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Old April 14, 2009, 13:58   #1
Polyonymous
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The Balance Goal Is...

I'm glad that Vanilla Angband is receiving development. It's getting good work done and there's a desire to push towards the elusive "balance" goal.

As I commented in the object pricing issues thread, it might be good to hash out what "balance" means.

I'd anoint balancing for play that tries to "minimize the X count to winning over all characters played in the attempt" as my goal. X can be actions, turns, keystrokes, etc. If I had to pick one, I'd probably pick turns (keystrokes is hard to measure, and actions likewise for similar reasons, what is an action?).

Not everyone plays like the game is balanced, but pricing, depth difficulty, everything in the game has trade-offs implicit in the design. That goal is the guideline I think I'd want to use to value the relative choices presented to the player.

The one downside I see is that people who don't play for turn count might find the game a bit easy as they could use slower play to decrease the game's difficulty level. However, that's likely true also true under any balance assumption.
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Old April 14, 2009, 14:59   #2
Bandobras
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyonymous View Post
I'm glad that Vanilla Angband is receiving development. It's getting good work done and there's a desire to push towards the elusive "balance" goal.
Concurred.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyonymous View Post
As I commented in the object pricing issues thread, it might be good to hash out what "balance" means.

I'd anoint balancing for play that tries to "minimize the X count to winning over all characters played in the attempt" as my goal.
In think, the more fundamental question is "what two or more quantities we balance against each other". The kind of play that we take into account comes next. So, do we balance races or classes or race/class combos (the latter is probably not a good idea --- Troll mages and hobbit warriors should be hard) or do we balance early, mid and late-game against each other, but then, do we assume monster memory and spoilers? Or do we balance lucky vs. unlucky games (early find of speed vs. early find of potion of Death; also, insta-deaths later on)? Or do we balance slow vs. fast play (random insta-deaths favour the latter)? Or something else? Actually, good game-design requires a lot of various orthogonal balances, IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyonymous View Post
X can be actions, turns, keystrokes, etc. If I had to pick one, I'd probably pick turns (keystrokes is hard to measure, and actions likewise for similar reasons, what is an action?).
Actions are actually quite easy to measure reasonably well --- just count everything except resting. It's done in some variants. Of course, running all the time at below half HP and SP, to minimize turn count, changes the atmosphere of the game a lot, so turns vs. actions is a big difference.
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Old April 14, 2009, 19:07   #3
Atarlost
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Originally Posted by Polyonymous View Post
The one downside I see is that people who don't play for turn count might find the game a bit easy as they could use slower play to decrease the game's difficulty level. However, that's likely true also true under any balance assumption.
That's not a bug, it's a feature. It lets each player find his or her own balance without messing around with an explicit difficulty slider.
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