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Old February 27, 2022, 08:43   #1
Nick
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What should Angband learn from Sil?

Having been doing my "port Sil to Angband code" thing for a couple of months now, my thinking on this has evolved a bit.

In broad strokes, Angband expansive and open-ended, Sil is constrained and focused.

In more detail:
  • Angband has more of everything - deeper dungeon, bigger dungeon levels with more monsters, greater variety of monsters, more and greater variety of objects
  • Angband character development is mostly about what's found, Sil allows much more deliberate building
  • Combat in Sil is much more symmetrical between player and monster than Angband
  • Angband has a great many more individual encounters than Sil, but Sil's on average require more time and effort, and Sil monsters are far more intelligent
  • Angband's spellcasting and Sil's songs fill roughly the same niche, but feel quite different
In my opinion, Sil is too different to be called an Angband variant - much more different in feel to, say, Frogcomposband. So maybe Angband shouldn't take anything from it. Except it has already adopted Sil lighting, more or less. Is there anything else?
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Old February 27, 2022, 10:30   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Having been doing my "port Sil to Angband code" thing for a couple of months now, my thinking
In my opinion, Sil is too different to be called an Angband variant - much more different in feel to, say, Frogcomposband. So maybe Angband shouldn't take anything from it. Except it has already adopted Sil lighting, more or less. Is there anything else?
I disagree with it being too different to be called an angband variant. I'm pretty sure I could call it an angband variant or not and have all sorts of pointless arguments with people who disagreed.

Its pretty obviously still mostly npp x.x.x code and just as obviously has no mechanics in common except for some dungeon gen stuff.

DCSS and T4 aren't angband variants either. Can angband learn from them? Maybe. As long as you don't trash what people like about angband. Shrug.
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Old February 28, 2022, 05:21   #3
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One thing I like about Sil that maybe Angband could draw inspiration from is how different the weapon types feel. A short sword feels very different from a spear, which feels very different from a bastard sword, which feels different from a Longsword.

In Angband, there really is no difference between a Halberd of Slay Evil and a Bastard Sword of Slay Evil. The weapon type is pretty much just flavor.

In Sil, this is accomplished by a very impressively woven interaction between the mechanics of weight, hit dice, criticals, strength/dex bonuses and character abilities.

I don't really have any idea how to accomplish something similar in Angband. Angband's mechanics are in many ways much less nuanced than Sil's are. Of course, there are some obvious ideas we could steal from say DCSS: give polearms reach, let axes hit multiple enemies (and maybe stack with the Blackguard's Whirlwind Attack? So a Blackguard with an Axe does more damage with Whirlwind Attack than they would otherwise), though I don't know how much of an impact that would have.

We could also significantly expand the "Blessed"/Extra Shots concept. Right now, some weapons are blessed and those give bonuses to holy casters. Similarly, Rangers love bows. Maybe have other properties on other weapon types that benefit other classes? Ideally, make it as significant as the Ranger's extra shots: powerful enough that you are sometimes better off with a weaker weapon, but not so powerful that you're leaving behind an awesome artifact because it isn't the optimal weapon type.

Imagine if Blackguards got additional bonuses from using big, heavy axes. Mages get significant bonuses from staves, rogues from daggers, etc.

This could help further differentiate each class, and help make the weapon types actually matter. It would also perhaps require a massive overhaul of weapons in general to keep it from being a gimmick. But hey, that's the sort of thing we're talking about right?
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Old February 28, 2022, 05:53   #4
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I like Sil's way of forcing @ to descend. I'm not really into Ironman Angband, since I don't want to have to obsess over rations of food. I would enjoy a menu option like

Choose dungeon descent type:
(*) Standard Angband
(*) Ironman
(*) Sil-style forced descent: Normal
(*) Sil-style forced descent: Fast
(*) Sil-style forced descent: Ultra fast

I know you developer/maintainer folks have heard this before: "It shouldn't be that hard to code." But it really wouldn't, right? Just whenever @ tries to take an up staircase, check their turncount and apply a floor function (math pun) to see if they're allowed up. Going to the surface is still OK.
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Old February 28, 2022, 08:05   #5
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Learn to let Sil be Sil and Angband be Angband.

If I wanted Sil I'd be playing it.

I'm not. I'm playing Angband. Sil is really not my thing--which surprised me, but that's how it turned out. Q, anyway; I guess I haven't tried regular Sil much.

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Imagine if Blackguards got additional bonuses from using big, heavy axes. Mages get significant bonuses from staves, rogues from daggers, etc.

This could help further differentiate each class, and help make the weapon types actually matter.
It would also significantly cut down on player choice. I guess you could say what does it matter when all weapons kind of do the same thing but I *like* the fact that in Angband my warrior is a freaking professional and doesn't need to go back to school just to use whatever weapon he finds optimally. I LOVE that. I love being able to use whatever weapon I want. And I love not having to manage skills. No, thanks! = P

There's no need. No need for any of that. Leave it for variants or DCSS or whatever if people feel a sick need for that sort of complication in their lives. =pppp

And obviously Sil is a variant. For Pete's sake.

/grouchy :{P

Seriously though, I've just found and fallen kind of in love with Angband and this topic now has me really worried. I don't want Angband becoming Sil. At all. That's, like, exactly the opposite of what I want.

I mean, make the AI a bit brighter and less predictable (does it always have to run off in a panic when wounded and then trip blithely back into your kill zone five turns later or whatever like clockwork?) if you like. You don't need to look to Sil for that.
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Old February 28, 2022, 22:57   #6
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To be clear, I mostly agree with you. But I did want to address your response here.

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It would also significantly cut down on player choice. I guess you could say what does it matter when all weapons kind of do the same thing but I *like* the fact that in Angband my warrior is a freaking professional and doesn't need to go back to school just to use whatever weapon he finds optimally. I LOVE that. I love being able to use whatever weapon I want. And I love not having to manage skills. No, thanks! = P
First, I'm not proposing skills. I don't like skills either (indeed, I abhor skills). The only roguelike I've played where I found skills inoffensive was ADOM, and that was because your weapon skill rises very quickly, and wasn't big enough to dissuade you from changing weapons.

Second, do you think that a Ranger's bonus to bows restricts their choices? Do you think that a Priest or Paladin's blessed bonus restrict their choices? I don't. I will happily use a powerful crossbow or sling if my Ranger finds one, even if I'm already using a bow. Similarly, I will happily pick up a non-blessed weapon if it's significantly more powerful than my current blessed weapon as a paladin.

I'm proposing giving the other classes stuff like that. A Blackguard is still just as capable of using a Halberd or Glaive or Maul or sword as they are now. They would just get a little something *extra* with certain weapon types that might make finding one of those extra exciting, or add an additional wrinkle when you're trying to decide whether to use or dump the new shiny weapon you just found.
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Old March 1, 2022, 00:12   #7
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Second, do you think that a Ranger's bonus to bows restricts their choices? Do you think that a Priest or Paladin's blessed bonus restrict their choices?
I don't even know enough about the game to know what your second example means, but as far as rangers getting a bow bonus goes, yes to me that does restrict their choices, because on some level, if they use something else, they aren't playing optimally--or haven't yet found optimal gear--and to me, that feels bad. Which doesn't make a ton of sense since I am very far from being a min-maxer--or even competent enough to attempt to be one--but unless I'm trying out something silly on a lark, I don't enjoy knowing that something I'm using is just weaker than it really ought to be.
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Old March 1, 2022, 00:45   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smbhax View Post
I don't even know enough about the game to know what your second example means, but as far as rangers getting a bow bonus goes, yes to me that does restrict their choices, because on some level, if they use something else, they aren't playing optimally--or haven't yet found optimal gear--and to me, that feels bad.
Most characters will not ever be using optimal gear, in the sense that very few characters find the best possible equipment for every slot. So the art to the game is finding a set of equipment which is good enough to keep you alive long enough to get better equipment.

One of the big differences between Angband and Sil is that in Angband, essentially the only irrevocable decision you make (aside from throwing away gear) is your race/class choice. You are always looking to improve, up to the point where you think you have improved enough to win the final battle.
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Old March 1, 2022, 01:05   #9
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I don't even know enough about the game to know what your second example means, but as far as rangers getting a bow bonus goes, yes to me that does restrict their choices, because on some level, if they use something else, they aren't playing optimally--or haven't yet found optimal gear--and to me, that feels bad. Which doesn't make a ton of sense since I am very far from being a min-maxer--or even competent enough to attempt to be one--but unless I'm trying out something silly on a lark, I don't enjoy knowing that something I'm using is just weaker than it really ought to be.
So, some weapons have the "blessed" property. Paladins and clerics get additonal combat bonuses when they use a blessed weapon.

As far as your larger point, I can understand it feeling bad if you arent making full use of a class' features, and therefore not liking those features being tied to a specific type of weapon.
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Old March 1, 2022, 01:11   #10
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Most characters will not ever be using optimal gear, in the sense that very few characters find the best possible equipment for every slot. So the art to the game is finding a set of equipment which is good enough to keep you alive long enough to get better equipment.

One of the big differences between Angband and Sil is that in Angband, essentially the only irrevocable decision you make (aside from throwing away gear) is your race/class choice. You are always looking to improve, up to the point where you think you have improved enough to win the final battle.
I understand that, and perhaps this particular discussion is getting away from things a bit, but still, if they have a bonus in one direction, the pull of equipment will on average tend more in that direction than in others, so that is still a tendency toward a restriction of variety.
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