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Old March 5, 2021, 06:06   #1
will_asher
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RubberBand plans

This will be my (mostly) non-coding-related planning & development thread for my new variant, RubberBand, which will be similar to an updated version of my old variant DaJAngband. Voicing your opinion on my plans is welcome and encouraged because I want to make a variant that other people will like as well.

First order of business: Has the name RubberBand been used for an Angband variant before? It seems like an obvious name to use, so I wanted to make sure it hasn't been used before.

The first thing I'll do with RubberBand, same as I did with DaJAngband, is make a bunch of changes to the monster list. (I can work on that while I get a compile of the Angband source working and just look over the code a bit to see if it's as easy to customize and tweak as the v3.1.x code was (which is what my old variant was based on).

I plan to have separate available monster lists you can play with, and use two birth options to choose which to use:
option: Keep vanilla-ish flavor? YES/NO
option: Use weirder/silly monsters? YES/NO
(NO will be the default for both)
I'll use a VISH flag for monsters that only appear if vanilla-ish is turned on, and another flag for monsters that only appear if vanilla-ish is turned off. Then I'll have a SILLY flag for monsters that will be added either way if you turn on the weird/silly monsters option (but they'll probably fit better tonally if VISH is turned off). Later, these options will affect the way a few other things in the game work as well. This way, you can choose your experience.

The very first change I'll make in the monster list is rename wild dogs back to jackals and making the scruffy town dog non-agressive (or maybe I'll have one mean town dog and one nice town dog). I hate the idea of killing poor cute doggies.

The most noticeable changes in the monster list (for non-VISH mode) will be removing Yeeks, icky things, and a few other boring monsters, and adding several types of fairies, a few magical lizards, magic frogs, magic cats, and more types of golems, worms and demons, etc.
I'll use the following letter symbols (all letters not mentioned here will represent the same monster types as in V) :
'a' - is now all ants, ticks, and beetles. not just ants.
'f' - adds new magic cats, including the unlucky black cat
'i' - dark fairies (will still be icky things instead if VISH is turned on)
'm' - is now the maia (I'll remove most molds, and the few molds I won't remove will use ',' with mushroom patches)
't' - there will be a couple 't's now that appear in the dungeon. I plan to add a flag for a few monsters to be able to appear both in town and in the dungeon, but there will still be a character level check for most of them to appear in town.
'y' - light fairies (will still be yeeks instead is VISH is turned on)
'A' - amphibians, mostly frogs
'K' - knights, horsemen, and other tougher humanoids
'N' - nulx (swamp monsters), and other tentacled horrors (including the Watcher in the Water unique) (probably only when VISH is off)
'X' - several types of minor elementals, which includes xorns
'&' - more major demons (actually most of the current major demons will be '&' and most of the new ones are 'U'.)
(Except for 'i' and 'y', the changes in letter symbols will be for all modes, not just if VISH is turned off.)

Other significant things I plan on doing early in RubberBand development:
- other minor monster stuff: make vortexes and super-breeders less common (and probably put more limits on breeding), make huorns and ents a little deeper, add a few monsters native deeper than dL100
- improve throwing weapons (again, minor tweaks for now. Throwing axes and throwing hammers appear way too deep in V to be useful IMO)
- make a bunch more (mostly minor) tweaks in the gamedata files
- add more room types
- make that option that Grotug suggested to be able to play with much fewer dungeon levels.
- limit the range on some monster spells and breath, along with some other tweaks on monster spells
- allow some monster types to be sometimes EVIL and sometimes not EVIL.
- some monsters that will try to keep their distance from the player preferring to use their ranged attacks

Plans for later on:
- add more terrain features (including boulders, water, ordinary trees, and swamps)
- add some races & classes (races: fairy gnome and living ghoul. classes: alchemist, barbarian, white knight, black knight, tourist, assassin...)
- makes staves wieldable as weapons as well as their magic effect (should I do this for rods as well?)
- teleport control effect as a ring, amulet, on a couple artifacts, and maybe a couple egos (control where you teleport to)
- temporary invisibility as both a player spell and a monster spell.
- monsters that move around before they become aware of the player
- ability for certain monsters to come back from the dead after a few turns (mainly for some skeletons and zombies, but also for certain trolls and magic cats). -Killing a monster for a 2nd time or additional times will a give much reduced XP reward. Also I'll have returning from the dead on an amulet and an artifact or two for the player as well. (Whatever magic items that do this will be destroyed once they've been used of course.)
- ability for some monsters to disguise as other monsters (a high level assassin might disguise himself as a low level apprentice as well as allowing for more shapechanging monster types).
- maybe add possibility for shops in the dungeon

Almost all of these changes I mentioned are things I had in DaJAngband, so RubberBand will mostly be an updated (and hopefully cleaner) version of DaJAngband.
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My old variant DaJAngband:
http://sites.google.com/site/dajangbandwebsite/home (defunct and so old it's forked from Angband 3.1.0 -I think- but it's probably playable...)

Last edited by will_asher; March 5, 2021 at 07:52.
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Old March 5, 2021, 08:10   #2
tangar
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Cool Good luck! I like these ideas:

Quote:
- allow some monster types to be sometimes EVIL and sometimes not EVIL
- monsters that move around before they become aware of the player
- ability for certain monsters to come back from the dead after a few turns
Quote:
Originally Posted by will_asher View Post
I hate the idea of killing poor cute doggies.
This ethic problem could be solved by adding different death message. Instead of
"You have slain <monster>"
for 'good' monsters death message could be something like:
<Monster> surrender.
or
"<Monster> fled to a deeper level of the dungeon".
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Old March 5, 2021, 09:22   #3
will_asher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangar View Post
This ethic problem could be solved by adding different death message. Instead of
"You have slain <monster>"
for 'good' monsters death message could be something like:
<Monster> surrender.
or
"<Monster> fled to a deeper level of the dungeon".
I like that idea, but I'm not sure if I'd use it because there's already a mechanic for fleeing monsters, and if they surrender, then they would still be there, they wouldn't just vanish. Obviously, I could fudge it anyway for my expansion, but I'm not sure I want to.

...Actually I would like to use part of that idea: Maybe I'll have certain monsters flee (with increased speed) to the stairs and then disappear*, and then I could give XP for defeating that monster even though it isn't quite dead (maybe I'd give reduced XP if you kill a 'good' monster while it's running to the stairs). Yeah, that would work, thanks.
(*unless you're a necromancer or blackguard, then the good monsters will still fight to the death)

I'll still change "wild dogs" back to "jackals" though, partly because it would be awkward to have a whole pack of monsters fleeing for the stairs. I could have the scruffy town dog flee out of the town limits, though. (Maybe I'll do that with the town cat and other townsfolk too. I might even have some townfolk flee if you start killing other townsfolk.)
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My old variant DaJAngband:
http://sites.google.com/site/dajangbandwebsite/home (defunct and so old it's forked from Angband 3.1.0 -I think- but it's probably playable...)

Last edited by will_asher; March 5, 2021 at 09:32.
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Old March 5, 2021, 12:54   #4
fph
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Sil has something very similar, with monsters fleeing down the stairs and XP given also for alternative ways to defeat them. Take a look at that variant, it has many original ideas that make it very unique and enjoyable (in my view)
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Old March 5, 2021, 12:59   #5
Pete Mack
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Will--
vanilla has been extremely easy to modify since ~4.0. There are only a couple blocks of monolithic code remaining. Most everything else is old-school object oriented (function pointers) or data driven. Or both.
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Old March 5, 2021, 23:43   #6
HugoTheGreat2011
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Sounds like an exciting variant upcoming! Need beta-testing? Let us know!
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Old March 6, 2021, 00:25   #7
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Will telepathy or monster detection reveal a disguised monsters true nature? Seems like that mechanic risks being more frustrating than fun if you dont have a way to get around it, especially if you are a mage who decides to melee that low level monster
I understand risk assessment, but if the player cant get a good sense of what the risk is, then it becomes aggravating rather than fun.

Are you going to have additional options for closing in on monsters who like to kite? As it is, the only melee centric class who has any sort of closing is Blackguard. I feel like playing a paladin or warrior risks being incredibly annoying if enemies are harassing them, but they cant get close enough to kill them. I know theres teleport control, but that will presumably be rare and have a long recharge time considering how powerful it is.
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Old March 6, 2021, 04:38   #8
will_asher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
Will--
vanilla has been extremely easy to modify since ~4.0. There are only a couple blocks of monolithic code remaining. Most everything else is old-school object oriented (function pointers) or data driven. Or both.
Good to hear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by archolewa View Post
Will telepathy or monster detection reveal a disguised monsters true nature? Seems like that mechanic risks being more frustrating than fun if you dont have a way to get around it, especially if you are a mage who decides to melee that low level monster
I understand risk assessment, but if the player cant get a good sense of what the risk is, then it becomes aggravating rather than fun.
Monster detection will not reveal the disguise, but telepathy will since telepathy sees the mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by archolewa View Post
Are you going to have additional options for closing in on monsters who like to kite? As it is, the only melee centric class who has any sort of closing is Blackguard. I feel like playing a paladin or warrior risks being incredibly annoying if enemies are harassing them, but they cant get close enough to kill them. I know theres teleport control, but that will presumably be rare and have a long recharge time considering how powerful it is.
It's always smart to carry around some kind of ranged weapon anyway. You can't rely on melee for everything (You don't want to melee a disenchanter mold that's in your way).
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Old March 7, 2021, 06:37   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will_asher View Post
It's always smart to carry around some kind of ranged weapon anyway. You can't rely on melee for everything (You don't want to melee a disenchanter mold that's in your way).
Sure, but ranged weapons tend to do significantly less damage (so it takes longer to kill a monster), and especially if you're playing without WoR, ammo isn't necessarily readily available. I often don't have ammo for my warrior or paladin.

Hitting things at range may also lead to you being forced to stand in LOS of lots of monsters, which is a big no no.

I'm not necessarily opposed to something like this, I just feel like the tools for dealing with kiting monsters are inadequate in vanilla Angband (which makes sense, because monsters don't kite), so I'm wondering if you plan on giving the player additional tools for dealing with them.

And I tend to dig around molds.
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Old March 7, 2021, 22:20   #10
will_asher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archolewa View Post
Sure, but ranged weapons tend to do significantly less damage (so it takes longer to kill a monster), and especially if you're playing without WoR, ammo isn't necessarily readily available. I often don't have ammo for my warrior or paladin.

Hitting things at range may also lead to you being forced to stand in LOS of lots of monsters, which is a big no no.

I'm not necessarily opposed to something like this, I just feel like the tools for dealing with kiting monsters are inadequate in vanilla Angband (which makes sense, because monsters don't kite), so I'm wondering if you plan on giving the player additional tools for dealing with them.

And I tend to dig around molds.
I would never have thought there's not enough ranged weapons. I seem to find plenty of attacking wands and rods even when I don't find ammo, but then I don't play ironman. (And I also rarely get much past dungeon level 40.)
Anyway, the monsters that will prefer ranged weapons and keep their distance generally tend to be low HP monsters. (That feature isn't meant for dragons.)

a couple other "for later" features I'm planning, but forgot to mention in the OP:
- more dungeon features including statues. Some statues will be magical and have an effect on their room or area of the dungeon.
- gargoyles will be monsters that mimic statues.
- trap monsters. They use the trap symbol, but are programmed as monsters. These will mostly be like mindless weaker versions of the 'druj' monsters (non moving but firing projectiles and sometimes casting spells).
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My old variant DaJAngband:
http://sites.google.com/site/dajangbandwebsite/home (defunct and so old it's forked from Angband 3.1.0 -I think- but it's probably playable...)

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