Author Topic: Any thoughts on explicit facing?  (Read 9410 times)

AgingMinotaur

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 801
  • Karma: +2/-0
  • Original Discriminating Buffalo Man
    • View Profile
    • Land of Strangers
Any thoughts on explicit facing?
« on: September 19, 2011, 09:22:49 PM »
I'm considering whether explicit facing would be a good design desicion. What I have in mind, is a system where changing directions costs time. You would probably press left or right to turn, and up to advance. Some pros and cons as I figure:

+ circumvents attack-retreat strategy against slow opponents
+ may make stealth more playable (move past when guards look in the other direction etc.)
+ directional actions (open, zap) are executed with one keystroke, instead of command+direction
- movement more cumbersome, AI-wise
- can't be done in ascii – and sprites will have to be drawn facing every direction (yawn)

What say ye? Any thoughts on explicit facing, from the perspective of the player or the designer?

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

jim

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 379
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Any thoughts on explicit facing?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 01:32:55 AM »
I enjoyed it in gearhead. But then you were dealing with giant, cumbersome mechs. Suppose that the main thing from the player perspective is that it has to feel like a feature.

AquaTsar17

  • 7DRL Reviewer
  • Rogueliker
  • *
  • Posts: 57
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Any thoughts on explicit facing?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2011, 03:51:14 AM »
There was a simple java example of a FoV with facing. The player's FoV was cone-shaped, and you used that to figure out which direction you were facing. Enemies also had a cone-shaped FoV but it was drawn (rather than being hidden like in normal RLs) so that you could tell which direction they faced and whether they could see you or not. If you decided to do something like that, then it could technically be done with ascii.

As for whether it's a good idea or not, I think it depends on how well it becomes integrated with the rest of the game. Having to turn all the time to get through some labyrinthine level would be very annoying, since you're essentially pressing two buttons for each step. I think if the levels were more open, but stealth was important, then it'd be worth putting in. (Having a level design like this may also make AI easier...)

Kyzrati

  • 7DRL Reviewer
  • Rogueliker
  • *
  • Posts: 483
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Grid Sage Games
    • Email
Re: Any thoughts on explicit facing?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2011, 04:29:19 AM »
For X@COM I went with units represented by triangles (no longer pure ASCII, obviously), but this wouldn't really work for your most RL's because you need much greater variety in terms of representation (different symbols), whereas X-COM has little enough variety that color is usually sufficient to differentiate unit types.

Heroic Fisticuffs' GnomeSquad has an interesting method of showing facing using any character/symbol you want by showing a translucent blue over the adjacent cell towards which they're facing. Not aesthetically pleasing, but it gets the job done.

Using FOV shading sounds like a pretty effective way to solve the problem, and it could work pretty well if you've got unlimited colors to work with, though maybe not so well if you have a huge number of units in an area at any given time. It does, however, look pretty neat if you faintly highlight all entity FOVs and allow overlapping FOVs to strengthen the color based on the number of FOVs overlapping in each cell. (I've tried it: The X@COM demo does this when you have the option turned on.)

I think AI issues are mostly negligible, since you can easily integrate turning costs into the pathfinding routines, and make turning a prerequisite for doing actions that require a direction.

Gameplay is another issue entirely. To go the facing route I'd say it definitely has to be a primary feature. (For example, it is a central feature for a pure stealth/thief game I've thought about making--makes sneaking around so much more fun ;))

Z

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 905
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Z's Roguelike Stuff
Re: Any thoughts on explicit facing?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2011, 07:57:23 AM »
Solutions I have used in VoI:

- control: pressing a direction key will either move in this direction or turn in this direction, depending on whether this is the direction you are currently facing (pressing 't' also allows to turn into an arbitrary direction, to shoot there)

- tiled graphics: for each creature a tiny arrow is shown which shows the facing direction (and also health condition) (for the player character, it is enough to shade invisible parts of the map differently)

- ASCII: press 'H' and each creature is replaced by a character which describes its condition (color) and facing direction (char), the big problem with that is that you have no good arrow characters in ASCII, especially for diagonals. The best I came with is numbers (arranged just like on the numpad) or <>^vLJP7 (I think Expedition uses these or something similar).

- AI: there are problems with pathfinding if you want the AI to be honest (do not know the map unless they see it, facing means that they don't see the way if they are expected to go back)

yam655

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 59
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Any thoughts on explicit facing?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2011, 08:45:25 AM »
You can do it in Near Ascii.

What I mean is -- ignore Curses and use a GUI to do the ASCII.

Then you can overlay a directional arrow (or even line-segment -- sort of like a clock hand) on top of the character in the direction that they are facing.

I've thought about doing this for a roguelike before.

It has the benefits of Ascii in that it provides a clean and clear visual that neither requires significant work nor requires a bunch of rotated images. It also allows you to pack in the characters on the map.

My big question is whether it is fun. (If it makes the game harder to play it is a bad idea.) I'm not sure it would add to the player's experience, but I don't think I'll know for sure until I play a roguelike that implements it.

Cheers,
Steven