Author Topic: My two cents about Permadeath  (Read 102406 times)

AgingMinotaur

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2014, 09:25:23 PM »
Endorya, you're such an amicable troll, and I mean that in a good way ;)

I did have a period of savescumming ADOM myself (to learn about the game, I guess, and because it is frustratring to die stupidly when you enter an unknown area), but I've come to prefer permadeath 100%. It's made playing a game like Caves of Qud much more tense – reaching a new location, I'd be very much tip-toeing around, afraid of whay might lie behind the next corner, rather than duplicating a save file and going, Oh well, let's see what's going to kill me here. Reaching a difficult area for the first time and actually beating it is also quite exhilarating. Then again, I don't mind difficult games, even though (or precicely because) I agree life is more than harsh enough. In games, there are no stakes, which make them á priori "relaxing" to me. The only thing you stand to lose is time, and if I've spent X hours playing a certain game, my "rate of success" doesn't matter so much to me, as long as I've enjoyed playing it.

I'm not too fond of easy/hardcore modes, as it does seem to me a game should be designed to fit in with whichever mode of death/failure it chooses to implement. In my own projects, I opt for permadeath, but I do mostly add an option to "cheat with savefiles", since I agree wholeheartedly that the player should be allowed to choose how to play. If I was going to make a Rogue-inspired game without permadeath as the default, I'd feel compelled to rethink concepts like procedural generation.

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

Etinarg

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2014, 09:29:42 PM »
My personal preference is to play without permadeath. I feel frustrated if my character dies, and I want to play for fun and the illusion of being successful, not for feeling frustrated. [...]
 I don't need to play difficult games in my free time, rather something to relax and spin down.

This, exactly. You are talking about non-roguelike RPGs here. Or even scripted story games like Heavy Rain. Those are great games and genres, but thinking that roguelikes are suffering because they're roguelikes is just odd. It's like saying you prefer a vehicle to have four wheels and so motorcycles aren't as good of vehicles as they could be.

Uh-oh. Misunderstanding here. I usually don't play roguelikes. I've been playing Angband long ago, even tried to make my own variant, but lost interest after some years. Also, the deeper I got into the game, the more I noticed that the cruelty of such games is not my thing. I consider myself kind of lucky to have never seen the parts of the game with the really nasty stuff, that I discovered in the code and library files while working on my variant.

This thread is called "my two cents about permadeath", and what I wrote, that's just been mine. I don't ask people to make roguelikes without permadeath. I just said I like games without permadeath better, and that seemed perfectly on topic for the thread.

I didn't say roguelikes are suffering from anything. Permadeath usually is considered one of the pillars of the genre, it's been so since I am watching the roguelike crowd. I don't want to change that.

In case you ask why I am here then, if I don't like to play roguelikes: I'm around due to some lasting interest in the genre, and the hope to discover new and interesting design ideas. Roguelikes are at times quite creative. Still I usually like other games better.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 09:31:51 PM by Etinarg »

Paul Jeffries

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2014, 09:58:05 PM »
While I agree that allowing the option to turn off permadeath can increase your potential audience, the problem with it is that you can only really optimise your design for one of those options and there are certain mechanics that only work well with or without permadeath.  A lot of roguelikes (the better ones, in my opinion) wouldn't suit reloading because they emphasise long-term strategic planning as well as short-term tactics - you might be killed by a dragon but the fatal mistake could actually have been made three floors up when you wasted a potion.  Being able to restart the current level may not help you very much because you could still be in a very difficult or even impossible position.

The point of death, in all games, is to teach the player that they have made a mistake and to reset the game to a state where they have an opportunity to avoid making the same mistake again.  In a platformer where the skill being tested is the ability to judge and execute button presses with the right timing, going back just a few seconds may well be enough.  In roguelikes and strategy games it is not, because the required skills for success are spread out over the entire length of the game.

Etinarg

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #48 on: March 20, 2014, 10:19:15 PM »
Diablo II offered softcore and hardcore (permadeath) modes and both had their share of players. It didn't seem to be particularly unfair, some hardcore players got incredibly far in the game, and softcore playing was very interesting (at least to me) as well.

It might be harder with turnbased games like roguelikes, though ...

pat

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #49 on: March 20, 2014, 10:47:35 PM »
So, you're saying that you don't like roguelikes?
yeah. its scientifically proven that permadeath is the only way to go, optional "perma"death and other lightweight options are the sign of an inferior game and therefore an inferior gamer

Paul Jeffries

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #50 on: March 20, 2014, 11:33:13 PM »
I'm not saying that games which have both options can't be enjoyable (not that that means much; enjoyment is highly subjective and you can always find somebody who finds enjoyment in pretty much anything), just that it's sub-optimal from a design perspective.

I played Torchlight in 'softcore' mode but got bored fairly quickly and didn't get too far.  A little while later I tried again with permadeath turned on and that time I got all the way to (I think) the last level before dying.  The extra bit of risk was enough to help me find some enjoyment in the game but without question there were lots of things that could have been made much more enjoyable (to me) if the game had been specifically designed around permadeath.  I died in the end because I wasn't really paying attention and came across a new enemy type that did much, much more damage than anything I had come across before and they killed me before I really realised what was going on.  Unlike with most roguelikes, however, after dying I had absolutely no desire to start playing again because the lesson that death taught me (pay attention to those specific enemies) wouldn't become relevant again until 10+ hours into the game.  My interest in the game died when my character did.

Now, I'm not saying that Torchlight should have been designed around permadeath, or that it should not have included a permadeath option, because it still enabled me to get a couple of hours of enjoyment out of the game that I would not otherwise have got.  My point is that games are best suited to one or another approach and simply slapping an ironman option (or not) on one in order to appease a particular type of gamer is not a magic pill solution - one or both of those modes will be significantly compromised by the presence of the other.  Permadeath-or-not is not an isolated design decision.

kniiight

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #51 on: March 21, 2014, 01:00:04 AM »
So, you're saying that you don't like roguelikes?
yeah. its scientifically proven that permadeath is the only way to go, optional "perma"death and other lightweight options are the sign of an inferior game and therefore an inferior gamer

Well, it's not scientifically proven, but for the most part, permadeath is considered to be a defining characteristic of the roguelike genre. Games that do not feature permadeath typically belong to different (sub)genres, perhaps, such as so-called "roguelike-likes." And no, different does not imply inferior.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 01:01:52 AM by kniiight »

pat

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #52 on: March 21, 2014, 02:28:25 AM »
look, I know that people like to agree to disagree about things, but the reality is that permadeath is mandatory and all alternative opinions are wrong. I'm pretty serious about my computer game opinions.

kniiight

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #53 on: March 21, 2014, 02:46:01 AM »
Pat, look. I don't like disagreeing with people*. I'm forced to, however, because I feel that upholding my much more worthy opinion (which isn't particularly clear anyways) is more important than having fun and discussing/playing/creating cool games. So are you going to agree with me or shall we continue for several more pages?







*I love it

pat

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #54 on: March 21, 2014, 02:47:27 AM »
the fact of the matter is that we are posting in a four page thread about the technical nuances of a wildly unpopular genre of esoteric computer games, so we may as well bash it out for a while longer so we can really make a mess of things.

kniiight

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #55 on: March 21, 2014, 02:54:29 AM »
I think at this point it would be worthwhile to enter into a tangential discussion on the popularity of these "esoteric computer games" (and, by the way, I disagree with your choice of wording there, and clarify that I'm offended by the use of the adjective "esoteric"). Ultimately we'll confuse the discussion so much that we're disagreeing as a matter of principle and then we can both walk away, egos intact.

Hi

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #56 on: March 21, 2014, 03:25:48 AM »
Guys guys! You're tearing us apart.  Can't you see that this sort of bickering is what drove away Amy Wang?
I'm sure you can all agree that roguelikes would be much better games if they were casual "match 3" games instead.

chooseusername

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #57 on: March 21, 2014, 04:13:47 AM »
Guys guys! You're tearing us apart.  Can't you see that this sort of bickering is what drove away Amy Wang?
I'm sure you can all agree that roguelikes would be much better games if they were casual "match 3" games instead.
No idea what you are referring to.   I hope it is not the earlier poster in this topic who couldn't deal with valid criticism, and announced they were leaving when what they were suggesting, was shown to not be as easy or straightforward as they wanted.  This is the second person in a month or so who I've seen leave in a huff, after they didn't get their way, and they weren't open to acknowledging there might be more to whatever the subject at hand was.

I have no idea who Amy Wang is either, but even if she left because of valid bickering, it doesn't invalidate the fact that in this case perhaps someone who isn't willing to have a two-sided discussion, is perhaps better off where the situation does not arise.

pat

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #58 on: March 21, 2014, 05:09:05 AM »
No idea what you are referring to.   I hope it is not the earlier poster in this topic who couldn't deal with valid criticism, and announced they were leaving when what they were suggesting, was shown to not be as easy or straightforward as they wanted.  This is the second person in a month or so who I've seen leave in a huff, after they didn't get their way, and they weren't open to acknowledging there might be more to whatever the subject at hand was.

I have no idea who Amy Wang is either, but even if she left because of valid bickering, it doesn't invalidate the fact that in this case perhaps someone who isn't willing to have a two-sided discussion, is perhaps better off where the situation does not arise.
I think Amy Wang quit roguelike discussions in 1996 or so.

These no-good trolls aren't taking this argument seriously, can we go some attention from the mods in here?? I'm working on a detailed post about the gameplay implications of scarce resources vis a vis the "food clock" in this post-open source incursion roguelike landscape and I won't want any derails, rerails, or general chitchat while I do so.

rsaarelm

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #59 on: March 21, 2014, 11:02:18 AM »
An approach I haven't seen anywhere: Make winning the game with a single life a conduct instead of the only way to play.

Here's how it would work: As usual, you don't get free save-scumming. The first time you die though, and don't have an in-game mechanism like an Amulet of Life Saving or a lich spell to bring you back in some form, you get respawned some ways back, like you would in vanilla Diablo. (Some games already implement the respawn mechanic, ToME4 has the extra lives and DCSS has the cat race.) Then you get told that you lost your "single life" conduct, and your score gets frozen at what it was when you died. You can keep playing and respawning as much as you want, but your high score won't improve, and you won't get the "single life" conduct if you win the game.

The idea is that serious players would approach the game with the understanding that they're going for the single life victory, and with no save scumming to have their back, would still approach every dangerous situation with the requisite wariness. Players would also be free to practice approaches to different regions of the game with the respawns even when they weren't good enough to single life through the whole thing, but they wouldn't get proper high scores and end game conducts from it.