Author Topic: a RL that requires skill?  (Read 49407 times)

Pueo

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2012, 10:05:21 PM »
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.
Yeah, i guess independent skills are hard to combine into a "level." Maybe you only choose one weapon in the beginning and the other skills follow?  That sounds a little restrictive though.
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punkbohemian

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2012, 01:58:17 AM »
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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.

Well, you could, technically. I mean, it's a computer game so at the end of the day everything boils down to 1s and 0s. However, to do what you are saying (under a qualitative-oriented system), the player would have to take an extra step to establish such a measure, which would be intrinsically irrelevant to the game.

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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.

That's the point I'm making, and I see this as a good thing. A lack of a numerical representation makes a character's standing more ambiguous (which forces more "guessing"), but it also takes the player out of the metagame more (which I think is a more valuable result).

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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.

For the most part, I'm not a fan of class systems, either, unless they (and the restrictions they impose) are truly meaningful and necessary according to the game's setting. I've rarely seen any game pull this off.

kraflab

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2012, 11:43:09 AM »
For the most part, I'm not a fan of class systems, either, unless they (and the restrictions they impose) are truly meaningful and necessary according to the game's setting. I've rarely seen any game pull this off.

I really like the way dungeons of dredmor does this.  There are a bunch of "class" skill trees, and the only thing that decides what type of character you are is which skills you choose.  You need to choose them in order (i.e. I need to pick skills 1-3 of pyromancy to get to skill 4) but you can pick out of whatever skill paths you want without any restrictions.

I think class restrictions in a sense represent a split in gamers.  There are people who like to be called a mage because it helps them imagine what type of character they are and they prefer choices to be made for them, while there are other people who prefer to think of themselves in some non-standard way and do not like to be forced down a particular path.  I don't think either style is necessarily better than another.  I also think it's easier from a design perspective to have some restrictions, since balance is harder to achieve when the player can pick unexpected skill combinations.  It's also hard to make everything viable.  If I have specific classes the player can choose, then I can make sure their character always has a chance of success.  If they can do whatever they want, I need to do some work making sure a mage-knight is on par with a pure knight or a pure mage, which I don't think is trivial.  Of course it does depend on the type of game, and perhaps if you plan this into the design from the start it is a lot easier to accomplish.

I guess my point here is that when I play a new game I like class restrictions.  It lets me get into the game quicker because I don't have to worry about details.  Then once I have a good understanding of the game, I would like to be able to experiment without restrictions.  Some games do this quite well actually.  Dungeons & Dragons Online has a group of "paths" you can take that automatically choose things like feats and spells for you, because it is very complicated for someone who hasn't seen it before, but you also have the option of doing whatever you want.

Pueo

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2012, 02:01:06 PM »
For the most part, I'm not a fan of class systems, either, unless they (and the restrictions they impose) are truly meaningful and necessary according to the game's setting. I've rarely seen any game pull this off.
This is one of the things I like about Brogue: there are no classes.  I really didn't like many RL's because they just put random classes and races in character creation that just didn't seem meaningful.  What's the difference between a "High Elf Dark Mage" and a "Halfling Summoner?" Two dexterity points and one different spell.  What's the point of having them?
I'm currently thinking about a equipment based system of "classes," where you pick your weapon/armor at the beginning of the game and that determines your fighting style. 

I guess my point here is that when I play a new game I like class restrictions.  It lets me get into the game quicker because I don't have to worry about details.  Then once I have a good understanding of the game, I would like to be able to experiment without restrictions.  Some games do this quite well actually.
I'm going to try to do this as well. For example, you can choose the predetermined weapon/armor combinations (which is like choosing the class path and it already choosing all your skills/etc), or you can choose the weapon/armor you want to experiment with.  Of course this will be more difficult, since then you will have to prepare for a Bow/PlateArmor combo or some other weird combination.
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punkbohemian

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #34 on: April 10, 2012, 02:04:05 AM »
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I really like the way dungeons of dredmor does this.  There are a bunch of "class" skill trees, and the only thing that decides what type of character you are is which skills you choose.  You need to choose them in order (i.e. I need to pick skills 1-3 of pyromancy to get to skill 4) but you can pick out of whatever skill paths you want without any restrictions.

I think this is actually the smartest way to do things if one cares at all about verisimilitude in game design. Unless these class categories are meaningful within the setting, they are just artificial design shortcuts to me.

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I guess my point here is that when I play a new game I like class restrictions.  It lets me get into the game quicker because I don't have to worry about details.  Then once I have a good understanding of the game, I would like to be able to experiment without restrictions.  Some games do this quite well actually.  Dungeons & Dragons Online...

That right there is the problem. Sure classes are great when you're getting to know a game, but once you know it they get in the way. I'd rather have a classless system with a slightly steeper learning curve, than a class-based one I'm stuck with once I have a feel for the game.

As for DDO, I don't know much about that, but D&D/D20 is the reason I dislike class systems so much, especially with 3e forward. It's pretty much a meaningless exercise in metagaming at this point. The flipside to this is the CODA system (which did the LoTR tabletop RPG). It was a class system, but the classes were culturally relevant in Tolkien-world (whatever it's called). However, very few systems are clever like this.

This actually gets me thinking. I've already previously expressed my distaste for high fantasy. All the fireballs, teleporting, zweinhanders, and other absurdities are too kitschy for me. However, it was also stated that it's hard to get away from fantasy in RLs. What about a low fantasy setting? That's one of the things I liked about the LoTR setting. For the most part, magic was low key. Magical items were rare and important. People (except for maybe Gandalf) were ordinary mortals without any inherent supernatural abilities. Are there any RLs that really tone down the flash?

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #35 on: April 10, 2012, 03:29:19 AM »
This actually gets me thinking. I've already previously expressed my distaste for high fantasy. All the fireballs, teleporting, zweinhanders, and other absurdities are too kitschy for me. However, it was also stated that it's hard to get away from fantasy in RLs. What about a low fantasy setting? That's one of the things I liked about the LoTR setting. For the most part, magic was low key. Magical items were rare and important. People (except for maybe Gandalf) were ordinary mortals without any inherent supernatural abilities. Are there any RLs that really tone down the flash?
Hopefully my game will, though you probably won't be able to play it for a while.  It's in a really early development stage.
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Ancient

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #36 on: April 10, 2012, 08:06:24 AM »
This actually gets me thinking. I've already previously expressed my distaste for high fantasy. All the fireballs, teleporting, zweinhanders, and other absurdities are too kitschy for me. However, it was also stated that it's hard to get away from fantasy in RLs. What about a low fantasy setting? That's one of the things I liked about the LoTR setting. For the most part, magic was low key. Magical items were rare and important. People (except for maybe Gandalf) were ordinary mortals without any inherent supernatural abilities. Are there any RLs that really tone down the flash?

I recently acquired distaste for fantasy games for reasons similar to ones you state. My reaction was to explore sci-fi RLs and I was not disappointed. Maybe you would like to try Frozen Depths? I can't think of other non-7DRL creations that fit into low fantasy.
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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #37 on: April 10, 2012, 06:57:37 PM »
I don't know if I would consider Tolkein's lotr setting low fantasy. I always thought it was the opposite. But as for an rl with what I would consider a more low fantasy setting, I would try Frozen Depths. Infra Arcana is also a really good roguelike that is definitely not your typical fantasy setting.

I agree that a skill tree system can be much better than classes and races most of the time. I think Frozen Depths is pretty good at having a small roster of races and classes, but there is also a skill tree system within.

Z

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #38 on: April 10, 2012, 07:27:32 PM »
But Infra Arcana is IME too much dependant on luck, and not well balanced yet (did anyone win it?), so it is not what punkbohemian wants.

punkbohemian

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #39 on: April 10, 2012, 07:58:40 PM »
I tried frozen depths. It was ok, but it didn't grab me. I've been toying around a bit with Sil. I'm not a fan of the race mechanics, but otherwise it seems pretty catchy. Actually, I'm also not a fan of the control scheme, but that's pretty much par for the course for a RL.

I suppose the low/high fantasy thing is relative. I started with D&D long before I even knew about Tolkien. Even worse, my GM did a lot of Forgotten Realms which has always been a little munchkiny. With LoTR, you don't have any fireballs, wish spells, vorpal swords of instakill, etc. It's a lot more low-key in comparison. That's one of the things I like about Sil, their magic system is basically just some uselful but not overpowered songs with magical effects.

Game Hunter

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2012, 08:52:23 PM »
But Infra Arcana is IME too much dependant on luck, and not well balanced yet (did anyone win it?), so it is not what punkbohemian wants.
This is why I'm not picky when it comes to setting: ultimately, I care far more about the mechanics and gameplay than I do the aesthetics, whether sensory or thematic. I barely process enemies as what they look like (or should look like in the case of abstract ASCII) and, instead, parse them in terms of their stats. Granted, it's important that the aesthetics aren't offensive (and by that I mean "hard to look at" or "blow your ears out", not in the prejudicial sense). On the other hand, I can appreciate that a developer doesn't want to spend time designing a whole universe for their game: that's really a second job all on its own.

The direction of this thread seems to less "roguelikes that require skill" and more "roguelikes that fit into an increasingly-narrow set of constraints". I don't mind dicussing specific examples of roguelikes that require critical thinking and careful execution of strategy, but we should probably stay on topic.

I think Fenrir makes a good point here:
The skill in a roguelike is the management of risk.
If we take a look at the prototypical example, Rogue itself, it seems often like a hopeless task to win when you first pick it up, but as you learn the boundaries of the game you start to realize that there are actually a great deal of choices that, chosen poorly, lead you to death pretty reliably. Hunger prevents you from staying on a floor for too long, but you could leave some floors as soon as possible while lingering on others, depending on the particular floor difficulty and what items you've managed to obtain to fight enemies there. Each item is priceless in its own way and it's always a hard decision to use up something that would be just as valuable later on. There are going to be cases where you got screwed, sure, but you can continuously minimize the probability of such situations by optimizing your resources and taking early-game risks that will keep you alive later on.

I think the problem as stated isn't that roguelikes doesn't require skills in order to win, it's that roguelikes usually require both skill and luck to do particularly well. I suppose, for me, this is part of the appeal: luck can help you along when you're just starting out, and skill will push you a good deal farther when you're not so lucky. The mix of the two make it, for me, an enjoyable experience for a good long time. It's one of those "the journey is more important than the destination" analogies, I guess, and even if the destination was never reachable in the first place, it can often still be a journey worth taking.
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punkbohemian

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2012, 03:58:09 AM »
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This is why I'm not picky when it comes to setting: ultimately, I care far more about the mechanics and gameplay than I do the aesthetics, whether sensory or thematic.

I can understand and respect that perspective, but I care about both. IMO, one of the things that makes video games unique is that they engage both the left and right brain, so to speak. I mean, if I just wanted pure mechanics, I'd play chess. You can't go wrong there.

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The direction of this thread seems to less "roguelikes that require skill" and more "roguelikes that fit into an increasingly-narrow set of constraints".

Yeah, we've definitely strayed a bit, but all in good, clean fun. :D As a noob to rogue, I think part of the process is finding one's niche, and this discussion has been helpful with that.

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It's one of those "the journey is more important than the destination" analogies, I guess...

I'm not sure if I think that analogy applies here. I'm not really talking about how RLs end proper (especially since I've never seen one). I was talking about how my journey is constantly being interrupted by, well, dying and starting over from scratch, often due to circumstances beyond my ability to correct. In my last Sil death, I turned a corner and immediately saw a room with a half-dozen orcs, who saw me and could move as fast as me. There was no way for me to know what was there before I turned the corner. Running wasn't an option. Really, the only thing I could do is backpedal to the point where I could bottleneck. It was the best option in that situation, but I was still taken out by the last orc.

See, here's the thing. Let's say you're playing a game, and for every single conflict, the odds are in your favor 99:1. Those are pretty good odds. For a single conflict, you can virtually count on a victory. In fact, over 10 conflicts, your odds are still 9:1. However, by 100 conflicts, it drops to a little more than 3:1. By 500, it's a miracle if you've yet to have that one encounter that puts you six feet under. Chances are, that one encounter isn't even going to be a respectable death, either. It's just going to be the logical result of the game wearing your PC down. To be honest, that orc death I mentioned before was the only cool death I've had. That's like a big screen movie death. The PC was fighting off the horde, and almost made it, until one lucky strike from the last combatant took him down. However, all my other deaths have been very unsatisfying.

What is the journey, anyway? That's been mentioned by a few posters, and maybe I'm just not sure what that means. That is, without a plot or character development (in a literary sense), the "journey" is just the game mechanics. Every RL I've played has been pretty clunky in that regard. If I were to make my own RL (and I'm considering doing it with Python once I become better acquainted with the genre), the two things I would change before anything else are the control scheme and the system.

kraflab

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #42 on: April 11, 2012, 01:00:56 PM »
What is the journey, anyway? That's been mentioned by a few posters, and maybe I'm just not sure what that means. That is, without a plot or character development (in a literary sense), the "journey" is just the game mechanics. Every RL I've played has been pretty clunky in that regard. If I were to make my own RL (and I'm considering doing it with Python once I become better acquainted with the genre), the two things I would change before anything else are the control scheme and the system.

I think you've already hit upon part of what the journey is.  Add that orc battle to the journey.  When you finally beat a roguelike (or not) you will undoubtedly have a bunch of cool experiences to look back on.  That is the journey, the sum total of all your attempts to succeed.  As has been mentioned a lot in this thread, it is totally going to depend on what roguelike you play.  I think dwarf fortress has perhaps the best propensity for story-telling.  The forums are simply full of the amazing tales of people living and dying by amazing circumstances.  The main thing here is that you are the character and this is your journey.  It really is what you make of it.  I know some people play dwarf fortress and just have no imagination and get bored.  Other people get totally wrapped into the world they create.  Your player character might not develop much in a single game, but do to your influence each new player character will be different and better able to survive the next time around.

I think another important thing is to learn to enjoy ridiculous deaths.  I know I do.  Some people will say that putting on an amulet of choking (I don't remember the exact name) is a terrible way to go, but I find that quite hilarious.  An example from my own roguelike: I was walking along when I saw a lone mage.  I leapt at him, only to find that outside my previous view there had been quite a few more enemies (I shouldn't have leapt into the unknown xD).  They proceeded to repeatedly kick me to the ground and one of them pegged me in the head with a rock, knocking me unconscious.  Then they broke my legs and eventually I succumbed to death.  Now I think that is an awesome story, but it totally depends on your attitude towards death.  I also learned to be wary about leaping into uncharted territory ;) So you see I added an experience and learned something as part of my journey.

With respect to your specific instance in Sil, and perhaps to emphasize that experience is important, you can go into stealth mode in Sil (by pressing S), which may have let you avoid alerting all those orcs entirely.  It actually says in the manual that it's possible to win the game entirely through the use of stealth and subterfuge (I would say a rare thing in roguelikes).  Admittedly, I don't have a huge amount of experience with it and for all I know you were in stealth mode and they saw you anyway :P

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2012, 04:07:43 PM »
See, here's the thing. Let's say you're playing a game, and for every single conflict, the odds are in your favor 99:1. Those are pretty good odds. For a single conflict, you can virtually count on a victory. In fact, over 10 conflicts, your odds are still 9:1. However, by 100 conflicts, it drops to a little more than 3:1. By 500, it's a miracle if you've yet to have that one encounter that puts you six feet under.
And that would suck...if that's what we were talking about. A lot of roguelikes give you backup plans and trump cards, which you can use to get yourself out of that one-in-a-hundred chance encounter. Whether or not you get these can be random, just as whether or not you fight an exceedingly hard enemy is random. For "veteran" players of a given roguelike, the odds of impossible scenarios during an important phase of the game are virtually nil (at least if the roguelike isn't stupid-hard, and few are). Sure, sometimes it pops up anyway, but this is about as unfortunate as accidentally pressing the wrong button or getting distracted when playing a game in real-time: it will happen and you just have to accept it.

What is the journey, anyway? That's been mentioned by a few posters, and maybe I'm just not sure what that means. That is, without a plot or character development (in a literary sense), the "journey" is just the game mechanics.
kraflab's example of Dwarf Fortress is a good way to put it, but you could name almost any game with nonlinearity and openendedness and see the same thing. Where's the journey in Minecraft, or Civilization, or Sim City? Where's the journey in League of Legends, or Counterstrike, or competitive Starcraft? Games without an explicit narrative often give way for the player to make one for themselves, and that's usually what roguelikes allow for. For me, if there IS an intended plot, it usually takes a really good one for me to care about it. I tend to be more impressed with games that give me all the tools necessary to make a compelling narrative than games that railroad me into something I may not necessarily find compelling.

That's why roguelikes incorporate randomness into their games: to provide the player with unexpected situations and on-the-fly strategies that build a very unique narrative each time. Permadeath, then, is the driving force that guides this narrative through the ultimate goal of "not dying", as opposed to winning. If you happen to win, that's great, but the successes made by not dying for as long as possible can often be just as interesting.
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Pueo

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Re: a RL that requires skill?
« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2012, 05:53:09 PM »
The direction of this thread seems to less "roguelikes that require skill" and more "roguelikes that fit into an increasingly-narrow set of constraints". I don't mind dicussing specific examples of roguelikes that require critical thinking and careful execution of strategy, but we should probably stay on topic.
I don't really mind when threads get off topic.  That's when the conversations get interesting!

I think another important thing is to learn to enjoy ridiculous deaths.
I love ridiculous deaths.  Put on a cursed ring of clairvoyance? Fun.  What's behind door number 3?! A Tentacle Horror!

I don't know if I would consider Tolkein's lotr setting low fantasy. I always thought it was the opposite.
I suppose by definition (alternate reality, different races, etc) it is high fantasy, but relatively, it's pretty much mid- to low-fantasy

Permadeath, then, is the driving force that guides this narrative through the ultimate goal of "not dying", as opposed to winning.
I suppose you could also look at it like one of those kinds of books that talks about a thousand years of the big bad, with hundreds of heroes dying at his hands, until that one hero comes and beats him

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