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Old November 8, 2013, 13:35   #111
yarps
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Damn I was hoping that the town was going to disappear

Recalling just to allow you to continue after being crippled in the dungeon just means that the player is going to recall every time something bad happens. There's no interesting gameplay decision to make just another chore before you can carry on with the fun part of the game.
I feel compelled to make an observation about your comment here.

I've been lurking here on and off for a couple of years, reading many of the debates that have taken place about the future direction of Angband. I've recently started to feel that a lot of the problems covered there ultimately stem from the existence of the town, and in particular that certain things are always easily available there.

(For example, curses are difficult to do in an interesting way if you can always buy ?Identify and/or ?Remove curse.)

However, I would be very hesitant before removing the town. I wonder if, after taking it out, the game would still be Angband? Maybe it's just an artefact of the Roguelikes I play, but the town level does seem a very characteristic feature of Angband.

Since I've been moved to post, let me say one more thing.
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Forced descent will be the default option. As a consequence, in a standard game there will be no more than 99 levels generated before you meet Morgoth.
Since this is such a big change, I'd encourage first trying making non-connected stairs the default instead. I switched to that recently, and it did a lot to boost my enjoyment of the game.
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Old November 8, 2013, 13:37   #112
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I actually think part of the problem is the two end fights are too hard and long meaning you have to scum for consumables and gear to have a decent shot at winning even if every other part of the game is very easy at this point.

I say make Morgoth easier, but you'll have to face him much less prepared than currently. It also means that other monsters near the end will still be tough and worth avoiding rather than pushovers as you stack up the consumables. At the moment I get to the endgame about 35% of the time, but only bother to do the last couple of boring hours to win about 10% of the time and normally just start a new game.
I've been thinking about how to deal with this too - the fight with Morgoth is wonderful, but something needs to be done about the consumable situation. As the end fight is so much harder than anything else, there is a discontinuity in what the player requires, which scumming smooths out in a fairly crude way. Attempts at other solutions include NPP's availability of high-end potions in stores for lots of money, and FA's ability to order potions once you have found an example; I don't know if either of these is ideal for V, and other suggestions are welcome.

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Sort of like the sound of this, but I think one of the main problems with Angband currently is the fact that you need to do a lot of boring stuff all the time to avoid death eg. detect all the time. Detection is dull but necessary and then eventually you get ESP which makes it trivial most of the time except for a few things (which exacerbates the problem of the game being hard at the start and easy by the end).
I pretty much agree, but I must say I don't think detection is top of my list for dealing with (and it's a long list...). I think part of the dullness of it currently is that you're mostly pretty safe, and are detecting against the remote possibility of something nasty. If the dungeon is generally nastier, detection gets a bit more urgent and less boring.

Other mechanisms to show danger are certainly a possibility, though.

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Recalling just to allow you to continue after being crippled in the dungeon just means that the player is going to recall every time something bad happens. There's no interesting gameplay decision to make just another chore before you can carry on with the fun part of the game.
Again, I'm hoping the danger is the key here. Rather than "oh, boring, I need to recall to fix this" you're thinking "help, I hope my recall kicks in before that pack of demons comes back and kills me".

Also, with forced descent, recalling means you go down a level

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Good. At the moment I always have a stack of 25 phase door which are always available when I need them. Having to find and use stuff sparingly will make the game more fun.
Dealing with supply of consumables is actually quite a difficult problem. Currently the chief ones are pretty much on tap, which is good in some respects and bad in others. I tend to favour fairly plentiful means of escape, but I'm not a big fan of easy access to lots of effective healing. I don't have good answers here, and I suspect it's going to take a lot of tricky balancing.

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Sounds good. I wouldn't go crazy making loads of different versions though since people are going to complain regardless
Well, yes, but not listening to complaints is a bad idea. Much as I seem to be laying down the law here, I don't really plan to railroad everyone into playing the same way. Different people get very different things out of the game, and narrowing down to one true way just excludes people.

More generally, I think Angband has succeeded so well in the past because it does allow a lot of oddball ways of playing which still provide enjoyment to somebody. There is a tradition of inclusiveness to maintain here.
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Old November 8, 2013, 13:50   #113
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However, I would be very hesitant before removing the town. I wonder if, after taking it out, the game would still be Angband? Maybe it's just an artefact of the Roguelikes I play, but the town level does seem a very characteristic feature of Angband.
Agreed. Town is often boring, but after intense action (like clearing a vault) going back to town can feel like a relief and a rest and a time to glory in your recent success. I'd like to emphasise this aspect.

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Since this is such a big change, I'd encourage first trying making non-connected stairs the default instead. I switched to that recently, and it did a lot to boost my enjoyment of the game.
It may be a big change, but it certainly isn't going to be an immediate one. You may remember I posted a list of things I would do in the first post of this thread - all that stuff has to happen first. These things I'm talking about now are a long way off yet, and they're aims and principles rather than concrete plans.
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Old November 8, 2013, 13:57   #114
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I think it's time to outline my current vision for how I want Angband to look in the longer term. All of this is negotiable - I am prepared to abandon any of it based on solid argument.
No Solid argument here - just my gut reaction to each item (don't know if that's any use, but here we go...)


[*]Forced descent will be the default option. As a consequence, in a standard game there will be no more than 99 levels generated before you meet Morgoth.

Aaaaaaaarrrgggghhh Noooooooooooooooo!!!
(Although I guess an option is just that. The thing is, I like to feel like I'm playing on default and believe that anything else is kind of mild cheating - or lunacy depending on the option)

[*]The dungeon may be shortened.

Yuk

[*]Individual dungeon levels will be more interesting.

Great

[*]Some fights will be dangerous, and require the player to escape or die.

They already do, for me anyway.

[*]Some fights and/or traps will result in the player being effectively crippled, and needing to return to town to recover properly.

Ditto.

[*]Ironman will be very hard to win.

Fine. (Are you still smarting from Psironic's FA Ironman win, perchance?)

[*]The town will be primarily a place to recover rather than restock.

Excellent.

[*]Every object will be useful to some character at some time; very few will be useful to any character all the time.

Fantastic!
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Old November 8, 2013, 14:02   #115
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Hehe, Nick, now you're talking my type of a game. Halls of Mist has a very similar philosophy.

My main piece of advice: design the mechanics so that the player doesn't have an incentive to do boring things, like clear each level in order even though they are powerful enough to dive.

Sil and Mist solve this in different ways. Sil has a time limit of a sort, and you are not supposed to clear levels. In Mist you are supposed to clear levels, but the levels are small. Between levels you get to decide how far you want to dive, and the game rewards you for diving fast (more wiggle room later and/or a big score multiplier if you manage to win).

Angband's strength compared to most other roguelikes is that you never need to spend time on boring levels. The downwards-only version needs to keep that strength, somehow.
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Old November 8, 2013, 14:06   #116
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Originally Posted by yarps View Post
I feel compelled to make an observation about your comment here.

I've been lurking here on and off for a couple of years, reading many of the debates that have taken place about the future direction of Angband. I've recently started to feel that a lot of the problems covered there ultimately stem from the existence of the town, and in particular that certain things are always easily available there.

(For example, curses are difficult to do in an interesting way if you can always buy ?Identify and/or ?Remove curse.)
I think that you're right really. It's hard to balance drops of consumables depending on whether they are or aren't available in the shops.

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However, I would be very hesitant before removing the town. I wonder if, after taking it out, the game would still be Angband? Maybe it's just an artefact of the Roguelikes I play, but the town level does seem a very characteristic feature of Angband.
Yes this is true too, you have to balance what is good for gameplay and what feels Angbandy and decide which takes precedence. Personally I would always go for gameplay first, but I understand why others wouldn't.

I can think of a few changes that would make the shops more interesting. Firstly reduce the amount of gold about and don't increase the gold dropped at deeper levels meaning that removing curses etc. would be at the expense of purchasing consumables.

Also you can spend on consumables OR save up for some nice gear but not do both (at the moment you have 200k+ gold after a while and can just buy anything you want.) So an interesting gameplay decision would be between purchasing gear and consumables. If you play carefully avoiding using up stuff unnecessarily then you get rewarded for it.

Also make ?recall much rarer and only found in the dungeons. As they are precious you won't be recalling every time you get your strength reduced by 1.

Quote:
Since this is such a big change, I'd encourage first trying making non-connected stairs the default instead. I switched to that recently, and it did a lot to boost my enjoyment of the game.
Actually thinking about it I'm not entirely sure what I think about forced descent. It all seems a little artificial.

A solution I thought of a while ago would be that dangerous monsters drift into shallower levels after a certain length of time. These would be different from just deeper monsters, but specific "hunter" type monsters that are alerted to the player's presence by their time spent in the dungeon.
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Old November 8, 2013, 14:20   #117
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Shops are fun in Mist. Gold is scarce. Town visits are not guaranteed between levels, and in recent versions there is a small reward (acclimatization to the Mist) if you choose to skip town.

If you want to live, you need to choose wisely how to spend your gold.
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Old November 8, 2013, 14:21   #118
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Hehe, Nick, now you're talking my type of a game. Halls of Mist has a very similar philosophy.
I'm hoping to talk vaguely enough that everyone thinks it's their type of game

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My main piece of advice: design the mechanics so that the player doesn't have an incentive to do boring things, like clear each level in order even though they are powerful enough to dive.

Sil and Mist solve this in different ways. Sil has a time limit of a sort, and you are not supposed to clear levels. In Mist you are supposed to clear levels, but the levels are small. Between levels you get to decide how far you want to dive, and the game rewards you for diving fast (more wiggle room later and/or a big score multiplier if you manage to win).
At this stage I don't have a clear idea of exactly how this issue will be dealt with, but I agree with your general idea of not encouraging boring play.

Of course, boring play is a bit subjective, and varies from person to person and day to day. Some days clearing an orc pit is fun, and some days it's a chore.

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Angband's strength compared to most other roguelikes is that you never need to spend time on boring levels. The downwards-only version needs to keep that strength, somehow.
Well, levels never being boring would work, I guess
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Old November 8, 2013, 14:27   #119
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A solution I thought of a while ago would be that dangerous monsters drift into shallower levels after a certain length of time. These would be different from just deeper monsters, but specific "hunter" type monsters that are alerted to the player's presence by their time spent in the dungeon.
That's a really interesting idea. And who knows, forced descent may not end up being the best option, but it looks pretty reasonable to me at the moment.
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Old November 8, 2013, 14:31   #120
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A solution I thought of a while ago would be that dangerous monsters drift into shallower levels after a certain length of time. These would be different from just deeper monsters, but specific "hunter" type monsters that are alerted to the player's presence by their time spent in the dungeon.
imo at least one of those monsters should be this guy: http://www.giantbomb.com/baron-von-blubba/3005-10958/
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