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Old December 26, 2008, 21:22   #1
PowerDiver
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experimenting with minimal id

[I also posted this to rgra]

I've been modifying V in many ways. I started with the principle that
identify should not affect gameplay, so e.g. if wands stack when identified
they should also stack when not identified. This led me to add pseudo-id to
jewelry so that I could define preserve mode in terms of pseudo rather than in
terms of identify.

Once I got started, I kept on going, and incorporated a model of active magic.
In this model, if you quaff an unaware potion of sleep while wielding an
unaware ring of free action and an unidentified defender weapon, you learn
about them all. You feel sluggish for a moment, and then the ring and weapon
actively oppose the bad magic. Specifically, you learn the flavor of the
potion, and that the ring and weapon both have the flag that provides free
action. You notice a slay when you hit a monster affected by the slay, and
equally learn there is no slay if it is not.

I modified a few of the nastier items, such as making !death "too nasty to
drink" and changing ?curse_armor to curse the armor but not blast it.

I implemented full learning code for wieldable items. Everything you learn is
saved, and when the flavor or ego is uniquely determined, you are told what it
is. I changed so that artifacts are recognized immediately when wielded. So
if you wield a weapon that gives a wisdom bonus, when you inspect it you see
that it is {blessed} or {*slay evil} or {holy avenger} or {*slay undead}. If
you then hit an undead, that will determine exactly which one it is due to the
different slays.


I just played a game through to the end where I never used identify on any
unaware flavor except {good} jewelry, or on any unlearned ego. I never
sold anything for id either. I tried not to buy unaware items from the shops,
but I had to buy a few. After I learned an ego on an item, or knew the
flavor, I allowed myself to ?identify it to see the plusses.


The most notable problem was that rings of damage, accuracy, slaying,
searching, and protection pseudo as bad or good with no way to be
differentiated in my learning code. Those required ?identify to learn.
I will probably change things so that you learn to_dam and to_hit bonuses on
any hit, and search bonus on any successful search, and maybe ac bonus on any
melee attack against you. I don't know exactly what, but something needs to
be done here.

Due to the horrible way consumables are hard-coded, my learning stuff does not
work on them. I was forced to take notes like "pink does not reduce poison".

The most annoying consumable I did not modify was !ruination. Dropping all
stats from 18/100 to 18/88, requiring maybe 5 stat potions to restore each
individual stat, seems very excessive.

The biggest problem was learning ego ammo. I took out a checkerboard vault,
and acquired lots ammo. There were not enough monsters of all possible types,
so I could not risk killing them when testing the ammo, and first I would
*throw* each ammo in turn to check the slays, and then kill only after testing
was done. This is a mess, and the only solution I see is to learn at least
ammo egos like flavors that you recognize in the future on pickup. Perhaps
the [I believe] v dev approach of egos on the launchers instead could work if
not too many launchers.

I played a rogue, so at high levels I had various enchant spells. I used
enchant spells as a slow expensive method of removing curses. Ammo is worse,
because you cannot wield it to speed up pseudo. When things got slow, I
tested ammo for ego by trying to brand it.

I consider checking for artifacts using the 'k' command to be abuse, but
checking with acid balls is not. Perhaps that is silly. Toward the end, I
was checking not only armor but also low dice weapons using acid balls.

It was essential that sustain rings pseudoed as average, and I squelched most
average flavors without trying to learn them. Some other flags, like FF and
slow digestion also count as average, but at least those can be learned
easily, and I wouldn't care if I squelched them anyway.

I also coded in learning by process of elimination, and so the very last wand
flavor was learned without ever trying it. It turned out to be -heal_monster!


I definitely need ?*ID and !self_knowledge [which I changed to *ID everything
wielded] for learning randarts. I also used it once to figure out a cloak
with a stealth bonus that could have been stealth or aman. It turned out my
mistake learning the cloak was wearing it. Later I left those in my pack.
Perhaps buggily, my code learns about ignore_fire on every item in the pack
when hit by a fire attack, but if you are *wearing* a cloak it is not affected
by a fire attack so you don't learn then! That whole item destruction thing
is really messed up. As to the pack, when an item survives the attack, does
that mean it is untouched or that it is lightly singed but not badly burnt?
My code currently assumes the latter.

FWIW, I learned 225 flavors through usage. I collected too much slay evil
ammo and had to finish the game with about ten ring flavors unlearned, mostly
squelched unaware, and another about ten unaware flavors never encountered.
The win took about 450K turns, so I was slowed down, but not by too huge an
amount. Acid balls as a primary means of identify. There is still work to
do.


My conclusion is that with the "active resistance" model, it is possible to
play without identify. I don't think the severe model, where you have to know
the attack and have exactly one wielded item that might resist it to be
learnable, would be playable.
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Old December 27, 2008, 00:14   #2
Donald Jonker
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I have agreed with virtually every change you have made to vanilla thus far (kudos, by the way - it is brilliant), but I see here a slight glimmer of discontent. I'm getting the sense that id by testing is somewhat burdensome. Since ?id and selling to stores are still options, I suppose this doesn't particularly matter, but regarding id entirely by testing, I want to ask that seldom asked question:

Is it fun?

Of course, I want to try it out myself, but I thought I'd ask anyway.

Also: what are your plans for weak-pseudo classes? Are the rules for them in any way different from what you've described?

EDIT: I just noticed this thread was posted in the "variants" section. Is this a sign that the patch has evolved into something greater?

Last edited by Donald Jonker; December 27, 2008 at 00:20.
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Old December 27, 2008, 07:02   #3
PowerDiver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Jonker View Post
Is it fun?

Of course, I want to try it out myself, but I thought I'd ask anyway.

Also: what are your plans for weak-pseudo classes? Are the rules for them in any way different from what you've described?

EDIT: I just noticed this thread was posted in the "variants" section. Is this a sign that the patch has evolved into something greater?
It is more fun to learn by use than by a spell. However, trying to reach the point of no id while minimizing changes may be counterproductive. Certain things are currently tiresome. To do it right consistently would require rewriting all of the consumables code for starters. It might be possible to steal a considerable amount from Un. I don't see a solution to ammo other than treating egos like flavors, which single change is big enough to call a variant.

I think most of my changes might be suitable for V, but I posted here because the overview question of how learning should be accomplished is equally appropriate to all variants. I also think that coming up with solutions will require thinking about things in new ways. IMO just thinking about how to solve my problems might lead to ideas that would improve variants, even those that don't fix the problems that bother me.

As to weak pseudo, it just does not work well if you do not know whether or not your weapon has an ego. It is still OK however if you make the brands and stealth or regen obvious. Weak pseudo classes just have to squelch all excellent but not splendid weapons, losing out on slays but not much else. They would still be forced to ?id all good hats until they found one of serenity, and all good boots until they find a pair of stability, and then acid balls reduces [but does not eliminate] further problems pretty well. Not a good solution, but the essence of weak pseudo is forcing the char to ?id everything, so it's basically built that way on purpose.
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Old December 27, 2008, 07:18   #4
Antoine
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Your work is good.

In some areas I'd complain that it is a little unstylish. For instance, I think it's clunky for the game to tell you that an item is '{blessed} or {*slay evil} or {holy avenger} or {*slay undead}'. I'd rather just be told that it 'increases your Wisdom', at least until I found out what it was exactly.

With Ammo, one approach would be to replace the egos with different, uncommon base types - and remove all ammo egos entirely. So, instead of 'arrows of slay evil' and 'arrows of slay animal', you might see 'elven arrows' and 'hunting arrows' - having the same effect, but visually identifiable.

IMO, under your patch, getting hit by an elemental attack should tell you about all worn armors that are unaffected by that element.

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Old December 27, 2008, 08:17   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antoine View Post
In some areas I'd complain that it is a little unstylish. For instance, I think it's clunky for the game to tell you that an item is '{blessed} or {*slay evil} or {holy avenger} or {*slay undead}'. I'd rather just be told that it 'increases your Wisdom', at least until I found out what it was exactly.
One of my [perhaps radical] underlying goals is to provide all info obtainable from inferences from the edit files. IMO a newbie who wants to decide whether to toss the object should be given a comprehensive list of the possibilities. Note that after you hit an orc with the +wis ego, if it slays evil the list drops to *slayEvil or holyAvenger, and if it does not the list drops to blessed or *slayUndead. When the list is reduced to a unique match, it shows up in the one-line object description.

If the slays showed up the way resistances do in the 'C' tables, maybe it would be OK not to give the full list. I check the union and intersection of object flags for the possible egos, and list union-minus-intersection flags with a '?' in the 'C' tables until the char learns for sure whether the flag on the object. For now, the only way to know the possible slays is to check the list of possible egos. That's clearly something that needs to be improved.
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Old December 27, 2008, 19:01   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
It might be possible to steal a considerable amount from Un.
Heh, in Un I have a lot of early-game fun with dipping ammo or weapons in unknown potions to identify them (if the monsters don't happen to resist that effect), or throwing the potions against a wall near a monster, if I'm very bad at both melee and launchers or if I only have blunt weapons/ammo. That is _obviously_ more fun than buying, hauling and reading ?id. Even quaffing potions is, because of the risk (but you can't easily die of potions in Un).

Quote:
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it's clunky for the game to tell you that an item is '{blessed} or {*slay evil} or {holy avenger} or {*slay undead}'
Un tells you that it's {blessed?}, IIRC, which is the first object in the info files that fits, which is bad IMHO, too. What I would like the most is for the game to tell you the most expensive possible ego that fits, say {holy avenger?} in this case. This plays on the emotions of the player very well, by giving him high hopes and then most probably a huge let down. Which is however a totally different kind of let-down than if you destroyed a {blessed?} weapon only to learn afterwards that it could be {holy avenger?} in fact... (Unless you are after ESP from {blessed}, which complicates the matter a bit.)
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Old December 27, 2008, 22:32   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
It is more fun to learn by use than by a spell. However, trying to reach the point of no id while minimizing changes may be counterproductive. Certain things are currently tiresome.
I'm not convinced that ID by use is much fun, so here's a (moderately) radical suggestion.

Currently, there is a bit of fun in the early game with picking stuff up and not knowing how good it is; after a while, though, it just becomes an annoyance. How about after a certain clevel (class dependent, if you wish), everything is just automatically ID'd on pickup (but not detection)?
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Old December 27, 2008, 22:50   #8
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How about after a certain clevel (class dependent, if you wish), everything is just automatically ID'd on pickup (but not detection)?
How long I've been waiting to hear someone else to express this sentiment. Such sweet music.
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Old December 28, 2008, 00:24   #9
PowerDiver
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Currently, there is a bit of fun in the early game with picking stuff up and not knowing how good it is; after a while, though, it just becomes an annoyance. How about after a certain clevel (class dependent, if you wish), everything is just automatically ID'd on pickup (but not detection)?
I continue to think the best solution is what I call "rune-based". The various object flags are runes on items, and when you pick up an item it is obvious which if any runes it has. Then you learn the runes through use. Perhaps different slots should have different runes for the same flag. For example it might or might not be more fun if learning a ring vs a shield of resist fire took more or less experimentation. Once you have learned all the runes, everything is fully id'ed on pickup simply because you know all the runes, assuming you give +hit and +dam on pickup. Goodbye pseudo!

However, I am trying to do things that have a chance to get into V someday, and that's just too far away.

I can't even get people to agree that +hit and +dam should be obvious on a hit.
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Old December 28, 2008, 01:17   #10
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However, I am trying to do things that have a chance to get into V someday, and that's just too far away.
WHat's Takkaria's stance on identification issues?

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