Author Topic: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives  (Read 83106 times)

zasvid

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #45 on: October 20, 2013, 12:07:19 PM »
This thread is getting more and more surreal, but... oh well, :-X

Let me just say that the term "jRPGs" is about as meaningless these days as "grinding" itself  (actually, there are similarities to what has become of the term "roguelike" itself)

Huh? Grinding is quite well defined and you were perfectly willing to discuss it earlier in the thread and now the term is meaningless?

akeley

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #46 on: October 20, 2013, 02:39:07 PM »
No, it`s not at all "well defined". Rather, everybody is using their own version to defend/attack various angles. That`s regarding this thread...and there`s a similar trend in the outside gaming world, where it`s mostly used as a convenient weapon to bash assorted  games/companies/genres without much regard for reality. Along the way it has acquired mostly negative connotation, though in ideal world it would be just a term. In fact, if you look at the first post of this thread there`s Jo using it, in what seems to me a "normal" way.

But even if we stick to one of the negative definitions - it still fails, because it`s usually taken out of context and applied to personal vision of what constitutes some sort of a Golden Rule when it comes to RL/RPG systems. And it double fails when you`re trying to tie it to the other "meaningless" term - the much maligned jRPGs.  And what are those? Surely RPGs made in Japan...right?...no, wait...lol  ;) And it becomes totally abstract when it`s implied that a genre encompassing as many various styles and subsets as the, ahem,  "jRPG" can be measured with one yardstick, namely itsagrindfest.

Reason I said it`s getting surreal in here, was upon reading snippets like Vanguard`s "99% of the time you're committing mass murder for little to no reason" regarding roleplaying, or your own comparison of jRPG fans to Aztec sun worshippers. Sorry, couldn`t find a better term for these than "surreal".

I`m perfectly willing to discuss anything, it`s just there`s usually a moment in such discussion - I call it The Tumbleweed - when assorted parties start going around in circles and repeating themselves. Consensus is (very) seldom reached between two disagreeers, at best you can sort of part-in-peace. Which is what I thought happened earlier. I couldn`t resist another remark, because I`m of course flawed, as those various battle systems out there. Go on, shoot me (better yet, cast Silence) :P

zasvid

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #47 on: October 20, 2013, 03:33:10 PM »
No, it`s not at all "well defined". Rather, everybody is using their own version to defend/attack various angles. That`s regarding this thread...and there`s a similar trend in the outside gaming world, where it`s mostly used as a convenient weapon to bash assorted  games/companies/genres without much regard for reality. Along the way it has acquired mostly negative connotation, though in ideal world it would be just a term. In fact, if you look at the first post of this thread there`s Jo using it, in what seems to me a "normal" way.

Perhaps there is some truth that frequent misappropriation of the term poisons the discussion, though the point that grinding shouldn't have a negative connotation is arguable - for someone believing that grinding has no place in any game, it's impossible to not attach a negative connotation!

But even if we stick to one of the negative definitions - it still fails, because it`s usually taken out of context and applied to personal vision of what constitutes some sort of a Golden Rule when it comes to RL/RPG systems. And it double fails when you`re trying to tie it to the other "meaningless" term - the much maligned jRPGs.  And what are those? Surely RPGs made in Japan...right?...no, wait...lol  ;) And it becomes totally abstract when it`s implied that a genre encompassing as many various styles and subsets as the, ahem,  "jRPG" can be measured with one yardstick, namely itsagrindfest.

Reason I said it`s getting surreal in here, was upon reading snippets like Vanguard`s "99% of the time you're committing mass murder for little to no reason" regarding roleplaying, or your own comparison of jRPG fans to Aztec sun worshippers. Sorry, couldn`t find a better term for these than "surreal".

Well, my knowledge of jRPGs is very shallow and I am aware of grindfest jRPGs only by hearsay, so in answering Gr3yling's statement I had to take them at face value. I've also had no reason not to, as my counterpoint is salient even if the specifics of Gr3yling's argument have been completely made up (surely, a community of jRPG fans admonishing other players for grinding too much would be even more unreasonable if they were talking about a game that doesn't allow grinding?).

I`m perfectly willing to discuss anything, it`s just there`s usually a moment in such discussion - I call it The Tumbleweed - when assorted parties start going around in circles and repeating themselves. Consensus is (very) seldom reached between two disagreeers, at best you can sort of part-in-peace. Which is what I thought happened earlier. I couldn`t resist another remark, because I`m of course flawed, as those various battle systems out there. Go on, shoot me (better yet, cast Silence) :P

Never! Consensus isn't the (whole) point of a discussion. Having my ideas challenged always helps me reexamine them and reaffirm the good ones or reject-and-reassess the less solid ones.

akeley

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #48 on: October 20, 2013, 06:00:24 PM »
Never! Consensus isn't the (whole) point of a discussion. Having my ideas challenged always helps me reexamine them and reaffirm the good ones or reject-and-reassess the less solid ones.

Hah, fair enough mate, wish more people were aware of that ;) I`ll try to rejoin this argument again when  I find a bit of time - got some real life grinding loomin`over next few days...

Gr3yling

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #49 on: October 20, 2013, 06:15:09 PM »
Calling it "denseness" is just insulting.

zasvid, it sounds like you are taking what I said too seriously.  I was essentially saying: I don't see how any player could be worse at the game than I am.  I was making fun of my own abilities, not belittling other people. 

I certainly don't think that you or anyone else who grinds is less intelligent than me, okay?  I promise I didn't think you would have taken it that way or I wouldn't have said it.  I'm sorry.

I am quite happy to see this is a message board that thinks it is in bad taste to say mean things about other people, though.

Well, of course, if a game lets you learn magic at no cost save time and risk-free effort, you'll learn magic unless you're the kind of player that values playing to a concept purely more than making sure you'll win (this is weakened somewhat in risk-free games like a lot of mainstream titles, because you can put it off until you encounter problems).

I don't know zasvid, I just don't see it.  I mean, I hear what you are saying, I just have a hard time believing most people think that way.  Do players other than you really feel like they absolutely have to use features just because they are there?

Why yes, yes it does. You can't tell how, because you're not prone to grinding. However, I have extensive personal experience with the topic at hand, having grinded in every way possible in ADOM (in fact, I quite possibly pioneered one way of grinding) and for nearly every goal I could set for myself there was a way to make it easier by grinding. Herb farming by itself was so insanely profitable that it remained a mainstay since the early days of "I can't win ADOM" to the days of being a successful speedrunner. Perceived necessity of Infinite Dungeon stairscumming to take a crack at spellcaster speedruns was one of the few reasons I've quit ADOM. Another one was "going through early dungeons when they are not longer challenging to have more shots at some good loot is boring but efficient use of time", so in a way also grinding-related. Ultra-endings requiring random drops, which could only be obtained by grinding if not provided by luck earlier were annoying, to say the least.

I think some of these complaints relate to older versions of ADOM? Can we please keep this discussion limited to the most recent version of ADOM?  The one that has adjusted balance to make exploitation more difficult and grinding less necessary?  For instance, I think herb farming is a lot less exploitable now. 

Also, I have never even come close to completing an ultra ending.  So you may be 100 percent right about these concerns as they relate to that situation.  I've never done a speed run either.  I really was not thinking of either of those situations in any of my previous posts, I'm just imagining a run-of-the-mill playthrough.  So I'd like to hear what you think about that case in particular.
 
Yet, I have completed a few grind-free playthroughs and the one I remember the fondest was such. A coincidence? I think not.
If ADOM didn't have profitable grinding, I could've skipped straight to the better, grind-free playthroughs instead of relying on grinding crutches (I don't think it would've delayed my 1st victory too much further and frustrated me away from ADOM before it - many times I won quite overprepared). I also played it somewhat competitively at times and my experience was diminished, because some of the records were set using grindy tactics and I've had to either give up my ambition or suffer through the grind to compete.
Hopefully we'll see if it can get better without getting worse for others - ADOM 1.2.0 changelog and todo list looked very promising the last time I've looked and might be much closer to what I wish ADOM always was.

Again, I've been thinking of the newest version of ADOM this whole time, so when I as if you think you have to grind in ADOM, that's the one I'm talking about, and I'm assuming a normal playthrough.  I can't really comment on situations other than that.

I think your last quote illustrates what the problem with this argument is for me.  The urge to min-max that you are describing sounds almost like a compulsion.  I don't mean that as a personal criticism, and I'm not trying to be mean, but it really does.  You sound like you absolutely can't stop yourself from playing that way even though you had more fun when you didn't min-max. 

This is an honest question: have you ever considered that maybe the problem really is the way that you play, rather than the game itself?


Well, your generalisation of my statement is a misguided extrapolation, as you could insert [grinding] as feature and declare that people who bypass it are unreasonable and then it would seem that all the playerbase is unreasonable and where's any worth in that analysis?

Well, we could technically insert anything in that statement, although I would tend to think that mechanics which allow a player to bypass a tedious activity are a much better contender for a "feature" than the tedious activity itself.

Well, a lot of Aztecs agreed that without a regular bloody sacrifice the sun won't rise. Yet, the sun still rises even though there are no more bloody sacrifices for that purpose (or even Aztecs, for that matter).

Bullying people pointing out that a game's too easy into not grinding is a significantly worse solution to the problem of the game being too easy with grinding than asking for a better game.

zasvid, I realize that people on the internet, and on message boards in particular can be terrible to each other, and I guess maybe the situation I described could be seen as a form of bullying...And, I don't even know what to say next.  Mostly I'm just very impressed that you think people should treat each other so well, even on the internet.  No joke, that is pretty cool. 

I can't think of any way you could grind anything in DCSS anymore. I bet that even if something's still there, it won't last.
As far as I can tell ADOM will do away with all profitable ways of grinding by the end of the current development cycle too.

Then I guess we ultimately do have pretty similar standards, however we debate the details.  I think the current ADOM is a great game, for instance, and wouldn't change very much about it at all. 

Well, maybe the sentiments aren't that opposite and the relationship between minmaxing and roleplaying is more complex. What about "In a not-so-good (cRPG) game roleplaying and minmaxing conflict, in a good game they don't interfere with each other and in a great game they are one and the same"? Sounds good?

Yes, that sounds very good.

Gr3yling

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #50 on: October 20, 2013, 06:18:41 PM »
I know that it`s all well-meant - we have to rescue those poor, lost  souls -  but in fact using these terms as ignorantly as above can also be considered insulting, or perhaps, "just" condescending.

Akeley, I don't think I'm cooler or better than people who play the types of games that I called JRPG's, if that is what you are thinking.  What did I say that was condescending?  I'm not being obtuse, I just don't understand.

EDIT: I think maybe I do see better what you were saying now.  I really do use the term to mean "rpgs made in Japan".  I was thinking of the Final Fantasy VI message board on gamefaqs specifically when I used the term. 
« Last Edit: October 20, 2013, 06:21:20 PM by Gr3yling »

zasvid

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #51 on: October 20, 2013, 11:47:16 PM »
Calling it "denseness" is just insulting.
zasvid, it sounds like you are taking what I said too seriously.  I was essentially saying: I don't see how any player could be worse at the game than I am.  I was making fun of my own abilities, not belittling other people. 

I certainly don't think that you or anyone else who grinds is less intelligent than me, okay?  I promise I didn't think you would have taken it that way or I wouldn't have said it.  I'm sorry.

I am quite happy to see this is a message board that thinks it is in bad taste to say mean things about other people, though.

OK, I see how I could've interpreted you differently than you intended. Still, civility prevails! A rare thing on the Internet (meanwhile, misinterpreting humour seems to be a pretty common phenomenon. I blame body language - or lack thereof in a text-based medium).

Well, of course, if a game lets you learn magic at no cost save time and risk-free effort, you'll learn magic unless you're the kind of player that values playing to a concept purely more than making sure you'll win (this is weakened somewhat in risk-free games like a lot of mainstream titles, because you can put it off until you encounter problems).

I don't know zasvid, I just don't see it.  I mean, I hear what you are saying, I just have a hard time believing most people think that way.  Do players other than you really feel like they absolutely have to use features just because they are there?

I don't always feel that way about features, but I'm pretty sure that a significant number of people who do exists. It isn't necessarily a majority, but it's not something that could be ignored. Not sure where find data that would confirm or disprove this hypothesis.

Why yes, yes it does. You can't tell how, because you're not prone to grinding. However, I have extensive personal experience with the topic at hand, having grinded in every way possible in ADOM (in fact, I quite possibly pioneered one way of grinding) and for nearly every goal I could set for myself there was a way to make it easier by grinding. Herb farming by itself was so insanely profitable that it remained a mainstay since the early days of "I can't win ADOM" to the days of being a successful speedrunner. Perceived necessity of Infinite Dungeon stairscumming to take a crack at spellcaster speedruns was one of the few reasons I've quit ADOM. Another one was "going through early dungeons when they are not longer challenging to have more shots at some good loot is boring but efficient use of time", so in a way also grinding-related. Ultra-endings requiring random drops, which could only be obtained by grinding if not provided by luck earlier were annoying, to say the least.

I think some of these complaints relate to older versions of ADOM? Can we please keep this discussion limited to the most recent version of ADOM?  The one that has adjusted balance to make exploitation more difficult and grinding less necessary?  For instance, I think herb farming is a lot less exploitable now. 

Also, I have never even come close to completing an ultra ending.  So you may be 100 percent right about these concerns as they relate to that situation.  I've never done a speed run either.  I really was not thinking of either of those situations in any of my previous posts, I'm just imagining a run-of-the-mill playthrough.  So I'd like to hear what you think about that case in particular.

Yet, I have completed a few grind-free playthroughs and the one I remember the fondest was such. A coincidence? I think not.
If ADOM didn't have profitable grinding, I could've skipped straight to the better, grind-free playthroughs instead of relying on grinding crutches (I don't think it would've delayed my 1st victory too much further and frustrated me away from ADOM before it - many times I won quite overprepared). I also played it somewhat competitively at times and my experience was diminished, because some of the records were set using grindy tactics and I've had to either give up my ambition or suffer through the grind to compete.
Hopefully we'll see if it can get better without getting worse for others - ADOM 1.2.0 changelog and todo list looked very promising the last time I've looked and might be much closer to what I wish ADOM always was.

Again, I've been thinking of the newest version of ADOM this whole time, so when I as if you think you have to grind in ADOM, that's the one I'm talking about, and I'm assuming a normal playthrough.  I can't really comment on situations other than that.

Neither can I, as I've only played a few minutes of the recent ADOM versions (on account of my ADOM burnout having happened in 2011). I imagine it's better nowadays.

I think your last quote illustrates what the problem with this argument is for me.  The urge to min-max that you are describing sounds almost like a compulsion.  I don't mean that as a personal criticism, and I'm not trying to be mean, but it really does.  You sound like you absolutely can't stop yourself from playing that way even though you had more fun when you didn't min-max. 

This is an honest question: have you ever considered that maybe the problem really is the way that you play, rather than the game itself?

I have until I've educated myself on game design and the way game mechanics model player behaviour and then I was all like "Damn right, it's not my fault that I play to win, as it's one of the main goals (if not *the* main goal) of games. It's not my fault either that playing to win leads me to discover the crappy aspects of a game".
Now I wish I maintained a proper bibliography of that stuff to put some citations in here.

Well, your generalisation of my statement is a misguided extrapolation, as you could insert [grinding] as feature and declare that people who bypass it are unreasonable and then it would seem that all the playerbase is unreasonable and where's any worth in that analysis?

Well, we could technically insert anything in that statement, although I would tend to think that mechanics which allow a player to bypass a tedious activity are a much better contender for a "feature" than the tedious activity itself.

I dunno, there many examples of tedious activities that were put quite intentionally into games (in ADOM alone there is the Infinite Dungeon, herbs, the casino etc.). They aren't necessarily intentionally tedious, but most definitely a feature.

zasvid, I realize that people on the internet, and on message boards in particular can be terrible to each other, and I guess maybe the situation I described could be seen as a form of bullying...And, I don't even know what to say next.  Mostly I'm just very impressed that you think people should treat each other so well, even on the internet.  No joke, that is pretty cool. 

Thanks.

Rickton

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2013, 02:57:58 AM »
I`m perfectly willing to discuss anything, it`s just there`s usually a moment in such discussion - I call it The Tumbleweed - when assorted parties start going around in circles and repeating themselves. Consensus is (very) seldom reached between two disagreeers, at best you can sort of part-in-peace. Which is what I thought happened earlier. I couldn`t resist another remark, because I`m of course flawed, as those various battle systems out there. Go on, shoot me (better yet, cast Silence) :P
Consensus may not be reached between the disagreers, but hearing their arguments can be interesting or informative to others, especially considering the topic's about game design on a game design forum.
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Gr3yling

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #53 on: October 21, 2013, 03:26:16 AM »
zasvid, how about this: if you can recommend me some of the books on game design that you are talking about, I am open to checking them out.

Also, you might be interested to know that a new version of ADOM just came out today.  A lot of things have been improved since 2011.  You know that there was a whole kickstarter campaign, right?  I don't know if you have bought into the prerelease program or not, but I think it is actually worth it to do so if you haven't.

You might find that some of the issues you mentioned have been resolved in this version.  Or maybe not, I don't really play on your level, so it's hard for me to say what you would think of it.  But at least think about checking it out.

Vanguard

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2013, 05:30:19 AM »
But doesn't min-maxing involve a pretty in depth knowledge of game mechanics?  Mechanics that a first time player or the PC himself would have no access to?

Yes, and that's fine.  I'm not asdfjkl the level 22 dwarf warrior and he isn't me.  Some games are essentially impossible if you don't use information your character "shouldn't" have access to, and that's ok.

I think that for the most part, I find the idea of an herbalist character boring and incongruent with the personalities of the PC's that I play (I don't see a paladin as having much interest in gardening, basically).  So, wouldn't that form of out of character min-maxing be in conflict with role-playing?  Heck, what if the best min-max approach is to play a race/class that you don't even really like?  That sure seems like it would interfere with roleplaying.

1) My roguelike characters don't have personalities, they're automatons that exist only to do my bidding and achieve my goals.  I'm not saying that I'd never play a game with my character's intentions in mind, but roguelikes are generally a bad choice for that, for a number of reasons.  So are most RPGs, but games like, say, King of Dragon Pass or X-Com become even better if you take the things that happen seriously both in a mechanical sense and a narrative sense.  It helps that those are both games where playing your role "correctly" doesn't involve crippling your effectiveness, imo.

2) What's wrong with a paladin gardener?  Knights need hobbies too, and gardening is as good as any.  Paladins are still human beings, you know?  They're individuals with their own preferences.  That sort of thing is a big part of why I can't even begin to take video game and fantasy stories seriously.  No one tries anything new, no one has any standards, and no one thinks about why they're doing what they're doing.  Race and profession are used as stand-ins for real personalities.  My elf wizard is mysterious and likes nature because he is a wizard and an elf, my archer kills people all the time for no reason because she is chaotic evil, and so forth.

I guess to most people, maybe the developer themselves is the opponent, and the game is about outsmarting them?  Again, that's just alien to me.  I look at the developer as having the role of a storyteller, rather than a competitor.  I do get that these games should be hard, and that the threat of death should be real, but, I dunno, it seems like something important is being lost here.

Whether the "real" opponent is the game designer, the AI, or the game isn't important (for this argument, though the question is in other contexts).

I don't want the game to be hard so it's fair to my opponent (whoever that is).  I want the game to be hard so that it's fair to me.  I will probably have a lot more fun with a game where I fail fifty times before I finally succeed and a lot less fun with a game where I succeed on my first try.  Tactical challenges are fun.  Learning how to manipulate a game's rules in my favor is cool.

Why is it bad to use everything at my disposal to defeat Andor Drakon, but okay to do the same against the White King?  What difference does it make if my opponent is a human with equal resources or a computer with asymmetrical resources?

I agree that the stories for roguelike games could be improved a lot, but I also feel like what you are saying is an oversimplification and unfair.  I think a lot of these stories boil down to archetypes, and stories about archetypes are often going to seem "cartoony" as you say.  Think about the mythological source material for a lot of the stock characters and classes in these games.  Myths, in general, are not known for their well developed, multi-dimensional characters.

And, I think you could make that argument about the plots of a lot of fantasy media.  I feel like what you are saying is "bad plots are bad".  Roguelike plots do need to be better, it's true, but the act of participating in a story, even a mediocre one, combined with grave consequences for your character if you make a bad decision, can still be really engrossing, I think.

Well yeah, maybe I'd take video game and fantasy stories more seriously if they weren't a complete wasteland, but that's not changing anytime soon.  Even in a hypothetical world where video games stories were consistently great, I'd still defend mechanics-focused games.

Like, I'm not saying narrativist and simulationist games shouldn't exist, but they aren't the superiors of or successors to "gamist" games.

But I feel like that avoids directly addressing the issue of quantifying difficulty by being vague.  Lets look at it this way:  How many deaths per hour should an “average” player suffer when playing an ideal roguelike game.  Another way of looking at this would be: what is the mean cumulative playtime until death and stardard deviation from that mean.  Assume a roguelike that takes 20 hours to complete, on average.

There's no such thing as a singular ideal roguelike and there isn't one right answer to this question.

Another question related to that (that maybe I asked in this thread?) is: what percentage of players do you think should be able to exploit the game to the point that it becomes trivial?  This assumes they are not using the internet to search for exploits, just that they come up with it on their own.  Essentially, I just want you to set a threshold here.

Assuming that we're talking about games built to challenge their players?  Zero percent.  Difficulty-trivializing exploits shouldn't exist in games like that.  In something like Morrowind where the difficulty doesn't matter, go ahead and throw in crazy exploits.  But in roguelikes, shoot em ups, fighting games, TBS, etc. they're serious problems and need to be dealt with.

I'll read and maybe write responses to the rest of the thread later.

E:

Despite all of that, you are correct that many roguelike elements (permanent consequences esp. permadeath, high replayability, high levels of variance between monsters, items, and areas) would make for much better roleplaying games.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 06:33:34 AM by Vanguard »

zasvid

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #55 on: October 21, 2013, 10:06:10 AM »
zasvid, how about this: if you can recommend me some of the books on game design that you are talking about, I am open to checking them out.

Well, "A Theory of Fun in Game Design" by Raph Koster is always a worthwhile read, though I don't remember how much of it was relevant to the topic. Other than that I don't recall what would be really good to recommend. However, for some time I wanted to organise my thoughts about game design in the form of articles (starting with my IRDC '13 presentation) and this is a good topic to put in the queue. I'll do proper research then and hopefully find relevant sources again. Don't hold your breath, though, I'll get around to that some time next year probably ;)

Vanguard

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #56 on: October 22, 2013, 12:20:10 AM »
Those giant multiquote posts are too inconvenient to read and I'm not going to make any more of them.

Well, maybe the sentiments aren't that opposite and the relationship between minmaxing and roleplaying is more complex. What about "In a not-so-good (cRPG) game roleplaying and minmaxing conflict, in a good game they don't interfere with each other and in a great game they are one and the same"? Sounds good?

That's a little too simplistic.  A cRPG could be great based on its strength in either competitive play or roleplaying alone, and a cRPG where both are brought into perfect unison could still be bad.  If you can bring the two together, great, but sometimes doing that means making bigger sacrifices than it's worth.

You probably already know this and I'm just being unnecessarily pedantic here.

I think your last quote illustrates what the problem with this argument is for me.  The urge to min-max that you are describing sounds almost like a compulsion.  I don't mean that as a personal criticism, and I'm not trying to be mean, but it really does.  You sound like you absolutely can't stop yourself from playing that way even though you had more fun when you didn't min-max.

This is an honest question: have you ever considered that maybe the problem really is the way that you play, rather than the game itself?

It's all ADOM's fault.  Everything about it encourages that kind of play.

It's got permadeath, so you need to take things seriously.  If a choice makes you more likely to survive, you're pressured into choosing that over the alternative.  The early game is a meatgrinder.  But it doesn't have to be - you can spend a few hours in the infinite dungeon, getting risk-free experience and items.  Look at the requirements behind the ultra endings.  They expect you to farm for items and abuse every resource you have.

So yeah, when every aspect of ADOM does tells you to do everything in your power to win, no matter what, zasvid and others shouldn't be blamed for doing just that.

Gr3yling

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #57 on: October 22, 2013, 02:03:24 AM »
Well, "A Theory of Fun in Game Design" by Raph Koster is always a worthwhile read, though I don't remember how much of it was relevant to the topic. Other than that I don't recall what would be really good to recommend. However, for some time I wanted to organise my thoughts about game design in the form of articles (starting with my IRDC '13 presentation) and this is a good topic to put in the queue. I'll do proper research then and hopefully find relevant sources again. Don't hold your breath, though, I'll get around to that some time next year probably ;)

If I can find a used copy of that book, I'll get it.  Is the IRDC '13 presentation a powerpoint file?  I'd be willing to check that out too it if you sent it to me. 

Gr3yling

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #58 on: October 22, 2013, 02:34:59 AM »
Yes, and that's fine.  I'm not asdfjkl the level 22 dwarf warrior and he isn't me.  Some games are essentially impossible if you don't use information your character "shouldn't" have access to, and that's ok.

See, I keep thinking that most roguelike players are looking for basically the same thing in a roguelike game as they are in Dungeons and Dragons, and I thought that was way Dungeons and Dragons is played (although I don't know for sure since I've never played it).  In D&D, don't you play "in character" for the most part, or at least attempt to? 

Also, I am aware that there are varying degrees of pretending to be your character.  I don't think you have to literally pretend you are the character you play in ADOM any more than you do in D&D, but I do assume that most people who play D&D wouldn't try to do the equivalent of herb farming.  But, maybe they would, like I said, I've never played it. 

Also, I realize that the bottom line here is that most other people who play these games do not think the same way I do. 

There is one other thing, though.  Aren't most roguelikes technically meant to be played with the player and the PC having access to the fairly similar pools of information?  I mean, don't developers want players to discover the game on their own rather than learning strategies from the internet?   I know the player carries the tricks they learn on their own between PC's, but if you don't use the internet, isn't what the player knows going to be at least pretty similar to what the PC does?

Well yeah, maybe I'd take video game and fantasy stories more seriously if they weren't a complete wasteland, but that's not changing anytime soon.  Even in a hypothetical world where video games stories were consistently great, I'd still defend mechanics-focused games.

Like, I'm not saying narrativist and simulationist games shouldn't exist, but they aren't the superiors of or successors to "gamist" games.

Wait, who says roguelike stories aren't going to get more interesting any time soon?  Isn't that what we are here for?  To learn how to make games that are more fun/interesting?

Also, I honestly don't think that the kind of games I like or would want to make (which I guess you would classify as being narrativist/simulationist than most roguelikes) are better than any other kind.  I, personally, just think those ideas are cool. 

It's interesting that you mention the issue of succession.  I feel like ADOM does have more simulation/narrative aspects than the games that came before it, and it is very popular.  I'm not saying it is better than a game like nethack (although it is my personal favorite), but I do wonder if those aspects don't have a lot to do with its popularity.  And I do think that a game that took those aspects even farther, one that was to ADOM what ADOM was to nethack, for example, would be very cool. 

I'd like to say more, but I'm out of time.

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #59 on: October 22, 2013, 03:38:32 AM »
1) My roguelike characters don't have personalities, they're automatons that exist only to do my bidding and achieve my goals.  I'm not saying that I'd never play a game with my character's intentions in mind, but roguelikes are generally a bad choice for that, for a number of reasons.  So are most RPGs, but games like, say, King of Dragon Pass or X-Com become even better if you take the things that happen seriously both in a mechanical sense and a narrative sense.  It helps that those are both games where playing your role "correctly" doesn't involve crippling your effectiveness, imo.

2) What's wrong with a paladin gardener?  Knights need hobbies too, and gardening is as good as any.  Paladins are still human beings, you know?  They're individuals with their own preferences.  That sort of thing is a big part of why I can't even begin to take video game and fantasy stories seriously.  No one tries anything new, no one has any standards, and no one thinks about why they're doing what they're doing.  Race and profession are used as stand-ins for real personalities.  My elf wizard is mysterious and likes nature because he is a wizard and an elf, my archer kills people all the time for no reason because she is chaotic evil, and so forth.

But the two things you said seem sort of contradictory.  First you are saying that you don't want the PC to have a personality at all, and then you are saying you want them to be more individualized and less one dimensional.  I'm not sure, but it even sounds like you want characters to have reasonably detailed backgrounds.

I guess you could argue that these things aren't mutually exclusive, it just seems weird that you care what the PC's motivations are if you view him strictly as an automaton. 

Part of the issue here is that the name of a character's class has to give you some idea of what their capabilities.  But I can see what you are saying, a little bit of variety wouldn't hurt.  Being a paladin could determine most of your abilities, and then a few of them could be "electives" so to speak.  I guess you could argue that a better way of doing things would be to start with a blank slate character and develop them from there, so that even more individualization could occur.


There's no such thing as a singular ideal roguelike and there isn't one right answer to this question.

I know that Vanguard, I just thought it would be an interesting thing to talk about.  Like, what do people really mean when they talk about difficulty?  Is it possible to quantify that concept, and so on.  I guess that is a topic for another discussion, though.

Assuming that we're talking about games built to challenge their players?  Zero percent.  Difficulty-trivializing exploits shouldn't exist in games like that.  In something like Morrowind where the difficulty doesn't matter, go ahead and throw in crazy exploits.  But in roguelikes, shoot em ups, fighting games, TBS, etc. they're serious problems and need to be dealt with.

At the time that I wrote that my point was that the higher you set the bar for unexploitability, the less fun the game was going to be for players who weren't trying to exploit it.  But I think that recent editions of several games we have mentioned have proven me wrong there.