Author Topic: Epilogue Incubator Thread  (Read 17191 times)

kraflab

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Epilogue Incubator Thread
« on: June 27, 2012, 01:08:15 AM »

1. What is Epilogue?
Epilogue is graphical roguelike with an easy-to-use interface that was designed completely irrespective of genre norms.  Rather than having to remember which key brings up which interface element, nearly all information is on screen all the time.  Rather than having to slog through 5 floors of the same rats and orcs that all the other games have, every floor has a unique set of enemies and loot.  Each level is short, and the difficulty ramps up quite quickly.  Rather than grinding for the lucky rare weapon, every enemy is equipped like the player and leaves their equipment behind upon death.  In the end, the only way to survive is via strategic use of items and abilities, which come in short supply.  Are you up for the challenge?

2. Goals
I think the feedback I set out to gather when I began this thread has already been gathered.  Feedback on recent additions to the game, such as the stat affinity system is welcome, as is feedback in general.   However, I'm not sure what the goals are moving forward, except perhaps to think of a new goal.  The game is for most intents and purposes in a finished state.

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« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 09:38:07 AM by kraflab »

Darren Grey

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2012, 08:42:33 AM »
Sounds cool - I'll give it a whirl soon.

I would perhaps suggest renaming them "Epilogue" and "Epilogue Expansion" or something like that though, to make it clear that the free version is a full game on its own.  Or maybe "Epilogue: Encore"  :)

Ancient

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2012, 07:07:53 PM »
File epilogue_linux_current.tar.gz is not in gzip format. The extension is a lie. After untarring main.mt and giving it execution flag (this should be done for me) and running the file I get only this:

Assertion 's' failed at pulse/simple.c:255, function pa_simple_free(). Aborting.
Przerwane


What is going on?
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

Z

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 09:25:29 PM »
How is this related to the Incubator project? It does not seem to meet the "100% free & open" rules of the first bundle.

I assume that you are here just for mutual feedback, not for bundling (or maybe waiting for the commercial bundle). Is that right?

kraflab

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 10:45:11 PM »
How is this related to the Incubator project? It does not seem to meet the "100% free & open" rules of the first bundle.

I assume that you are here just for mutual feedback, not for bundling (or maybe waiting for the commercial bundle). Is that right?


Yes, I am not part of the bundle.  I think this should more aptly be in a directory like "late development feedback", but the incubator is the only option currently.  I would certainly be interested in a commercial bundle, but I personally don't have the knowhow to accomplish that.

Ancient: Apologies, it should be fixed now.  I think I zipped into the wrong format due to a typo, but it should be gzipped now.  Thanks for letting me know.

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2012, 03:59:44 PM »
I found what causes that assertion crash. One has to install pulseaudio drivers. I wish the program would say that directly. Figuring this out took some searching effort. Then I needed to fiddle with configuration for this thing. Anyway I got to play it for some time.

  • First, how do I save the game?
  • There is a typo in blob city introduction. It says you are going [c]loser to the Slith. The 'c' is missing.
  • Deities are mostly boring and feel very mechanical. Joy, Agony and Connoisseurs gods are especially bad. No interaction possible whatsoever on your side. Kagh feels Xommy so that one at least tries to do something interesting. Entropy is fine too. He requires you to make substantial exchange for benefits and creates additional meaningful choice whenever you find a chest. Kagh also is positive one because he invites to wait out especially bad debuffs or hope for better buffs at the cost of fatigue so those two are good for gameplay. Domor is so-so because you kill anyway for experience. However, one sometimes decides to spare a monster or avoid it which under his patronage means less piety. That does occasionally contribute to gameplay. Also his curse changes things too.
  • There is no way to know what kind of damage enemies do. Fighters deal psyhical and pure mages expectedly do magical and that is all one knows at first. However, those hook swords do light damage. This you do not know until you defeat one and see its weapons. Thus it is advantageous to note down creature class names and what damages they deal in what proportions to have a grasp of how dangerous certain creature may be.
  • Sound when special item is generated in death drop is really good feature.
  • The log could use some improvement. Some information (like deity descriptions) should start from new line to be more easily read. Information when you get additional turn due to quick trait is irritating spam.
  • Revealing precise damage formula in help is very helpful. A formula is worth a hundred words of explanation. Percentages display for hitting is neat as well.
  • First level can be generated in a very unfriendly way. With stealth below average you can be swarmed very quickly. Once first creature I met was a king. Then several other characters appeared without pause preventing me from praying for health. Three out of eleven starts ended this way. Monster placement early could use some tweaking.
  • Alchemy system is most excellent! Scores highly on discovery fun and replayability. What you could improve is forbid same two combinations. Keep track of what was tested and tell the player "you have tried this combination already and discovered [nothing/new alchemical color]".
  • Fatigue is nice implementation of classic roguelike clock. Much better than hunger.
  • Possibility to disarm and use traps is fun but strict inventory limit prevents this from being practical.
  • Keys on keyboard are arranged in highly illogical way. This makes it hard to learn. For some reason you do not support arrow keys. WASD is unusual for top down game but that can be lived with. The bad thing is you have commands clustered haphazardly around left side of keyboard. Z is for pick up first item from stack. Why not delegate it to F for instead? F for first fits. Move dialog based pick up to G (get things from ground) and so on. If you wish I can prepare a proposal for changing keys to use mnemonics.
  • I like the randomly generated names.
  • The achievements are there but appear to serve no real purpose. Having no knowledge upfront what kind of achievements are available getting them is a random event. When I got my first I was surprised. All the next were just distractions.
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

kraflab

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2012, 08:00:39 PM »
Ancient: Thanks for the detailed feedback  :)

There is no way to save the game currently.  I don't think it's long enough to warrant saving, so I felt it was better to not have the possibility of scumming available.  If there is a lot of desire for it though I could see to implementing it.

Some of the deities are specifically non-interactive.  I did this because sometimes you don't want to worry about it, in which case picking the gods that randomly heal you or hurt your enemies is a good choice.  The death god because very powerful late in the game, which is the benefit from suffering his curse.

In terms of damage I tried to make it somewhat intuitive.  The hookswords are wielded by living electrical cables, thus light.  The blue mages deal water damage, etc.  Certainly though it is not perfect.

I agree the log could use some improvement in general, although it is significantly better than it was ;)

In terms of the first level being generated in an unfriendly way is just a new player distress I think.  If you feel you are in trouble run away immediately.  It does occasionally feel like I get swarmed when I start, but I usually survive because I know how to deal with it.

Traps I think are more useful if you take the trait where you have more inventory space, or if you are in a situation to pick it up and immediately place it somewhere.

The keys are based around WASD, so all the keys are meant to be accessed by your left hand.  I understand this is perhaps odd in the roguelike seen, but it is incredibly convenient once you are used to it.  Arrow keys are used to scroll the log if you don't have access to the mouse, which is why they are not movement.  To me it is so easy to tap Z with my finger while my hand is on WASD, etc, so it is not as haphazard as it may seem.

Yes, the achievements serve no real purpose.  They are more or less just a record of how far you've gotten and which endings you've discovered, although there are a few for other objectives.  If you go to the achievement page it does give you a little hint about what types of achievements there are.  Some are clear, like ?BOSS?.  These are meant to at least let you know that you are missing endings and bosses.

Thanks again for the feedback, and I'm glad you like the alchemy system, I am quite proud of how it turned out :)

Ancient

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2012, 11:30:48 PM »
You can save scum without a save system in game. Dump whole process image to disk and restore later. Process image is of course a file that can be copied but this is not even necessary. You can pass a parameter instead that will not delete the file.

The reason I would like a save function is to suspend a game when I need to turn computer off and do something else. Epilogue being a game is far lower priority so I will quit even advanced characters without regret. On my box saving process image is available but not when I am playing on some other machine.

I managed to survive another gang up on first level so it certainly is the matter of my (in)experience in Epilogue.

Yes, the keys can be learned but almost any layout can be. Getting used to Epilogue's key map takes longer than learning what keys do what in NetHack which is alarming signal. Yes, it is that bad. Z is easy to tap, but so is F. You could rearrange bindings to be close to WASD but use mnemonics. C for interaCt can be remembered but Q for pray/vandalize chest hardly makes sense. However, Epilogue is far developed game and change of bindings (even for significantly better) may upset the players.

As for achievements maybe make them unlock some funny picture and witty text accessible from achievements screen. That would serve as a nice reward.

Right now game marks altars as interesting places on map. The problem is these are assigned the same color as chests. After you pick a god altars except Minuet are no longer interesting. If you picked the god of Covenants no altars are worthy spots to be placed on map. Either distinguish chests from altars or remove altars from map after picking a deity.

Minuet is referred as deity of Genesis but not always. When you are hunted and refused healing Minuet is suddenly deity of light. Inconsistency or I have misread introduction to gods?
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

kraflab

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2012, 01:59:40 AM »
Ancient:

I agree there are nice things I could do with achievements, but I am not an artist so it's easier said than done in that respect.  Perhaps I could have them unlock bits of lore.  Hmm...

With respect to the keys, I hardly think you can compare this to nethack.  Minimally you only need WASD since everything else can be handed by the mouse.  ZQXE pretty much covers everything else that you'll want with any frequency.  My mom doesn't play pc games at all and didn't know what WASD meant but she was able to pick up the keyboard controls pretty easily, so maybe you are just a bit stuck in your ways ;)  How about Q for 'Q'uery the gods? :P

As far as points on the map, the code is actually just displaying any tile that has a landmark on it, which includes chests, doors, altars, etc.  I could clear out the altars, but if you are unsure if you have missed a chest, just tap the autoexplore button, since it will path to chests that you have seen as well.  I agree though the map needs some work.

As far as the gods, they are just like any group of deities and different things can be ascribed to them.  It's like poseidon being the god of the sea but also of earthquakes and horses.  Minuet is the deity of genesis, which could very well include light, music, etc.

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2012, 10:02:57 AM »
With respect to the keys, I hardly think you can compare this to nethack.  Minimally you only need WASD since everything else can be handed by the mouse.

Yes, stuff can be done by mouse. This is meager excuse for not improving keyboard interface.

ZQXE pretty much covers everything else that you'll want with any frequency.  My mom doesn't play pc games at all and didn't know what WASD meant but she was able to pick up the keyboard controls pretty easily, so maybe you are just a bit stuck in your ways ;)

Quite possible. :-) OTOH even Quake 2 had C for crouching. This is not a roguelike only paradigm.

How about Q for 'Q'uery the gods? :P

Or 'Q'uench Zangroh's thirst for destruction. Or 'Q'uietly contemplate opening a chest but set it on fire instead. Yeah, you have me there. However, you are asking me to make mnemonic myself. NetHack does it for me. Epilogue really falls short of NetHack in this regard. Maybe a partial solution is to try thinking up good mnemonics for current commands and putting them in help screen.

if you are unsure if you have missed a chest, just tap the autoexplore button, since it will path to chests that you have seen as well.

It can do this? Hey, great! I assumed it wouldn't. To be honest I disregarded autoexplore completely despite being aware of its presence.
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

kraflab

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2012, 10:15:20 AM »
Quote from: Ancient link=topic=2495.msg19696#msg19696
Quote from: kraflab link=topic=2495.msg19690#msg19690
date=1341021580]if you are unsure if you have missed a chest, just tap the autoexplore button, since it will path to chests that you have seen as well.

It can do this? Hey, great! I assumed it wouldn't. To be honest I disregarded autoexplore completely despite being aware of its presence.

It also paths to the nearest staircase if everything is explored and all the chests are opened, so it's always a safe bet to give it a tap when you think you're done with a level.  Actually, come to think of it, it also grabs any gold and ingredients you may have missed.

Edit: I'm trying to make the log a little easier to parse.  What do you think of this?



The @ line indicates the player's attack turn, with !'s indicating enemy attack turns.  I think it is at least an improvement on the old way.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 04:31:57 AM by kraflab »

Ancient

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2012, 07:50:05 AM »
Looks better!

As for autoexplore I tried it on explored level and it indeed say the level was fully explored and placed the character over stairs. Neat. Funniest moment was my first try of said feature. This was also on completely explored level and over stairs. My character went off to seemingly random direction, collected a patch of ingredients (which I missed because it sort of blended with ground) and came back. That impressed me positively.

I still prefer to navigate through the dungeon myself. However, when large area is discovered and most enemies slain it sure helps a lot. It insists a bit too much on exploring void tiles but otherwise it is perfect.
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

kraflab

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2012, 09:10:25 AM »
Updated to 2.02, the links remain the same.

Change Log:
Fixed a typo
Removed the Quick trait spam
Added a particle effect upon xp gain
Improved the log formatting
Added a sound for going down stairs
Improved how the map displays landmarks
Added a music track for level 4
Added 5 additional color themes unlocked through achievements

Lloigor

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2012, 05:13:41 AM »
Great small game you made!

After playing it about 20 times, here's what i think:
(Sorry for imperfect english, as it is not my primary language)

I like the most:
- Somethings remains from each characters that makes subsequent ones stronger, so i don't have the impression, when i die, to have done all this for nothing and lost my time, and is way less frustrating. That makes me want to play again and again..
- Ground tiles affecting condition and stats are quite fun.
- The new map dots colors helps see what's what.
- The game is "coherent" in its style. The game aspects like character creation/leveling, battle system, interface functionality and graphics all feels like they should.
- Satisfying randomness.
- We see what we wear, same for npcs.
- Monsters/npcs obey the same rules as you: mana, stamina, stats, bonuses, items used are same as items droped, charge delays, ...
- Cool (enhenced) early atari-like graphics.
- Mouse functionality and tooltips.
- I can't save, so i can't cheat. I'm protected from myself. ;p

I like less:
- I think that the "creator" is a bit overpowered on the 4th dlevel, never killed him, yet. Maybe im just not good enough.. Any hints about it?
- The more of each monster i kill, the easier it becomes to kill it with other characters after. Am i right if i say that it also means that the easiest and more common monsters will be easier to kill after a few games and the tougher (rarer) will barely change. So the more i play, the more difficulty spikes there will be?. This may or may not be so bad, as i have to play more games to really know if it will unbalanced the game much.
- Also i saw that when a monster kills me, the log says it gains experience, does that mean it will be easier for him to kill me from now on? If so, that may be a bit discouraging (damn Creator!).
- I think that the new animation for getting experience have too much visibility. It seems as if it is of equal (or greater) importance as leveling. It would have been great as a leveling animation btw.
- Having to die to see the highscores.

I think it'll be even better if there was:
- More small things unlocked by achievements.
- A minimap (on a separate window?).
- More armor and weapons variety (effects and base items) would add much to the replayability.
- (as Ancient mentioned) Info in tooltip about npcs attack/defense type (ph,ma,li,da,fi,ic), so we have the impression the bonuses other than phys and mag are usefull. I know they are, but i want to "feel it" a bit more, and it may help to know when to be careful or charge, or swap weapons/shield...
- Random "variants" for dungeon levels layouts. Anything that adds to the replayability should be good.
- More insight about what's hot in the full version would makes it sells more, maybe.

Didn't played the full version yet, will probably buy it after this week-end (never bought anything online, waiting after paypal).
Also didn't tried alchemy yet (didn't even checked how it works).

Have a nice day.

« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 05:39:45 AM by Lloigor »

kraflab

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Re: Epilogue Incubator Thread
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2012, 05:55:35 AM »
I like less:
- I think that the "creator" is a bit overpowered on the 4th dlevel, never killed him, yet. Maybe im just not good enough.. Any hints about it?
- The more of each monster i kill, the easier it becomes to kill it with other characters after. Am i right if i say that it also means that the easiest and more common monsters will be easier to kill after a few games and the tougher (rarer) will barely change. So the more i play, the more difficulty spikes there will be?. This may or may not be so bad, as i have to play more games to really know if it will unbalanced the game much.
- Also i saw that when a monster kills me, the log says it gains experience, does that mean it will be easier for him to kill me from now on? If so, that may be a bit discouraging (damn Creator!).
- I think that the new animation for getting experience have too much visibility. It seems as if it is of equal (or greater) importance as leveling. It would have been great as a leveling animation btw.
- Having to die to see the highscores.

I think it'll be even better if there was:
- More small things unlocked by achievements.
- A minimap (on a separate window?).
- More armor and weapons variety (effects and base items) would add much to the replayability.
- (as Ancient mentioned) Info in tooltip about npcs attack/defense type (ph,ma,li,da,fi,ic), so we have the impression the bonuses other than phys and mag are usefull. I know they are, but i want to "feel it" a bit more, and it may help to know when to be careful or charge, or swap weapons/shield...
- Random "variants" for dungeon levels layouts. Anything that adds to the replayability should be good.
- More insight about what's hot in the full version would makes it sells more, maybe.

Didn't played the full version yet, will probably buy it after this week-end (never bought anything online, waiting after paypal).
Also didn't tried alchemy yet (didn't even checked how it works).

Have a nice day.



First of all, I'm glad you like the game!

Now onto the feedback:

The bosses do seem overpowered at first, which I think they should.  If it's any consolation, I can usually get past the 4th level, although it took some time to figure out the best strategy (even though I'm the developer :P).  Items, items, items is all I will say :)

The amount that things get easier to kill is relatively small.  And yes, it also is difficult to get an advantage on rare monsters.  I didn't want there to be a situation where they become less meaningful.

The monsters gaining experience is really just a flavor thing.  They won't get stronger in future playthroughs :)

Yes, I was unsure if I wanted the exp animation to happen only at level up or not.  In the end I decided to put it on xp gain so there was a definitive visual feedback on kills (in case someone has their sound off).

I agree that I should put the high score lists in the menu somewhere.

There was a minimap before, when the screen resolution was wider, but I removed it to fit things down to a smaller size and reduce clutter.  I may figure out a way to bring it back.

I'll consider adding additional lines to enemy tooltips like "Light attack, Dark defense" flags to make it a bit clearer.

There actually are random variants to the dungeon levels ;) There are 3 additional generators, though much rarer than the standard cave-like one.  I can see about adding some more common ones.

The full version adds 3 levels, as well as 3 additional gameplay modes.  There are 2 "hard" modes for people who want more of a challenge, and 1 puzzle-like mode for people that want something where every step is more meaningful.  The 3 bonus levels are really the heart of the game, where things get real.  The game becomes very unforgiving, but luckily you won't get there unless you know pretty well how to survive :)

Oh, you haven't done alchemy?  I imagine you will have an easier time dealing with the bosses if you partake in the creation of extra items, although it is not totally necessary.

Thanks for the feedback!  Gives me something to think about :)

------------

As an aside, I am proud to announce that epilogue is now available for purchase on Desura!