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Old October 25, 2013, 11:02   #1
Nick
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For anyone who may have missed it, some people have suggested that I should be the next Angband maintainer. So I thought everyone should have a chance to see what a Nick-as-maintainer future might hold. I'm going to do a series of individual topic posts; please comment frankly and fearlessly. If this happens, I want it to be with everyone's eyes open.

So here's a quick outline of what I would hope to do:
  • Wait for the release of 3.5
  • Work out who is interested in contributing to development and in what capacity
  • Do a massive restructure of the code with no gameplay (or language!) change. takkaria has done a huge amount of this (pretty much unsung) already; I plan to be fairly revolutionary here
  • Tackle the outstanding thorny issues - traps/searching/perception, ID, squelch
  • Open up discussion on *big* issues - combat system, dungeon generation and structure, new races and/or classes, new ports, monster and item balance

That'll do for an appetiser
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Last edited by Nick; October 25, 2013 at 12:44. Reason: Actually checked what other people are actually doing
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Old October 25, 2013, 11:56   #2
Timo Pietilš
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So here's a quick outline of what I would hope to do:
All sound good to me. Angband code has some very weird relics in it, like the one I stumbled upon just couple of days ago: monsters might or might not resist the thing they breathe regardless of what the resistance flags say. That's determined in the code, not in the edit-file flags (oddly into same place which gives you messages from monsters and if you learned about their resistances or not). It would be good to get all those oddities cleared out.
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Old October 25, 2013, 12:00   #3
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All sound good to me. Angband code has some very weird relics in it, like the one I stumbled upon just couple of days ago: monsters might or might not resist the thing they breathe regardless of what the resistance flags say. That's determined in the code, not in the edit-file flags (oddly into same place which gives you messages from monsters and if you learned about their resistances or not). It would be good to get all those oddities cleared out.
I fixed that a few days ago, after your report This stuff takes a long time - when people notice them they tend to fix them but the code is littered with this stuff and it's not always obvious if you're flicking over code looking for something else.
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Old October 25, 2013, 12:17   #4
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It would be good to get all those oddities cleared out.
What would probably happen is that a lot of them would be cleared out, and a lot of worse ones would be introduced. But that's OK - picking up bugs like that is always going to be an ongoing proposition. The main aim with a code restructure is to get the code into a state where it's easier for the developers to know what they're doing.
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Old October 25, 2013, 13:46   #5
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That was a really nice appetiser!

One of the more important issues for me would be rebalancing monsters so that all monsters are at least somewhat challenging when you first meet them. At the moment many interesting monsters are wasted on too deep dungeon levels. Andrew Doull is the expert on this.

Andrew used to say that the biggest problem of Angband is boring monsters. I tend to agree.
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Old October 25, 2013, 14:06   #6
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That was a really nice appetiser!

One of the more important issues for me would be rebalancing monsters so that all monsters are at least somewhat challenging when you first meet them. At the moment many interesting monsters are wasted on too deep dungeon levels. Andrew Doull is the expert on this.

Andrew used to say that the biggest problem of Angband is boring monsters. I tend to agree.
Only way to create that would be to create variance between monsters, so that while majority are boring enough of those are considerably harder to deal with, so that your "safe" diving speed always contains monsters that are not really "safe". "first meet" is not really a good measurement because people dive at different speeds. Some monsters would need to pose danger at any level for them to be really challenging. Like gravity hounds and Dracolichs.

One thing I would like to do is boost Balrogs. Currently they are too wimpy. Give them darkness storm (balrogs = demons of fire and shadow). They should also be top demons, way worse than Pit Fiends or Gelugons, and more intelligent spellcasters than beasts with breaths (read the book, Balrog of Moria was not fiery bull with wings, it opened a door that Gandalf closed by magic using countermagic).
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Old October 25, 2013, 14:24   #7
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Only way to create that would be to create variance between monsters, so that while majority are boring enough of those are considerably harder to deal with, so that your "safe" diving speed always contains monsters that are not really "safe". "first meet" is not really a good measurement because people dive at different speeds.
I guess I would like to even out the difficulty between monsters of the same level. Having some harder monsters is okay! But at the moment there are lots of super-easy monsters that will never interesting. Making them shallower would give them a potential to be interesting.

There's no point in having monsters that are much easier than the other monsters of the same level. (The monster generation algorithm will always generate easier, lower-level monsters anyway.)
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Old October 25, 2013, 14:32   #8
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But at the moment there are lots of super-easy monsters that will never interesting. Making them shallower would give them a potential to be interesting.
More radical suggestion: remove them. If you have enough trees, you have forest where every tree look just like the one before it. More is not always better.

To give example: Paladin (monster, not player). That's just upgraded gallant. Nothing interesting there, but it creates continuum between gallant and Knight Templar. Remove Paladin, and you just created more variance.
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Old October 25, 2013, 14:39   #9
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More radical suggestion: remove them.
Yep, unless they actually have enough interesting qualities! Some monsters have never had the chance to shine.
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Old October 25, 2013, 14:52   #10
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I found Andrew's Algorithmic rebalancing of monsters, but maybe there's a newer version somewhere.
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