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Old October 6, 2010, 18:19   #11
Derakon
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You're right that the initial decision to go with randomly-generated non-persistent dungeons was made because of hardware constraints. But just because we don't have those limitations any more doesn't mean that the design decision was a bad one.

To pick an alternate example, there are plenty of games made today that have crute 8-bit graphics. They aren't using that style because of limitations in how much space they have for graphics or how many bits they can use to represent colors; they're using it because they like the style. Of course that style initially came about because of games that couldn't do better than 8-bit graphics with chunky pixels. I wouldn't be surprised if, in an alternate history where we'd never had graphical limitations on videogames, we wouldn't have a "pixel art" aesthetic. But we did have those limitations, which lead to the creation of that aesthetic, and now there's plenty of games around intentionally invoking that aesthetic.

In Angband's case, what was borne out of necessity turned out to be an entirely reasonable alternative to the standard of persistent levels. It might seem archaic to you; I'd see it as "intentionally retro". It's been a long time since persistent levels were technically infeasible -- heck; I wouldn't be surprised if some cleverness would have allowed it when Angband first split off from Moria in 1990. But just because it's feasible doesn't mean it should be done. We could replace the ASCII graphics with beautiful polygonal 3D graphics (given a decent amount of effort from our more artistic users), and I guarantee that there'd be plenty of people still playing with the old ASCII instead. Not because their computers couldn't handle the 3D, but because that's how they want to play the game.
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Old October 6, 2010, 18:39   #12
Tiburon Silverflame
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I actually doubt that hardware improvements were that big a factor. The dungeon itself could be stored very efficiently; monsters and items (especially if one did NOT save squelched items) shouldn't take up a great deal of room, simply because, on any one level, there aren't that many. At a guess, I'd say 50Kb would probably be all it'd take per level. OK, for RAM, that's an issue back in the day...but not if you serialize it to disk. By the late 80's, 500 Mb drives were out there, so something like 250 Mb drives wouldn't have been unusual. And certainly by the time Windows 95 was released, Gb drives were becoming very common. So, there's been plenty of time to make this transition, without worrying that it might be infeasible for some.

I don't think it's a natural transition, because that suggests an evolutionary process. This wouldn't be evolutionary; it's a fundamental paradigm shift.

Mind you, it could be interesting. One of the points being discussed is the no-town option, or at least no-selling option, leaving the town available to provide key items (ID, CCW, WoR, basic spellbooks) only. Persistent levels might be one way to do this; as you noted earlier, this would allow @ to create supply caches along the way. But, removing town is itself a paradigm shift.

Look at the effect of persistent levels. Consider item conservation. Why do we hate fire attackers...hounds, the bigger hydras, balrogs? Because they trash spellbooks and scrolls. Cold attacks threaten potions, which are critical. Consider side effects. When we see time hounds, we know we're gonna get nailed for XP and stats, in VERY damaging and potentially risky ways. There will be times when you can take them out, but it's frequently a poor idea. Consider, simply, EXTREMELY high risk such as a greater undead pit with Black Reavers. What's the response? RUN AWAY!!!!

Note that if the level's persistent, we can run away...but we may never be able to go *back* to that level, if the threats are also persistent.
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Old October 6, 2010, 20:52   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiburon Silverflame View Post
I actually doubt that hardware improvements were that big a factor. The dungeon itself could be stored very efficiently; monsters and items (especially if one did NOT save squelched items) shouldn't take up a great deal of room, simply because, on any one level, there aren't that many. At a guess, I'd say 50Kb would probably be all it'd take per level. OK, for RAM, that's an issue back in the day...but not if you serialize it to disk. By the late 80's, 500 Mb drives were out there, so something like 250 Mb drives wouldn't have been unusual. And certainly by the time Windows 95 was released, Gb drives were becoming very common. So, there's been plenty of time to make this transition, without worrying that it might be infeasible for some.

I don't think it's a natural transition, because that suggests an evolutionary process. This wouldn't be evolutionary; it's a fundamental paradigm shift.

Mind you, it could be interesting. One of the points being discussed is the no-town option, or at least no-selling option, leaving the town available to provide key items (ID, CCW, WoR, basic spellbooks) only. Persistent levels might be one way to do this; as you noted earlier, this would allow @ to create supply caches along the way. But, removing town is itself a paradigm shift.

Look at the effect of persistent levels. Consider item conservation. Why do we hate fire attackers...hounds, the bigger hydras, balrogs? Because they trash spellbooks and scrolls. Cold attacks threaten potions, which are critical. Consider side effects. When we see time hounds, we know we're gonna get nailed for XP and stats, in VERY damaging and potentially risky ways. There will be times when you can take them out, but it's frequently a poor idea. Consider, simply, EXTREMELY high risk such as a greater undead pit with Black Reavers. What's the response? RUN AWAY!!!!

Note that if the level's persistent, we can run away...but we may never be able to go *back* to that level, if the threats are also persistent.
And this, ladies and gents, is the peerless roguelike known as Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. The main reason I see no point in shifting Angband to persistent levels is because DCSS already exists and has done it brilliantly. Making Angband an inferior version of Crawl seem pointless: keeping it as a completely different game seems the way to go.
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Old October 6, 2010, 21:50   #14
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And this, ladies and gents, is the peerless roguelike known as Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. The main reason I see no point in shifting Angband to persistent levels is because DCSS already exists and has done it brilliantly. Making Angband an inferior version of Crawl seem pointless: keeping it as a completely different game seems the way to go.
Wait. didn't get your point.
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Old October 6, 2010, 22:51   #15
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You could see something like spherical rooms being codable, but harder to connect.
I thought all rooms in Angband were already round ;)

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So, to summarize my point: I just thought it was a matter of time until someone took vanilla to the next level and produced more "realistic" dungeon levels with permanence... and consideration for their layout as a series of "undergorund defensive structures" as opposed to just a "random maze".
Some people look at stairs in Angband like stairs in their house: one-way in, one-way out, you always know where you're going to end up. I think of them more like a maze of twisty passage all alike. Basically so many interweaving tunnels that there is no practical way you could retrace your steps. If you find yourself in said maze be glad you got out.

Furthermore I think this makes for a pretty effective series of underground defensive structures. The reason no map of Angband exists is because it is impossible to map. If I'm holing myself up 100 levels down I would rather be in an un-mappable series of caves than in a place where @ can pull a blueprint.
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Old October 6, 2010, 23:50   #16
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clearly M has never heard of the "right/left hand rule"....
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Old October 7, 2010, 01:44   #17
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Originally Posted by nullfame View Post
Furthermore I think this makes for a pretty effective series of underground defensive structures. The reason no map of Angband exists is because it is impossible to map. If I'm holing myself up 100 levels down I would rather be in an un-mappable series of caves than in a place where @ can pull a blueprint.
Difficult to map, not impossible, not with GB's of memory. Allow me to half-heartedly, half-jokingly propose parallel persistent levels. Perhaps 5 or 10 or 20 or 100 of each level exist, all persistent. The 'maze of staircases' leads you to a randomly chosen parallel level. Maybe you've been there before, probably not. Your odds of encountering a level you've previously explored, quite obviously, increases with the amount of scumming/revisiting you do.

It might also be fun to (stow 'em all and) occasionally retrieve levels from previous games. That sword you were so fond of once upon a time (before you tossed it aside in favor of something better).... it's back.

The more I think about it, the more I like it, so I better stop thinking.
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Old October 7, 2010, 03:06   #18
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Originally Posted by Tiburon Silverflame View Post
Note that if the level's persistent, we can run away...but we may never be able to go *back* to that level, if the threats are also persistent.
One way to do infinite random persistent levels is to always have more than one up and downstairs that take you to different levels. If you make it three you have six different options to make for each level, and if you level-teleport that's eight but that is then really random with no going back.

You will get lost really fast in that (which stairs I took previously? I have been here before, but can't remember anything).

You could also make town "stairs" and recall a portal to dungeon with each time random start. Recalling back to already explored dungeon would be boring. Want a boring level: "this looks like a level you have already emptied".

Not that persistent levels make any sense in Angband, but that would be one way of doing it.
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Old October 7, 2010, 03:17   #19
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clearly M has never heard of the "right/left hand rule"....
In three-dimensional maze right/left hand rule doesn't work very well. It is possible to create a maze which makes you go in loops with right/left hand rule.
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Old October 7, 2010, 12:20   #20
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Wait. didn't get your point.
If I can extrapolate a bit: there already exists a highly Angband-like game with permanent levels, and its name is Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. Above all, it has the same factor of monsters that block or impede staying on or returning to a level safely, toned down just enough to still be workable in a game where you cannot cause the problem level to disappear forever (i.e. a permalevel roguelike).

(I think the unspoken problem with non-permalevel roguelikes here is that they break suspension of disbelief. But really, a rogueliker suspends disbelief on so many things already, this too is doable. I know - I warmed up to 'bands very slowly myself for this very reason - slowly, but also "successfully.")

The amusing thing is that IME no other rogueliking community exhibits such severe and blind prejudice towards 'bands and 'banders on the whole than that for DCSS, due to the assumption that it is normal or at least common to power grind in Angband much more than people really do.
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