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Old January 21, 2010, 19:18   #1
dhegler
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Future of Vanilla?

I was just wondering what future everyone thought vanilla had, considering at this point it looks like everyone involved wants to refine it, and not really add much more into it... At least that is what I have gathered here during the past number of months I have followed this board.

I have been playing ToME for the past few weeks and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I haven't even tried a mage class yet because I am getting used to it overall, but there are several things I *wish* vanilla would include eventually...

Different objects, armor, etc... Examples - ESP for certain monsters on some armor, exploding arrows, fireproof objects, RODS WITH INTERCHANGEABLE TIPS! Such a cool idea I thought, as I played, because offensive rods in vanilla are basically useless (unless I am using them wrong)...

Different colors, dungeon wall types - glass, forest, lava, water, etc. It is visually appealing and helps break up the game for me.

Different monsters - there are so many more monsters, i.e. fish!, light balls, vampiric mists, etc in ToME, which makes it less repetitive. It "Feels" much more varied when you play.

Fractional blows - I finally figured what everyone meant - it is a HUGE advantage when dealing with swarms, like my Hummerhorn dilemma in Angband.

Different size dungeons - Angband dungeons are always X by Y more or less, no levels smaller (or larger), no towns/stores in the dungeon, etc.

I can't see myself getting back into Angband after this. I can spend the same amount of time in ToME as I would in Angband getting to the stat-gain phase and have been in about 5 different dungeons with different quests, etc. That is rather than running around mowing down orcs and limitless annoying hounds in Angband.

Just wanted to give my view on Angband, after being such a staunch "I will never play anything but Hack, Moria and Angband in my human life" and someone who said "who needs towns and wilderness!" I am converted.
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Old January 21, 2010, 19:29   #2
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I'm no expert and not at all involved in development, but I guess this is why we have variants; when someone feel that Vanilla is too ...vanilla... they play a variant, or develop their own.
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Old January 21, 2010, 19:58   #3
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A few of the items you mention strike me as going beyond refinements:

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Different colors, dungeon wall types - glass, forest, lava, water, etc. It is visually appealing and helps break up the game for me.
I'd love to see water, lava and stationery plant life (like big mushrooms) as well as other cave features like height (raining arrows down on an orc patrol sounds like a good way to spend lunch:-) And things like lava and water add some additional dangers and tactics Angband doesn't enjoy.

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Different monsters - there are so many more monsters, i.e. fish!, light balls, vampiric mists, etc in ToME, which makes it less repetitive. It "Feels" much more varied when you play.
Wow! Imagine fish in an underground lake, pond or river!

I echo your sentiments about other games having more diverse features like this. While I always have a character going in Angband, I keep returning to FAAngband for the variety of dungeons, which really feel like locations with their unique names and geographic features. I probably spend double the time in FAAngband than Angband, if for no other reason there's more variety in monsters, terrain and geography.
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Old January 21, 2010, 20:49   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsanda View Post
I echo your sentiments about other games having more diverse features like this. While I always have a character going in Angband, I keep returning to FAAngband for the variety of dungeons, which really feel like locations with their unique names and geographic features. I probably spend double the time in FAAngband than Angband, if for no other reason there's more variety in monsters, terrain and geography.
Solution here people! Just play FAangband! You know you want to.
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Old January 21, 2010, 20:51   #5
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Some of your suggestions are on the docket, but others are definitely out. I actually did the reverse progression from you: I started playing variants (Cthangband, Zangband, ToME, etc.) and then got into Vanilla later. While I can understand (and sympathize) with your desire to add more ToME-like features into V there are a lot of other players that have diametrically opposed views.

Point by point discussion follows:

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Originally Posted by dhegler View Post
Different objects, armor, etc... Examples - ESP for certain monsters on some armor, exploding arrows, fireproof objects,
I could definitely imagine items like String granting "ESP for orcs" and similar things. I think fireproof objects are probably not in the cards, but exploding arrows might be.

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RODS WITH INTERCHANGEABLE TIPS! Such a cool idea I thought, as I played, because offensive rods in vanilla are basically useless (unless I am using them wrong)...
I am pretty certain this won't happen. While offensive rods are currently not as useful late game, I don't think exchangeable rod tips is the only (or necessarily) best way to fix this (assuming it even needs fixing).

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Different colors, dungeon wall types - glass, forest, lava, water, etc. It is visually appealing and helps break up the game for me.
It is very likely that we will get terrain soon--it probably won't burn or drown you like terrain in ToME does though.

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Different monsters - there are so many more monsters, i.e. fish!, light balls, vampiric mists, etc in ToME, which makes it less repetitive. It "Feels" much more varied when you play.
I'm not sure what Takkaria's policy on monster additions is, but I encourage you to submit patches to monster.txt if you have ideas.

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Fractional blows - I finally figured what everyone meant - it is a HUGE advantage when dealing with swarms, like my Hummerhorn dilemma in Angband.
This is almost certainly happening soon.

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Different size dungeons - Angband dungeons are always X by Y more or less, no levels smaller (or larger), no towns/stores in the dungeon, etc.
I am currently working on this. I'm not sure about towns in the dungeon (although I like it and I think I remember Takkaria being potentially OK with it) but all those other things will hopefully be improved (as well as improving the use of vaults).
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Old January 21, 2010, 21:22   #6
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My question is will the refinements be enough to keep the great group of people here happy and playing the game (and developing for it!)? I know my comments are far beyond refinements, but having so many good developer people around in different variants and in vanilla make me think how great it could become if all the talent worked on fewer variants. The greatest followings seem to be for Vanilla and ToME...

I realize the need to have variants, but it is spreading thin, as there are probably 6 active variants out of dozens that are out there (estimate, maybe I'm wrong).

ToME feels like more of a story with a plot than anything. Vanilla feels more like repitition to get out my aggression for short periods of time now. Maybe it is also because I finally won the game recently too...
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Old January 21, 2010, 21:29   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Solution here people! Just play FAangband! You know you want to.
The one thing many variants can lag behind in are the docs. When I'm browsing the help files and see the version is below what I'm currently playing and, in some cases, were written for Vanilla Angband, it can be a little frustrating.

Having said that, updated docs (and spoiler files, though I'll certainly never look at them) will always come at the cost of lava pits and exploding arrows so I'll deal with it :-)
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Old January 21, 2010, 21:49   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhegler View Post
I realize the need to have variants, but it is spreading thin, as there are probably 6 active variants out of dozens that are out there (estimate, maybe I'm wrong).
So are you asking variant maintainers to stop doing their variants and start lobbying hard for changes to V? Or are you asking V maintainers to start contributing to ToME? Or are you asking V maintainers to abandon V and start a variant and try to pull the other variant people off their projects and along for the ride?

My sense is that most of the variant authors value their independence and would not necessarily want the (sometimes self-imposed) responsibility of clearing changes with other maintainers and/or the Angband community at large. So I'm not sure Nick, UnAndrew, Will, Tom, Zaimoni, Mangojuice, et al. could be said to be "spread thin" -- they are all doing exactly what they want (I assume). While they might wish that they had other developers working more closely with them, I doubt any of them want to give up authorial control over their variant to become part of the V development swarm (although presumably they'd be willing to share it with like-minded developers).

Similarly, I am pretty sure that most of the current V developers are strongly against many of the features that define ToME:

* Overland Map
* Multiple Towns
* Multiple Dungeons
* Plot encounters and minibosses
* Huge numbers of races and classes
* Huge numbers of item types, kinds, variants, and abilities
* Huge numbers of spells
* Huge numbers in general...

So I'm not sure the development energy of V is being wasted or misused, but is just going in a different direction than what you'd prefer. While I enjoy playing variants, I do find myself often confused or uncertain (through lack of documentation or just being overwhelmed) about what to do, how to do it, and what everything means or does. I think one thing Vanilla is still doing well is to try to constrain overall game complexity. While I do hope that new and exciting things happen to V, I also want to try to stay (at least somewhat) disciplined about feature creep, code bloat, bugs, redundancy and general incoherence.

I don't know what the current state of ToME is post-DarkGod but I do know that many people consider the code to be overwhelmingly large, complex and confusing, which is why 3.0 was started (I think). Much of the work on V has been in improving abstractions, simplifying code paths, and other things to keep the codebase and gameplay as accessible as possible.
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Old January 21, 2010, 21:59   #9
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Originally Posted by d_m View Post
So are you asking variant maintainers to stop doing their variants and start lobbying hard for changes to V? Or are you asking V maintainers to start contributing to ToME? Or are you asking V maintainers to abandon V and start a variant and try to pull the other variant people off their projects and along for the ride?

My sense is that most of the variant authors value their independence and would not necessarily want the (sometimes self-imposed) responsibility of clearing changes with other maintainers and/or the Angband community at large. So I'm not sure Nick, UnAndrew, Will, Tom, Zaimoni, Mangojuice, et al. could be said to be "spread thin" -- they are all doing exactly what they want (I assume). While they might wish that they had other developers working more closely with them, I doubt any of them want to give up authorial control over their variant to become part of the V development swarm (although presumably they'd be willing to share it with like-minded developers).

Similarly, I am pretty sure that most of the current V developers are strongly against many of the features that define ToME:

* Overland Map
* Multiple Towns
* Multiple Dungeons
* Plot encounters and minibosses
* Huge numbers of races and classes
* Huge numbers of item types, kinds, variants, and abilities
* Huge numbers of spells
* Huge numbers in general...

So I'm not sure the development energy of V is being wasted or misused, but is just going in a different direction than what you'd prefer. While I enjoy playing variants, I do find myself often confused or uncertain (through lack of documentation or just being overwhelmed) about what to do, how to do it, and what everything means or does. I think one thing Vanilla is still doing well is to try to constrain overall game complexity. While I do hope that new and exciting things happen to V, I also want to try to stay (at least somewhat) disciplined about feature creep, code bloat, bugs, redundancy and general incoherence.

I don't know what the current state of ToME is post-DarkGod but I do know that many people consider the code to be overwhelmingly large, complex and confusing, which is why 3.0 was started (I think). Much of the work on V has been in improving abstractions, simplifying code paths, and other things to keep the codebase and gameplay as accessible as possible.
It seems like V has the most resources, yet the fewest features overall. If the great maintainers out there who are active are doing such great work on their variants with all these features, why does V seem to stick to refinements, rather than other features? Although there are some newer features I LOVE, like the updated weapon info when you examine them, etc...

I'll just be quiet now, because I think some people will take my comments wrong and be offended, which is not my intent. I just wonder what kind of other features in dungeon generation, monster additions, object additions, etc could be done with the great resources V has.
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Old January 21, 2010, 22:19   #10
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Quote:
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I'll just be quiet now, because I think some people will take my comments wrong and be offended, which is not my intent. I just wonder what kind of other features in dungeon generation, monster additions, object additions, etc could be done with the great resources V has.
I think this is a really good discussion and hope that other variant authors and/or V devs will chime in. No offense taken
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