretty much what I've rewritten the C++ source to use).
** Your header for the move ratio is excellent. Thanks.
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Old March 4, 2008, 04:14   #7
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Revision 2, with matching code changes:
Code:
Human        ##################################################################
Rookie       #................................................................#
Warrior      #................................................................#
LEVEL      1 #................................................#8######........#
NXT       10 #....................................#####.......########........#
AU       367 #.......##########....#####2.........#####.......########........#
             #.......##########....######.........#####.......########........#
STR:      16 #.......##########....######.........#3###.......########........#
INT:      10 #.......1#########....######.....................########........#
WIS:      12 #................................................................#
DEX:      18 #................................................................#
CON:      14 #................................................>...............#
CHR:       8 #................................................................#
Cur AC     2 #......................#########..................########7......#
HP   19/  19 #........#####.........#########......#6######....#########......#
             #........#####.........#########......########....#########......#
[**********] #........5####.........########4......########....#########......#
    2 1/1    #.....................................########...................#
M. MHP     2 #.....................................########...................#
Nxt Move 1/1 #.......................................t.......@................#
Energy    10 #................................................................#
             ##################################################################
Town


=== The Sidebar ===
To the left of the main dungeon/town display, is a status panel containing
usually-present information of some importance.

The first three lines are: race, class title, class.
LEVEL is the character level.  It may range from 1 to 50 before defeating 
Morgoth.
NXT is how much more combat experience you need to attain the next character
level.  Should you attain level 50 in your class, this will be replaced by
EXP, which lists your total combat experience.

STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, and CHR are the typical abbreviations for Strength,
Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma.

Cur AC is your current (known) armor class.  Higher is better.  Note that
a high AC will reduce merely physical damage, up to a maximum of 60% reduction
for an AC of 150.  This is in addition to the reduced chance of having a hit
get though in the first place.

HP lists both current and maximum hit points, as a ratio.

Spellcasters (which a warrior is not) have an SP listing for current and 
maximum mana energy stored.  It goes immediately after the HP line.

The next line is the monster health bar, which provides a colored bar graph
of the relative health of the monster.  In Zaiband, the monsters are shown 
your health bar.

M. MHP is the maximum monster hit points.  Monsters do know your maximum 
hitpoints just like you know theirs.

Nxt Turn is a move ratio of the monster's moves to your moves.
* 1/1 means that the monster should get one move to your move.
* 1/2 means that the monster should get a double-move after you move.
* 2/1 means that you have a double-move on the monster; it should not move
after your next move, and the move ratio should read 1/1 after you move.

The above comments assume all turns taken are not diagonal moves, and that 
the player has only one shot per round when firing a missile weapon.

Starting with Zaiband 3.0.8 alpha, Zaiband is unusual among variants in
that diagonal moves take 50% longer than non-diagonal moves.  Extra shots
being implemented by taking less time is typical (V does this).

Discerning whether monsters know how to use the move ratio information
is difficult at this time.

The Energy line lists your "energy" recovery, which controls how fast your
character takes turns.  It is currently an internal statistic that monsters
do not directly see.  Slow monsters have substantially less energy recovery
than 10; fast monsters have substantially more energy recovery.

If your energy recovery is less than 10, the speed that is causing this will
show under the Energy line as Slow (-__).  Likewise, if your energy recovery
is more than 10, the speed that is causing this will show under the Energy
line as Fast (+__).

Last edited by zaimoni; March 4, 2008 at 04:22.
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Old March 4, 2008, 04:54   #8
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Looks good, though a couple small points:

1. You still have the line "2 1/1" AND the "M. MHP 2" & "Nxt Move 1/1" lines. I assume you didn't mean to leave in the first one.

2. I'd move the energy meter up to be right below the "HP xx/yy" line - otherwise it looks like the energy of the monster, not of the player. Group similar things together; monster stats with monster stats; player stats with player stats.

Also, I knew what energy was but don't think it's really necessary for the player to exactly. *shrug*, I guess if there's room for it, it doesn't hurt either though.
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Old March 4, 2008, 06:40   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
Looks good, though a couple small points:

1. You still have the line "2 1/1" AND the "M. MHP 2" & "Nxt Move 1/1" lines. I assume you didn't mean to leave in the first one.
The screenshot is being taken straight from the development Zaiband version; that's a bug. Fixed on my end; this puts a blank line between the current monster info and the Energy line. (edit: or is that a blank line between the monster info and the Nxt Turn line?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
2. I'd move the energy meter up to be right below the "HP xx/yy" line - otherwise it looks like the energy of the monster, not of the player. Group similar things together; monster stats with monster stats; player stats with player stats.
Back to under the SP line? Unfortunately, the player speed (when visible) is right under the current energy line location; I'd want to move both lines at once. I'm assuming the location of the fast/slow indicator in the V3.0.9 sidebar is intentional.
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