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Old November 20, 2009, 18:11   #1
Bostock
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[S] Some bug/balance reports for Joshua

Hi,

Joshua invited me to post bug reports either by e-mail or to oook, and since more eyes see better, I figured I'd put them here. Here we go!

All these relate to the unofficial beta.

I. ACTUAL BUGS

1. Ironman Doesn't "Stick" Right

The ironman setting is badly retained from game to game. The key behaviors I see in this area I see are these:
* If you start a game with a character whose last game was ironman and check the settings, the ironman setting will be set to "yes."
* If you then go through with character creation, the resulting character will not have the "Ironman" flag.
* Turning ironman off and back on during character creation eliminates this problem.
* Once I encountered even stranger behavior, where a character with this "ignored Ironman setting" started off without Ironman, dived a little, went back down, and suddenly found themselves in Ironman (which of course made it impossible to continue the game in good faith). Unfortunately, I have not been able to reproduce this behavior.

It's strange that this problem has not been reported earlier, since there have been reports of ironman runs other than mine here and there since the 1.0.0 release. Perhaps it is something machine-specific... but I've gotten it on two different machines and operating systems, so I dunno.

Note that the autoroll setting, on the other hand, *is* preserved.


2. Transformations at Low MP Can Cause Damage without Warning

Unlike the previous problem, this one should be straightforward to understand and fix, since AFAICT, the culprit behind it is a certain JM. :-) Normally, of course, when you cast a spell without enough MP to, well, cast the spell, you are warned that this is risky before continuing. If you continue after this warning, the spell is cast at a high fail rate and you can receive "punishments" like paralyzation or stat loss. So far so good. The trouble is, mana levels when casting transformation spells are apparently silently treated as if they were already post-transformation, and thus lowered. There's the mentioned code in the source that's apprently to this effect, and the game behavior corresponds to it too. When casting transformation spells with nominally just enough mana to cast the spell, fail rates are unusually high (and higher than the nominal rates) and effects typical for insufficient-mana casting can occur after the casting.

I'm not sure what the reason is for treating mana this way, but if it's not necessary or useful, the simplest would be to just remove it. Otherwise, there should at least be the usual warning, although this may seem to players like buggy behavior since on the surface, there's enough mana for the casting. Maybe transformation spell costs could be increased at low mana instead?


3. Error Message When Appending Macros/Keymaps

...at least on my Vista machine. :-) When appending macros/keymaps, I get the error message "failed to create temporary file \s2s0.1", (where "1" is actually a counter and can be 2, 3, etc.). The process then continues from there and seemingly completes successfully.


4. "Graphics" Setting Not Preserved Between Starts

...at least on my Vista machine. By "Graphics" I mean the setting with the command path Sangband Options > User Interface > Graphics. It returns to extended graphics on each new start. Perhaps this is linked to problem 3.


II. ARGUABLE BALANCE ISSUES

Only one in this category.

1. Ironman Viability Varies Wildly Between (Otherwise-viable) Builds

This is something I've gone on about in some of my ancient Ironman posts. In short: nearly all magic-using builds are close to literally impossible to play in Ironman. "You whiner," you say, "Ironman is *supposed* to be nearly impossible!" Well, yes (although Ironman can eventually be downright comfy in Sangband if you're patient enough), but I think it should be nearly-impossible to a similar degree for all builds. However, it is not. The trouble is that for all magic-users except sorcerors and, very arguably, necromancers*, it seems to be impossible to preserve one's stocks of town books up to the end of the game. Strong fire attacks can destroy town books, and there are enough of them out there that one starts seeing town books fry (especially, but not only, as a fighter-caster) as early as the mid-30's. Meanwhile, town books have rather low drop rates. Book two and especially book one also have rather tight windows when you take into consideration how relatively little "stuff" is dropped until the 30's or so. A typical Ironman game will see 1-3 copies of the relevent book one, a few more of the relevant book two, and a decent supply of book three. Book one can be bought in multiple copies if you skimp on stats (ouch) and scrolls of phase door (double-ouch). But I think that, especially for books one and two, the supply is just not enough to withstand all the unavoidable fire attacks one will see throughout a whole game.

Compare this to the life of an OoI ironman, who is periodically provided with opportunities to replace and even improve their armor throughout the game. Imagine if instead there were only one armor type for each slot, but it was degradable and unrepairable, and only dropped four times per game!

Or compare it to how the life of ironman bowman (who do have it perhaps tougher than characters who skip archery, but not *as* tough as above) would be if, from level 50 onwards, they could only use their bows on a weekday when it's not raining... like a caster without their book one.

If this is something worth addressing, then some solutions could be:

a) Increase the drop rates for town books.
b) Widen the drop windows for town books.
c) Make town books inflammable. :-)

*Sorcerors can convert boulders into blankets of elemental protection (yes, you read that right) using Chaos Cloud, making it child's play to always have one on hand. Necromancers *may* be able to guard their book supplies from the worst offenders -- monsters with non-beam non-bolt fire attacks -- by staying permanently in wraithform and always ducking into a wall when appropriate, but I've never gotten one deep enough with an iron necro to test out this theory.


III. A COMMENT ON AN EARLIER THOUGHT OF YOURS

While mulling over shadowstalkers earlier, you considered condensing the light/douse keystrokes down to one when the command was unambiguous (which it normally is). In the name of ironman players everywhere -- all three of us -- I beg thee, do this! do this!

Best regards,

Bostock
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Old November 28, 2009, 21:33   #2
Bostock
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There are a couple of burglary bugs that I wanted to flesh out a bit more before reporting them, but I'd rather report them poorly than not at all, so here they are.

There is also one more bug that I keep noticing but it keeps my slipping my mind afterwards, so one more report might crop up in this thread.

The silence in response to my original is a bit worrying. I hope I didn't accidentally write something insulting or something!

Cheers from Bostock, and now on to the bugs.

********

Buglary Burgs

I. Mushroom Count Bugs

I understand you expected some mushroom count bugs... well, there are two.

- The "No Tea" Bug

A trap that runs out of mushrooms can end up holding a manipulable item entitled "no more [foo] mushrooms of [bar]." This item can be picked up, but cannot be squelched or put back down normally (I guess because the allowed quantity is from 0 to 0). You can only get rid of it by putting it in a trap. At that point it expands into one foo mushroom of bar, which you can remove normally.

- The Binarily Suspicious Bug

Sometimes the game gets confused in the opposite direction regarding mushroom count. The counts that it ends up with are suspicious/interesting, stuff like 248 (11111000) and 252 (11111100). I've never seen these mushroom piles behave abnormally after their creation.


II. The Constant Interruption Bug

The "(Interrupted)" flag for multi-turn activities can get "stuck" in the "on" position. It doesn't seem to actually "make you interrupted," but the message still gets shown on the screen for every multi-turn activity you take.

[Sometimes | All the time] when this bug is in effect, it's impossible to kill a friendly trap by altering it (rather than inspecting it and using k), which is annoying since the method lost is by far the easier one. :-)


III. You can put your essences pouch in a trap!

You can, well, put your essences pouch in a trap. I only tested monster activation of the trap once, because hey, it's my essences pouch. It did zero damage. If you 'g'et the pouch out of the trap, it becomes item "a" in your inventory, the usual "Pouch (holding X essences of Y types)", with zero weight. If you kill the trap, the pouch appears (as a tilde) on the ground with the same name as for 'g'et above; picking it up once again makes it item 'a.'

Saving and reloading doesn't make the extra pouch go away. Dropping it and leaving it behind doesn't seem to rob you of your existing essences (they are still listed under m in the equipment screen), nor does dropping and picking it back seem to give you free essences. Of course as long as it's in 'a' it clogs up a slot.

(I suppose I don't need to describe in detail how the trap-filling interface is just plain wonky all around.)

Last edited by Bostock; November 28, 2009 at 22:03.
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Old November 28, 2009, 22:41   #3
Magnate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bostock View Post
The silence in response to my original is a bit worrying. I hope I didn't accidentally write something insulting or something!
Don't worry - I think it's just that there are few people playing S at the moment, and even fewer developing it! It's well worth recording all the bugs here, because this thread will be preserved until any dev shows up. FWIW the essence pouch has always been a bit of a hack - I've had many occasions where it's ended up on the ground. As you say, the essences inside it are tracked separately, so you don't lose them.
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Old November 30, 2009, 09:28   #4
Bostock
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The wishlist post!

Thanks for the encouragement!

This is a wishlist post. It may be edited over time.

- change trapping interface to respect @d# inscriptions
- change Poison Ammo interface to enable poisoning of quivered ammo or at least inform the player that it's unpoisonable because it's quivered
- option (or perhaps default) to skip "put this throwing weapon in the quiver" query or make it the default.

Bostock

Last edited by Bostock; November 30, 2009 at 21:49.
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Old November 30, 2009, 20:01   #5
camlost
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
Don't worry - I think it's just that there are few people playing S at the moment, and even fewer developing it! It's well worth recording all the bugs here, because this thread will be preserved until any dev shows up. FWIW the essence pouch has always been a bit of a hack - I've had many occasions where it's ended up on the ground. As you say, the essences inside it are tracked separately, so you don't lose them.
I read it, but I'm not developing for it right now, so I didn't have anything to say. I will attempt to refind this thread when I do work on it.
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Old November 30, 2009, 21:49   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camlost View Post
I read it, but I'm not developing for it right now, so I didn't have anything to say. I will attempt to refind this thread when I do work on it.
Understood. Thanks.
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Old December 18, 2009, 12:06   #7
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It's interesting that you got as far as you did in Ironman; My Ironman experience in [S] goes something like this:

1. Go down stairs
2. Find myself in an area with no (visible) exits
3. Die of starvation

I have only tried ironman maybe 4-5 times but on every occasion, this has happened to me on DL 1-3, so the games have never lasted very long.
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Old August 26, 2010, 20:33   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bostock View Post
Thanks for the encouragement!
- change trapping interface to respect @d# inscriptions
Bostock
This more or less works. Try inscribing with "@+#".
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Old August 30, 2010, 09:51   #9
Bostock
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotMorgoth View Post
It's interesting that you got as far as you did in Ironman; My Ironman experience in [S] goes something like this:

1. Go down stairs
2. Find myself in an area with no (visible) exits
3. Die of starvation

I have only tried ironman maybe 4-5 times but on every occasion, this has happened to me on DL 1-3, so the games have never lasted very long.
Humm. This happened to me on D:1 in maybe one game out of... 5? 10? But then, I have never run an Ironman character whose suite didn't include Perception. How on earth do you expect to get a decent suite of armor together before it's too late if you don't have decent pseudo? (Most of my ironmen were from a race with at least decent innate Perception too.) Anyway, this means that by D:2 this shouldn't be a problem unless you have an alternate proposal for getting clothed!

On the other hand, maybe you should be grateful for the quick deaths - speed-wise, they sure beat Death by Multiple Forced Dive or Death by Mughash! :-)
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