Author Topic: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes  (Read 8906 times)

IBOL

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weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« on: May 04, 2012, 01:50:22 PM »
ok, so how do people feel about items having weight in a roguelike,
and the player only being able to carry a certain amount?

i intend to have both a limited # of inventory slots,
and items with weight that can eventually slow you down
and limit what you can carry.

is this too limiting to the player?

please discuss & inform me!
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kraflab

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 02:53:31 PM »
Anything can be fun if done properly.  i think this will actually open up some really interesting gameplay with different weapon types.  For example, maybe someone who specializes in daggers will deal less damage than someone who uses massive broadswords, but he will be able to carry a variety of daggers for different purposes whereas the heavy weapon guy will have limited space.

One of the problems i think is that a heavy armor user will have a lot less space for potions, etc, so balance might be a little harder to achieve.  On the flip side of that, weight becomes something that you can adjust to balance the game.

The point is: as long as you make good design choices it can certainly be fun and not limiting at all.

Z

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2012, 03:05:16 PM »
We have been discussing weight/encumberance here.

In short: many well known roguelikes have a badly designed system which brings only annoyance instead of tactical depth.

Game Hunter

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2012, 04:00:22 PM »
Limiting the player isn't inherently bad. The game rules limit what the player can do all the time! You're usually limited to how many spaces you can move in a given turn, what kinds of actions you can perform, and so on and so forth. Weight/encumberance should be treated the same way: limit the player's choices in a manner that is strategically and/or tactically interesting.

The standard use of weight and encumberance is to give every item a particular, universal weight, all of which combine into the "inventory weight" of the player. The player becomes encumbered whenever the inventory weight becomes greater than some value, often scaling with attributes like strength, and being encumbered usually causes the player's speed to decline. One might call this a pseudo-realistic approach, because all massive objects will have weight, and surely someone holding so much won't be able to move and/or react as quickly as someone who doesn't. However, as it often the case in games, trying to use a realistic approach tends to detract from gameplay. Thus I would recommend to attempt a more novel implementation.

If you're planning on both using both a hard limit (total inventory space) and a soft limit (too many items makes you weaker) then you should probably try to make them interact. For instance, require that inventory is limited to what containers you bring (backpacks, sacks, chests, purses, satchels, etc), each of which also has a weight. This means that you have to plan out not only what to bring with you, but what to bring that will allow you to carry more as you venture further.

You also don't need to strictly follow "weight" as the means to encumber the player, but use some other metric. Perhaps if a player is carrying too many items of a certain type, it takes longer for them to use that particular type of item. (I have 20 weapons all jumbled together, where the heck is that dagger?) Without necessarily limiting what the player uses, they will likely optimize certain item types depending on what they expect to require in combat. Or you could make it so that carrying too many items makes it easier for them to break or spoil or rust or any other kind of item degradation.

So yeah, I'd stay away from the traditional system if you can and try something that would positively impact the game's limiters.
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Pueo

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2012, 04:05:35 PM »
When I try to design a feature or function, I try to first envision it in my head.  To me, weight/encumbrance looks like a guy with a really big backpack stuffing stuff in until he falls over from the weight, so I don't like it.  I prefer the image of a guy with maybe a small backpack, or just pouches.  You probably have room for 6 or 7 potions, maybe a pouch for keys, definitely not room for 3 or 4 armors, but maybe room for a few daggers.  You have your little hammer-space pouch for the tons of gold you collect, and probably a pouch for the Amulet of Yendor.  If you're a archer you probably have a quiver.  Of course, this makes more sense for my project, where the only real items you can pick up are potions and ammunition; magic is based on a mana system and your weapons are chosen at the beginning of the game.
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requerent

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2012, 05:06:01 PM »
If the game is gear oriented (that is, equipment is the primary enabler, like in zelda or brogue), the player's current gear (both equipped and in the inventory) effectively represents their current 'class.' Restricting a player's inventory in an intelligent manner requires the player to thoughtfully consider what equipment they keep in inventory and what they ditch. This leads to a tendency of keeping the inventory perpetually maxed out- encumberance becomes a meaningful way to keep the player from having a maxed inventory. If items are really cleverly designed-- the weight of an item correllates to its strength, thereby a player loses versatility when they pick the ultimate weapon of a certain type.


In a game with restrictive classes, like ToME, inventory/encumberance is virtually meaningless (even before the transmogrification chesst).

IBOL

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2012, 04:01:06 AM »
tons of great stuff to think about here, thanks for the replies.
i will definitely keep my intended limits/system,
but try to make sure it is tactical and enjoyable.

(yeah, i searched for weight & encumbrance but didn't find another thread,
 but i have read from the other thread mentioned before. thanks for the link)
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Darren Grey

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2012, 11:28:06 AM »
An important consideration is how much inventories matter in the game, and how many items a player is likely to have. Inventory systems tend to be the most boring part of any RPG, especially roguelikes where you're encouraged to hoard everything because of item destruction or item identification. Encumbrance systems are awful here because you tend to spend all of your time fiddling to stay under the optimum weight instead of just enjoying the game. Inventories tend to involve a lot of keypresses and going through lists and doing little boring weight calculations in your head - it's so tedious when the game is meant to be about dungeon crawling.

And forget realism. It's very boring. And what may seem tactically interesting in your head can translate to repetitive and tedious activity in the game. Personally I'd say ditch items altogether - too much hassle for too little gain, when you could be designing cool combat stuff instead :P

IBOL

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2012, 01:38:04 AM »
(this is just a poke at mr. grey:)
how can you design interesting combat systems with only 1 Hit Point ?
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Darren Grey

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2012, 11:43:06 AM »
Come to IRDC and I'll explain  :P

In short though, in a 1 HP system combat is not about trading blows, but about movement around the field.  Every form of movement or ways of altering the enemy's movement becomes a battle tactic.  The game design becomes centred around introducing interesting ways to move around the area, which is itself more engaging than just holding down the left key till all the enemies are dead.  Chess of course is a great example of a game that employs exactly these design principles - every piece has its own movement pattern.

In a melee-based game, though you have no physical HP assigned to your character, at every point it should be clear that you are x steps away from an enemy that can kill you.  Being 3 tiles away from an enemy effectively means you have 3 HP.  Without ranged attacks you can only kill enemies when you are at 1 HP, forcing you into dangerous and exciting situations to advance.  This is where the fun comes in  :)

Z

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2012, 12:12:42 PM »
Deadly Rooms of Death, ChessRogue, LineRogue, Fragile Wrath, HyperRogue III (later phases), Darren's roguelikes (UNSTOPPABLE, Gruesome, Toby the Trapper, sick peter)... each of these brings a unique 1HP combat system, and IMO at least 4 of them are very interesting.

Much more variety than in the more traditional roguelikes.

Waiting for Darren's talk :) (I hope there will be a video...)

IBOL

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2012, 07:22:15 PM »
Personally I'd say ditch items altogether -
that is a very interesting idea for a future game perhaps,
but right now, as a player, i really love to find items,
get that next little power-up, whatever.

Being 3 tiles away from an enemy effectively means you have 3 HP.  Without ranged attacks you can only kill enemies when you are at 1 HP, forcing you into dangerous and exciting situations to advance.  This is where the fun comes in  :)
of course i didn't think of that. sounds actually pretty interesting,
if designed and executed well. (even after i posted that little jibe,
i started to think of ways 1HP might be used...)

also, as a player, i actually tend to enjoy deciding what to keep and what to throw away.
(although i never really want to throw anything away...i want to SELL IT!)
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Darren Grey

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Re: weight / encumbrance in roguelikes
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2012, 09:40:08 PM »
You don't need items to find power-ups and upgrade abilities.  At least not items you need an inventory system to interact with.  Start thinking about how these powers can be integrated into the regular gameplay and you can have a much more cohesive and approachable game.