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Topics - Omnomnom

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Programming / Single item per tile?
« on: February 17, 2013, 06:33:20 PM »
What are people's views on single item per tile vs multiple items per tile?

Many of the modern roguelikes I have played (eg Brogue, Infra Arcana and DoomRL) only allow one floor item per tile. I vaguely recall nethack from long ago allowed multiple items per tile.

I realize the advantage of single item per tile is that all items can be represented by a symbol or image on screen, but what about the problems with finding space to drop items? monster drops too. How many games still use multiple items per tile and how do they handle displaying that? I was thinking of just having an icon representing a pile of items (one or more items).

Programming / Ranged attack idea
« on: December 04, 2012, 12:50:02 AM »
The game I am making the player is up against a lot of melee based monsters and is restricted to ranged weapons like pistols, shotguns and rifles to deal with them. Because there might be hoards of monsters I want the player to be able to fire multiple shots in a turn, possibly at multiple oncoming targets.

Accuracy should decrease with number of shots fired and number of targets fired at. At first I thought to have separate modes like "burst fire mode" for a few accurate shots at a single target, "panic fire mode" for lots of inaccurate shots at one or many targets. But as I thought it through I kept adding intermediate modes (eg "burst spray" for a few half accurate shots at two targets, "double shot" for firing a single accurate shot each at two targets).

Then it struck me it would save the work and be a nice to let the player decide for themselves how many shots and targets to fire at. Either they place shots up front and then "submit" the attack, or they could make shots sequentially.

The last one is slightly more interesting. Instead of ending the turn after the player has fired at a monster they get the option to take another shot, and another, and another, as many as they want until their clip is empty or they decide to end the turn. The caveat being that each subsequent shot has less accuracy, and also switching target would reduce the accuracy further. So for example the first shot might have 90% chance to hit, but the second only has 70% and the third 55% and then the player decides to stop firing because the chance to hit isn't worth the ammo and they are better off waiting till next turn when they have 90,70,55 again. So the player is effectively firing at the oncoming monsters with burst fire each turn.

Then suddenly the player realizes the monsters are getting too close so decides to screw the ammo and fire off all the shots in the clip in one turn. So now they've effectively chosen to panic fire.

This allows the player to choose how to handle the risk. It also challenges the player's discipline, ie how well they can avoid taking "just one more shot" rather than waiting for next turn when the %s for those shots will be higher.

I figure I might have a separate aimed shot mode anyway to allow a single consistent 100% hit option for the player as insurance against the RNG and for rpg element of the character actually standing there carefully aiming a shot.

It's probably been done before (seems everything has) but just throwing this out there in case anyone wanted to use it or had some improvements or saw some flaws in the idea.

Programming / Linux
« on: November 13, 2012, 10:37:54 PM »
How much rage is caused if a RL only runs on Windows and not Linux? I just did a check of some RLs I have played recently and they support both.

What sort of % of players are lost by only supporting windows? Is it just people who only use linux who give it the finger or do people who have both also rage on it for assuming everyone has windows? id like to support linux but it's harder to do in c# than say java (i think). Also I would only be making something light like a 7DRL kind of thing but stretched over a year, so maybe then people don't care as much and id get away with it?

Programming / Map generation woes
« on: November 07, 2012, 11:37:31 PM »
Well woes is too harsh a word, it's fun but having some trouble. This is the kind of map my map generator is currently spitting out.

The red dot is the player. There's a few things to excuse here. Firstly the graphics are just for testing, I am not seriously thinking of solid-color tiles and a red dot for the player. There are also two bugs on the map where corridors wrongly overlap, just ignore those. The rooms are also repetitive I know, they are working off a handful of templates I made for testing. What I want to ask is about the general map layout, ie how rooms connect.

Something seems wrong about it. Maybe it's the graphics but are there too many rooms? Perhaps rooms are too small? I know there is a loop problem I am having a problem with generating loops. Is that a big deal? How important are loops in a roguelike in general?

I am also thinking about the game element of the map, such as adding things like locked doors or raised drawbridges. I know a major problem with those is if the stairs and key get spawned behind a locked door it can mean game over....also along similar lines stair placement. If the stairs are placed away from any loop and you immediately encounter a badass monster and have nowhere to run, that is gameover too. How can I avoid stuff like that? Do I just flood the map with loops? Can there be too many loops?

I have maintained a connection graph of the rooms as I suspect that might be useful, but on the otherhand this is also why I am having trouble with creating loops. The generator uses a strict method of joining rooms to guarantee no rogue connections are made. I suspect to guarantee loops though I will need to just drill through a wall now and again but that means my room connection graph might end up it's like one of those vicious circles of chickens and eggs.

I can hear boos and hisses coming my way because it's a popular game, but I was thinking about it and it seems once you've played it enough to learn all the strategies for dealing with creatures, success in binding of isaac largely comes down to which items you find in a run and whether you happen to hit hard rooms. Both of which are entirely random.

I find myself on somewhere perhaps near my 100th run and it feels I am just pulling a lever on a slot machine. The only strategic decision I make is at the start in choosing a character but that is completely dwarfed by the random abilities I pick up through the game.

From this I am thinking that in a roguelike it is better to let the player pick their own upgrades rather than randomly pick abilities for them. That way there is some non-random human-decision made at stages through the game, so next time the player can decide "hey I'll use a different strategy this time, I'll focus on health rather than damage". Random items should never give too much advantage compared to the decisions the player makes or the player will be at the mercy of the dice.


Programming / querying the world and player driven sidequests
« on: April 12, 2012, 12:59:07 AM »
I was thinking of adding a query system into my game that allows the player to query for information about the world through NPCs, books and libraries.

For example there would be a "Query" action associated with NPCs where you could enter a keyword and the NPC would either say "i've never heard of X", or would spit out information about it. The keywords would be simple single names for things so there would be few parsing issues.

The chance of an NPC knowing about a given keyword would depend on how commonly known the information was and the NPC type (eg a weaponsmith is more likely to know more about a weapon than a farmer). Their knowledge also determines how much detail they can provide. This would be useful for figuring out if certain plants were edible or poisonous, what certain potions do, more information about specific monsters, etc. But the main reason I was thinking of doing this was to allow the player to research their own sidequests.

Here's an example of what might be possible:

You find a history book for sale in a village. It's a long boring procedurally generated list of events that have happened in the history of the world. One of the passages mentions a powerful magical item called the Moon Scepter. That might still be around somewhere right? You query the villagers for that term to see if they've heard of it. None of them have. In inspiration you go and ask a local scorceror, who might know a bit more about legendary magical items... He recalls a legend that the scepter was made by a cult which was hunted down and destroyed in their temple in the valley of shadows, but he doesn't know where that is.

You decide to journey a long distance to the city where you can ask a cartographer where the valley of shadows is. You also access the large library in the city where you discover the necromantic powers of the scepter and how the king sent an army to destroy the cult that built it. The scepter itself was never found.

From a cartographer you learn the valley of the shadows is in the far north. Very dangerous location, so you get supplies and hire two mercenaries and head out. A bunch stuff happens on the way involving hostile creatures, but you make it north with both mercenaries.

In the north you ask local villagers if they have heard about the valley of shadows but it is made clear that they are hiding information. You eventually bribe a villager who tells you the location of the valley of shadows and the abandoned temple in it. You decide to head out.

On the way you are ambushed by half a dozen human attackers. Thanks to your mercenaries you survive. You find a note on one of the attackers reading: "three outsiders have been talking about the valley of shadows. If they head out that way kill them". You continue heading for the temple, but now it's clear the place is not abandoned.

At this point you now have a dungeon and a quest item to fetch, but the quest itself is more personal because the player has made it for themselves. It hasn't been forced on them through a sidequest by some mage in the city who simply tells you "Fetch me the Moon Scepter from the Valley of Shadows (5000XP)". Also the world is able to react to what the player is asking about - eg planning that ambush.

Technically this doesn't seem too much of a big deal to do, it's a lot of work but it isn't complicated AI. It's just a keyword search sitting on top of procedurally generated names for weapons and places and linking references together so that each library or book would have a hidden set of keywords they would respond to and would only reveal limited info about it.

The only thing I worry about is that this searching by keyword of NPCs and books will make the game too boring - it might feel a bit like using google search in the game all the time. I am aware from experience that ideas I think are fun initially can turn out to be unfun, so I just want to check whether it passes the smell test for other people.

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