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Old July 23, 2016, 17:04   #1
t4nk
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The -more- prompt

Don't know where to post this, in this forum or in Development... this is a question for players, though, so I guess it belongs here.
What are the reasons for keeping the -more- thing? Do you play with it? Do you find it useful? If yes, why?
For me, this is just an interface screw and it has no reason to exist; it's just a relic from the past (when the game had only one term). Messages already can go to their own subwindow, you can view them there. I always played with "auto_more" and didn't notice any bad effects from doing so.
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Old July 23, 2016, 17:09   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t4nk View Post
Don't know where to post this, in this forum or in Development... this is a question for players, though, so I guess it belongs here.
What are the reasons for keeping the -more- thing? Do you play with it? Do you find it useful? If yes, why?
For me, this is just an interface screw and it has no reason to exist; it's just a relic from the past (when the game had only one term). Messages already can go to their own subwindow, you can view them there. I always played with "auto_more" and didn't notice any bad effects from doing so.
I don't think I would mind it being removed as long as we instead get a multi-line log in the main window. (And such a log needs to done in such a way as to be really clear about delineating the player's turns.)
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Old July 23, 2016, 17:59   #3
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I still use a single window setup at the minimum possible size because I play in short bursts of downtime while I'm working and it's easier to switch between windows that way. So -more- prompts are useful to see the individual messages go by under that setup. (Though admittedly, 99% of the time when there's a long chain of them I just hold down the Escape key to clear them and use ^P if I think I missed something, so it's not exactly that big a deal.)

The problem with a multi-line display in the main window is that the minimum window size is only 24 rows high, which accommodates a single message line and just enough room to display the full inventory a-w without needing to introduce scrolling. So more lines would bork that and steal valuable map display space from anyone restricted to the 24x80 screen size. (Assuming there are even still Angband ports out there that actually strictly enforce it - on portable devices, maybe?)
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Old July 24, 2016, 00:42   #4
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I don't always use a message window, so I do rely on -more- prompts sometimes; and for things like termcasting, people sometimes want to play in just a single curses window.

UnAngband has a multi-line system, where extra lines just write over the top of the map (and can be cleared with escape or space if necessary) which works pretty well.

I'm inclined to think that it would be best to either the -more- prompt or have multi-line messages, but maybe players would just get used to using ^P to look back. Maybe you could have some sort of indicator that there have been messages that didn't make the top line? What do other people think?
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Old July 24, 2016, 00:58   #5
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I think messages and message spam can be improved a lot. Specifically, colored messages to describe specific situations. Also we can really work on simplifying the message interface. Instead of:

The x hits you, the x misses you, the x bites you, you are poisoned, the x bites you, you are more poisoned.

We could have:

The x hits, misses, bites, bites. You are poisoned.

You can put the damage amounts in there, and you can color them differently, weak hits could be yellow, stronger, orange, really strong red. Status effect hits could be blue, or similar.

All roguelikes I've played seem to have this message spam and it makes it really difficult to figure out what happened. Angband is actually better than others (like DCSS or ToME, which the worst of any roguelike I've played for message spam). But we can still improve.
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Old July 24, 2016, 01:11   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
I think messages and message spam can be improved a lot.
OK, so what I would really like to see is the following:
  1. All messages moved into an edit file
  2. Every message having a short and a long version (at least, maybe more)

When I first encountered Angband, it was largely the messages that drew me in, so I wouldn't want to lose that richness. But I think we can get a solution that suits both the dilettantes and the ruthless power players
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Old July 24, 2016, 01:52   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
The problem with a multi-line display in the main window is that the minimum window size is only 24 rows high, which accommodates a single message line and just enough room to display the full inventory a-w without needing to introduce scrolling. So more lines would bork that and steal valuable map display space from anyone restricted to the 24x80 screen size. (Assuming there are even still Angband ports out there that actually strictly enforce it - on portable devices, maybe?)
As it turns out, I think we have very similar ways of using "-more-". Mostly it's just noise, but during certain fights they get studied meticulously.

Btw, you have a very valid point about restricted screen size, but I think the UI could (theroetically, at least) be adapted such that you get a few lines of messages by default, and that the visual width of the message log could be changed (with appropriate message reformatting/rewrapping, etc.) if the player chooses to show the intentory/equipment.

However, if we're talking real "device" support, I do think that there should really be two completely distinct UIs: one for "real" computers and one for devices. (You'd perhaps also want the latter to have a much restricted set of commands, etc. etc.) Fundamentally it might even be impossible[1] to make games that work on both the PC and the "device" form factor.

[1] Or, rather, just "too hard to be practical for most games".
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Old July 24, 2016, 02:06   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
I think messages and message spam can be improved a lot. Specifically, colored messages to describe specific situations. Also we can really work on simplifying the message interface. Instead of:
I was also contemplating coloring messages for T2-AH, but as I recently discovered it requires a lot of care. I recently tried the new PosChengband and discovered that excessive coloration actually just makes everything look like Clown Vomit. (Not sure where I heard that phrase, but it's pretty accurate and ... evocative.). I'm sure there's some sort of adaptation phase you first have to go through, but ISTM that color is one of the worst ways to lend structure. You really want spatial organization when presenting large amounts of information, i.e. tables (or similar visual presentations, e.g. two-column). Obviously this doesn't apply to visually impaired people, but then neither does color, so...

(EDIT: I'm sure the reason I was thinking of coloration was that 'syntax coloring' in editors is a huge win, but that's usually a) pretty subtle, and b) there's already a lot of visual spatial structure to code.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
The x hits you, the x misses you, the x bites you, you are poisoned, the x bites you, you are more poisoned.

We could have:

The x hits, misses, bites, bites. You are poisoned.
Yes, this is a good idea, but given the code probably impractical to implement .

Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
You can put the damage amounts in there, and you can color them differently, weak hits could be yellow, stronger, orange, really strong red. Status effect hits could be blue, or similar.
This would be Clown Vomit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
All roguelikes I've played seem to have this message spam and it makes it really difficult to figure out what happened. Angband is actually better than others (like DCSS or ToME, which the worst of any roguelike I've played for message spam). But we can still improve.
Just curious: ToME 2.x? I'd probably agree, but that's mostly because of the absurd balancing which means that any melee-oriented character will have to have at least 20-30 attacks per round to make much progress in the Angband dungeon . It's pretty silly and I'm thinking on-and-off about how this could be rebalanced to avoid the ridiculousness of the necessity for "+10 attacks" rings. (Don't hold your breath. There are so many interactions between various systems in T2 that it's... non-trivial to rebalance.)

Last edited by AnonymousHero; July 24, 2016 at 02:12.
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Old July 24, 2016, 02:43   #9
Ingwe Ingweron
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Quote:
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As it turns out, I think we have very similar ways of using "-more-". Mostly it's just noise, but during certain fights they get studied meticulously.
+ 1 here.

I have played with "more" and with "auto-clear more", and found sometimes it made a significant difference in suvivability. My feeling is that beginners and novice players should never play "auto-clear". There's too much to learn from the messages during this learning curve.

Myself, I played for awhile using "auto-clear" as my normal state of affairs and turning "more" on only for certain situations, but now I tend to play with "more" on, and only turn on "auto-clear" in situations where message spam and the slow-down caused by it are particularly annoying, e.g., fighting an Ainur pit. In any event, I heartily recommend keeping "more" on when fighting Sauron and Morgoth. You don't want to miss an important message during those final fights!
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Old July 24, 2016, 04:30   #10
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Color works quite well, actually--IIRC it is NPP that already uses it. (NPP has a different problem: so many uniques and deep monsters is just exhausting. I suppose it is OK for paladins, but for rogues and the like it's too much like work.)

I'd also like a different sound option, where only important events get sound. Continuous screams of dying and sword swipes is just annoying.
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