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Old October 3, 2014, 17:26   #11
mrrstark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post

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XP Penalties
I'm fine with this going away. All it does is encourage newbies (who disproportionately pick High-Elves) to spend even longer scumming shallow depths. Besides, the actual penalties are dumb, witness the low penalty for Half-Trolls and Hobbits.
As a newbie, I definitely didn't originally interpret XP penalty as you guys do. I definitely thought that races without XP penalties were the intended beginner races, and those with XP penalties were for advance or challenge mode play.

Why? XP penalties in roguelikes are almost the opposite compared to RPGs.

In most CRPGs, if there is an +XP item, skill, talent, anything, it's optimal play to take it and take it as early as possible, because you will get stronger faster, and not doing so is suboptimal or pretty much a challenge mode.

In most CRPGs, pacing is tightly controlled so that you either need the +XP to stay at or make life easier by moving ahead of the power curve. Further, you are likely to hit max level at the very end if at all. So unlike Angband, there isn't the case where levelling power caps out way before the end of the game.

Without checking boards, trial and error, or having a deep history with older-school RPGs, it's not communicated anywhere that, yes, the bonuses the races get _are_ worth the XP penalty, and that eventually the XP penalty won't matter (if you're good enough to get to the level cap, which you won't be....). So many games have balance all over the map, so often approaching a new game you don't know wheter +X to Y is worth it, but the #1 thing you can bet is going to be a solid choice is levelling faster.

Finally, from a really basic standpoint, even knowing that other races may be easier, it's simply more fun to get more powerful faster. Like in PosChengband, I'll often play with faster XP just to get access to the cool weird abilities faster simply because that's what's fun.
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Old October 3, 2014, 17:32   #12
half
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Originally Posted by Rydel View Post
Something like all monsters having 100 mana and gaining 10 mana per turn. Minor spells would cost 10 mana, basically negating that turns regeneration, while bigger spells would cost more. Any spell that costs 60+ mana could never be cast 2 turns in a row.
I feel this allows for a lot more strategy than the FA system, which encourages turtling until the enemy is out of mana or just ignoring the mana system entirely.
Rydel explained the reasoning behind the Sil mana system better than I did, and came up with a very similar proposal.

[Though note how in Sil (unlike most computer games) we don't require the last digit on all of our numbers to be 0.]
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Old October 3, 2014, 19:55   #13
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Originally Posted by half View Post
What if all XP requirements were scaled down, so compared to now the super races are somewhere near the current human requirements and humans level really fast. That sounds like a fun choice to me, making humans a kind of glass battleship, rather than making the super races invulnerable but boring to play...
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Old October 3, 2014, 21:31   #14
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FA learnable specialty abilities
Not bad, however different abilities may be used for vanilla

Monster traps and stealing
Nice

XP penalty for stronger races/classes (V has, FA doesn't)
No real difference

Rubble you can walk through
Other varied terrain (trees, lava, water)
Good

Combat system
Both good, however V needs balancing numbers, e.g. weapon weights. FA good as is

Difficulty
FA have better curve imho.

Monster mana, and AI more generally
AI is good. Mana is not good, monsters never run out of it, use SIL approach maybe.

Different ego types
Nice

Rings and amulets
FA not bad, but needs balancing. V ok.

Randarts (change the whole set in V vs always have the standarts and a few randarts in FA)
FA better IMHO

Summoning around the player vs around the caster
Use both, half around the player and half around the caster

Stat and *stat* potions
Not a big deal
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Old October 3, 2014, 21:36   #15
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I think I'm mostly in agreement with Derakon. But there are a few differences.

Abilities: I don't like these (sorry HM) mainly because they steepen the learning curve greatly. The only way I'd get behind it, is if you also had a class or two, where the abilities were set. Honestly, if we were to put this in V, I would rather have it done through a new equipment slot, rather than innate. You still get to choose, but you also get to try things out before committing.

Monster mana: Sil's system is fine. The important point, as others have mentioned is that it cannot be symmetrical to the player's mana. That way lies madness. I don't think this is the biggest concern. Right now, the biggest problem with V combat choices is that breath damage is too large (often over ~50% of health at endgame). This means that engaging multiple high level monsters is not possible. I'd rather have these parts fixed first, and I think it will go along way to make the endgame more tactically interesting (mostly by then removing the player's ability to manipulate monsters and terrain, i.e. teleport-free zones, destruction always damaging the player in some serious way, like permanent stat drain. etc.)

Difficulty: I think the beginning game difficulty is fine. The endgame difficulty could use some spice. I've never gotten to the second half of FA, but it sounds like we could import some ideas from there.
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Old October 3, 2014, 22:08   #16
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Oh, a quick note regarding monster AI: everyone should play a few games of Crypt of the Necrodancer, or at the very least (since the game isn't free, though IMO it's absolutely worth the money) watch a video of the gameplay. Necrodancer has very simple, downright trivial AIs, but every single monster type (discounting palette swaps) has a different set of rules for movement; combine that with having a good mix of monsters instead of tons of the same monster over and over, and you get nice, varied gameplay.

Of course, if we wanted something similar for Angband then we'd need to make things a little more complicated -- Necrodancer gets away with extreme simplicity in part because it has a strict realtime element (if you don't provide your input at the right time, then you miss your turn), and of course Vanilla wouldn't have that...right?
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Old October 4, 2014, 01:11   #17
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
Necrodancer has very simple, downright trivial AIs, but every single monster type (discounting palette swaps) has a different set of rules for movement; combine that with having a good mix of monsters instead of tons of the same monster over and over, and you get nice, varied gameplay.
So there are two ends of the spectrum here, and we can choose where to go. One option is that monsters are scripted, you can see (or know) exactly what a monster will do, and the gameplay is to figure out how to deal with the monsters in the most efficient way. I'm not sure of CotN fits that, but other roguelikes, like Invisible Inc. (not free) or some roguelike-like games. Darren Grey's Mosaic, or the Android game Ending fit this.

On the other spectrum, the monster AI is completely random. You might know what options a monster has, but you have no idea what it will do on each turn. In this style of game, the challenge is one of odds calculation and estimation.

Angband is very close to the random end of the spectrum. Monster movement direction is forced, but monster action choice is completely random. Adding smarter AI, unrelated to movement moves it towards the scripted side of the spectrum. If you are able to, say, rule out the possibility of the dragon breathing on this turn, it changes the tactics. A 1% possibility of death is not much different from a 2%, but is very different from a 0%. Similarly, if you know that an enemy will do something, like breathe on its first chance, then you can plan accordingly. (ToME4 fights are mostly determinable, and can be heavily tactical because of it.)

My gut instinct is that the scripted-puzzle idea won't work with infinite levels, but I could be wrong.
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Old October 4, 2014, 05:32   #18
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Well, to pull up another not-free roguelike, Hoplite has completely nonrandom everything except for the level layout. Theoretically, on entering the level (which also gives you full vision of the level; Hoplite levels are small), you could "solve" the level, though in practice there's far many steps between starting and ending a level for that to be practical. There's only four enemy types -- grunts, archers, mages, and bombers -- and each has its own entirely deterministic AI. I wouldn't say Hoplite has a ton of depth to it, but it works well and I think it could be readily scaled up.

Not that I'm saying that Angband should have deterministic enemies...well, at least most of the enemies shouldn't be deterministic. But I do think there's a lot of room for adding more varied behaviors. For example, we could have:

* Enemies that move quickly and have powerful melee, but also always move along the walls. Thus, trivial to deal with on their own in an open room, but watch out for them in corridors!
* Enemies that are constrained from moving in the same direction two turns in a row (or even must turn at least 90 degrees in each movement turn)
* Enemies that can move quickly through walls, but very slowly in open space. And vice versa.
* Enemies that have no direct attack but instead make nearby enemies stronger (or are primarily dangerous in that they enhance nearby enemies -- Shrieker Mushroom Patches are an extant example)
* Enemies that have a prescribed attack cycle, e.g. alway do move, attack, cast, move, attack, cast in that order

Et cetera.
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Old October 4, 2014, 12:59   #19
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Originally Posted by half View Post
Monster mana

You could have spells that cost different amounts, but I'd just use a couple of levels. The different amounts thing can bite if the monster is needing to save up mana to cast a big spell and keeps getting tempted by small ones.
If I wanted spells with different costs in a system like this I'd have a single threshold required to cast any spell, but have them drain you by different amounts below that level.

For instance, a searing summoner could start with 5 mana (=max) , regenerate 1 mana per turn, and be allowed to cast any spell whenever their mana is positive. Spells: fiery ferret (2 mana), blazing badger (4 mana), exploding elephant (8 mana).

Then if they started with a ferret or badger they could cast another spell immediately, but if they started with an elephant they couldn't. Later in the fight the spell they choose would determine how long they have to wait before casting anything else.

If you didn't want to allow negative mana numbers obviously you could move the start value and threshold up.

Last edited by Scatha; October 4, 2014 at 13:20.
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Old October 4, 2014, 18:02   #20
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
I think I'm mostly in agreement with Derakon. But there are a few differences.

Abilities: I don't like these (sorry HM) mainly because they steepen the learning curve greatly. The only way I'd get behind it, is if you also had a class or two, where the abilities were set. Honestly, if we were to put this in V, I would rather have it done through a new equipment slot, rather than innate. You still get to choose, but you also get to try things out before committing.
Another way of handling it is having a default set of abilities for each class. So those learning can just use the defaults. In regards to the problem with taking the "wrong" abilities aren't they all just little bonuses? I haven't played O or Fa enough to know but it seems to me miss picking would be no big deal.
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