Author Topic: My thoughts on deep mechanics.  (Read 12260 times)

Untrustedlife

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My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« on: August 01, 2015, 09:11:56 AM »
http://untrustedlife.com/2015/08/01/my-way-of-coding-roguelikes/
I recently posted a blog there, that some people may be interested in discussing mechanics I prefer to put in my games. Enjoy :)

I am still new to writing, so I hope its not too horrible.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 09:19:39 AM by Untrustedlife »

Untrustedlife

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2015, 02:30:47 PM »
I was hoping for some critique. Eh, some people to reject my ideas, so we could discuss things.
Bad title perhaps, it was just about my thoughts on design not "here is what I do" .I guess im just new to this lol.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 02:36:01 PM by Untrustedlife »

Tzan

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2015, 05:27:47 PM »
Well I dont think anyone is going to say those two are terrible.
They are both fine. The first is easy.
The second seems very complicated.
So if you wanted to write about a way to implement it, that would be great.

Untrustedlife

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2015, 07:52:29 AM »
Well I dont think anyone is going to say those two are terrible.
They are both fine. The first is easy.
The second seems very complicated.
So if you wanted to write about a way to implement it, that would be great.

Great Idea, I shall devote my next blog post to it.

TheCreator

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2015, 06:26:59 AM »
Your post is not very controversial, so don't expect it'll spark a real discussion here. I could criticize several other things if you want, though ;-).
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Paul Jeffries

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2015, 08:46:26 PM »
There's not really much to discuss in there, but:
- I wouldn't typically class detailed descriptions as a 'mechanic' unless there is some sort of URR-style deductive-reasoning gameplay built around it.
- Simulationist item interactions are fine if done well, but can also be a colossal waste of development time and resources that might be better employed on core gameplay systems and can cause the UI to become bloated and unfriendly.  You note the latter, but are very vague on how you plan to deal with it.  Being able to eat chainmail is mildly amusing and if I know I can do it I might try it once to see what will happen, but after that I'll know its a bad idea and won't do it ever again.  In fact, if it's instant-death it may just dissuade me from experimenting with using equipment in unusual ways in the future. Maybe it becomes slightly more interesting if I can play as a Troll who can eat metal but even in that case it's something that will either kill me or it won't - it's still not necessarily a 'deep' mechanic if there's no meaningful trade-off involved.

Untrustedlife

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2015, 05:24:17 PM »
Paul Jeffries?
I have heard you on roguelike radio! Thanks for posting!

(As to your question about accessibility,right now I am using an inventory with mouse controls, you just click the item and choose your interaction (this will be modified later, but is accessible compared to a mass of keys)

Perhaps consuming was a bad option to use as an example, lets say, in a game, there exists "Ethereal" creatures, these creatures can only be damaged by magic items.In a typical roguelike If the player encounters an ethereal, and doesn't have a magical weapon with which to fight it then they are essentially doomed, perhaps they could run away, use a potion of teleportation. But this player has none of these.

What do they do?
In a typical roguelike, your run ends there.But if I can use any item as a weapon, and I happen to have a magical amulet , then, now I have the option to attack the ethereal with my magical amulet, because this item IS magical. And I defined a default "1d3" damage in my base item class.
A puzzle is solved. The player feels extremely clever.


Lets come up with a broader example.Consuming.
hehe, in the old roguelegends, you could do the "Heimlich manuver" on yourself with the 'h' key when you were choking, and it rolled based on your willpower.

Anyway, that fun fact aside, what items could I consume?

In a standard roguelike.
Any obvious  Food item I suppose. monster corpses, lichen, standard stuff.

In a roguelike that uses polymorphism to allow for greater freedom of item usage I could easily define "default" reactions in the base "Item" class which every other "item class" inherits from.I could now , override my hypothetical "consume" method i my  alchemical products class, that says they can also be eaten, instead of just being used to produce potions (and choking when you try to consume them otherwise), without any extra work on my part, maybe 1 or 2 lines of code and now the player has another option for replenishing their hunger bar. And, now, since it is easy as pie, they can also eat rodents they find crawling around on the dungeon floor. Because it is an "item" that is "small" and by default, a vermin (which actually inherits from my base, Item and creature classes) since all of them are "objects" as defined by me.)  is in fact edible because I defined it as a "small" creature..
 (yeah it gets a bit complex, but if you have been making everything polymorphic from the start it is actually very easy)

I could also allow players to swallow rings, this requires a little bit of code, I would have to override the "consume" method in my "Accessories" class which inherits from my base item class in which I programmed the default "consume" method  to be to make the creature "choke" if the item isn't a "small" item.  This overridden method says , oh, if this accessory has a magical property the player eats it and gets a small bonus. (Of ocurse I would have to add special bonuses for every kind of ring, which takes time, but its nothing I couldnt hack out in an hour)

That is how it can be done with little extra work on my part, just some pre-planning. ( AT least, thats how I  am doing it, and how I think it should be done)


« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 05:39:11 PM by Untrustedlife »

Holsety

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2015, 09:09:19 AM »
See, that's already a lot better than your blog post.
Because trying to eat a suit of armor is silly if you're a human. Not only would it not fit in your mouth, nobody would think of doing it because there's nothing to be gained. You don't get nutrition from it. Eating anything you pick up is very "videogame" behavior, and it breaks immersion. I know I didn't read no books about Conan trying to eat his enemies' shoes, or Arthur choking on a Greatshield. Robin Hood, not Robin Rat-devourer, thank you.  ;)

As for eating rings for a small bonus; usually rings already confer a SMALL bonus (like +1 AC, or 1 Fire Resist or 1 Str etc etc) so eating one of THOSE would either give you nothing or the same bonus they gave when worn on your finger.
In that case, why ever wear rings? Just eat them all.
So you'd have to make worn rings a lot more powerful (ie. BIG bonus when worn) in order to enable them to give a SMALL bonus when ingested.

Is your game going to have that many magical rings lying around that it's suddenly "normal" to swallow them all?
In the end you end up with the player wearing his two (?) favorite/strongest rings and blindly eating any other rings he finds, slowly building up permanent bonuses. That's not good game design at all, in my opinion.

Wielding a silver helmet as an improvised weapon against a werewolf is decent, but is it worth implementing "wield anything" just to deal with monsters that are only affected by silver/cold-iron/magical?
"If you encounter a ghost and you don't have a magical weapon, don't have means of escape (potions/scrolls), and are slower than the ghost, you're usually doomed." So you want to fix that by letting the player improv-wield a magical wearable.
But if he doesn't have that he's STILL doomed.

Suppose the player DOES have a magical amulet; 9 out of 10 times he's going to run or teleport because he won't think that he CAN wield the amulet as a weapon. So if you want to force the player to beat a ghost to death with an amulet, you'll have to make the ghosts faster than the player. I think you'll end up with a lot of players complaining about unavoidable, unkillable ethereal monsters, instead of them thinking they're clever for finding the "solution". For what it's worth, this type of problem is only rewarding to solve once, imo. Lastly, you try beating a werewolf to death with a silver plate; see who gets mauled :V

Wouldn't it be better to have "ethereal" creatures just be SLOW (and able to walk through walls)? Imo that's much more interesting, and removes the need for oddball systems.
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Untrustedlife

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2015, 03:23:09 PM »
(Ugh I typed up a whole reply and exitted accidentally now I have to type it all up again)

You bring up books as an example as to why "eating" anything breaks immersion, so the first thing i will point out is that in my view of a roguelike (and in the original rogue actually) and in my actual game,   you're not conan, king arthur, or anyone special like that, you are just an unlucky rogue, archaeologist, or lost apprentice to a mage, you are not a hero, you are a rogue, who needs to survive. And who eventually may become the hero, but in no way do you start expecting to be a hero, you are not "the chosen one",  (my view on this can be summed up by this podcast: http://www.roguelikeradio.com/2013/08/episode-77-hero-trap.html), in fact you are very likely to die and not be remembered at all, because  the world will die in one year anyway (in my case), and you failed. The next character might be this worlds hero though, but is likely not.

If you are a regular guy, starving in a dungeon, which you  (Drunkenly?) bumbled into , and you saw a rat and no other food,   you would eat it, you have no other choice, so therefore, the player in my game, (and I think in most), should be able to use the resource that is that rat (or in my case a proccedurally generated vermin creature) to feed yourself, or make weird gurgly potions. If the need arises. (With associated (Vomity) punishments for overindulging in unsafe to eat vermin)
Also my game is a "dark fantasy" game so being rather disturbing (But funny) is part of the fun.


Second point,  You mention that the player is still doomed, if they dont have the item they need, this is very true, (and lets point out that by magical, I mean anything enchanted ( an amulet of fire resistance works just as well in the case of an ethereal, but this is by no means, the only example of improvised weapons, in fact you came up with one)), but, this extra ability to wield anything (and as I stated , its not really hard to program if you pre planned it and use polymorphism), is an extra option the (a whole world of options, actually) the player didnt have before. You are more doomed in a  standard roguelike. I look at roguelikes as an opportunity to problem solve, and therefore, having more options to solve problems is nothing but a good thing for the player. (even if it feels like its a one-off problem, its still better then always being doomed in that situation) (Of course I also have other solutions for this problem, but I can talk about that some other time, I cant reveal all my mechanics here!)

If  a player has no way to escape, they have nothing to teleport,and  are essentially doomed, then to be honest, that is boring, the player could potentially survive, if he has an amulet (any magical item). AND MAYBE JUST MAYBE they could survive, when they figure out that amulet doubles as a magical weapon. Much better and more interesting stories come out of this then just limiting the players options. Also players when put in stressful situations forget when they have the solution for  a problem alot of the time when they die and realize they could have saved themselves, thats interesting and humerous (usually).

(also my ethereals use a d100 system for ethereal-ness, essentially it is an extra check before a dodge check, that checks, "oh this creature is 50 % ethereal, therefore, every time you hit with a non-magical item, there is a 50% chance it will pass all the way through, so it isnt a 100% you lose thing)

Also I never want to force a player with my mechanics to face death in an impossible situation (I was a jerk and added a 100% ethereal creature early on for example), that is punishing, not interesting, (I have to be especially careful about this because all my creatures are procedurally generated) I want the player to always think they might be clever enough to get out of this by providing more options, more opportunities for that amazing- rogueliek problem solving buzz. (This is especially important to me as a designer)


About consuming rings, In my roguelike , rings are a bit more rare, and powerful then the standard (thats how they are planned anyway), they are magical artifacts you can find and identify, (as in several roguelikes), but let say you find a ring that seems useless, at the time, it protects you from poison, but there are no poisonous creatures around and your inventory is full of items you find more useful at the time, in a standard roguelike, you probabbly drop the ring, in my roguelike, (with this mechanic), you have another reason to keep it around, because it is almost as useful as a potion of poison resistance in this situation, and the effect of consuming it is obviously temporary since making it permanent is clearly game-breaking, also as a side effect of my system, since a ring is a small item, it can be crushed, and used to brew potentially more powerful potions, then a vermin for example. Suddenly You have 3 more options, more if you have the stuff to brew potions, then you would in a  standard roguelike, again, this is only a good thing to me.

Also, you have another layer of decision making, , should I just eat this, or wear it, or perhaps use it in a potion, or maybe throw it somewhere?
(also keep in mind that due to polymorhism, amulets, (if I make them considered" small", have the same set of options by default.

Thats my thoughts anyway! I should probably get off my soapbox and post this on my blog XD, it is at that point now.
Loving the conversation  also, its  a great way to get some feedback on my ideas!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 03:47:55 PM by Untrustedlife »

reaver

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2015, 03:45:54 PM »
I couldn't help but chuckle at all these references to polymorphism as the holy grail of varied behavior :)

Untrustedlife

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2015, 03:49:36 PM »
I couldn't help but chuckle at all these references to polymorphism as the holy grail of varied behavior :)

Hehe, Yeah, I might have a problem (I know lots of people dont love it),  but it has worked well for me in the past, and is working well in my game. Especially in C++, where I dont have to redefine methods.

Worked very well in my old projects too, but sometimes it can get a bit bloated if you arent careful.

(I can feel the trolling c++ programmers coming along for my soul any moment, many of them dont favor it)
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 03:57:03 PM by Untrustedlife »

AgingMinotaur

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2015, 06:35:18 AM »
You bring up books as an example as to why "eating" anything breaks immersion
Heresy! «And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.» (Rev, 10:10-11)

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

reaver

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2015, 09:33:03 AM »
Heresy! «And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.» (Rev, 10:10-11)

Haha wow I'm afraid to ask how could you know to drop such a reference!

AgingMinotaur

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2015, 10:55:01 PM »
«And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.» (Rev, 10:10-11)
Haha wow I'm afraid to ask how could you know to drop such a reference!

8)
It's actually been more than twenty years since I read that crooked book, but my young self somehow stuck with the concept, sensing this opportunity would come along some day. I am not now, nor have I ever been, member of a … ahem, religious community. But eating a prophetic book to achieve prophetic powers, hell yeah, that's what I'm all about.

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

Paul Jeffries

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Re: My thoughts on deep mechanics.
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2015, 07:37:13 PM »
But eating a prophetic book to achieve prophetic powers, hell yeah, that's what I'm all about.

I can confirm that this really works.  I ate a copy of The Prophesies of Nostradamus and immediately had the strong and 100% accurate premonition that I was going to throw up.