Guild - YABDR??

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Antoine

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Sep 3, 2005, 10:25:13 PM9/3/05
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Hi RGRDers,

After finishing the Quickband project I've come back to Guild, and am
wondering what to do with it.

Guild is looking alarmingly like YABDR (yet another born dead
roguelike) at this stage. I'm not quite sure why, but it's received
very little attention since it was first released - no discussion on
RGRD or RGRM to speak of, only a few emails and not one single YAVP. In
fact, I'm not sure if anyone but me has ever actually completed the
whole game (or even the second quest???)

I'd appreciate any feedback on
-why Guild didn't take off
-from those who did try it, what they liked and/or disliked about it
-how the game could be improved to be more successful, or
-how the game could be marketed to be more successful...

A.

Joe Hewitt

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Sep 4, 2005, 4:02:25 AM9/4/05
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Antoine wrote:
> I'd appreciate any feedback on
> -why Guild didn't take off

I haven't tried Guild yet, but it is one of the games on my to-play
list. Ironically, the most recent RL I have played is QuickBand. Here
are my thoughts on why Guild may not have taken off.

- Yet another generic fantasy. I know there's probably more to Guild
than just blandly copied DnD-isms, but there was nothing on the web
page to really hook me into the game and make me interested in trying
it. In fact, looking through the Guild pages again, there is nothing
about the game world at all. In general background and story are less
important for RLs than other CRPGs but with so many other generic
fantasy games out there you need something for your own game to stand
out.

- What does it do? The big thing that attracted me to Guild is the fact
you can have an entire party of adventurers. However, other than this
one feature, there's not much information about what the game's like.
Some info about the character generation system could have been helpful
(races, classes, and other options), as it would inspire players to
download the game and try their hand at making a party.

- How complete is it? You do mention that there are several dungeons,
four quests, and advancement to level five, but it's not clear whether
this qualifies Guild as a limited but playable game or just a tech
demo. Maybe if some information could be provided about the dungeons
(are they different from one another or just sequentially difficult?)
or the quests (are they complicated endeavors or of the "slay me 13
goblins" variety?) potential players would have a better idea what to
expect.

Here are my suggestions: If you enjoy developing and playing Guild,
you'll need to promote it better. Highlight the things that are unique
about Guild, and also the reasons why Guild is fun to play. Until you
get a fan base started, people aren't going to know about the cool
things in Guild unless you tell them, so tell them about it. Write a
summary of Guild's features that can be used when making update notices
on usenet and elsewhere.

- JH.

Krice

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Sep 4, 2005, 5:09:51 AM9/4/05
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Antoine wrote:
> I'm not quite sure why, but it's received
> very little attention since it was first released - no discussion on
> RGRD or RGRM to speak of, only a few emails and not one single YAVP.

Well, it's hard:) It doesn't even have an easy beginning like most
other roguelikes (or games). It requires tactical thinking that
I believe many rpg players aren't used to deal with. When I
repeatedly died in the _first_ level I stopped playing it:)
The learning curve could be easier, so you could become familiar
with the game.

Skeksis

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Sep 4, 2005, 8:00:42 AM9/4/05
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Echoing what some of the other posters are saying regarding promotion, you
didn't include a link in this post! I thought, "Hey, I was going to check
that out! Now where is it?"

The reason I didn't look at it before is that I find the concept of a
party-based game offputting, even before I've looked at the game. It makes
me think: "complex and fiddly turns, probably an inventory nightmare...
aaaagh!" I'm sure this is all utterly unjustified, but considering how much
I enjoyed DoomRL, perhaps it's a sign that my brain is deteriorating to the
point where I can only deal with simple things.

However, I wouldn't be put off. A prod is probably a good idea.

:-)

edw...@lore.net

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Sep 4, 2005, 9:42:07 AM9/4/05
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Antoine <ma...@guildgame.com> wrote:
> I'd appreciate any feedback on
> -why Guild didn't take off

Absence of source code and/or Linux binary slowed me down. On the
upside, it was an interesting enough idea to finally prompt me to set up
WINE so I could try it.

> -from those who did try it, what they liked and/or disliked about it

I am the wrong audience because I don't like Angband.

I don't like non-persistent dungeons.

I do like Rogue, but that's because you have only one choice of
direction to travel in. I get bored if I'm not forced deeper, and I
prefer a game which has been balanced to make this necessary and
desirable. In *band, I have the choice of being bored or dying.

I do like the feature of not healing within the dungeon.

I do like the small level size.

I do like the idea of having a party, but I would prefer to begin alone
or with one companion (preferably a pet rather than a humanoid), and
then pick up interesting individuals in my travels.

I didn't play many games, because I quickly got the "this feels like
Angband" problem. Obviously not a problem if you like Angband. And it
felt less like Angband than most of the games derived from that
codebase, a big positive in my mind, but the whole game balance set up
by the non-persistent dungeons is a really big issue for me.

> -how the game could be improved to be more successful, or

The things which would make it a more enjoyable game for me are probably
not things which you want in your game: persistent dungeons and a game
balance to match.

> -how the game could be marketed to be more successful...

I like the website frontpage.
I looked at it about five times before I ever downloaded it, though,
because I hit the "Oh, it's only got a Windoze installer" wall. Clearly
again, I am not part of the target audience and this won't be a problem
for most people.

I'm not suggesting you modify your game to suit my desires, just
explaining that while I think it's a very promising idea, I'm very
unlikely to spend more than half an hour (if even that) on a game
which has that *band feel to it.

--
--jude hungerford.

Elethiomel

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Sep 4, 2005, 10:03:13 AM9/4/05
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edw...@lore.net wrote:
> Antoine <ma...@guildgame.com> wrote:
>
>>I'd appreciate any feedback on
>>-why Guild didn't take off

> I do like the idea of having a party, but I would prefer to begin alone

> or with one companion (preferably a pet rather than a humanoid), and
> then pick up interesting individuals in my travels.

This is the only point in the post I disagree with; Starting up with a
party allows you to have characters that aren't very survivable on their
lonesome, and have that be balanced all the way from the start. Buffers
partly fall in this category (especially if they primarily have group
buff spells), powerful ranged attackers with no defense definitely fall
in this category.

>>-how the game could be improved to be more successful, or
>
> The things which would make it a more enjoyable game for me are probably
> not things which you want in your game: persistent dungeons and a game
> balance to match.

That would make it a more enjoyable game for me, too.

Jeff Lait

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Sep 4, 2005, 10:44:42 AM9/4/05
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Antoine wrote:
> Hi RGRDers,
>
> After finishing the Quickband project I've come back to Guild, and am
> wondering what to do with it.

You should keep playing and polishing it.

> Guild is looking alarmingly like YABDR (yet another born dead
> roguelike) at this stage. I'm not quite sure why, but it's received
> very little attention since it was first released - no discussion on
> RGRD or RGRM to speak of, only a few emails and not one single YAVP. In
> fact, I'm not sure if anyone but me has ever actually completed the
> whole game (or even the second quest???)

Well... It wasn't until the 62nd public release of POWDER that the
first victory post was posted. That was after two years of development
and eighteen months of it being available to the public.

Likewise, I'd safely state that Guild has sparked more threads in RGRD
than POWDER has - POWDER's only threads usually begin and end with a
post from me talking about how some current discussion point relates to
POWDER.

> I'd appreciate any feedback on
> -why Guild didn't take off

This sort of comment in rgrd always annoys me. I also think this sort
of mindset kills more roguelikes than anything else.

For the sake of @, stop chasing after "success"! Instead, concentrate
your energies on making a good game. An audience will find itself -
maybe not a huge audience, but if you make one person in addition to
yourself happy, no one can accuse you of being selfish. And, if you
only make yourself happy, the world is still a better place as a result
of your game being written.

> -from those who did try it, what they liked and/or disliked about it
> -how the game could be improved to be more successful, or
> -how the game could be marketed to be more successful...

- Add a link to guild from your signature.
- Update your entry in the RogueBasin
http://roguebasin.t-o-m-e.net/index.php/GUILD. Look at the POWDER
entry for an example of the sections you should have. Unique/rare
features and Versions/Platforms are important to direct people.
- While a Linux release is always good, it likely won't make a
difference. There is about a 10:1 windows:linux ratio among those that
download roguelikes.
- Stop worrying about popularity and uptake. Worry about making a game
that you enjoy playing. No one is paying you for this, so there is no
reason to cater to the masses.
--
Jeff Lait
(POWDER: http://www.zincland.com/powder)

Joe Hewitt

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Sep 4, 2005, 11:41:23 AM9/4/05
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Jeff Lait wrote:
> - While a Linux release is always good, it likely won't make a
> difference. There is about a 10:1 windows:linux ratio among those that
> download roguelikes.

My experience with that is different. When I release a new version of
GearHead, I get more clicks from HappyPenguin.org than I do from any
other game news site. Of course this might have more to do with the
other game news sites that report on GearHead than it does with the
relative number of Linux users playing roguelikes, but still I think
it's significant.

> - Stop worrying about popularity and uptake. Worry about making a game
> that you enjoy playing.

Agreed.

- JH.

Ray Dillinger

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Sep 4, 2005, 11:58:36 AM9/4/05
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No source.
No linux binary.
Doesn't work on any of my machines.

Bear

Sherm Pendley

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Sep 4, 2005, 2:27:45 PM9/4/05
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Ray Dillinger <be...@sonic.net> writes:

> Antoine wrote:
>> I'd appreciate any feedback on
>> -why Guild didn't take off
>

> No source.
> No linux binary.
> Doesn't work on any of my machines.

What he said, basically - no source + no Mac binary = I don't get to play.

sherm--

--
Cocoa programming in Perl: http://camelbones.sourceforge.net
Hire me! My resume: http://www.dot-app.org

Nolithius

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Sep 4, 2005, 2:59:12 PM9/4/05
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"Joe Hewitt" <pyrr...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125848483.4...@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> Jeff Lait wrote:
> > - While a Linux release is always good, it likely won't make a
> > difference. There is about a 10:1 windows:linux ratio among those that
> > download roguelikes.
>
> My experience with that is different. When I release a new version of
> GearHead, I get more clicks from HappyPenguin.org than I do from any
> other game news site. Of course this might have more to do with the
> other game news sites that report on GearHead than it does with the
> relative number of Linux users playing roguelikes, but still I think
> it's significant.
[...]

While there is probably a 20:1 (or even bigger) Windows:Linux ratio among
gamers in general, there is easily a 3:1 Windows:Linux ratio on RL players.
Obviously this is not an exact statistic, but it is based on some realistic
assumptions about the community of RL players:

- Many RL players have very likely been around since Rogue, before Windows
existed.
- Many programmers are attracted to Linux; the algorithmic/random nature of
Roguelikes appeal largely to other programmers/game developers.
- Linux gamers don't have as broad a market of recently published games
available to them, so indie games like RLs that are compiled for Linux get a
lot of attention.

A game can obviously be successful being exclusively for Windows, but at
least at the development phase, before the game builds up a large enough
fanbase, there will be a lot of interest coming from Linux users.

--Nolithius


Nolithius

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Sep 4, 2005, 3:27:55 PM9/4/05
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Hey Antoine,

As you probably remember, I was very interested in the development of Guild
when you first started to provide playable versions. I am still deeply
interested, but since I got a job as of a few months ago I have, as my
friend said, "dropped off the face of the earth", and definitely not been
able to keep up with RGRD discussions. But now that I am back at school and
working less I have a little more time for this kind of stuff.

My main problem with Guild was the difficulty, as was mentioned earlier. You
should have some beginning dungeons to get the players accustomed to the
style.

Also remember that you are doing quite a few things differently from the
standard RL or RPG in general. Because of this, it will require more
iteration and heachaches to get it right. For example:

- No healing within the dungeon: While this is an interesting choice, it
pushes up the difficulty of the game by quite a few notches. This also
forces the player to go in and out of the dungeon several times thereby
automatically forcing the player to adhere to a specific playing style. If
some players prefer going deeper and deeper and visiting the town sparsely
(and most do) they will find themselves at a huge disadvantage. This can
easily translate into tedium.

- No leveling within the dungeon: Same issue as described above.

- Clumsy inventory management: In the bit of time I've had lately I picked
up Dungeon Siege II, a game that far surpassed my expectations and that,
surprisingly, has very satisfactory party AI. Now, in that game, each
character has his own inventory just like Guild-- but switching items
between two characters is as easy as dragging it into the other character's
portrait, as you would expect. Because of the technical limitations of RLs
(although they can use the mouse, but often choose not to), it would not be
a bad idea to have a shared party inventory, where the total amount of
encumberance is the sum of each of the party members'. This obviously brings
up the issue of how to handle characters being encumbered, for which you
have two options: 1) Inventory space is rigid, that is, characters cannot
pick up any more than what their max weight allows (effectively removing the
encumbered state). or 2) Encumbering everyone equally, which might not be
horribly elegant, but at least will ensure your characters all keep the same
pace. Yet another option you have is to keep the individual inventories, but
to list your whole party's inventory like:

Guybrush
- A knife
- A skull
- A piece of tofu

Lothar
- An axe
- A piece of meat

etc.

All in one screen, and allowing easy switching of items from one inventory
to another by means of some menu with options like Examine, Equip, Give,
Drop.

Clumsy party management: I guess the DS2 AI comment should be here instead
;). For some reason, and I can't quite put my finger on it, the party AI is
somewhat hard to control effectively.

Angband-like feel, specially towns: I haven't played the latest release, so
I don't know if you restructured the towns, but this is something that both
ABCGi and I pointed out a while back: If you push for the players to surface
from the dungeons very often and to visit the town, at least make the towns
interesting, not a numbered list of options.

If I think of anything else I'll let you know. Sorry if I seem overly
critical but I really would like for your project to succeed, and well, you
asked for what people thought ;).

Regards, and please don't give up,

--Nolithius

Aquillion

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Sep 4, 2005, 5:15:25 PM9/4/05
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This is sort of unrelated, but twice now I've had crashes (with generic
guild.exe-has-crashed messages) when hitting the 'w' key to wear
something. The first time I thought it might just be a coincidence,
but it just happened again. It doesn't happen *every* time I hit 'w',
of course; it's only happened twice so far. I don't think that's why
it hasn't taken off, though, since this is the first crash I'd heard
reported and I played for a while before it happened; but I thought I
should report it. I'm playing under Windows ME if it makes a
difference (ugh).

Anyway. Other people have touched on several of the reasons why it
might not have taken off--the steep difficulty curve, the generic
setting, the description on the webpage which says you can only advance
to level 5 and gives the sense that the game is incomplete (I wasn't
even aware it was possible to win yet until you mentioned not seeing
any YAVPs.) I'm not a big fan of the Angband non-saved-dungeon system
myself, but I suppose that's a design choice, and there must be people
out there who like it.

Another possibility that occured to me, though, is the lack of party
generation. A roguelike where you control a 4-person party has lots of
opportunites for interesting character generation at the beginning; but
Guild just hands you a generic 4-person party. There are 4 party
members, and (as far as I can tell) only 4 classes, so the player
doesn't even get to make any choices about who they bring unless they,
say, want to skip having a thief to get two clerics or something.

I don't think character generation should be *too* detailed; manually
rolling up stats on all 4 people would be too much. But it might be
interesting if there were a few more classes, even if they were just
small varients on the existing ones, and the player got to choose the
composition of their initial party. This would also make it less
frustrating to get wiped out--I stopped playing Guild for a while when
one of my parties got killed, since I knew that if I started a new game
I'd have to take an identical party and would basically just be doing
the exact same things over again in a slightly different dungeon.

For class ideas... Some class varients could just differ in their
starting equipment and spells. For instance, an Illusionist might be a
mage who starts with illusion-related spells and a wand that supports
them, while an Enchanter would focus on enchantments. Additionally,
they could get bonuses with spells related to their specialty, and
their spell lists could differ somewhat, with each having some spells
unique to them and others they can never learn.

There could be a "berzerker" class, a tough warrior who wears light
armor and scorns shields, but sometimes goes berzerk in combat, getting
even more bonuses to toughness and damage. Naturally, they can't be
controlled while berzerk, and wouldn't listen to orders.

A Sage is a priest who can learn mage spells, although they can't
memorize as many of them as a true mage and get their priest spells
more slowly. They are as weak as a mage, with the same equipment
restrictions, and use holy symbols to cast spells instead of wands (so
they can't wield wands and don't get the wand bonuses). However, they
are better at avoiding magical wards, and can tell more things about
items when examining them.

Extra classes like these would also make checking the tavern for new
party members a little more interesting.

Other suggestions, let's see... The AI that controls thieves needs
some working on. The other party members are at least half-decent;
fighters will fight on their own, mages and clerics cast their spells,
etc. Thieves don't do what they're supposed to at all. There's no way
to ask them to scout around for traps without manually sending them
from point-to-point; they won't disarm traps on their own even if they
find them; they'll never sneak unless you order them to; and even when
they do sneak, I've never seen my thief backstab or pick pockets under
their own initative. This basically means that the player has to
control their thief almost 24/7 if they want to get any use out of
them.

Does Guild's system allow thieves to spot traps at a distance? I
haven't seen it happen, but now that I think about it it's almost
essential. The thief can't really help the rest of the party with
traps if they have to walk on every single space in a room in order to
make sure that it's safe; that's fine in a single-character roguelike,
but doesn't work for a party.

Allowing the party to have a pet might be an interesting idea, too...
A little dog or some other animal that follows them into dungeons feels
like it would fit into the game's theme.

Anyway, just some suggestions. Maybe I'll think of more later.

--Aquillion

Gerry Quinn

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Sep 5, 2005, 7:17:56 AM9/5/05
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In article <1125800713....@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
ma...@guildgame.com says...

For me the ASCII thing writes off Guild, as well as other more well-
known ones.

I thought the party system was neat and quite well done, though.
Balancing may be harder.

The only fear is that each level may take four times as long, i.e. if
there's nothing interesting to kill in a normal roguelike you just fly
through it to the stairs.

As somebody said, inventory could be an issue too.

But I didn't play enough that these are more than unsupported
speculations, and the game may not have any such problems.

- Gerry Quinn


Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Sep 5, 2005, 7:28:59 AM9/5/05
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At 3 Sep 2005 19:25:13 -0700,
Antoine wrote:

> Hi RGRDers,
>
> After finishing the Quickband project I've come back to Guild, and am
> wondering what to do with it.
>
> Guild is looking alarmingly like YABDR (yet another born dead
> roguelike) at this stage. I'm not quite sure why, but it's received
> very little attention since it was first released - no discussion on
> RGRD or RGRM to speak of, only a few emails and not one single YAVP. In
> fact, I'm not sure if anyone but me has ever actually completed the
> whole game (or even the second quest???)

Don't panic, it's normal. Give it some time.
I've never heard anybody finished Z-Day either, even when it only takies
20 minutes of play to finish it ^^).

You've got to choose now, whether you want to continue development and
turn this game into a game of your dreams (people with similar dreams
will gather eventually), or just leave it and let it die.

On a side note, I don't think the r.g.r.d is the best place to look for
audience -- everybody is usually busy with their own games. Altrough it's
true that developers make very good beta-testers, because they will
usually be able to describe th problems well... or maybe not ;)

And what's that you don't like in your game?

--
Radomir `The Sheep' Dopieralski @**@_
(`') 3 Grrr!
. . . ..v.vVvVVvVvv.v.. .

copx

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Sep 5, 2005, 9:55:30 AM9/5/05
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"Antoine" <ma...@guildgame.com> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:1125800713....@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
[snip]

> -how the game could be improved to be more successful, or

Graphics. There are probably only a few thousand people in the entire world
who play ASCII games.

> -how the game could be marketed to be more successful...

Put it on mainstream gaming sites (requires graphics).


copx


Shedletsky

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Sep 5, 2005, 11:55:20 AM9/5/05
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> For me the ASCII thing writes off Guild, as well as other more well-
> known ones.

Agreed. The worst part about the ASCII interface isn't the map (as one might
expect - though that is bad), but the huge number of keys that one has to
remember (this is worse for games like nethack than it is for Guild). People
want user-friendly software, even if they don't articulate that desire. If I
*have* to, I can, for example, figure out how to edit makefiles for gcc. But
I don't *want* to. The unix-like mentally of many RL developers vis a vis
useability makes the learning curve too high for a lot of games and kills
the fun, in my opinion.

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Sep 5, 2005, 12:40:21 PM9/5/05
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At Mon, 5 Sep 2005 11:55:20 -0400,
Shedletsky wrote:

>> For me the ASCII thing writes off Guild, as well as other more well-
>> known ones.
>
> Agreed. The worst part about the ASCII interface isn't the map (as one might
> expect - though that is bad), but the huge number of keys that one has to
> remember (this is worse for games like nethack than it is for Guild).

This has nothing to do with ASCII.

> People
> want user-friendly software, even if they don't articulate that desire. If I
> *have* to, I can, for example, figure out how to edit makefiles for gcc. But
> I don't *want* to.

What you're talking about is something I'd rather say
the-first-time-user-friendly, as opposed to user-friendly in general.
To pick up your example, it's much easier to eadir Makefiles for POSIX
make (which has nothing to do with gcc), than to do anything non-default
in any graphical build-process controlling environment (and non-standard
often includes things as simple as changing the project's name).

What you have to do is to make a decission:
Are you making this program for the first-time players, or are you making
this for people who tried it, liked it and took time to learn how to use
it.

The latter is much worse for marketing, I'm afraid, and won't guarantee
a "success" in commercial terms. But since most rl-s are free anyways...

> The unix-like mentally of many RL developers vis a vis
> useability makes the learning curve too high for a lot of games and kills
> the fun, in my opinion.

I woudn't call the steepness of the learning curve 'useablity'. Maybe
'intuitiveness', 'self-documentingness' or something like this. Useability,
I'd say, is how high the learning curve ever goes.

Note that there are many ways of decreasing the steepness of the learning
curve:

- documentation (duh!)
- tutorial
- meaningful messages (that's why Z-Day sucks in this area)
- good methaphors
- hints
- conseqent use of UI elements
- distictiveness of UI elements (ASCII rocks here!)
- good defaults
- clear design

And a few more I can't think of at the moment. None of them is tied with
graphics.

As the bottom line: I assume that people who can only point and
grunt^H^H^H^H^Hclick won't find my game entertaining anyways.

--
Radomir `The Sheep' Dopieralski @**@_

(: ) 3 Snap!

Seco One

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Sep 5, 2005, 1:52:56 PM9/5/05
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> I'd appreciate any feedback on
> -why Guild didn't take off
> -from those who did try it, what they liked and/or disliked about it

I played Guild, and enjoyed it enough to play it a number of times,
although I never got very far. I definately think there are some things
you could do to increase its appeal, especialy to first time players.
(last version played, 1.0)

- The Town
The Guild town always seemed somewhat of an obstacle to gameplay. Its
list-like nature makes it tedious to operate, and a first time player
is going to be put off by the number of options presented. He lacks a
clear sense of purpose. Should he skip the town and go straight to the
dungeon? Or is it necessary to stock up on equipment and visit some of
the other buildings first? Guild's party oriented gameplay is what
makes it fun. The player shouldn't be forced to worry about too many
factors before getting into combat. I would even advocate starting the
player immediately in the dungeon, with some cheesy but plausible
backstory, and giving him access to the town later. Adding town
functions over time would also streamline things.

- The Party
As someone suggested, having the player by himself or with a single
companion or pet at the beginning would definately help to not
overwhelm him. Perhaps a mandatory first quest where the player goes to
rescue an animal or person who joins his team. You could also use this
to set the story or goal for the rest of the game. The player should
have to play for some time before having a full 4 or even 3 person
party. This is also important because a first time player will have
trouble managing a large party. The party memebers also need to
remember their orders from last dungeon. Having to reorder everyone
each time you enter the dungeon is annoying.

Other suggestions:
-Persistant dungeons
-larger dungeons, more open space and/or double wide cooridors
(to accomadate the party)
-less Angband like dungeon structure/feel (personal preference)
-parties that are different from game to game

Main recomendations:
-Make the game simpler towards the beginning, and gradually introduce
features.
-Give the player a sense of direction and purpose, which may require
making the game more linear.
-Sometimes removing things can be has helpful to a game (or any work of
art) as adding things. This tends to be a difficult thing for
developers to do, however.
-Dont give up! Definately not Born Dead.

Aquillion

unread,
Sep 5, 2005, 2:02:39 PM9/5/05
to

Seco One wrote:
> Main recomendations:
> -Make the game simpler towards the beginning, and gradually introduce
> features.

Although I can see an advantage to this, one big problem with it is
that this is a roguelike. Sooner or later (at least under the current
system), the player's party will be wiped out and they'll have to start
the game over again. Having to go through the "simplified" section each
time could be a major annoyance.

One possibility is to make that section take the form of a tutorial,
which is offered to the player when they start: After they've created
their characters, a little old man comes up to them and offers to teach
them the basics of dungeoneering. If they agree, they're taken (alone
and blindfolded) into a 1-level practice dungeon, which they have to
escape from with the old man shouting instructions from outside. Along
the way they encounter their teammates and learn how to command them
and so forth. At the end of the practice dungeon, the old man could
offer to show them what the town has to offer adventurers, too.

--Aquillion

Ray Dillinger

unread,
Sep 5, 2005, 2:30:25 PM9/5/05
to
Shedletsky wrote:
>>For me the ASCII thing writes off Guild, as well as other more well-
>>known ones.

> Agreed. The worst part about the ASCII interface isn't the map (as one might
> expect - though that is bad), but the huge number of keys that one has to
> remember (this is worse for games like nethack than it is for Guild). People
> want user-friendly software, even if they don't articulate that desire.

*SOME* people want newbie-friendly software with a nice shallow
learning curve. *SOME* people want interfaces that make a very
wide variety of different actions all easy to do and allow a very
high degree of mastery and skill, but may take some time to
learn. It's better to me to make the thousandth game interesting
and easy and the first game hard, than make the first game
interesting and easy and the thousandth game boring. Sure, I try
to make both the first *and* thousandth game interesting and
easy; but the thousandth game takes priority every time.

My concession to the learning curve is a slowly-scrolling "option
line" at the bottom that will tell you what you can do at any
given moment if you take time to watch and read. I picked the
"option line" to make the commands discoverable without slowing
down or interfering with the keyboard interface. I expect the
experienced user to be entering five commands a second in some
situations; forcing them to use a mouse would be slowing them
down, and making the keyboard commands shortcuts for mouseable
commands requires a "mode switch" part way up the learning curve.

I'm sick of dumbing things down for newbies. I've had to do that
in code I write for money, and without fail, it always produced
less-capable systems. I cannot describe to you the horror I feel
when I take excellent and capable systems that suit their problem
domains well and are as simple as the problem allows, and my
orders are to make them easier for newbies to use. You cannot
solve a problem with a system that doesn't reflect at least the
complexity of the problem.

If you put a simple interface on something that's actually
a complex problem, it works about as well as steelframe
construction where you get rid of the rivets the rivet guns
and the welders and the wrenches and the nuts and install
the bolts using a very big hammer. Hey, it's simpler. It's a
shame that it's harder work and doesn't solve the problem as
well.

Several times now I've taken systems a smart user could use to
effect better solutions than any competing software, and gutted
their capabilities in order to make them "usable" by people
unwilling to understand the problems they're attempting to
solve or unwilling to comprehend what all the configuration
options they hate do. Inevitably, once the idea that
newbie-friendliness is all that matters takes hold, every
excellent tool I've ever built has been reduced to fricken
vaporware, with the marketing drones still spouting about
capabilities the effective use of which depended on things
they've required me to rip out of the systems.

I'm not gonna do it on a project I'm doing for recreation.
'Designed by geniuses to be used by idiots' is insulting and
frustrating to the non-idiot user, just as 'optimized search'
is insulting and frustrating to those of us who who were
more than able to say exactly what we wanted using full-text
binary search and hate that all modern search engines wind
up trying to herd us to the same two thousand or so 'popular'
sites all the time no matter what we're looking for.

All the best tools, and all the best games too, are designed
_by_and_for_ geniuses. Besides, I don't want to deal with
and support idiots, and nobody's gonna pay me for a
roguelike game, so what is my motivation for making a game
to appeal to them?

Bear

Ray Dillinger

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Sep 5, 2005, 2:54:22 PM9/5/05
to
Aquillion wrote:

> One possibility is to make that section take the form of a tutorial,
> which is offered to the player when they start: After they've created
> their characters, a little old man comes up to them and offers to teach
> them the basics of dungeoneering. If they agree, they're taken (alone
> and blindfolded) into a 1-level practice dungeon, which they have to
> escape from with the old man shouting instructions from outside. Along
> the way they encounter their teammates and learn how to command them
> and so forth. At the end of the practice dungeon, the old man could
> offer to show them what the town has to offer adventurers, too.

Oddly enough, I think your father's ghost at your elbow
whispering instructions about how to carry on the family
dungeoneering tradition would require less suspension
of disbelief than an old man shouting instructions from
outside.

Bear

Aquillion

unread,
Sep 5, 2005, 5:05:28 PM9/5/05
to
To clarify the crashes I had in the previous post, I've had them a few
more times, and it seems that they only happen when I try to access my
rogue's 'w'ear/wield screen. Doesn't happen for anyone else, and
doesn't always happen even for the rogue.

Anyway, another minor suggestion: If I try to take a wounded and
recovering character to my house, I get the "so-and-so is recovering
from their wounds and cannot travel." I think that you should be able
to bring wounded characters into the base, at least.

--Aquillion

Aquillion

unread,
Sep 5, 2005, 5:09:54 PM9/5/05
to
Ah, no, I see now. Correction to my clarification: Guild crashes
every time if *anyone* tries to use the wield/wear key while their
inventory is empty. It was only happening with my rogue because
everyone else always at least had a bag on them, but the real problem
is hitting 'w' with an empty inventory.

--Aquillion

Shedletsky

unread,
Sep 6, 2005, 9:35:34 AM9/6/05
to
> It's better to me to make the thousandth game interesting
> and easy and the first game hard, than make the first game
> interesting and easy and the thousandth game boring. Sure, I try
> to make both the first *and* thousandth game interesting and
> easy; but the thousandth game takes priority every time.

If everyone gives up long before playing the 1000th time, it doesn't matter
if the 1000th time is really fun, does it? That's basically my point.

As for the "screw you, it's my roguelike" attitude, I completely agree. You
must write games that you enjoy playing. To do otherwise would be silly.

--
Blog:
Shedletsky's Bits: A Random Walk Through Manifold Space
http://www.stanford.edu/~jjshed/blog


David Damerell

unread,
Sep 6, 2005, 1:22:09 PM9/6/05
to
Quoting Shedletsky <mylas...@stanford.edu>:
>>It's better to me to make the thousandth game interesting
>>and easy and the first game hard, than make the first game
>>interesting and easy and the thousandth game boring. Sure, I try
>>to make both the first *and* thousandth game interesting and
>>easy; but the thousandth game takes priority every time.
>If everyone gives up long before playing the 1000th time, it doesn't matter
>if the 1000th time is really fun, does it? That's basically my point.

But manifestly this is not in fact a problem for the games that have the
interfaces you decry. It's clear that some of these games are enormously
popular and "everyone" does not give up long before the thousandth game.
--
David Damerell <dame...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> flcl?
Today is Gloucesterday, August.

Krice

unread,
Sep 6, 2005, 4:09:24 PM9/6/05
to
Ray Dillinger wrote:
> *SOME* people want newbie-friendly software with a nice shallow
> learning curve.

You don't have to think it that way if you keep the overall
difficulty of the game hard. Nethack has a nice example of a
shallow learning curve, which is just tied to the character
development. But, if you prefer to scare *MOST* of the people
away from your game with HC attitude, then it's ok for me:)

> I'm sick of dumbing things down for newbies.

This has nothing to do with the UI and how good or bad it is. I think
RL developers should think about their UI and develope them
further, not just copy from the roguelike canon. Let's just say that
Angband UI is horrible. That's a fact and nothing can change it:)

Christophe Cavalaria

unread,
Sep 6, 2005, 5:06:07 PM9/6/05
to
Krice wrote:

I agree completly with what you say ! A good UI isn't a newbie UI. A good UI
needs only a short time to learn the basics and then, as an advanced user
it must never get in the way !

On that point, I'm agree than Angband UI is bad but only in half. One could
say the UI for newbies part is good. Not too complex, easy to learn and
discover etc... but it is incredibly annoying to use for advanced players.
And so mankind created one of the stupidest things ever : the macros :)

At least, they tried to please both ends of the spectrum and the most
pervert part about macros is that you *can* become efficient with them so
now, a lot of users don't want to change :(

Ray Dillinger

unread,
Sep 6, 2005, 10:51:30 PM9/6/05
to
Krice wrote:
> Ray Dillinger wrote:

>>I'm sick of dumbing things down for newbies.

> This has nothing to do with the UI and how good or bad it is. I think
> RL developers should think about their UI and develope them
> further, not just copy from the roguelike canon. Let's just say that
> Angband UI is horrible. That's a fact and nothing can change it:)

Most of the time when people complain about UI, they want a
UI that's specifically newbie-friendly - even if it gets in
the way of experienced players or, in professional software,
cripples users with a better understanding of the problem.

This has been my experience, anyway. Yours may vary.

I don't think the Angband UI is particularly horrible. The
only *real* mistake as far as I'm concerned is the help
system and means of discovering what commands do and what
commands are available. It supports key/command remapping
anyway.

Bear


Ray Dillinger

unread,
Sep 6, 2005, 10:58:34 PM9/6/05
to
Christophe Cavalaria wrote:

> On that point, I'm agree than Angband UI is bad but only in half. One could
> say the UI for newbies part is good. Not too complex, easy to learn and
> discover etc... but it is incredibly annoying to use for advanced players.
> And so mankind created one of the stupidest things ever : the macros :)

I don't particularly like Angband's implementation of macros.
'I'nscribing items to make macros work with them or commands
act differently on them is annoying, cryptic, and badly
documented, and no facilities for macro conditional branching
or macro editing are provided.

Further, Angband is repetitive enough that after sufficient
macro-tweaking, you can in some circumstances just "leave a
golf ball on the key," go to work in the morning, and come
home to a character that's up three levels and three years
older - and that's clearly broken.

But that's not to say macros are a bad idea from the outset.

> the most
> pervert part about macros is that you *can* become efficient with them so
> now, a lot of users don't want to change :(

Um, excuse me? That's a sign of success, not failure.
And quit bashing perverts; perversion can be fun.

Bear

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

unread,
Sep 7, 2005, 2:39:44 AM9/7/05
to
At Wed, 07 Sep 2005 02:51:30 GMT,
Ray Dillinger wrote:

I especially like the look/targetting mode that automatically
jumps to the nearest interesting object in the general direction
you pressed. Any chances of using something similar in Dweller?
(at least a 'cycle monsters' key in the targeting mode)

--
Radomir `The Sheep' Dopieralski @**@_

(*+) 3 Sparkle

Aquillion

unread,
Sep 7, 2005, 4:03:59 AM9/7/05
to
Angband is better than some. My favorite 'traditional' roguelike is
Dungeon Crawl, which doesn't even have item-management menus and still
inexplicably has seperate commands for wield, wear, and put on ring
(because Rogue did it, I know, but it still doesn't make any sense),
and uses an ugly kludge for quick-weapon switching (it just switches
between the first two items in your inventory, whatever they are; you
have to use the "manual sort inventory" command to make sure they're
the two you want to switch between.) As a result of these sorts of
things, the Dungeon Crawl key reference is a page and then some of
densely packed two-column text, often using inscrutable shorthand. The
Angband UI is at least easier to pick up than that.

On the other hand, Crawl does have keys to cycle through nearby
targets, which as far as I can tell the Angband interfance lacks. I
guess every game has their UI ups and downs.

One minor annoyance with the Angband interface, as least as it appears
in Guild, is that if you're standing over a pile of containers on the
ground and hit '<' or '>', it will query you for each and every item in
the stack instead of giving you a menu like it would if they were in
your inventory. This probably isn't a real problem in Angband itself,
but it can be in Guild, since you end up having to manage a ton of
stuff in your home base.

I also think it's kind of silly that you can't use the "use item" key
to light/extinguish a wielded torch (or even to wield an unwielded
one), but that's fairly minor.

The other half of UI complaints, in my experience, are from people who
are accustomed to one game's UI and just don't like moving to a
different one.

Christophe

unread,
Sep 7, 2005, 4:23:55 AM9/7/05
to
Ray Dillinger a écrit :

> Christophe Cavalaria wrote:
>
>> On that point, I'm agree than Angband UI is bad but only in half. One
>> could
>> say the UI for newbies part is good. Not too complex, easy to learn and
>> discover etc... but it is incredibly annoying to use for advanced
>> players.
>> And so mankind created one of the stupidest things ever : the macros :)
>
>
> I don't particularly like Angband's implementation of macros.
> 'I'nscribing items to make macros work with them or commands
> act differently on them is annoying, cryptic, and badly
> documented, and no facilities for macro conditional branching
> or macro editing are provided.
>
> Further, Angband is repetitive enough that after sufficient
> macro-tweaking, you can in some circumstances just "leave a
> golf ball on the key," go to work in the morning, and come
> home to a character that's up three levels and three years
> older - and that's clearly broken.
>
> But that's not to say macros are a bad idea from the outset.

Macros are powerful in the end, just like assembler is powerful. If I
had to do a stupid analogy here, it would be like giving your users and
assembler and saying : "You think it's too difficult to use ? Then by
all means you only need to create a C++/Pascal/... compiler and it'll be
easy again !". Some users will do that, others will flee in terror. You
on the other hand want to "improve" the macro system by making it even
more like a programing language ? When I play a game it's to get away
from work, not do more programing. I can create my own roguelike if I
want to do that.

The Tome automatiser suffers from exactly the same problem in my eyes.

>> the most
>> pervert part about macros is that you *can* become efficient with them so
>> now, a lot of users don't want to change :(
>
>
> Um, excuse me? That's a sign of success, not failure.
> And quit bashing perverts; perversion can be fun.
>
> Bear

That's not really a sign of success. It's more like a direct application
if the theory of evolution : only those who can stand the macro system
as the only mean to get things done in Angband are left. If the system
was really inefficient, something else would have been created in its
place. Maybe even something better.

Christophe

unread,
Sep 7, 2005, 4:28:49 AM9/7/05
to
Aquillion a écrit :

> Angband is better than some. My favorite 'traditional' roguelike is
> Dungeon Crawl, which doesn't even have item-management menus and still
> inexplicably has seperate commands for wield, wear, and put on ring
> (because Rogue did it, I know, but it still doesn't make any sense),
> and uses an ugly kludge for quick-weapon switching (it just switches
> between the first two items in your inventory, whatever they are; you
> have to use the "manual sort inventory" command to make sure they're
> the two you want to switch between.) As a result of these sorts of
> things, the Dungeon Crawl key reference is a page and then some of
> densely packed two-column text, often using inscrutable shorthand. The
> Angband UI is at least easier to pick up than that.
>
> On the other hand, Crawl does have keys to cycle through nearby
> targets, which as far as I can tell the Angband interfance lacks. I
> guess every game has their UI ups and downs.

Angband as an intelligent autotargeting system. Press * as many times as
you want and it'll cycle through all visible targets.

> One minor annoyance with the Angband interface, as least as it appears
> in Guild, is that if you're standing over a pile of containers on the
> ground and hit '<' or '>', it will query you for each and every item in
> the stack instead of giving you a menu like it would if they were in
> your inventory. This probably isn't a real problem in Angband itself,
> but it can be in Guild, since you end up having to manage a ton of
> stuff in your home base.

I don't recognise that part of the Angband UI. < and > are used to go
through stairs. There are no containers in Angband, except for chests
but are really uncommon, and they can only be emptied. If you mean the
pickup item command, a lot of variants have a menu for that situation.

Myself I would try to reduce the huge amount of junk generated by the
game instead of trying to imporve that part of the UI :)

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

unread,
Sep 7, 2005, 4:35:08 AM9/7/05
to
At 7 Sep 2005 01:03:59 -0700,
Aquillion wrote:

> On the other hand, Crawl does have keys to cycle through nearby
> targets, which as far as I can tell the Angband interfance lacks. I
> guess every game has their UI ups and downs.

Angband has it and it's very comfortable.

--
Radomir `The Sheep' Dopieralski @**@_

(Qq) 3 Sob?

David Damerell

unread,
Sep 7, 2005, 8:22:17 AM9/7/05
to
Quoting Aquillion <frog...@gmail.com>:
>Angband is better than some. My favorite 'traditional' roguelike is
>Dungeon Crawl, which doesn't even have item-management menus and still
>inexplicably has seperate commands for wield, wear, and put on ring
>(because Rogue did it, I know, but it still doesn't make any sense),

It certainly makes sense to separate "wield" - what if you want to wield
something that isn't designed to be used as a weapon?


--
David Damerell <dame...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> flcl?

Today is Leicesterday, August.

Antoine

unread,
Sep 7, 2005, 5:10:31 PM9/7/05
to

Antoine wrote:
> Hi RGRDers,
>
> After finishing the Quickband project I've come back to Guild, and am
> wondering what to do with it.
>
> Guild is looking alarmingly like YABDR (yet another born dead
> roguelike) at this stage. I'm not quite sure why, but it's received
> very little attention since it was first released - no discussion on
> RGRD or RGRM to speak of, only a few emails and not one single YAVP. In
> fact, I'm not sure if anyone but me has ever actually completed the
> whole game (or even the second quest???)
>
> I'd appreciate any feedback on
> -why Guild didn't take off
> -from those who did try it, what they liked and/or disliked about it
> -how the game could be improved to be more successful, or
> -how the game could be marketed to be more successful...

Got this reply by email. I was very pleased to see it - many thanks to
the writer, if you see this post! you made my day.

I don't think it's inappropriate to post it, as it was only not posted
in the first place due to lack of access. So here we go:

------------------------------------------------------

hello.
my environment cant afford to connect to news server.
so I "re:" by mail.


first of all,I like the concept of Guild quite much.
and this is the one of the very game I've been waiting for the new
version.

Because of my environment?, it keeps crashing when I try to equip
secondGuy(#2).
so I can't play much though.
still "Guild" by any means is one of the most outstanding game,I think.

the term "guild" is so common. so difficult to find related info
through google. I'd want it to be renamed such like "Guild1234".

if the ai of party can be easily selectable such like style of "dragon
warrior 5"'s, then it'll attract Japanese game-loving people.

I've met Guild when I was reading Japan's most large RogueLike BBS.
http://jbbs.livedoor.jp/bbs/read.cgi/game/9358/1104991056/l100
(even though you can't read Japanese,you can see how often people talks
about Guild by searching "guild" letter.)

I translated what they said form the thread,
143.moving keys aren't hjkl so I quit playing.
145.don't like the game coz key bindings are so different from other
rogueLikes.
158.the party moving tangling is so CUTE!
the game is wizardry style(menu -> go dungeon/town).
the game is confusing coz when leaving the floor,target character
changes.
159. automatizer and such interfaces are sophisticated.
162. new warrior has quite poor equipment...
since I couldn't sell weapons/armour to shop,I threw away all the
pickups.
163. multiple characters make gameplaying "not lonely". and I like it.
164. sounds interesting I gonna prepare my engJap dictionary.
167. I found "fine steal helmet" and was so glad to take back and found
it
cursed...
it is fun to dare collect items and return to home.
new priest doesn't seem to learn "cure spell" and such makes the game
quite hard.

my conclusion how to make "Guild" attractive are
1.implement *band features as much as possible(key bindings) to attract
conservative Rl loving people.
2.make party play convenient as much as possible to attract to attract
progressive Rl loving people.
3.apply tiles/spaceKey-command-Window to attract CUI style game
beginners.

I apologize of my terrible English.
hope this letter could give any help to you.
bye now.

Antoine

unread,
Sep 7, 2005, 5:12:22 PM9/7/05
to

Antoine wrote:
> Hi RGRDers,
>
> After finishing the Quickband project I've come back to Guild, and am
> wondering what to do with it.
>
> Guild is looking alarmingly like YABDR (yet another born dead
> roguelike) at this stage. I'm not quite sure why, but it's received
> very little attention since it was first released - no discussion on
> RGRD or RGRM to speak of, only a few emails and not one single YAVP. In
> fact, I'm not sure if anyone but me has ever actually completed the
> whole game (or even the second quest???)
>
> I'd appreciate any feedback on
> -why Guild didn't take off
> -from those who did try it, what they liked and/or disliked about it
> -how the game could be improved to be more successful, or

-----------------------------------------------------------------

I had also this reply from Ilya Bely, whose advice I value highly.
Again, I posted it here, as I think Ilya would have done if access
obtained.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Hi there!

I'm using a free read-only news server, which prevents me from posting
on
rgrd, so I'm mailing you directly.

The Guild looks very promising and it would be very sad if you will
abandon
it. A lack of visible attention shall not dissapoint you - most people
just download it, play for some time and then leaving with a thought of
"a nice game, I shall check it later when it will be more complete". I
myself had enjoyed it for a couple of days and didn't wrote you because
I hadn't hit any outstanding bug :)

For the moment, it doesn't feel like complete game for some reason.
I'll try
to explain what made this impression on me:

Need to backtrack to the town often. Having limited healing and no
means of quick return to town forces the player to put more thought of
his action, but, on the other side, he still need to return to town
quite often, which is repitative and not very exciting, but still
requires attention to not to lose health and mana on way down.
Suggestion to use persistent dungeons doesn't seem to fix it, as going
forth and back through the same empty levels is even more boring. I
think
party
shall be more autonomous and be able to make a longer trips in dungeon.
Potions of healing and mana are too expensive for this, but if they
were cheaper, the game will be far less dangerous. Increasing mana when
descending now is
a
right thing, but it's not enough. There shall be some additional means
of restoration, but without making dungeons safer.

Town menu isn't very nice and feels inconsistent with the rest of the
game. Using actual map with houses would be much better. A text menu
appears when you enter a building, like shops in Angband. Making a
special event involving fight in town will be nice. Once a bug in
earlier versions of TAngband caused an orc unique with escort appear in
town, making the most interesting fight ever, as me party was forced to
use tactics very different from usual dungeon combat. At very least,
please use some blank lines to break the list into groups.

Money doesn't make many sense: it's easier to obtain items from the
dungeon. The only things I ever really had to buy are armour (if the
warrior isn't you main character, he starts without one) and potions.

More varity in dungeons would be nice. Wide corridors and open areas
can change tactics.

Description of the books found in the dungeon says that you shall read
them
in
town, but you can read them in dungeon.

I'm waiting impatiently for a new version :)

--
May your code work forever and never have a bug.
At your service, Ilya Bely

Ray Dillinger

unread,
Sep 7, 2005, 6:28:01 PM9/7/05
to
Christophe wrote:
> Ray Dillinger a écrit :
>
>> Christophe Cavalaria wrote:

>>> the most
>>> pervert part about macros is that you *can* become efficient with
>>> them so
>>> now, a lot of users don't want to change :(

>> Um, excuse me? That's a sign of success, not failure.

> That's not really a sign of success. It's more like a direct application

> if the theory of evolution : only those who can stand the macro system
> as the only mean to get things done in Angband are left. If the system
> was really inefficient, something else would have been created in its
> place. Maybe even something better.

So it doesn't count because you don't like the users it
attracts?

Bear

Christophe Cavalaria

unread,
Sep 7, 2005, 6:32:16 PM9/7/05
to
Ray Dillinger wrote:

I never said that. I said that the fact that current users like the system
is in no way related to the quality of the system, it's because those that
don't like it aren't users anymore.

Ray Dillinger

unread,
Sep 7, 2005, 7:12:29 PM9/7/05
to
Christophe Cavalaria wrote:
> Ray Dillinger wrote:
>

>>So it doesn't count because you don't like the users it
>>attracts?
>
>
> I never said that. I said that the fact that current users like the system
> is in no way related to the quality of the system, it's because those that
> don't like it aren't users anymore.

My point is that it has sufficient quality to attract and hold
a user community; And, as such things go, a very large one.
Sure, if you can attract and hold a bunch of users who don't
like it, the world will be sweeter; in that case I will say
that *both* systems have sufficient quality to attract and hold
a user community.

But to admit that it can attract and hold a user community,
without a marketing department or vendor lock-in effects is,
IMO, to admit that the system has some quality. Just
because the people aren't your ideal of who you *want* for
a user community doesn't mean the system doesn't have the
quality to attract and keep them on its merits.

Success, when there's no compatibility lockin issues and
no "spin" manufacturers and no marketing and no etc, etc,
etc,.... usually is a pretty good indicator of merit, or
at least "fitness" in the evolutionary sense.

Bear

Christophe Cavalaria

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Sep 7, 2005, 7:22:00 PM9/7/05
to
Ray Dillinger wrote:

> Christophe Cavalaria wrote:
>> Ray Dillinger wrote:
>>
>
>>>So it doesn't count because you don't like the users it
>>>attracts?
>>
>>
>> I never said that. I said that the fact that current users like the
>> system is in no way related to the quality of the system, it's because
>> those that don't like it aren't users anymore.
>
> My point is that it has sufficient quality to attract and hold
> a user community; And, as such things go, a very large one.
> Sure, if you can attract and hold a bunch of users who don't
> like it, the world will be sweeter; in that case I will say
> that *both* systems have sufficient quality to attract and hold
> a user community.
>
> But to admit that it can attract and hold a user community,
> without a marketing department or vendor lock-in effects is,
> IMO, to admit that the system has some quality. Just
> because the people aren't your ideal of who you *want* for
> a user community doesn't mean the system doesn't have the
> quality to attract and keep them on its merits.

I never said that. I said that the system would be better and appeal to more
people with something sane to fill 95% of the macro system usage. I never
said you had to replace the users for that. I never said the current users
where bad.

> Success, when there's no compatibility lockin issues and
> no "spin" manufacturers and no marketing and no etc, etc,
> etc,.... usually is a pretty good indicator of merit, or
> at least "fitness" in the evolutionary sense.

I don't see success, I see a failed opportunity. That's what you don't whan
to understand. Also, it would be very hard to argue that the macro system
is an important factor of the angband "success". You could as well say that
the amount of junk you can find in a dragon's treasure is an important
factor too.

R. Dan Henry

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Sep 7, 2005, 10:29:43 PM9/7/05
to
On 6 Sep 2005 13:09:24 -0700, "Krice" <pau...@mbnet.fi> wrote:

>This has nothing to do with the UI and how good or bad it is. I think
>RL developers should think about their UI and develope them
>further, not just copy from the roguelike canon. Let's just say that
>Angband UI is horrible. That's a fact and nothing can change it:)

No, actually, that's an opinion.

--
R. Dan Henry = danh...@inreach.com

Ray Dillinger

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Sep 7, 2005, 11:07:16 PM9/7/05
to

You know what? You're right. I was reading things into
what you said, that weren't actually there. You don't like
the macro system because it takes too much thinking and
effort. I like it because it rewards thinking and effort.

Given the fundamental disagreement there, it's unlikely
that we're going to agree what's a "good" game.

In your proposal to rip out the macro system, I saw an
insult to and dislike for users who enjoy thinking and
effort; it wasn't actually there. In your claims that
angband's user base didn't mean it had any quality, I
saw a discounting of the users who enjoy macros as being
somehow "not real" or unable to discern quality, or at
least not your preferred kind of users. It wasn't there.
Sorry, I get maybe a bit defensive.

So maybe you can come up with an intermediate ground that
less-advanced users can enjoy. But advanced users, those
who actually like thinking and effort, will always prefer
games with macros (and hopefully a better macrology than
angband) to games without.

I think there's a cool subgame to be had in the macrology;
Writing the borg is *really* beating Angband.... but of
course, the fact that someone can means that angband is
way too easy.

Bear

R. Dan Henry

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Sep 8, 2005, 12:18:03 AM9/8/05
to
On 7 Sep 2005 01:03:59 -0700, "Aquillion" <frog...@gmail.com> wrote:

>On the other hand, Crawl does have keys to cycle through nearby
>targets, which as far as I can tell the Angband interfance lacks. I
>guess every game has their UI ups and downs.

On the contrary, Angband has that and other features available while
targeting, such as access to the monster memory (something Crawl doesn't
have at all -- it's write down stuff on paper, print out spoilers, or
rely on fragile human memory) without interrupting targeting. Plus
Angband let's you *cycle* through them. Crawl just lets you go through
them to the end and then backwards to the beginning. It doesn't let you
keep going "outward" to the nearest after you reach the farthest target.
Although it might have an option you can change to make it do so -- I
haven't really learned all the Crawl options.

>The other half of UI complaints, in my experience, are from people who
>are accustomed to one game's UI and just don't like moving to a
>different one.

Oh, I'd say that accounts for more than half.

R. Dan Henry

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Sep 8, 2005, 12:18:12 AM9/8/05
to
On 07 Sep 2005 13:22:17 +0100 (BST), David Damerell
<dame...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:

>Quoting Aquillion <frog...@gmail.com>:
>>Angband is better than some. My favorite 'traditional' roguelike is
>>Dungeon Crawl, which doesn't even have item-management menus and still
>>inexplicably has seperate commands for wield, wear, and put on ring
>>(because Rogue did it, I know, but it still doesn't make any sense),
>
>It certainly makes sense to separate "wield" - what if you want to wield
>something that isn't designed to be used as a weapon?

Not just a theoretical consideration in Crawl, either. Magical staves
and rods aren't "weapons", but must we wielded for effect. In fact, all
the 'E'voked items must be wielded for use. And several spells require
or benefit from wielding non-weapons.

Wearing and putting on also work somewhat differently in Crawl, although
whether this is of benefit is an open question.

R. Dan Henry

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Sep 8, 2005, 12:18:18 AM9/8/05
to
On Wed, 07 Sep 2005 10:23:55 +0200, Christophe <chris.c...@free.fr>
wrote:

>That's not really a sign of success. It's more like a direct application
>if the theory of evolution : only those who can stand the macro system
>as the only mean to get things done in Angband are left.

Which is rubbish. I can play *bands at a good speed without ever having
bothered with the macros or with inscribing anything but a few very
occasional precautionary ones to require confirmation before certain
actions (accidentally activating your only Rod of Recall is too annoying
to risk even as a very rare typo).

Christophe

unread,
Sep 8, 2005, 4:08:24 AM9/8/05
to
R. Dan Henry a écrit :

It was probably a little over the top to say you can't do anything
without macros. Still, they help a lot when you change characters often.

Christophe

unread,
Sep 8, 2005, 4:33:06 AM9/8/05
to
Ray Dillinger a écrit :

As a matter of fact, I don't think removing the macro system would be a
good idea because a lot of people like it :)

Still, I don't see a reason why we couldn't add something else and keep
both systems in place. In fact, it might even be easier to make use of
the macro system to build it. Something like a mix of autoinscribe and
automacro creation.

For example, as a player you want an easy access to that Rod of Trap
detection you just found. The standard way for now is to inscribe it
with @z1 ( replace 1 with the number you use for Detection ) and just do
z1. Or you also create a macro to do z1 for you and you bind it let's
say in key F1. The second system as the advantage that you can also bind
a spell in that same spot in case you have it.

If we have for example a menu like this :

Bind which item ( here we show the complete inventory/equipment list ) :
a) Mage book 1
b) Rod of Trap Detection

You select b
Bind to which key :
a) F1
b) F2

You select a. Now all Rods of Trap Detection will be inscribed with @z1
and the macro to use that is automaticaly set in the F1 key.

If you select a spell book, it'll show you the spells in it first.
If you select an item which needs a direction, it'll ask you it you want
an autotarget marco or not.
If you select a piece of equipment, it'll inscribe only that specific
item. And if it can be activated, it'll ask you if you want to equip or
activate it.

Also, if you bind items with charges, you could show a status bar with
the remaining number of charges in the inventory. And if you bind an
item that recharges you can show it's status there too.

David Damerell

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Sep 8, 2005, 8:07:10 AM9/8/05
to
Quoting Antoine <ma...@guildgame.com>:
>Guild is looking alarmingly like YABDR (yet another born dead
>roguelike) at this stage. I'm not quite sure why, but it's received
>very little attention since it was first released

No source. A new RL has to have an utterly compelling concept for me to
try it without source to read. DoomRL made the cut; nothing else has.
--
David Damerell <dame...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> Distortion Field!
Today is Brieday, August.

Martin Read

unread,
Sep 8, 2005, 8:32:42 AM9/8/05
to
"Antoine" <ma...@guildgame.com> wrote:
>Guild is looking alarmingly like YABDR (yet another born dead
>roguelike) at this stage. I'm not quite sure why, but it's received
>very little attention since it was first released - no discussion on
>RGRD or RGRM to speak of, only a few emails and not one single YAVP. In
>fact, I'm not sure if anyone but me has ever actually completed the
>whole game (or even the second quest???)

I haven't got as far as the second quest yet. So far, I haven't seen
anything to persuade me that I should bother, I'm afraid.

>I'd appreciate any feedback on
>-why Guild didn't take off

It appears to be a cross between Angband and a 1980s CRPG, but picking a
suboptimal set of the features of its parents.

>-from those who did try it, what they liked and/or disliked about it

It's too easy. Like Angband, it's feasible to advance in level for
essentially zero risk. Any time one runs low on resources, one retreats
to the town. The "dangerous cave" isn't dangerous. In many of the
CRPGs I remember playing in the 1980s, party death was an appreciable
hazard, especially in the early levels (although the significant risk
in The Bard's Tale of having your party gimped by Barbarians on the way
to spend your initial allotment of gold was a masterpiece of appalling
design).

I like the menu-driven town; it reminds me of several fondly-remembered
CRPGs published by SSI in the 1980s.
--
Martin Read - my opinions are my own. share them if you wish.
\_\/_/ in the metal and blood in the scent and mascara on a backcloth of
\ / lashes and scars in a flood of your tears in sackcloth and ashes
\/ -- Sisters of Mercy, "Flood I"

edw...@lore.net

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Sep 8, 2005, 10:06:40 AM9/8/05
to
Shedletsky <mylas...@stanford.edu> wrote:
> I don't *want* to. The unix-like mentally of many RL developers vis a vis
> useability makes the learning curve too high for a lot of games and kills
> the fun, in my opinion.

But it's a case of learn once, save time ever after. It only kills the
fun if you don't get past the learning curve.

Less keys to learn means more keys to press per action taken, or more
room for errors ('u'se potion, oh dear I meant to read a scroll...)

If I were aiming for mass market commercial success, then ease of uptake
might take preference over superior gameplay.

As it is, my own enjoyment of my game will be improved by having a
different keybinding for 'r'ead and 'q'uaff, and no mouse control, so
that's how it'll be.

Playing Nethack through Falcon's Eye, I first thought "Hm... pretty,"
and then two minutes later thought "pity about the mouse control and
graphical noise from the gameplay point of view" and went back to ASCII-
clean, expressive commands, and all the visual display abstracted to the
clearest possible form.

Diablo's UI was undoubtedly intuitive, no learning curve, but all that
damn mouse clicking and waiting to watch the animations caused me
to switch the game off after ten minutes and never go back.

Clearly this is just personal taste, and mine is atypical of gamers. I
don't think it's atypical of roguelike gamers, though.

--
--jude hungerford.

edw...@lore.net

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Sep 8, 2005, 10:48:33 AM9/8/05
to
Antoine <ma...@guildgame.com> wrote:
<post from Ilya Bely>

> Suggestion to use persistent dungeons doesn't seem to fix it, as going
> forth and back through the same empty levels is even more boring. I

Just responding here because I think I was the one who said that I liked
the absence of healing in the dungeon but would also prefer persistent
dungeons.
Indeed, the two would not work together at all. In the game's current
format, I like the idea of having to return to the town for certain
things (though maybe healing isn't the best thing to drive you to the
surface). If the game were to be restructured around persistent
dungeons, that would obviously have to be one of the first things to go,
unless you were to make Word of Recall available for no real cost very
early in the game.

That's not the direction the game is likely to go in, of course.

I'd like to reiterate something other people have said; if you have a
good vision for the game, follow the vision and in time players will
follow the game. A poor early response is to be expected for all RLs, I
think.

Thankyou for providing the email posts, it is especially interesting to
hear that RLs have a significant Japanese audience.

--
--jude hungerford.

Elethiomel

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Sep 8, 2005, 11:16:56 AM9/8/05
to
edw...@lore.net wrote:
> Antoine <ma...@guildgame.com> wrote:
> <post from Ilya Bely>
>
>>Suggestion to use persistent dungeons doesn't seem to fix it, as going
>>forth and back through the same empty levels is even more boring. I
>
>
> Just responding here because I think I was the one who said that I liked
> the absence of healing in the dungeon but would also prefer persistent
> dungeons.
> Indeed, the two would not work together at all. In the game's current
> format, I like the idea of having to return to the town for certain
> things (though maybe healing isn't the best thing to drive you to the
> surface). If the game were to be restructured around persistent
> dungeons, that would obviously have to be one of the first things to go,
> unless you were to make Word of Recall available for no real cost very
> early in the game.

In games with persistent dungeons and low (or nonexistent) respawn
rates, spells such as Word of Recall are tedium-savers. If Guild had the
option to bypass completely cleared levels, or something in the vein of
Darshan's Crawl patch's Travel Mode, persistent dungeons and the
inability to heal in the dungeon would make sense together.

Christophe

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Sep 8, 2005, 11:34:21 AM9/8/05
to
edw...@lore.net a écrit :

> Shedletsky <mylas...@stanford.edu> wrote:
>
>>I don't *want* to. The unix-like mentally of many RL developers vis a vis
>>useability makes the learning curve too high for a lot of games and kills
>>the fun, in my opinion.
>
>
> But it's a case of learn once, save time ever after. It only kills the
> fun if you don't get past the learning curve.
>
> Less keys to learn means more keys to press per action taken, or more
> room for errors ('u'se potion, oh dear I meant to read a scroll...)
>
> If I were aiming for mass market commercial success, then ease of uptake
> might take preference over superior gameplay.

Why do people always fell that an easy to learn UI will always end up
with a worse gameplay in the end ?

> As it is, my own enjoyment of my game will be improved by having a
> different keybinding for 'r'ead and 'q'uaff, and no mouse control, so
> that's how it'll be.

I don't see why the fact that there is no mouse control would improve
your enjoyment of the game. If you don't like the mouse controls, then
by all means don't use it.

> Diablo's UI was undoubtedly intuitive, no learning curve, but all that
> damn mouse clicking and waiting to watch the animations caused me
> to switch the game off after ten minutes and never go back.

Animations are part of the gameplay in Diablo. But I agree with you, the
constant mouse clicking was annoying. I would take slower attack
animations any day and much stronger attacks just so that you don't have
to click so often. That's probably why I enjoy playing a sorceress more
than a regular warrior. Just cast 2-3 frozen orb in the general
direction of the monsters and enjoy the killing :)

I'd like to see a joystick controled RL once too/ There are a few good
RPG on consoles with a good enouth UI.

PS : Now I remember about Powder. I should try that one soon :)

Message has been deleted

David Damerell

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Sep 8, 2005, 12:29:22 PM9/8/05
to
Quoting Christophe <chris.c...@free.fr>:
>edw...@lore.net a écrit :

>>If I were aiming for mass market commercial success, then ease of uptake
>>might take preference over superior gameplay.
>Why do people always fell that an easy to learn UI will always end up
>with a worse gameplay in the end ?

Strong observed correlation, for one thing, and it's relatively easy to
exhibit specific bits of causation. NetHack's multitude of wear/wield/don
keys permits the ingenious secondary uses for objects that are part of its
gameplay.

>>As it is, my own enjoyment of my game will be improved by having a
>>different keybinding for 'r'ead and 'q'uaff, and no mouse control, so
>>that's how it'll be.
>I don't see why the fact that there is no mouse control would improve
>your enjoyment of the game. If you don't like the mouse controls, then
>by all means don't use it.

Evidently he means no required mouse control.

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Sep 8, 2005, 12:44:01 PM9/8/05
to
At 8 Sep 2005 09:08:38 -0700,
Aquillion wrote:

> So I suggest that you add random quests. Random quests do have their
> limits, of course, and a lot of people don't like them; but diving into
> the dungeon to kill X monsters of type Y on level Z, to retrieve item X
> from from level Y, or to kill big monster X on level Y is at least a
> little bit more interesting than just diving in to get xp, and would
> give the player some sort of goals and a sense of accomplishment. The
> rewards for these quests don't have to be big... potions, handfuls of
> gold, spellbooks that may or may not be useful, whatever. The
> important thing is to give the player some sort of goal and to make it
> so things change, so they're not just exploring similar
> randomly-generated small cave levels over and over again. If the
> player could go into the tavern and pick up some random quests, it
> would satisfy this to some extent.
>
> Another way to keep things interesting and to add more uses for gold
> (which someone else brought up) might be to have random merchants
> appear at the tavern from time to time, selling things you can't get in
> the town's normal stores. This would add another interesting thing to
> do in town, and would break up the monotony of the early game a little
> bit more.

You could even join the two in some cases -- the merchant won't sell you
anything until you finish his quest... ;)

--
Radomir `The Sheep' Dopieralski @**@_

(nn) 3 Grin

Ray Dillinger

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Sep 8, 2005, 12:45:49 PM9/8/05
to
David Damerell wrote:
> Quoting Christophe <chris.c...@free.fr>:

>>I don't see why the fact that there is no mouse control would improve
>>your enjoyment of the game. If you don't like the mouse controls, then
>>by all means don't use it.

> Evidently he means no required mouse control.

For what it's worth..... I would rather uninstall a roguelike
game than touch the mouse in order to play it.

Well, okay, that's a little too extreme. I might forgive having
to touch the mouse once or twice to do things like configuration
options that you only have to ever do once. But if it becomes
necessary for ordinary minute-to-minute play, or even for starting
each new game, forget it. To me that just wouldn't "feel" like
the game I want to be playing.

Bear


Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Sep 8, 2005, 12:48:06 PM9/8/05
to
At Thu, 08 Sep 2005 17:34:21 +0200,
Christophe wrote:

> edw...@lore.net a écrit :
>> Shedletsky <mylas...@stanford.edu> wrote:
>>>I don't *want* to. The unix-like mentally of many RL developers vis a vis
>>>useability makes the learning curve too high for a lot of games and kills
>>>the fun, in my opinion.
>> But it's a case of learn once, save time ever after. It only kills the
>> fun if you don't get past the learning curve.

>> Less keys to learn means more keys to press per action taken, or more
>> room for errors ('u'se potion, oh dear I meant to read a scroll...)

>> If I were aiming for mass market commercial success, then ease of uptake
>> might take preference over superior gameplay.

> Why do people always fell that an easy to learn UI will always end up
> with a worse gameplay in the end ?

Not always. It's often possible to improve UI without crippling it -- and
it's done constantly, as the games evolve.
But often you've got to make decissions and then it's natural to choose
the more efficient aproach over the one that's easier to learn.

>> As it is, my own enjoyment of my game will be improved by having a
>> different keybinding for 'r'ead and 'q'uaff, and no mouse control, so
>> that's how it'll be.
> I don't see why the fact that there is no mouse control would improve
> your enjoyment of the game. If you don't like the mouse controls, then
> by all means don't use it.

It's the same as the macros in Angband are supposed to prevent developing
more comfortable UI. It's of course arguable, but mouse control will
sometimes hide otherwise obvious UI design flaws.

> I'd like to see a joystick controled RL once too/ There are a few good
> RPG on consoles with a good enouth UI.
>
> PS : Now I remember about Powder. I should try that one soon :)

Dweller also uses kind of pad-controlled interface... ;)

--
Radomir `The Sheep' Dopieralski @**@_

(Oo) 3 Eh?

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Sep 8, 2005, 12:50:37 PM9/8/05
to
At Thu, 08 Sep 2005 16:45:49 GMT,
Ray Dillinger wrote:

Heh, how about mouse gestures to cast spells? ^-)

--
Radomir `The Sheep' Dopieralski @**@_

(==) 3 Yawn?

Christophe Cavalaria

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Sep 8, 2005, 1:27:22 PM9/8/05
to
Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:

> At Thu, 08 Sep 2005 16:45:49 GMT,
> Ray Dillinger wrote:
>
>> David Damerell wrote:
>>> Quoting Christophe <chris.c...@free.fr>:
>
>> For what it's worth..... I would rather uninstall a roguelike
>>