Author Topic: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes  (Read 25778 times)

Slash

  • Creator of Roguetemple
  • Administrator
  • Rogueliker
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
  • Karma: +4/-1
    • View Profile
    • Slashie.net
    • Email
Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« on: September 13, 2007, 12:31:14 AM »
Hi all,

We all know most roguelikes revolve around slashing around endless hordes of different evil creatures as you venture into the depths of the world looking for THAT artifact or THAT bad guy (or may be just a cure for your daughter?).

This, off course, brings satisfaction to our orc-blood thirsty minds. But other than that, I think roguelikes have great capabilities of combining this with other kinds of gameplay.

In my soon to be restarted genroguelike project I am planning to add different activities such as hunting, fishing and farming. What cool things do you think would rock on a roguelike?

I am thinking on adding artistic creation, so you can build statues, paint paintings, compose music, etc. All this would require the addition of some kind of alternate interfaces, which would have your character abilities in mind for the kind of things you can do and how good you make them.

This brings forth the question, how separate must be the mind of the player from that one of the character? certainly, we have had intelligence and charisma as a skill for long, but artistic capabilities hard to put on a stat :)

Lummox JR

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 29
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Dungeon Crawlers
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2007, 02:31:17 AM »
I dunno, it seems to me that while you could perhaps get away with cutting out a little hack-'n'-slash, moving into a full RPG arena puts you more in the realm of Dwarf Fortress or something. Being able to farm implies a fairly reasonable expectation that something's not going to come around and eat your brain, at least not for a few months. Even in game time that could be depressingly long. But then again, I've always thought it'd be cool in a Roguelike to be able to research new spells and mix potions, which would be much of the same except that you'd have to search for reagents and perhaps seek out arcane magical knowledge as well. (For such a system to work well, the repertoire of possible magic effects would have to be enormous and perhaps nearly unlimited, allowing control over almost every conceivable variable in the game.)

As to composing music, perhaps a similar idea to my spell theory would work with music, giving bard-type characters a certain power, where the melody determines the general effect, instrument or tempo could have subtle effects on that, and efficacy would be determined by the skill in playing. (This sounds like a job for Fudge dice.) Certain strands of melody would act like a sort of DNA, encoding actual script instructions which, if they function at all, can have dramatic effects on the environment.

Anvilfolk

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 374
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2007, 01:20:16 PM »
The problem with adding stuff like farming (think Harvest Moon) is repetitiveness, in my opinion.

It's all fun when it's new, but after an hour, you realize you've seen pretty much everything, and it all comes down to grinding. I'm fairly apprehensive when it comes to adding craftwork to roguelikes... I've thought about it a bit, and as I said, I don't see a lot of ways it WOULDN'T become boring. Then again, I'm not the kind of person who spends hours grinding so he can get huge amounts of money or skillz, for showing off or for myself.

If you think of a mixture between a true roguelike and Dwarf Fortress, however, it might just work. What if it's not necessarily you who has to do all the farming? What if you start your own farm, but after a harvest or two, you can start employing other @s to do it for you? What if, after the farm, you can build, or order the building of other structures? That kind of free-form large-scale "adventure" is really what I like. Explore, try different things, use your imagination to build your mental idea of something! Restart with a totally different approach... This is why I like DF, but I eventually get bored because 1) it runs too slow 2) there's nothing you can do while you wait for something to finish.

There's nothing wrong in a big project taking a long time to finish (a nice, big pond in a huge room with loads of beautifully crafted statues of black&white stone (in patterns), gem windows, lined with vast tables, every inch of ground and wall smoothed out or covered with decorations, etc etc)... I just wish there was something you could do while it's not done. Some roguelike adventuring, for instance!

The only thing is that you have to provide some sort of continuity when you die. This reminds me of Crusader Kings, where when the leader died (you), you'd start playing his firstborn (I think)... it meant that sometimes you'd not inherit the whole kingdom, but only a province. I never totally understood that system, but it seems ideal. If you die, there's negative consequences, but you still live in the same world, and hopefully don't have to start from scratch!
"Get it hot! Hit it harder!!!"
 - The tutor warcry

One of They Who Are Too Busy

Robson

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 34
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2007, 05:27:49 PM »
I had a rough sort-of crafting idea to allow players to make potions. I haven't thought about this too much, but I'll ramble on and hopefully the idea will make sense.

The player begins with a basket-of-mud. It is like the pack that the player carries, because it can contain stuff and can't be destroyed.

There are caves sporadically around the dungeons, which contain a whole variety of plants that the player can take seeds from. The seeds have different flavours and potency. The player can pick up any of these seeds and plant them in the basket. They will then slowly grow over time. The basket can hold a certain amount of plants, like 8.

Once plants start to form, they can be harvested and turned into potions. The potion potency is based on the age of the plant and initial potency of the seed. The potion type is based on the seed type.

That was the basic idea.

It fulfils what I wanted from a "crafting" system, because it is easy to understand and is quick to use. Plus, it doesn't really matter if you forget about the basket, because it just means the plants will age more and therefore you'll have better potions. It can also be level adjusted by having higher potency seeds deeper in the dungeon.

I had a few ideas to expand the system: Blending plants together to form potions with multiple effects. Having bugs attack the plants (minigame!). Watering the plants with holy water would make them more potent. Fertilising the plants with troll dung (what's that smell?!). Having the seeds+plants unidentified (like wooden wand, metal wand, glass wand, etc) until harvested. Weeds that try to kill the other plants.

Most of these ideas took away the simplicity of the system, so I would disregard the majority of them. Watering the plants with holy water is a good feature though, because it doesn't make the growing appear any more complicated and can be a nice surprise for the player if they try it.


Ex

  • IRC Communications Delegate
  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2007, 02:48:40 AM »
Things I think would rock:

Japanese RPG style combat.
Dungeons that had FURNITURE and other stuff. Decorations, scenery, etc.
Puzzles.
More than one player character.
Exploration based gameplay. (Percent explored maybe, collecting treasure oriented maybe)
First person dungeon crawl in textmode (Think Might and Magic)
Real time roguelike. (Mangband)
Roguelike without combat.
Roguelike built around structures like castles, houses, cities, etc. instead of dungeons.

tseckington

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 23
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2007, 06:41:40 PM »
How about a desert island survival game?

There would be some combat in the form of hunting (or if you choose to have a more pulp adventure format, hunting dinosaurs and fending off cannibals once in a while) and maybe a random drug runners encounter.

You'd need to gather building materials and supplies, fashion tools, dive to loot your airplane, and learn how to survive. IN addition to a very small pool of hit points, your character would have a stamina pool; things like pain and hunger and running burn stamina and once out of stamina your HP goes away. Stamina increases over time as you do things like ignore hunger and jog.

Obviously, the goal would be to escape the island, and you'd have to be able to survive long enough to do that.

Z

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 905
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Z's Roguelike Stuff
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2007, 11:33:12 AM »
Fighting monsters has a very important feature. As the game progresses, you meet stronger and stronger enemies, which you counter with your own increasing powers; if you meet something that is too strong for you, you must face its big consequences (usually death). These power come from three sources: (1) your character's equipment, (2) your character's experience from overcoming previous challenges, (3) your own experience and ability to think tactically.

If we want to have an alternative in our game, it should also meet all of the properties above (risk, equipment dependence, XP dependence, XP gain, player skill), and also since we are talking about a roguelike, should be randomly generated. (I guess fighting and alternative could share the XP.)

I don't have any good original idea which fits the requirements above.

Farming? Farming in ADOM's big room is interesting: you have to farm your herbs while being attacked by hordes of monsters. However, this is still fight based.

Trap disarming? It could fit the requirements above, some games give XP for disarming, although it could be improved.

Thievery? If we really want it as an "alternative", we would require separate places with weaker monsters to fight and places with stronger monsters to evade.

Alchemy research? We could have it like "Are you sure you want to try to mix red wine with pegasus blood? You are not sure what the result will be since you do not know enough about alchemy yet; you estimate that you have a 5% chance of deadly explosion, 1% chance of creating a potion of omnipotence, ...", but some work needs to be done to make it dependent on player skill and interesting.

Lummox JR

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 29
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Dungeon Crawlers
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2007, 04:02:25 PM »
My "magic DNA" idea would probably be an interesting way to handle potion mixing, although even cooler would be devising several paths to get to the same result. I.e., if you mix four ingredients in a certain way you get reagent GXH, needed for your potion, but if you mix two of those ingredients differently along with a third, you could get GXH that way too. And if GXH and QJI have to be mixed a certain way to get a certain potion, perhaps two different reagents (with similar ingredients) can create the same potion.

Catalysis and purity issues would make this more interesting, requiring potion makers to precipitate out impurities or catalysts they don't want in the final mix, and this would add steps like boiling the potion for 6 hours or running it through a distiller for 4, etc. Purity could also be a factor in toxicity, like if one of the source ingredients is poisonous on its own, requiring the mixture to be extremely thorough or that a catalyst be used to speed up the mixing process.

Slash

  • Creator of Roguetemple
  • Administrator
  • Rogueliker
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
  • Karma: +4/-1
    • View Profile
    • Slashie.net
    • Email
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2007, 03:47:13 PM »
Z. good point about (risk, equipment dependence, XP dependence, XP gain and player skill), I would add another factor, scientifically named 'coolness'

I have thought a bit about these..

Farming
Coolness: Allow player to have a farm, small at first, buy seeds and tools, prepare the ground, plant the seeds, forecast the weather, watering (this may become boring, I hated watering in Harvest Moon), then selling the plants for money, buying better tools and equipment for the farm.
Risk: Risk is mainly on the weather and the vermin (you would have to defend your farm from vermin by buying dogs (?) or hiring guardians, or fighting with a pitchfork!)
Equipment Dependence: You need tools and 'machines' for your work
XP Dependence:  Some kinds of plants would require experience to be seeded correctly else they would be lost.
XP Gain: Experience is gained with each sucessful harvest
Player skill: Player skill would of course reside on picking the correct spot for seeding and taking care of the farm.

Alchemy
Coolness: The player has an alchemy lab where he can experiment to process substances and brew potions, he must go out and find cool reagents, identifying them via probing kits.
Risk: Experimentation is risky as you dont know what outcomes may happen if you try mixing unknown agents beyond your knowledge.
Equipment Dependence: You need to have better tools for better and safer experimentation. Your field work requires having portable kits with probing tubes and reactives.
XP Dependence: It depends on the character experience to recognize the alchemic reactions, thus allowing the creation of new potions. Materials and their effects are randomized every time
XP Gain: Discovering new kinds of potions or products increases experience
Player Skill: Description of elements gives a clue about what the reaction may be, thus the player can try to predict what mixes are safer than others

Stealth Operations
Coolness: The player has to perform missions without being caught. Stealing things, recovering artifacts or people, boicoting events.
Risk: With each harder mission, getting caught may be lethal as you are lightly armed and your enemies are not
Equipment Dependence: Buy all kind of gadgets, underwater breathing masks, smoke bombs, climbing sets, dark suits (stealthy suits are expensive), stealth weapons
XP Dependence: Certain actions needed for not being caught are learned over time (jumping distance, stealth killing, climbing, ranged weaponry)
XP Gain: Experience is gained by completing missions
Player Skill: All the strategy for not being caught

Growing Plants (Gardenry?)
Similar to farming but in a smaller scale.

Hunting and Treasure/Relic Hunting would also be interesting

Lummox JR

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 29
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Dungeon Crawlers
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2007, 07:14:23 PM »
I have a feeling that to handle "explorable", extensible magic or potions properly, you'd need some set of basic reactions or interactions that are possible.

In the case of potions, it'd be desirable to have some sort of formulaic basis for knowing how things react rather than relying on the programmer to hard-code it. Something like if you have Wolfsbane+2*Duckroot (this would have to be in some sort of standardized format) you could hash it to get 3*(reagent HPO). A different hash would provide the reaction time at a standard temperature. I'm not sure how catalysis would work here, though, and it'd be nice to be able to show some sort of A+B=>C+D reaction. If formulas could be developed to handle all that, then in theory you have a complete chemistry that needs no programmer intervention, and can even hold major surprises for the author.

For magic, I'd think it'd be crucial to come up with some basic "laws" that spells must use to act.

- Law of domain: Stats of incompatible nature (very different ranges, for instance, or very powerful vs. not very powerful) must undergo conversion.
- Conversion laws: e.g. 500 Gold = 20 HP = 1 St/Dx/Co/etc.
- Law of elements: Any element can be changed to any other, but at a fixed cost by volume.
- Law of exchange: Change must be made at a 2:1 ratio. To add +1 to one stat, -2 must come from another.
- Law of binding: Magical effects can be bound to an item permanently, with their cost determining how often the magic can be used.
- Law of giving: Stats can be given at a 2:1 ratio, meaning the recipient takes 2x the amount. This can be for temporary stats like HP, or permanent stats like max HP.
- Law of taking: Stats can be drained at a 4:1 ratio. The taker recieves only 25% benefit from what they take.
- Law of sacrifice: A spell doubles in effectiveness, halves in cost, etc. when the caster gives up -1 to a stat. (This is a family of laws with different responses to sacrifice.)

By this system for example you could make your own wand by creating a spell, and binding it to a stick. The wand could be reusable indefinitely but only rarely (as it would take time to recharge), or you could enhance the spell with the Law of Sacrifice so that while the wand could be used as often as you want, each shot permanently drains some of its magic capacity just like in Rogue. The Law of Giving however could be a basis for recharging the wand, but you'd have to do it via a scroll that had its own magic capacity to give up. A scroll of charging then is simply (Max MP + Law of Giving).

Krice

  • (Banned)
  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 2316
  • Karma: +0/-2
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2007, 01:01:47 PM »
I think these alternative features could be a part of traditional roguelike hack and slash. The possibilities are endless of course, but the bad thing is that some of the features are like mini games and possibly quite hard to implement. Having all these extra features can be difficult task to do. It's probably best just have one main feature distinctive to that game so it's easier to do. Anyway, even if you add one extra feature to an average hack and slash RL will make it better and more interesting I believe.

AgingMinotaur

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 805
  • Karma: +2/-0
  • Original Discriminating Buffalo Man
    • View Profile
    • Land of Strangers
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2007, 12:00:54 AM »
Anyone remember the old strategy game "The Horde"? You would have a certain amount of time/money to spend sowing, ploughing etc. and basically preparing for the annual horde of monsters invariably invading your farm every spring. Depending on how well you protected your crops, the farm grew, yielding more cash, better weapons to keep the monsters at bay, etc. A solid farming system might well change a roguelike into something... similar, but different. Who's got the time for dungeon crawling, now that harvest time is coming?

* Setting traps: might be fun, and doesn't have to be too complicated, and probably would fit well with a "regular" dungeon crawling rl. Other crafts might be interesting, as well, but I can see how it would quickly be boring to make bread, for instance. Just imagine the equipment you'd have to carry around to shear corn, crush it, mix with water, yeast and spices, make a fire and bake it. But I would like a game where there's more interaction with the landscape -- digging for buried treasure or maybe even using a dousing rod, clearing overgrown bush, building and tearing down walls...

* Working with servants/pets/henchmen/allies. Maybe a system where more complex orders can be given, and different servants are better differenciated. Like asking a servant to guard a door or patrol an area (and recognising this particular person's voice when he shouts as someone/-thing enters the room), or hiring certain allies for certain tasks (some servants/allies might act as scouts, others as healers). If you don't want to implement a complex alchemy system, you can always create friendly monsters who will mix potions for a fee, or if they like the player. One could include skills like "agitating" to sway crowds. For a game with long term ideas like farming, I also don't see why the player shouldn't have children, that might take up adventuring when their heroic parent pass on in some dungeon level N.

* More randomness. It could be an interesting task to try and make exploration more exiting, by randomly determining stuff like architectural style and other quirks of different places. Is the village an anarchistic commune protected by the villagers (they'll fight if one of them is attacked), or maybe there is a small barracks with soldiers (villagers will generally flee from violence, but guards will emerge)? Is there a village elder or other heroic npc? Distinguishing traits (and possible sources of quests), such as a mineral source, a temple, a casino, a haunted forest, a holy ruin? What is the main source of income/food? Farming, hunting, domestic animals, scavenging, craft and trade? (would effect what kinds of equipment/food the player can get hold of) etc. There also shouldn't be anything wrong with randomly generating some common monsters and/or herbs at the beginning of the game. What is the popular steed of the land like? Slow or quick, obedient or wild? What does it eat? Anything from three-legged, grass eating brutes to quick, zebroid carnivores could emerge. What are the weaknesses of vampires? Maybe fire in one game, water in the next, and so forth. Also, there would be nothing wrong with randomly generating artifacts, maybe even complete with a small legend.

And so forth.

My guess is that if you take this far (too far?), you'll have to add lots of text for flavor and explanation, which will suit some players better than others. But it could certainly be a new take on random/coherent content. I've always liked ADOM for the heavy emphasis on mood, but in the end, it's kind of boring to do the exact same quests over and over, every game.
This matir, as laborintus, Dedalus hous, hath many halkes and hurnes ... wyndynges and wrynkelynges.

Z

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 905
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Z's Roguelike Stuff
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2007, 06:53:52 PM »
There was also recently quite a thread on the same topic (link) on the rgrd. Funny how two communities ask the same question at almost the same time. (I suppose a mutual reference would be mutually useful, but I don't like Usenet posting so I won't do the other way.)

valianjuan

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 27
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Beggar
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2007, 08:53:58 PM »
I think rogue is fun for rogue's sake. (hack and slash)

However, one of the things that makes a particular game fun is the random things you can do but don't have to... like potions.

I think if you can minimize complexity while maximizing features, you'll be onto something really great, because then people can stumble upon cool things.

So for example, say you did carry around a magic bag of soil, where seeds were grown and so forth.  Wouldn't it be great to not only have a very interesting and robust (yet simple) interface for potions, but also to pop a raw seed, or the whole plant in your mouth, and hope that all goes well?

"Althor throws a handful of molberry seeds in his mouth and begins to levitate...
Soon he expands and begins to fly...
As Althor approaches the sun, he pops like a discarded carnival baloon!"

Death:"Althor popped due to his experimentation with illegal drugs."


Slash

  • Creator of Roguetemple
  • Administrator
  • Rogueliker
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
  • Karma: +4/-1
    • View Profile
    • Slashie.net
    • Email
Re: Alternatives to hack and slash for roguelikes
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2007, 09:36:16 PM »
rogue is not fun, rogue is evil! :)