Author Topic: a RL that requires skill?  (Read 49417 times)

punkbohemian

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2012, 12:12:23 AM »
First, what's prime? I checked the basin, the temple DB, and googled it but came up with nothing.

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What I can tell you is that it is not about winning. I play for the beauty of design. I grew weary of the repetitive grinding design of other games.

How is RL not a grind? Repetitive levels of dungeon crawling until you get ganked and have to start over. Not to mention, there's little or no plot development (which I like in a game, when it's written well). That seems pretty grindy to me.

And, I'm not looking to win each time I play. But, when I lose, I'd like to feel like I accomplished something, even if I just chipped away the tiniest amount towards a greater goal. I'm not feeling that here.


kraflab

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2012, 06:37:23 AM »
I haven't played prime myself, but a quick search on here led me to this:

http://roguetemple.com/forums/index.php?topic=2063.0

Generally I would say that what you gain from losing is the knowledge of how you lost, hopefully.  An important thing to learn in every roguelike game is when you need to be careful (for instance, to avoid getting ambushed) and when you can just run around aimlessly.  Crawl, for instance, is such a long game that people often lose because they become complacent and stop being careful towards the middle of the game (at least that's often how I die).

As per the grind, I completely agree with you.  I mean some roguelikes are exactly a grind, not even just in the global sense where each game adds up to a grind.  Some of them involve repeatedly diving into the dungeon and returning to town, which is pretty much the definition of grind.  But perhaps his comment was about the "grinding design", not that there was no grind.  I also don't think of dying as causing you to start over.  Again, I think it's important to pull away something from each experience.  If you really are just randomly getting ganked, I guess that's hard to do, but maybe there are some mechanics you are missing that would help explain why?

Pueo

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2012, 06:46:33 AM »
First, what's prime? I checked the basin, the temple DB, and googled it but came up with nothing.
Try searching the basin all-caps: PRIME.  That might do it.  PRIME "attempts to deepen and add variety to Zap'M." (From the basin)

How is RL not a grind? Repetitive levels of dungeon crawling until you get ganked and have to start over. Not to mention, there's little or no plot development (which I like in a game, when it's written well). That seems pretty grindy to me.
The non-grind-iness part of the game is that every level is different and you'll probably never see that level again. I will agree though that the basic play of the game can become a grind. And while I am a big fan of plot (take Uncharted, for example), plot and rogue-likes are a little bit like oil and water.  The plot just kind of sits on top, getting in the way of actually playing the game.

And, I'm not looking to win each time I play. But, when I lose, I'd like to feel like I accomplished something, even if I just chipped away the tiniest amount towards a greater goal. I'm not feeling that here.
Maybe try play a game, remember what killed you, and say: "Next time I play, I'm going to figure out how to get past [obstacle]."  That might help you feel like you're chipping away at the greater goal of winning.
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jim

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2012, 02:39:35 PM »
The idea of winning as sort of the only acceptable outcome of gaming is really weird to me. Most of the old arcade classics like Joust and Defender inevitably ended with your death. It was about using your skill and experience to get the most points possible and do the coolest shit possible, to demonstrate your dominance over the game itself and your competitors. Geek freestyle.

Getting good at roguelikes is about building on your own understanding of the challenges within the game so that you can better overcome them. Progress in the game is proof-of-concept for your own competence and skill: that itself is the reward.

The fact that you die later on to new challenges reinforces the idea that the roguelike has depth, nuance, and ruthless difficulty, thus amplifying the ego rush you get from progressing. This stands in stark contrast to modern games (where you get a complete explanation of every challenge, thousands of save spots, and must only hit X during the quick time event to do a triple backflip and decapitate everone.)

Roguelikes are a Brontë novel in a world full of streaming cheerleader porn movies.


Vanguard

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2012, 06:40:14 PM »
I recommend Mage Guild as heavily skill-based roguelike.  There's little or no random damage variation, most of your attacks will have a 100% chance to hit, and there's no spell failure chance.  The dungeons, enemy placement, and all of that are randomly decided, but the outcome of your choices isn't.  I wish more roguelikes were like that.  It's fantasy themed, but the story is barely ever mentioned.

Caves of Qud is another good choice.  The game has to-hit chances and damage variation, but they're not too extreme.  It doesn't randomly generate enemies who instagib you for a trillion damage like ToME or cause your abilities to randomly fail on you like Crawl.  It also has a nice post-apocalyptic setting.

punkbohemian

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2012, 01:33:10 AM »
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The idea of winning as sort of the only acceptable outcome of gaming is really weird to me. Most of the old arcade classics like Joust and Defender inevitably ended with your death. It was about using your skill and experience to get the most points possible and do the coolest shit possible, to demonstrate your dominance over the game itself and your competitors.

Yeah, but many arcade-style games are simply unbeatable. You just play until you die. Most, if not all, RL games have a definitive ending to the game, establishing a very specific goal.

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Roguelikes are a Brontë novel in a world full of streaming cheerleader porn movies.

RLs might be a clever concept, but I don't know if I would make that analogy. That is to say, in some ways, RLs succumb to the same gimmickry mainstream developers use. One feature in particular that comes to mind is leveling. It's a very artificial and ultimately redundant feature. You gain levels and get more powerful, but so does everything else, effectively nullifying an real effect of leveling. However, it's a feature generally implemented because it gives the player an (illusory) sense of accomplishment. Granted, you can argue that levels in a RL are a milestone of how long the character has survived, but I would say this is still unnecessary and even breaks the suspension of disbelief. In other words, with leveling, players say, "My character died at level 12" instead of "My character died in the Swamps of Suck."

Pueo

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2012, 04:05:23 AM »
One feature in particular that comes to mind is leveling. It's a very artificial and ultimately redundant feature. You gain levels and get more powerful, but so does everything else, effectively nullifying an real effect of leveling. However, it's a feature generally implemented because it gives the player an (illusory) sense of accomplishment. Granted, you can argue that levels in a RL are a milestone of how long the character has survived, but I would say this is still unnecessary and even breaks the suspension of disbelief. In other words, with leveling, players say, "My character died at level 12" instead of "My character died in the Swamps of Suck."
I think that's a great point, but what if you changed the name from "Level" to "Skill?"  Its functionally the same thing: as you gain more "Skill," your character becomes stronger.  Conceptually, however, its much different. Instead of gaining "Levels" only to find that the creatures in the dungeon have been doing the same thing, you gain "Skill," and find yourself more equipped to take on the naturally tougher creatures.
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kraflab

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2012, 01:32:01 PM »
One feature in particular that comes to mind is leveling. It's a very artificial and ultimately redundant feature. You gain levels and get more powerful, but so does everything else, effectively nullifying an real effect of leveling. However, it's a feature generally implemented because it gives the player an (illusory) sense of accomplishment. Granted, you can argue that levels in a RL are a milestone of how long the character has survived, but I would say this is still unnecessary and even breaks the suspension of disbelief. In other words, with leveling, players say, "My character died at level 12" instead of "My character died in the Swamps of Suck."

I'm gonna have to disagree here, in that what you said is a little bit of an over-generalization.  It totally depends on the game.  Yes, some games do just have levels for the sake of it and they are pretty meaningless.  But what if the character sneaks past half of the game?  Then just saying where they died is kind of meaningless.  If you say they died at level 6 in the swamps of suck then someone might say "well, try to get to level 12 before going there".  Or maybe they could do it at level 6 but they need more stealth.  If there are hard limits on where you can go and when, then I would agree.  But there should be some number representing total stat gains basically.  I mean why do we have numbers representing attack power or defense or health then?  If I can finish a game at level 20 or 25, I think the number does mean something.  If there are no numbers, how do I know if I can beat a new enemy (or have a chance to)?  How do I know when to move on to the next area?

I think the only way to get rid of it would be to completely remove skills and just have equipment.  But I think it's more interesting if you can customize your skills and character as you level up.  If you get to pick an ability or choose skill points every level, I'm just curious how you would implement that without levels and without just hiding the number (i.e. anyone can say "i've chosen 6 abilities and 14 skill points" but that is just another way of having a level).

I guess my point is that unless the end game player is the same player they were at the beginning of the game, there is going to be some measure of how different they are, and you can always map that to a numerical value.

Also, you call leveling an illusory sense of accomplishment.  Surviving to a further level is only as much an illusion of progress as getting to a new area or beating the game itself.  I'm confused how getting to level 25 is not an accomplishment compared to dying at level 15, if you consider getting to the 25th dungeon level an accomplishment compared to dying at the 15th, etc.

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I think that's a great point, but what if you changed the name from "Level" to "Skill?"  Its functionally the same thing: as you gain more "Skill," your character becomes stronger.  Conceptually, however, its much different. Instead of gaining "Levels" only to find that the creatures in the dungeon have been doing the same thing, you gain "Skill," and find yourself more equipped to take on the naturally tougher creatures.

Idk, then you are more skilled but the enemies are also more skilled.  How is that conceptually different?

jim

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2012, 02:43:43 PM »
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The idea of winning as sort of the only acceptable outcome of gaming is really weird to me. Most of the old arcade classics like Joust and Defender inevitably ended with your death. It was about using your skill and experience to get the most points possible and do the coolest shit possible, to demonstrate your dominance over the game itself and your competitors.

Yeah, but many arcade-style games are simply unbeatable. You just play until you die. Most, if not all, RL games have a definitive ending to the game, establishing a very specific goal.

Only sorta. There is a win condition for RLs, but rarely is the win condition the be all and end all of victory, though it probably seems like that if you are struggling to get into RLs. Score counts for a lot, challenge games mean something. Maybe you would enjoy them more if you were less fixated on, I dunno, delineation. A relaxed, curious approach works best for me.

kraflab

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2012, 03:03:30 PM »
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The idea of winning as sort of the only acceptable outcome of gaming is really weird to me. Most of the old arcade classics like Joust and Defender inevitably ended with your death. It was about using your skill and experience to get the most points possible and do the coolest shit possible, to demonstrate your dominance over the game itself and your competitors.

Yeah, but many arcade-style games are simply unbeatable. You just play until you die. Most, if not all, RL games have a definitive ending to the game, establishing a very specific goal.

Only sorta. There is a win condition for RLs, but rarely is the win condition the be all and end all of victory, though it probably seems like that if you are struggling to get into RLs. Score counts for a lot, challenge games mean something. Maybe you would enjoy them more if you were less fixated on, I dunno, delineation. A relaxed, curious approach works best for me.

Quite true.  There are plenty of RLs that go even beyond this though, having the game continue indefinitely (making the arcade comparison even stronger).  So you might think, "last time I got to the 25th floor and got out for the win, this time I want to get to the 27th floor and get out"

IBOL

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2012, 03:52:27 PM »
well, i think this is a great thread for anyone who is designing/writing a roguelike.
it makes a lot of valid points. i will definitely strive to make my roguelikes
'fair' while remaining challenging. i can happily spend days on my PCG routines,
and i already have a few ways (i think) to assure 'winnability'.
thanks! (too bad you don't like fantasy though...tons of those)

and on the 'skill vs. level' thing, i think that's great too.
already considering incorporating that.
Randomly Approaching The Infinite Realms.
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punkbohemian

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2012, 05:39:41 PM »
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I'm confused how getting to level 25 is not an accomplishment compared to dying at level 15, if you consider getting to the 25th dungeon level an accomplishment compared to dying at the 15th, etc.

i think the term leveling can be confusing when talking about RLs. There's character level and game level (or dungeon level). What I've been talking about is character level.

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Idk, then you are more skilled but the enemies are also more skilled.  How is that conceptually different?

I think/hope he is talking about a more qualitative advancement.

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I guess my point is that unless the end game player is the same player they were at the beginning of the game, there is going to be some measure of how different they are, and you can always map that to a numerical value.

Not necessarily. What if you started a game, but the only options available to you were movement and a melee attack. Along the way, you pick up other skills, ranged attacking, stealth, etc. Your character is growing, but qualitatively instead of the typical your-strength-increases-by-one approach.

kraflab

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2012, 08:20:25 PM »
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Not necessarily. What if you started a game, but the only options available to you were movement and a melee attack. Along the way, you pick up other skills, ranged attacking, stealth, etc. Your character is growing, but qualitatively instead of the typical your-strength-increases-by-one approach.

I totally agree that this is a more interesting type of advancement, but my point is that you could count up the number of things you have gained and still call that level.  And I would say having that number visible to the player is a good thing.  It's a solid number that represents overall gains.  One lvl 17 player may be totally different than another lvl 17 player, but it tells you some kind of measure of how much they have done in the game.

Pueo

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2012, 08:51:52 PM »
Idk, then you are more skilled but the enemies are also more skilled.  How is that conceptually different?
It's conceptually different because it's not an abstract number.  What does "Level" mean in the game world?  If you were a character in the game, you wouldn't say, "Wow, he's level 15!"  Level is an abstract number that is only relevant to a player.  Skill, on the other hand, is not abstract (nor is it a number. Although it could be represented as one.)  Say you have a spear.  This is your first time picking it up.  All you can do is poke people, but then you practice and become more skilled.  Now you can poke people and throw it.   Then you become even more skilled.  Now you can poke people, throw it, and hit two creatures with one strike (like going through one person and hitting the one behind him).  That's different from level, where your "Strength" increases one point and your "Dexterity" increases 2 every time you level up. 

This is not to say that skill can't be represented by a number, say at Skill 1 you can only poke and Skill 2 you can poke and throw.  This is just to explain how it is different than "Level"

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Idk, then you are more skilled but the enemies are also more skilled.  How is that conceptually different?
I think/hope he is talking about a more qualitative advancement.
Your hope is well-founded, although a quantitative representation is usually helpful.

I totally agree that this is a more interesting type of advancement, but my point is that you could count up the number of things you have gained and still call that level.  And I would say having that number visible to the player is a good thing.  It's a solid number that represents overall gains.  One lvl 17 player may be totally different than another lvl 17 player, but it tells you some kind of measure of how much they have done in the game.
I agree with you too, and it is true that having the number visible is a good thing, but, if you are growing qualitatively (or Skill-by-skill, which seems a little more layman's-terms-esque), it can be hard to represent where you are and what you can do with a single number. 
Take for example two characters. Both are level 7.  From that single number, you might think that they are exactly the same, give or take a few equipment choices or something along that line.  But, if you look deeper, you might find out that Player 1 has grown in stealth, and speed, and thrown weapons, whereas Player 2 has mastered the art of magic and sorcery and summoning monsters.  I think the best choice is to list the character's class (or equivalent) and the level.
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kraflab

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2012, 09:17:52 PM »
I agree with you too, and it is true that having the number visible is a good thing, but, if you are growing qualitatively (or Skill-by-skill, which seems a little more layman's-terms-esque), it can be hard to represent where you are and what you can do with a single number. 
Take for example two characters. Both are level 7.  From that single number, you might think that they are exactly the same, give or take a few equipment choices or something along that line.  But, if you look deeper, you might find out that Player 1 has grown in stealth, and speed, and thrown weapons, whereas Player 2 has mastered the art of magic and sorcery and summoning monsters.  I think the best choice is to list the character's class (or equivalent) and the level.

Completely agree.  Actually that brings up an interesting point.  Have the game recognize what type of skills you are raising and then display a class from a list, rather than for instance choosing a class at the start.  That would be cool if while playing a game it started out as peasant, then at some point it said warrior, then later on it switched to spearman for instance.  Dwarf fortress does this to an extent, and I'm sure there are others. 

To the extent that skills are independent of one another I suppose it would be hard to have an overall "level" if the level doesn't improve stats like health.  I.E. dodging and spear-wielding might add together, but adding sword-wielding and spear-wielding into a single value for level wouldn't necessarily mean anything.