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Old February 22, 2014, 02:58   #1
Nick
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Terrain

Current Angband terrain is essentially
  • floors
  • walls
  • doors
  • stairs
  • shops
Variants have other types of terrain; I have been used for a while now to FAangband and Oangband terrain, trees, lava and water being the most prominent.

I would like to consider the possibility of adding terrain types to Angband. Some of the features that new terrain types might have (aside from thematic niceness) include
  • Breaking line of sight, but still being passable
  • Taking longer for the player and/or some monsters to move through
  • Hurting the player and/or monsters
  • Being passable under some circumstances and impassable under others
  • Slowing or speeding player/monsters
  • Making player/monsters easier or harder to hit with spells/missiles/melee
  • Offering combat bonuses or penalties
What do people think about any of this?
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Old February 22, 2014, 03:05   #2
Patashu
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Obligatory 'Brogue's terrain system is awesome' post.
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Old February 22, 2014, 03:13   #3
Nick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patashu View Post
Obligatory 'Brogue's terrain system is awesome' post.
What's awesome about it (apart from pretty)?
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Old February 22, 2014, 04:02   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post


I would like to consider the possibility of adding terrain types to Angband. Some of the features that new terrain types might have (aside from thematic niceness) include
  • Breaking line of sight, but still being passable
  • Taking longer for the player and/or some monsters to move through
  • Hurting the player and/or monsters
  • Being passable under some circumstances and impassable under others
  • Slowing or speeding player/monsters
  • Making player/monsters easier or harder to hit with spells/missiles/melee
  • Offering combat bonuses or penalties
What do people think about any of this?
Sounds like something some awesome variants have already done.

It seems good, although I will say that, for the amount of effort we put into the NPP terrain system, we didn't get as much out of it as we thought we would. It is nice to see more variety in the dungeon.

There are all kinds of cool combat and movement penalties and bonuses happening while somebody is playing NPP, but it is hard to explain to the player in mid-game that they get a +15 to hit bonus if they are native to a certain terrain, or they move 10% more efficiently. Because the player doesn't know it is happening, they don't get much enjoyment out of it. We have never really solved that problem.
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Old February 22, 2014, 04:27   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nppangband View Post
There are all kinds of cool combat and movement penalties and bonuses happening while somebody is playing NPP, but it is hard to explain to the player in mid-game that they get a +15 to hit bonus if they are native to a certain terrain, or they move 10% more efficiently. Because the player doesn't know it is happening, they don't get much enjoyment out of it. We have never really solved that problem.
This is a really good point. Any introduction of new terrain into V would I think have to be gradual, and try to make clear exactly how new features behave.
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Old February 22, 2014, 04:44   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nppangband View Post
Sounds like something some awesome variants have already done.
That was my first thought. Second was, get the terrains that are already there working first (after the rewrite). I'm thinking about doors in particular.

Quote:
There are all kinds of cool combat and movement penalties and bonuses happening while somebody is playing NPP, but it is hard to explain to the player in mid-game that they get a +15 to hit bonus if they are native to a certain terrain, or they move 10% more efficiently. Because the player doesn't know it is happening, they don't get much enjoyment out of it. We have never really solved that problem.
Yep. The NPP terrains are plentiful and are pretty to look at. It's fun to set stuff on fire but I mostly don't what if any effect most have.
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Old February 22, 2014, 04:50   #7
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I think that if you are going to have terrains they should be dungeony terrains - not outdoorsy terrains like forest or swamp.

I also think you should be cautious about introducing terrains that block LOS or prevent monster movement, as these are likely to take a lot of effort to implement.

A.

PS The inside of a vault is kind of a different terrain type at present, isn't it?
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Old February 22, 2014, 04:54   #8
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I really enjoy the cracks of lava and chambers of water that is in Sangband, the small copes of trees are okay to and break los. Themed levels of forest or sandy terreain seems kind of confusing to me( must be the wide open spaces). But I think Angband could use some new terrain features, and this gives food for thought for new types of vaults as well. "Terrained Vaults" anyone?
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Old February 22, 2014, 07:04   #9
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There are two things that terrain adds to the game. The first is flavor; the second is tactical decision-making. Flavorful additions are pretty much going to get rubber-stamped around here so long as they're done well, I suspect. Making tactically-significant terrain is trickier.

For example, say you have a terrain that gives the entity standing in it penalties to-hit and to-damage (say, because they're snared by webs). Okay, how is the player going to make use of this? It could be helpful in one-on-one fights, but against groups there's basically no tactical shift you could present (under the current rules system) that would convince the player to step out of their cubbyhole. So such "tactically significant" terrain would functionally amount to randomly giving the player a bonus or penalty depending on how their cubbyhole happened to be affected by the terrain.

In short, I'm all for tactically-significant terrain if it's done well, but that doesn't amount to coming up with some tile modifiers and then slapping them down in the dungeon at random. Well, such modifiers could still be interesting in the early game, before being in LOS of multiple monsters becomes so suicidal.

THAT SAID, here's some brainstorming:

* Regions where sight lines are drastically curtailed (and symmetrically so). Functionally if either the player or a monster is standing in this region, then the "Halve view and spell distances" option would be toggled (or even moreso if already set). This would need to take over an entire room at minimum.

* Regions where every source of damage deals exactly 10% of the target's HP (or similarly; the point being that if you take damage, you take a proportionate amount of your max HP, and the same holds for monsters). Ideally should be symmetrical somehow.

* Traps that simulate magical turrets are in some variants (NPP? Un?) and should be copy-able pretty straightforwardly. They have a view cone that rotates each turn, and they fire on creatures in that cone with their designated element. IMO should not ever be hidden though.

* Regions that pull points from one of the player's stats to feed into another. E.g. while you're in this area, your INT is dropped 5 and your WIS is bumped 5, or vice versa. Possibly beneficial, possibly not, depending on your class and circumstances.

Paramount to this kind of setup is having a way to inform the player of what's going on. One possible approach is to make such terrain effects recallable, i.e. if you use the / command on the terrain token in question, then it will tell you what effects the token has. So e.g. you 'l'ook at a tile, it says "You see a Pink Mist of Madness (recall?)", you choose to recall, it says "While standing in this terrain, you are automatically given the Berserk and Haste statuses, but your spells suffer an additional 20% failure rate." Or whatever.
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Old February 22, 2014, 08:30   #10
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One thing to keep in mind is that while Angband has an appeal in its excess (game scope, resistance system, large scale fights and so on) it also has an appeal in its minimalism (starkness of the dungeon, monster design, general game flow). I like FA wilderness for what it is and I'm fine with O/FA dungeon only terrain, being very sparse and almost entirely confined to making vaults a little prettier.

But from the little I've played NPP definitely seems the wrong way to do terrain - tons of it all over the place, lots of random rules about it which still end up being pretty meaningless, looks ugly. Sorry to say but Sil is also an example of not doing it very well in my view, chasms give very little gain in general gameplay but add a bunch of weird complexity while appearing all over the place in game renowned for minimalism.

Another thing is that terrain, being static might encourage you to draw as many monsters as you can to them. If there are 'good zones' in the dungeon you would obviously want to fight anything there if it is reasonable to do so. Additionally bad terrain is only interesting if monsters are around and then usually only relevant if there is a lot of it.

Last edited by clouded; February 22, 2014 at 08:43.
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