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Old April 23, 2007, 03:59   #1
Nick
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Cool [FA] FAangband development

I have wanted some sort of discussion forum for FA development (outside ladder dump comments ...) for ages, but not got around to doing anything about it. Looks like I was right, and the best thing was to wait for someone else to do it

So anyway, here's an outline of the plan for 0.3.0:
  • Major code cleanup.
  • User interface improvements in parallel with Angband development.
  • Big AI changes
  • Themed wilderness levels
  • Possible rebalancing of wilderness monster levels and some races
  • Rethink of PPPP (Priest/Paladin Pointy Penalty)

All suggestions, complaints, opinions, abuse, etc treated with the appropriate mix of consideration, argument and sarcasm.
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Old April 23, 2007, 09:44   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
I have wanted some sort of discussion forum for FA development (outside ladder dump comments ...) for ages, but not got around to doing anything about it. Looks like I was right, and the best thing was to wait for someone else to do it

So anyway, here's an outline of the plan for 0.3.0:
  • Major code cleanup.
  • User interface improvements in parallel with Angband development.
  • Big AI changes
Details please?

Quote:
  • Themed wilderness levels
  • Possible rebalancing of wilderness monster levels and some races
  • Rethink of PPPP (Priest/Paladin Pointy Penalty)
All suggestions, complaints, opinions, abuse, etc treated with the appropriate mix of consideration, argument and sarcasm.
Andrew
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Old April 23, 2007, 10:42   #3
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Themed wilderness levels sound good, as long as they'll fit. Does race rebalancing mean new ones or simply retuning existing ones?

Some new monsters/artifacts from Tolkien would be nice (like the Boldog and his spear*) - I'll keep an eye out for First Age-friendly ones...

*this is assuming that he's not already in the game, at a lower depth than I've got to...

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Old April 23, 2007, 14:17   #4
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AI

OK, here's some of my ideas.

First, there's the issue of "why does everything attack the player?" It's obvious why evil things would, but I'm thinking of having two new classes of monsters (and probably trying to get pretty much every monster into one of these classes). First one is territorial monsters - largely animals. These would have an area which they would defend, but would not want to get too far away from. The second one I am tentatively calling "neutrals", and their behaviour would be more complicated. They would defend themselves if attacked (or if one of their friends is attacked), and might attack first, or might just ignore the player. All this I'm thinking would just be for wilderness - dungeons are haunts of evil things, and everything in them is affected by that (maybe monster behaviour should change when the guardian is killed, though). Should monsters ever actually help the player? Should they fight each other? I don't know, but I don't want to go down the route of pets or symbiotes.

Then there's awake = aware of the player. I'm thinking of separating those two ideas; in particular, having patrolling monsters which might or might not notice the player. Unlight and superstealth could come into their own here; I'd also probably want a light-dousing mechanism.

Some of this stuff may well have been done elsewhere (certainly there's some more complex monster behaviour in Un), but I'll probably try to do it from scratch.
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Old April 23, 2007, 14:28   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seany C View Post
Does race rebalancing mean new ones or simply retuning existing ones?
I'm wondering if superstealth is a bit too good for ents - especially with the monster cutdown. I don't have plans for new races at the moment, and can't think of any obvious ones.

Quote:
Some new monsters/artifacts from Tolkien would be nice (like the Boldog and his spear*) - I'll keep an eye out for First Age-friendly ones...

*this is assuming that he's not already in the game, at a lower depth than I've got to...
I've done a fairly extensive trawl through Tolkien writings for monsters (and objects). I've heard the Boldog referred to, but never actually found the passage where he was mentioned (something to do with Doriath?).

I must say, one of the things I have found most frustrating is the existence of Numenorean hollow steel longbows, which would be a brilliant in-theme weapon if they weren't from the Second Age. I hope someone will read this and put them in their variant.
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Old April 23, 2007, 15:33   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
I've done a fairly extensive trawl through Tolkien writings for monsters (and objects). I've heard the Boldog referred to, but never actually found the passage where he was mentioned (something to do with Doriath?).
This might help.

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Old April 23, 2007, 23:31   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Should monsters ever actually help the player? Should they fight each other? I don't know, but I don't want to go down the route of pets or symbiotes.

Then there's awake = aware of the player. I'm thinking of separating those two ideas; in particular, having patrolling monsters which might or might not notice the player. Unlight and superstealth could come into their own here; I'd also probably want a light-dousing mechanism.
I think that it would be interesting/more realistic if there were monsters that would remain indifferent to the player unless they were angered by something that the player did (eg. attack them), at which point they would behave as they do now.

If so, it'd be neat to make creatures react differently depending on the player's race. eg. Elves would be generated neutral if you were an elf, but hostile if you were a dwarf, etc. Though keeping all that managable with edit files might be difficult.
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Old April 24, 2007, 08:53   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
OK, here's some of my ideas.

First, there's the issue of "why does everything attack the player?" It's obvious why evil things would, but I'm thinking of having two new classes of monsters (and probably trying to get pretty much every monster into one of these classes). First one is territorial monsters - largely animals. These would have an area which they would defend, but would not want to get too far away from. The second one I am tentatively calling "neutrals", and their behaviour would be more complicated. They would defend themselves if attacked (or if one of their friends is attacked), and might attack first, or might just ignore the player. All this I'm thinking would just be for wilderness - dungeons are haunts of evil things, and everything in them is affected by that (maybe monster behaviour should change when the guardian is killed, though). Should monsters ever actually help the player? Should they fight each other? I don't know, but I don't want to go down the route of pets or symbiotes.
When you do this, have a long hard think about two things:

1. What's the point of a monster existing if its not after the player? Is it to make area of effect attack spells harder, or slow down the game play, or confuse the player? Think about the game-play implications, not just what you think is right?

For instance, if you want the player to avoid casting fire ball indiscriminately, make ents, or some other guardian monster appear if they destroy enough trees. If you want to spook the player, implement Sangband's sensing monsters out of sight, and add fake 'sensing' and have a message 'Its just a rabbit', if the player detects.

Otherwise you'll end up with the ToME - I killed this mold and it summoned great wyrms. Or some variation on it.

Your idea about animals sounds good - it gives the player the option of running away, sufficiently far. 'Neutrals' - I need more information.

2. Secondly, once you've got the behaviour you want: How do you impart the information to the player? F.E.A.R.'s AI is particularly impressive because it tells you what the enemy is doing at all times. In fact, they 'fake AI' occasionally by having a command 'call for reinforcements' if one guys is left by himself: that does nothing.

If you want neutrals, maybe replace their monster symbol with an 'N' until they attack the player. etc.

Quote:
Then there's awake = aware of the player. I'm thinking of separating those two ideas; in particular, having patrolling monsters which might or might not notice the player. Unlight and superstealth could come into their own here; I'd also probably want a light-dousing mechanism.

Some of this stuff may well have been done elsewhere (certainly there's some more complex monster behaviour in Un), but I'll probably try to do it from scratch.
I'm definitely thinking about awake = aware of the player. However, I don't have any concrete way of displaying the difference between an 'awake' monster and an 'aware monster'. I was thinking of changing the line of sight routine if the player is 'sneaking' by having monsters display their cone of vision. However, this is a slightly difference mechanic.

At the moment I have 'sneaky monsters' that try to avoid the player's line of sight all the time, and the pack AI. That seems enough for 'monsters that don't immediately chase the player' at the moment.

Don't forget, even with an 'awake != aware of the player', as soon as the monster sees the player, they become aware of them. So from the players perspective, they'll never see an 'awake, but not aware of the player' monster. Its probably not worth spending the coding time on it...

Andrew
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Old April 24, 2007, 08:56   #9
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Quote:
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I'd also probably want a light-dousing mechanism.
Did this. The game play effect in Unangband at the moment is that some monsters NEED_LITE. If the player is not standing in a lit grid, these monsters will also have a light radius.

More to come, of course.
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Old April 24, 2007, 09:22   #10
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I'm definitely thinking about awake = aware of the player. However, I don't have any concrete way of displaying the difference between an 'awake' monster and an 'aware monster'.
At the moment you can tell if a monster is awake/asleep by the HP bar being blue asterisks - you then get messages if the monster stirs or wakes. Perhaps their could be a similar scheme for aware with different coloured asterisks?
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Don't forget, even with an 'awake != aware of the player', as soon as the monster sees the player, they become aware of them. So from the players perspective, they'll never see an 'awake, but not aware of the player' monster.
Are you forgetting telepathy...?
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