Author Topic: Adaptive bosses  (Read 5548 times)

ekolis

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Adaptive bosses
« on: June 25, 2013, 08:41:39 PM »
I was listening to Roguelike Radio episode 69, and the issue of bosses being too easy or too hard depending on player choices of abilities struck a chord with me. What if roguelikes adopted a mechanic from the shooter Warning Forever, and had adaptive bosses? So if you have a lot of fire spells, then the boss has fire resistance, but if you have a lot of lightning spells, then he has lightning resistance. That way the bosses are equally difficult no matter what choices you make!
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Trystan

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Re: Adaptive bosses
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2013, 08:52:25 PM »
That way the bosses are equally difficult no matter what choices you make!

So it doesn't matter what choices you make? That sounds like the opposite of a game I'd like to play.

Some games (like The Elder Scrolls series, I think) do something like this where each creature is generated when you enter the area and has a similar level to you. It's pretty dull.

But that's just my experiences - you should try it and find out. Prototype a quick little roguelike with adaptive bosses and see if it's fun.

Eben

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Re: Adaptive bosses
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2013, 09:06:04 PM »
The idea of adaptive bosses, and gameplay in general, is a pretty nice one but has to be done very carefully.

For me one of the great things about roguelikes is how you can be totally overpowered for one situation but underpowered for the next. Which means making choices about tactics and resource use can be interesting choices.

Adapting so that everything feels the same is typically a poor approach. Much better would be something like the game dropping you the right items to deal with an upcoming boss if you didn't already have something appropriate, but not something so good that it's better than making better choices earlier on.

The best "adaptation" is giving the player a clear warning if they're way in over their head before they hit the point of no return.

It's tricky at best and really for most roguelikes dying from poor equipment choices and learning to make better ones in the future is part of what it's all about

ekolis

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Re: Adaptive bosses
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2013, 12:56:43 AM »
That way the bosses are equally difficult no matter what choices you make!

So it doesn't matter what choices you make? That sounds like the opposite of a game I'd like to play.

The choices would matter, just not when fighting bosses. This makes sense because bosses are things you have to fight exactly once, whereas other monsters you can avoid if they're too strong for your particular character, or farm if they're too weak. It would be unfair to the player to force him to make the same set of choices every time just so he can beat all the bosses!
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Zireael

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Re: Adaptive bosses
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2013, 07:13:17 AM »
That way the bosses are equally difficult no matter what choices you make!

So it doesn't matter what choices you make? That sounds like the opposite of a game I'd like to play.

The choices would matter, just not when fighting bosses. This makes sense because bosses are things you have to fight exactly once, whereas other monsters you can avoid if they're too strong for your particular character, or farm if they're too weak. It would be unfair to the player to force him to make the same set of choices every time just so he can beat all the bosses!

I agree that the bosses should be equally hard no matter your choices.
However, have you thought that the solution might be: include no bosses? Certainly easier to code than adaptive bosses!

Krice

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Re: Adaptive bosses
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2013, 09:56:30 AM »
So if you have a lot of fire spells, then the boss has fire resistance

It can make bosses both predictable and generic. I think the best way to handle also bosses is make then more random. That way the player can't prepare to meet specific kind of opponent, but he has to "play" his role and try to use whatever he has to win the boss. I think boss enemies are always kind of a problem, because you have to do a lot of balancing to avoid them being too difficult to beat.

Vanguard

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Re: Adaptive bosses
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2013, 10:59:51 AM »
I can't think of a single game that did this sort of thing where it did more good than harm.  Maybe Morrowind.

The closest thing I can think of is "rank" systems in shoot 'em ups.  Essentially, the game's difficulty increases as you collect items, destroy enemies, and survive, and it lowers if you take damage or avoid items.  It'd be easy enough to implement in an RPG - just give the enemies level ups based on the player's rank.  You'd need to decide whether you want the player to be able to manipulate their rank to get better results.  I hear IVAN is like that, actually.

Random bosses could work, but you'd lose the ability to make interesting, hand-crafted encounters, and you'd need to be careful to prevent the game from generating overpowered or underpowered combinations of traits.  You don't want to be like ToME 4 where random bosses can sometimes do 20 million damage by looking at you.

Etinarg

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Re: Adaptive bosses
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2013, 12:45:42 PM »
So if you have a lot of fire spells, then the boss has fire resistance, but if you have a lot of lightning spells, then he has lightning resistance. That way the bosses are equally difficult no matter what choices you make!

a) I do not want the bosses to adapt.

b) If they adapt, I'll be temped to find loopholes in the system and make them adapt in a way that makes them easier to handle.

c) I don't believe that one can make an adaption system that cannot be exploited.


Vanguard

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Re: Adaptive bosses
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2013, 02:46:59 PM »
So if you have a lot of fire spells, then the boss has fire resistance

I know you just used this as an example, but elemental resistances are terrible and do more harm than good 99% of the time.