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Old September 28, 2010, 01:27   #51
Timo Pietilš
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
The whole point of a HP system is that more HP means you can survive more attacks. No attack should scale with HP, ever. If you want to separate out avoidance and armor damage reduction so that a blow to the head has a fixed chance of killing the player, then you should use a different system entirely.
To me HP represents physical endurance. However some attacks like poisoning or mind blast could go past that physical endurance and be direct percentile damage. HP-based scaling has its places. Same applies to healing. Either go with fixed amount or percentile and we have now percentile healings, and it not only feels right, it feels realistic.
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Old September 28, 2010, 02:32   #52
Atarlost
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
To me HP represents physical endurance. However some attacks like poisoning or mind blast could go past that physical endurance and be direct percentile damage. HP-based scaling has its places. Same applies to healing. Either go with fixed amount or percentile and we have now percentile healings, and it not only feels right, it feels realistic.
\

If an attack isn't effected by physical endurance it shouldn't effect something that represents physical endurance. By your logic mind blast should be save or die or attack mana or stats, not do a fixed fraction of HP damage.
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Old September 28, 2010, 07:08   #53
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This "what HP stands for" is I guess a regular discussion on tabletop games. IMHO, it stands for more than physical endurance (ie. physical combat prowess in general, luck, fatigue, etc. whatso, all combined together). As such, there are arguments for both sides, but simply put in game mechanics in Angband I don't feel percentile based dmg belongs in the game.
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Old September 28, 2010, 18:03   #54
Tiburon Silverflame
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If hit points ever mean something in some system, they don't here. The scale simply becomes ludicrous; a gigantic stone figure (colossus) *smashes* you with both its fists, blows that would rip stone walls apart...and it's just minor wounds to you. At that point, it's not toughness, or luck; it's purely bookkeeping.

Conversely, you can also say that ANY interpretation of hit points, in this context, is valid. This has the same effect: you can't use it as a basis to assert anything based on hit points.

Timo points out that the cure potions (the lesser ones, anyway) do percentage healing, and we feel it's realistic. I disagree on the latter. It's NOT realistic; it was done strictly to make them remain at least somewhat viable, and I suspect because we want the notion of "cure serious wounds" to scale. If I have 500 hit points, being down 50 hit points is not seriously wounded. It's those damnable adjectives that prejudice us.

Also, percentage healing was an answer to the TMJ issue; this approach let them be much less not-junk. But, it's the wrong answer because it's doing exactly what it shouldn't: the effect scales not with the power of the object, but the power of the target.

Note the impact if we simply change the names on the healing potions:
Healing
Adventurer's Healing
Daredevil's Healing
Heroes' Healing
Conqueror's Healing
Divine Healing
Life

From the names alone, one gets a different sense; the adjectives evoke a sense of greater and greater power, *without* the sense that they'll work as well on you whether you're level 10 with 70 hit points, or level 45 with 750. Thus, they don't create the expectation that someone who needs the full power of a Conqueror's Healing potion, will get much benefit at all from a basic, townie-level Healing potion. It's a subtle but IMO significant change to the player's thought processes and expectations.
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Old September 28, 2010, 20:11   #55
krugar
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Folks, I'll try this again just to dispel some beliefs and probably clarify my position a little better.

Warning! Long post ahead. Enjoy. But please, if you choose to comment on some part, make a point of reading the whole thing. I'm sure if there is something that annoys you too, is to have to answer someone with quotes from your own previous post because they failed to read the entire thing.

The HP legend
HP is, and will always be the base for any balance decision on a game that relies on it to determine when a player character is alive or dead. In the early stages of the game development decision concerning damage and effects are based on the established hit die (HP). What we actually see in the end of the design process is an abstraction of this in the form of damage die, number of attacks, etc.

For this purpose, on quality games, mathematical formulas are devised (sometimes quite complex ones) to determine the right balance across several character classes and their levels and for the duration of the game. Player progression is often matched with linear damage progression on the basis of established hit dies (HP).

You must be careful when defining HP has something that should never influence damage progression. That assertion is almost always wrong. It's the way the game then abstracts these raw formulas, hiding them into concepts such as dice (randomness), value ranges, HP, and damage (including even effects), that may lead you to think there's no correlation between player character progression and their HP. You couldn't be more wrong.

Thinning out the correlation in the game
That said, it is indeed true players (but also designers) don't like to see those formulas clearly during gameplay. More to the point, they don't like to expose that correlation between HP and damage in a clear fashion. In a minimalist definition, a game is nothing more than an abstraction of mathematical formulas. So, one can hide the maths (or expose different and more simplistic maths) using those abstractions.

In this process one can effectively thin out this correlation between HP and damage in the context of player progression, giving the illusion of natural progression. Ubiquitous mathematical elements in about every game, like randomness, value ranges and others (number of attacks, effects, etc), with the help of statistical analysis, expand on the initial raw formulas and do indeed introduce more to the game than a simplistic relation between HP and damage. Player progression is given a "natural" feeling -- and in any generalized debate about the game, we can indeed conclude the game offers more than just a direct relationship between HP and damage.

The HP formula
How does the above can be exemplified? Let's take a direct relationship and turn into something more "natural" -- more gamelike.

Imagine traps always did 75% of player charater's HP:
Code:
TPdam = PChp * 0.75
That's the raw concept. A rather ugly way to deal with damage. That's as far as someone with no interest in designing an good game goes. But believe it or not, is part of the thought process that goes into defining better methods.

Let's introduce something more interesting. I want to define trap damage to sit randomly within a certain range of values based on player HP. Say, it should damage the player between half and 3/4 of the player character HP:

Code:
PChp * 0.5 <= TPDam <= PChp * 0.75
It's still pretty much linear. But what this means is that a natural factor of randomness was introduced into the formula (I can't possibly use mathematical notation on this text box, so bear with the above simplistic non formula). That is a first step into defining something more complex. With more thought and thinking of different factors, we can reach something like:

Code:
TPdam = PChp * depth / max_depth * damage_factor
The above, which is one of my earlier suggestions, determines that trap damage should be defined in terms of dungeon depth, with potential damage increasing as we go down. A damage_factor can be applied in the form of a random number (or arbitrarily, on a case by case basis) to reduce or increase the damage. Finally damage is defined in relation to player HP.

With the above approach, we can then apply an abstraction to trap damage based on the current game abstractions and with the help of statistical analysis: For instance, just averaging the hit die of every class:

Code:
TPdam = (depth)d6 * damage_factor
Naturally, we want something more complex than this. But this is just a crude example of the way we move forward from raw formulas and concepts and into an abstraction that introduces -- gives the illusion of -- a more natural damage progression.

The HP definition
HP is not a player character physical endurance, damage resistance, or something else with a relationship with human resistance. HP stands for "hit points", as you well know. As such HP is Hit Points and nothing else.

Trying to establish relationships between HP and real-life counterparts is not going to help reach any conclusion or serve any purpose. HP is a mathematical device to a mathematical approach to games. Nothing more. In real life the same shot through the heart will kill an elephant, a strongman or a child. And if it doesn't, it was not because an internal HP count in our bodies stayed above 0. I'm sure we can agree at least on that.

I'll be happy to discuss HP as being this or that in the context of playing the game. But please don't bring that debate when we are discussing game design choices. We can generally agree on a weak definition and on the game semantics that go along (it depends on constitution, for instance). But no more. Everyone knows what HP stands for; but nobody should dare saying what exactly.

The Trap monster
Stop making comparison between traps and monsters, then saying you aren't comparing, and then keep doing it

Traps aren't monsters. The semantics are completely different. Both in the way the game approaches traps as the players do. A completely different set of rules currently apply to traps. In no way any consideration between traps and monsters should be made to further a point, or to counter another.

Traps aren't currently even well defined as a strategic medium. There's a few cases, but by virtue of the game random generation of dungeons (and trap placement) they are only evident on static dungeon elements like vaults, or by chance when the RNG did make something interesting out of a dungeon section. Unfortunately the monsters currently don't take advantage of traps either. So really, with traps not being monsters already, they aren't even strategically significant.

With this in mind you should really think twice before using again a monster example to counter trap damage arguments. If instead traps start becoming more interesting, then we can start discussing it in those terms... sometimes.

Last edited by krugar; September 28, 2010 at 20:17.
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Old September 28, 2010, 21:19   #56
Tiburon Silverflame
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The above, which is one of my earlier suggestions, determines that trap damage should be defined in terms of dungeon depth, with potential damage increasing as we go down. A damage_factor can be applied in the form of a random number (or arbitrarily, on a case by case basis) to reduce or increase the damage. Finally damage is defined in relation to player HP.
And that's when we completely reject your position, because the final assertion is WRONG, for reasons many of us have cited.

Using depth, and depth alone, in a formula gives the rest of the model you describe. It is reasonable to extrapolate "at a given depth, the player will typically be level X, with Y Con, and therefore hit points will be roughly about...this much". If divers push that, and tend to be lower level at a given depth (or have lower Con) then they have a consistent, increased risk that they choose to accept.

SPECIFICALLY, what we are rejecting is the hard tie-in you imply: that, at the time damage is computed, the amount of damage is related to your current or max hit points. We are NOT rejecting the notion that damage increases with depth.
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Old September 28, 2010, 22:03   #57
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Originally Posted by Tiburon Silverflame View Post
SPECIFICALLY, what we are rejecting is the hard tie-in you imply: that, at the time damage is computed, the amount of damage is related to your current or max hit points. We are NOT rejecting the notion that damage increases with depth.
This.

Depth is *roughly* a function of character level. Gear is a function of depth. HP is a function of character level (and class and race, which you can use average values for, and gear which we've already seen is a function of depth).

It is the "roughly" part that makes the game interesting.

I agree with the assertion that, in the end, basing it off HP and off of depth would be functionally similar. I would even agree that to determine logical damage output one should base it off of *assumed* HP. What I don't agree with is this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by krugar View Post
A possible trap damage formula:

[Player Maximum HP] * [Depth (level)] / 100 * [Trap Dam Factor (TDF)]
This takes away the risk of diving too fast and the reward of clearing too slow.
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Old September 28, 2010, 22:46   #58
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Interesting to note my post was simply ignored. Being that isn't even the in-game formula, but just the concept formula. Should learn to not write so much. A waste of time and effort.
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Old September 28, 2010, 23:15   #59
Tiburon Silverflame
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The waste of time and effort is being casually and sarcastically dismissive, when you fail to ever counter any argument WE made.

At this point, it's not we who fail to read your posts, it's you who fail to read and/or answer any of our arguments.
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Old September 29, 2010, 00:22   #60
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Originally Posted by krugar View Post
Interesting to note my post was simply ignored. Being that isn't even the in-game formula, but just the concept formula. Should learn to not write so much. A waste of time and effort.
There's no waste. I read your post and all the other ones. It's always good to have opinions, and there will always be disagreements. I've made a lot of suggestions on this forum that were argued against and discarded. I've also had some suggestions that were played with, adapted, and included in the code base.

The only reason I haven't responded to this post is that I agree with the consensus that basing damage off of HP is a bad idea, and there's really nothing for me to say that hasn't already been said.

Even if you get no responses, don't feel like you've been summarily dismissed. You can be certain that people have read what you suggest and probably put some thought into it as well.
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