Author Topic: Demon: A monster collection roguelike 3/31!  (Read 91168 times)

Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #75 on: May 06, 2015, 09:27:23 PM »
Wall of text? You mean wall of feedback :D

2579 is legitmately in the "doing pretty darn good" range. :D Congrats!

Minimap: A minimap is coming. :) One day. :D

Keyboard: I'm glad someone appreciates the vi keys, I can't stand them myself. :P But, I needed a way for folks on laptops (no numpad, and diagonals are important as you say, so just arrow keys won't cut it) to be able to move, and since vi keys was already a thing, I went ahead and went with that for my solution there.

Raicho: Yeah, less of these at low levels would probably be good. I think the sneaky problem with them is the available demons/abilities just aren't what you need for dealing with them easily: Body/Mind abilities don't exist before T:3 (other than as riders on primarily non-Body/Mind attacks, such as Infectious Bite), so their weaknesses are basically None unless the player went Body and/or Mind. Could also experiment with giving them a weakness other T:1-2 demons could take better advantage of, such as Fire, Ice, or even Pierce. The pack mentality thing is a fun idea too, but a lot more expensive right now, the AI doesn't have any support for that atm. :D

Random Aside: Wait, Raicho spamming Envenom were *less* deadly to you? :D That sounds terrifying to me! (Well, unless you had a Gandayah keeping the poison from building up to ridiculous levels :D )

Ludoc: Ludoc's a jerk. His summons probably were healing faster than yours: his AI tends to slap Regen on something before he unsummons it, and Regen continues to function even on "inactive" demons: as a result, they heal up at a rapid pace. I apologize that it felt hopeless enough to bail on. I hope the next time goes better!

AI Chasing: I think the "home base" behavior you're reporting may be the "return to my leader" behavior, with the leader functioning as a mobile home base. Ludoc wouldn't exhibit it because he is always the leader of his group. Groups stay together in giant packs because, currently, if any enemy can see an enemy that sees you, it finds out about you (even if the two enemies are NOT in the same group.) So, at least I think I understand what is causing what you're seeing now. :) The two fixes I probably need to add to get things behaving a bit more consistently would be to have a step between "lost sight of the player and I checked his last known location and found nothing" and "go back to my leader", and maybe to have groups not communicate with each other so completely effectively? For the record, I appreciate all the attention you've given to writing up details on your impressions of the AI's pursuit behavior: this isn't an area much of the previous feedback I've received has touched on. :D

Stealth/Invisibility: I thought about this a fair bit early on, and I made the decision to not include these mechanics in Demon, largely because I could not think of reasonable, transparent, and most importantly, fun ways to integrate their management into the party and player party member AI systems. Just as a few examples: how would your allies handle noise considerations? i.e.: When is it okay for your Jinn to go for broke and start throwing very noisy explosive Fireballs? How does the AI calculate the "risk" of using noisy abilities to make such determinations? How does the player keep awareness of the noise level of his entire party and their various abilities? What would affect stealth levels anyway, since there's no equipment (that being another thing I decided not to include, given the idea of trying to management equipment for 9 characters seemed too much of a weight to ask of the player... though I may still go back and do a limited form of player-only equipment, or "1 slot per character" equipment...?) Anyway, I'm not saying there are no ways to answer these and other problems those systems would have presented for Demon, I'm just saying I don't think the benefits to Demon would have been worth the time/effort to explore and implement these solutions. I think I should be able to find some answers for Demon that give reasonable AI wandering/pursuit/return behaviors without them, just might not be there quite yet. :D

Blue Box: Now I wonder if maybe it isn't showing up on Linux somehow? Can you post a screenshot? :D

Stairs and Party Positioning: Stairs currently randomly place your party around you when you spawn (potentially "shoving" enemy monsters out of the way to do so). Are you asking for them to appear in the same relative positions they were before you used the stairs? That should be easy to do I think (but offer not valid if those squares are occupied or walls on the new level. :P )

Allies Blocking Projectiles: Allies have several rules about how they feel about standing in front of you, the major factors are: do you have projectile attacks you could use if I wasn't in the way, do enemies have projectile attacks they could use on you if I wasn't in the way, and how is your health looking? Health + enemy projectiles possible is a big one: if both of these are true, demons will do their best to body block for you even if it means you can't shoot either. That said, demons almost never move if they are already adjacent to an enemy.

Fleeing: Were you using "group movement" when this happened? Group movement should force your party to follow you, no matter what... and almost never ever move in the opposite direction for sure. If this was w/ a group movement command, lemme know and I'll see if I can find the bug. If it wasn't with group movement, then yeah, it probably was trying to cover you: demons pretty much fight to the death unless under very specific orders not to.

Leveled up Supports: If you were on T:7, you're about in the neighborhood where some Gandayah alternatives start showing up: Angels (assuming they don't dislike your party for having undead/demons!), and a bit later, Hobs (who are less picky about your friends, but harder to recruit.) That said, SP doesn't increase with level, you need new abilities (either for him or yourself) or to teach Refresh to other allies if you want more SP flow. :D

Training Speed: This changed a bit as part of the difficulty increase (it did get a bit slower, in fact.) I'm still trying to decide how I feel about where it is right now. Might be more a problem of allied demons leveling up slower than the level of encountered demons increases, making you feel like you need to upgrade often? (Granted, you *should* be constantly feeding in new blood.. but not necessarily cleaning house every other floor on your entire stable. It's supposed to be feasible to keep a fair number of demons around long-term, constantly feeding them new abilities and getting them to a good place and experiencing that for a bit before finally trading them in for a newer model. But, this balance may have been tiled a little with the level curve changes. I'm an area I'm keeping an eye on.

Monster Differences: I'm hoping to eventually greatly expand the characteristics system (currently only used for things like Undead, Ugly, Demonic, etc. which only determine what demons get along with each other) to include things that will act in the way you're describing: providing differences between demons that aren't just differences in their stats and resistances.

Tactical Spells: Some of the ones you mentioned exist in Demon already, but aren't available early game (Short Jaunt is Demon's answer to Blink (first encounter is T:11 or so I think?), and Slow actually exists by name (around T:13 or so usually, but can show up early on a modifier)). Cloud spells definitely don't though: won't be able to do those until I figure out a good way for the AI to use/handle them intelligently enough that players won't curse at their buddies' use of them. :D Summon spells of the DCSS variety on the "someday" list too: at least the AI for using those spells will be a bit simpler I think. :D Balancing them may be more of a concern... but no more so than in normal roguelikes. Still some thinking/designing to do on that front.

Play Time: 4.5 hours for T:7 is longer than I thought, but on the other hand, I expect play times probably vary wildly per player anyway. :) If it's a fun 4.5 hours, I'm not tooooo worried about it running longer than I expected. :D

Easy Encounters: There should be some easier encounters in the mix, theoretically: encounter tables have about a 20% chance to "fall down" to a lower table, and additionally the encounters are designed so that some encounters will be easier for some strategies than others. But, as with many things, this may be something that got a little disrupted with the difficulty increase, so I'll keep an eye on it. :)

Previous Levels: At the moment, I don't do respawning on older levels to try and keep a bit tighter rein on player progression / XP and level gain. I could experiment with limited amounts of it to add flavor, but I don't want to have "free XP" that players feel like they need to go and collect. I might be overthinking this too, not sure if people routinely try to lower level farm in DCSS either. I may pass on this until I have other reasons to go to old levels anyway: at the moment, as you point out, there isn't really any. I do have branch / side-dungeon technology (there is one that currently has a 50% chance to spawn in game, about halfway up the tower or so, mostly as a test case for said tech), just haven't gotten around to adding content with it yet.

Tower Windows: :D This is a good one. I will save it for the next dungeon upgrade pass. :D

Don't worry, I'm thoroughly convinced you think Demon is awesome. :D Nobody types up this much stuff for a game they don't like. :P I just wish there were 10 of me instead of 1 of me so I could chop through the giant to-do/"this would be nice" lists much faster. :) I always feel like I've got a long way to go, but on the other hand, Demon seems to be pretty fun even now. :D Thanks again for the awesome feedback!

orbisvicis

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #76 on: May 07, 2015, 12:48:32 AM »
I'm a bit short on time so this is only a partial response, plus a little extra commentary:

Regarding stairs:
Code: [Select]

 W
WW        ZZ
         ZZ?   R
         ZZG@
        WWWWWWWWWWWW
        W
        W

@ = Me on Stairs
? = Attack ally (Headless, but not sure I remember correctly)
R = Raicho ally (could've been one tile to the left, perhaps?)
W = Wall
Z = Zar (were there really that many?) opponents
Code: [Select]
         R   E
        G@
   WWWWWWWWWWWWWW
                W
                W  H H
                W  ggH
                W    g

@ = Me on Stairs
R = Raicho ally
G = Gandaya ally
E = Easg Saint ally
g = Gandaya opponent
H = Haitliki (??, electric eel creature) opponent

These sub-par in-game scenaries illustrate two problems with stairs:
  • Ally positioning after stairs is random
  • Allies don't swap position if exiting stairs into battle (ie, opponents immediately in view of stairs)
Both the Gandaya were Easg Saint were my "support" creatures. Furthermore the Easg Saint is susceptible to lightning, or at least not resistant but taking much damage. In the first scenario the raicho should have immediately swapped with the gandaya; in the second the raicho should have swapped with the Easg Saint.

Since I have no control over ally positions, would it cheapen the game to position allies optimally upon entering a new tower level? Ie, my party "peeks" out from the stairs, we hold a pow-wow and my attack creatures decide to deploy themselves on the front lines while the support creature take up defensive positions?

Both scenarios were frustrating (lack of control) but not deadly: descend, heal, then re-ascend, keeping fingers crossed for better deployment. Actually, in the second scenario I think I re-ascended with some cannon fodder (low level high-hp creatures like zombies and slimes) to buy me time to redeploy my heavy hitters.

Code: [Select]
       FF
       AF
  WWW AWWWW
    W RW
    W  W
    W  W
    W  W
    WU W
    W  W
    WG W
    W @W
    W  W
    W  W

@ = Me (no stairs ;), ~90% health )
G = Gandaya ally
U = Ukobachi (flame throwers) ally
R = Raicho ally
A = Asrai opponent (ice throwers)
F = Fae

Here I'm pretty sure the Gandaya was trying to shield me from frost shards (thanks, buddy) but the Ukobachi was sitting around doing zilch. If it couldn't target the nearest Asrai, it should have moved closer.

No I wasn't using group movement. Which reminds me, I've had some annoyances with that as (nothing life threatening, just dumb). The allies attempt to replicate my exact movements rather than follow my path. Which differing demon speeds, this leads to my party becoming separate directionally. Example:
Code: [Select]
                                                          W
                                                          W
WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW                     W
                                    W                     W
                                    W                     W
                                    W                     W
WWWWWWWW         WWWWWWWW           W                     W
       W         W      W           W                     W
       W         W      W           W                     W
       W     @   W      W           W                     W
       W     R   W      W           W                     W
       W     |   W      W           W                     W
       W     |   W      W E         W                     W
       W     |   W      W |         W                     W
       W     |   W      W |         W                     W
       W     |   W      W |         W                     W
       W     |   W      W ---|      W                     W
       W     |   W      W    |      W                     W
       W     |   W      W    |      W                     W
       W     --| W      W    |      W                     W
       W       | WWWWWWWW    |      W                     W                                             . "Uh Oh, too exposed"
       W       -@---G        |      W                     W                                             .
       W        R   |        |      W                     W                                             .
       W        |   |        |      WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW                                             .
       W        |   |        |
       W        @R--G--------E--------------------------------                                         E R
       W                                                      ----------------------------------------  G@
WWWWWWWW




                                          WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
                                          W                  W
                                          W                  W
                                          W                  W
                                          WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

This was completely unexpected, but somewhat fortuitous: my opponents followed the Easg Saint instead of me. So I just dismissed Easg Saint from behind the wall and got away scot-free - since the opponents lost sight of any enemy, they returned to their previous location. If they had decided to carry out a limited exploration of the nearby region, I would have been discovered. This is one of the points I made previously: monster-loitering/hunting/tracking would enhance the game. However, regarding this group movement behaviour, much of the time I find it annoying.

I actually have one more gripe with the AI and speedier allies such as raichos: they constantly speed ahead and get surrounded. This is why I like giving raicho allies ranged abilities, so they hang back with their companions instead of racing ahead. I like backing my party into narrow two-tiles wide chokepoints, and raichos constantly screw this up. The ranged raichos, unlike ukobachi and support creatures (fae, gandaya) who hang back, do follow their attack allies into combat. In this respect, ranged raicho behave perfectly. Sometimes they decide to chuck fireballs from a distance, but if so it is usually the right decision.


Here is a slightly different injured-ally-might-get-killed-because-miserly-me-didn't-dismiss. The plan was to swap places with my near-death raicho, use myself as a body shield for two turns during which I would summon a different ally to my left after dismissing the raicho. The idea was to absorb some of the blows intended for the slime, thereby protecting the it for the duration which I have to swap summons. Instead, here is what happens:


Code: [Select]
W      WW W         W      WW W
W      WWWW         W      WWWW
W   CCG             W   CCG     
W   RS              W  R@S     
WWW @WWWWWW   ==>   WWW GWWWWWW
  W GW    W           W  W    W
  W  W                W  W     
WWW  W              WWW  W     
     W                   W     
     W                   W     
     W                   W     

@ = me
C = red-cap opponent
G = goblin opponent
S = slime ally
R = raicho ally, near death
G = gandaya ally
W = Wall

I'm surprised, but I think I just have to learn to avoid these situations. Like you said summoned allies will sacrifice themselves for me, this is a good default behaviour and the game can't be expected to read my mind for when the opposite is true. Well perhaps it could, or at least give me a one-turn benefit of the doubt.
    * player has high HP
    * player swaps places with fron-line character
Then again, this could be a bad idea. If things get bad quickly I'd be happy for a sacrificial raicho (except then I'd just unswap). So... complicated. Probably best to leave this alone?

In any case my initial strategy was probably flawed, considering that newly-summoned allies don't actively participate in the current turn (ie they absorb damage but do not attack):
Code: [Select]
                                Dismiss,Summon  Swap,Dismiss,Summon
turns slime completely alone    1               0
turns slime attacking alone     1               3
====================================================================
total turns disadvantaged       2               3
In actuality, this strategy does seem to preserve the HP of my remaining allies during ally replacement more so than simple dismiss/summon.

orbisvicis

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #77 on: May 07, 2015, 12:58:05 AM »
Considering the (above post) example with group movement, I think finer control over allies could enhance the tactical "feel" of the game. The ability to send a single monster a different direction as a decoy would be awesome ;)

orbisvicis

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #78 on: May 07, 2015, 01:06:20 AM »
I don't mean to say suggest the game currently has no strategy. I defeated the first hero (the one with the arrow and aura* abilities) using a tactic learned from Ludoc: summon cannon fodder (low-level high-HP), rush, replace allies with heavy hitters. He deals less damage in melee, and can be surrounded - not a single ally lost. Previously I sacrificed nearly half my inventory (of allies) defeating him from a distance.

I eventually destroyed Ludoc (20?? score) but what happens afterwards :) killed me. Surprise!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2015, 01:08:44 AM by orbisvicis »

Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #79 on: May 08, 2015, 01:36:10 AM »
Stair positioning: It wouldn't cheapen the game or anything, just have to figure out a good AI algorithm for handling it. I already have some of this code written I suspect (probably in the code the AI uses to decide whether or not to blink, or perhaps the code already used for deciding how to path when advancing.)

Ukobach Example: Huh.. that's odd. In that setup, the Ukobach has a clear beat on the Asrai. Only reason he'd hesitate (assuming no bugs, that is!) is if his SP was too low for Flame Dart. Ranged stuff is a bit pricey, if this was mid-way through a fight, he may have been running low. As for the Gandayah, you aren't currently in anything's line of fire, so unless you were last turn, he shouldn't be trying block for you regardless of health. He may have been trying to keep in range of the Raicho though, to be able to provide support if needed.

Group Movement: I've noticed the speed difference issue before w/ group movement. I'll see if I can up with a better algorithm for this. Maybe only have allied monsters already close to you attempt to follow your path, monsters further away just hone in on your position? The first part is still necessary in situations where you're initially fleeing towards allies, you don't want them moving towards you (and thus towards what you're fleeing from) at short ranges probably?

Speeding Ahead: Hmm.. tricky one here. I'm hesitant to just force speedy melees to wait for slowpokes because I'm not sure everyone will want that... of course, not everyone wants the current way either. :) This may be an area where I eventually have to bend and add a bit more player influence over the AI (but dang it I like that is handles things well itself, I don't wanna give that easily! Maybe I can noodle on this more and figure out a good algorithm..)

Suicidal Allies: Yeah, this one I think I have to leave alone. "Your demons always fight to the death" is a fairly simple rule to figure out, remember, and anticipate. If I start adding various cases where they don't do that, it's probably going to lead to unhappy surprises. :( For the moment, I think "my buddies always fight to the bitter end" is the lesser of two evils.

Dismiss and Summon vs. Swap + Dismiss + Summon: This is an accurate assessment, I think. :) Immediately Dismissing and Summoning does get you back to fully active status quicker, but the cost is it exposes your back line and exposes you to more focused enemy attacks for that round. How terrible this is varies from situation to situation, I find myself doing both frequently.

Orders: This sort of player control of AI I don't mind adding: rarely used, powerful, brief changes in behavior. I prefer this greatly over the sort of "configuration screen" stuff I would probably have to add if I took the easy way out (i.e.: forcing the player to deal with it in a UI instead of coding an AI solution) on issues like discussed in Speeding Ahead. Tricky part is deciding when/if an order should be violated. If you order a guy to move to a decoy position, alright... if you get near death while he's still in range, should he stop to heal you? (Probably) Okay... what if you just get Poisoned and he has a poison cure? (maybe) Alright, what if a buff he can cast on you wears off? (probably...not? but.. maybe?) :) I've got fairly good at solving these sorts of issues though, at least I think, so I should be able to figure out something. But, even with relatively simple ones, I have a lot to solve for.

Congrats on beating Zaji and sorta-almost-not-quite beating Ludoc. :D The 1st Hero and the 1st Summoner are always tough because they're completely different styles of combat than what is usually thrown at you. :) Sorry you got eaten by the Summoner Surprise! Not sure if you noticed in the chaos (and if you didn't, let me know so I can call it out better!): once a summoner dies, his minions become captureable just like any normal demons. This can sometimes be helpful in cleaning up the leftovers. :D It's also a good opportunity to pick up some new friends someone else leveled up and spent training points on. :D (The AI is even frighteningly good at inventing coherent builds for things. It does make some iffy choices, but rarely does it make terrible ones. :D )

Thanks for the additional feedback, with an extra bonus hooray for the ASCII maps. :) I think they really helped me understand what you were describing. :D

orbisvicis

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #80 on: May 09, 2015, 03:52:26 AM »
3053 on T:8. Was running away from a large band of Liliths, Cynocephalus, Fae, Haeitlik, Asrai, went down a level to heal my party. I was put to sleep as soon as I came back up and my three best remaining allies where killed while I remained helpless. Considering I had lost my starting ally a bit earlier (stupid mistake), I kinda just quit and walked away :/

orbisvicis

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #81 on: May 09, 2015, 05:09:13 AM »
Actually raichoo haven't been giving me any problems of late, probably because I haven't been encountering many. I recall a large band at T:5, but by that time they posed little threat. I manged to recruit cursed + blessed raicho from earlier bands of 1-3 raicho, so my mid game became pretty easy. I just don't think raicho scale well to late game - they seem to be dishing significantly less damage than their opponents. Is this just me?

I don't play with a gandaya anymore, offense is the best defense :). Fae supporters are still my most problematic opponents, I haven't figured out a good strategy for killing them first. But yeah at that particular instance I had a gandayah to protect me from raicho spamming envenom. By the way, I'm starting to rethink my initial buff/debuff character selection - currently leaning towards buff + mind/light/healing.

There was no Ludoc on T:6 my last game; instead I encountered an alternate hero (M?????), the one with bull rush spamming guilt. Man, didn't realize how potent guilt could be; my raichos and haietlik were actually healing the hero (guilt > damage). Took me about 5+ attempts to find the right party combination to defeat this particular hero (didn't loose anyone though): hasted east saint + modified raicho (reshape + fade + souleater + flesheater) + blessed raicho.

Sorry, I threw that stealth/invisibility sentence in as an afterthought. I know you wrote quite a lengthy response. I don't think the game needs stealth, I just wanted to emphasize that AI chasing could be improved.

Wow I must be blind (hyper-focused on the actual demon icons). When I went to take the screenshot, behold, every ally has a blue box. I believe however there are some rare circumstances in which it is near invisible. I'll keep a lookout but for now here is a hypothetical:
Code: [Select]
        WA
        WOA
        WA

        W: Wall
        O: Opponent
        A: Ally

New question: I'm confused about how body resistance works? Most body abilities are passive, how can body resistance affect passive abilities? Or does body resistance encompass slash+pierce+impact resistances, but provide less protection?

Training speed: I might recant my initial statements regarding the level of newer recruits relative to older allies. Possibly that was an unlucky game, though possibly the inverse could be said for the latest one. When I made those comments newer recruits constantly outclassed my older allies. The opposite was true for my latest game: newer recruits tended to be a level behind my older allies. Nonetheless, this should be something you keep an eye, just in case it is too variable between games.

I still think allies train too slowly. I've also noticed that my older allies don't generate training points as often, which is disappointing. I do keep using my older allies constantly, but I don't think that affects training points: isn't XP split equally among active and unactive party members? But by the time I obtain abilities I want to train into my monsters, those monsters become obsolete, replaced by monsters with more powerful abilities.

Easy Encounters: true some groups seem easier than others, but are you considering spawn distances? If an easy groups merges into a group of 15+ monsters via LOS, then it's no longer easy :).

Previous Levels: Well, DCSS has a food clock whereas Demon has no constraint on scumming lower levels. True the food clock has been progressively loosened, but that's because DCSS has branch levels that are just more effective (and difficult) for farming.

I also want to emphasize what I've previously said regarding panic: the effectiveness of panic and sleep/stun are miles apart. Sleep is a gamechanger, I lost my latest game because of it. Out of the countless times my allies have been panicked, I've only been (if ever) been injured by them once or twice. Panicked allies never flee, or move erratically instead of attacking. Conversely, a panicked player remains able to move and use their abilities as per normal.

One more AI niggle: The diagram has only been *slightly* exaggerated. If the top raicho becomes sufficiently injured that I decide to swap it out, the East Saint immediately takes it place, so I have to summon the replacement behind the East Saint. This is bad because the Easg Saint has low health, is needed as a long-distance sniper (support character), and isn't particularly resistant to the opponents in question. By the time I summon a replacement brawler, the Easg Saint is already badly wounded, but the brawler won't take the Easg Saint's place until it is severly wounded. After which I have to dismiss the East Saint for fear of stray missiles, and so I lose my support ally.
Code: [Select]
W  W
W  W
W  WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
W  ERMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
W  @RMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
WWWWWWWWWWWMMMMMMMMM
          WMMMMMMMM
          WMMMMM
          W

W = Wall
E = Easg Saint Ally
R = Raicho Ally
@ = Player
M = Opponents (lots and lots )

I've also been having some problems casting that Easg Saint long-ranged smiting ability - the game keeps saying, "invalid target". IIRC with a layout something like the following, I was unable to target any of any opponent. I did have enough SP:
Code: [Select]
F
    LWWWWWW
  C  @W
 C   AWWWWW
    AAMMM

@ = Me, on stairs
W = Wall
C = Cynocephalus opponent
F = Fae opponent
L = Lilith opponent
A = ally
M = random opponent

By the way, this just so happened to be the layout of my final 3053 run in which the Lilith ruined everything ;)

 
I also wish there were ten (or more) of you. That said, I enjoy the game enough already to keep coming back ;)

Just for reference: real-life raicho. So cute, not deadly at-all ;) It's been great fun researching the more obscure references ;)

Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #82 on: May 09, 2015, 03:26:42 PM »
Raicho: I haven't heard of many people using Raicho far beyond T:5 or so unless they had a modifier like Fiery or Frigid that raises their Magic stat: Raicho actually have a fairly iffy base Magic stat, so yeah, their damage isn't necessarily great. It also doesn't help that as you advance, the enemies have more ways of dealing with their advantages (high evasion is countered by Easg Saints and other smiters) and exploiting their flaws (their reliance on being in melee to do damage is countered by ranged attacks, their weaknesses to Body and Mind is countered by all sorts of things) They can still be handy for a fairly consistent chance to Shock, but no, they don't tend to remain good damage dealers: they aren't even early on in theory, they just don't face any real "counters" to their basic strategy among the earliest demons, which is what makes them nasty unless the player picked starter abilities that specifically address them.

Gandayah: I had a feeling you must have had one. :P Poison++ causes you to degenerate at 15%/turn... even from full health and with no other damage incoming, you drop in 7 turns... and it lasts 10! Backed up by Raicho's decent Cunning and high Speed... yeah, that would have been murderous without Cleanse. :D

Builds: Sounds like you're favoring heavy support builds. :) That's no problem, part of the idea of the character creation system is I want to support as many playstyle preferences as possible. :D I'm glad it sounds like you're finding some variety within that to play around with.

M-Hero: Oh, sounds like you met Madevra. :D Congrats on beating her on the first encounter too. :D As you found, she isn't necessarily deadly... she's just very, very, very hard to kill. :)

Stealth/Invisibility: No problem. :) You've probably figured out by now it doesn't take much encouragement to get me rambling on about this or that. :D

Blue Box: Yeah, with how often people claim to not see it, something must be going on. Maybe my monitors are set to funny settings somehow and make it appear different to me than everyone else? I'll experiment with tweaking the color of this and see what I get. :)

Resistance: Resistance can definitely affect passives. For example, Envenom passively adds Poison to your Slash, Impact, and Pierce attacks... but the target uses their Body resistance to resist the added Poison. This sort of thing can come up even without passives though. For example, Leech Bite is a Pierce attack that drains 50% of the damage dealt to the user as healing. However, while the damage dealt is Pierce, the drain is treated as Body... if the target is Body immune, Leech Bite just does damage and never heals the user. (Try using it on a Zombie to see this in action, or even a Red Cap.. early on when damage is low, a Red Cap's Body resistance is sometimes enough to round the healing down to 0.)

Training Speed & Training Point Accumulation: Definitely keeping an eye on it. :) It changed fairly substantially when I adjusted the leveling curve as part of the difficulty changes. :D Thanks for the continued feedback on how it's feeling to you. You're correct in that XP is split completely evenly among active and inactive party members. I will say that based on feedback so far, the rate at which training points are earned relative to leveling is probably the thing most likely to be changed. :)

Easy Encounters: True. :) *hopefully* items can bail you out in those cases, but I'm not sure I have the right balance of consumable drops yet. :)

Previous Levels: I've been thinking about this one a bit since we last posted. I think what I really want is this: If I'm going to spawn stuff on old levels and/or have respawns, I want there to be an *interesting* reason for players to go back down, because if I spawn this stuff, I have to balance assuming you go and farm all of it (otherwise the game can become easy and/or grindy.) So the challenge here will be thinking up creative reasons for the player to have to go back to previous levels. :) A food clock's been suggested before for Demon (in the context of giving how many resources you spend in combat in terms of turns and HP/SP that have to be rested up more meaning), but that was before the great difficulty increase and I'm hoping I can get away without doing one. Demon has enough for players to manage as it is I think. :)

Panic/Sleep/etc: Panic and Sleep fill different roles: Panic doesn't break on damage, but only occasionally mucks with your control: it isn't meant to be quite as extreme as Confusion usually is in roguelikes. On the other hand, Sleep breaks on damage in most cases but completely locks you out. However, when it comes to the player, Sleep is *definitely* the worst one to have on you: unless you have a demon capable of breaking it for you, it's going to be a bad time. Partly for this reason, Lilim are actually currently the only non-modified/non-unique capable of inflicting Sleep in the entire game, and have to be in melee to do it, and have no passives that help them get into melee range. But... none of that helps if you get stair-slapped by one. I may go back and nerf Sleep a bit in general anyway, it lasts 2.25 to 9 turns currently, but that wasn't adjusted when the game became more deadly. On the other hand, even dropping it to 1.5 to 6 turns isn't likely to make it all that much less deadly on players... even being out of it for 2-3 turns at the wrong time can be more than enough time for things to go horribly wrong. Maybe the answer here is to instead give all characters the ability to wake up a sleeping character adjacent to them? That would make Sleep significantly harder to use, but on the other hand, given the power of it, I'm not sure I'm super bothered by that.

AI niggle: Hmm.. what solution would work here though? If Easg Saint didn't move up, in theory, an enemy would move in before your next turn. Then you've lost formation and still have the Easg Saint in the new front line. Sounds like you want an Exchange ability (unsummon one critter and replace it with another in the same action?) That may not be a bad idea.. it would be very powerful for the player (and enemy summoners!), but it would solve a lot of these situations. It might still be balanced though, if it only works in adjacent squares like Summon does. This is definitely going on the "investigate soon" list. :D

Easg Saint Smite: Punish only works on a target that used a damaging ability on its previous turn: it can't target things that moved or did non-damaging things. Is it *never* working for you even when this is the case?

I feel a little badly that you caught me on the week I took off from development to play Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker (a new Shin Megami Tensei game that came out this week), but I go back on full time (well, full not-at-work time :P ) development starting this Monday. :) I'm obligated by previous commitments to finish the server-kept high scoreboard next, but I'm looking forward to diving in and getting to work on the things we've been discussing once that's complete. :D

Raicho, RL: Yeah, just a harmless looking birdie :) But, be careful with the Googling. :D Some of the demon names have (probably because they're demon names!) over time become associated with rather unpleasant things. Carbuncle is a rather nasty skin condition of some kind, for example: the results of Googling it are... regrettable. :( Definitely nothing like the cute little demon ferret you see in game! I've gotten lightly fussed at once or twice over that sort of thing. :P But, I'm glad you're enjoying Demon's oddball cast relative to the usual collection of kobolds, orcs, etc. everyone's seen a million times already. :D

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #83 on: May 23, 2015, 04:43:45 AM »
Hey folks. :) Sorry to have been quiet for a bit, Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker (...and now Cogmind... ::happy grumbling:: ) proved rather distracting. :P

Work continues on getting server-stored high scores setup. Nearly complete, just working out some tweaks with Keylan, a friend of mine who's handling the server parts for me and helping me learn the basics of sending/receiving goodies to and from it. The screenshots in and of themselves probably aren't super exciting, but, I like showing progress so:

Here's the new name entry UI:



...and here's a peek at the high score board (with some obvious placeholder data, but also some actual data sent by the game.)



Also working on a few minor tweaks to the early game (a few encounters seem to be certain doom if they happen very early on, which is a no no) , but saving most gameplay work for the build after this. I have a metric ton of feedback (much of it from orbisvicis here in this thread, thank you again!) to turn into action items to help make a more polished experience. After that, I'll be back on content.

Hopefully I'll be seeing some familiar names on the high score board soon! :D Cheers!

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #84 on: May 30, 2015, 09:25:27 PM »
5/30 build is out. :) Here's a handy link, for PC, Mac, and Linux: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-sx_4eW-B5hWnhNZlRPclZLeUU&usp=drive_web

The biggest change in the 5/30 build? The online scoreboard!



Well, needless to say, it'd be pretty easy to get on it at the moment! :) You can view the top 20 scores at any time with the \ key. When a run ends, you'll be shown your score in context with some similarly ranked scores to give you an idea of how you did.

The build also includes a fair number of other significant changes:
  • You can now name the main character. (Kinda needed for a scoreboard!)
  • Removed all trait-based recruitments restrictions and requirements. These weren't a lot of fun, and were making balance kind of a pain too since it meant there were some abilities that were mutually exclusive (i.e: If you had Demon A that gives Ability N, you can't recruit Demon B that gives Ability T, so N and T are mutually exclusive.)
  • Slightly rebalanced T:1 and T:2 to be a bit gentler an introduction to the game.
  • Enemies no longer spawn particularly close to portals.
  • Enemy groups communicate with each other less, making it less likely the player wll be swarmed by very large hordes.
  • Infection only halves Stamina regeneration instead of completely removing it.
  • The main character's healing/restorative abilities, if any, will be automatically used when resting to reduce downtime.
  • Skipping VFX now also skips message log pauses caused by too many messages.

As always, feedback is welcome, but importantly, I hope you have fun trying Demon out. I'll post again soon about what I'm working on next! :)

Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #85 on: June 05, 2015, 11:16:14 PM »
6/5 build is out. :) PC, Mac, and Linux builds are available: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-sx_4eW-B5hWnhNZlRPclZLeUU&usp=drive_web

The 6/5 build adds Demon's first non-placeholder side-dungeon. :) The entrance is (when it appears, that is!) found on Tower:2, so even relatively new players have a fairly good shot at finding it. :D Keep an eye out for a darkened stairway!



What awaits below? :D


This week also saw another first: Demon's first piece of fan art. :D Grace made this awesome picture of a Huo Shu:



Thanks Grace! :D

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #86 on: June 08, 2015, 10:18:16 AM »
You know you've made it when you start getting fan art!

Ferret

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #87 on: June 10, 2015, 03:56:20 PM »
I don't know if I feel like I've made it yet, but it was definitely was good for a nice warm, fuzzy feeling. :D

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #88 on: June 23, 2015, 12:43:07 AM »
I'm busily chipping away at proper mouse controls for the next build, but in the meantime, I released a build on 6/14 that added some fun changes, including some based on recent feedback. :D I apparently completely blanked out on posting about it here for some reason. :P Apologies!

PC, OSX, and Linux builds can be found here as usual:  https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-sx_4eW-B5hWnhNZlRPclZLeUU&usp=drive_web

Among the bigger changes:
  • Support abilities (buffs and heals) no longer require clear lines of fire: having sight of the target at all is enough.
  • Several area effect projectiles (mostly Rune effects, but also one ability: Fireball) can now be aimed short of their maximum range, making them a bit easier to use.
  • Sleep and Charm have been slightly reduced in duration.
  • Group movement no longer lets faster allies range far ahead of the player.
  • The UI will warn you when attempting to use hostile abilities when all enemy targets are immune to them.
  • Demons are now much more persistent about pursuit. Beware!
  • Further adjustments to how different groups of the same faction communicate with each other: enemies a bit less effectively (to further reduce swarming behaviors), allies a bit more effectively (so that player allies support friendly link targets better.

In the meantime, the scoreboard has been filling up quite nicely. :D



(This screenshot is from an editor build, so it shows the total number of scores, rather than capping at 20 or 50 maximum that release builds use to reduce the load on the server.)

The next build will have a significant upgrade to mouse support, which feels like a major pre-req to trying to gather players from places like IndieDB or the main roguelike Reddit. I don't plan to sell Demon, and I appreciate the players I do have, but... I would like more. :D

Anyway, back to work on mouse support. :) Cheers!

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Re: Demon: A monster collection roguelike
« Reply #89 on: July 04, 2015, 10:48:12 PM »
The expanded mouse controls build is up. :D Same link as usual for PC, Mac, and Linux builds: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-sx_4eW-B5hWnhNZlRPclZLeUU&usp=drive_web

It is now possible to a much larger number of activities using the mouse, including:
* Selecting and scrolling most types of lists.
* Hotkey buttons can now be clicked.
* Targets for abilities can be selected using the mouse.
* Clicking on visible cells in the dungeon has varying, context-specific effects, based on what you clicked and whether or not you are currently in combat.

It isn't quite possible to play entirely with the mouse, but this greatly expanded functionality should provide more options on how to play. If you preferred the largely keyboard interface of before, worry not: none of those have been changed, nor are even any of the old mouse controls changed. If a mouse control existed before this build, it operates the same today it did yesterday. :)

Next up: In-game descriptions of demons!

Oh. Well... I guess there is one more thing... mumble. I like to post screenshots with builds... but it's kinda hard to make an interesting screenshot about mouse controls, especially when most of the related interfaces don't really look different. But, I really wanted to post a screenshot with the build, so I have taken what will likely go down in history as the most boring screenshot of a roguelike ever: a screenie of an item in a selection menu being highlighted. :P