This version is all about balancing. In general, balancing is crucial to every game genre, but roguelike games are particularly difficult to balance because of their complexity. That's why balancing in such a game never ends. I've done a lot of balancing stuff in the past, but apparently that was not enough and I know that this is currently one of Fame's most serious issues. For instance: attributes. Playing as a spellcasting character (of course Fame does not have character classes, mind you, but it still offers a choice of method for killing foes and earning experience points) you could notice that your Intelligence practically never raises, while Strength does. This was very unusual for this kind of a character and was making it quite difficult... well, that's not the proper word, let's say "not enjoyable", to have a spellcasting character with low Intelligence. This has been solved successfully in 0.9.10, although some similar issues remain (for instance, the Appearance attribute is still totally meaningless). There's always too little time to fix everything, but I can see that there's constant improvement in this area and that's great.
Playing as a spellcasting character used to be quite boring. The spell that is available from the start, Magic Bolt, provided that you've chosen the appropriate spellbook as a starting item and that your character is not illiterate, is good enough against most enemies. This means that you could just walk through dungeons, pressing [J] all the time and that was it. No one was able to hurt you unless you ran out of magical focus, but it regenerates very quickly, so that wasn't a big problem. This kind of gameplay wasn't even close to roguelike. It was a hack'n'slash in god mode. To overcome this issue, I've introduced a new, hidden counter for each spell. Now it is not possible anymore to just use one spell all the time. After a while the spell you overuse will become unavailable for a period of time and you will be forced to use another one, or have some sleep (not an easy thing in the dungeon), or just fall back to some melee weapon.
Trying to fight with a bow and arrows could be even more frustrating for the player, partially because there weren't enough items that support this kind of gameplay. I've added more bows and crossbows, as well as some armor designed specifically for "sharpshooters". This fills the biggest gap here, but I feel there's still more to do - I'm waiting for your suggestions!
Another big change in this release are dungeon "flavors". In previous versions you could observe that some dungeons have white walls; that's what I call "flavor". Unfortunately, this feature was hardcoded and did not offer anything beyond different tile look. Now there's more systematic approach to this feature. Every randomly generated dungeon in the game can get a custom flavor. This version comes with two flavors (white dungeon and the new one - flooded dungeon) and more are planned for future releases. Flooded dungeons will require the Swimming skill for comfortable exploration and will feature specific monster types (creatures that can swim or fly). This may (and should) enforce a completely different gameplay style!
Flooded dungeons come with two new kind of monsters that only live in the water, but there are more new species, each with some unique feature. There are monsters that explode when they come close to the player, monsters that will attack each other, monsters that will spawn other monsters when attacked and so on.
Being very close to the planned release date, during the testing phase, I became quite frustrated with the side effects of the increasing AI abilities. In the few recent game versions monsters have learned to open doors, pick up items, use items and now - to attack each other without an apparent reason. These are all cool things, but there are consequences, too. Until now you would enter a dungeon level and before you make a few steps, you would be welcomed by dozens of strange messages, saying that you have just walked into a trap and some monster has died in an explosion. Now these messages make much more sense. If a monster activates a trap and it is within your sight, an appropriate message appears just as it was before, but if you don't see the monster, you only get a message saying that something has exploded in the other part of the dungeon. The whole system is still very far from perfection (as I said, this is a last-minute change!), but the number of confusing messages has been significantly reduced.
Versions 0.8.4 to 0.9.9 used to try very hard to stay compatible with each other. I have removed much of this backward compatibility portions from the current code as it started to become more and more difficult to maintain it for a very little gain. Version 0.9.10 will still load games from 0.9.9, but not from older versions. I will strive to keep backward compatibility in future versions for as long as possible, but not forever, at least not until the game becomes stable enough for this :-).
- new location
- new monsters and items
- spell system balancing
- ASCII mode improvements
- equipment sets fixes and improvements
- drew a stronger line between events that happen near the hero and events out of hero's sight
Full change log:
- new location (flooded dungeon) with a new quest
- 10 new monsters
- 8 new items
- balanced attribute gains (Intelligence vs. Strength vs. Dexterity)
- limited possibility to use the same spell every time
- added some corpse effects (mostly Dexterity or Vitality bonus)
- added brain disease
- diseases can now be cured by NPCs or by prayer or by drinking a potion of miraculous healing
- the hero can no longer read or cast spells when drunk or confused
- new encounter type - orc battle
- better names for unidentified books and plants
- added new starting item set
- Polymorph spell no longer resets monster's experience level to 1
- NPCs no longer cast "Ring of..." spells when the enemy is too far
- it is now possible to dip an item into a potion which is laying on the ground
- statistics now include all items from the inventory
- statistics now include deepest Random Dungeon level visited
- sheep, cow and family encounters will no longer happen so frequently
- experience level of monsters in random settlements now depends on region's difficulty level
- reading cursed scrolls no longer has any positive effect
- an explosion that should out of Hero's sight can no longer be seen - only the sound can be heard; the same applies to opening and closing doors, monsters picking up and using items etc.
- monsters can no longer carry items much heavier than themselves
- no treasure chests on easiest levels of the Random Dungeon
- human settlements is now inhibited by additional NPCs (female citizens, kids and beggars)
- ASCII mode: all windows look better in full screen mode
- ASCII mode: switching into Details view (Inventory) no longer requires Ctrl while displaying stuff
- ASCII mode: selection no longer change when scrolling the stuff list
- ASCII mode: items list (Inventory) no longer "collides" with keyboard shortcuts
- ASCII mode: a message appears when the player discover that an item is cursed
- ASCII mode: pressing Ctrl or Shift (in Inventory) changes keyboard tips appropriately
- ASCII mode: pressing V in the Details view (Inventory) switches to the previous view instead of always switching to the equipment view
- when the hero picks up an item that matches the current equipment set, the item is automatically equipped
- switching equipment sets no longer requires 2 extra inventory slots
- the Equipment Sets window (tiles mode) no longer displays item count
- music in the main menu is no longer looped
- editor - it is now possible to set random items
- dropped backward compatibility support for versions 0.8.4 to 0.9.8
- [bugfix] saves made under Linux no longer fail to load under Windows (does not apply to saves from 0.9.9 and older)
- [bugfix] fixed stupid error causing some random settlements to be inhabited only by sheep, cows etc.
- [bugfix] fighting with weird weapons no longer affects the 'Hand to Hand' skill
- [bugfix] incorrect location names like "plains" no longer displayed in random settlements
- [bugfix] auto-picking up ammunition no longer causes it to add itself to current equipment if the ammunition belongs to another (inactive) set; or shortly: you could pick 5 arrows and end up having 6 shields in hand
- [bugfix] switching to next/previous equipment set no longer cause items to disappear if only a part of a set is actually held in hands
- [bugfix] when switching to an equipment set, the log message informs about actual ammunition count, not about the moment when the set has been defined
- [bugfix] FOV correctly updates when a door is opened
- [bugfix] no longer possible to perform mouse actions (such as attack or move) in a question mode
- [bugfix] scroll of Repair no longer fails when the item is on a cell not occupied by the Hero
- [bugfix] no more "piece of meat [greater skeleton]"
- [bugfix] some spelling errors in Statistics