Author Topic: Greetings and Inquiries!  (Read 11899 times)

Sykafoo

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Greetings and Inquiries!
« on: January 21, 2011, 06:15:38 PM »
First of all, let me express just how excited I am about finding this place. I stumbled upon it quite by accident a couple of days ago, and I'm really thrilled to see such an active community for rogue-likes still.

Anyway... a bit about myself. I'm a novice in the area of computer programming, although I've dabbled before. I hope to get more experience by backwards engineering and modifying a project that has already seen some tweaking and polishing. I really want to do that with Roguelikes. I'm not asking for someone to tutor me or anything, just letting you know what I'm thinking about doing. I was planning on doing something in Java, but with the amount of games that are written in C, it will be easier to find one that's a solid work of art in C, it looks like.

I was wondering if it was acceptable to take a roguelike current (such as Angband) and then take a different development path, basically a variant if you will. Are variants frowned upon by the community? I noticed that ToME started as an Angband variant... how long did it take to be its own game? How much needs to be changed? I'm not looking to steal anyone's work, and I'm not going to be selling any of my work either... but I just don't want to step on any toes. I will want to release my stuff eventually (obviously as freeware, open-source) but I don't want people to feel ripped off by my work. Is it better for me to just start from scratch on my own?

Anyway... thanks again for all your input and thoughts...

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2011, 08:51:51 PM »
Welcome. I wish you great prosperity in your endeavour to make a Roguelike.

I was wondering if it was acceptable to take a roguelike current (such as Angband) and then take a different development path, basically a variant if you will. Are variants frowned upon by the community?

Variants are not at all frowned upon. Angband is famous for its variants, and a lot of them are really good, I think. Of course, you will have to comply with the licence of the original. If somehow in doubt, you can always contact the author of the original, who will without any doubt be pleased to hear from you.

You might also be interested in (something like) libtcod, which provides a library to do some terminal stuff (having a @ walk around on screen, field of vision, etc.) I personally don't have experience neither with making a variant or using libtcod. I would a think an important difference is that a variant starts you out with a lot of content, since it's already a finished game. This can be a good and/or a bad thing, compared to the more or less empty slate your code will start out as if you're using certain libs or, say, coding in assembly or reading zeroes and ones out loud to a live audience.

Anyway, the whole idea of putting something up as open software, is to encourage other people to work with it and develop upon its ideas. If someone wants to steer clear of variants, s/he just releases it as closed software. I'd say RLs have a pretty strong tradition of open source. ADOM is the famous example of a closed RL (mainly, I think, because Biskup the developer doesn't want variants), and there's a whole flora of flamewars about it -- even with its own discussion category over at the ADOM forums :)

And, uh, is this the current state of Angband's licence? :o

Going off on a tangent here ...

As always,
Minotauros
This matir, as laborintus, Dedalus hous, hath many halkes and hurnes ... wyndynges and wrynkelynges.

Vanguard

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2011, 09:59:47 PM »
Third party variants have been a huge driving force in moving the roguelike genre forward.

Go for it, man.

Ancient

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2011, 10:07:43 PM »
If you are looking for Java roguelikes to alter and make variants of there is OpenxRL initiative by Slash. Have a look at http://slashie.net/openxrl/ .
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

elwin

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2011, 10:10:48 PM »
Everyone loves variants, especially Angband. That's probably a good one to start with. Its codebase is a little cleaner than some other games.

Have fun creating!
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Krice

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2011, 11:36:35 AM »
Everyone loves variants, especially Angband.

I hate Angband, but I especially hate variants that don't bring anything better in the sucky gameplay of Angband.

elwin

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2011, 09:41:48 PM »
Everyone loves variants, especially Angband.

I hate Angband, but I especially hate variants that don't bring anything better in the sucky gameplay of Angband.

I should have known making an unqualified hyperbolic statement was a bad idea.  Now that I think about it, I'm not much of an Angband fan either.
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Sykafoo

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2011, 07:09:17 PM »
What's wrong with Angband? Just out of curiousity... and if you really don't like it... what's better?

elwin

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2011, 02:24:29 AM »
I don't really dislike Angband, I just like Crawl much better.  So I rarely play Angband anymore.
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Krice

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2011, 07:35:12 AM »
What's wrong with Angband? Just out of curiousity... and if you really don't like it... what's better?

Maybe I should play it more to get more convinced that it sucks. It's so generic that it doesn't even keep the levels, they are generated again when you re-enter. Maybe that's the biggest problem.

Bear

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2011, 02:25:43 AM »
What's wrong with Angband? Just out of curiousity... and if you really don't like it... what's better?

Angband (and many of its variants, though not all) is just a bit too happy about a grindy style of gameplay.  Because it creates new levels on demand (just use a staircase) it's got infinite resources.  All you have to do is search long enough, and you can get virtually anything without taking any risk.   There is no encounter (other than the Final Bosses) that you have to defeat; if you feel overmatched or at risk, you can always run away without consequences. 

Angband in older versions (and some of its variants, though not most) did not seem to have much variation or consideration in monster AI.  Monsters would pretty much act the same way, within the parameters of their abilities and speed.  They were easy to predict and stupid about charging into situations that gave you an overwhelming advantage. They'd pillardance with you, or allow you to hack'n'back, or charge into your ranged attacks down long straight corridors, or kill each other like idiots with arrows whenever one of their buddies got between you and them, or fail to exploit numerical advantage by allowing you to break up packs, or fail to exploit ranged attack advantage by closing to melee range where you could easily kill them, fail to surround you when given a chance, allow you to escape packs by ducking into corridors they could have blocked, etc.  So the "right" tactic was almost always to control your encounters using corridors and corners to regulate the number of creatures you'd need to fight at once, and doing so wasn't particularly hard. There were basically about a half-dozen tips, tricks, and tactics that you needed to use over and over again.  This aspect of Angband has improved dramatically in recent versions; the monsters are smarter now.  But Angband's reputation still suffers for it because a lot of people who got fed up with no-challenge monsters quit playing Angband and never learned that this aspect has improved. 

Angband has a very long power curve, meaning hit points, damage per round, etc, have orders of magnitude of difference between starting and winning characters.  This arose because when your monsters are stupid (and they REALLY were for previous versions of Angband) you have to give them tons of hitpoints or damage to make them even remotely challenging, and then they so far outclass beginning characters that the @ must also have tons of hitpoints and damage. 
IOW, the monsters had to have a power curve that gave them gigantic advantages because the game was balanced around monsters that failed to exploit their advantages.  And then the player power curve had to match it for the player to even get a chance to use the tactics and tricks that were the "one best tactic" for defeating all monsters.  This resulted in a situation where a character "out of his depth" was basically either hopelessly outclassed (too deep) or severely underchallenged (too shallow). Even the best Angband players could rarely manage survival more than a dozen dungeon levels deeper than their peers at the same character level. 
Although the monster AI has gotten dramatically better recently and would allow this to be fixed now (and that might be a good mission for a variant), it would require a really dramatic amount of rebalancing work -- much more difficult than making the AI better.

Anyways; whether any of this is actually bad is a matter of opinion (I've heard people say they like "windshield kills" and exploiting predictable monsters, for example), but a lot of people who like, for example, nethack or ADOM consider it very bad.

Bear





mariodonick

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2011, 06:36:04 AM »
Bear, this was a good description of possible Angband flaws. I am currently writing an Angband review for roguetemple, and I will refer to some of your points in it. :)
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Z

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2011, 02:04:48 PM »
Another thing that I hate about Angband variants is its limited inventory (21 items IIRC) combined with non-permanent dungeons.  I just feel it does not make sense (actually, even the non-permanent dungeons alone do not make sense). Why cannot I store things which do not fit in my inventory for later? Why can I take 99 potions of the same kind, but not 30 potions of different kinds? Why cannot I return to the same place?

Note that although DoomRL also has a limited inventory, I find it much more reasonable. Since you are always going down, it is logical that you won't store items for later. One inventory spot can hold 100 bullets, but only 10 rockets, which is more reasonable than Angband's limit of 99 for any item.

mariodonick

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2011, 03:11:24 PM »
Quote
Another thing that I hate about Angband variants is its limited inventory (21 items IIRC) combined with non-permanent dungeons.  I just feel it does not make sense (actually, even the non-permanent dungeons alone do not make sense). Why cannot I store things which do not fit in my inventory for later? Why can I take 99 potions of the same kind, but not 30 potions of different kinds? Why cannot I return to the same place?

Ah, this is exactly what I LOVE about Angband (despite some other things). It's not realistic, but still. And that's why I did exactly the same thing in LambdaRogue -- although there it has no use to return to already-known dungeon levels, because items are only generated one time per floor.
https://mariodonick.itch.io/lambdarogue-the-book-of-stars
-- LR: The Book of Stars graphical roguelike RPG

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Greetings and Inquiries!
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2011, 10:36:13 PM »
Just to answer my own question:
And, uh, is this the current state of Angband's licence? :o
Angband is now licenced under the GPL (see for instance RogueBasin's article on Angband). I was sure I had read something about that a while ago.

Going off on a tangent here ...
As always,
Minotauros
This matir, as laborintus, Dedalus hous, hath many halkes and hurnes ... wyndynges and wrynkelynges.