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Topics - Bear

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Programming / Code sharing
« on: September 04, 2011, 02:48:46 PM »
Hi.  I started this thread to encourage code sharing.  If you have some code that you feel to be particularly elegant and useful and related to roguelike development, This is a nice thread to post it in.  Remember to give it a title that indicates both the programming language and what it does.  And if it relies on some particular framework (openGL, libcotd, etc) mention that in the title too.  I'll start with a nice C routine for finding the nearest square answering some arbitrary test.

Today Bear is a happy bear, for he is bone-tired from the use of therapeutic and cathartic violence.

I was given permission - nay, a mandate - by my beloved wife to remove an old, rusty, decripit metal shed, which has been a longstanding eyesore, from our property.  This I proceeded to do, using a pickaxe, a sledgehammer, a mattock, and a grinder.  It now lies in a tangled heap, its supporting frame members ground off smooth and level with the concrete pad into which they were set.  Tomorrow I call the junk haulers and we will be rid of it.

There were other tools that could have made the job easier.  But they wouldn't have been as satisfying, because they lack the essential element of physical violence.  It is so important, after all, not just to get things done, but to get them done in ways one can enjoy doing.

As I survey the wreckage outside my study window, I feel the delicious aches and pains in my muscles, and feel great satisfaction, but also a pang of regret that there seem to be so few mainstream, socially acceptable outlets for satisfying physical violence.

Perhaps it is this same regret that inspires folk to develop these games - but merely considering violence, in the structured context of a game, isn't nearly as satisfying as actually hefting the BFH with one's own muscles and swinging it and witnessing firsthand the destruction thereby wrought.


What if you have choices about how you get down to the level where the final boss fight is? 

Say, after level 3, you have a choice about level 4-5 (den of thieves) and level 4-7 (goblintown).  On level 5 (den of thieves) you have a choice between level 6-7(goblintown) and level 6-9(temple of evil).  On level 7 (goblintown) you have to make a choice between level 8-12 (Stinking swamp) and level 8-12 (Tombs of the Reaver) on level 9(temple of evil) your only real choice is levels 10-12 (Tombs of the Reaver).  All levels 12 lead to a common level 13, "The Big Room", where you have more choices to make.  And so on.

Each of these branches has monster and item generation that's strongly thematic, "tilted" toward monsters and treasures and items of particular types.  Your path downward is meant to be influenced by what you think you can handle with your particular combination of abilities and what kinds of treasures and skills you intend to train.  You can miss a particular thing that you don't think you can handle, but it may mean backtracking.  Likewise if you feel like you have to get both of two alternatives, you can backtrack through the second of them (and maybe come down a third).

Now, here's my question.  Assuming that you don't get experience for killing anything too far below your level, so there's no experience reward for doing a lot of backtracking, and a score  bonus for completing the final boss fight faster so you'll actually get a higher score if you don't,  and you have the ability to buff selected equipment when you level, so usually sticking with stuff you found earlier will give you stronger kit anyway...

Do you still feel an OCD urge to go back and forth and back and forth until you've seen every last square inch of the dungeon that can be seen, and had in your hands to make choices among every last bit of equipment that's generated among all the branches?  Do you still feel that you MUST do so in order to "truly win?"  Do you feel that you are being "railroaded" into inefficient play because you HAVE TO do this dance to see all of the content in every game? 

In other words, does this sort of thing frustrate the "completionist" urge so much as to ruin a lot of players' experience of the game?

Other Announcements / What is good in roguelike gameplay?
« on: August 25, 2010, 06:25:25 PM »
Let's get past the technology for a moment and focus on game design.  What makes good roguelike gameplay?  These are all matters of opinion, so I expect that no consensus will emerge; but I want to have the discussion and see the opinions.

In some games items are relatively simple.  Most items do what you expect they will and that's all they do.  In other games, items are relatively complex.  Their effects can usually be strengthened or weakened, and sometimes changed altogether, eg, by blessing, cursing, overcharging, corrupting, or reversing them.  Many items can have interesting effects on the dungeon itself (eg, by breaking rocks, digging holes, freezing moats, triggering drawbridges, etc).  Are simple items or complicated items better for gameplay?

In some games enemies are very predictable and have several highly exploitable behaviors like lining up in corridors, predictable chase paths, predictable behavior in chasing you around pillars, etc.  They have known (or at least knowable) capabilities and are dangerous in known (or at least knowable) ways.  Their speed is usually fixed in some very simple ratio to yours, so it's "countable" and you know exactly when they'll move.  In other games, enemies are complicated and often unpredictable.  Their capabilities can vary tremendously, and unpredictably, due to individual variation or just because they can pick up and use magic items from the dungeon floor.  Different types of enemies exhibit different kinds of intelligence and, frequently, different motivations.  A hungry panther who wants to eat you will behave in a very different way from a hostile wizard who wants to steal your amulet.  And enemies can be peaceful or tame or hostile, and there are (sometimes) things you can do to pacify, tame, or enrage them.  Some creatures can be beneficial to the player under some circumstances, usually involving some risk (such as foocubi and nurses in nethack, quest masters, and so on).  Is it better for gameplay to have simple creatures, or complicated ones?

Some games have a simple interface.  It may be as few as a dozen or so commands.  There may be a single "use" key (assuming the items are also simple and have exactly one use).  Other games have complex interfaces and allow most objects to be used for many different things. Such games may have literally hundreds of commands, organized in a hierarchy of menus where you go to an "inventory screen" for acess to "extended inventory commands" that didn't fit into the main menu.  Most objects can be used as at least improvised weapons.  The first way is easy to learn and the second way is more flexible.  Which way is better for gameplay?  Would the availability of really good in-game help change your opinion one way or the other?  Would playing the game day-in, day-out, until you have the complicated command set committed to muscle memory make that game a "better" game than a simple game you'd played the same amount?

Some games have a very long equipment upgrade path.  You will probably replace your entire kit at least a dozen times during the game.  Other games have a short upgrade path where you can find good gear fairly early (less than 5 replacements) and then stick with it.  Which way is better?  Does it depend on the length of the game?

Some games have a short character power curve, where a "winning" character is likely to have less than 15 times the hitpoints/damage dealing capabilities of a starting character.  Low-level characters have a chance, if they are sneaky cowards, of surviving surprisingly deep.  Other games have a  long character power curve, where a "winning" character is usually at least 100 and sometimes 1000 times as tough as a starting character.  Low-level characters, regardless of sneakiness or cowardice, get killed fast if they get out of their depth.  Which way is better?  Does it depend on length of game?  Does it depend on the length of the equipment upgrade path?

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