Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Waladil

  1. Hi there, I'm the guy who made this (The rest of this is cross-posted from the Steam discussion:) I just wanted to update that I have been working on further updates to this mod, but I probably won't release it until after the next game patch. I feel like that's going to be soon and I'll have to update the whole thing then anyway. The big change is that instead of changing the various infiltrator/tinker/leadership items, it adds dialogue with Sharon to take away the items and give you a charm version of them. (No takesies-backsies; it's permanent.) This means if someone wanted to use any of those items you still can do so, and I could remove the pure attribute bonuses (and the armor in case that's relevant) from the charm versions. Then, as an added bonus, once you collect all five of these new charms, she can combine all of them into one super-charm to save four inventory slots. I'm considering including more charm combinations for more space savings, but that's definitely not guaranteed. I just finished testing for the first four items, and it's really good I waited to test it myself because I Learned Some Things about how the game's item imports work. (The initial version wound up giving way more stats than intended.) I also found that the Infiltrator Vest and Cloak aren't unique items; you can carry and get the benefits from multiple copies of them. I could fix it, but I think I'll leave it as-is and let the player decide if they want to do the extra cheese.
  2. I think most people misunderstood the poker/craps metaphor. Because both games have random factors; I outright stated that. It would be boring if everything was predetermined. In the metaphor, craps is akin to AAA action games -- loud, fast, flashy. Not to mention very, very random, since the entire game is 2d6. Those games can be fun, but definitely not what people buying from Spiderweb are looking for. Poker, on the other hand, is more controllably random: a player can look at his hand, run probabilities to figure out what the odds are of assembling a good hand, whether or not it's likely to be the best hand at the table. Then, the players are all taking actions (betting, checking, raising) which carry signs and symbols as to what each player has in their hand: by reading those symbols a skilled player can be reasonably certain what his opponents have and can manipulate that knowledge to an advantage. So yes, it is random, but it's a game where skill is more important than the rolls of the dice: Barring some ridiculous circumstance wherein one player consistently gets the best possible hand each round, and thus cannot be outthought, skill and experience end up being the deciding factor more than the result of random chance. This differs from craps (or roulette, or slots, or most casino games.) in that there you put money down, random chance is calculated, and then you gain or lose money. There's no way to presciently determine what the next roll is going to be. Maybe what I'm bemoaning is not the overuse of an RNG, but the fact that most battles (barring a few interesting ones) tend to be "My numbers are big. Are your numbers bigger?" "My numbers are smaller. You win." Even the puzzle bosses tend to be incredibly obvious. Frob the only frob nearby. It's the boss' weakness! What a coincidence. It's only when the fights are really close that tactics or skill matter, and then things are kinda okay. Probably the time the RNG is the worst is when you're punching a little bit above your weight; someplace you really shouldn't be quite yet but you aren't totally outclassed. Those are the times when tactics ought to shine the most but are so easily outdone by a couple lucky rolls from the enemy team, or a bad streak on your team's side. At one point I travelled to Erika's tower about three levels too early. There was no way back and I didn't have a good backup save (I dislike making backup saves, partially because they feel too metagamey), so I had nowhere to go but forward. As I hit the traps in her tower, I used scumbag tactics just to get my first party member through the gates so everyone else could magically teleport to that guy. When I hit the mind-control trap and found the two named enemies there too powerful, I tried a few interesting tricks and tactics (like using Call of the Storm to herd the berserk empire troops into the non-berserk ones), but kept hitting a brick wall because the two bosses were just too strong. Eventually I remembered that I have one character who can, actually, magically teleport (the mage with blink), so I put her to the top of the party, blinked her through the fight and around the corner, then ended combat to make the rest of my team snap right to her. Used that same trick on the next few traps too. For the final battle I had to burn through a bunch of my hoarded consumables (energy elixirs, mostly) to get together enough power to get through the fight. Eventually my team made it to Erika, battered, tired, and a lot lighter on potions than I liked (MUCH lighter on return life scrolls than I liked), but alive. Did I feel accomplished? Did I feel that I was able to find a clever way through? No. I felt like I cheated. I felt like I hacked the game to just skip the content. I felt like I was thrown into a bad situation by a bad click on a menu. It wasn't fun. I went back to ToME again today, because talking about it here made me realize how much more fun I had playing that. My character recently had some opportunities to do things that I knew would put her into fights where she'd be absolutely outclassed (like a level 17 taking on level 30 bosses). I took each of those opportunities, and most (MOST! Not all) of the time I made it out without dying, because I could control the situation enough to keep alive, coming up with turn-by-turn plans where the status effects were relevant, spacing was relevant, health levels were relevant. I'm playing a fire-heavy mage and at one point I was up against a fire wyrm (immune to fire) which was also an archer and could kill me with about one or two hits if my defenses were down. In Avernum, a situation like that would simply mean death. In ToME I could whittle them down and eventually win, not because the game was easy, but because the game gave me opportunities to be clever. I eventually won by fighting the wyrm in a long thin tunnel that I could teleport straight from one side to the other; I'd hit the wyrm at long range, let it get close, take a few hits to my magical shields while hitting back, pull back slowly until my back hit a wall, then teleported to the other side to do it all again. It was slow, difficult, and I almost died several times when I miscounted my mana and ran out of mana to teleport to safety, or just didn't notice how low my shields were and dropped to the tiniest sliver of health. When I won, I was exhilarated. It was a cool fight. And it was a very random fight -- the wyrm's classes were randomly selected, I got archer and rogue, but I could have gotten something like berserker and paladin which would have been much harder. The wyrm's damage output was highly random, because it was based on the AI's choices and those are hard to predict. But I could very quickly notice some rules of thumb: If my shields are down, don't get hit. If my shields are up, I can probably take two hits without worrying, three will be scary but leave me alive. Four will probably leave me as a blood smear. That was a fun fight. The most fun fight I've had in Avernum 2 is... um... uh... I guess the fight against Limoncilli? That general who was really fast and had a grey pass. That was pretty fun, since he kept jumping around and I had to stay on my toes to keep my tank taking most of the damage. TL:DR; I like feeling clever and doing clever things to win fights i really oughtn't win.
  3. A good example of a less-random game is ToME, a roguelike which has a lot of tactical depth. There is no arbitrary accuracy cap, for one thing. Accuracy is a factor, but once you have 20 accuracy greater than your opponent's defense (in a stepped scale where '20' practically means "a lot more than 20"), you are guaranteed to hit every time. Nearly all combat effects can be intelligently predicted with sufficient knowledge of the game's mechanics (some of which are not immediately obvious but members of the community are usually quite knowledgeable and willing to share that knowledge). Damage is usually either fixed values (after all variables are taken into account) or in a tight range (max damage about 1.5x of min damage). The bottom line is that in that game a player can sit down, read all of their abilities, know EXACTLY what they do, look at they opponent, know EXACTLY what offenses and defenses they have, and from that data build a plan. I'm not saying Spiderweb games should copy this model exactly by any means, but there is a reason it's one of the most successful "true" roguelikes out there. It hasn't given up on the old guard of gamers who look back fondly on Ultima or Rogue (the original!). Heck, I've even pitched a bunch of Spiderweb games to the people over there when the Spiderweb humble bundle was going on. At least a few of them bought Spiderweb games because I pitched it to them -- so the crowd is similar. Most Spiderweb combat, by comparison, is unexplained and unclear. Resists are listed as a percentage, but characters don't always resist the percent. You can very practically hit a target with a firebolt one turn and they resist 65% of the damage, and next turn use the same character to hit the same target with the same firebolt and the target resists 75% this time. Plus your damage could be pretty far off what it was last time. And this is all BEFORE critical hits are considered.
  4. The following is the text of an e-mail I just sent to Jeff Vogel. It contains some thoughts about game design and why Jeff's customers like his games so much. While I did write it for him, I've also decided to post it here in case any members of the community have strong thoughts agreeing or disagreeing with me. TEXT FOLLOWS: On occasion, I'll go to the local casinos with one of my uncles to gamble a little and relax. While my uncle and I both go to the same place, we play very different games. My uncle finds his way to the craps tables -- he likes the crowds, the common experience, and simply the fun. I, on the other hand, settle down at a poker table. I like the psychology, the thought, the sheer cleverness of the game. Both games rely heavily on random chance. However, in craps there is no strategy, no narrative, no control over the random chance; the dice will roll seven one in six times, pure and simple. In poker, there is a sort of control. You can't control what cards you receive and what cards your opponents get, but you can work around the randomness, and ultimately the best player wins -- even a lucky player will be outmaneuvered by a smart one. Why am I telling you this story? I was reading through the forums about Avernum 2: Crystal Souls, people discussing the accuracy cap in particular, and random chance in games in general. Your customers are (metaphorically) poker players instead of craps players: We like the smart game over the flashy one. We want to be able to figure out clever solutions to problems, to be put into situations where we stop and think "Hrm. What do I need to do to get through this?" (We also like the narrative qualities, the stories that weave throughout your games. I have nothing to try to add to that: You're good at it, keep being you.) The turn-based-ness of all your games has always been a benefit to this mentality. The ability to stop and think at any time -- heck, there have been times where I've set a game down and walked to the kitchen to make and consume a meal while mulling over a turn in that game -- is a major draw to turn-based games for me. However, a heavily used RNG is not conducive to that. It is in fact a detriment. Accuracy caps and wildly variable damage make offensive plans and defensive projections much less meaningful. I think in general it is good when the most random aspect of a game is the loot generation -- that determines the tools one has at hand to solve problems. Once tools are acquired, then plans can be made. More-random loot and less-random combat (not non-random, obviously. Just less-random -- remove accuracy limits and tighten damage ranges to keep things more consistent across the board) means that individuals have to create a personalized plan for their own situation, and be reasonably confident that it will work so long as the plan itself is solid. I've played and enjoyed nearly every game you've released since Geneforge 4 or so. I know your outlook on game design would be described as "conservative." However, I also know that you rebuild your game engine every few trilogies, and will at some point be changing everything up. I hope that these thoughts stay with you and perhaps positively influence that change in some small way.
  5. I was the only one who posted in that thread empirical information on whether the min-max hit chances are valid as claimed. And technically I only tested the minimum hit chance, not the maximum. It is possible (although perhaps not likely) that there is something legitimately wrong with the 90% maximum but not the 20% minimum.
  6. Mechalibur is right in that "armor penetration" is effectively just "more damage" with certain armor systems. Basically, having armor penetration is only meaningfully different from a pure damage boost if there's a wide range of potential resists at any given point in the game. One way to ensure it's interesting is if it reduces their resists by a percentage of the resist (as opposed to an absolute percentage): So if you get 10% armor penetration, that would be very meaningful on a target with 90% resists, they'd have an effective resistance of 90 * .9 = 81 -- a 90% increase to damage, but a target with 50% resistance would drop less: 50 *.9 = 45, a 10% increase to damage. And a target with 10% resists would only drop to 9, a tiny 1.1% increase to damage. It would still only be significantly different than a flat damage boost if you could reasonably expect to fight target A with high physical resistances followed by target B with low physical resistances (or vice versa) within the same overall stage of the game.
  7. Assume that the player's party has a large supply of crafting items (fine leather, fine steel, and focusing crystals -- the herbs are presumably earmarked for wisdom crystals). None of the craftable options appeal to the party in terms of new equipment (either the party's stuff is better or they already crafted the pieces they want): What is the best way to monetize the items? There is the quest to turn in a set of all 3 for some coins and XP, but I'm pretty sure that quest pays less than you'd get for selling the items outright, especially assuming 4x Negotiator. I'd only do it for the XP and to get a quest out of the list. The Dragonskin Gloves which can be made in Formello provide a noteworthy boost to overall value -- they cost something like 850 coins to make (sale value of leather and crystals plus 300 coins) and sell for 1150 or so (assuming Negotiator, again). What other ways are there to improve the price of your crafting materials?
  8. I concur that enemy resists need to be more dramatically varied. As it stands most enemies basically have effectively the same resists to all elements, unless they're just immune or heavily resistant to one or two. The only occurrence of resists that are notably out of line without being simple immunity that I can recall are sliths (don't use fire against them. Barely does anything). Heck, do stuff like Empire troops have +10% fire resist and -10% cold resist compared to Avernites (the 'standard') because they're used to the warm surface world instead of the cold underground (I know Avernum isn't that cold because of geothermal heating, but it's gotta be colder than the surface). Give all reptiles -20% cold resist (cold-blooded) and all furry creatures (like Nephils) -20% fire resist because fur burns. Have each spellcaster type specialize in an offensive damage type and a defensive damage type, with high resists to their defensive type, moderate resists to their offensive, and low resists to everything else.
  9. Unawares: Make a save, activate the character editor, make your chosen one a hugely powerful beast and slaughter constructs. For science. I can't do it because once you win those tests you can't go back. T_T
  10. There is a 'path' of floor tiles the same color that lead you from the first torch to the next one you have to touch. And like everyone else said, don't go down the 'path' that takes you to skulls. Skulls are bad. In a related question, when I did the Test of Patience there is a switch in a secret room that, when flipped, summoned a hostile construct. I flipped that switch like six or seven times, and the construct steadily got stronger each time. Occasionally it'd drop a gem, so it was worth the time investment, but does anyone know if there's a secret end to that series of fights, possibly with a special reward?
  11. You sure, Slartibus? I used that trick to flee from a boss fight. There was a wheel that needed to be turned to open a gate, and the text box wouldn't let me turn it mid-combat (said I was too busy). So I ended combat and was able to turn it before re-entering combat.
  12. Another aspect that makes the game much more annoying (for me) is that certain enemies are dramatically overpowered compared to other enemies of the same "tier." For example, among Empire troops, there are the following tiers of melee troops: Rogue Fighter (shared with brigands) Soldier Elite Soldier/Assassin (Elite Soldiers are tankier, Assassins have higher damage output and disabling abilities, but they're about on the same level overall) Dervish <possibly more> When fighting Empire troops, you'll find a slightly lower number of archers to back up their front-liners. There's the Rogue Archer, who is more fragile but more offensively powerful than the Rogue Fighter, and those two are about balanced. After that, however, there are the Empire Archers. Based on what I've seen, the game considers them to be about the same tier as Elite Soldiers and Assassins. They're usually paired with them, they appear in about the same numbers, et cetera. However, Empire Archers are a MUCH bigger PAIN to fight than either Elite Soldiers or Assassins. They have an effective health level on par with if not greater than Elite Soldiers and Assassins (I'm not certain the exact values but it seems to be true), they have a wide variety of abilities, including AoEs, ensnarement, and immobilization. They can do all this at a range, as well. I think the most miserable I've yet been playing Avernum is those 7-9x Empire Archer battles out west of Fort Remote -- the ones at the campsites on the worldmap where it's all like "You think they're going to let you go, but then they use you as target practice." The fights just took way too long to wear down the archers one or two at a time because as soon as the battle started they scattered. And I've even got a party that's pretty good for fighting archers -- 1x Tank/melee, 1x Mage, and 2x Priest (one of which sacrifices some pure power for tankiness). So their immobilization and ensnarement don't actually worry my team too much, it just largely removes one guy, plus I've got tons of heals for their damage. If I were trying to do those fights with like 2x melee 1x mage 1x priest, I'd probably just reload and metagame to ignore their existence. A similar problem is Frozen Worms. For one or two dungeons they're one of the more common enemies but are several times more powerful than all non-boss enemies, with their high-powered range, high-powered AoE, buttloads of health, and, of course, immunity to cold damage. Sidebar: I'm reasonably certain something's up with the combat RNG. I'm torn between two possibilities: that enemies have a hidden defense roll similar to parry which the player just sees as "missed," or that higher difficulties change the math without showing it, similar to the hidden resistance debuffs for higher difficulties. Perhaps the game does a series of formulae to figure out the % to-hit, bounds it between 20 and 90, then generates a random number from 1-100. If the random number is lower, then it's a hit. Except on higher difficulties, the random number gets something added to it before the comparison. So your nominal to-hit is 67%, but you can only roll between 10 and 110 (lower is better), leaving an effective 57% to-hit. This hypothesis can be tested by assembling a party with a miserable to-hit (20%), but ridiculous defense and attacking enemies for a while, logging hits/misses. In fact, I think I'll do that myself. EDIT: Probably not. Did 102 trials (I know it's not a huge sample for statistics but the hypothesis is guesswork anyway), and got 20 hits, which is almost perfectly within expected parameters. One humorous little thing is that I was doing attacks by two (dual wielding to both increase attack count and decrease to-hit) and the only time both hits ever struck were on the very last swing, the last 2 trials. If I omitted those and just used the first 50 attacks, 100 to-hit rolls, it would be 18 hits, still very close to the nominal 20% to-hit. So if something's weird with the RNG, it probably doesn't effect the lower-bound 20% minimum to-hit chance. Test was performed on Hard, with two characters who each had 1 strength, 50 dex, 1 int, 50 endurance, and a skill build for maximum parry/resists. It was amusing watching so many enemy misses and parries, because I found this huge group of 6 altered giants, 4 elite warriors, 3 empire archers, and a single dark cultist. They were just swarming my two testers, barely scratching them. On occasion I'd have to have one of them stop and cast Mass Healing. Like once every 5 rounds or so.
  13. Wow. The burrows on that are real. Used almost half that priest's energy (used 160) just getting through all that, thanks
  14. There are a pair of basins in his room, when used each one gives an 8 turn 'enlightened' buff to every pc adjacent to the basin. PC's with that buff can hit him OK. For some reason, AoE effects aren't checked, you can use those no matter what, but any single-target abilities (including spells like firebolt or smite) need the enlightenment. Also, the boss is simply much more powerful than the rest of the dungeon. Turns out I'm way overlevelled for this and I blew through everything except the boss, he's the only one giving me any pause.
  15. You know, I've been meaning to do Tiger's Den. I'm probably right at or a bit above the needed power level, so I'll post again in a while with my own experience.
  16. In the Giant Fort, northern Avernum, the hellhound stables has all these little fences preventing you from getting into them. The hellhounds can use their leap to escape, which is a pretty cool design feature. Also creatures can be knocked back over them. Anyway, there's a switch on the wall there that opens a secret door inside one of the stables. All I can see in there is a single magical barrier. I can't find any way to get to the barrier to dispel it and find out what's behind: There are no other switches I can find (and I've cleared the map), the mage's blink spell doesn't let me teleport across, Move Mountains can't find anything to destroy, How am I supposed to get across? Is someone supposed to get knocked back over there and stuck? Seems like a recipe for disaster if your party leader got knocked over and then combat ended getting the whole team stuck forever. If it's supposed to be an escape route in case of that, why is the switch on the other side of the fence and why is there a barrier there? I'm so confused! Is there just an item I need to find for teleportation on tactical maps? (I know the Orb of Thralni lets you fly around on the worldmap in EFTP, but I don't have it yet in CS and doubt a tactical version of it was added)
  17. From the text of Ward of Thoughts what I'd hypothesize it does is lets you roll to resist mental effects twice (with who knows what bonii at higher levels) and you only need to succeed once to resist the effect.
  18. While travelling on the worldmap through some of the northern tunnels (as I passed the cluster of three cave bushes directly north of the cave giant fortress), my lead character got separated from the other three. I tried taking a screenshot, but it came up black and the problem "fixed" itself before I went back for a second try. Also, unable to repro. While the lead character was separated, the rest of the party kept moving and the leader continued to do walk animations without moving. The party met a random encounter and had the option to fight or avoid, I chose avoid. After giving new move orders, the rest of my party teleported to the leader's location and things went back to normal from there. Seems pretty minor, since I couldn't repro it and it didn't have lasting effect,
  19. Just wanted to mention something missing here -- I was back in the Rockridge reservoir (I had missed the secret deep storage area) and there was a new boss there! Another Widow Matriarch, I think. She dropped some enchantment stone and a Shard of the Phoenix.
  20. I don't think (individual, unexceptional) drakons can be considered an army: Unbound Ones, the most powerful on average, can still be hunted and defeated by a few dozen well-trained soldiers. Also, the text if you piss off Gazaki-Uss says that you manage to slay many drakons before sheer number wear you down. (I was going to get an exact quote here, but apparently if you piss off Gazaki-Uss after the initial encounters, they just try to kill you rather than the text-based special instakill.) So I think we can rule out that all drakons are Shaper-level powerful. I think the one agent would end up leaving. She doesn't work for Rawal, after all, and I doubt her boss would leave a valuable asset in a useless location in a crisis. Rawal definitely used canisters, and I'd bet he used them. Why do you think he always conceals his face in that hood? The rage, the pettyness, the arrogance... all scream of canister-madness.
  21. I think that it'd probably be worth letting Rawal get power in order to keep Greta around. Rawal's so hated, someone's going to kill him off eventually, and I'm betting nobody's even going to bother burying the body. Just let the vultures take care of it... if vultures are willing to touch the corpse, that is.
  22. Yeah, Rotdhizons are awesome-nice. After I got in the area, I rushed to get them. Two of them early on (before I even entered the Dera reaches) wiped everything. Then I remade them (they were at the level cap and I was wasting essence getting their stats over 30) and also added two more. I'm only weak v. LOTS of magic damage. And I'm a good support healer. ZOMBIE HORDE GO!!!
  23. Besides, my arguments are a counterpoint to yours: I have never beaten ANY Geneforge game except for 4 and 5. 4 is by far my personal favorite, as it was the first Spiderweb game I was introduced to. Yet I argue that the character came from GF3, a game which I played (but never beat.) The lore I use is based on what I pick up from the later games, and the forums, so I admit there may be holes in my knowledge, but if my "wishes" were to come in here, I'd "wish" that my character came from 4. It doesn't really match the data, though.
  24. Well, by going back and doing things the old-fashioned way*, I did in fact manage to answer some of my own questions. First, sadly, level 61 creations DO take up experience. Sadface. Secondly, the exp drain for having a larger party is roughly 6.25% loss per extra creation. I say "roughly" because the results don't seem to _quite_ line up with the expected values: Having three creations resulted in an expected-value of 731.25 and a received-value of 730. (That rules out the actual value being 6.25 and rounding making things look wierd.) Needless to say, this last paragraph here falls into the category of "Close Enough." If you have a burning desire to explain away one or two experience points, go right ahead. TL;DR version: EXP DRAIN IS 6.25% PER CREATION, UP TO A CAP OF 43.75% FOR 7 CREATIONS. Hope that helps someone. *Namely, hacking game scripts and using cheat codes. Then, I did more testing! (I guess I get science-y when sleep deprived. Anyway...) It takes 39 applications of iamweak to get from level 10 (just short of 11) to 31. When alone. Add two creations and it takes 51. I also noted that I hit level 28 just as I passed the 39 cheat mark. I'm almost totally certain that I miscounted something, somewhere, but that seems like a surprisingly huge difference. That may just be an artifact of the level scaling, because that looks like two creations is effectively a 30% hit, whereas they ought to be only dropping your xp-income by 12.5% or so. On the other hand, given the same amount of xp coming in, you're only losing 3 levels after 39 uses. Which is still a pretty painful 16% or so. I expected this test to AMELIORATE the xp penalty, not EXACERBATE it. I think I might have to just play the game for a while now, and not do SCIENCE. Hope some of my maths help someone in the future. Dear future readers: Good choice of game. Keep it up. Has Jeff made Avadon 4 yet?
  • Create New...