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Messages - Omnomnom

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Other Announcements / Re: Infra Arcana interview
« on: June 22, 2012, 03:03:13 PM »
heh I didn't know I was the first. In fact I can't be, I guess the other winners must have stared too far into the trapezohedron and went mad.

If you want some critical feedback (ie I don't mention the overwhelming good things about the game but just ways, as a player, I think it could be improved)...


The last few levels (last 10 or so?) starting from the "caves" level are too easy. I suspect they might just be placeholders but if not, they are too small and easy. The exit stairs are sometimes exactly where you start. There's very little in the cave levels, including monsters.

The hunting horrors levels after that are harder, but only in the sense that I had to learn not to engage them and instead sneak past them (I died first time because I tried attacking one, the second time because I tried to be clever and paralyse them and kill them for XP but stuck around too long and ran out of defenses...). Third time I just used potions of clairvoyance and potions of perfect stealth to avoid them and run straight to the stairs. Too easy.

Perhaps if there was something later and you needed to kill a few hunting horrors for XP it would have mattered.

The number of potions isn't a problem, I didn't find many I just stored them all knowing that Id need clairvoyance and stealth. I did find 7 scrolls of deep descent which is probably too much - but I saved them not realizing that once you get too deep they don't work.

I don't know if there's a boss or any monsters on the last floor, but if there is I missed it. I used clairvoyance and ran across the map to the only feature (the trapezohedron) and saw nothing else.

I think you have a lot of scope to make the game harder without making the existing monsters tougher or removing items. Like I said some of the "cave" levels seem quite empty and I can only imagine they are placeholders.

More special encounters like Keziah/brown jenkin and major lee would make things harder, especially in the later game. I am glad you didn't add cthulhu or any of the other gods like a lot of lovecraft games do as they are really too big (in multiple senses) to make sense in a dungeon. They don't acknowledge worship either so you can't even add them in the roguelike "god" sense. Maybe you could still add shrines to them though that have some effect? (like insanity)

A Shoggoth would be a very interesting enemy or perhaps a special encounter deeper in the dungeon. It would be hard to implement as I expect it would have to be a multi-tile creature (I think it was described as being the size of a subway train in mountains of madness), plus it is shapeless. I think something like that would be something you had to run from rather than something that can be killed (although I think lovecraft refers to energy weapons being used against them so tesla guns would probably work).

Also, and perhaps this is the biggest way it can be improved IMO, so don't know why I am mentioning it last - could the "dungeon" be stratified more and monsters distributed based on the environment rather than mixed? Ie just so it all makes more logical sense why things are arranged as they are.

For example it doesn't feel right that Deep Ones are wandering around dry corridors. Could they be placed near water logged rooms, or even have an "underground lake" level dedicated to them?

Also the top of the "dungeon" feels like it should be populated with a lot of acolytes and priests who are worshiping what is below plus defending from anyone who comes down from above. I guess the reanimated corpses are due to their hand, so it would be cool to have them directing them somehow.

Anyway just some thoughts, they might not work, I haven't made a roguelike before or played many so my opinion isn't authorative. The game is great as it is.

Programming / Re: No HP, minimal healing
« on: June 21, 2012, 06:46:17 PM »
So how do heroes do it?  With amazing skill, naturally!  Picture a barbarian wading into a roomful of rabble, tearing them apart by the dozens.  In an HP system, if you balance an encounter like this to be challenging, the barbarian will be near death by the end -- his toughness is represented by the width of that bar.  But how does he do it in your mind?  He throws tables, he smashes enemies' heads together, he ducks a blade by a hair's breadth and then breaks the wielder's wrist for his trouble.

The difference is the hero in my mind is protected, invulnerable and their victory is assured by script, whereas I assume in a game we want the hero to have a chance of dying in the fight even if they are against lowly creatures.

But no-one wants to be killed without warning which is a reason lots of people question a 1HP model. But I like the idea of 1HP and death is just around the corner, but at the same time I want death to be because of player mistake rather than the RNG.

The solution I think Darren has pointed out (and I hope I have got this right/am representing it right) is to use combat skills. Transferring the skills from the hero to the player. Instead of the hero having 0.01% chance of screwing up now screwing up is in the hands of the player. The player must use various combat skills to avoid death and any death that does come will be because the player stood in the wrong place or forgot to use some skill that could have saved them. This reduces the RNG side of things.

For my game I am going to be using 1HP model, but I am lucky because my theme has guns and no ranged enemies and so a big part of the skill is keeping distance from enemies (and conserving ammo). I will have skills like if you have your "back to the wall" you do more gun damage and if you are "cornered" (in a corner tile) you deal even more ranged damage.

I don't want to have completely zero melee though, especially as a last resort, so I will also have a warning system. the first time the player is hit they "miraculously dodge" the attack and are warned something like "you feel death is close" or "that was close! you don't feel so lucky the next time". Now the player is warned they are about to die and they can choose to risk battling on or trying to escape or resorting to dropping a flashbang or something to quickly finish the battle. It at the very least offers them a decision rather than them just dying and having to restart.

After a certain amount of time outside combat the game will lift the vulnerability with a suitable eg "you feel safe again" message.

Of course mechanically this is just 2HP with auto-heal where all monsters can only do 1HP damage, but from the player's point of view their hero doesn't just suddenly die in melee because of the RNG.

Programming / Re: Health and Limbs
« on: June 20, 2012, 10:10:38 PM »
If you are going to do limbs you might as well do organ too. Damaged brain from being hit on the head and damaged liver from drinking too many unknown potions.

Programming / Re: Weapon durability
« on: June 20, 2012, 12:05:37 AM »
I don't engage deeper creatures at melee range anyway, not worth the risk imo. I either run, teleport, use dynamite or fire tesla cannon at them. Melee would be a real last resort if I was cornered. I have nasty experiences walking up to and trying to melee tough enemies, realizing they do horrific damage and then with them right up against me, I am in the worst position to start running.

I actually like how melee weapons and melee skills seem necessary to get so far, but when you get deep enough they become obsolete against the tougher enemies and my emphasis switches to using energy weapons. In fact eventually I even find the guns are risky unless I use magic alongside them (eg paralyze enemies). Finally against certain fast and powerful creatures near the very end I don't even try fighting, I just use magic to escape/evade (stealth, teleporting, paralyzing/slowing enemies, using clairvoyance to find the stairs, bolting for it)

Other Announcements / Re: Infra Arcana interview
« on: June 19, 2012, 10:02:34 PM »
It didn't happen again....



Now I can get back to development! That is until I try another game (must not)...

Other Announcements / Re: Infra Arcana interview
« on: June 17, 2012, 04:43:07 PM »
It might just be my laptop. I'll see if it happens again.

Other Announcements / Re: Infra Arcana interview
« on: June 16, 2012, 04:35:17 PM »
Oh no I just got to level 11 or 12, really good run and I ran into fire vampires and blew them up with an incinerator then I saw Kephren (reference to Nephren Ka?) and tried to blow him up with the incinerator and the game crashed! OMG

Other Announcements / Re: Infra Arcana interview
« on: June 16, 2012, 02:55:34 PM »
I agree with Jo. .also that's one of my biggest fears that some director in hollywood will try to make a movie of one of lovecraft's stories.
They already made one called Prometheus (Come on, don't tell me this isn't Mountains of Madness), it's pretty awesome actually ;D

haha i hadn't thought of it like that.

Coincidentally the roguelike I am taking a stab on right now is a sci-fi "survival horror" themed roguelike in which the aliens have a mix of characteristics of those from prometheus/alien, the shoggoth, the thing from the john carpenter movie of the same name, and the necromorphs in dead space. Sick gorey alien horrors.vI haven't made a roguelike before, so It won't be a "Great" roguelike, but there will be lots of nasty deaths. I wasn't planning to talk about it until I had something playable in place, I don't want to talk and not do the walk...but you forced my hand by citing both Mountains of Madness and Prometheus

PS I made it to level 8 in infra-arcana the other day. Deepest I have got. Thanks to being more wise with items/running away.

Other Announcements / Re: Infra Arcana interview
« on: June 14, 2012, 10:48:20 PM »
I agree with Jo. .also that's one of my biggest fears that some director in hollywood will try to make a movie of one of lovecraft's stories.

Completely disagree.  You can always avoid all attacks and beat the game with no equipment other than what you started with.  It just comes down to skill (because this is real-time and not a turn-based game).

You are right, I guess I overlooked that skill aspect of the game because it doesn't interest me. I am about as good as I'll get (average) at dodging/shooting reflexes with the isaac controls. I am more interested in skill of making decisions/choices rather than skill of aiming/dodging/reflexes.

There are strategic decisions/choices in isaac: my favorite is deciding whether to sacrifice hearts to enter a pact, and my second favorite is how many hearts to sacrifice at the blood machine in the hope of getting a blood bag.

Well, the patching is ongoing from much wackiness the new DLC added and problems with drops and such, but in general while luck is a large factor it is not the only one at play.

I agree it's not all down to luck, but a significant part of it is for me. At some point I realized that all my wins were when I had a great set of items which was largely due to the RNG. So conversely most of my losses are because of the RNG rather than a mistake I made, which is the problem.

Don't get me wrong it's one of the best games I've played but the replay lifetime of the game for me is significantly  shorter because i don't find enough strategy choices. I think things would be significantly improved if in each item room or boss room there were 3 randomly dropped items and you had to chose 1, like how the pact room works. And make the shop contain more powerful items (I think that was one of the updates in the DLC? I might have to get the DLC).

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.


Other Announcements / Re: Infra Arcana interview
« on: June 09, 2012, 01:25:54 PM »
I can't get below level 6 in this game. Really good game.

Last time I played Brown Jenkin chewed my face off.

Programming / Re: Cult - Awakening of the Old Ones
« on: June 09, 2012, 01:19:48 PM »
Looks good, kind of reminds me of a 2D minecraft in a lot of ways - vast procedural world, "mining" resources, building. The problem with minecraft is that it was made as a sandbox with no game in mind which became filled with experimental features. Hopefully you can succeed where minecraft (single player) failed (multiplayer definitely succeeded).

Programming / Re: Beginner's Guide to Roguelike Development
« on: June 09, 2012, 01:07:50 PM »
This is the kind of stuff they should teach in schools. Don't bother will "hello world" applications, just get to move an @ around the screen.

Programming / Re: Identify? (y/n)
« on: June 02, 2012, 11:32:13 PM »
It's not integral. You might want to listen to this roguelike radio episode which is about identification systems and makes a good case against item identification (imo), it convinced me that item identification is not a good feature. I no longer plan to have that feature in my game. If only because it's benefits seem marginal compared to having to implement the feature. Id rather implement a more useful, perhaps more original feature.

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