Author Topic: My two cents about Permadeath  (Read 108719 times)

mushroom patch

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #135 on: April 07, 2014, 12:38:08 PM »
So in other words, all the interesting avenues that people have considered any time they've talked about their roguelike experiences with someone other than the walls of their dorm room can never be realized within the genre.

Why is this a problem?  You can still make your amazing co-op dungeon crawler if you want to.  Definitions of what is and isn't a roguelike can't stop you or anyone else from doing that.

I don't consider Spelunky to be a roguelike, but regardless of whether it is or isn't, it's a superb game.  It wouldn't be any better if I said it was a roguelike, and it wouldn't be any worse if you said it wasn't.

It's a problem because the genre has little room to expand and that which does not expand dies. Or it does expand by being co-opted by flavor of the month retro game companies who are applying the name "roguelike" in new ways more loudly.

The fact is, you suggest an incremental shift in what the genre could include, e.g. multiplayer but otherwise doctrinaire roguelike down the line, and the relevant comparison to the community is Spelunky, a game radically different from any roguelike in its basic mechanics. Forget that this incremental shift includes existing angband variants! You're basically talking about one of these poseur retro indie games.

At the same time, games taking up the mantle of roguelikeness and deviating in minor ways come in for passionate, withering criticism in public forums on the genre -- criticism centered primarily on the presumption of calling such a game roguelike.

Endorya

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #136 on: April 07, 2014, 12:55:16 PM »
It's a problem because the genre has little room to expand and that which does not expand dies. Or it does expand by being co-opted by flavor of the month retro game companies who are applying the name "roguelike" in new ways more loudly.

The fact is, you suggest an incremental shift in what the genre could include, e.g. multiplayer but otherwise doctrinaire roguelike down the line, and the relevant comparison to the community is Spelunky, a game radically different from any roguelike in its basic mechanics. Forget that this incremental shift includes existing angband variants! You're basically talking about one of these poseur retro indie games.

At the same time, games taking up the mantle of roguelikeness and deviating in minor ways come in for passionate, withering criticism in public forums on the genre -- criticism centered primarily on the presumption of calling such a game roguelike.

So very true.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 12:58:00 PM by Endorya »
"You are never alone. Death is always near watching you."

LazyCat

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #137 on: April 07, 2014, 01:08:42 PM »
I read a lot of internet discussion -- too much, really -- and this line of argument has to be one of silliest I've seen in some time. If genre means anything outside of its original context (art, music, and literature) then the idioms and aspects of design you mention are precisely the kind of things that could define a genre. Your argument boils down to: "You can't define a genre that way!" Well, actually, you can.

You can, just like you can divide by zero. The only trouble is result is a nonsense.

Any type of game can have only one life. Any type of game can be turn-based. Any type of game can use procedural level design. And many games do. You make your classification based on these general properties and you will get a category that applies to anything and everything, and for which everyone has their own personal interpretation, apparently.

Jaxian

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #138 on: April 07, 2014, 08:26:25 PM »
Any type of game can have only one life.

I think this is a good point.  I could describe a roguelike using many characteristics of the original rogue: Top-down, tile-based, permadeath, ascii art, dungeon crawler, monsters, loot, etc.  But a genre doesn't need to be that specific.  How many such characteristics can we ascribe to "first person shooter" or "platformer"?  To me, a genre is defined by the core feature that both brings it success and differentiates it from the crowd.  I feel that for roguelikes, this feature is procedurally generated content for the purpose of replaying the same parts of the game many times.  I believe that's the part that lifted Rogue above the rest and is the reason the game is still relevant.

But permadeath works extremely well with procedurally-generated content.  In a non-roguelike, the player's experiences are static, and nothing is lost if the player only plays through each part once.  In a roguelike, a lot of work is put into making each play unique, and the game's enjoyment relies on that.  If we create procedurally-generated content, then a player uses saves so that they can complete the game in one run, then what was the point of the procedural content?  We would have been better off crafting each level by hand to perfect that one playthrough.  It makes sense for roguelikes to have some mechanism that keeps players coming back to the same levels that they've already played so that they can experience the variety of content.  Permadeath isn't the only way to accomplish this, but it is certainly an effective one.

While I think procedural content is the core of roguelikes, that doesn't mean we shouldn't include other standard roguelike characteristics when discussing the genre, including permadeath, but I think they have some flex.  Changes to these other attributes should not necessarily disqualify a game from being a roguelike.  Can there be a roguelike without a tile map?  That isn't turn-based?  Without permadeath?  I think so.  While a genre might specify certain tried-and-true parameters, it should also provide room for games which, inspired by the core of the genre, try something new.  Because of this, I call a game like Spelunky a roguelike, while if I encountered a game that is very similar to Rogue but which has static content instead of procedural, I would have a difficult time calling that roguelike.

Vanguard

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #139 on: April 07, 2014, 08:55:45 PM »
It's a problem because the genre has little room to expand and that which does not expand dies. Or it does expand by being co-opted by flavor of the month retro game companies who are applying the name "roguelike" in new ways more loudly.

There are an infinite number of possibilities within a definition like "turn based tactical adventure game with no persistent saves."  Every year we see new ideas in the 7drl challenge.

Anyway, "that which does not expand dies" is clearly false when it comes to the game industry.

reaver

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #140 on: April 07, 2014, 09:36:46 PM »
By the way a nice opinion piece for permadeath in roguelikes, courtesy of Trevor Powell here: http://gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/43801/why-is-permadeath-essential-to-a-roguelike-design

"If someone isn't going to be playing your game over and over again, but instead is going to play through once from start to end using checkpoints or free saves (like in most non-roguelikes), then why would you spend your time on implementing procedural generation for your world, instead of just making a single, static, well-balanced progression of maps?

I think the important concept is that if you're going to invest in procedural generation of your levels, then to get value from the procedurally generated levels, you really have to make someone want to play your game -- from the start of the procedurally generated content -- several times. And preferably, lots of times. Permadeath is one effective way to do that.

The Diablo games, on the other hand, accomplish this same goal by letting you start over again with your levelled-up character at a higher difficulty level, after winning. Their difficulty level scales up so that a single "playthrough" can wrap around the game several times, and so experiencing several variations of each level.

Lots of other games embed a repeatably-visitable procedurally built dungeon into a static, traditionally-created framing game (commonly an RPG of some sort. e.g.: Persona, Dark Cloud, Mystery Dungeon, etc). In this type of system, separate visits to a single dungeon generate different dungeon layouts. This also allows a single "playthrough" to wrap through your procedurally generated content several times.

These are both different game mechanics which achieve a similar net effect to permadeath, in terms of justifying the use of procedurally generated content.

Of course, permadeath makes more use of (and puts more pressure on) the procedural generation of your world than other approaches, since the user can easily wind up seeing variations on level 1 over and over and over again in close succession, if he dies and has to restart a lot. If your procedural generation of level 1 doesn't make the level unique enough to keep a player from getting bored with it after five or ten successive restarts, then maybe you should think about using a different mechanism to entice players into starting a new playthrough."

mushroom patch

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #141 on: April 07, 2014, 09:44:29 PM »
It's a problem because the genre has little room to expand and that which does not expand dies. Or it does expand by being co-opted by flavor of the month retro game companies who are applying the name "roguelike" in new ways more loudly.

There are an infinite number of possibilities within a definition like "turn based tactical adventure game with no persistent saves."  Every year we see new ideas in the 7drl challenge.

It's very possible to have an infinite set of possibilities none or few of which are compelling improvements over what already exists. This is the situation in the genre today. Actual quality products exist (and are getting quite old year by year) and newcomers with an appropriate level of feature completeness either don't exist or fail to cover interesting new ground. For example, the most exciting newcomer of recent years is probably Sil. It's a fine game, but it doesn't really rival the complexity or depth of, say, Crawl.

It's quite slippery of you to try to broaden what is meant by a roguelike in your direction while simultaneously arguing that other kinds of broadening are not legit, by the way. This is par for the course in discussion of what roguelikes are: "The real definition doesn't include what you're talking about, but it's actually really broad in ways I want to talk about, so your claims that it's narrow are overblown." This is all a consequence of having an incorrect definition enshrined as the standard.

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Anyway, "that which does not expand dies" is clearly false when it comes to the game industry.

There's some possibility for revival, but there's no question that the natural tendency is loss of interest and popularity and the only thing only cure is new and interesting developments.

chooseusername

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #142 on: April 07, 2014, 09:44:43 PM »
I just don't get it, I played years of nethack and got into roguelikes that way and everything I like about them is defeated entirely by savescumming and I would assume that the silent majority of people who played games like that over the years agree.

I don't mind permadeath. The question is why wouldn't there be both.

Suppose we confirmed 90% of people don't play roguelikes because of permadeath, would you agree then it is in developer's and everyone's interest to include save option after all? Would such option ruin anything for you?
I'm getting deja vu.  It's like I've seen your post a week or so ago, asking the same question and ignoring the inconvenient answers, because if someone asks it often enough ignoring the answers, everyone will realise that the way you want it is how we should all want it.

You can take your imaginary 90% and put them in your pocket with the 45% chance you'll win the lottery, and the 86% chance aliens will come down from mars riding horned beasts to corner the petting zoo market.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 09:46:22 PM by chooseusername »

Vanguard

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #143 on: April 07, 2014, 09:45:59 PM »
I tested it.

what game did you play

chooseusername

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #144 on: April 07, 2014, 09:58:51 PM »
At the same time, games taking up the mantle of roguelikeness and deviating in minor ways come in for passionate, withering criticism in public forums on the genre -- criticism centered primarily on the presumption of calling such a game roguelike.
I've seen the opposite on this forum.  People making a game that they consider roguelike.  They post about it and heaven forbid should someone even hint at questioning how roguelike their game is.  Then they get offended and hostile.  And others who have their oar in the water, and a stake in the loosening of the definition perhaps in the particular minor ways the op of the thread at hand is making use of, post bitter posts about how they're being oppressed by people who by denying them roguelikeness are doing them wrong.

How minor a  deviation is, is apparently subjective.  If it is convenient for some, then it is minor.  If it not something others have a stake in, perhaps not so much.  Roguelikeness doesn't mean what it used to, and it's going to be more and more fuzzy as time passes.

LazyCat

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #145 on: April 08, 2014, 12:04:11 AM »
what game did you play

Every game. Game difficulty is defined by monsters health, strength, speed, attack damage and such. Saving a game state does not alter how the game difficulty is programmed within the game. You don't advance because it becomes easier, you advance only when and if you get better. You should realize then the difficulty you are talking about can not possibly be "game difficulty", but something else.

Vanguard

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #146 on: April 08, 2014, 12:12:21 AM »
Dude, just go grab an emulator and something like Battletoads and try it out.  That will prove once and for all whether saving affects difficulty and it will take way less time than arguing on the internet will.

Or if that's too hard for you, answer this: which takes more skill?  Bowling a perfect game by landing 12 consecutive strikes, or bowling 12 nonconsecutive strikes over the course of multiple games.  Are they exactly the same difficulty, or is one harder than the other?  Explain your answer.

LazyCat

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #147 on: April 08, 2014, 12:28:02 AM »
It's very different thing to play with permadeath when you have already completed a game before, once you know how to actually play properly. But until then it's like playing chess without fully knowing the rules. It's like trying to do a speed run on your first play-through.

When learning to play chess you don't start all over when you lose, you keep analysing and re-playing your last few moves until you understand where the problem was and how to solve it. Starting all over would not make chess more difficult, it would only make your learning more time consuming and tedious. You wouldn't want to learn chess that way, I don't see why is it any better to torture yourself like that in roguelike.


pat

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #148 on: April 08, 2014, 01:06:06 AM »
there's no possible way that replaying the same encounter over and over again makes you a better player, if you reload every time until you beat that ogre in melee then you are just becoming lazy and stupid as a player, you are genuinely deluded

LazyCat

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Re: My two cents about Permadeath
« Reply #149 on: April 08, 2014, 01:20:40 AM »
Dude, just go grab an emulator and something like Battletoads and try it out.  That will prove once and for all whether saving affects difficulty and it will take way less time than arguing on the internet will.

I did. I already told you several times. It is your turn to answer your own question.

Does saving a game alter the game's behaviour, does it become any easier after you load? What exactly is it that becomes easier, can you name it?


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Or if that's too hard for you, answer this: which takes more skill?  Bowling a perfect game by landing 12 consecutive strikes, or bowling 12 nonconsecutive strikes over the course of multiple games.  Are they exactly the same difficulty, or is one harder than the other?  Explain your answer.

Depending on skill 12 consecutive strikes will be more or less likely to happen, where each strike will be equally difficult to pull off. You are using the term "difficulty" too loosely, there are different types of difficulty. You can't be vague or generalizing, different types of difficulty don't compare.