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Old January 31, 2013, 13:14   #41
debo
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For me it's the bit about wanting to reduce the randomness to the point where you can almost plan deterministically that clinches it for me. Brogue felt like that when I played it, and I got bored of Brogue in like 2 hours. As soon as someone describes a game to me as "it's like chess", my brain turns off I understand the draw to those games, it's just not for me anymore.

Playing Sil is like being a viking. You can strive your mightiest and be powerful and hale and all that other good stuff, and most everything is in your power to overcome, but sometimes your opponent has luck on his side and you die. That's exactly what I like about it -- it's a constant reminder that life isn't fair, and there's always the question of "was it really luck that killed me, or could I have done better?" If I could dump the battleground into a CSP solver and determine that "nope, you played optimally", I'd be going to another game at that point

That flavor actually melds quite well with the First Age atmosphere, too -- epic, austere, with many things left to fate, etc. Although maybe now I'm reading too much into it haha
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Old January 31, 2013, 13:41   #42
Mikko Lehtinen
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Originally Posted by debo View Post
Playing Sil is like being a viking. You can strive your mightiest and be powerful and hale and all that other good stuff, and most everything is in your power to overcome, but sometimes your opponent has luck on his side and you die.
Well said.

I like dying due to bad luck and/or bad tactics, but I like it even more when you have three lives, especially in games longer than Sil. In the old times all platformers and shoot-em-ups were designed like that. Why not roguelikes?

Halls of Mist's wound mechanic is designed so that you usually survive the first two times your hits are reduced below 0.
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Old January 31, 2013, 13:54   #43
Darren Grey
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This exchange is the nub of the thread for me.

To me, Sil is a *short* game. I have frequently played the same game of an Angband variant for a couple of hours a day for days or weeks - here's an example. I died from taking a risk, and I don't regret it.

If that means I'm crazy, then I don't want to be sane.
You're crazy I suppose I should note that I'm posting in a *band community here, and the *bands are well known for being big time sinks. In the wider field of roguelikes Sil would be considered a mid length game.

Still, I should say that I've lost ADOM characters that I've sunk days into. Heart-breaking losses, but I knew each time in that game that it was my own fault when I die. I hate the idea of dying purely due to randomness - I should be master of my own fate and responsible for my own actions.
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Old January 31, 2013, 14:58   #44
fizzix
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Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen View Post
Well said.

I like dying due to bad luck and/or bad tactics, but I like it even more when you have three lives, especially in games longer than Sil. In the old times all platformers and shoot-em-ups were designed like that. Why not roguelikes?

Halls of Mist's wound mechanic is designed so that you usually survive the first two times your hits are reduced below 0.
tome4 has multiple lives too. I think it's not a bad mechanic for longer games where you don't really want to remove all the death-by-unfortunate-occurrences. tome4 is a game similar in length to V.

V is deterministic, so that it's not difficult to estimate the danger of any situations once you know what you're doing. I'm not sure Sil is actually harder in this regard, but it does force you to descend at times when you may not have found optimal gear yet. So even though you might be able to calculate the odds of risky moves and find them not to your liking, you don't have much of a choice in the matter.

I'm not sure how I feel about multiple lives. I think it's a much preferable gameplay option than the infinite lives cheat mode available in V (and maybe Sil?). But I'm not sure it's really a good fit for either game.
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Old January 31, 2013, 16:13   #45
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I always play with just one life in ToME. Same in other games where death is kinda optional (like PrincessRL). It's just not the same for me without proper permadeath! But I understand the desire of others to not have to repeat so much or play so carefully.
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Old January 31, 2013, 16:37   #46
Mikko Lehtinen
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
V is deterministic, so that it's not difficult to estimate the danger of any situations once you know what you're doing. I'm not sure Sil is actually harder in this regard, but it does force you to descend at times when you may not have found optimal gear yet. So even though you might be able to calculate the odds of risky moves and find them not to your liking, you don't have much of a choice in the matter.
I prefer games like Sil where you can't avoid the danger, but where you can choose between different strategies and tactics, some riskier than others.

I can't bring myself to see Angband's choice of slow descend versus diving as a strategic choice. For me it's as much a strategic choice as choosing to pay $5 real life money for getting better equipment for my character. In Angband I'm not paying money, but I'm trading my time and enjoyment for better chances of survival (I enjoy it more when it's genuinely dangerous). That doesn't feel like a strategic choice for me. It's a meta choice, happening outside of the game. (OK, I'm exaggerating a little, some of it is strategic. )
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Old January 31, 2013, 17:00   #47
Mikko Lehtinen
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Originally Posted by Darren Grey View Post
I always play with just one life in ToME. Same in other games where death is kinda optional (like PrincessRL). It's just not the same for me without proper permadeath! But I understand the desire of others to not have to repeat so much or play so carefully.
As a designer, I prefer multiple lives because then you can raise the difficulty level! For me the most fun moments in roguelikes are near-death experiences, where you survive only because of good tactics and some luck. With only one life it's much harder to design a roguelike that repeatably produces these kind of situations.

But really, lives are just a different kind of hit points. Would this mechanic feel better to you: There are two kinds of hit points, called Life and Stamina. After your Stamina is lowered to zero, attacks start to drain your Life, which does not regenerate at all. Once Life is lowered to zero, you die.

Last edited by Mikko Lehtinen; January 31, 2013 at 17:09.
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Old January 31, 2013, 18:01   #48
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Isn't this what the interface outside the combat rolls window already shows you (though the damage done only flashes up temporarily)? I only find myself looking at the rolls when something is going wrong, mostly to find out whether I've just been unlucky or if I have little or no chance to hit and do damage.
Well, if you're gonna have a combat rolls/results window, I think it makes sense to have the information cleanly presented so that anyone can understand it. Having a simple and verbose mode would let people choose their level of detail, and if it could be logged to disk or at least cached so that the last 10 or 100 turns were scrollable/browseable, it would be a lot of valuable information.
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Old January 31, 2013, 18:04   #49
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Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen View Post
As a designer, I prefer multiple lives because then you can raise the difficulty level! For me the most fun moments in roguelikes are near-death experiences, where you survive only because of good tactics and some luck. With only one life it's much harder to design a roguelike that repeatably produces these kind of situations.
I definitely agree here. It lets the designer get away with "unfair" situations. The stupidly high damage from AMHD/drolem poison breath, or since this is a Sil thread, an Ururauko melee, is less problematic if the player can learn about the danger without losing a character. Obviously, once the player learns the danger, they won't repeat it. But the goal is to keep new players from getting frustrated from a, "how was I supposed to know about that?" death. I can speak more to the V situation, and in a one-life permadeath game, I still think that 600+ poison breath is a horrible gameplay mechanic.

But also as Darren says, every player is going to prefer something slightly different. So it's probably best to provide a pure-roguelike option, a multiple-life option and maybe even an infinite-life option. Obviously the shorter the game, the less need there is for extra lives. If the whole game takes an hour, then one life is certainly reasonable even for a very unfair game.
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Old February 1, 2013, 09:43   #50
Darren Grey
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As a designer, I prefer multiple lives because then you can raise the difficulty level!
Hah, that's just an excuse for bad design! :P Stretched to extremes it ends up like Dark Souls, which lots of people like but is rather different from the procedural experience of roguelikes.

There's other ways to toy with near-death experiences. The main thing is keep HP always low (Sil does this well) - most certainly avoid the crazy HP and damage scaling of most *bands. You can go all the way and make a 1 hit point roguelike for the ultimate in tension

Quote:
But really, lives are just a different kind of hit points. Would this mechanic feel better to you: There are two kinds of hit points, called Life and Stamina. After your Stamina is lowered to zero, attacks start to drain your Life, which does not regenerate at all. Once Life is lowered to zero, you die.
That's not the same as multiple lives, where being brought back to life normally means a restoration to full HP and potentially appearing in a different zone.

The wound system could work well. One thing that could really work well is if you had extra powers whilst your Stamina was zero. So the closer you are to death the greater your abilities are, making you feel both strong and fragile. I've got a bit of this in Rogue Rage - at low HP your Rage bar goes up far faster, giving you access to major super-powers. The player ends up teetering on the edge of death a lot, which can be exciting.
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