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Messages - Gr3yling

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Dragon Quarter V for PS2 is a pseudo-roguelike that uses action points in combat.  It does so in an extremely detailed way, actually.  Movement in battle is continuous rather than tile based, and their is a certain cost in AP per meter moved.  There are a large number of combat techniques that cost varying amounts of AP and that can be executed in series to create combos that grant damage bonuses.

I say that it is a "pseudo-roguelike", because even though the PC loses any levels gained when they die, they still keep their equipped items (and the ones they have stored in certain ways).  So it probably could not be considered a roguelike in the purest sense.  But it is relatively close, especially for a PS2 game made in 2003.

Programming / Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« on: October 23, 2013, 04:01:28 AM »
I've been using Chess and Go as examples of "pure" mechanical games, but really even in those a narrative arises from each player's decisions.

But that's such a limited narrative it's hardly even worth mentioning, isn't it?  I'm sorry, I don't really understand what you are saying here.

A game can be good without any story or characterization.  I think Go is the best game ever made, and it's about white and black rocks on a board.  Quality game mechanics and content can stand on their own.  They don't need validation from a story.

Right, and I would never say that a game needed a story, complex or otherwise, to be fun or interesting.  But I think that the fact we are all  posting here so enthusiastically about roleplaying games rather than chess or go does have something to do with their story.  I mean, I think there is an inherent tendency to identify with the PC, at least to some extent, that is not present in the non-anthropomorphic pieces used to play board games.  And I think that identification makes us start to see the PC's experiences as being like a story that we star in, at least in some way.

I guess the point is that I don't think that just because a player's actions influence the outcome of a game, there is intrinsically a story (of any meaningful type) that can be told about the series of events that occur in that game. 

Or, if there is a "story" that can be told about the game of go, it is a story about the players rather than the PC's.  Is that the kind of story that you were talking about?  One about two people matching wits, and how their thought processes manifest in the playing space?

Programming / Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« on: October 23, 2013, 03:48:58 AM »
That doesn't mean stories are bad and have no value, even in the context of video games.  Stuff like X-Com and Dwarf Fortress where you get a unique story every time is really cool.  Uncovering the secrets of Morrowind's history is just as interesting as learning its mechanics.  Even something as simple as controlling a character you like can be fun.

Actually, Morrowind is exactly what I was thinking of.  I think it would be very cool to have books and other sources of lore scattered throughout the world.  They wouldn't be intrusive or contain information required to beat the game, they would just be there for flavor. 

And, who knows, maybe they could contain hints about what was required for the "Ultra Ending" or whatever other secrets were present in the game.

Really, what was so cool to me about Morrowind was its world and the legend of the Nerevarrine, not the PC themself.  I wouldn't want to add the anything like cutscenes to my ideal roguelike, but think you could reproduce that feeling of a really intriguing world.

Programming / Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« on: October 22, 2013, 03:38:32 AM »
1) My roguelike characters don't have personalities, they're automatons that exist only to do my bidding and achieve my goals.  I'm not saying that I'd never play a game with my character's intentions in mind, but roguelikes are generally a bad choice for that, for a number of reasons.  So are most RPGs, but games like, say, King of Dragon Pass or X-Com become even better if you take the things that happen seriously both in a mechanical sense and a narrative sense.  It helps that those are both games where playing your role "correctly" doesn't involve crippling your effectiveness, imo.

2) What's wrong with a paladin gardener?  Knights need hobbies too, and gardening is as good as any.  Paladins are still human beings, you know?  They're individuals with their own preferences.  That sort of thing is a big part of why I can't even begin to take video game and fantasy stories seriously.  No one tries anything new, no one has any standards, and no one thinks about why they're doing what they're doing.  Race and profession are used as stand-ins for real personalities.  My elf wizard is mysterious and likes nature because he is a wizard and an elf, my archer kills people all the time for no reason because she is chaotic evil, and so forth.

But the two things you said seem sort of contradictory.  First you are saying that you don't want the PC to have a personality at all, and then you are saying you want them to be more individualized and less one dimensional.  I'm not sure, but it even sounds like you want characters to have reasonably detailed backgrounds.

I guess you could argue that these things aren't mutually exclusive, it just seems weird that you care what the PC's motivations are if you view him strictly as an automaton. 

Part of the issue here is that the name of a character's class has to give you some idea of what their capabilities.  But I can see what you are saying, a little bit of variety wouldn't hurt.  Being a paladin could determine most of your abilities, and then a few of them could be "electives" so to speak.  I guess you could argue that a better way of doing things would be to start with a blank slate character and develop them from there, so that even more individualization could occur.

There's no such thing as a singular ideal roguelike and there isn't one right answer to this question.

I know that Vanguard, I just thought it would be an interesting thing to talk about.  Like, what do people really mean when they talk about difficulty?  Is it possible to quantify that concept, and so on.  I guess that is a topic for another discussion, though.

Assuming that we're talking about games built to challenge their players?  Zero percent.  Difficulty-trivializing exploits shouldn't exist in games like that.  In something like Morrowind where the difficulty doesn't matter, go ahead and throw in crazy exploits.  But in roguelikes, shoot em ups, fighting games, TBS, etc. they're serious problems and need to be dealt with.

At the time that I wrote that my point was that the higher you set the bar for unexploitability, the less fun the game was going to be for players who weren't trying to exploit it.  But I think that recent editions of several games we have mentioned have proven me wrong there. 

Programming / Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« on: October 22, 2013, 02:34:59 AM »
Yes, and that's fine.  I'm not asdfjkl the level 22 dwarf warrior and he isn't me.  Some games are essentially impossible if you don't use information your character "shouldn't" have access to, and that's ok.

See, I keep thinking that most roguelike players are looking for basically the same thing in a roguelike game as they are in Dungeons and Dragons, and I thought that was way Dungeons and Dragons is played (although I don't know for sure since I've never played it).  In D&D, don't you play "in character" for the most part, or at least attempt to? 

Also, I am aware that there are varying degrees of pretending to be your character.  I don't think you have to literally pretend you are the character you play in ADOM any more than you do in D&D, but I do assume that most people who play D&D wouldn't try to do the equivalent of herb farming.  But, maybe they would, like I said, I've never played it. 

Also, I realize that the bottom line here is that most other people who play these games do not think the same way I do. 

There is one other thing, though.  Aren't most roguelikes technically meant to be played with the player and the PC having access to the fairly similar pools of information?  I mean, don't developers want players to discover the game on their own rather than learning strategies from the internet?   I know the player carries the tricks they learn on their own between PC's, but if you don't use the internet, isn't what the player knows going to be at least pretty similar to what the PC does?

Well yeah, maybe I'd take video game and fantasy stories more seriously if they weren't a complete wasteland, but that's not changing anytime soon.  Even in a hypothetical world where video games stories were consistently great, I'd still defend mechanics-focused games.

Like, I'm not saying narrativist and simulationist games shouldn't exist, but they aren't the superiors of or successors to "gamist" games.

Wait, who says roguelike stories aren't going to get more interesting any time soon?  Isn't that what we are here for?  To learn how to make games that are more fun/interesting?

Also, I honestly don't think that the kind of games I like or would want to make (which I guess you would classify as being narrativist/simulationist than most roguelikes) are better than any other kind.  I, personally, just think those ideas are cool. 

It's interesting that you mention the issue of succession.  I feel like ADOM does have more simulation/narrative aspects than the games that came before it, and it is very popular.  I'm not saying it is better than a game like nethack (although it is my personal favorite), but I do wonder if those aspects don't have a lot to do with its popularity.  And I do think that a game that took those aspects even farther, one that was to ADOM what ADOM was to nethack, for example, would be very cool. 

I'd like to say more, but I'm out of time.

Programming / Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« on: October 22, 2013, 02:03:24 AM »
Well, "A Theory of Fun in Game Design" by Raph Koster is always a worthwhile read, though I don't remember how much of it was relevant to the topic. Other than that I don't recall what would be really good to recommend. However, for some time I wanted to organise my thoughts about game design in the form of articles (starting with my IRDC '13 presentation) and this is a good topic to put in the queue. I'll do proper research then and hopefully find relevant sources again. Don't hold your breath, though, I'll get around to that some time next year probably ;)

If I can find a used copy of that book, I'll get it.  Is the IRDC '13 presentation a powerpoint file?  I'd be willing to check that out too it if you sent it to me. 

Programming / Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« on: October 21, 2013, 03:26:16 AM »
zasvid, how about this: if you can recommend me some of the books on game design that you are talking about, I am open to checking them out.

Also, you might be interested to know that a new version of ADOM just came out today.  A lot of things have been improved since 2011.  You know that there was a whole kickstarter campaign, right?  I don't know if you have bought into the prerelease program or not, but I think it is actually worth it to do so if you haven't.

You might find that some of the issues you mentioned have been resolved in this version.  Or maybe not, I don't really play on your level, so it's hard for me to say what you would think of it.  But at least think about checking it out.

Programming / Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« on: October 20, 2013, 06:18:41 PM »
I know that it`s all well-meant - we have to rescue those poor, lost  souls -  but in fact using these terms as ignorantly as above can also be considered insulting, or perhaps, "just" condescending.

Akeley, I don't think I'm cooler or better than people who play the types of games that I called JRPG's, if that is what you are thinking.  What did I say that was condescending?  I'm not being obtuse, I just don't understand.

EDIT: I think maybe I do see better what you were saying now.  I really do use the term to mean "rpgs made in Japan".  I was thinking of the Final Fantasy VI message board on gamefaqs specifically when I used the term. 

Programming / Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« on: October 20, 2013, 06:15:09 PM »
Calling it "denseness" is just insulting.

zasvid, it sounds like you are taking what I said too seriously.  I was essentially saying: I don't see how any player could be worse at the game than I am.  I was making fun of my own abilities, not belittling other people. 

I certainly don't think that you or anyone else who grinds is less intelligent than me, okay?  I promise I didn't think you would have taken it that way or I wouldn't have said it.  I'm sorry.

I am quite happy to see this is a message board that thinks it is in bad taste to say mean things about other people, though.

Well, of course, if a game lets you learn magic at no cost save time and risk-free effort, you'll learn magic unless you're the kind of player that values playing to a concept purely more than making sure you'll win (this is weakened somewhat in risk-free games like a lot of mainstream titles, because you can put it off until you encounter problems).

I don't know zasvid, I just don't see it.  I mean, I hear what you are saying, I just have a hard time believing most people think that way.  Do players other than you really feel like they absolutely have to use features just because they are there?

Why yes, yes it does. You can't tell how, because you're not prone to grinding. However, I have extensive personal experience with the topic at hand, having grinded in every way possible in ADOM (in fact, I quite possibly pioneered one way of grinding) and for nearly every goal I could set for myself there was a way to make it easier by grinding. Herb farming by itself was so insanely profitable that it remained a mainstay since the early days of "I can't win ADOM" to the days of being a successful speedrunner. Perceived necessity of Infinite Dungeon stairscumming to take a crack at spellcaster speedruns was one of the few reasons I've quit ADOM. Another one was "going through early dungeons when they are not longer challenging to have more shots at some good loot is boring but efficient use of time", so in a way also grinding-related. Ultra-endings requiring random drops, which could only be obtained by grinding if not provided by luck earlier were annoying, to say the least.

I think some of these complaints relate to older versions of ADOM? Can we please keep this discussion limited to the most recent version of ADOM?  The one that has adjusted balance to make exploitation more difficult and grinding less necessary?  For instance, I think herb farming is a lot less exploitable now. 

Also, I have never even come close to completing an ultra ending.  So you may be 100 percent right about these concerns as they relate to that situation.  I've never done a speed run either.  I really was not thinking of either of those situations in any of my previous posts, I'm just imagining a run-of-the-mill playthrough.  So I'd like to hear what you think about that case in particular.
Yet, I have completed a few grind-free playthroughs and the one I remember the fondest was such. A coincidence? I think not.
If ADOM didn't have profitable grinding, I could've skipped straight to the better, grind-free playthroughs instead of relying on grinding crutches (I don't think it would've delayed my 1st victory too much further and frustrated me away from ADOM before it - many times I won quite overprepared). I also played it somewhat competitively at times and my experience was diminished, because some of the records were set using grindy tactics and I've had to either give up my ambition or suffer through the grind to compete.
Hopefully we'll see if it can get better without getting worse for others - ADOM 1.2.0 changelog and todo list looked very promising the last time I've looked and might be much closer to what I wish ADOM always was.

Again, I've been thinking of the newest version of ADOM this whole time, so when I as if you think you have to grind in ADOM, that's the one I'm talking about, and I'm assuming a normal playthrough.  I can't really comment on situations other than that.

I think your last quote illustrates what the problem with this argument is for me.  The urge to min-max that you are describing sounds almost like a compulsion.  I don't mean that as a personal criticism, and I'm not trying to be mean, but it really does.  You sound like you absolutely can't stop yourself from playing that way even though you had more fun when you didn't min-max. 

This is an honest question: have you ever considered that maybe the problem really is the way that you play, rather than the game itself?

Well, your generalisation of my statement is a misguided extrapolation, as you could insert [grinding] as feature and declare that people who bypass it are unreasonable and then it would seem that all the playerbase is unreasonable and where's any worth in that analysis?

Well, we could technically insert anything in that statement, although I would tend to think that mechanics which allow a player to bypass a tedious activity are a much better contender for a "feature" than the tedious activity itself.

Well, a lot of Aztecs agreed that without a regular bloody sacrifice the sun won't rise. Yet, the sun still rises even though there are no more bloody sacrifices for that purpose (or even Aztecs, for that matter).

Bullying people pointing out that a game's too easy into not grinding is a significantly worse solution to the problem of the game being too easy with grinding than asking for a better game.

zasvid, I realize that people on the internet, and on message boards in particular can be terrible to each other, and I guess maybe the situation I described could be seen as a form of bullying...And, I don't even know what to say next.  Mostly I'm just very impressed that you think people should treat each other so well, even on the internet.  No joke, that is pretty cool. 

I can't think of any way you could grind anything in DCSS anymore. I bet that even if something's still there, it won't last.
As far as I can tell ADOM will do away with all profitable ways of grinding by the end of the current development cycle too.

Then I guess we ultimately do have pretty similar standards, however we debate the details.  I think the current ADOM is a great game, for instance, and wouldn't change very much about it at all. 

Well, maybe the sentiments aren't that opposite and the relationship between minmaxing and roleplaying is more complex. What about "In a not-so-good (cRPG) game roleplaying and minmaxing conflict, in a good game they don't interfere with each other and in a great game they are one and the same"? Sounds good?

Yes, that sounds very good.

Programming / Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« on: October 19, 2013, 08:45:17 PM »
Oh, they might realise, but they might think it's a necessary part of the game or assume that the alternative is worse. In roguelikes especially (at least the long ones) it's pretty sound reasoning - "hey, I've got a pretty good character going, in fact the best I've ever had and I've discovered this opportunity for grinding, I better use it and increase the chance of me finally winning this game".

I just don't know if the average player is that dense.  Even I'm not that dense, and I'm objectively very bad at these types of games.

If you have those kinds of concerns about grinding, it seems like you would be equally worried that any other opportunity for character development might be misinterpreted as being mandatory.  If a magic system is in the game, would the player assume that he had to learn magic in order to succeed, and that melee classes were nonviable?  I certainly didn't assume that herbs were vital to winning the game the first time I ran across them in ADOM.

To provide a counterexample to what you are saying, ADOM includes the opportunity to grind and does just fine.  And even though grinding is definitely there, I'm not aware of any part of the game where it is more beneficial to grind for any significant period of time than it is to advance your character by just completing sidequests. 

So, do you feel like ADOM players usually perceive grinding as being mandatory as they are learning the game, just because it is possible?  Maybe they do, I'm just asking.  Do you think all opportunities to grind should be removed from ADOM?  If so, how would you implement that change?

Even if players did initially think grinding was necessary, I'm just not sure how long they would maintain that misconception.  For a few play throughs, maybe?  I mean, these are games that people play hundreds of times.  I'm not sure it's really that big of a deal whether someone temporarily has the sort of misconception that we are talking about.

You can also tell from the way ADOM is paced (due to the corruption clock) that you aren't really supposed to hang around one place too long without advancing towards your goal.  So, I think that would help prevent most players who understood the corruption system from think that grinding was mandatory.

The bottom line is, I just don't see how, in of ADOM, grinding significantly diminishes the gameplay experience for anyone.  Are you saying that you think it does?

On the other hand, if the game has permadeath and someone is bypassing it to make their experience worse, then pointing out they are being unreasonable has solid grounds.

Okay, that really sounds like we are agreeing.  Are you sure we aren't?  Is what you are saying: 

"On the other hand, if the game has [A feature] and someone is bypassing it to make their experience worse, then pointing out they are being unreasonable has solid grounds."

Because if that is true, then I would insert the feature I am talking about and say this:

"On the other hand, if the game has [methods of character advancement that do not involve grinding] and someone is bypassing [them] to make their experience worse, then pointing out they are being unreasonable has solid grounds."

I'm not trying to put words in you mouth.  Maybe that's not what you were saying at all.  But it really does seem like that is what you were saying, at least.

Again, let me just point out that exchanges where players are admonished for over leveling really are relatively common on JRPG message boards.  I think this is a pretty widely held position by people who take those types of games seriously.  People do understand that if players grind until a game is easy it is their fault that it is too easy. 

You, personally, may feel differently, but the point is that a lot of players do seem to agree with what I'm saying.  And remember, these are JRPGs.  They are supposed to be far less "hardcore" than roguelikes.  If people who play those sorts of games get it, wouldn't most roguelike players get it too?

Well, judging by changelogs the new ADOM versions are less and less breakable without really cutting anything outright. Meanwhile, while DCSS is subject to a lot of subtractive design, the releases always contain enough new stuff to at least balance out the cuts. I think it's a fair exchange that should be satisfying enough to all (of course, there are exceptions in execution and acceptable amounts of dissatisfaction that has nothing to do with the gamist/immersionist divide).

I agree with that.  I guess it is possible to make games that are essentially unbreakable but still fun to relatively casual players.  But!  There is still the issue of grinding to resolve.

What I'm saying is that true roleplaying is orthogonal (or at least should be in a perfectly-designed game) to min-maxing and therefore both positions that "real roleplayers don't min-max" and "real roleplayers should min-max" are as wrong as they are controversial. I added that the latter one is also more obviously ridiculous, but it's only true here - I've seen places where the opposite is the dominant sentiment.

Then I think I feel the opposite way: that in an ideal game, pure roleplaying does result in the best outcomes for the player, and is a form of min-maxing itself.

Programming / Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« on: October 19, 2013, 03:55:33 PM »
Yes.  Character building decisions are part of the game, and min maxing is nothing more than making good character building decisions, so really min maxing is just playing a game and being good at it.

But doesn't min-maxing involve a pretty in depth knowledge of game mechanics?  Mechanics that a first time player or the PC himself would have no access to?  I mean, would the PC really know that herb farming was as useful as it ends up being?  Maybe you could argue that they would, I don't know.  I had to read about them on the internet before I even realized that herbs were worth fooling with. 

I think that for the most part, I find the idea of an herbalist character boring and incongruent with the personalities of the PC's that I play (I don't see a paladin as having much interest in gardening, basically).  So, wouldn't that form of out of character min-maxing be in conflict with role-playing?  Heck, what if the best min-max approach is to play a race/class that you don't even really like?  That sure seems like it would interfere with roleplaying. 

Although, you are saying nobody plays roguelikes for the purpose of role playing anyway.  Which, I guess is fine, although it is more than a little bit disappointing to hear.

No way, victory at all costs owns.  Do you think people who play, say, tennis or chess ruin their own fun by seeking out viable opponents and playing seriously?  Would it be better if they sought much weaker opponents and made up the difference by deliberately playing badly?  The former is cool imo, and the latter is really lame.  There's no reason why video games should be different.

But roguelikes aren't a competitive sport.  If there was a real opponent, what you are saying would make sense to me.  In fact, this discussion just reminded me of the fact that ADOM players rarely mention high scores at all, even though there is a scoring system in the game.  It seems like scores would be more emphasized if power gaming was really the ultimate goal, at least for them.

I guess to most people, maybe the developer themselves is the opponent, and the game is about outsmarting them?  Again, that's just alien to me.  I look at the developer as having the role of a storyteller, rather than a competitor.  I do get that these games should be hard, and that the threat of death should be real, but, I dunno, it seems like something important is being lost here.

I don't know what "less organic" means, unless it's doing what you feel like without really thinking about it too much.  Or maybe doing what my level 5 elf wizard would "realistically" do in a roleplaying sense.  I don't care about either of those things.

"Less organic" means playing mechanically (as opposed to organically).  Playing like a machine.  It's how I view min-maxing, basically.  Although I realize the term could be viewed as more than a little pejorative when put that way, so I'm sorry.  Like I said before, and example would be choosing a race/class/gameplay approach that you didn't really like from a roleplaying perspective so that you could exploit the game.

Maybe it comes down to this: for every player there might be an exploratory phase and an exploitative phase to gameplay.  When you first start playing a game, the world is new and interesting, and just being in it and exploring is entertaining enough.  During this phase you are playing the game "in character" more or less.

Later, after you have beaten the game, you go back and try to break it just to test the boundaries that the designers have created for you and get more insight into the mechanics.  And maybe min-max players just don't spend long in that first phase (or never go through it at all). 

This statement might be controversial here, but it's the norm in most of the modern gaming world.  The roguelike community is the only reliable source of RPGs that emphasize strong mechanics rather than focusing on things like narrative or worldbuilding.

So, now I would say to you that those things aren't mutually exclusive.  I think there are interesting and non-intrusive ways to add story to roguelike games (and we could talk about them if you like).

I don't even know how you'd seriously play a role in a video game in the first place.  99% of the time you're committing mass murder for little to no reason.  Do you have limit yourself to roleplaying sociopath characters with no empathy or what?  Do you come up with an excuse for why all of your hundreds of murders were justified?  Even a villainous protagonist shouldn't be as cavalier about murder as video game characters are, or else they become cartoonish stereotypes that can't possibly be taken seriously.


I agree that the stories for roguelike games could be improved a lot, but I also feel like what you are saying is an oversimplification and unfair.  I think a lot of these stories boil down to archetypes, and stories about archetypes are often going to seem "cartoony" as you say.  Think about the mythological source material for a lot of the stock characters and classes in these games.  Myths, in general, are not known for their well developed, multi-dimensional characters.

And, I think you could make that argument about the plots of a lot of fantasy media.  I feel like what you are saying is "bad plots are bad".  Roguelike plots do need to be better, it's true, but the act of participating in a story, even a mediocre one, combined with grave consequences for your character if you make a bad decision, can still be really engrossing, I think.

There's no such thing as a difficulty level that inherently is too high or too low.  There's value in creating games where only the best players in the world stand a chance and there are legitimate reasons to build a game anyone can beat on their first try.  No matter what you choose, someone won't like your decision, that doesn't mean your choice was wrong.

But I feel like that avoids directly addressing the issue of quantifying difficulty by being vague.  Lets look at it this way:  How many deaths per hour should an “average” player suffer when playing an ideal roguelike game.  Another way of looking at this would be: what is the mean cumulative playtime until death and stardard deviation from that mean.  Assume a roguelike that takes 20 hours to complete, on average.

Another question related to that (that maybe I asked in this thread?) is: what percentage of players do you think should be able to exploit the game to the point that it becomes trivial?  This assumes they are not using the internet to search for exploits, just that they come up with it on their own.  Essentially, I just want you to set a threshold here.

Accomplishing your goals isn't interesting if you always have tools that make them trivial.  You need limitations to make things interesting, to force you to take risks and discover non-obvious solutions.  Permadeath is really great for this because it fundamentally changes how you play, and it does so without taking any choices out of your hands.  You still can bum rush that giant monster.  But you won't.  Not unless you're desperate.  Or if the reward is promising enough.  High stakes make for an interesting encounter.  In a game where you can respawn or load your last save or whatever, that won't be the case.  You might as well go fight the giant, what's the worst that can happen, you lose two minutes of your time?

I don’t want to make accomplishments trivial.  I realize that permadeath is a vital component of the gameplay experience for roguelikes.  What part of my posts makes it seem like I want to trivialize the player’s accomplishments?

Speaking of which, we really need to have a discussion on cost/risk versus benefit as it applies to roguelike game mechanics.  I think it would be very interesting.

The point here is that the negative emotion of fear and the potential punishment are only limiting and weakening the player, but they are also making the game for more interesting.  Permadeath is inherently limiting compared with manual saves and respawning.  Not only that, it relies on other player-limitations to function.  If the player had options that would enable them to easily destroy the giant, or obtain what they wanted without confronting it, the decision would go back to being uninteresting.

I don’t understand.  Are you saying that you think I want to remove permadeath from roguelikes?  I’m not making that argument here.

Programming / Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« on: October 19, 2013, 12:07:23 AM »
If people bore themselves with grinding it's their loss and also the game designer's because people getting bored before they go through your game is the failure state for game design. Also, people are not gonna be self-critical forming opinions about your game, so you'll get feedback to the tune of "I stopped playing it, because it was boring and mindless.", which is about as unpleasant as "... it was too buggy", way more than "... it was too hard" and either way you want to hear "... I beat it." or better yet "... I've done everything and the game doesn't have anything more to offer".

I'm not suggesting there should be no attempts made to limit grinding at all.  In fact, I said that I thought there should be limitations in the post you just quoted when you made this statement.  I don't think these limitations should be taken so far that they have a negative impact on players who are not grinding at all.  And I think that there should be positive incentives not to grind, also.  There should be more interesting alternatives that are as beneficial as this modified form of grinding.

Honestly, I'm not sure I get the mindset that you are arguing for here.  I still don't understand why someone would choose the less fun way to achieve the same result.  I guess I know there are people who enjoy exploiting games because they can, but I guess I didn't realize that most people who play roguelikes take that approach.

I really don't think I'll ever be able to make or even imagine a game geared towards those sorts of people.  I just don't think like them at all.  What attracts me to roguelikes (at least some of them) is the realism that they provide, not the difficulty per se.  And I guess I'm pretty much the only person who feels that way.

How will the player know a priori that grinding is a bug instead of a feature? Well, they might read a review or a in-depth guide to the game, but a) a lot of people don't (and rightfully, a game should stand on its own) b) there aren't many guides how to enjoy a game the most. So, for all those people who have to make a decision based on what they see in the game, how do they come to a decision that the game is more fun without grinding? After all, if the grinding is there, it might as well be there for a purpose and without doing it the game will become frustratingly difficult at some point. How do you communicate the fact that it is not, in fact, the case? Flash the player with an attention-catching "DON'T GRIND!" message every minute or so?

I find it very hard to believe that players will not realize they are grinding as they are doing it.  I certainly have never repeated a trivial activity over and over again to make my character stronger without knowing I was grinding.  If you have so little faith in the insight of the player that you don't think they will know they are engaging in activities like that, I would think that you would want to reconsider the presentation of a lot of other core gameplay concepts, as well. 

Well, that's just a wrong approach. It's like complaining about savescummers in a game that lets you load last save after losing - completely misguided.

So I think we agree here?

However, nothing whatsover prevents a non-exploitable game to be not fun for people who naturally do not grind. If you do it well, they just wouldn't notice after all.

I guess I do agree with that in theory.  I mean, I am optimistic that it is possible to make games that are fun to people with a wide variety of play styles.  I guess you are right that most people who play roguelike games do see trying to break them as the main attraction.  I  just can't understand that mindset, though, like I said.

Maybe a better question would be this: what percentage of people do you think should be able to "break" the game.  I'm talking about just using their own resourcefulness, not though online guides, etc.  Because I think that realistically, the smaller that percentage gets, the more players who are not trying to exploit the game are going to feel limited. 

Do you have an example of a roguelike that is equally fun for players who do and don't min max?

Well, of course it's still playing the game. Does anyone ever accuse competitive chess players of not really playing chess if they don't roleplay their king and queen's marital problems?

Chess, of course, is not a roleplaying game.  I think we both realize that.

Roleplaying and minmaxing aren't exclusive. You can very well do both at once. In fact, one could argue that if you're not minmaxing and grinding, you're not roleplaying well, because that's what a rational person in a world like the game's would do. A statement as controversial and wrong as the quoted, but with obvious ridiculousness added on top.

Wait, are you saying that you don't really think true roleplaying involves min-maxing, or that you do?  I'm confused.

Here you're mostly arguing with Vanguard re: limiting options, but I'd like to put a reminder here that it's not an either/or situation.

Maybe.  I'm still not sure about that.

Programming / Re: Leveling/Experience
« on: October 18, 2013, 08:21:10 PM »
Pen-and-paper Burning Wheel RPG has a system that could serve as inspiration for roguelike developers. Basically, skills advance by repeated use, but it only counts if there's a significant chance of failure and you risk negative consequences on failure. Of course, adjudicating this is harder in a cRPG....

this is exactly what I am saying with my you advance when you fail at a skill scheme.

And I think that is a great idea.  ADOM has a somewhat similar system with the way it handles weapon skills and experience gained from defeating monsters.  The experience gained from beating a particular monster decreases the more of it you kill. 

I think that in an ideal world,  as the PC became better at performing any particular action on any particular type of in game actor or object, you would see an inverse relationship between their success at performing an action under those specific conditions and the experience gained by doing so. 

You can make systems where skills advance through use that work and are relatively difficult to exploit.  It takes some creativity, but it is possible.

Programming / Re: "Game time"
« on: October 18, 2013, 08:08:26 PM »
I think the unit of measurement - for space, time, weight, money, or whatever - should be based on it's utility. So I see no value in knowing that quaffing my Potion Of Health will take 12 times 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom (which is what 12 seconds really is).

Look, it's fine if you disagree with everything I've said, but I actually gave specific examples of situations where the methods I described at least might work better.  Here it sound like you aren't saying that you dispute the validity of those examples, but instead it seems like you are just ignoring them.  Again, I am totally fine with you completely disagreeing with my ideas, as long as you have a complete understanding of what those ideas actually are.   

Every unit of measurement is a comparison to something else; which is why, in real life, I still view purchases in terms of how many dinners they cost rather than how many dollars they cost - that's a far more important comparison for me. I don't care about how many milliseconds my actions take any more than I care about the currency exchange rate between Zorkimds and US dollars

You instantly know how long an action took, without requiring any other context, if I tell you it took one second.  You do not have any idea, without context, how long an action that required one turn to complete took.  Even within a gameplay session, turn lengths are variable if the PC's speed changes over the course of gameplay. 

If these things don't matter (and usually they don't), I think you should do things exactly as you described.  But in the situations I am describing, my methods may be better.  That's all I'm saying.

Another way of looking at it is that I like the turn based way of looking at time for the same reason I like the grid based way of looking at space: coarse-grained abstracted units are easier for me to mentally handle.

For example, if I (who is 1 tile big and can move 1 tile per turn) am 3 tiles from a door and a bat (who is 1 tile big and moves 2 tiles per turn) is 9 tiles from the door, I know that I can get to the door in 3 turns but the bat will take 4 turns. So I'm safe.

But if I (who is 1 foot 2 inches by 2 feet 1 inch and can move 3.5 feet per 1045 milliseconds) am 8 feet 10 inches from a door and a bat (who is 7 inches by 1 foot 4 inches and moves 4.1 feet per 790 milliseconds) is 21 feet 4 inches from the door, I need to do more calculations than I'd like to if I want to figure out if the bat will bump into me before I can make it to the door.

And using coarser measurements is fine.  I'm not saying that is a bad way of doing things at all.  It is a fine way of doing things.  Again, all I am saying is that in some situations (the ones I described) it is better to do things a different way. 

Admittedly, I would be lying if I said I didn't fantasize about games where creatures had volumes and distances were measured in millimeters rather than squares.

Although I could be wrong. Do you have a prototype you can share with us?


Programming / Re: "Game time"
« on: October 18, 2013, 07:53:37 PM »
I described a system that - internally - uses a minimal division of time (a tick) in order to keep track of time in reasonably fine detail (sub-second) reasonably efficiently (ie. less than 1000 ticks per game second). By implying that this was bad because it was a made-up unit, you misrepresented as being a description of the system the player sees, rather than the game's system for determining what the player sees (which obviously should be in more comprehensible units than "ticks").

Oh.  I guess I misunderstood you before, and based on what you just said, I agree with you for the most part.

Both turn counts and absolute times can be useful for the player to know - in combat, how many turns it takes a rod to charge at the player's current speed is more useful than an absolute time in combat. On the other hand, in DoomRL the absolute times given for different actions (moving, firing, reloading) are more compact and useful in-game than anything that could be done with relative measurements.

I agree that there are a lot of games where turns work just fine.  I promise I understand that.  In fact, whenever ticks and turns are mentioned, I tend to think of final fantasy tactics, which uses such a system and is objectively a fantastic game.  The only situations where I am arguing that real world measurements might be better are the specific ones I listed.

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