Author Topic: Going beyond hack and slash  (Read 24429 times)

Krice

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mushroom patch

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2015, 05:45:16 AM »
Interesting blog post, Krice.

I find it incredibly gratifying that even before my first release, variants of my game are already in the works. I imagine masters at the great workshops of the high Renaissance had a similar feeling as they lovingly guided the hands of their numerous apprentices in the creation of works that stand to this day as a testament of their genius... and the human spirit.

When do you plan to release your "mushroom patch simulator"?

awake

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2015, 01:50:48 AM »
Yeah, I think it's pretty telling that all the examples used have been from Nethack.
It's the go-to example, but even Angband isn't nearly as kill-happy as some more modern games.

Traps, secret doors, item identification, hunger, I believe even varied lighting levels? have been with us since Rogue. Monsters are the real threat in a dungeon crawler, but even then, one might sneak around them, trap them, frighten them away, befriend them, whatever.

Level-by-level FPS-style extermination has been done -- by DoomRL -- and it's not the typical roguelike experience.

Omnivore

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2015, 02:35:05 AM »
Level-by-level FPS-style extermination has been done -- by DoomRL -- and it's not the typical roguelike experience.

That's only required in certain challenges.  In the basic game play it is only required for levels like the Arena - and then only if you want to win the reward there, and for some gateway levels,  In some challenges, killing everything will cause you to lose.  There are also non-combat challenges along the way during play, of course they are optional, but I'm speaking of the levers and the assemblies.  As for traps, how about levels full of exploding barrels?

So, even the epitome of extermination style, untypical roguelike, is not solely a hack-n-slash.  It is primarily played that way in the standard game I believe, but that is by player choice and desire.

If you want to go beyond hack and slash in any game, first you need players who *want* to do something else. 

ProfessorOak6

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #34 on: January 30, 2015, 04:16:51 AM »
If you want to go beyond hack and slash in any game, first you need players who *want* to do something else.

I agree with this, and it shows that there are people out there looking for it, as Elig created this thread :)

The thought of non-combat based roguelikes has been in my thoughts for a while now.  Particularly non-violence in roguelikes.  It seems odd, but hey, it might be possible :)  But then as someone stated, a lot of people think Dwarf Fortress is not a roguelike, and that is certainly going away from combat (oriented). 

But, as Elig had initially stated, this thread is about enhanced role playing in roguelikes, not necessarily doing away with combat entirely.  Nethack indeed is a unique example!  And a true emulation of DnD 2nd Ed would be fantastic as well!  What better genre is there in order for someone to really *become* their character.  When that so loved character could die at any moment.  When that character experiences new events and happenings all the time.  When the players are not limited to just what they see, but also now what they imagine! :)

It's not just about throwing gems at unicorns, it's about *being able* to throw gems at unicorns.  The game must have unicorns, gems, and throwing mechanics.  They also must have these three things come together specifically for that task.  And there are two ways to accomplish this.  Either, "The Dev Teams Thinks of Everything" motto as in Nethack, or a generalized mechanics system that allows for these very specific reactions on a broad scale, but perhaps not as... unique.  Regardless, unless mechanics change over time, the players will eventually find out these interesting events, and it will no longer be new to them.  As the creator, it is your task to at least make sure the player has fun while learning these specifics.

With the incredible amount of roguelikes that are being created, and the relative ease as which any one of us could put one together in say... 7 days, allows for us to experiment with different styles, types, and to take a few risks.  I am hoping to be able to enter into the 2015 7DRL Challenge, and have been contemplating a non-combat system for it.  Hopefully I am able to compete. :P  It would be a small experiment for us all.

Elig, and anyone else, if you wished to email me with any ideas on enhancing role-playing in roguelikes (or any games for that matter), I would greatly appreciate it.  Or just post your own thoughts here for everyone to see :)  Expanding our horizons, but remembering both tradition and engagement, should be a goal for us all.

Thank you to all that have posted :)

akeley

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2015, 02:24:24 AM »
(Yes, I` know, post-rage quit reappearances are rather pathetic - but there`s nowhere else to go and RLs took over my gaming life, so there. Go on, curse me.)

I wholeheartedly support the desire expressed in OP`s topic and agree with most of suggestions of how to achieve it suggested here, but also think the whole "FPS is bad" angle is kind of misguided. And especially when we paint Crawl as the main villain here.

I don`t think there`s anything wrong with a strictly combat-oriented dungeon dive kind of gameplay - when correctly executed it`s anything but boring, in fact it can be exhilarating. Maybe if there were only such RLs around I`d agree but the way I see it there`s a lot of varied styles around - survival-likes, ADOM-likes, hard-to-classify projects and those "games with roguelike elements". Granted, combat looms large in most of them, but again, it`s not exactly a bad thing. It can coexist with other stuff fine, just like in Nethack.

Going back to Crawl, I think folks here really been tad too harsh on that venerable combatant - maybe I`m not exactly qualified to defend it since I`m still a RL noob and all that - but is it really "linear", "mediocre", "an FPS with swords"? Come on ;) Perhaps  some sort of burn out factors in here and it`s also kinda easy to nitpick on a game that`s been around for nearly two decades. Maybe in 10 years I`ll look down on it too, hopefully not though, since at the moment it`s my best-game-ever.

Linear? You need to use stairs very often to survive, then there`s Lair, Mines, etc. Turns into an FPS mid-game? Kind of, maybe, but confidence creep is a killer and every time I find myself steamrolling poor monsters later on, something beautiful happens, and all of a sudden my zombie/demon swarm is gone and I`m surrounded by bunch of nasty frogs feeling stupid (but happy :) - for example. Mashing tab to win? Nope, movement and positioning are rather important too - okay, its AI is not on the Sil level, but it definitely isn`t "keep-bumping" kinda game either.

And there`s myriad things that Crawl gets just right - like level generation, item spawns, no initial easing-in 2 level bore-fest, endless combos of races/gods/stats/roles - all making sense and clicking together in random harmony.

Hopefully sooner or later a game will appear that blends Nethack`s variety with Crawls combat prowess (okay, with sprinkling of Sil) - or perhaps finds a way to minimize combat`s dominance in a fun and meaningful way - and I`m really looking forward to it too. But there`s nothing wrong with combat itself as a main play style though.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 02:31:16 AM by akeley »

mushroom patch

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #36 on: February 01, 2015, 03:59:47 AM »
I find myself coming back to my original reaction here which is: 1.) No one advocating for a move away from "hack and slash" has very concrete ideas about how to make that workable, 2.) there's no evidence of interest in roguelikes that are not heavily combat oriented, and 3.) allusions to nethack manage to somehow be vague and narrow at the same time.

chooseusername

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #37 on: February 01, 2015, 09:06:53 PM »
I find myself coming back to my original reaction here which is: 1.) No one advocating for a move away from "hack and slash" has very concrete ideas about how to make that workable, 2.) there's no evidence of interest in roguelikes that are not heavily combat oriented, and 3.) allusions to nethack manage to somehow be vague and narrow at the same time.
1 yes I am waiting for this as well.  Unfortunately, endless pointless forum discussions about vague things that one thinks would make one happy, is a lot more satisfying and accomplishable than doing whatever has to be done.

2 is as far as I can tell anecdotal and subjective.  There is after all no evidence that there is no evidence of interest in roguelikes that are not heavily combat oriented.

For me the show pony that comes to mind and illustrates the desire for alternatives to games defined by combat, is Deus Ex or Thief.  All the crying and wailing of joy that was made a big thing of, when people had several ways to avoid combat.  Or other paths to take.  That said, the value of those alternative ways was built on a large albatross being the fact that these games were pretty much a progression of combat to wade through from start to end, and the avoidance of combat cannot exist without a reliance on combat.

3 could be said to be an allegory for the meaning of the classifier roguelike.

Omnivore

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #38 on: February 01, 2015, 10:58:29 PM »
I've been working off and on over the past couple years towards an 'objective oriented' style of RL where combat is just one way to achieve the objective(s).  It is not a combat-free alternative though, I can't imagine what combat-free would look like outside of puzzle games or card games (and similar) and how is that even in the same ballpark as a traditional RL?

There are a number of barriers to overcome even to achieve a combat optional RL.  First the game economy and character progression has to be decoupled from combat.  Second, you pretty much need to make combat viable but at the same time not always be the optimal path.  Third you need to make non-combat options as interesting to players as combat options.  Fourth there needs to be risk vs reward decisions in the non-combat paths, otherwise where is the challenge?

The above probably isn't an exhaustive list.   

I do think its a worthwhile pursuit.  Personally I'd love to see the RP put back in computer RPG for once and for once play a character that wasn't a mass-murdering mugger.  Back in the early days of computer games it was excusable due to various limitations, I'm not sure those excuses hold up today. 

mushroom patch

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2015, 12:43:39 AM »
I've been working off and on over the past couple years towards an 'objective oriented' style of RL where combat is just one way to achieve the objective(s).  It is not a combat-free alternative though, I can't imagine what combat-free would look like outside of puzzle games or card games (and similar) and how is that even in the same ballpark as a traditional RL?

There are a number of barriers to overcome even to achieve a combat optional RL.  First the game economy and character progression has to be decoupled from combat.  Second, you pretty much need to make combat viable but at the same time not always be the optimal path.  Third you need to make non-combat options as interesting to players as combat options.  Fourth there needs to be risk vs reward decisions in the non-combat paths, otherwise where is the challenge?

This lays out some of the issues, and as you say, by no means all of them, nicely. It's worth pointing out that Sil manages to achieve the first to a certain degree (in a somewhat obvious way, but in a way that deserves some of the praise it gets, in view of the fact that it works and the game has attracted a reasonable audience). Someone with an inclination toward angband variant maintenance might make a name for themselves by going all the way and removing the need to beat the hell out of Morgoth (or whatever new bosses) to steal the mcguffin and escape with it, thereby completing the journey to the hack side of the genre. In other words, there are games in the genre already tantalizingly close to carrying out the steps you mention, so it may be interesting to find out what happens then. Does that satisfy the desire to get away from hack and slash? My guess is no.

Quote
I do think its a worthwhile pursuit.  Personally I'd love to see the RP put back in computer RPG for once and for once play a character that wasn't a mass-murdering mugger.  Back in the early days of computer games it was excusable due to various limitations, I'm not sure those excuses hold up today.

Again, I must differ. Computers do murderhobo simulation well and should continue to do so. The desire for roleplaying is misguided and those who want it so badly they think it would be worth the thousands of hours of development you'd need to approach it would do better taking one or more of the following courses of action: A.) Get some friends and play an actual roleplaying game, B.) go to the local Renaissance fair, C.) join a historical reenactment society, or D.) get some culture with Shakespeare in the park. I just can't understand why someone would be so interested in shoehorning a type of interaction that is so available and in so much more satisfying forms in real life into a video game.

I find myself coming back to my original reaction here which is: 1.) No one advocating for a move away from "hack and slash" has very concrete ideas about how to make that workable, 2.) there's no evidence of interest in roguelikes that are not heavily combat oriented, and 3.) allusions to nethack manage to somehow be vague and narrow at the same time.

[...]

2 is as far as I can tell anecdotal and subjective.  There is after all no evidence that there is no evidence of interest in roguelikes that are not heavily combat oriented.

For me the show pony that comes to mind and illustrates the desire for alternatives to games defined by combat, is Deus Ex or Thief.  All the crying and wailing of joy that was made a big thing of, when people had several ways to avoid combat.  Or other paths to take.  That said, the value of those alternative ways was built on a large albatross being the fact that these games were pretty much a progression of combat to wade through from start to end, and the avoidance of combat cannot exist without a reliance on combat.

This is a question of your standard of evidence. After all, there is no shortage of attempts at games, mostly so-called 7DRLs, that purport to be roguelikes and try to make things less combat oriented. As far as I can tell, none that fit the bill seem to have gained a nontrivial audience (say, on par with a top five angband variant) or spawned successor projects that have either. Maybe this says more about 7DRLs than anything else, you might argue. But it's also true that, as I mention above, Sil has been praised for its progress in the areas outlined by Omnivore. Yet Sil, as I understand it, cannot be won purely by slinking around avoiding combat and no variant has come along to challenge that situation, again calling the demand for less hack and slash roguelikes into question. The fact of the matter is that there's been plenty of opportunity for such a game to emerge and nothing seems to have happened. This is a reflection of demand.

re: no avoidance of combat without combat, this seems to be the real issue. If there is no combat, it's not a roguelike anymore. If there is combat, the conventions of the genre lean heavily toward engaging and winning at it, not avoiding it. One radical approach would be to make it impossible to win in combat in the long run so that alternatives would be unavoidable, but the stable of models for this kind of thing is pretty thin. Stealth and pacification (e.g. crawl's Elyvilon) seem to be the only reasonably developed alternatives and from what I've seen only the stealth option seems very compelling.

Omnivore

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2015, 01:01:04 AM »
The desire for roleplaying is misguided and those who want it so badly they think it would be worth the thousands of hours of development you'd need to approach it would do better taking one or more of the following courses of action: A.) Get some friends and play an actual roleplaying game, B.) go to the local Renaissance fair, C.) join a historical reenactment society, or D.) get some culture with Shakespeare in the park. I just can't understand why someone would be so interested in shoehorning a type of interaction that is so available and in so much more satisfying forms in real life into a video game.

Some of us are disabled.  Others anti-social.  Still others are retired or on fixed incomes and can't afford the more expensive options.  Some, like myself, are all three.  For us, the pursuit is worthwhile.  Realize though that I'm speaking of something remotely similar to the experience of immersion and character identification you can get with a decent book.  Role play of the imagination so to speak.  Lesser, of course, because computer generation is far from being sophisticated enough to approach the actual thing.  Not necessarily so much lesser that it is not worth attempting.  Especially when I've read everything available that is remotely interesting to me.


mushroom patch

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2015, 01:41:15 AM »
The desire for roleplaying is misguided and those who want it so badly they think it would be worth the thousands of hours of development you'd need to approach it would do better taking one or more of the following courses of action: A.) Get some friends and play an actual roleplaying game, B.) go to the local Renaissance fair, C.) join a historical reenactment society, or D.) get some culture with Shakespeare in the park. I just can't understand why someone would be so interested in shoehorning a type of interaction that is so available and in so much more satisfying forms in real life into a video game.

Some of us are disabled.  Others anti-social.  Still others are retired or on fixed incomes and can't afford the more expensive options.  Some, like myself, are all three.  For us, the pursuit is worthwhile.  Realize though that I'm speaking of something remotely similar to the experience of immersion and character identification you can get with a decent book.  Role play of the imagination so to speak.  Lesser, of course, because computer generation is far from being sophisticated enough to approach the actual thing.  Not necessarily so much lesser that it is not worth attempting.  Especially when I've read everything available that is remotely interesting to me.

I'm either extremely impressed or extremely unimpressed if you've read everything that's remotely interesting to you. I don't think I could accomplish such a thing if I lived 200 years.

But fair enough, I didn't reckon with the situation you describe.

Krice

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2015, 09:20:08 AM »
7DRLs, that purport to be roguelikes and try to make things less combat oriented. As far as I can tell, none that fit the bill seem to have gained a nontrivial audience

It's more because they are 7DRLs. If you don't have combat you need other stuff which most traditional roguelikes don't have, because they are so focused on combat. Creating good gameplay mechanics for that "other stuff" can be difficult if you are limiting your thinking, but everything is possible. There was this swedish guy who thought it's a good gameplay mechanic to build blocks and remove them. And that's the whole game. It became a huge success.

mushroom patch

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2015, 09:40:35 AM »
Good comment, Krice. I'll just stop limiting my thinking and remember that everything is possible. Good point about the Swedish guy. He showed us how to make roguelike games with roleplaying elements. Also that we have to stop limiting our thinking and remember that everything is possible.

elwin

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Re: Going beyond hack and slash
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2015, 04:29:11 PM »
I suspect that radical change is required. Moving away from combat by just adding alternatives is going to be difficult.

The goal in playing a roguelike is to come up with tactics and strategies that you can use to solve any randomly generated problems you may encounter. You shouldn't think of hack and slash combat as a means to the goal of winning. Solving the problem of combat is the goal. Character progression, world exploration, and achieving objectives are only there to make combat meaningful and keep it interesting.

To make a non-combat roguelike, you will need to find a different problem which can be randomly generated and which players can solve by discovering tactics and strategies. Make a game about that problem, and get rid of hack and slash.
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