Poll

Is identification integral to a roguelike?

Yes
8 (30.8%)
No
15 (57.7%)
Remember to Explain Your Answer!
3 (11.5%)

Total Members Voted: 26

Author Topic: Identify? (y/n)  (Read 7518 times)

Darren Grey

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2012, 01:27:58 AM »
It depends on context and implementation.  To take an existing roguelike and remove identifying would require some important changes (as ToME4 did when it removed the id system - something approved of by all players).  To build a new roguelike with an id system you must put time and effort to ensure that it's a fun feature and not an annoyance.

An important thing is not to just copy what other games have done.  There are always new ways of doing things.

Skeletor

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2012, 01:38:30 AM »
I'm not sure how the macgyver thing would disappear.  Using items to your advantage has nothing to do with the identification that stands in your way.  You can still have all thoses weird/random items without an identify system.  Is your complaint that you need those items to appear useless by virtue of an identify system?  I don't really see the logic there, or I am misreading your post...

It's about the sake of "beating the game".
In the non-id scenario, useless scroll are there already identified so the player knows that they're there for a positive purpose and the devs thinked about a good use even for them. So no Mac Gyver effect!

What I enjoy the most in roguelikes: Anti-Farming and Mac Givering my way out. Kind of what I also enjoy in real life.

Pueo

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2012, 02:37:46 AM »
Also, who voted for "Remember to Explain Your Answer"? I thought that it would be obvious that's not a real choice.

That would be me. I just couldn't resist when I saw it listed as one of the alternatives :P
Well, thanks for that, you made my day when I saw that  ;D

It's about the sake of "beating the game".
In the non-id scenario, useless scroll are there already identified so the player knows that they're there for a positive purpose and the devs thinked about a good use even for them. So no Mac Gyver effect!
What if all scrolls (for example) had a "bad" and "good" side effect (this is a no-id game I'm talking about)?  The player would assume that the "bad" side effect is for balancing (maybe because there is no id). However, the "Mac Gyver Effect" (nice term, by the way) comes in when they realize the "bad" side effect may be just as useful as the "good" side effect, just not as obvious.

An important thing is not to just copy what other games have done.  There are always new ways of doing things.
There's something I wholeheartedly agree with.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 02:41:24 AM by Pueo »
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Skeletor

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2012, 05:23:56 AM »
It's about the sake of "beating the game".
In the non-id scenario, useless scroll are there already identified so the player knows that they're there for a positive purpose and the devs thinked about a good use even for them. So no Mac Gyver effect!
What if all scrolls (for example) had a "bad" and "good" side effect (this is a no-id game I'm talking about)?  The player would assume that the "bad" side effect is for balancing (maybe because there is no id). However, the "Mac Gyver Effect" (nice term, by the way) comes in when they realize the "bad" side effect may be just as useful as the "good" side effect, just not as obvious.
Never seen something like that, would be interesting and original for sure.
What I enjoy the most in roguelikes: Anti-Farming and Mac Givering my way out. Kind of what I also enjoy in real life.

Krenium

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2012, 06:01:46 AM »
I like identification. Even in Diablo, where it's essentially free. It milks your anticipation from the time that you find a shiny yellow item until the time it is identified (and you find out it's crap). It has an addictive, lulling effect, much like pulling the lever on a slot machine. I agree that the identify sub-game doesn't necessarily have a lot to do with the game per se, but that doesn't mean it can't.

For example, in my roguelike, I'm planning to implement item identification as fuel for certain types of spells. The item becomes identified and it releases a fireball or whatever else. That way, unidentified junk which is strewn across the dungeon can become a valuable resource.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 06:10:23 AM by Krenium »

kraflab

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2012, 06:31:22 AM »
For example, in my roguelike, I'm planning to implement item identification as fuel for certain types of spells. The item becomes identified and it releases a fireball or whatever else. That way, unidentified junk which is strewn across the dungeon can become a valuable resource.

That's a pretty cool idea.

Holsety

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2012, 09:48:25 AM »
Also, I don't agree with your point about offensive (or negative, as you put it) potions.  I can kill a bloat in Brogue (they release combustible poison gas), then throw an Potion of Incineration in the mix.  Boom.  Instant wildfire.  Or, I can throw some Deadly Spore Potions to take out a pack of jackals, then Incinerate the poison fungus when it's done its work.  

But that’s the lovely Brogue  ;D. Of course it all depends on the game. Not every roguelike has the item use complexity of Nethack.

[...] That said, Rogue would be a much poorer game without id-ing. But some longer RLs could probably benefit from skipping id-ing, as well as some shorter/experimental games (eg. 7DRLs, where there's often a main twist/idea which usually is not tied up to id-ing).

[...]In Rogue and many RLs, the id game is instrumental to making "every new game surprising" by way of randomized content. So I think id-ing is such an interesting concept that you can't just cut it out and never think about it again. You need something else to add tension and surprise to the exploration done in each single playthrough.

As always,
Minotauros

FayAngband and FAangband auto-id equippables. So I agree that the longer RLs benefit from skipping at least some part of the identify process.
Eh. My point is if everything is identified at the start, you take out one of the risk-reward considerations the player has to consider (ie. the risk-reward of using a possibly scarce consumable to identify a commodity which may or may not be an improvement to the current state.).
In Rogue and Nethack the possible scarcity of means to id would give the player some pause about using a scroll, whereas in Angband one can return to town and buy some scrolls of identify. The necessity/enriching effect of unidentified items hinges strongly on the design of the roguelike itself.

I'm not sure how the macgyver thing would disappear.  Using items to your advantage has nothing to do with the identification that stands in your way.  You can still have all thoses weird/random items without an identify system.  Is your complaint that you need those items to appear useless by virtue of an identify system?  I don't really see the logic there, or I am misreading your post...

Eh. It’s more the feeling... Let’s say you identify a ring, hoping it’ll be good. Turns out it’s a ring of ultra-fast metabolism. If you drink out of a pool of water later on, and it causes you to become engorged (or it turns out your character is allergic to slime molds, threatening to swell you to death) and you STILL have that ring, you can equip it to quickly slim back down to satiated, turning a shitty situation and a shitty item into a net profit.

If there was no need to id however, you’d probably see a ring of ultra-fast metabolism and just walk past it or pick it up if you knew there could be a situation where you’d get so fat it’d threaten your life. And that’s the boring alternative, see?

I really find this whole thing comical because the arguments for identify systems seem to be based on adding surprise and silliness into roguelikes, in addition to the fact that most identification systems are essentially puzzles or metagame puzzles.  To me, these things seem contrary to what I want out of my roguelikes.  Certainly there is nothing fundamentally bad about it, but to me it makes your game less of a roguelike and more of a gambling/puzzle game depending on which direction the identify system goes.

Considering it's been around since Rogue itself, it's not so much about adding anything into roguelikes and it certainly can't make a game less of a roguelike.

Of course I'm not saying every roguelike has to copy the classics. It's an incredibly versatile genre that has evolved in such magnificent ways, reinventing itself time and again. I'm just saying to be a bit careful about what you remove, and to think it through before you axe something.

S'easy as pie not to add ingredients to your soup, but I'd compensate for it somehow if I were you  ;D

Addendum;
I like identification. Even in Diablo, where it's essentially free. It milks your anticipation from the time that you find a shiny yellow item until the time it is identified (and you find out it's crap). It has an addictive, lulling effect, much like pulling the lever on a slot machine. I agree that the identify sub-game doesn't necessarily have a lot to do with the game per se, but that doesn't mean it can't.

For example, in my roguelike, I'm planning to implement item identification as fuel for certain types of spells. The item becomes identified and it releases a fireball or whatever else. That way, unidentified junk which is strewn across the dungeon can become a valuable resource.

You could even have items become more powerful when identified. As in a Hazy Sword (unidentified), which is in truth a Sword of Burning (1d6 fire damage), but when identified is a Sword of Burning (4d6 fire damage) for the next 300 turns, losing 1d6 of burning damage every 100 turns untill it's back at 1d6. This due to the identify scroll infusing the item with power upon being used.

Of course you'd supercharge cursed items in the same manner. Maybe make freshly identified items shimmer with glammer, making monsters covet them and equip them. Hey, you're the one who knows it's a supercharged cursed sword, not yonder orc.  ;D

Gives a whole new raison d'etre to scrolls of amnesia, doesn't it?  ;D

Just another possible use for the identify system...
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 09:55:13 AM by Holsety »
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Darren Grey

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2012, 10:52:09 AM »
The attitude should never be about removing things, but about adding. You start with an @ on a screen and add from there. If item id is not interesting to add then don't add it. And if you do add it you incorporate it seamlessly into the whole design.

The attitude of "can't remove that" is entirely negative, since it already presupposes you are copying previous games wholesale.

Also I think junk being useful can be bad, since it forces you to hoover up the whole dungeon looking for vaguely useful items, and carrying around a pack of crap "just in case". These both make the core game experience (combat, character building) a lot more boring. The game should focus on what's most fun.

mariodonick

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2012, 12:22:46 PM »
Damn. I just wrote a long text and accidently closed the browser. -.- So here again in short:

Quote
The attitude should never be about removing things, but about adding. You start with an @ on a screen and add from there. If item id is not interesting to add then don't add it. And if you do add it you incorporate it seamlessly into the whole design.

In the beginning, you often don't know if a given feature will be interesting or not, because most of us are neither professional developers, nor game designers, but simply people who have fun to get that @ walking on the screen.

So many people simply start to program and add things which seem to be cool in the beginning (or not even seem to be cool, but seem to be a must-have or standard in a given genre), but many months or even years later, they recognize that the feature is indeed not interesting in the context of the given game.

So this dev made a mistake, and this mistake can be corrected either be removing it, or by changing the other parts of the game to turn the mistake into something that looks like intended.

But sometimes this can be against the whole spirit of the rest of the game, and in these cases it's totally okay to remove the feature from the game.


For example, in LambdaRogue I removed identifying except for unique items, because the items are not random-generated, and it's very tedious to need to identify "Water" or "Cola" or "Antidot" over and over again. Having standard items unidentified was a feature I added some years ago, but today consider a mistake.

So I either could have changed the whole item system (random-generated items instead of static, manually developed items), or remove the need for identificaiton. I decided for the latter, because I definitely don't want to have random items or random monsters in MY game.


Edit: Another feature in LambdaRogue that MAY be a mistake (but I'm not sure about this yet) are the profession powers: Each has up to 5 powers, but instead of letting the player invoke the powers individually, the powers are cumulated and invoked all at the same time, so I always have to write "Your character has ONE talent which consists of up to 5 powers." That's complicated.

Like identifying, this was a feature I added because it feels somehow cool and is somehow different from how such things are done in most other games. But if the feeling that it's a mistake gets stronger, I will change it to a more standard (WoW/Diablo-like) way.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 12:32:50 PM by mariodonick »
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Krenium

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2012, 12:41:52 PM »
Also I think junk being useful can be bad, since it forces you to hoover up the whole dungeon looking for vaguely useful items, and carrying around a pack of crap "just in case". These both make the core game experience (combat, character building) a lot more boring. The game should focus on what's most fun.

Well, I'm definitely not having encumbrance or a typical inventory that you have to scroll through. I don't find those fun at all. I'm building the game that I want to play. Personally, I think it's as much about the loot as it is combat and character-building.

Besides, giving the player the option to do something doesn't mean they have to do it. Removing a feature to protect players from boring themselves is a bit heavy-handed in my opinion. I subscribe to the NetHack philosophy. There is a built-in drawback to pudding farming: it's called pudding farming.

mariodonick

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2012, 12:53:55 PM »
I subscribe to the NetHack philosophy.

Again something about personal taste, I think. For me, Nethack is incoherent and bloated, but this is just because I want games with a believable (not realistic) background / theme. The saying "The DevTeam though of everyting" is only true regarding game mechanics and adding stuff, but it unfortunately is not true regarding consistency.

That's why in the past I played Moria a lot. Since I've discovered Sil, I'll switch to that, because this is the most-consistent variant of a classic roguelike I ever encountered.
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Pueo

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2012, 02:03:14 PM »
Wow, there's a lot of posts to look at!
Okay, summarizing...

@Mariodonick, I also agree that NetHack is random and bloated and stuff.

@Krenium, I also like that NetHack philosophy, but if you look at it like that, then you'll end up trying to 'think of everything', and to me that's bad.  If you want "The Dev Team Thinks of Everything," go outside and play.  No lag, built-in-ultra-advanced physics, 6 billion players, etc.  Unfortunately, no cheat codes.  Sorry.  The gamer should understand that "The Dev Team Thinks of Everything" only comes around after decades of consistent effort from a team.  For a solo project, that's almost impossible.

@Mariodonick, LambdaRogue sounds cool.

@Darren Grey, I think that philosophy is a pretty good one. And for me, it seems to make things a lot easier.  I have a lot of ideas in my head, but it's really hard to implement them.  If I start with the core ideas, it'll be a lot easier for me.

@Holsety, Yes, Brogue is lovely, isn't it?  It's one of the main inspirations for my project  ;D  Simple interface, complex item interaction, easy to play (but hard to win, of course).  I'm really going for item interaction in my project.  I also like your other points.

@Kraflab, I think it's a pretty cool idea, too.

@Krenium, I like identification too, I just think it's sometimes mis-used.  I don't think identification should be used to add "surprise" or such as some people are saying, play a game long enough and you already have a pretty good idea of what those pink potions are, based on other clues;  when you got it (in some games), how many there are (some games give more "good potions" than "bad"), how many choices are left, etc.
 
@Skeletor, Yeah, I like that idea too, I just thought it up when I was typing that  :P
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st33d

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2012, 12:44:13 PM »
I find the identification mini-game fun personally.

I don't think it is essential to a game and if you want to be a purist then you probably shouldn't have it.

But not all games should be pure because not all people like pure games. Consider spanish tapas or indian thali; both great meals comprised of lots of different little dishes.

Ancient

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #28 on: June 08, 2012, 09:25:18 PM »
Identification system can add much. I find it to be excellent in Rogue, great in NetHack and at most good elsewhere. Some newer roguelikes go without it or add it mindlessly because others have it. The ID system never makes a game less roguelike. However, it has the potential to make it worse if implemented without solid design.

Many of you take curses against the identification system. It is the curse itself that harms the gameplay. Leave ID out of it. The system has been just used to cover it. Gameplay would benefit if that glowing trident you took off a gnoll which is really -2 trident was never cursed. One would discover the malus from observation that less than usual damage is done or pass a skill test and have it revealed. Does not make the item useless (maybe it is still the best what you found) but still can disadvantage the player. Thus you have interesting decisions. Stick to your +1 weapon or try unidentified ones hoping to find +2 or better while risking fighting with +0 or worse which may cost you some resources like healing potions.

DCSS has another tradeoff in its identification metagame. A potion might actually be the very rare and valuable potion of cure mutation. There is the question of trying less common unknown potions by drinking or using scrolls of identify which are uncommon commodity early game. Also, you will most probably not have the benefit of some of the less ubiquitous potions like might, agility or brilliance.

The most fun ID system gave me was while playing Zen characters in NetHack or Xel'Naga in PRIME. Having no sight everything you come across is unknown at first. Your adventure becomes a great journey of mystery and discovery. This only works if you played the game and got semi-good at it first. Then you can try playing such mode/profession to find another completely new dimension to the game.
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

Krice

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Re: Identify? (y/n)
« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2012, 06:36:10 AM »
Identifying in Nethack is a classic feature and it's quite nicely done, but it's not an essential part of a roguelike I think. It can also be only partial for some item types like potions.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2012, 06:39:08 AM by Krice »