Author Topic: "Player is paper doll" as factor for defining "Roguelikeness"  (Read 5878 times)

AgingMinotaur

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 805
  • Karma: +2/-0
  • Original Discriminating Buffalo Man
    • View Profile
    • Land of Strangers
I know the era of great discussions concerning RL definitions is more or less past, but it just struck me that an important feature of most (all?) great RLs is that the player character works as a paper doll, with all the inventory slots for armor etc. Wearing and wielding the right stuff is an important strategic factor in Rogue and onwards.

It's not that I think the Temple definition should be revised, or anything, but I don't think this was much discussed in the Berlin interpretation, either, if I recall correctly. So I just wanted to see if the claim could spawn any discussion :) Any good counter examples? Thoughts on this feature?

One could certainly experiment with this sub game (to call it that), but I think, much like identification, it's not something you can just take out of an otherwise Roguelike game without considering how and why.

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

Game Hunter

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Channel, the Roguelike
    • Email
Re: "Player is paper doll" as factor for defining "Roguelikeness"
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 08:21:19 PM »
Wearing and wielding the right stuff is an important strategic factor in Rogue and onwards.

This is really more of a discussion between intrinsic and extrinsic improvements to the character. Intrinsic benefits are the kind given through level-up, and extrinsic benefits are the kind that the player is granted through various items and equipment: more generally, intrinsics are permanent (or at least difficult to gain/remove) and extrinsics are not. I would argue that this sort of character-building is a consequence of the heavy use of procedural content generation, rather than inherently designed. This is to say that, if you want to make the player forcibly adapt to the situation, they will be able to do so more fluidly if they can keep what they want and get rid of what they don't want. Skills and feats and (especially) character classes work in the opposite direction by constraining the player to a particular style of play, which can be interesting to a point but tends to lessen the factor of replayability as a whole.

Naturally this isn't always the case. for instance, Rogue Survivor's intrinsic gains (skills) are wildly dependent on the extrinsics  (items) available, and so the player can compensate "bad rolls" with some padding where it's needed. MageGuild is similar to this extent and, while the player's spell choices are going to be important when it comes to having a particular fallback constant, it's the items that make or break a given game. Unfortunately, however, combining the two often leads to choosing extrinsics as a result of intrinsics (e.g., only using maces because you've already invested so much into mace expertise), which is why the focus of roguelikes tends to be toward item gains and away from leveling up.

Diablo (and probably even moreso in its sequels) chose to focus on items, although I would say this is done in a way that isn't all that meaningful. The "good" from that game are the unique items, which literally have some unique qualities that stand out from any other item and add some depth to the strategic and tactical decisions. The "bad", on the other hand, are all the other items that players only have to min-max to figure out what's good and what isn't. The items may as well be intrinsic-like, since you only get rid of one for something that is quantitatively better: in many ways this is the same thing as leveling up, except that the achievement condition depends on what enemies drops and not the killings themselves.

That's really all I have to say. I think in an environment where so very many games have the idea that the player's avatar should always grow exponentially without fail, it's nice to see roguelikes expect the player to adapt to stay at the top of their game.
2012 7DRL Challenge blind-runs!
2013 7DRL Challenge blind-runs too!
I do roguelike LPs, usually blind. I'm always looking for criticism!

Z

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 905
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Z's Roguelike Stuff
Re: "Player is paper doll" as factor for defining "Roguelikeness"
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 10:16:16 PM »
I think that equipment slots are not a feature of roguelikes, but rather of role playing games.

Also more roguelikes break this than RPGs.

Darren Grey

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 2019
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • It is pitch black. You are likely to eat someone.
    • View Profile
    • Games of Grey
Re: "Player is paper doll" as factor for defining "Roguelikeness"
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 11:00:13 PM »
What Z said.  The important thing in considering what is essentially roguelike is to look at what it has that other genres don't.  What separates the genre and makes it unique?

guest509

  • Guest
Re: "Player is paper doll" as factor for defining "Roguelikeness"
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 11:41:20 PM »
It may not necessarily be a core mechanic. But I do like playing dress up.

Darren Grey

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 2019
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • It is pitch black. You are likely to eat someone.
    • View Profile
    • Games of Grey
Re: "Player is paper doll" as factor for defining "Roguelikeness"
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2012, 11:58:56 PM »
Which does adequately bring up the fact that we've yet to see a BarbieRL.

guest509

  • Guest
Re: "Player is paper doll" as factor for defining "Roguelikeness"
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2012, 01:41:13 AM »
Which does adequately bring up the fact that we've yet to see a BarbieRL.

I'd program it, but math is hard.

Holsety

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 148
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: "Player is paper doll" as factor for defining "Roguelikeness"
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2012, 06:48:39 PM »
Which does adequately bring up the fact that we've yet to see a BarbieRL.

If it let me equip Ken arms to replace the ones I lost to some nameless horror (and if this gave me bonus strength) I'd play the shit out of it.

I think that equipment slots are not a feature of roguelikes, but rather of role playing games.
[...]

Pretty much this. Paper Doll is so very RPG that it's pretty expected for roguelikes to have it also, being grounded in RPG tropes since the beginning...

Now, as for experimenting with the Paper Doll system, Posband and RePosBand are the only roguelikes I know of that do it. Basically they're variants of Angband in which the player can choose to play as a monster.

Quote
The equipment capabilities each race had was also determined by monster (let's face it, a Quythulg is unlikely to dual-weild maces of disruption, and a spider has plenty of feet to fit footwear onto), which has added a myriad of balancing issues, all designed to add extra flavour to an already interesting game."

Of course you've still got a Paper Doll but it's not the standard humanoid shape. Then again, being a monster gives you lots of interesting intrinsics outside of the paperdoll.
Quote from: AgingMinotaur
… and it won't stop until we get to the first, unknown ignorance. And after that – well, who knows?

Darren Grey

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 2019
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • It is pitch black. You are likely to eat someone.
    • View Profile
    • Games of Grey
Re: "Player is paper doll" as factor for defining "Roguelikeness"
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2012, 08:47:11 PM »
Let's not forget that many RPG tropes come from Rogue itself.

guest509

  • Guest
Re: "Player is paper doll" as factor for defining "Roguelikeness"
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2012, 04:41:55 AM »
Let's not forget that many RPG tropes come from Rogue itself.

I don't always buy that Darren. I mean, Rogue was so heavily influenced by Dungeons and Dragons it's hard to tell what the influence is.

I guess developers cite Rogue. How prevalent is that?