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Messages - Game Hunter

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Other Announcements / Re: Let's Play... a Bunch of Roguelikes!
« on: December 28, 2012, 04:28:58 PM »
Well dang, it's been too forever since I last updated here. I haven't done ALL that many new games, as the vast majority between updates was covered by the colossus that is Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. But let's go through the others quickly, since they were pretty short playthroughs:

Alan's Psychedelic Journey
Get Out!!
Dungeon Dash
Dungeon Dashers

Current projects include Dungeons of Dredmor, a very recent roguelike with some very interesting innovations; and Hydra Slayer, a puzzle roguelike where all you do it cut off heads. Good times!

Other Announcements / Re: This is bugging me pretty bad...
« on: December 12, 2012, 09:00:58 PM »
I only use the Berlin interpretation to help determine whether or not a game adheres to the "classical" roguelike genre. On the other hand, there are plenty of games that use drastically different mechanics and are still comparable to what the original Rogue expected of the player. That is:

  • Endurance (many actions have short and long-term effects on a game's outcome: e.g., no quicksave/quickload)
  • Creativity (creating and manipulating scenarios that would surprise even the developers: the game should be intentionally constructed to allow for this)
  • Willingness to learn (tons of things to figure out as the game progresses, tons of nuances to explore)

I believe that it's vital to broaden the roots of what a roguelike is, even if that means coming up with an entirely different name that characteristically separates it from classical counterparts. There are, in fact, two suitable examples of this in the past. The first and well-known case is the FPS (first person shooter) genre. This name is straight-forward: the two critical features for any FPS are a first-person perspective and a focus on combat (traditionally with guns). However, as a result of Doom's booming popularity, thereby solidifying itself as the dominant FPS of its time, many of the FPS games that followed were actually nicknamed "Doom clones", even if their aesthetics (and sometimes even mechanics) diverged greatly from Doom.

The second, more recent, example is the genre that most of you probably know best via League of Legends: the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena). The genre's roots can be found in a Starcraft custom scenario called "Aeon of Strife" (AoS), though popularity didn't boom until Warcraft III and its custom map "Defense of the Ancients" (DotA). Even though a lot of people may know the genre by MOBA (Wikipedia also suggests action real-time strategy, or ARTS, as a name), there are plenty, including myself, that consider these games either "AoS clones" or "DotA clones" (or variations thereof), simply because of the influence those games had on the genre. Ultimately, however, it made sense to come up with a "good" name for the genre, in order to broaden the genre's outlook and future.

So I'm not exactly saying we should drop the roguelike name itself: in fact, Krice's stringent criteria (or at least something similar) may be the way to go with regards to roguelikes in the truest sense. What I'm trying to get at is that we may want to look into finding a better title that describes all of the games that have been influenced by Rogue and its direct children. It could help distinguish the genre in a way that merely calling anything like a game that's like a game that's like a game that's like Rogue doesn't establish effectively.

But to actually be on-topic, I'd consider the lack of random mapping a pretty significant point against calling it a roguelike. In fact, given the other elements you stated, it sounds kind of like a mix between Final Fantasy Tactics and Neverwinter Nights. That said, I'd still think of it being "roguelike enough" to fit in the Roguebasin we have.

Other Announcements / Re: Let's Play... a Bunch of Roguelikes!
« on: November 13, 2012, 05:27:45 PM »
Ultimately, I really can't criticize you for any "harshness" in your criticisms, because it was honest and constructive.
The criticism itself wasn't demeaning or anything, but I thought that the tone I used was a little patronizing. Since I play a ton of roguelikes, I start to see common elements in games, and @Star Wars gave me the sensation of being samey, which probably got me into a "father figure" role on how to do better. I dunno.

The ideas you suggest towards a more unique game sound good to me. Plot and dialogue would especially work well in the Star Wars genre, since many people are already in the proper atmosphere when playing the game. A lot of plot-heavy games end up not being cared about because they don't want to digest yet another storyline, but if Star Wars is your base, the hook's already been taken care of.

In the meanwhile, let's take a look at past/current stuff. Aside from finishing Omega, I also quickly and quieted completed Meritous, a top-down action roguelike that goes by pretty fast if you know what you're doing. It's one of the rare occasions I've played the game beforehand, not that it seemed to help me all that much!

Right now there are two playthroughs, both fairly early in their respective series: Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, which I'm sure just about everybody knows, and Cataclysm, which a lot of people seem to know about in spite of being pretty new. Go check 'em out!

Early Dev / Re: Wayward
« on: October 12, 2012, 08:16:16 PM »
I know you saw my LP recording of the game, so a lot of my thoughts are already there. I've been playing it a fair amount since recording, however, and so I've gotten a much better feel for the game (what to do, what to build, etc). In general, I've always been a big fan of "learning games" that expect you to figure things out as you go, although trying to find a balance of "leave it up to the player's intuition" and "directing the player how to accomplish their goals" is always hard, and this game is no exception to that. At this point I've decided to just take a look at the wiki on how some things should be constructed, and I can say that a few of those items aren't the easiest to intuit.

Some examples (and these are arguably all spoilers so):
  • Leather equipment requires a needle. The problem with this, at least intuitively (game-wise), is that the bark equipment does NOT require a needle, even though it still needs string just the same. If we consider this from a "realistic" point of view, it's far more excusable: finding some big pieces of park and tying them together around your body would be suitable for armored equipment, whereas leather is going to require some amount of sewing, at which point the needle is critical. I just think it's a pretty big jump in the context of the game.
  • Pretty much anything iron-based, holy crap. I don't think there's any way I would figure out that I'd need a sand cast flask, talcum powder, and tongs. Maybe if I read some articles on how iron-working works it would become more discernable, but that's some pretty complicated stuff for iron. Honestly, the complication is pretty fine, especially if you want to make it difficult to acquire, but the player should have a fighting chance to assemble the pieces required.
  • What the heck is a bow drill? I should consider myself extremely lucky to have gotten it, 'cause it's definitely an upgrade over the other fire-starters. (Looking at wikipedia, I see its use, but that option genuinely surprised me when I saw it.)
  • Kilns require sandstone, whereas furnaces require "regular" stone. Is there a necessity for the distinction? Extending upon that, campfires could likely allow sandstone as well, and most stone/sandstone may very well be interchangeable. After all, sandstone is a form of sedimentary rock, which is exactly what the kind of stone you'll find just about everywhere on the Earth's surface. (Game-wise, it can be a pain to find one or the other when you're trying to get yourself fortified early on.)
There are some others but these are the most noticeable in my experience.

A lot of the issues can stem from the concept that there should be a reasonable way to figure out what can be made, and how a given item can be used. Currently everything has to be guesswork (and, assuming the right know-how of the player, intuition), and while it provides the rawest from of learning, it doesn't make for an extremely enticing experience. Allow me to throw out a few ideas that would help the player along without being a hand-holding annoyance:

  • Leave notes around on how to make things, perhaps even the items themselves. Since they shouldn't simply be scattered everywhere, a good place is that block of cobblestone/wall. Maybe someone was living around there and also had to figure out how to survive, so they kept some scribbles on bark as reminders.
  • Allow the player character to interact a little with items, outside of their functions and combinations. An "examine" function would be helpful to this end. For instance, the various fuel-like items stating "You could get a nice, roaring fire going with this,  but you'll have to construct a suitable fireproof shelter to contain the flames". This would help especially for the iron items, given just how much is necessary for them.
  • Increased skill in certain areas allows you to understand better how some items connect. This could be a case of "long-sighted memory", so that as long as you've held the right item combination at all, the right skill level lets you figure out how to make the item. Kinda like, "I just realized that those things could work together, and I bet I can make it pretty easily with my newfound expertise."
  • Allow items to be made inferiorly (or non-exceptionally) if missing certain items, with a hint as to how to make them better under those conditions. Example: "You craft the leather pants poorly. You could have done a better job with the proper sewing materials!" at which point the needle clicks in the player's head.

A combination of these possibilities, or the many I didn't think of, would help loads when it comes to moving the player through the steps. There are some minor concerns as well, but more than anything I'd like to see upgrades to the crafting mechanic.

Other Announcements / Re: Let's Play... a Bunch of Roguelikes!
« on: October 12, 2012, 03:39:39 PM »
So Caves of Qud went pretty well, but it's time to move on. During that escapade I've been working through a number of games updates or created for the ARRP 2012. You can find the ever-updating playlist here.

If you're not opposed to the realm of real-time, I would love C&C on lanarts:

Yours was one of the games I've gotten to so far.

In more recent news, I've begun a playthrough of Omega! I honestly have no idea what I'm getting myself into, but I'm sure it'll dawn on me eventually.

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn-based) / Re: Let's Ascend - Cardinal Quest
« on: September 27, 2012, 10:27:03 PM »
I recall that a particular class's greatest strength came when you managed to get the duplicate of your starting skill. For warriors and rogues it means near-infinite usage (or doubling up in the case of Berserk), while wizards picked up ridiculous damage.

Though I haven't played the game much, I was able to beat the rogue and wizard on a single try, dying twice instead with the fighter. Most of his problem is the narrow-minded approach to fighting: everything has to be done in the open and in melee. Rogues can at least make themselves invisible, and wizards have the distinct advantage of their trusty fireball. To be honest, you just gotta remember to use your consumables wisely and try not to pull groups bigger than you can handle.

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn-based) / Re: Epilogue Ascension!
« on: September 18, 2012, 08:36:39 PM »
Melee in Epilogue isn't TOO hard, but I still feel it's at a disadvantage in comparison to the others, mostly because it's a lot easier to get surrounded in a bad way. I suppose my concern with melee is that you absolutely NEED a lunge weapon if you want to handle range. Ideally you could work it from a swap weapon (maybe even several if the need arises), but ranged and melee characters need only start attacking to make use of themselves. All the weapon types have to careful about the enemy they're facing and the environment they're around, so I dunno if anyone can argue that it's all you have to do make melee useful. Also, if I'm not mistaken, perception is only a boost stat for ranged proficiency, which is rather important for all characters regardless of their attack type.

If melee tends to get more damage with each hit, then I'd consider it balanced enough for the most part. In my (admittedly limited) experience with the game I found that, as a ranged character, it was always a breath of relief to fight most melee enemies but then tense up against ranged or magic ones. Maybe if there were a way to get enemies to "accidentally" hit each other in range via LOS or something, melee could take advantage of that potential over ranged/magic who tend to sit around whenever possible. Hard to say, really!

EDIT: Awesome run, by the way! I gotta learn to use potions and skills better, they're way too important to overlook.

Traditional Roguelikes (Turn Based) / Re: 2012 ARRP Roguelikes List
« on: September 18, 2012, 08:05:10 PM »
Just a heads-up, I'm currently taking requests to check out and/or playthrough (blind if need be) any of the games updated from this year's ARRP. You can let me know in the LP thread here at the Temple or post over at YouTube, as I'll be checking both. (I wouldn't post here, no need to clog up this thread with any more of my own stuff.)

Other Announcements / Re: Let's Play... a Bunch of Roguelikes!
« on: September 18, 2012, 07:58:29 PM »
Updates again. Woo!...

Epilogue (demo and full versions)

I also did another run of Aliens the Roguelike in celebration of a new update (because I'm still a big fan of Chaosforge). You can check out a preview of the new version, or see the run itself.

Currently my "classic" roguelike side is, instead, a modern game that uses a lot of classical elements in its execution. (Epilogue was the same, in fact, so those of you interested in that niche should look at over there too.) It's called Caves of Qud! Liking it a lot so far, and we'll see how long I live.

On the "expanded" roguelike side is a real-time survival adventure type called Notrium. It's a huge change in the typical pace (that is, turn-based) but I'm having a blast nonetheless, in more ways than one! Recently I switched to using Fraps for the recording, so the framerate improves over the course of the videos.

Finally (and I'll post in the appropriate thread just to make sure people know) I'm taking suggestions for ARRP games to play! Unlike 7DRL, which consisted entirely of fresh games, ARRP is more on the update side, some of which are more drastic than others. To this end, I'm going to work on playing what people would like to see: the number of videos I use to explore each request depends on the updates and how much I've played it already, if at all. You can comment here or in the comments of this ARRP introduction video.

That's it for now. I'm sort-of holding off general suggestions since there's likely to be lots to play with regards to ARRP, but my eyes and ears are always checking for requests nonetheless.

Other Announcements / Re: Let's Play... a Bunch of Roguelikes!
« on: August 25, 2012, 05:56:56 PM »
Hoo-wee, been a while since I updated here. I'll be quick.

Angband finished, but not before gathering a whopping 26 videos! Not sure how many people would be interested in thirteen hours of blind Angband gameplay, but it's there, managing to reach floor 32 on my good run.

I've also gone through a few games in the meantime, including:

So yeah, lots going on in the channel. As always, still looking for new things to try, so feel free to request anything.

Classic Roguelikes / Re: Looking for a good RL with images
« on: August 16, 2012, 06:38:29 PM »
...that has nice graphics.
You're probably going to have to define "nice graphics", because once you get out of the ASCII department, there's a broad variety between graphical styles. If you want to look around for differences, I'd start by checking out the following:

Dungeons of Dredmore
ToME 4
IVAN (Iter Vehemens ad Necem)

They're all pretty different from each other, and (IMO) make good use of their graphics.

A few of the classics have tilesets, too. NetHack and Angband, in particular, have official tilesets used, and it's quite possible to download (or create) others depending on your tastes.

Programming / Re: "Free-Roam" Roguelike Development
« on: August 14, 2012, 03:49:20 PM »
Since this is a roguelike setting, unlike "set in stone" games like Skyrim, you may also want to consider the possibility of quests that are (or eventually become) impossible: it's the player's responsibility to determine if the quest is worth doing or if it's even doable at all. This lets you hand out quests that have a time limit, or require things of a player that cannot be done without assistance (such as NPC tag-alongs), or simple aren't feasible unless some random event allows the player an exclusive chance.

An example of the last case would be along the lines of destroying/conquering a town. By yourself, or even with a small band of helpers, this is very likely an insurmountable task, but if there just happens to be a horde of monsters rampaging its way through the area, and they just happen to cross paths with that town, then you could use the opportunity to seize control or set off some well-placed explosives or any number of contingencies set up in wait for a fortunate event.

I suppose the ideal is that you give the player a lot of ways to solve problems, and then you hand out quests that have amorphous solutions and ramifications to them. If the player is told to assassinate a political figure, they better do it either stealthily or have an escape plan, lest the consequences of such actions cause an unexpected demise (at least unexpected from their perspective). Perhaps you may also want to add "context" to the quest-givers: someone asking the player to "kill X many of Y" could very well have a motive, if the only Ys in the area are on private property, or are a rare species, etc.

Generally speaking, however, I'd suggest building up the environment with which the player can interact, then figure out just how creative you can get with the quests based on what you have. With any luck, a robust enough world will practically write the quests for you!

Other Announcements / Re: Let's Play... a Bunch of Roguelikes!
« on: July 24, 2012, 05:54:39 PM »
I will be attempting double LPs now that work has died down some. Thus, there are two new roguelikes at the same time:

Angband is a game I'm pretty sure everyone knows once they start searching for roguelikes to play. A true classical piece with almost endless variants, one of which I've already played (ToME, at least at the core). The idea is that, once I finish up here, I'll move on to another traditionally-paced roguelike, so there will always be a stream of roguelikes made for and crafted by veterans of the genre.

Delver, on the other hand, is quite special in that you're in a first-person action-oriented environment. You still have plenty to figure out as you go, and there's already a good chunk of challenge that the game throws at you, but it's certainly designed for another niche of players. Once completed, I'll start up a roguelike that is designed in a more contemporary fashion: ignoring a good deal many of the "standard" features of a roguelike while still maintaining the spirit of the genre.

So yeah, that's the plan! Hopefully I can keep it up as long as possible. There's even the possibility for extra videos as necessary, so don't forget to request and ask about the games I've played or have yet to play.

Other Announcements / Re: Let's Play... a Bunch of Roguelikes!
« on: July 19, 2012, 05:29:24 PM »
Kinda late on this, but I have a playlist up for Spelunky. Maybe pretty far for a blind LP, but I ended up accruing a few hours at least anyway, so I dunno if this ended up being typical or what. Really fun game, though, definitely worth trying out.

Right now I'm playing through a game called Red Rogue. Liking it a lot as well, although there are some less polished features that are somewhat detrimental to gameplay quality. Considering this game isn't done, though, I'm not marking the problems as "reasons not to try the game". We'll see how things go in the future.

Wearing and wielding the right stuff is an important strategic factor in Rogue and onwards.

This is really more of a discussion between intrinsic and extrinsic improvements to the character. Intrinsic benefits are the kind given through level-up, and extrinsic benefits are the kind that the player is granted through various items and equipment: more generally, intrinsics are permanent (or at least difficult to gain/remove) and extrinsics are not. I would argue that this sort of character-building is a consequence of the heavy use of procedural content generation, rather than inherently designed. This is to say that, if you want to make the player forcibly adapt to the situation, they will be able to do so more fluidly if they can keep what they want and get rid of what they don't want. Skills and feats and (especially) character classes work in the opposite direction by constraining the player to a particular style of play, which can be interesting to a point but tends to lessen the factor of replayability as a whole.

Naturally this isn't always the case. for instance, Rogue Survivor's intrinsic gains (skills) are wildly dependent on the extrinsics  (items) available, and so the player can compensate "bad rolls" with some padding where it's needed. MageGuild is similar to this extent and, while the player's spell choices are going to be important when it comes to having a particular fallback constant, it's the items that make or break a given game. Unfortunately, however, combining the two often leads to choosing extrinsics as a result of intrinsics (e.g., only using maces because you've already invested so much into mace expertise), which is why the focus of roguelikes tends to be toward item gains and away from leveling up.

Diablo (and probably even moreso in its sequels) chose to focus on items, although I would say this is done in a way that isn't all that meaningful. The "good" from that game are the unique items, which literally have some unique qualities that stand out from any other item and add some depth to the strategic and tactical decisions. The "bad", on the other hand, are all the other items that players only have to min-max to figure out what's good and what isn't. The items may as well be intrinsic-like, since you only get rid of one for something that is quantitatively better: in many ways this is the same thing as leveling up, except that the achievement condition depends on what enemies drops and not the killings themselves.

That's really all I have to say. I think in an environment where so very many games have the idea that the player's avatar should always grow exponentially without fail, it's nice to see roguelikes expect the player to adapt to stay at the top of their game.

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