Author Topic: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21  (Read 53159 times)

Carcer

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.1
« Reply #30 on: June 27, 2010, 01:45:27 AM »
Well, I've been playing 3.1 for a few days and I've had a number of thoughts on features and suggestions. I'm sure many of them you already have planned, some of them you know you won't do anyway and very few will actually be new, but hey, the more feedback the better, right?

So in no particular order, here we go:

Ammo
Ammunition stacks need to be larger. I do understand you probably don't want people to be able to run around carrying hundreds upon hundreds of rounds for their weapons, but some of the numbers feel rather off; two light pistol magazines, for example, occupying the same space/weight as a full bag of groceries, or a shotgun? And for the crossbow and army pistol, the ammo stack size is the same as the weapon's magazine capacity, which makes it just as viable to carry around a bunch of fully loaded weapons as it does to carry a single one with spare ammunition (in fact, more so in the current system, because switching weapons is a free action but reloading is not), a rather counter-intuitive situation! I would suggest that the maximum stack sizes should be a bit improved, and should always at least be larger than the magazine capacity of the weapons they are associated with.

With that in mind I do feel that the ability to unload weapons would be a worthwhile feature. Intuitively speaking you wouldn't want to carry around a pile of heavy guns when you could have a single gun with spare ammo as a more efficient use of space/weight, and nicking the last few rounds from some poor dead sap's magazine to fill your own fits right in with the scavenger feel of the game.

NPC AI (Items)
I am aware you don't want to go into great complexity when it comes to the AI of actors, in order to keep the game running smoothly, but as it stands they are astoundingly bad at item prioritisation and inventory management. As far as I can tell, the AI will *never* drop an item, which I assume is why they always leave an inventory slot free if left to their own devices, in order to pick up food when hungry; I haven't tested to see if a hungry NPC with a full inventory will ditch something in order to pick up food, but I have the impression that they won't. What I'd suggest would be a simple prioritisation system, where each item has a default priority, and the priority as perceived by an NPC dependent on their circumstances and inventory. So, for example, an injured NPC will place a higher priority on medkits and bandages, an NPC that is in possession of a specific weapon will place a higher priority on ammunition for that weapon, and so on. Then, when the NPC is wandering around as it does, if it sees an item with a higher priority than one it already has in its inventory, it will go to it, drop the lower priority item, and pick up the higher one. Ammo for a weapon the NPC does not possess should probably have the lowest priority; food would obviously have a high priority, with medical supplies and weapons a close second; duplicates of items the NPC already has should be considered at a lower priority. Say, a bag of groceries could have a default priority of 7 (9 if NPC is hungry); if the NPC already has a bag of groceries, all other bags of groceries could be at priority 6, including iteratively through the NPC's inventory (so the second bag it has is 6, and the third 5, and the fourth 4, and so on). Clever assignment of default values (and a good set of conditional adjustments) will produce NPCs that, when possible, will sensibly choose which items to pick up and which to discard, never obsessively prioritising one type of item (like food) above everything else thanks to diminishing priority for duplicates, trying to keep a balanced inventory including food, medical supplies, weapons, and appropriate ammo.

This is computationally quite simple as well; you can easily store what the NPC's priority is for each slot in its inventory and the values only need to be recalculated when the inventory changes or the NPC's status does (becoming injured, hungry, or tired). The system could also be used to more sensibly inform an NPC's choices on what they would like to trade for what.

Pushing Things
Please make it so that we can push objects through open doorways. I guess ultimately this one doesn't make a great deal of difference, but it gets kind of frustrating when you have to smash open every doorway between you and your intended destination to get a bed to your base, and can be quite annoying if you've found a particularly sturdy door you'd like to barricade yourself behind, but you'd be forced to destroy it entirely to get a bed in there.

Barricading and Construction
The ability to barricade is very nice, but rather limited at the moment. I feel an improvement would be making different smashable items produce different amounts of wood; so smashing a chair or bedside table thingy would only produce a single plank, but dismantling the bigger, sturdier armoire should grant a full 3 planks of material. Things that are easier to break should grant less material, generally; bigger, sturdier objects, especially ones that fully block travel instead of just limiting to hopping, should give you more material.

FOV and Weapon Range
A quick investigation seems to suggest that the range for weapons and FOV distance is calculated differently. FOV seems to, as would be expected, account for diagonal distances properly to produce an approximately circular field of view (although FOV 2 produces a bizarre visibility pattern), but weapon range does not account for greater diagonal distances - as I just checked, an enemy offset to me by (4,4) was still displaying as within the hunting rifle's optimal range of 4. I noted an earlier discrepancy when one particular opponent shot me from outside my FOV, in bright daylight - FOV 8 - with a weapon that has a maximum range of 8. This was very confusing, and although I can't claim that the AI was cheating - for all I know those opponents are blessed with greater visual acuity and a better FOV than the player character, so they could feasibly have seen me over that distance - weapon ranges and FOV distances should both be calculated the same way, and it's possible you're not correctly checking that an enemy can actually see the target they are shooting at (in the example I suffered the foe had already been alerted to my presence and I was attempting to run away, a couple of steps after which I was shot, so perhaps you're only checking if the NPC's target of attention is within their weapon range and not within their FOV in determining whether or not they try and shoot at you).

On the topic of FOV, I'd like to suggest a new Skill - Perception - which could either offer an increase in the character's FOV at a 1/level ratio or, less powerfully, simply negate penalties applied by darkness or weather conditions at the same rate. Investment would obviously be a benefit to players that have to venture outside at night, and help everyone get the best mileage out of their longer-range weapons even when visibility would normally be too poor.

Follower Control
Much more precise control over the behaviour of followers would be desirable. Attempting to manage their inventories to give them sensible equipment and items is a nightmare at the moment; the ability to direct them to give to you or drop a specific item would be fantastic. It could probably do with only being available to use on followers you have had for a certain minimum length of time, however (say a day) in order to prevent people abusing it by getting a follower, demanding all their useful stuff, and then letting them loose again. The ability to order followers to equip or unequip specific items would also be very useful.

What would also be nice is more precise control over how the AI responds when on Guard or Patrol orders; raising the alarm is all well and good, but I'm sure many of us would prefer that the AI we instructed to guard a doorway actually stay and shoot the zombie using the amazing weapons we painstakingly attempted to get them to take and then continue to stand guard rather than running off to find us. A single directive option to either Abandon Orders or Keep Orders on an alert would probably handle this fine.

Cover and Positioning
It can hardly escape note that some of the enemies you will face have guns, and so rather than a stand up firefight-or-flight, it'd be nice to be able to try and take cover behind all those abandoned cars lying around. This one would be, I think, quite simple to do; you're already computing a path for the shot, simply check to see if the last tile it goes through before reaching the target tile contains a car (or potentially any object that could provide cover), and if it does, reduce the chance of it hitting (or give it a chance to hit and damage the object instead, if potentially destructible objects can be used as cover). This extends the use of all those cars beyond stamina-draining zombie-blocker and makes them objects of tactical consideration even when fighting enemies that use weapons.

On a similar note, thinking about jumpable objects, it would be nice if being on a jumpable object provided bonuses in melee - it's easier to attack down than up, so when you have higher ground relative to an enemy, you should be harder to hit and more accurate/powerful with your downward swings! Again this makes combat more interesting against melee opponents, as instead of always taking advantage of your superior speed to kite enemies, it would be a viable option to leap atop a car or table and stand your ground. It could be an especially useful technique against those zombie foes who aren't zombie-slow, and hence for whom kiting is not nearly as viable an option.

------

All those things said, playing the game has been quite a lot of fun so far, and I look forward to seeing what later versions look like.

zackhovatter

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.1
« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2010, 02:18:01 PM »
I am sad that I could not run this under Wine on Linux. Looks awesome!

roguedjack

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.2
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2010, 01:35:33 PM »
Alpha 3.2 out, first post edited.

CaptainFailmore

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2010, 09:21:19 AM »
I've been giving the new version a shot. It's a big improvement in terms of difficulty. After 15 days and 16 hours, my most successful character so far finally bit it due to collapsing from exhaustion at a bad time. The city was so thoroughly, hopelessly overrun that I couldn't make a safe-house that lasted more than a day or two in-game. I suspect that, especially due to the new food decay feature, surviving past three weeks is probably impossible, or at least extraordinarily difficult. Like in previous versions, emphasizing the Agility, Light Eater, and High Stamina skills will keep you alive much, much longer, but the constant quest for food will keep you from ever being able to hole up in a safe location for more than five days or so. Any safe location you leave can be considered lost - the zombies inevitably track you back to it thanks to the much more aggressive tracking behavior. The exceptions are offices and stores, which are secure in proportion to how much furniture they contain.

The changes to the food mechanics don't sit entirely well with me, though. Army rations no longer stacking is the biggest complaint I have. Since eventually all food you encounter will be spoiled, you'll always want to carry spoiled groceries over spoiled army rations because the groceries have more food points. I also have to wonder why canned goods don't seem to exist in this world, which could become a rare and precious commodity in the late-game once all regular food has spoiled. Overall the rate of food spoilage seems too quick... A progressive decay of food items would make more sense, where fresh groceries become stale, then spoiled, then rotten. With enough points into Light Eater you can still last a little while on spoiled food, especially if you somehow manage to stockpile it, but whereas in the previous version it was much too easy to hide in a zombie fortress and wait things out, it's almost too hard now to take shelter. At first it's exciting, but this gradually gives way to frustration.

The smarter civilians are a welcome change, though. As are the much brighter, much more effective army guys. I've noticed that even leaderless civilians will gather together in sheltered locations, close doors behind them, barricade windows, and so forth. This makes the initial onslaught much less of a massacre and also indirectly helps the player early on. (They have a tendency to barricade bedrooms for you, and will fight zombies with you if they're cornered.) Much better than the civilians of old, which were just a nuisance.

Melee weapons seem to be very fragile now. This is actually a good thing in that it keeps fights interesting, and you'll want to scavenge up backup weapons any time you're out and about. You can't just grab a huge hammer and be set for the next two months. Have you considered having chairs and tables yield weapons when broken, like a few chair legs or something? This could make the initial arming of the masses easier, but making improvised weapons like these highly fragile would mean any benefit gained from them is highly temporary.

Keep up the good work.

teoleo

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #34 on: July 02, 2010, 01:09:36 PM »
I want an add:
the chance 'to win the game, running away ....

maybe after a certain number of days in town could get random 'from a helicopter to reach in a given time ....

Carcer

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #35 on: July 04, 2010, 10:42:29 AM »
Melee weapons seem to be very fragile now. This is actually a good thing in that it keeps fights interesting, and you'll want to scavenge up backup weapons any time you're out and about. You can't just grab a huge hammer and be set for the next two months. Have you considered having chairs and tables yield weapons when broken, like a few chair legs or something? This could make the initial arming of the masses easier, but making improvised weapons like these highly fragile would mean any benefit gained from them is highly temporary.

What I would do is just make the wooden planks usable as weapons, albeit very fragile ones.

roguedjack

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #36 on: July 04, 2010, 07:07:40 PM »
Thanks for all the feedback.

I wanted to see how players coped with the new food situation but its a bit too extreme. I'll make decay more progressive and add more food variety.

You won't be able to push to things through doors/windows, it's a game engine limitation : both door/windows are considered as map objects and you can't have more than one map object per tile. It may sound silly but it makes design much easier... Okay I made the engine and  design myself so I'm the silly one here ;D

I didn't change melee weapon break chance (2% per use) you were just being unlucky. Weapon jam chance is 1%,but I might increase that or make it weather dependant.

I also corrected how FoV/LoS range is computed in the next version for less uggly shapes at close range.

I'll consider adding primitives weapons when you break stuff.

About winning the game, it will be possible but this is not a priority. I want the basics done correctly first, I'll do that later (plot + winning conditions).
« Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 07:10:38 PM by roguedjack »

CaptainFailmore

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #37 on: July 05, 2010, 08:20:17 AM »
Or maybe I was just absurdly lucky back in the other version! I had a hammer that lasted for-freaking-ever, seriously. Many zombies had their skulls renovated by that thing. Over the course of weeks.

getter77

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2010, 12:05:47 AM »
Off topic, probably, but I'd long since forgotten the following link existed and wondered if roguedjack had a take on it/had even heard of it to give it a whirl?  Not positive if the purchase links and whatnot still even work, but random stuff like this manifests when I start digging through my bookmarks...

http://deadbyzombie.com/
Brian Emre Jeffears
Aspiring Designer/Programmer/Composer
In Training

Ex

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2010, 05:10:38 AM »
I absolutely love the game! It's got some nice graphics, good gameplay, good design, I'm really impressed. The only thing I've noticed is that it's very, very hard. I find myself dying over and over and over unless I'm very careful. Aside from that, it's amazing, great work!

roguedjack

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #40 on: July 06, 2010, 11:58:19 AM »
Off topic, probably, but I'd long since forgotten the following link existed and wondered if roguedjack had a take on it/had even heard of it to give it a whirl?  Not positive if the purchase links and whatnot still even work, but random stuff like this manifests when I start digging through my bookmarks...

http://deadbyzombie.com/
Don't know about this game, and never tried a zombie themed rl. For some reason I find I am more creative in games if I don't look at other people similar games, which is complete opposite to the way I work with graphics and musics (I need other people stuff to look at/listen to).  :o

I absolutely love the game! It's got some nice graphics, good gameplay, good design, I'm really impressed. The only thing I've noticed is that it's very, very hard. I find myself dying over and over and over unless I'm very careful. Aside from that, it's amazing, great work!
Thanks! Its easier to survive if you make a shelter. Shops are very good for this, destroy the doors and push the shelves to barricade yourself in. Then make runs for food.

CaptainFailmore

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #41 on: July 06, 2010, 11:35:21 PM »
More feedback, and another suggestion:

First off, I was playing the game last night and experienced a rather satisfying defeat. I got chased back to a barricaded shop during a night-time zombie raid, and was subsequently cornered. Upon trying to escape, I found that more zombies were waiting outside. My barricade had turned against me! It didn't take long for the situation to go from bad to worse, but at no point did I find myself cursing the game for being unfair or frustrating. As far as I was concerned, this is how the game should work - one false move, in this case going out at a very wrong time, lead to a cascade of unraveling plans and an eventual outwitting by the game. (In case you didn't know, this is rather unusual for this style of game; most rogue-likes rely on quick, cheap, and unavoidable deaths to challenge the player.)

So, after being impressed by the game's ability to kill me without opening trapdoors beneath my character's feet or something comparably bullshit, I felt I should again let you know that you're on the right track. Very much so. The difficulty curve is spot-on, even though there's nothing really climactic at the end of it yet. (Unless the black-ops count.)

Anyhow, my latest suggestion deals once again with the food issues.



The above meters represent two things:

1. The light blue meter is food as we know it. It goes up when you eat, and depletes rather quickly. With the Light Eater skill maxed, you can last about two days on this before you become hungry, but without it you don't last quite as long.

2. The dark blue meter is a reserve meter. Those dark blue bars translate into a day's worth of food points, but once they're gone, they're gone. (If you were to restore them, it shouldn't be terribly efficient, nor should it be possible to restore them on an empty stomach. Once your normal food meter is full, maybe the reserve meter refills at a rate of 0.25 points for every extra food point taken in.)

This means that if this were implemented, you could survive a week (or less, that's up to you) of hunger before starvation begins to set in. The normal problems from hunger would still apply, of course. Running around fighting zombies is hard work! When the game becomes more feature-filled, players will probably be more apt to explore and take risks. Giving them some extra time to establish themselves (and the civilians too) would depress the early-game difficulty curve, but cause it to rise as 'real' hunger takes its toll. The best part is that you could still have a fairly rapid decay rate for most normal food, and then everyone has an 'oh shit' moment a little over a week in. Just in time for the supply drops to begin, but that's small relief for the survivors given the standard rate of zombie proliferation.

The other changes I'd like to suggest, building on previous replies, complete with quirky 'retro' icons:



The two items on the left, a generic 'meat' and 'vegetable' (that's a cabbage by the way) could be especially fast-decaying. Anywhere from two to five days and this stuff should be going all sorts of bad. Bread, that should hold out a little longer, but not much more than a week. Canned food and army rations should last indefinitely, but with the army rations being able to stack higher and possibly providing more nutrition per item. This reintroduces a hoarding incentive, but also allows you to carry more of your food with you (stacking food items) in case you need to move. Which, given the rather aggressive hunting habits of the zombies now, is probable.

Another added plus of the army rations could be durability in another sense. As anyone who's experienced this firsthand can attest, punctured cans of food go bad quick. Spectacularly bad. If there's a chance that the cans can be damaged when you're being attacked by a zombie or shot at, the damaged cans could be made to expire very quickly - within 36 hours or less, perhaps. This means that carrying lots of cans around might be considered unwise unless it's all you have. If that were the case, the player might want to leave those at their base or in safeguarded caches, but carry the army rations with them as they move.

Hypothetically, this would still leave the player hunting for bits of food especially after week two. Any false sense of security given by a healthy food stockpile would quickly dissolve as either the bulk of it rots, or the player's base is discovered by baddies. (And that's the food that the player finds - the rest would be picked over by the other survivors!) Scarcity of edibles would increase dramatically after week two, and the player would have to start relying on their reserve food to make it, possibly not carrying them past week three if they're unsuccessful in locating more food.

A final suggestion - hunger pangs that keep the player awake should only kick in during or near starvation. All this wouldn't make eating optional, but it would make the initial stages of food deprivation more merciful. (And create a slippery slide of confidence-to-despair as that food meter shrinks, until it simply can't be ignored anymore.)

flap

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2010, 02:01:58 PM »
Hello,

I have just red the blog about sewers. I have some comments about reducing the number of zombie rats. There might be another solution : do all creatures actually have to be tracked all the time ? Some creature types could simply be created on the fly, the number depending on the density level.

This would allow to have more to fight. For zombies, where there is barricading it is not really suitable, but for small creatures such as rats which could slip between barricades, find holes where we thought everyhing was closed the approximation shoudl be OK. And even for them, the critter density could be for buildings (or a limited area) instead of the whole level. So you might find less in a closed room that you cleaned than in the middle of the street.

Also a question about rast : would they be attracted by food/decaying food that a character is carrying or that has been dropped somewhere ?

Sabin Stargem

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #43 on: July 07, 2010, 03:24:42 PM »
I would like to make an suggestion about the Inventory system.  In the past, I played a roguelike game called Castle of the Winds, which was unique for an 1989 for having a mouse-based GUI and graphics.  One of the things that set it apart was the inventory system, in which the player has to use a variety of bags, backpacks, chest, purse, and belts to carry the items they acquire.  Each container had a maximum rating for bulk and weight where items were concerned.  Furthermore, the player could only carry so much weight without becoming terminally slow.  As such, you could stuff your bags full of items, and drop them when a monster approached.  This sort of system might be very good for Rogue Survivor.

Another interesting bit in Castle of the Winds was the Paperdoll inventory, where not only you could put on a variety of equipment through the mouse, but in how certain pieces of equipment offered slots in which to put items for easy access.  For example, a wand belt could have several slots for your spellcasting needs on the fly, and the purses automatically sorted out the various forms of currency you could acquire.  The game is now freeware and I recommend giving it a spin to get a better idea of how things work.  I think that adding a similar system to Rogue Survivor could help with opening up gameplay options where inventory management is concerned.  (Such as Bandoliers for ammo, holsters for pistols, backpack types, car trunks, bodybags for the recently dead, and so on.)

This is probably something that can take some effort to implement, but I believe that it could be a good system for this kind of game.


Photo of CoT Inventory



Rick Saada's homepage, maker of CoT.  The game is free to download.  Requires an O/S that can run 16-bit programs.
http://www.exmsft.com/~ricks/

roguedjack

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Re: Rogue Survivor Alpha 3.21
« Reply #44 on: July 07, 2010, 05:08:51 PM »
Rats
Rats are actually undead rats, they hunger for flesh, they won't go after "normal" food.
In later versions you'll be able to "trick" undeads by dropping meat to distract them (so including rats).
I solved the "too much actors" problem by rebalancing the default settings.
I also added the subways with zombies, and it works nice.
A "Level Of Detail" approach could work but I'm going for full simulation instead, I don't want the game universe to be centered on the player.

Inventory
A more complex inventory system would be interesting/realistic for some players, but I wanted to have a simple inventory system since the beginning, hence the very primitive fixed number of slots + stackable items system.
Personally I don't like roguelikes where you have to mentally compute weights, slots and whatnot before taking/dropping an item.  >:(