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Old September 18, 2010, 15:35   #81
Nomad
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While we're still on info screens, two more quick ideas:

I'd like it if you could navigate between the info screens for all the items in your pack/home/equipment/shops with the arrow keys, so that pressing up or down when you're in the info screen takes you direct to the info screen for the next item on the list. Combined with a regular table format for the information, it would make it much easier to page through all the armour you've collected looking at the resistances and similar.

And it would be neat if, when inspecting a weapon or piece of armour, it was auto-compared to the one you're currently wielding, so the data comes up green/red/yellow colour-coded for stats and abilities that are better, worse, or the same.
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Old September 18, 2010, 20:11   #82
Susramanian
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My top wish for Angband:

A bold, clear move in any direction, and soon. Threads like this break my heart; you could spend hour after hour reading posts around here full of interesting and fun ideas, but the game itself does not seem to grow or change, or does so at such a glacial pace that it's only worth looking up once a year or so.

Part of the problem is that much of the community has probably been playing Angband for 10+ years, and is quite conservative. It feels like a bunch of crusty old men grumbling about newfangled ways and whippersnappers. Any new suggestion is going to meet with resistance from somebody. We need that to not completely halt forward progress. Releasing a new version with unpopular changes is the worst that can happen, and... no, wait. That's not the worst. At least it would be some sort of jolt to the community. The worst thing is what's happening now. Endless wishes, no changes.

All that said, I know there are a number of people working hard to improve this game, and I'm not one of them, so I should probably quit bitching about it. To those people I want to say this: keep up the good work, and please move things forward. Waiting for a consensus from the fractured community results in no progress. Make a bold move, implement your favorite feature, release something exciting. Even if it's awful, we'll all have a better idea of where we don't want to go.
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Old September 19, 2010, 00:30   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susramanian View Post
My top wish for Angband:

A bold, clear move in any direction, and soon. Threads like this break my heart; you could spend hour after hour reading posts around here full of interesting and fun ideas, but the game itself does not seem to grow or change, or does so at such a glacial pace that it's only worth looking up once a year or so.

Part of the problem is that much of the community has probably been playing Angband for 10+ years, and is quite conservative. It feels like a bunch of crusty old men grumbling about newfangled ways and whippersnappers. Any new suggestion is going to meet with resistance from somebody. We need that to not completely halt forward progress. Releasing a new version with unpopular changes is the worst that can happen, and... no, wait. That's not the worst. At least it would be some sort of jolt to the community. The worst thing is what's happening now. Endless wishes, no changes.

All that said, I know there are a number of people working hard to improve this game, and I'm not one of them, so I should probably quit bitching about it. To those people I want to say this: keep up the good work, and please move things forward. Waiting for a consensus from the fractured community results in no progress. Make a bold move, implement your favorite feature, release something exciting. Even if it's awful, we'll all have a better idea of where we don't want to go.
It's a numbers game. There are a couple of hundred people on here finding bugs and making intelligent suggestions for changes and new features and ... well, roughly nobody working on them. There are three active developers, for varying values of active, each with a to-do list as long as your arm.

So if you want rapid and radical change, pick a variant. Variant maintainers tend to be a lot more focused and don't suffer from any need for consensus. V development is naturally more conservative, and people shout louder when they don't like purple uniques (sorry, when they don't like changes).

That said, the nightly builds have shown quite significant changes since 3.1.2v2, and that itself is a pretty different game from 3.1.0. There's been a pause recently while the main archive moved from svn to git, so lots of things are on hold and should resume shortly. This also means that anyone, with minimal effort, can implement a new idea or fix a bug and make it available to everyone (you don't need commit access, you just fork from the main repo and make your changes public).

P.S. It's easier to write posts to Oook than it is to make changes to angband, and there are a lot of threads to deal with. My kingdom for an ignore thread button.
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Old September 19, 2010, 03:38   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susramanian View Post
Releasing a new version with unpopular changes is the worst that can happen, and... no, wait. That's not the worst. At least it would be some sort of jolt to the community. The worst thing is what's happening now. Endless wishes, no changes.
Actually releasing a new version with unpopular changes is the worst that can happen, if you pause for a moment and give it some real thought.

It's quite understandable the wish to see our favorite pieces of software to constantly cheer us with innovation, new surprises or constant development into a bigger, more involving project. But that time has come and is gone. Angband, from what we can read about it, earned its place in the history of roguelikes with innovative design, new concepts and ideas. But today, it is a mature project which merits are obvious if you consider the large number of variants and the quality of many of these variants.

Introducing a high degree of changes or integrating new ideas into a mature project is always a risk. The risk that the new code can backpedal on years of stability or trust. We have seen this happen before on many, many, projects that went from community favorites into pariahs over unpopular decisions or broken code. So, going back to your quote, unpopular changes can destroy a project that relies on community work and input, as is the case with Angband open source nature. A sudden loss of interest by the community can bleed a project of some of its most valuable members and, with that, condemn it.

But changes and additions can certainly introduce great new things into an already great project. The objective is thus to calculate the risk by understanding the requirements, the amount of work involved, and consequences for the final game. And this introduces a few elements that most of those who stay in the sidelines of the development process tend to forget and often end up confusing with developers being either lazy, conservative or uncaring for the "community" wishes. The most important of them being, a good idea is not an idea we like. A good idea is an idea that integrates well with the current game design, works well with existing code, doesn't demand a large amount of work to implement and maintain, and contains careful analysis of game balance issues.

Because rarely (if ever) you actually see someone posting an idea with this level of detail, what most call "ideas" end up being in fact incomplete suggestions that can be easily misinterpreted in scope and even purpose and that demand hours of the developers or designers time to do proper balance and implementation analysis that could -- and should have been -- done by those presenting the "idea".

Last edited by krugar; September 19, 2010 at 03:47.
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Old September 19, 2010, 05:41   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susramanian View Post
My top wish for Angband:

A bold, clear move in any direction, and soon.
Why? What's wrong with current vanilla?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susramanian View Post
Threads like this break my heart; you could spend hour after hour reading posts around here full of interesting and fun ideas, but the game itself does not seem to grow or change, or does so at such a glacial pace that it's only worth looking up once a year or so.
Problem with "interesting and fun ideas" is that it is easy to make an idea and a lot harder to make them work. Game has to be carefully balanced and it isn't easy task. Any change, even small one, has to be thought thru very carefully, playtested and then released. That leads to slow change.

Change just for sake of change is not a reason to do anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susramanian View Post
Releasing a new version with unpopular changes is the worst that can happen, and... no, wait. That's not the worst. At least it would be some sort of jolt to the community. The worst thing is what's happening now. Endless wishes, no changes.
No, you were right the first time. Worst thing that can happen is releasing a version with unpopular changes. Worse yet is to release version with popular change that doesn't really work in long run. Evolutionary dead-ends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susramanian View Post
All that said, I know there are a number of people working hard to improve this game.
That number is quite small. There are a lots of changes in Takkarias list, but those need changes in changes that have already been made and after that they need probably some changing to make them work.

That's like that ongoing fight with TMJ -problem. Evert changed just rarities of equipments (those that need ID to squelch) and result was less junk in equipments (which is good) and a lot more consumables. Way too much IMO. One small change and game is very different to play. Now we need to tune down amount of useful consumables, which is just opposite result of every single change before that (up to the point when reduced drops were introduced). In a way we need to create more junk to balance this out. Weird, isn't it.

Then if "rune-based" item identification gets reality, that change might need reversing. And maybe even at least partial reverse of the earlier change of reduced drops. And then playtest, etc.

There are lots of changes coming. But they just can't be introduced all at the same time. You would just end up with very messed up game.
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Old September 19, 2010, 17:34   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susramanian View Post
My top wish for Angband:

A bold, clear move in any direction, and soon. Threads like this break my heart; you could spend hour after hour reading posts around here full of interesting and fun ideas, but the game itself does not seem to grow or change, or does so at such a glacial pace that it's only worth looking up once a year or so.

Part of the problem is that much of the community has probably been playing Angband for 10+ years, and is quite conservative. It feels like a bunch of crusty old men grumbling about newfangled ways and whippersnappers. Any new suggestion is going to meet with resistance from somebody. We need that to not completely halt forward progress. Releasing a new version with unpopular changes is the worst that can happen, and... no, wait. That's not the worst. At least it would be some sort of jolt to the community. The worst thing is what's happening now. Endless wishes, no changes.

All that said, I know there are a number of people working hard to improve this game, and I'm not one of them, so I should probably quit bitching about it. To those people I want to say this: keep up the good work, and please move things forward. Waiting for a consensus from the fractured community results in no progress. Make a bold move, implement your favorite feature, release something exciting. Even if it's awful, we'll all have a better idea of where we don't want to go.
Spoken like a future variant maintainer
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Old September 20, 2010, 15:11   #87
bebo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susramanian View Post
My top wish for Angband:

A bold, clear move in any direction, and soon. Threads like this break my heart; you could spend hour after hour reading posts around here full of interesting and fun ideas, but the game itself does not seem to grow or change, or does so at such a glacial pace that it's only worth looking up once a year or so.

Part of the problem is that much of the community has probably been playing Angband for 10+ years, and is quite conservative. It feels like a bunch of crusty old men grumbling about newfangled ways and whippersnappers. Any new suggestion is going to meet with resistance from somebody. We need that to not completely halt forward progress. Releasing a new version with unpopular changes is the worst that can happen, and... no, wait. That's not the worst. At least it would be some sort of jolt to the community. The worst thing is what's happening now. Endless wishes, no changes.
I'm totally of the opposite opinion.

A few bullet points:

- it's called 'vanilla' for a reason - it's [more] stable, balanced, and should be used as a blueprint for inserting various crazy new ideas in variants. As it is i find it's far more enjoyable and fun in almost all aspects than most variants filled with a whole lot of new features/items/etc --> read 'crap' there. Less is often more.

- we actually have a "A bold, clear direction" - that is, mantain the current excellent gameplay, and work mainly on user-end stuff (there have been HUGE ui improvements in the last versions, and i hope more are on the way (new monster info and item info windows, new character screen ... please? )) and on improving aspects of the game that need tweaking, without major game-breaking changes (see discussions on traps, curses, race minor benefits)

- wishes are very subjective, and more often than not most of them (the ones related to gameplay at least) would actually be bad overall if implemented - slow development and playtesting is key here: this is not a new untested game that has to be released, it's an alredy well polished game that needs to be improved with caution. New and interesting often does not equate to fun in the long run.

- there actually are a few very drastic development ideas being discussed, and actually on the pipeline : removal of charisma, spell/damage overhaul, fractional blows; plus a few very relevant changes have been made recently - magnate drastically changed quite a few artifacts recently (which I wholeheartedly approve of btw), plus the whole new ID-by-use system !!! Also the introduction of +1/-1 potions and the new item distributions, while seeming innocuous small changes, had actually a huge impact on the game

- as has already been said, releasing a new version with unpopular changes actually IS the worst thing that can happen.

That said, I agree that as a tool for organising development forum threads are clunky, messy, etc... but they also are great tools for finding good ideas and getting a feel of the general way the wind is blowing.

Just my two cents

Last edited by bebo; September 20, 2010 at 15:16.
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Old September 20, 2010, 19:31   #88
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I'm totally of the opposite opinion.

A few bullet points:

- it's called 'vanilla' for a reason - it's [more] stable, balanced, and should be used as a blueprint for inserting various crazy new ideas in variants. As it is i find it's far more enjoyable and fun in almost all aspects than most variants filled with a whole lot of new features/items/etc --> read 'crap' there. Less is often more.

- we actually have a "A bold, clear direction" - that is, mantain the current excellent gameplay, and work mainly on user-end stuff (there have been HUGE ui improvements in the last versions, and i hope more are on the way (new monster info and item info windows, new character screen ... please? )) and on improving aspects of the game that need tweaking, without major game-breaking changes (see discussions on traps, curses, race minor benefits)

- wishes are very subjective, and more often than not most of them (the ones related to gameplay at least) would actually be bad overall if implemented - slow development and playtesting is key here: this is not a new untested game that has to be released, it's an alredy well polished game that needs to be improved with caution. New and interesting often does not equate to fun in the long run.

- there actually are a few very drastic development ideas being discussed, and actually on the pipeline : removal of charisma, spell/damage overhaul, fractional blows; plus a few very relevant changes have been made recently - magnate drastically changed quite a few artifacts recently (which I wholeheartedly approve of btw), plus the whole new ID-by-use system !!! Also the introduction of +1/-1 potions and the new item distributions, while seeming innocuous small changes, had actually a huge impact on the game

- as has already been said, releasing a new version with unpopular changes actually IS the worst thing that can happen.

That said, I agree that as a tool for organising development forum threads are clunky, messy, etc... but they also are great tools for finding good ideas and getting a feel of the general way the wind is blowing.

Just my two cents
On that last point, the forum is essentially an initial filter for what goes on trac.rephial.org, which is the main tool for organising development. It actually works quite well, as most posters here don't raise trac tickets and it would be chaos if they all did. I, and a few others, raise tickets when bugs are confirmed or when ideas gain enough momentum and detail to be worth considering. Once raised as a ticket, with a link to the forum thread(s) containing the detail, an idea or fix can then be assiged to an active developer, with further specific issues discussed.

The one bit of your post that surprised me (other than someone liking the artifact changes!) was the reference to a new character screen - what's wrong with it and what would you like instead? Did I miss a thread on this?
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Old September 20, 2010, 20:17   #89
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The one bit of your post that surprised me (other than someone liking the artifact changes!) was the reference to a new character screen - what's wrong with it and what would you like instead? Did I miss a thread on this?
yeah, I got a bit carried away there, the reference is a bit obscure, as it relates to a thread that is quite probably months old. I think one opinion (which I adhere to) was that a quite a few lines could be removed for more useful info (age, social standing, etc) while on the other hand other people liked things as is for the flavour.

On the other hand this could neatly tie in to the new scoring indicators that were being discussed a while ago, and could be neatly displayed with a bit of rearranging.

re. the artifact changes, while this is not the thread to discuss this, I was all in favour of making the 'useless' artifacts worthwhile and interesting to use. I think you did the job quite well. I also didn't notice this huge increase in artifact drop frequency after the various recent changes, so I don't really get what all the current fuss is about - randart frequency i guess

EDIT: also ties in with the discussions regarding how to display in a more transparent way stealth/fighting/shooting scores to the player rather than with the various 'good' 'superb' etc labels

Last edited by bebo; September 20, 2010 at 20:26.
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Old September 20, 2010, 20:25   #90
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Talking about artifact frequency, here's a random thought: what if you could tune how mean/nice the RNG was for drops and monster placements? E.g. have two game options that allow you to assign weights from -10 to 10 for monster OOD frequency and item drop quality. A setting for 0 would use the current behavior; setting for -10 would make monsters frequently be OOD or make items almost never be of high quality (effectively reducing ego-item / artifact drop rate); setting for 10 would make monsters never be OOD even in vaults and would significantly increase how often good items drop.

Basically they're difficulty tuners. The game would only be intended to be balanced when they're set to 0, but if you want a greater or lesser challenge, they give you ways to achieve it that don't rely on powerdiving, save scumming, etc.
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