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Old March 15, 2022, 14:21   #1
animal_waves
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Tweaking the game to shorten/condense it

I think the main reason I die in this game is because I find it too long: I get bored and stop paying attention then die stupidly. I also have limited IRL time to play so I would like to see if I could reduce/condense the Vanilla experience in a smaller package.

I'm a big fan of Brogue where you can have a win in around 3hours, and the pace of the FrogComposBand "coffeebreak" mode is spot-on for me (altough I can't speak of its length as I only played the early game), especially the quick leveling & loot progression.

I read about TinyAngband and QuickBand (never tested them), but I would like to still benefits from V improvements of the last couple years, which must be possible since almost all game data is now editable in .txt format (thanks awesome devs).

So, anyone familiar with the code/mechanics have any suggestions/idea?
I was thinking about:
- Reducing the dungeon size & depth but keep the vault density in the lower levels. I love "single-screen" levels like Brogue or early Infra Arcana so I'll aim for that.
- Lowering the max number of monsters per level but keep the average monster density,
- Increase the loot drop & adjust the loot table to match with the shorter dungeon depth.
- Increase the XP gain
- Maybe reduce MAX_RANGE & MAX_SIGHT. Are launchers & breathers max range hard coded or are they using those variables?

Am I forgetting something important? Do you have any input?

I'm not good at math, I guess dividing or multiplying all current values by a common factor (ie 5) would not be optimal/balanced?
Has anyone already tried to achieve something similar?
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Old March 15, 2022, 17:27   #2
Selkie
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I hear what you're saying and like you I regularly die in the grind stage because I get bored and sloppy. I never mind death though because I love the early game so much.

Your suggestions are sensible for shortening the game but I can't imagine the game being so much fun. Half of the appeal of vanilla is your investment in your character and the slow, incremental improvements to your @.

Most people suggest Sil for a shorter, more condensed challenge. I've never tried it because I love vanilla and fear change
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Old March 15, 2022, 18:39   #3
Ingwe Ingweron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animal_waves View Post
I think the main reason I die in this game is because I find it too long: I get bored and stop paying attention then die stupidly. I also have limited IRL time to play so I would like to see if I could reduce/condense the Vanilla experience in a smaller package.
Dive faster!

But, seriously, there have been attempts. Fizzix set the stairs to descend by two levels instead of one to see if a win was feasible with half as many levels. (Now, because of all of Nick's great work, this is a feature you can adjust yourself in the constants.txt file).
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Old March 15, 2022, 21:29   #4
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In fact, apart from XP gain, I think all of the things you want to change can be managed by changing values in constants.txt. You could also manipulate XP gain by playing with the exp: line in p_race.txt.

A big part of the modernisation of the code a few years back was to enable more customisation just by editing data files. It would be really good to see someone taking advantage of this in an interesting way
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Old March 16, 2022, 07:35   #5
Ingwe Ingweron
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Originally Posted by Nick View Post
A big part of the modernisation of the code a few years back was to enable more customisation just by editing data files. It would be really good to see someone taking advantage of this in an interesting way
Yes, apart from my non-interesting "super race/class" (Valar/Istari) that I used to test out the malleability of the data files and bug-test fully new versions. Makes play too easy, but was truly great for quick run throughs to test the code.
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Old March 16, 2022, 08:47   #6
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Level sizes are not hard to change if you can self compile. Smaller levels do add some complications about what to do with detect/teleport ranges, staircase placement, and a few other things.
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Old March 16, 2022, 09:28   #7
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I could fairly easily add an experimental option for "sometimes small levels". Maybe for the 1st 50 dlvls with odds and compression based on depth. I'm not sure how Nick feels about extra options, it'd be his call in the end. For number of levels you can adjust stair-skip in constants.txt
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Old March 17, 2022, 18:08   #8
emar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animal_waves View Post
I think the main reason I die in this game is because I find it too long: I get bored and stop paying attention then die stupidly. I also have limited IRL time to play so I would like to see if I could reduce/condense the Vanilla experience in a smaller package.

I'm a big fan of Brogue where you can have a win in around 3hours, and the pace of the FrogComposBand "coffeebreak" mode is spot-on for me (altough I can't speak of its length as I only played the early game), especially the quick leveling & loot progression.

I read about TinyAngband and QuickBand (never tested them), but I would like to still benefits from V improvements of the last couple years, which must be possible since almost all game data is now editable in .txt format (thanks awesome devs).

So, anyone familiar with the code/mechanics have any suggestions/idea?
I was thinking about:
- Reducing the dungeon size & depth but keep the vault density in the lower levels. I love "single-screen" levels like Brogue or early Infra Arcana so I'll aim for that.
- Lowering the max number of monsters per level but keep the average monster density,
- Increase the loot drop & adjust the loot table to match with the shorter dungeon depth.
- Increase the XP gain
- Maybe reduce MAX_RANGE & MAX_SIGHT. Are launchers & breathers max range hard coded or are they using those variables?

Am I forgetting something important? Do you have any input?

I'm not good at math, I guess dividing or multiplying all current values by a common factor (ie 5) would not be optimal/balanced?
Has anyone already tried to achieve something similar?
My strategy has been adding scrolls of *acquirement*, enchant *weapon*, and enchant *armor* to always stock in the black market. I've also fiddled with monster density and drops, but simply making gold relevant throughout the game (by adding said scrolls) was the shortest path to streamlining (and shortening) the game.
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Old March 18, 2022, 14:22   #9
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I think we have been wanting the same thing

Recently I've been playing a lot on a very slightly patched vanilla angband that I called "grindless angband". Initially I tried just setting stair-skip to 3, always using force-descend, and adjusting stat potion rarities so stat gain would be completed around time same time it tends to be completed in a normal force-descend game (around ~3000', though unimportant stats lag a little).

I found that stealthy classes (like rangers, druids, etc) could handle stair-skip 3 quite comfortably, though characters tended to lack consumables for the final fight. I had a ranger reach morgoth with no !life, no !*healing* and only 3 potions of !healing. Fun game, definitely no grind (I didn't win)

But non-stealthy characters just couldn't hack the force-descend stat-gain at dlvls 40-60, and died horribly. I'm not a hugely experienced player, and perhaps others would fare much better.

I then tried stair-skip 4 (just 26 levels to reach morgoth ), slightly smaller dungeons (133x66), but with adjusted GOOD item drops so you don't find yourself consistently at dlvl 40 with no free action. I took a warrior (with no-WoR) to the late game with this variant, and died happily in the arms of sauron.

I think overall I preferred stair-skip 3 and no changes to item drop quality. Something I found hard is the arbitrariness of trying to fix the difficulty level. I didn't want a kindof "ultra ironman" game, with un-stat-gained characters at dlvl 80, but neither did I want to be wading through mountains of ego items, which devaluates the dopamine rush of finding nice kit (I have a theory that angband is an elaborate, tolkein-themed gambling addiction ).

Small(er) dungeons were interesting. They definitely feel less grindy, less exploring of empty space to do, but they ramped up the difficulty considerably. I might pursue this further, but probably need to nail down exactly what game-feel i'm trying to achieve.
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Old March 18, 2022, 14:26   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emar View Post
My strategy has been adding scrolls of *acquirement*, enchant *weapon*, and enchant *armor* to always stock in the black market. I've also fiddled with monster density and drops, but simply making gold relevant throughout the game (by adding said scrolls) was the shortest path to streamlining (and shortening) the game.
I love the idea of making *acquirement* always available in the black market. Perhaps this should be considered for vanilla?
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