Author Topic: Quack Potions  (Read 21964 times)

Cfyz

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2015, 07:43:29 AM »
Quote from: mushroom patch
The answer is to abandon the idea entirely. <...> I'm going to need to hear a more convincing argument than this before I believe that being able to pick shit up off the floor and use it is bad and I should have to wait and figure out what it is first.
Aren't being able to instantly read full info of any item without some in-game justification seems somewhat shallow? Like the game doesn't bother to keep the semblance of realism.

Vanguard

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2015, 11:54:22 AM »
Aren't being able to instantly read full info of any item without some in-game justification seems somewhat shallow? Like the game doesn't bother to keep the semblance of realism.

That kind of thing is always easy to explain away.  It's not a worthwhile complaint.

You're an experienced adventurer who has already learned about all the magic items you can expect to find in your previous adventures.  You're a graduate from a prestigious guild and your education included hands on training with all known magic items and all available knowledge on the world's lost artifacts.  Your god wants to see you succeed, and grants you knowledge of magic items as you find them.  You've been spying on the enemy for some time prior to the beginning of the game, and you've learned what weapons and magic items they use, and how they function.

See?  It's so trivial to come up with explanations that it isn't worth worrying about.

Omnivore

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2015, 12:38:01 PM »
Aren't being able to instantly read full info of any item without some in-game justification seems somewhat shallow? Like the game doesn't bother to keep the semblance of realism.

That kind of thing is always easy to explain away.  It's not a worthwhile complaint.

You're an experienced adventurer who has already learned about all the magic items .... .... .... you've learned what weapons and magic items they use, and how they function.

See?  It's so trivial to come up with explanations that it isn't worth worrying about.

Sure if magic in your game is 'assembly line magic' that follows scientific method... which... sigh...  Magic != science, or at least shouldn't be, or doesn't need to be.  One view of magic is that it does not follow cause and effect and it is not subject to repeatable experiments (aka scientific method).  Each person, each phase of the moon, each subtly different impure ingredient in both alchemy and magic leads to a different embodiment or effect of the magic.  Or at least, it can.  In a magical magic or alchemy system (rather than pseudo science), identification becomes necessary, since every potion, every item, every spell, is unique. 

Of course, coming up with a game implementation which makes that clear to the player and makes it interesting both strategically and tactically, well, that's a bit harder :)  Step outside the box.

Vanguard

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2015, 01:45:09 PM »
Sure if magic in your game is 'assembly line magic' that follows scientific method... which... sigh...  Magic != science, or at least shouldn't be, or doesn't need to be.  One view of magic is that it does not follow cause and effect and it is not subject to repeatable experiments (aka scientific method).  Each person, each phase of the moon, each subtly different impure ingredient in both alchemy and magic leads to a different embodiment or effect of the magic.  Or at least, it can.  In a magical magic or alchemy system (rather than pseudo science), identification becomes necessary, since every potion, every item, every spell, is unique. 

Of course, coming up with a game implementation which makes that clear to the player and makes it interesting both strategically and tactically, well, that's a bit harder :)  Step outside the box.

Ok but something about your character is extremely appealing to the omnipresent and invisible spirits which give all things their form and function, and through their blessing your character finds themselves intuitively understanding all magic they encounter.

Long-term exposure to sorcery has twisted your mind and now even the most subtle of magics is completely transparent to you, at the cost of your sanity.

You're actually the descendent of some supernatural being and you perceive the supernatural world as clearly as others perceive the natural world.

The dungeon was once the home of a legendary wizard, and his enchantments of knowledge and understanding still stand strong to this day.  All who enter gain an inexplicable ability to know the unknowable.

There's a team of ace magical researchers supporting your mission.  They're maintaining a telepathic connection with you, and at any time can call you on the codec to explain whatever you encounter.

It doesn't matter what the setting or situation is.  It can always be explained away.

Cfyz

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2015, 04:41:31 PM »
Quote from: Vanguard
It doesn't matter what the setting or situation is.  It can always be explained away.
It's like any random reasoning will do. I will have to disagree.

Character ususally starts being fairly weak and have to steadily improve to fully unlock various aspects. He is weak in combat, useless in magic, can't tell right from left in the dungeon, prone to traps and hexes. If that is not the case, then why does he have such trouble over measly early foes? Yet at the same time he is fully aware of huge amount of information. What it is, how it is named and used, how deep it cuts, how much HP it restores, was it cursed, etc. And this is just does not add up.

In the deep and complex game on DCSS level it breaks the suspension of disbelief. The character is completely imbalanced, but this does not have any significant impact on the otherwise consistent game. What such extraordinary character does so out of his comfort zone? He know literally everything about the item, is it the same with monsters? The way to kill them most quickly, current HP and MP, thoughts (just to plan a few turns ahead, nothing serious)? What about the level structure? Traps around? He perceive the supernatural but the walls are more supernatural than that? He knows everything about the magic book and super hard spells in it, surely he will not have trouble reading that? Then what that supporting team of ace mages is for then? With no offense meant, all those 'explanations' you provided are half-assed. They have tremendous implications none of which will be addressed in the game.

I think the problem is that you intend to give player access to inconsistent information. There will have to be a lot of things PC does not know about or have access to. And now without ID there will also be a lot of things PC does know about. With no clear line between these two it will not be trivial to justify.

mushroom patch

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2015, 05:02:36 PM »
This gets to the nub of it. Apparently many people in the roguelike world think it's good when a tactical situation with game determining implications ("desperately need") is decided by pure chance. I can't begrudge you your fun trying to puzzle out what you've picked up in brogue, but this is nethackery and frankly not as popular/interesting as you think.

If you need a certain effect, and you're in the mid game or later, odds are you already have the item you need.  If you've been experimenting with your items properly, you can minimize the cost.  More importantly, if you find yourself in that kind of situation, it's probably because you've already made some bad decisions.  Like all roguelikes, Brogue is about acting under imperfect information and having a backup plan for when the RNG turns against you.  It isn't pure chance.

Or you've gotten lazy. This happens to a certain extent in DCSS as well. There's a certain amount of sentiment against it.

The fact that your bad decisions can be amplified or forgiven completely according to the luck of the draw may be "fun," but it's also haphazard design. In the case of identification subgames, the instance of trusting to the heart of the scrolls tends not to repeat itself within a game, so you don't even have the usual defense of tactical randomness that risks repeated over the course of a game inevitably add up to death.

Quote
You comment about the hunger clock suggests you haven't played Brogue.  Its time limit is strict and a constant factor in any player's decisions.  Most of the time you can't afford to backtrack three floors to switch your +1 ring for something better.  Again, just because the hunger clocks in Angband and DCSS are badly made doesn't mean that's the case for all roguelikes.

It's true. I guess I'd be willing to play it if it has public servers available.

Regarding the so-called "hunger clock," this is another piece of vestigial cruft that would be best abandoned. The cliche itself suggests the problem: If you want a time limit, you should just set a time limit, not make the player dick around stuffing his character's face every so often and picking up cherries everywhere. There are plenty of better options for limiting backtracking and scumming than literally finding and eating food.


re: other comments about how nethack is the best thing ever and realism of roguelikes, no true ID system whatever: Realism is a terrible guide to designing games. Why don't you have to drink in roguelikes? Doesn't that seem kind of shallow? Like a whole chunk of gameplay (and fun!) is missing??

If indeed brogue's ID system rises to the level of a middling game of sudoku as claimed in this thread, that does not suggest to me that such systems are a crucial part of any dungeon crawling game. On the contrary, the fact that a typical ID system sucks suggests to me that it's not a good idea to try them at all. Moreover, if the argument is that ID systems offer a source of danger the magnitude of which can be reduced with conservative play (oh boy!) or blind luck it would seem to me the energy involved in designing and balancing that system (and making sure it doesn't suck) would be better devoted to some other more calibrated source of danger.

reaver

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2015, 05:35:02 PM »
People tend to forget that these roguelike things are games and are not intended as imaginary (and possibly quite short) life simulators, where any game action should be explained realistically.
Designers can find plenty of excuses for the existence (or not) of mechanics using lore, so it's pointless to try and argue that ID is necessary or not because "here's some lore wherein ID'ing or not makes sense".
Point is, is it fun? Before you say the ID process is repetitive/tedious, consider the following: ID is like a wrapped gift. You know you got something, you're excited at the prospect that it might be good, but it might also be crap. Gifts are universally considered fun (for kids at least, body or mind). Now if you can make the "unwrapping" process not hated/super boring, then I believe the revelation is worth it. Add to that the possibility of the gift can blow up in your face and there you have the extra fun tension.

I agree though that making the ID process fun is difficult. But what's wrong with making ID'ing automatic/easy for lower-level items and make it difficult for high-level stuff? The ID'ing process would be infrequent, and therefore could be more involved and meaningful.

luctius

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2015, 05:43:42 PM »
Quote
But what's wrong with making ID'ing automatic/easy for lower-level items and make it difficult for high-level stuff? The ID'ing process would be infrequent, and therefore could be more involved and meaningful.

That is actually a very good idea. I was planning to ID artefacts anyway, but yes, I could use something like that.

mushroom patch

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2015, 06:58:02 PM »
People tend to forget that these roguelike things are games and are not intended as imaginary (and possibly quite short) life simulators, where any game action should be explained realistically.
Designers can find plenty of excuses for the existence (or not) of mechanics using lore, so it's pointless to try and argue that ID is necessary or not because "here's some lore wherein ID'ing or not makes sense".
Point is, is it fun? Before you say the ID process is repetitive/tedious, consider the following: ID is like a wrapped gift. You know you got something, you're excited at the prospect that it might be good, but it might also be crap. Gifts are universally considered fun (for kids at least, body or mind). Now if you can make the "unwrapping" process not hated/super boring, then I believe the revelation is worth it. Add to that the possibility of the gift can blow up in your face and there you have the extra fun tension.

Yeah, but if I were a kid and I got a gift that stuck to my hand or poisoned me, I wouldn't like gifts anymore. Similarly if everything I encountered in life were gift wrapped, I'd quickly tire of unwrapping gifts. This is exactly how roguelike identification subgames work, though.

Add to this the fact that it's already a good time if you find an outstanding piece of randomly generated loot lying on the ground -- indeed, it's a better time and a more strategic time, because you know exactly how much you want/need it and what lengths you'll go to to nab it if there's something guarding it or whatever. The analogous situation in games with strong ID systems is almost universally one of "well, it's probably junk anyway and you should never risk much for random junk on the ground."

As to what's wrong with making low level stuff easy to ID and high level stuff not: The bad part of that is that high level stuff is not easy to ID. The unknowability of loot in ID heavy games inevitably results in ambivalence toward the unID'd item. Yes, you need to get it if you can, but the expectation value of its utility is generally small and therefore not worth a real risk. If you can rarely say that an item is worth taking a risk, this is bad. Every time a game hides the fact that there's a great item you could get if you took a big risk, something valuable is lost.

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2015, 11:57:52 PM »
Aren't being able to instantly read full info of any item without some in-game justification seems somewhat shallow? Like the game doesn't bother to keep the semblance of realism.

That kind of thing is always easy to explain away.  It's not a worthwhile complaint.

You're an experienced adventurer who has already learned about all the magic items .... .... .... you've learned what weapons and magic items they use, and how they function.

See?  It's so trivial to come up with explanations that it isn't worth worrying about.

Sure if magic in your game is 'assembly line magic' that follows scientific method... which... sigh...  Magic != science, or at least shouldn't be, or doesn't need to be.

And yet, once you've quaffed a single "red potion", you know that all of them are "healing potions".

Much more important, I think, is that an ID subgame works well with the rest of the game, in terms of gameplay. In some games, it makes sense to omit it altogether, in other games it can be done well – I guess – but much more depending on mechanics than setting. As Vanguard demonstrated, you can always find some justification for a certain mechanic, and in the end, a game can't encompass "everything". Why isn't there a mechanic for sleeping, when there is one for eating? That is a stupid question, but I'm sure a game with a dedicated sleeping mechanic might have dreams (or something) just as interesting as corpse-eating in your traditional nethack-like.

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

akeley

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2015, 02:21:33 AM »
People tend to forget that these roguelike things are games and are not intended as imaginary (and possibly quite short) life simulators, where any game action should be explained realistically.
Well, I suppose that roguelike authors` intentions do vary, which (thankfully) leads to variety of released material - some like UnrealWorld or CDDA are indeed very close to simulations and yet dare to call themselves roguelikes and are very good games too.

Way I see it, some players perceive RLs in a more abstract, "gamey" way and don`t care much for explanations or atmosphere, while others do, to some extent at least. For me personally gameplay always comes first but I still like a bit of roleplay & realism remaining too - but I do enjoy RLs from both ends of the spectrum, depending on mood. 

There`s no reason why gameplay & realism can`t coexist and they indeed do in lots of RLs to great effect. Also no reason for the opponents of this style to always jump on and pounce whenever this word is uttered - we really don`t mean that a "realistic" game has to include blood pressure levels and "out of toilet paper" subgame.

IDing & hunger clocks are example of systems  that can be both fun, realistic and very much part of the "game" itself. And I suppose these have been around not because they`re part of tradition or that players were just stumbling in the dark for so many years but because more often than not they do happen to work rather well.

And so I`d rather see efforts concentrated on improving existing systems like combat or AI in RLs than dismantling  working ones. Although, there is one old trope that drives me mad - the run-around-the-column to recover health - both unrealistic and unfun, and it`d be great to see that addressed somehow.


Omnivore

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2015, 04:08:49 AM »
And yet, once you've quaffed a single "red potion", you know that all of them are "healing potions".

That describes assembly line magic in a nutshell.

What if healing consumables come in multiple forms?  Salves, poultices, and yes potions for example.  What if 'positive divine' magic is associated with the color red - but in *any* combination with other colors?  The color might be just a hint, not a guarantee.  If, in your game, magic and magic consumables aren't as common as dirt, there is no reason the ID 'subgame' can't be made a major, interesting, part of the game.

In the end, are you writing  a chess game?  A new take on pacman?  Or perhaps a different take on the portrayal of a fantasy world in an immersive computer role playing game  that concentrates on guts rather than eye-candy?

Yes explanations for lack of realism can be taken to as ridiculous extremes as realism can, hell explain away the entire game, start game, display "You won!" or "You lost!" and exit.

Vanguard

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2015, 06:27:55 AM »
In the case of identification subgames, the instance of trusting to the heart of the scrolls tends not to repeat itself within a game, so you don't even have the usual defense of tactical randomness that risks repeated over the course of a game inevitably add up to death.

But it's literally the same thing!  If you make bad decisions with your inventory you either weaken your character's long term viability or else put them at immediate risk of death, just exactly the same as if you make bad decisions in combat.

You really need to play an actual good roguelike if you think hunger clocks are vestigial.  ID systems are generally a good feature, but hunger clocks are fundamental.  Most roguelikes are not functional without a time limit, and every single roguelike that doesn't have a meaningful time limit would be massively improved if it did.  A hunger clock changes a roguelike from a series of unrelated challenges to a single holistic adventure where every event exists in the context of what happened before.  It adds another layer to every decision you make over the course of the game.

It doesn't have to be food-based, anything will do as long as it makes time a valuable resource.  Sil has Morgoth's power drawing you to his throne room, Infra Arcana has your character gradually go insane over time, and both of them work just as well as a traditional hunger system.

Krice

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2015, 12:15:53 PM »
This potion idea is great and I think some comments reveal that people are just jealous they didn't come up with this idea themselves.

mushroom patch

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Re: Quack Potions
« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2015, 03:43:21 PM »
In the case of identification subgames, the instance of trusting to the heart of the scrolls tends not to repeat itself within a game, so you don't even have the usual defense of tactical randomness that risks repeated over the course of a game inevitably add up to death.

But it's literally the same thing!  If you make bad decisions with your inventory you either weaken your character's long term viability or else put them at immediate risk of death, just exactly the same as if you make bad decisions in combat.

No it isn't. Decisions involving your inventory are paperwork. Tactical decisions are not.


Quote
You really need to play an actual good roguelike if you think hunger clocks are vestigial.  ID systems are generally a good feature, but hunger clocks are fundamental.  Most roguelikes are not functional without a time limit, and every single roguelike that doesn't have a meaningful time limit would be massively improved if it did.  A hunger clock changes a roguelike from a series of unrelated challenges to a single holistic adventure where every event exists in the context of what happened before.  It adds another layer to every decision you make over the course of the game.

Given that we've already established a distinction between "hunger" and "time," I'm not sure I see the content of this paragraph. As far as time limits, as long as the game keeps a careful turn count, there is always the possibility of speed running to impose time limitations.

Incidentally, I agree that angband is fairly weak as a game unless you speedrun it and even then it's lacking compared to many other games. Crawl has its issues too, but the significance of food/time is definitely not among them. If you think crawl sucks and that's a key part of your argument (as it seems to be), I don't see much room for progress here.

Quote
It doesn't have to be food-based, anything will do as long as it makes time a valuable resource.  Sil has Morgoth's power drawing you to his throne room, Infra Arcana has your character gradually go insane over time, and both of them work just as well as a traditional hunger system.

Indeed, but they're better in that the player isn't responsible for dicking around with items to keep himself alive.

The problem with your thinking is that you want to have a single tier of winning with a high bar set from the beginning. There's a lot of wisdom in the crawl and angband approaches of allowing the player a lot of freedom, particularly in the crawl setting where there's choice about endgame content and different tiers of victory. As a speedrunner, I agree that time is important and speed and the tension it creates improves games, but making the player pick up pellets then eat them when he gets hungry is little more than an interface screw and cuts against the speed part of the formula.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 03:45:12 PM by mushroom patch »