Author Topic: Single item per tile?  (Read 12695 times)

Omnomnom

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 79
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Single item per tile?
« on: February 17, 2013, 06:33:20 PM »
What are people's views on single item per tile vs multiple items per tile?

Many of the modern roguelikes I have played (eg Brogue, Infra Arcana and DoomRL) only allow one floor item per tile. I vaguely recall nethack from long ago allowed multiple items per tile.

I realize the advantage of single item per tile is that all items can be represented by a symbol or image on screen, but what about the problems with finding space to drop items? monster drops too. How many games still use multiple items per tile and how do they handle displaying that? I was thinking of just having an icon representing a pile of items (one or more items).

NON

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 349
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Infra Arcana
    • Email
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 07:51:27 PM »
Quote
but what about the problems with finding space to drop items?
Imo, if you get this problem you drop too many items.
Happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes.

Nymphaea

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 74
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Maria Fox
    • View Profile
    • Nymphaea.ca
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2013, 08:06:49 PM »
Angband does it in a way that is a mix of both. Items will "roll" to nearby empty squares if available, and if not, will pile up. That's probably the best way to go about it in my opinion, plus its always interesting when an item "rolls under your feet" and you can't figure out what it is until you finish with all the enemies around you.

Holsety

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 148
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 08:59:56 PM »
Crawl, Incursion, ToME4 and The Slimy Lichmummy use multiple items per tile, off the top of my head.

Crawls tile mode handles it deftly since you only need to hover over the pile with your mouse in order to have the contents displayed on the right hand side of the screen.

Incursion opens its item handling menu when you pick something up (allowing you to take an item from the floor into your hands, and then to one of your equipment slots or into a container). Alternatively you can look at the tile to see a list of the items there. Optionally you can have the game display all items in view in one of the sidepanels, which is VERY nice.

ToME4 (which uses tiles) displays one item of the pile as a graphical tile and adds an asterix to denote that there's other items there too if memory serves. Picking something up opens a menu that lets you pick the items up one by one (or all at once).

Slimy Lichmummy simply has multiple items per tile and says it's a pile of stuff. Opting to pick something up gives a simple menu akin to Nethack. That's in SDL mode, I don't know how ascii mode does it, since I prefer the SDL mode, derp.

Of these three types of handling (ToME and TSL are practically the same) multiple items per tile, Incursion does it best for pure Ascii in my opinion. For tile-based roguelikes there are a lot of lessons to be learned from Crawl's interface, which is brilliant in conveying information.
Both of these have the ability to have the game display items in a seperate panel, which is crucial.
Crawl's tile mode is (to me) unplayable in that seeing what's in an item pile is so damn unintuitive and timerobbing.

The more often you have items in a pile, the more crucial it is to have a way to display them at a glance, and sidepanels (or Angband style seperate windows) is more or less the only way to do it in Ascii.
Crawl and Incursion have LOTS of item piles though. The Slimy Lichmummy , Nethack and ToME get away with the Nethack style pickup menus because they usually have only single items lying about.

Personally I prefer roguelikes to be smaller in scope and tactical (NETPACK, Slimy Lichmummy, Forays into Norrendrin, Sword in Hand and PrincessRL as examples), which has them be more conservative with their item drops.
More piles usually coincides with games having lots of equipment slots. Sure it's fun to deck out your @ with boots, pants, underpants, belt, belt buckle, undershirt, t-shirt, vest, blazer, gauntlet, ETCETCETCETC but that leads to either an Angband-style roguelike (which is opposite to my preference and therefore objectively bad  ;)) and/or a lot of the items being garbage/useless/squelchable.
Comes down to me preferring single item per tile; I'm a big fan of removing obsolete elements from games, like having a single button fill multiple roles ('a'pplying a potion, rune, wand, magic ring ability etc).  More towards pong, less towards Dwarf Fortress, you know? But that's a whole nother topic, sorry.

Having a single item per tile also means developers can simplify their UIs.
In the end it depends on the flow of your game, how tight your design is and what role items play in it.

Add.: I can't remember if it was Halls of Mist or Sil that did this, but they had single item per tile, with items rolling to adjacent tiles. That's a fine way of handling multiple drops, BUT.
If you have DOORS. For the love of god please don't have the door be BLOCKED (making me unable to close it) because a scroll or an apple rolled onto the same tile.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2013, 09:04:40 PM by Holsety »
Quote from: AgingMinotaur
… and it won't stop until we get to the first, unknown ignorance. And after that – well, who knows?

Krice

  • (Banned)
  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 2316
  • Karma: +0/-2
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 09:30:25 PM »
The more often you have items in a pile, the more crucial it is to have a way to display them at a glance

I don't know why it's crucial. Nethack has piles with only top item displayed/known and it doesn't matter. If you go on that way you should also know from a distance what is in a container. Single item per tile works only if you don't have lots of items.

Paul Jeffries

  • 7DRL Reviewer
  • Rogueliker
  • *
  • Posts: 257
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
    • Vitruality.com
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2013, 11:54:31 PM »
I realize the advantage of single item per tile is that all items can be represented by a symbol or image on screen

In my game AS.T.Ro I had multiple items per tile but I also had the pickup graphic for each item being a lot smaller than the tile (i.e. actually semi-realistically sized compared to characters) and placed in a randomish position in the tile-space.  That meant that if there was more than one item there I could just display all of them and not have the uppermost one obscure the others, because they were all relatively small and in different locations on the tile, as can hopefully be seen in this screenshot:



That was the neatest way of doing things that I could think of, although it does mean that you have to be careful when doing your graphics so that your items are distinctive enough to be recognisable at small scales.

kraflab

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 454
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • kraflab.com
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 05:42:18 AM »
In Epilogue there is a portion of the screen dedicated to listing all the items at your feet, much like how I believe crawl does it.  I think that single item per tile makes sense if the size of drops is generally one item (this doesn't work in epilogue because a dead enemy drops all of their loot).

TheCreator

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 370
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Fame
    • Email
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 06:38:31 AM »
Are you guys crazy? Tiles are not a grocery store. They are a battlefield. Precious items must be hidden beneath piles of dead bodies :).
Fame (Untitled) - my game. Everything is a roguelike.

Ancient

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 453
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 10:28:59 PM »
Inventory exploding out of dead monster looks fun but it has the potential to clutter the screen with needless information. During combat this may obscure traps and make tactical decisions harder.

Items spreading to other tiles may become problematic if your game has object-terrain interactions. In DoomRL you need to watch where you kill some formers or else their ammo may end up incinerated in a lava pool. If your monsters may carry a lot of stuff single item per tile is not very feasible. It mostly works when there are few items in whole game.

If you go item stacks implement some kind of logic deciding what item to show on top. The newsgroup rec.games.roguelike.nethack knows stories about players losing the Amulet of Yendor in a stack of goodies and looking for it quite a time. The story short what is most interesting to player should be on top of pile. Also consider issuing a warning when player is going to enter square with a trap obscured by items.
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

Quendus

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 447
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • $@ \in \{1,W\} \times \{1,H\}$
    • View Profile
    • Klein Roguelikes
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 11:28:39 PM »
Or just don't let items be put on floor tiles that contain significant terrain features.

Holsety

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 148
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 08:25:29 AM »
Or just don't let items be put on floor tiles that contain significant terrain features.

But if they're hidden traps... the most roundabout way of detecting booby-traps?
Quote from: AgingMinotaur
… and it won't stop until we get to the first, unknown ignorance. And after that – well, who knows?

Quendus

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 447
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • $@ \in \{1,W\} \times \{1,H\}$
    • View Profile
    • Klein Roguelikes
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 09:50:47 AM »
If you want to waste your time finding traps by standing on every square and dropping nine items so that they roll onto the eight adjacent tiles... sure. Probably easier to search.

NON

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 349
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Infra Arcana
    • Email
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2013, 10:55:50 AM »
Or just don't let items be put on floor tiles that contain significant terrain features.

But if they're hidden traps... the most roundabout way of detecting booby-traps?
Allow floor cells with hidden traps to have an item, but disallow it on cells with known traps. If a trap with an item on it is discovered, the item moves to the nearest free cell.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 10:57:54 AM by NON »
Happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes.

Ancient

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 453
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 05:22:27 PM »
Or just don't let items be put on floor tiles that contain significant terrain features.
But if they're hidden traps... the most roundabout way of detecting booby-traps?
Allow floor cells with hidden traps to have an item, but disallow it on cells with known traps. If a trap with an item on it is discovered, the item moves to the nearest free cell.
Could I trap a square to remove items from it? To me not allowing items to slide over a known trap or not is too much effort because of the special cases. I prefer old good predictable behavior.
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

NON

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 349
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Infra Arcana
    • Email
Re: Single item per tile?
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 06:22:16 PM »
Could I trap a square to remove items from it?
Sure. Of course if that is a problem or not depends on the game. Maybe in some games it could be abused.

Quote from: Ancient
To me not allowing items to slide over a known trap or not is too much effort because of the special cases.
I don't think it's a lot of effort. I just have a function called dropItemOnMap which puts the item in the nearest free cell. When a trap is discovered it removes the item from the map and drops it again in the same place.

From a player perspective I don't think it's too unpredictable, just mildly confusing when you step on an item and it "jumps away" and you take damage instead. But I prefer that to hiding known traps under items.

Now someone will say "use graphics that shows both the trap and the item in the same cell".
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 06:27:15 PM by NON »
Happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes.