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Old December 18, 2011, 05:38   #41
Mikko Lehtinen
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I think the Angband critique in all episodes of Roguelike Radio can be mostly summed by three points: monsters, UI, and that having infinite dungeons is not good game design.

That third one is tough. Of course it can be solved easily enough in variants like Fay and Ironband, but I believe Vanilla will always have infinite dungeons. And many, many people really prefer choosing their own difficulty level.

One of the things that can be done is to design a scoring system that rewards risk-taking and actually reflects your playing ability. Sangband tried that. Would the Sangband scoring system be robust enough to be ported into Vanilla?
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Old December 18, 2011, 06:22   #42
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Originally Posted by nppangband View Post
I am going to give TOME, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, and Jade a quick try. I encourage others (especially the other maintainers) to do the same, and post your impressions of the game.
Well Crawl is blimmin' hard. I tried it a few years back and quickly realised I wasn't going to get far without some form of cheat mode.

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Old December 18, 2011, 06:52   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen View Post
I think the Angband critique in all episodes of Roguelike Radio can be mostly summed by three points: monsters, UI, and that having infinite dungeons is not good game design.

That third one is tough. Of course it can be solved easily enough in variants like Fay and Ironband, but I believe Vanilla will always have infinite dungeons. And many, many people really prefer choosing their own difficulty level.

One of the things that can be done is to design a scoring system that rewards risk-taking and actually reflects your playing ability. Sangband tried that. Would the Sangband scoring system be robust enough to be ported into Vanilla?
Yes, I think it would. OT1H the character's power is much more clearly defined in S, but monster power is better defined in V, so it should end up with roughly the same accuracy. Note that many people consider it very broken, but it's still better than the current V scoring algorithm!

@Andrew: I'd forgotten about your rebalanced monsters - I played with them when you first released them, before I joined the devteam, and found them excellent. It's exactly the kind of thing that should be put into v4 for wider testing. Fizzix is currently monster-tweaker-in-chief, so hopefully he'll have a look.

Interesting point about the vision being the responsibility of the maintainer. I'm not aware of any maintainers prior to takkaria having (much less publishing) a vision for Angband. But since development was so conservative, maybe they didn't need to, and left visions to variants.
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Old December 18, 2011, 07:27   #44
Mikko Lehtinen
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Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
Yes, I think it would. OT1H the character's power is much more clearly defined in S, but monster power is better defined in V, so it should end up with roughly the same accuracy. Note that many people consider it very broken, but it's still better than the current V scoring algorithm!
Another plus for V is that experience level can't be gamed like Power in S. You can't decide to stay at lower level after killing monsters.
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Old December 18, 2011, 09:04   #45
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Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen View Post
Another plus for V is that experience level can't be gamed like Power in S. You can't decide to stay at lower level after killing monsters.
I'm pretty sure Leon fixed that before he departed - unspent xp is included in the power calculation for score purposes. (Camlost will, I'm sure, correct me if I'm wrong.)
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Old December 18, 2011, 12:28   #46
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I'm surprised Antoine didn't mention it but I've been airing my views about Angband's "ghetto-ization" on Roguelike Radio the last few episodes.
So this post finally gave me the impetus to listen to some of RR, and I found the Quickband episode interesting.

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The tl;dr is that IMO Angband was great during the nineties, but there's been a complete lack of cross pollination between Angband (and variants) and other roguelikes, which have moved on considerably from where more=better.
The point was made during RR that one of the defining features of Angband versus other roguelikes is its epic scale. IMHO this gives it a sense of gravitas that the others fail to have (that's on top of the fact that the aim in some of the more popular other roguelikes is to fetch a necklace named 'Rodney' spelt backwards).

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The recent devteams supposed focus on 'improving the UI' actually hasn't - see Tome 4 and Brogue for examples of good to great roguelike UI.
In the interests of balance, I downloaded these two to compare UI. Now I am aware that this is a matter of taste, but I felt that Brogue was a bit busy - I like the clean, uncluttered feel of Angband. No offence to DarkGod, but Tome 4 made me want to put my eyes out.

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The current focus on balancing and creating more interesting item affixes is just mimicing the path Diablo took, which is another game from the 90s.
I don't believe this was a conscious attempt to mimic Diablo. Given that, I think it is better to see how the new affix system works in Angband (well, v4 for now) and judge based on that rather than on perceived parallels.

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There was a window of opportunity in the early 2000s to merge back a whole lot of great ideas from Angband variants (4GAI, monster mana, actually interesting monsters, the TK user interface) into Angband, in order to improve the game, but I think that window has since passed. Playing Quickband recently just reminded me how colourless and hard to get into a game Angband really is in many ways.
If something was worth doing in the early 2000s, it could surely be done now. The difficulty with UI work in particular is getting people interested in doing it, and keeping it up to date.

As for the last comment, I suspect it is actually a reflection on how long it is since you've played Angband...

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I'm not sure what to do to fix Angband these days. Whatever magic it had is being done much better elsewhere.
In case you haven't realised yet, I disagree. The magic of Angband and variants is in the seriousness and the scale and the glorious enormity of it all. It's not a game that you pick up and play for a bit before moving on to the next shiny object; it's a game for devotees. It doesn't suit everyone - it's not even close to suiting everyone - but the people it does suit tend to fall deeply and lastingly in love with it.

I only started playing Angband about 8 years ago, but I realised very quickly that I had been looking for it for a long time without realising. And I don't think I am the only one, and I think it needs to be maintained in its current spirit for those who, after wandering lost in the wilds of the internet, come upon Angband and find that they are home.
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Old December 18, 2011, 13:18   #47
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The magic of Angband and variants is in the seriousness and the scale and the glorious enormity of it all.
Now we're getting somewhere! Great post.

If I had to pick two games that do this epic seriousness best, I would choose Moria and Oangband.
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Old December 18, 2011, 13:25   #48
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I see nothing wrong with the concept of an infinite dungeon so long as it is paired with not being the same infinite dungeon. A better goal/mindset has to be attainable than "well, it is deadly as per normal design come lvl 50 (or whatever the last boss habitates), just have the monster spawning increase on down until they kill the player"

For something nigh-infinite to work, it has to lean more towards improvisation than..er.... an ideal sort of Descension Kit in this case---as the very nature of populating a list skews towards you pretty much rounding it out rather early on beyond complexity for the sake of complexity like having you hunt for 100 Immunities or some such padding. Special levels, rules, thinking about time and space and settings---you'd pretty much want to have the player getting a feel for the general style the gravitate for on a given character while generally keeping them guessing.

The score attack notion could also work pretty well as far as means to ferret out things in the context, so long as it goes balls out 80's/ 90's Arcade-level of pomp about it---probably be a bit much to chase after the bullet hell's Billion/Trillion+ range though.
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Old December 18, 2011, 15:27   #49
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The thing that attracted me the most about moria and angband is the infinite dungeons, and also NWN game has copied that from angband and moria and produced their own game called Infinite Dungeons, There was also a very good game desighner called primogenitor who made games for NWN fans and he was working on a game called NWN Angband, the concept: randomly generated dungeons. So in reality this has been a big "seller" of angband for a long time.
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Old December 18, 2011, 15:55   #50
Mikko Lehtinen
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The magic of Angband and variants is in the seriousness and the scale and the glorious enormity of it all.
Angband is an epic and serious game about a lone hero fighting the army of darkness.

Maybe from this statement we can derive something about how the game mechanics of our Dream Angband should look like.

I'm imagining quite crunchy and simulationist combat mechanics, like in Rolemaster, MERP, AD&D, and RuneQuest. There should definitely be interesting tactics and puzzle-like elements in combat, but most importantly it should always feel "real", and puzzles should never break the simulation, the illusion of being there.

Oangband combat feels just right to me. It's possible that the combat system that is being developed for V4 is an even better fit. It's funny how the dev team members talk so much about "realism" of the combat system. Realism is not at all fashionable in either roguelikes or in tabletob RPGs at the moment. These guys are old-school grognards.

What I want from my own variant is something completely different: I want to make a fast-playing tactical toy with only a touch of epic in it, something much like Brogue I guess. But for Vanilla Angband, I think semi-crunchy simulationism is the way to go.

Last edited by Mikko Lehtinen; December 18, 2011 at 16:04.
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