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Old June 17, 2011, 10:03   #1
Timo Pietilä
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New level generation

Hello.

I'm a bit concerned to see that new level generation has not been discussed here. It is probably the biggest gameplay change there is between 3.2.0 and 3.whateverversiondevversionis. And it is broken as it is. Levels are too small.

If you don't get that fixed by 3.3 is due I suggest reverting it back to 3.2 status. Normal dev-version levels are just boring and small. Caverns are good, but they should be less common than they are now (no vaults in caverns, right?). A bit like destroyed levels were in old version. Maze-levels are pretty much "should I recall now, or should I find stairs to get some real level" -levels. IMO those should be gone.
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Old June 17, 2011, 12:14   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilä View Post
Hello.

I'm a bit concerned to see that new level generation has not been discussed here. It is probably the biggest gameplay change there is between 3.2.0 and 3.whateverversiondevversionis. And it is broken as it is. Levels are too small.

If you don't get that fixed by 3.3 is due I suggest reverting it back to 3.2 status. Normal dev-version levels are just boring and small. Caverns are good, but they should be less common than they are now (no vaults in caverns, right?). A bit like destroyed levels were in old version. Maze-levels are pretty much "should I recall now, or should I find stairs to get some real level" -levels. IMO those should be gone.
I think there's a fair degree of consensus that caverns are interesting but should be a bit less common and not appear until a bit deeper (dl25-30, maybe?). I don't think there is consensus that labyrinths (the "maze" levels) are broken per se, though they could become a type of GV within a larger level rather than a level type of their own (but not for 3.3, I think).

I don't agree that either should reverted to 3.2's behaviour, though I understand that d_m intends to adjust the level sizes and densities for 3.3.

Perhaps the fact that there isn't much discussion here means that most people playing nightlies are quite happy with the new levels?
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Old June 17, 2011, 13:19   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilä View Post
Hello.

I'm a bit concerned to see that new level generation has not been discussed here. It is probably the biggest gameplay change there is between 3.2.0 and 3.whateverversiondevversionis. And it is broken as it is. Levels are too small.
So just recently there's been some tweaks to dungeon generation, I believe to make the levels less sparse (they should be closer to 3.2 now). However, having variable-sized levels is a feature – before Ben, levels were variable in size and it was somewhere in the 2.7 series that Ben made them all maximum size. I'd appreciate it if you played the next nightly and see what you think, the dungeon tweaks will be in then.
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Old June 17, 2011, 14:11   #4
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Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
Perhaps the fact that there isn't much discussion here means that most people playing nightlies are quite happy with the new levels?
I mostly agree with Timo, I just have more pressing peeves to take care of first... Also I keep hearing that it's being adjusted, so I am waiting to see how it turns out ;-)

If I'm happy with levels after the next adjustment is in I believe I will still agree with Timo on labyrinth levels. They would make excelent GVs, but if they are the whole level, make them very rare indeed.
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Old June 17, 2011, 14:13   #5
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Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
I think there's a fair degree of consensus that caverns are interesting but should be a bit less common and not appear until a bit deeper (dl25-30, maybe?). I don't think there is consensus that labyrinths (the "maze" levels) are broken per se, though they could become a type of GV within a larger level rather than a level type of their own (but not for 3.3, I think).

I don't agree that either should reverted to 3.2's behaviour, though I understand that d_m intends to adjust the level sizes and densities for 3.3.

Perhaps the fact that there isn't much discussion here means that most people playing nightlies are quite happy with the new levels?
It is not the new level types which is the main problem it is the main normal levels which are way too small. d_m himself admitted that there are problems where you just do linear walk from room to room approx five rooms total compared to old behavior. Eddie also peeked in in one thread saying that small levels are boring: there just are less everything.

With those you don't need to reduce drops, because there are way way way way less room for exploration and people just abandon every level in seconds. Less tactical choices, less danger (or more danger depending where you land in new level), very very easy to avoid everything, because monsters can't track you down because they do not have routes to get to you.

This is very normal level layout miniaturized:

---room--------room-----------room
|
|
room
|
|---------room-----room.

If you get lucky there is one extra route between some of the rooms, very lucky and there are two.

Compared to complexity of old levels that's bad.

Another problem is that when you enter new level you very often end up in room with three or four packs/groups of monsters with at least one group in melee-distance. If you don't bail out immediately you are toast. Bailing out means that you might be toast anyway, unless you use *destruction*, mass-banishment, alter reality or level-teleport.

This simply isn't any better than old dungeon as it is. IMO old dungeon was feature that was not broken, so I don't understand why it was changed. I don't recall anybody saying that dungeon itself is somehow broken. There has been some indication that more dungeon types could be fine (which it is) but main dungeon has not been broken since Moria-times.
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Old June 17, 2011, 14:24   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilä View Post
This simply isn't any better than old dungeon as it is. IMO old dungeon was feature that was not broken, so I don't understand why it was changed. I don't recall anybody saying that dungeon itself is somehow broken. There has been some indication that more dungeon types could be fine (which it is) but main dungeon has not been broken since Moria-times.
The old dungeon generation code is very fragile, which is why it almost always gets changed as a part of adding new dungeon types. See NPPAngband, Unangband etc. I can't speak for the Angband code, but it's likely to be for the same reason.
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Old June 17, 2011, 14:37   #7
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Things are in progress but at this point I have the following changes/fixes to dungeon generation:

1. Fixed some random bugs that occasionally cropped up (and were caught by intensive use of main-stats)

2. Made labyrinth levels much more rare. At this point I would expect to see 1-2 per 100 levels. I am going to work on tweaking them further before 3.3. Lots of people don't like them so they may get axed, we'll see...

3. Caverns are a bit more rare now. I expect a bit less than 10% of dungeons to be caverns. I think I have tuned cavern density a bit better to prevent some of the smallest (and largest) caverns, which were either too boring or too annoying.

4. Normal levels are more like they used to be in terms of size and feel. Partly this was due to fixing a bug I introduced and partially just by retuning things a bit. There is still more variability in level size than there was in 3.1 but I think people will like it.

At this point I have been playing staging for a bit and it seems pretty stable. There are still some outstanding bugs (e.g. Timo's map view bug) which we're working on but at this point I feel like dungeon generation is pretty close to where it needs to be. Thus feedback on the (upcmoing) nightly would be great [1].

Thanks.

[1] There should be a nightly built in the next 30 minutes or so.
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Old June 17, 2011, 14:39   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewdoull View Post
The old dungeon generation code is very fragile, which is why it almost always gets changed as a part of adding new dungeon types. See NPPAngband, Unangband etc. I can't speak for the Angband code, but it's likely to be for the same reason.
I think some of the changes came about as a result of tightening up the code so it's more robust - for example, it's now guaranteed that all runs in a dungeon link up and there's no potential infinite loops left in the code anymore.
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Old June 17, 2011, 15:02   #9
Timo Pietilä
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Originally Posted by takkaria View Post
So just recently there's been some tweaks to dungeon generation, I believe to make the levels less sparse (they should be closer to 3.2 now). However, having variable-sized levels is a feature – before Ben, levels were variable in size and it was somewhere in the 2.7 series that Ben made them all maximum size. I'd appreciate it if you played the next nightly and see what you think, the dungeon tweaks will be in then.
Good to hear that this is actively being developed. However I have very little time to play for next four weeks (I'm on vacation away from computers). I'm home this weekend, but then gone. After I get back, I can imagine that there is mile high queue of jobs to do that nobody else could do, so I'm not sure when I can play again.
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Old June 17, 2011, 16:56   #10
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There should be a nightly built in the next 30 minutes or so.
I guess there is for mac... But the windows version is still from June 11.

btw, in the June 11 version, the version stated was 3.2, I like the nice hashy nightlies version numbers, so I can see I actually have a new version...
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