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Old November 11, 2013, 12:36   #1
Nick
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NOT a statement of intent

Having already managed to start some detailed discussion with a few vague statements of broad philosophy, I thought I should give people something to really get their teeth into. So here are a bunch of ideas that I'm not suggesting (probably). They're more designed to provoke responses, and get people thinking about different possibilities.

Also maybe to test whether people read the preamble or just jump straight to the list, and because Antoine lobbed the LOS grenade into the other thread and everyone's throwing themselves on it.
  1. At the start of each game, all objects get randomly (but according to their depth and rarity) allocated a minimum dungeon level they can start being generated.
  2. Every generated level has at least one "challenge" (vault, or OOD monster, or something).
  3. Certain behaviours (stairscumming, or taking the first available stair, for example) are rewarded or punished by affecting object/monster generation in some way.
  4. Downstairs and/or recall from town go a random number of levels down, upstairs always up 1.
  5. Difficulty level of monsters encountered depends on turncount not depth.
  6. Morgoth may be on other levels apart from 100.
  7. There is a "difficulty parameter" which can be set before starting any game.
  8. All races and classes earn experience at the same rate, and there is more variation between races.
  9. Winning should be unusual.
  10. Repeating levels gets you less monsters and gear every time.
  11. Winning should be guaranteed with ideal play.
  12. Some levels have no up stairs.
  13. Recall is a command, not a scroll.
  14. All of the above should be obtainable by birth options.
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Old November 11, 2013, 13:07   #2
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What a great post. I'm not sure how you got far enough away from Angband to see it with such a birdseye perspective, but I like it. These are the kinds of changes Mikko would make (which I mean as a compliment to both of you in different ways).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
[*]Difficulty level of monsters encountered depends on turncount not depth.
[*]All races and classes earn experience at the same rate, and there is more variation between races.[/LIST]
The first of these is really clever. It avoids a lot of problems that come up with trying to compromise between depth and turncount. It would really make the game into a race to the bottom. In a good sense! It would probably need various other changes, but I really like the style of it. Maybe it would be a good separate challenge mode for a quick game. Maybe I should do that in Sil.

The second is also a good idea. Balancing the power of high elves and dunadan with slow experience was an experiment and I think a failed one. Time has certainly come to revisit it.
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Old November 11, 2013, 13:23   #3
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For some of us number 9 is already a reality.

Number 12 already exists. It's called the Town.

But I like the idea of not implementing the other 12 ideas.
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Old November 11, 2013, 13:43   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
[*]At the start of each game, all objects get randomly (but according to their depth and rarity) allocated a minimum dungeon level they can start being generated.
Not sure I understand the point of this...

Quote:
[*]Every generated level has at least one "challenge" (vault, or OOD monster, or something).
I like this idea. Anything that makes the game less boring is good.

Quote:
[*]Certain behaviours (stairscumming, or taking the first available stair, for example) are rewarded or punished by affecting object/monster generation in some way.
This makes a kind of sense. If you hang around a level for a while, you'll raise alarms; if you dive, you might evade detection. Running up and down the stairs would increase your chances of being detected.

I'm not sure it would improve the game, but it's an interesting idea.

Quote:
[*]Downstairs and/or recall from town go a random number of levels down, upstairs always up 1.
Feels a little gimmicky, to be honest.

Quote:
[*]Difficulty level of monsters encountered depends on turncount not depth.
That would be a whole different game, but one I'd love to play. Hell, I might port that to Neoband as a start-of-game option. You wouldn't mind if I did that, would you?

Quote:
[*]Morgoth may be on other levels apart from 100.
And Sauron is just another unique. IMO this a good idea; it makes things both simpler and less predictable.

A thought: maybe Morgoth climbs a level for every X number of monsters killed. This would provide some incentive to utilize other XP sources (if they were implemented).

Quote:
[*]There is a "difficulty parameter" which can be set before starting any game.
Good idea, the question is how to implement it. Could be flat ("monster level starts higher"), linear ("monster level increases faster with depth or turn count"), additive ("weak monsters are leveled up a la ToME"), etc.

Quote:
[*]All races and classes earn experience at the same rate, and there is more variation between races.
Maybe the races shouldn't be balanced, and should reflect a kind of difficulty setting, as in Sil. That would make more sense.

OTOH, the game is already bastardized Tolkien, and I wouldn't object to it getting even more bastardized. Maybe High Elves have some weaknesses. Maybe Dunadan aren't really any different from normal humans, and should be removed. Etc.

Quote:
[*]Winning should be unusual.
Yes, very much.

Quote:
[*]Repeating levels gets you less monsters and gear every time.
Maybe. Or maybe repeating levels should get horribly difficult. Not sure if this helps.

Quote:
[*]Winning should be guaranteed with ideal play.
Absolutely not. Some luck will always be involved, and that's okay.

Quote:
[*]Some levels have no up stairs.
Interesting, not sure it helps much though.

Quote:
[*]Recall is a command, not a scroll.
Cheesy. Maybe preferable to it being a limited resource though. I might try implementing this in Neoband.

Quote:
[*]All of the above should be obtainable by birth options.
That's a lot of birth options. I'd definitely like to see at least some of them though. So much so that I might start working on them today, seeing as I do in fact have the necessary spare time ATM...
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Old November 11, 2013, 14:35   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
At the start of each game, all objects get randomly (but according to their depth and rarity) allocated a minimum dungeon level they can start being generated.

Certain behaviours (stairscumming, or taking the first available stair, for example) are rewarded or punished by affecting object/monster generation in some way.

Repeating levels gets you less monsters and gear every time.
I don't really like these ideas. They seem to be a result of identifying a behaviour you don't like (I guess hanging around on lower floors scumming for gear) and then fudging the game rules to make that behaviour poor play.

Why would seeing a certain number of stairs affect monster generation? Why woiuld monsters on repeated levels drop less gear?

In practice how will it make the game any different? It is just to try and prevent scumming?

If you want to prevent slow play then you can make the stairs dangerous in the way Sil has done (monsters come up the stairs every so often) and/or have disconnected stairs.

I'd also suggest limiting the number of up/down stairs to one each level.

Hanging around the same levels for a long time could increase monster awareness and makes sense from a thematic point of view.

Quote:
Every generated level has at least one "challenge" (vault, or OOD monster, or something).
I like more vaults and OOD monsters, but I like the idea that they are still randomly generated. Forcing each level to have one reduces the excitement when you find it.

Quote:
Downstairs and/or recall from town go a random number of levels down, upstairs always up 1.
Not sure the advantages of this.

Quote:
Difficulty level of monsters encountered depends on turncount not depth.
Not sure about this really. Sometimes you want to fight stronger monsters through boredom and the ability to dive to take them on is reduced. Imagine getting to dlvl99 at clvl 15 (due to lack of xp from fighting weak monsters) and having to wait ages for the turncount to allow stronger monsters to fight. That would be even more boring that scumming for consumables.

Quote:
Morgoth may be on other levels apart from 100.
Great idea. Level 50 please.

Quote:
There is a "difficulty parameter" which can be set before starting any game.

All of the above should be obtainable by birth options.
Not sure about all these options. I like the fact that you can compare games to other people and a win is a win. When everyone has 50 different options then that point of reference is lost.

Quote:
All races and classes earn experience at the same rate, and there is more variation between races.
Not sure about the experience change. If you are planning to limit the number of dungeons visited then the character level you can reach by the endgame is an interesting variation.

For ages I've advocated getting rid of stat potions altogether so that all end game characters aren't the same. At the start with a mage you have a lot of interesting equipment and inventory decisions in order to stay under the maximum weight burden. After stat gain these are removed and the game becomes much more boring.

Quote:
Winning should be unusual.

Winning should be guaranteed with ideal play.
Winning should be more difficult.

I firmly believe that finding a piece of equipment/weapon should be a relatively rare event, but also have a good chance of being better than what you already have. At the moment so many items are generated that firstly you need to filter through hundreds of items of junk, but also you are pretty much guaranteed to fill most of your equipment holes making the game much easier.

I would say it is impossible to guarantee winning in a randomly generated game with emergent gameplay such as Angband.
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Old November 11, 2013, 16:02   #6
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I like the idea of "alarms" where cheezy behavior generates more awake monsters. However, Monster+Item generation should be always be constant based on dungeon level, otherwise it breaks immersion, is opaque and unfun.

Another way to prevent stairscumming abuse is with Sil collapsing stairs.

I like difficulty levels of races. Kobald should be harder than dunadain.

To balance more awake monsters, Stealth should make monsters worse at pathing if they do not have line of sight. Monsters that are not pathing eventually fall asleep again (?). High stealth makes -sleepMonster more effective (?)
I like Sil's stealth mechanism. The only reason I don't like that game is because it doesn't allow grinding to learn optimal play lol, unlike Angband.
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Old November 11, 2013, 16:19   #7
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Sil collapsing stairs are brutal because there is no easy escape if you run into dudes who are killing you. Normally you make a beeline for the stairs, but if you don't know where those are, you are in for a harrowing time.

I'm not convinced getting shafted in V the way it stands now is that big a deal, given that I still have a good chance of getting myself out of trouble if I ?tele or something?
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Old November 11, 2013, 20:52   #8
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I like almost all of these ideas. The one that my inner grognard detests most is the idea of Morgoth appearing on levels other than 100. Unless you're not thinking that he can be killed on higher levels, or some such?

Also, I'm interested in people's (Nick, Derakon, Timo, fizzix, etc) thoughts on the subdungeon levels (>100).
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Old November 11, 2013, 21:18   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
At the start of each game, all objects get randomly (but according to their depth and rarity) allocated a minimum dungeon level they can start being generated.
So you're saying that every object's minimum depth is randomised every game? That sounds interesting on paper, yet would probably not be terribly noticeable a change, because of the current behaviour of allowing "OOD" objects. In essence the first appearance of every object is already random.
Quote:
Every generated level has at least one "challenge" (vault, or OOD monster, or something).
I think you'd find this counterproductive - as Eddie was so fond of saying, if everything is special then nothing is special.
Quote:
Certain behaviours (stairscumming, or taking the first available stair, for example) are rewarded or punished by affecting object/monster generation in some way.
The challenge here is how to communicate these rules to the player. If you can find some narrative in which in makes sense that stairscumming increases monsters (or reduces treasure, or whatever), then go for it. But make it clear why.
Quote:
Repeating levels gets you less monsters and gear every time.
This is just a special case of the above, isn't it?
Quote:
Downstairs and/or recall from town go a random number of levels down, upstairs always up 1.
I prefer the opposite, which would prevent people committing suicide when a red dragon burned their last ?WoR. But in general randomness is cool.
Quote:
Difficulty level of monsters encountered depends on turncount not depth.
Very interesting indeed. Probably the most interesting of the list. It could certainly depend on both with some interesting results.
Quote:
Morgoth may be on other levels apart from 100.
I like the suggestion of him climbing up towards you if you tarry too long.
Quote:
There is a "difficulty parameter" which can be set before starting any game.
We discussed this at length some while ago - I was all for it. You could do it as a raw scalar (e.g. of monster hp or something), or you could do it as batches of birth options. Or both.
Quote:
All races and classes earn experience at the same rate, and there is more variation between races.
Excellent, this should be uncontroversial. I like that you didn't say "but all should be equally strong".
Quote:
Winning should be unusual.

Winning should be guaranteed with ideal play.
These are contradictory, unless ideal play is somehow difficult to repeat, which I find it hard to imagine.
Quote:
Some levels have no up stairs.
Yup, like this. It would combine well with random depth changes, as long as someone heading up could make progress - i.e. the range of up stairs needs to have a higher average than that of down stairs.
Quote:
Recall is a command, not a scroll.
Hmmkay. This really depends on what you want available in town, and which punishment mechanics you implement to force descent. We see clearly that you're not up for people being able to scum levels indefinitely, but this is probably the last piece of the jigsaw. If you've got the others right, it won't matter if you do this. So doing it will be a good test of the other changes...[*]All of the above should be obtainable by birth options.[/QUOTE]
Hahahahahahahah. Either you have a totally new options system in mind, or you're a masochist. Or both, of course.
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Old November 11, 2013, 21:48   #10
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3. reminds me of IVAN, where the game will generate tougher monsters if you're too strong, just to make sure that you're always in danger of a sudden, violent death.

7. I think you should be careful about having too many difficulty-related options. 'Every choice is two programmers disagreeing on what the best possibility is and not wanting to think it through'. If there are difficulty options, there should be as few as possible (preferrably only one) and they should have some key part in the game. Less is more here.
For example, the difficulty level could be what dungeon your character wishes to clear out and defeat the final boss of - effecting length, difficulty/power progression, what the final boss is, maybe what monsters/items/uniques can be seen period, maybe a lot more things, it could evolve over time if you lay the groundwork for it.
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