Immersion in roguelikes

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Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Jan 7, 2007, 11:13:58 AM1/7/07
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== Immersion in roguelikes ==
Created 2007-01-07

I'm not a fan of elaborate menu-based interfaces for roguelike games,
especially ones operated using the cursor keys or mouse, and I've said on
various occassions on this newsgroup. In search of better solutions I've
analyzed what it is exactly that makes the menus so awkward, at least for
me? Apart from obvious "mechanical" flaws that make it harder to habituate
and memorize the menus, there seems to be something "artifical" in them
that feels jarring during the game.

And then I realized: The Cursor!

There is something magical in the way we can project and channel our
attention and focus it on an abstract object on our screens, basically
**becoming** it for the duration of performed task. Even when editing text
or selecting something from the menu -- we are the cursor, the cursor
marks out "location" in the artifical environment, allows us to explore
it, and also acts as a proxy to channel our god-like user powers and
execute commands. We can "ride" it pretty much we would ride a bicycle --
awkward and slowly at first, but as we learn, we stop to even notice it --
it just feels natural.

There are, however, several prerequisites that need to be met before the
cursor can become an extension of our bodies. Anyone who ever worked over
a low-bandwidth telnet/ssh session, or just a very slow computer, knows it
-- the **cursor has to listen to you**. Always. No matter what. If it
"skips" your keypresses, if it does something else than you ordered it to
do (for example, as a result of misplacing your hand on the keyboard and
pressing wrong keys) -- then it's like falling off the bike. It's an
unpleasant sensation, like hitting a wall where there should be door.
Extremely annoying. Even when for some reason the cursor cannot execute
our command, it must at least "say" it -- by blinking, by beeping,
anything.

Another prerequisite is that we should always be able to anticipate the
result of a command, or -- when the command fails -- why it did so. This
is visible in some "smart" system that have "do the most obvious thing"
button, when there is a disagreement between the user and th system about
what's "the most obvious". This is also visible when there are modes and
you make a mode error -- this again feels like falling off the bike, or
being "thrown out of the application". How can something become an
extension of your body, when it has a life of its own?

Finally, the last prerequisite: "there can be only one". There can be only
one active cursor at a moment. This is sometimes tricky and not
immediately obvious -- as the cursor can change its shape and function,
our "channeled soul" can jump between several incarnations of the cursor
-- but ultimately, we can "posses" only one of them, and we have to do it
"directly". Using mouse to press buttons to move cursor is totally
uncomfortable and resembles carrying a bicycle on your back morethan
riding it.

Now, do you see why the menus (the "modern", cursor-based ones) are so
evil? They rip you from the game's world, and teleport your soul from the
avatar you was controlling to some abstract cursor living in a dead world
of clean-cut menus and dialogues, shaped into an antiseptic tree
structure. As you play and the game becomes more complicated, you spend
more and more time in this nightmare world of interface, returning to the
beautiful and interesting world of game practically only to move your
avatar a few squares, where you can fall in coma again and explore the
menus.

Of course, the "abc" menus are not so great either. They have an advantage
of not displaying any cursor explicitly -- so that there is a chance that
your mind won't make the jump. Alas, your mind is not taht easily fooled!
If there is **anything** suggesting "position" in the menu -- for example,
if the menu itself is scrolled or multilevel (you can "enter" its items)
-- this will trigger the "cursor" perception, even when the cursor is only
imagined and not displayed on the screen.

So what can be done? Obviously, avoid menus and other uses of cursors (for
argetting, for example), have at most one-level menus displayed on the
same screen where the main view is (switching screens is also perseived as
moving around). Try to make most actions use direct manipulation of the
in-game objects. Easy to say, eh?

I will give an example -- a "dip" command present in some roguelike games.
It's pretty complicated, as it requires selecting at least two items --
hard to do without a second menu. Now, how do we make a "dip" command that
uses direct object manipulation instead? One possibility is a "spill"
command, that will make the avatar spill the potion on the ground. Now,
drop the items you want to "dip", and spill the potion on them. Simple.
You can make it even simplier -- many roguelikes have a "throw item"
command, and many of them have a rule that a thrown potion will spill on
whatever it hits and affect it. Why not just throw the potion on an item
on the ground then? And if the game doesn't allow you to target specific
floor squares -- put the items under a wall and throw the potion against
that wall. Isn't it a lot much fun than wading through the menus?

You have probably noticed this by now -- throwing requires targetting,
modern roguelikes often use cursor for targetting. Rogue was nicer -- it
just prompted you for a direction. Of course, this greatly limited your
choices, as you had to line up with the target -- not such a bad
meta-game, but you might not want it in your roguelike. What can be done?
Maybe just a menu (one-level, abc-style) listing all the potential
targets? I'm you can come up with even better ideas!

Why don't you try and make your game's interface a little more immersive?

--
Radomir `The Sheep' Dopieralski
Besides a mathematical inclination, an exceptionally good mastery of one's
native tongue is the most vital asset of a competent programmer. [Dijkstra]

Mario Donick

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Jan 7, 2007, 12:01:36 PM1/7/07
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Hmm...

Instead of getting an inventory list, pressing "i" could enable a
special inventory mode in which you don't leave the main view. Instead,
next to your @ avatar the items of your inventory a displayed. With the
cursor keys you can switch between the different available items. On
the bottom of the screen, the name of the item is shown as text, next
to available actions.

For example:
.....
@!...
.....

cola light - [c]onsume, [d]rop, [l]ook - [ESC] Cancel

.....
@?...
.....

scroll of fire - [r]ead,[d]rop,[l]ook - [ESC] Cancel

And so on. The menu would be on the same line as other messages of the
game are shown, very unobstrusive.

Perhaps I'll try this in LambdaRogue...

Mario

Christophe Cavalaria

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Jan 7, 2007, 12:22:16 PM1/7/07
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I'm sure that players will be happy to know that they cannot anymore dip an
object in a potion without wasting it completly by throwing it at a wall :)

As for the menu listing all potential targets, it is flawed too since the
act of targetting really means to chose a point in space, any point in
space. What will you do when the user finds a wand of stone to mud and
wants to target that little section of wall there? And what about timed
effect spells where the player will want to throw that delayed blast
fireball somewhat before that monster charging at him. Or controled
teleport spells? Or controlled location summon spells?

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Jan 7, 2007, 12:28:46 PM1/7/07
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At 7 Jan 2007 09:01:36 -0800,
Mario Donick wrote:

> Hmm...
>
> Instead of getting an inventory list, pressing "i" could enable a
> special inventory mode in which you don't leave the main view. Instead,
> next to your @ avatar the items of your inventory a displayed. With the
> cursor keys you can switch between the different available items. On
> the bottom of the screen, the name of the item is shown as text, next
> to available actions.

Yes. Or a more comfortable interface, similar to that used in the
Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu) games, where you have a ring of items
displayed, and pressing keys rotates the ring (you could have a list
like this instead:

@
!!)&[ ) [=&&%
A long sword (+1, +1)

Preferably displayed right in the middle of the screen, maybe on
a different background to differentiate it from the map, best only
showing *while* a menu key is pressed, so that we don't introduce a mode.
But this in fact introduces a cursor (sure, it keeps the shape of your
avatar...)! However, it's inferior to an abc-menu in several ways,
including an internal state (hte menu doesn't always start at the same
position) and worse display of information (you only see details of a
single item at a time). Whether these disadvantages are important -- is
a question of testing and experimenting.

Note also, that you can have separate menu commands (and so also rings)
for wielding, wearing, quaffing, etc. Switching between your sword, bow
and pickaxe becomes just a single command.

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Jan 7, 2007, 1:02:53 PM1/7/07
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At Sun, 07 Jan 2007 18:22:16 +0100,
Christophe Cavalaria wrote:

> Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:

<snip>

>> Why don't you try and make your game's interface a little more immersive?
> I'm sure that players will be happy to know that they cannot anymore dip an
> object in a potion without wasting it completly by throwing it at a wall :)

The "spill" command can still take into acocunt the size and number of
items on the floor and "use up" the potion accordingly. But that's not the
point -- the point is that one can design the game (not only its
interface!) while keeping in mind these simple rules, it doesn't require a
lot of sacrifice.

> As for the menu listing all potential targets, it is flawed too since the
> act of targetting really means to chose a point in space, any point in
> space.

Of course it's flawed. It's just one possible solution off the top of my
head. On the other hand, targetting is not really an act of chosing a
point in space -- it's an act of chosing a direction, and in case of
roguelike games, only a few directions are really interesting at a time.
Why require from the player to enter more information than is needed?

> What will you do when the user finds a wand of stone to mud and
> wants to target that little section of wall there?

This is easily handled by the Rogue's 8-way directions.

> And what about timed
> effect spells where the player will want to throw that delayed blast
> fireball somewhat before that monster charging at him.

A what? Honestly, I don't know what are you talking about here, can
you give an example from an existing roguelike game to illustrate it?

> Or controled teleport spells? Or controlled location summon spells?

One cannot just design a good user interface and then slap it over any
existing system and expect it to work. To create a good UI, the whole
system must be designed in accordance with how the users think and
perceive the tasks to be performed.

So, you can't just fancy any arbitrarily complicated magical spell and
expect to find a good user interface for it. In particular, the whole
concept of various teleportation spells is in conflict with our innate
perception of space -- that's what makes them so special and miraculous.

So, you either have an "out of this world" interface for the "out of this
world" spells, or you make them less unnatural. Of course, that's
a gameplay decission, but here are some ideas for more natural
teleportation spells, arguably much less powerful than the "default" one:

* A ninja smoke bomb. Throw it, and it teleports you to where it fell.
* A "recall" system, where you mark some place (probably by dropping
some magical item) and can teleport back to it (probably by using a
second item, somehow connected with the first one).
* An "astral travel" spell, which freezes the game and lets you to move
around the map, walking through the walls. Actually, if you disabled
the FOV during the walk, it would become equivalent to the "full
fledged" teleportation spell. Otherwise it's like teleport spell
connected with a mapping and detect monsters spell. The "return" can
be timed or require some action.
* A phase door spell that teleports you, say, 5 squares in specified
direction. Enough for teleporting into vaults or other rooms.
* A "magic rope" spell that teleports you to the closest stairs.

As for "controlled location summon spells", I love the "ninja smoke bomb"
idea for them -- just in a form of some djinn bottle or magical figurine.
Throw it, and it shatters, summoning the contained creature.

Christophe Cavalaria

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Jan 7, 2007, 1:56:41 PM1/7/07
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Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:

> At Sun, 07 Jan 2007 18:22:16 +0100,
> Christophe Cavalaria wrote:
>
>> Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:
> <snip>
>
>>> Why don't you try and make your game's interface a little more
>>> immersive?
>> I'm sure that players will be happy to know that they cannot anymore dip
>> an object in a potion without wasting it completly by throwing it at a
>> wall :)
>
> The "spill" command can still take into acocunt the size and number of
> items on the floor and "use up" the potion accordingly. But that's not the
> point -- the point is that one can design the game (not only its
> interface!) while keeping in mind these simple rules, it doesn't require a
> lot of sacrifice.

A possible solution would be that the dip command will make the user dip the
currently wielded item into the selection potion. Now, maybe the Nethack
style "thou can wield anything!" interface might be of some use after all.

>> What will you do when the user finds a wand of stone to mud and
>> wants to target that little section of wall there?
>
> This is easily handled by the Rogue's 8-way directions.

And of course, it's exactly the same problem than Rogue when you want to
target a monster that isn't in the 8-way directions.

>> And what about timed
>> effect spells where the player will want to throw that delayed blast
>> fireball somewhat before that monster charging at him.
>
> A what? Honestly, I don't know what are you talking about here, can
> you give an example from an existing roguelike game to illustrate it?

There's a spell like that in NWN ( and D&D I suppose ). Throw the fireball
in one space, and 3 turns later it explodes. That special fireball in
itself is much more powerful than a regular fireball which makes using it
worthwhile. You just have to time it correctly because the explosion radius
isn't that big after all. It is a matter of careful placement, timing and
oponent manipulation to make the best use of it. With a severly limited
targeting system, such spell might very well be of little use since you
lack the control required to make the best use of it.

Also, there are situations where you want to target your area of effect
spell in an empty spot because the radius makes it so that point in space
is more efficient than any point centered around a monster.

> <snip>

I have little to say against your ideas. I have played and enjoyed plenty of
games with such limitations. But in the end, you contrive the gameworld
into a simplified system for the sake of the UI. Direction doesn't mean
only 8-way, and throwing an item doesn't always mean to throw it a full
force.

But before you answer, I really like your ideas on the interface. If it was
possible to provide a trully imersive interface which still handles enouth
targeting control for the user it would be perfect.

And that's why my favorite interface types are those you find in NWN or in
an FPS : mainly mouse driven with a lot of support from the keyboard to
control the actions. The cursor/crosshair is then considered an extension
of the @, it is an important part of him and represents the point/direction
where his mind is focused. Most actions are still triggered by the
keyboard, but for those that need a "target", the current point of focus is
used to find it.

fufu

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Jan 7, 2007, 1:59:42 PM1/7/07
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Regarding immersion I don't think you give gamers enough credit.
Having menus or a targeting system isn't what breaks immersion, it's
more the fact that they are generally poorly designed in that the
player has to switch to a different frame of mind to utilize them.
Personally a lettered menu ala ADOM's works best for me since that
entire game is based on the alphabet and once your brain digests a-z
it's no longer an immersion breaker to read an identification scroll,
bless an item, or even dip it in a potion. Poor interactions in
general will snap a player out of their character, and the flip side of
that is keeping enough other features of the game over the top to
distract the player. Take a game like Morrowind/Oblivion - terrible
terrible UI design across the board, and yet it doesn't prevent players
from getting sucked into that world for many hours at a time.

Overall though, it is far more important to get some usuability testing
for useful feedback to work out the real kinks in your game rather than
the ones you perceive.

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Jan 7, 2007, 2:17:35 PM1/7/07
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At 7 Jan 2007 10:59:42 -0800,
fufu wrote:

> Regarding immersion I don't think you give gamers enough credit.

Well, of course players will adapt to mostly **anything** :)
But why should they?

> Having menus or a targeting system isn't what breaks immersion, it's
> more the fact that they are generally poorly designed in that the
> player has to switch to a different frame of mind to utilize them.

Yes, you are right. It's the underlying mechanics that don't really
fit the game world, and the interface is just a result of that. But
please not that what I'm not advocationg are not just changes in the
interface -- it's a technique of designing your whole game around the
concepts that are easy to grasp and obvious, the in-game objects and
in-game actions, the simple spatial dependencies, etc. This is supposed
to keep the internal game logic consistent with how the users think
and expect it to behave.

Of course there is nothing so wrong in the cursor per se. Actually, it's
unavoidable in some form or another. But the problem with cursor is that
it's incredibly flexible, and allows you to design interfaces much more
complicated and reality-detached than a human mind can comfortably handle.

Obviously, the technique of designing the game is not to be understood
as the one and only true way of doing a game design. We still need puzzle
games and spreadsheet-based resource management games, and all sorts of
blends between them. I just miss the simplicity of Rogue sometimes.

> Personally a lettered menu ala ADOM's works best for me since that
> entire game is based on the alphabet and once your brain digests a-z
> it's no longer an immersion breaker to read an identification scroll,
> bless an item, or even dip it in a potion. Poor interactions in
> general will snap a player out of their character, and the flip side of
> that is keeping enough other features of the game over the top to
> distract the player. Take a game like Morrowind/Oblivion - terrible
> terrible UI design across the board, and yet it doesn't prevent players
> from getting sucked into that world for many hours at a time.
>
> Overall though, it is far more important to get some usuability testing
> for useful feedback to work out the real kinks in your game rather than
> the ones you perceive.

I'm not really **so much** concerned with usability in something that is
supposed to be challenging after all :)

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Jan 7, 2007, 2:56:30 PM1/7/07
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At Sun, 07 Jan 2007 19:56:41 +0100,
Christophe Cavalaria wrote:

> Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:
>> At Sun, 07 Jan 2007 18:22:16 +0100,
>> Christophe Cavalaria wrote:

>> The "spill" command can still take into acocunt the size and number of
>> items on the floor and "use up" the potion accordingly. But that's not the
>> point -- the point is that one can design the game (not only its
>> interface!) while keeping in mind these simple rules, it doesn't require a
>> lot of sacrifice.

> A possible solution would be that the dip command will make the user dip the
> currently wielded item into the selection potion. Now, maybe the Nethack
> style "thou can wield anything!" interface might be of some use after all.

That's something I was trying to avoid -- it creates some sort of
"internal environment" **inside** of the player character, making into
something much more than a tool of the player. Instead of means for
exploring the world, the avatar becomes a wolrd to explore. Soon you
need helper-slots for helper-slots for slots, like in Omega :)

I rather advocate to try and move things outside, to the actual game
world. And to also **show** it on the map rather than just describe
in the menu -- so that the player sees and understands **how** it is
done, not just **what** is done.

>>> What will you do when the user finds a wand of stone to mud and
>>> wants to target that little section of wall there?
>> This is easily handled by the Rogue's 8-way directions.
> And of course, it's exactly the same problem than Rogue when you want to
> target a monster that isn't in the 8-way directions.

Why do you target a monster with a wand of stone to mud?
Note also, that the existance of an accurate targetting system is exactly
what make th wnds of stone-to-mud and of wall-building extinct -- it's
impossible to dig a tunnel going at arbitrary angle in a roguelike.

>>> And what about timed
>>> effect spells where the player will want to throw that delayed blast
>>> fireball somewhat before that monster charging at him.

>> A what? Honestly, I don't know what are you talking about here, can
>> you give an example from an existing roguelike game to illustrate it?

> There's a spell like that in NWN ( and D&D I suppose ). Throw the fireball
> in one space, and 3 turns later it explodes. That special fireball in
> itself is much more powerful than a regular fireball which makes using it
> worthwhile. You just have to time it correctly because the explosion radius
> isn't that big after all. It is a matter of careful placement, timing and
> oponent manipulation to make the best use of it. With a severly limited
> targeting system, such spell might very well be of little use since you
> lack the control required to make the best use of it.

So, you're basically talking about a delayed-detonation bomb?
Well, you could handle them by using... uhm... delayed-detonation bombs?

> Also, there are situations where you want to target your area of effect
> spell in an empty spot because the radius makes it so that point in space
> is more efficient than any point centered around a monster.

Well, this pretty much turns it into a board game, doesn't it? Sure, board
games are fun, and we certainly need them. But the "exploration" games I'm
trying to give a recipe for are certainly fun too, even when they don't
have much place for sophisticated spell placement.

>> <snip>
> I have little to say against your ideas. I have played and enjoyed plenty of
> games with such limitations. But in the end, you contrive the gameworld
> into a simplified system for the sake of the UI.

That's not my intention. As I've written anywhere in this thread, it's not
exactly very good to worry about perfect user interface for something that
is supposed to be challenging -- it's easy to end up with a "do what I mean"
button.

On the other hand, I propose to base the game design on the user
interface, because that's simply what the user sees and that's what
defines the feel of the game. I think that this way of doing things -- that
is, start with defining how do you want the game feel (not the game
world!), and **then** create everything based on it, including all the
game world -- has a chance of producing something consistent that you
really intended.

> Direction doesn't mean only 8-way, and throwing an item doesn't always
> mean to throw it a full force.

Yes, maybe that's a good hint for a good interface then? Allow more than
8 directions?

I have one idea that I want to try once my game is back in a working
state. Sort of a fuzzy 8-directions -- that is, target the closest monster
(or other possible target, if it's, for instance, wand of digging) in the
general direction indicated. So that in this situation:
.................
.............g...
.@.............m.
.................

selecting '6' as the direction would still target the goblin. Of course,
this greatly limits the precission, as you can no longer choose between
a goblin and a mage. OTOH some tabletop games even explicitly forbid you
shooting to distant target when there is a closer threat.

> But before you answer, I really like your ideas on the interface. If it was
> possible to provide a trully imersive interface which still handles enouth
> targeting control for the user it would be perfect.

I don't think it's possible. Precise targetting is something that requires
a focus switch even in the real world. However, precise targetting is
extremly rare in the real world -- you usually target objects or areas.

> And that's why my favorite interface types are those you find in NWN or in
> an FPS : mainly mouse driven with a lot of support from the keyboard to
> control the actions. The cursor/crosshair is then considered an extension
> of the @, it is an important part of him and represents the point/direction
> where his mind is focused. Most actions are still triggered by the
> keyboard, but for those that need a "target", the current point of focus is
> used to find it.

Mouse is an interesting extesions, and it surely solves most targetting
problems -- in similar way that the keyboard with little lcd displays on
the key solves the discoverability problem of letter-command-driven interfaces.

However, it's a device that's not always available, and cannot be really
included in the design as "optional". Good mouse-driven interfaces are
totally different than good keyboard-driven ones. I think that Antoine
works on one -- maybe we could hear some more about it?

Antoine

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Jan 7, 2007, 3:20:11 PM1/7/07
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Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:

> Now, do you see why the menus (the "modern", cursor-based ones) are so
> evil? They rip you from the game's world, and teleport your soul from the
> avatar you was controlling to some abstract cursor living in a dead world
> of clean-cut menus and dialogues, shaped into an antiseptic tree
> structure. As you play and the game becomes more complicated, you spend
> more and more time in this nightmare world of interface, returning to the
> beautiful and interesting world of game practically only to move your
> avatar a few squares, where you can fall in coma again and explore the
> menus.

This reminds me so much of watching my brother play Morrowind and
Oblivion.

I'm sneaking round a labyrinth... I go round the corner into a great
hall... look an evil sorcerer! he's coming towards me and so are his
minions... A monster attacks! Aargh! Whump! I'm slashing it and it's
leaping up and attacking me...

CUT! Oh look here I am in a menu. Scrolling through ten different
'weak potions of this and that'. Tum te tum... Perhaps I'll look at my
spell list. Hmm spells. Well this is nice isn't it. I wonder if I
should go back and fight the monster? Nah I'll just keep looking at my
menu of potions for a while.

I don't know how he puts up with it.

A.

konijn_

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Jan 7, 2007, 3:40:13 PM1/7/07
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Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:
> At Sun, 07 Jan 2007 18:22:16 +0100,
> Christophe Cavalaria wrote:
>
> > Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:
> <snip>
<SNIP>

>
> > And what about timed
> > effect spells where the player will want to throw that delayed blast
> > fireball somewhat before that monster charging at him.
>
> A what? Honestly, I don't know what are you talking about here, can
> you give an example from an existing roguelike game to illustrate it?

ToME, poison cloud.

<SNIP>

Cheers,
T.

Gamer_2k4

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Jan 7, 2007, 3:57:34 PM1/7/07
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> Instead of getting an inventory list, pressing "i" could enable a
> special inventory mode in which you don't leave the main view. Instead,
> next to your @ avatar the items of your inventory a displayed. With the
> cursor keys you can switch between the different available items. On
> the bottom of the screen, the name of the item is shown as text, next
> to available actions.

This is what I tried to accomplish with my radial menu system, where
the list of choices are displayed around the player and a directional
keypress selects one. A better idea, as far as inventory is concerned,
is what Radomir suggested: Have a ring of items around the player, like
this:

...!...
.$.../.
.......
?..@..]
.......
.?...].
...?...

! A potion of healing [U]se [D]rop Brea[K]

Unfortunately, this idea is impractical, because inventories can get
very large. Ever seen an ADOM character dump? The tedious scrolling
to access a particular item would cancel out any increased immersion.

> And so on. The menu would be on the same line as other messages of the
> game are shown, very unobstrusive.
>
> Perhaps I'll try this in LambdaRogue...

If you can make it work, I'd definitely be interested in seeing the
implementation.

Gamer_2k4

Gamer_2k4

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Jan 7, 2007, 4:07:07 PM1/7/07
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> As for "controlled location summon spells", I love the "ninja smoke bomb"
> idea for them -- just in a form of some djinn bottle or magical figurine.
> Throw it, and it shatters, summoning the contained creature.

My friend had a fairly innovative idea for summoning. The wizard would
select a summoning point, and a gate would open for a couple of turns,
with the monster slowly entering the current plane. This is probably
how you'd expect a summon in "real" life.

Gamer_2k4

Gamer_2k4

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Jan 7, 2007, 4:24:54 PM1/7/07
to
> Regarding immersion I don't think you give gamers enough credit.
> Having menus or a targeting system isn't what breaks immersion, it's
> more the fact that they are generally poorly designed in that the
> player has to switch to a different frame of mind to utilize them.
> Personally a lettered menu ala ADOM's works best for me since that
> entire game is based on the alphabet and once your brain digests a-z
> it's no longer an immersion breaker to read an identification scroll,
> bless an item, or even dip it in a potion. Poor interactions in
> general will snap a player out of their character, and the flip side of
> that is keeping enough other features of the game over the top to
> distract the player. Take a game like Morrowind/Oblivion - terrible
> terrible UI design across the board, and yet it doesn't prevent players
> from getting sucked into that world for many hours at a time.

You have to remember, there's a difference between gaming and
roleplaying. The loose definition of roleplaying as it applies to
roguelikes also applies to first-person shooters, racing games, sports
games, and even strategy games (you're playing the role of a commander
or something like it). True roleplaying, where the player actually
feels like he IS the character, is very hard to accomplish. The
interfaces that some people suggested help maintain mental focus on the
player character, but that's not a very large part of playing
roguelikes.

Roguelikes are about gaming and gameplay. Therefore, as fufu said, the
menus in ADOM are very effective. The entire game consists, not of
roleplaying, but of keypresses and strategic planning. Adding 2 more
keypresses to perform a specific action remains within the scope of the
player's mental focus. It streamlines the roguelike for gameplay and
therefore is a good interface.

Gamer_2k4

Mario Donick

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Jan 7, 2007, 5:10:08 PM1/7/07
to
Radomir's suggestion is better than mine, although mine is easier to
code *lol*.

> Unfortunately, this idea is impractical, because inventories can get

> very large. [...] The tedious scrolling


> to access a particular item would cancel out any increased immersion.

That's true in general. Over the last few hours I thought about this
problem. At least for LambdaRogue it's not so hard, because there the
inventory is restricted to 20 slots, so you can't have more than 20
different types of items with you (but of every type nearly endless
exemplars).

For larger amounts of items, perhaps it was possible to make the system
category based. So, first comes a ring of types, you have to select a
type by pressing a directional key. Then you get the members of the
category:

For step 1, the categories:

.......
.../...
.(.@.%.
...?...

/ "tools" (in a wide meaning, incl. weapons/ammu/pick-axes etc.)
( "wearables" (incl. armour/clothes, but also rings and amulets)
% "comestibles" (potions/food)
? "<insert a generic term here :-) >" (scrolls/books/discs)

I tend to use only 4 categories, because it's easier to overview them.
Additionally, not everybody uses the diagonal keys. However a general
category for items not fitting to these categories is missing here.

Whenever the inventory is shown, the @ is dimmed (from white to dark
gray). First, the categories are shown in lightgray. Once a category is
selected, it get's highlighted (bright white) while the others get
dimmed (darkgray, too).

Then beneath the inventory, either the availabe items of the category
appear, or just the first of the items appears, along with two arrows <
and > symbolizing that there is more to come by pressing the arrow
keys.

I think at least LambdaRogue doesn't need the categories, as max. 20
itemtypes are not so much to scroll through. But perhaps the categories
make it easier for RLs with larger inventories to use such a system...

Wow... I think I'll try this out tonight...

Mario

>
> > And so on. The menu would be on the same line as other messages of the
> > game are shown, very unobstrusive.
>

> > Perhaps I'll try this in LambdaRogue...If you can make it work, I'd definitely be interested in seeing the
> implementation.
>
> Gamer_2k4

Mario Donick

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Jan 7, 2007, 5:20:43 PM1/7/07
to
> CUT! Oh look here I am in a menu. Scrolling through ten different
> 'weak potions of this and that'. Tum te tum... Perhaps I'll look at my
> spell list. Hmm spells. Well this is nice isn't it. I wonder if I
> should go back and fight the monster? Nah I'll just keep looking at my
> menu of potions for a while.

Well written and very amusing. :-) However this is exactly what I do
when playing some roguelikes.

Mario

Antoine

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Jan 7, 2007, 6:16:00 PM1/7/07
to


Yes, but it doesn't seem like such a breach of immersion in a roguelike
where you aren't in such a flurry of action in the first place.

Also roguelike interfaces tend to be much quicker than the Morrowind
one IMO.

A.

Mario Donick

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Jan 7, 2007, 9:30:17 PM1/7/07
to
Currently I'm playing around with a more immersive inventory style.

Although technically it works good, it has one main problem: It's seems
somehow senseless to display a ring of items using only their
ASCII-character around the @-avatar, because the user always has to
look to the line of text that tells him what exactly a selected item
is. So after a short while the user will only look to the text line
instead the itemring, because the text gives him the needed information
("which item did I select?") faster. This makes the itemring useless at
all.

The current state of my experimental inventory is that I display a
relatively small box next to the avatar:

##...............
.#...............
.#...............
.#.+-----+.......
.#.|2 | burger
##.| |.......
@ | % |......
...| |.......
...+-----+.......
.................
.................

As you can see I show the ASCII-char of the item in the middle. Right
of the the box I show the name of the item. The number in the upper
left corner of the box is the number of items of this type (so here the
player has 2 burgers). If the item was equipped, in the last line of
the box would be a word like "body", "left", "head" etc. to indicate
this (here I first head only one letter as abbreviation which looked
better imo, but was not so clear).

I don't display the name of the item in the game's message line at the
bottom of the screen because there it's outside the player's current
field of view. It's better in the middle of the screen, next to the
avatar.

Note that there aren't displayed possible actions for the items. To see
them you have to actively confirm your selection (currently by pressing
the down key). After you did this, the actions are shown below the
itemname. It depends on the current situation and the type of the item
which actions are shown and which not.

The whole inventory is called by pressing the inventory button. Then
the first item appears. You can scroll to the right by pressing [right]
and then to the left by pressing [left]. If you reached the last item
and pressed [right] again, the inventory would be closed. It's also
closed by pressing [up]. To confirm the selection of an item and to
bring up the possible actions, you have to press [down].


At the moment I'm testing the efficiency of this system with a
character who has a full inventory with different types of items, so he
can perform different actions. As my old inventory system is still
available, I can compare the old and the new way.

I definitely like that the world is still visible while browsing
through my items. It seems more direct and I think this is a big win.

On the other hand, my current implementation isn't visually appealing
and the display of the ASCII-char of the items is, as stated above,
useless. Instead I think of just displaying the item name.

We'll see... However, this inventory system has "something" that's very
gentle to me as user. I think this is mainly the visible world and the
visible @. Additionally it's easier just to scroll left and right until
the right item is shown then to search unhandy lists of the item. I
think this is faster.

So I will keep it in the next versions of LambdaRogue, perhaps only as
alternative to the normal inventory.

Later this night I will upload some screenshots, then post an URL, so
you can see it in both the console- and the SDL-version of the game.

Mario


On 7 Jan., 23:10, "Mario Donick" <mario.don...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> Radomir's suggestion is better than mine, although mine is easier to
> code *lol*.
>
> > Unfortunately, this idea is impractical, because inventories can get
> > very large. [...] The tedious scrolling

> > to access a particular item would cancel out any increased immersion.That's true in general. Over the last few hours I thought about this

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Jan 7, 2007, 10:33:09 PM1/7/07
to
At 7 Jan 2007 18:30:17 -0800,
Mario Donick wrote:

I love to see your experiments. They certainly bring somethng fresh,
even when they don't seem particulary efficient :)

Have you considered something like this?

#.# #.#
#.# #.#
########|Wield: |####
#.......|a ) short sword (+1 +1)|....
#...@...|b ) pick axe |####
#.......|c ) small dagger x4 |
###\####|d } short bow (+0 +2) |
#.# |e / arrow x30 |
#.# #.#...#............#
#.# #.#####............#
#.# #.....+......<.....#
#.# #######............#
#.# ##############

Gamer_2k4

unread,
Jan 7, 2007, 10:42:59 PM1/7/07
to
> Have you considered something like this?
>
> #.# #.#
> #.# #.#
> ########|Wield: |####
> #.......|a ) short sword (+1 +1)|....
> #...@...|b ) pick axe |####
> #.......|c ) small dagger x4 |
> ###\####|d } short bow (+0 +2) |
> #.# |e / arrow x30 |
> #.# #.#...#............#
> #.# #.#####............#
> #.# #.....+......<.....#
> #.# #######............#
> #.# ##############

Ah, the Angband approach. Tried and true.

Gamer_2k4

Mario Donick

unread,
Jan 8, 2007, 12:04:03 AM1/8/07
to
> Have you considered something like this?
>
> #.# #.#
> #.# #.#
> ########|Wield: |####
> #.......|a ) short sword (+1 +1)|....
> #...@...|b ) pick axe |####
> #.......|c ) small dagger x4 |
> ###\####|d } short bow (+0 +2) |
> #.# |e / arrow x30 |
> #.# #.#...#............#
> #.# #.#####............#
> #.# #.....+......<.....#
> #.# #######............#
> #.# ##############

Hm, yes, but it's basically a menu. Not bad, but I want to try
something with less information. At the moment I have the following:

http://donick.net/bilder/lr/newinventory-console-1.png
http://donick.net/bilder/lr/newinventory-console-2.png
http://donick.net/bilder/lr/newinventory-console-3.png
http://donick.net/bilder/lr/newinventory-console-4.png

On picture 1, there is nothing. :)

On picture 2, I have opened the inventory. Only one item at a time is
displayed, as described in my other post. Don't be irritated by the
black background under the "bottle of water"-text; the landscape often
is under the texts (which makes it sometimes hard to read, so I think I
have to force a black background there...)

On picture 3, I had pressed [down] to activate my selection. I am
offered the possible actions which are activated using the proper
direction key. [up] always cancels. The [left] key could be generalized
as "use" and appears either as "eat", "drink", "wield", "wear", "put
on" or "remove". The [down] key usually lets somebody "look" at an
item, but if the item was a CD with magical songs on it, the
down-option would be displayed as "listen" (by listening to discs the
player learns new magical chants he later can use). The [right] key
usually shows "drop", but in the example it shows "sell", because the
player is in front of a trader. ("in front of" means the trader is not
visible for the player's eyes 'cause he's covered by the @ ).

These are all options one can do currently with objects in LambdaRogue
(no, there is no throwing at the moment), and it was rather easy to
build this context menu around them. If there come new actions someday,
there are still 4 diagonal keys to use, although I don't want to break
that horioz/vertic scheme.

In the LambdaRogue config file the player has the option to dis- or
enable this new inventory type. If he disables it, a normal fullscreen
list with all items will be shown.

I decided by the way that traders don't get the new style in their
menus (which looks basically like the old style inventory), because for
traders the long list gives me more the feeling of shopping than the
inventory. On the other hand, the songbook with the magical songs will
perhaps made the new inventory style.

I adopted the new style rather fast and now I nearly don't want to miss
it, although it's visual appeal can be optimized.

Mario

Mario Donick

unread,
Jan 8, 2007, 12:35:59 AM1/8/07
to
And a short update...

Now, when the inventory is called, the dungeon map is dimmed:

http://donick.net/bilder/lr/newinventory-console-5.png

For the SDL version, this can be done by laying a semitransparent and
gray PNG over the window.

Mario

Mario Donick

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Jan 8, 2007, 7:49:36 AM1/8/07
to
Another update... I optimized the SDL output so it does not look _that_
ugly and can be shown ;)

1. http://donick.net/bilder/lr/newinventory-sdl-1.png
2. http://donick.net/bilder/lr/newinventory-sdl-2.png
3. http://donick.net/bilder/lr/newinventory-console-6.png

Picture 1 shows the normal view without inventory open.
Picture 2 shows the inventory, currently selected is a CD with the
heal-chant. (That there's no "drop" option is shown is due to a
temporary deactivation of the "drop"-command, 'cause the function has a
bug).
Picture 3 shows the same, but in console mode.

Of course you won't get an impression of the system and if it's
efficiently in the "max. 20 items in inventory"-context of LambdaRogue,
and I believe it's not good for roguelike who offer much more space,
but perhaps my screenshot gave you an impression of how it looks in an
actual working game.

Mario

Gerry Quinn

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Jan 8, 2007, 8:13:40 AM1/8/07
to
In article <1168211760.0...@s34g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
ma...@guildgame.com says...
> Mario Donick wrote:

> > > CUT! Oh look here I am in a menu. Scrolling through ten different
> > > 'weak potions of this and that'. Tum te tum... Perhaps I'll look at my
> > > spell list. Hmm spells. Well this is nice isn't it. I wonder if I
> > > should go back and fight the monster? Nah I'll just keep looking at my
> > > menu of potions for a while.
> >
> > Well written and very amusing. :-) However this is exactly what I do
> > when playing some roguelikes.
>
> Yes, but it doesn't seem like such a breach of immersion in a roguelike
> where you aren't in such a flurry of action in the first place.

That comment may be hitting the nail on the head as to why people like
roguelikes (and turn-based CRPGs - proper ones like Wiz8, not pseudo
ones like Baldur's Gate).

Well worth keeping in mind.

- Gerry Quinn

Pointless

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Jan 8, 2007, 12:04:37 PM1/8/07
to
Mario Donick wrote:

> The current state of my experimental inventory is that I display a
> relatively small box next to the avatar:
>

Why not something this this...

> ##..........mustard <--- grayed out
> .#..........ketchup
> .#..........bun
> .#.+-----+..hot dog
> .#.|2 | .burger <--- lit up in white
> ##.| |..relish <--- grayed out
> @ | % |..mayonaise
> ...| |..-----
> ...+-----+.......
> .................
> .................
>

Selecting an item is like scrolling through the list, which pushes the
other items up and down depending on the direction. the box displays
the description of the item currently selected.

Arthur J. O'Dwyer

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Jan 8, 2007, 2:35:15 PM1/8/07
to

On Sun, 7 Jan 2007, Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:
> Christophe Cavalaria wrote:
>> Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:
>>>
>>> The "spill" command can still take into acocunt the size and number of
>>> items on the floor and "use up" the potion accordingly. But that's not the
>>> point -- the point is that one can design the game (not only its
>>> interface!) while keeping in mind these simple rules, it doesn't require a
>>> lot of sacrifice.
>>
>> A possible solution would be that the dip command will make the user dip the
>> currently wielded item into the selection potion. Now, maybe the Nethack
>> style "thou can wield anything!" interface might be of some use after all.
>
> That's something I was trying to avoid -- it creates some sort of
> "internal environment" **inside** of the player character, making into
> something much more than a tool of the player. Instead of means for
> exploring the world, the avatar becomes a wolrd to explore. Soon you
> need helper-slots for helper-slots for slots, like in Omega :)

I think your "#dip" example was just bad. In fact, no matter what,
if your verb takes a noun, you're going to need to specify that noun.
"Dip what? Dip the sword into what?" is complicated and might break
the player's train of thought. But "Zap what?" and "Magic-missile which
direction?" and "Eat what?" are the same kind of complication, and you
haven't given any ideas (in this subthread) about how to eliminate
that complication.
All you've suggested is replacing "Verb, direct object, indirect
object" with "Verb, object"; when what you really want to do is replace
everything with "Verb".

IMHO, you /can/ make a roguelike where most actions are "Verb".
DoomRL is the closest I can think of right now, although I don't play
many cutting-edge roguelikes.
The easiest way to make everything "Verb" is to downplay the
complicated stuff --- just don't make the player need to use it!
Move. Bump into monsters to attack them. Point and shoot.
One-object-per-space means no menus when you pick up an item.
Simple combat mechanics mean less time switching weapons (to use
a pike against a knight and a club against an orc, for example).
Specialized inventory slots like "Quiver" mean less time selecting
ammunition. Angband's auto-target means less time tabbing among
potential targets. (And so does Nethack's directional targeting.)

However, notice that everything in that list doesn't just make
the game /quicker/, or reduce the number of keystrokes. Those are
things that actually increase immersion, because they mimic real
life. In real life (defined here as "the Lord of the Rings movies" ;)
it doesn't take any time or thought at all to draw an arrow from
your quiver, or scoop up an item from the ground.
Contrariwise, I hate games with auto-opening doors. In real life,
it /does/ take time and thought to open a door. You have to consider
whether you want to open it at all, for one thing --- maybe there's
something bad on the other side! Then you have to put your hand on
the knob and turn it, and so on. (Unless you're playing a giant who
reflexively smashes doors down instead of opening them, in which case
auto-open would be the Right Thing. Auto-open would also be close to
right in a Star Trek setting.)

In short: Reflexive, unthinking actions should be reflexive and
unthinking in the game. Slow, considered actions should be slow and
considered in the game.

>>>> What will you do when the user finds a wand of stone to mud and
>>>> wants to target that little section of wall there?
>>>
>>> This is easily handled by the Rogue's 8-way directions.
>>
>> And of course, it's exactly the same problem than Rogue when you want to
>> target a monster that isn't in the 8-way directions.
>

> Why do you target a monster with a wand of stone to mud?

Don't play stupid. That's no fun for anyone.

> Note also, that the existance of an accurate targetting system is exactly
> what make th wnds of stone-to-mud and of wall-building extinct -- it's
> impossible to dig a tunnel going at arbitrary angle in a roguelike.

Or perhaps: It's possible, but it's difficult for the programmer, so
it is typically not done.
The programmer can always make a special case for the wand of
wall-building, if he wants it so much. (Or use Nethack's directions,
of course, as you say. I have nothing against Nethack's targeting
metagame; I think of it as an in-game equivalent of "dodging" or
"lining up the shot", which actually increases immersion, because it
increases the control I have other whether my character gets hit.)

>>>> And what about timed
>>>> effect spells where the player will want to throw that delayed blast
>>>> fireball somewhat before that monster charging at him.
>
>>> A what? Honestly, I don't know what are you talking about here, can
>>> you give an example from an existing roguelike game to illustrate it?
>
>> There's a spell like that in NWN ( and D&D I suppose ). Throw the fireball
>> in one space, and 3 turns later it explodes. That special fireball in
>> itself is much more powerful than a regular fireball which makes using it
>> worthwhile. You just have to time it correctly because the explosion radius
>> isn't that big after all. It is a matter of careful placement, timing and
>> oponent manipulation to make the best use of it. With a severly limited
>> targeting system, such spell might very well be of little use since you
>> lack the control required to make the best use of it.
>

> So, you're basically talking about a delayed-detonation bomb?
> Well, you could handle them by using... uhm... delayed-detonation bombs?

Yes, I would have suggested "hand grenade" as another example of
this mechanic. But "hand grenade" is not a UI implementation. Your
suggestion was to eliminate precise targeting, which would make precise
targeting of hand grenades (or fireballs, or delayed-detonation bombs)
impossible.

>> Also, there are situations where you want to target your area of effect
>> spell in an empty spot because the radius makes it so that point in space
>> is more efficient than any point centered around a monster.
>

> Well, this pretty much turns it into a board game, doesn't it?

Huh? I'm a big board-game player, and I've never seen a board game
with area-effect offensive spells. OTOH, precision targeting is a big
part of Angband (a roguelike), and I've had cause to throw fireball
against the wall in Nethack before, too.
(Nethack also has the special case of Stinking Cloud, which can be
precision-targeted.)


> On the other hand, I propose to base the game design on the user
> interface, because that's simply what the user sees and that's what
> defines the feel of the game. I think that this way of doing things -- that
> is, start with defining how do you want the game feel (not the game
> world!), and **then** create everything based on it, including all the
> game world -- has a chance of producing something consistent that you
> really intended.

But maybe the designer has a great idea for a game, but isn't much
good at UI design? IMO, it's usually much better to let the game
"universe" drive the UI, than the reverse: "Let's see, how can I use
an 80x25 display to make the player feel like he's an international spy?"
instead of "Let's see, what kind of game can I make using only
intransitive verbs and mouse gestures?"

The big BIG exceptions to my rule of thumb are the few excellent
games driven by a novel UI mechanic. Unfortunately, the only one I
can think of right now is "Joust" ("push button to flap wings").

One other arcade-game example I want to bring up, though, is the
now-ubiquitous driving sim in which you drive through "powerups" to
gain time or extra maneuverability, and the only interaction with
other cars (AI or other players) is by cutting them off or driving
into them. This is an excellent example of a simple "Verb" UI. The
verbs are "turn left" and "turn right", with "take your foot off the
gas pedal" for advanced users. Everything else comes out of that UI.
The antithesis of the driving sim is the modern Doom-style PC shooter,
in which the verbs are left-right-forward-backward-strafe-jump-fire,
plus the verb-object combos "swap weapon" and perhaps "use item" and
"manipulate object" (e.g., "open door" or "push button"). It takes
too much thought to do things that are reflexive in real life.


>> But before you answer, I really like your ideas on the interface. If it was
>> possible to provide a trully imersive interface which still handles enouth
>> targeting control for the user it would be perfect.
>

> I don't think it's possible. Precise targetting is something that requires
> a focus switch even in the real world. However, precise targetting is
> extremly rare in the real world -- you usually target objects or areas.

Precise targeting doesn't require a focus switch if you are truly
immersed --- if you /are/ the character. If you take your eyes off the
"@" to look over there, it's because /your character/ is looking over
there. If you take your eyes off the "@" to consult a full-screen
menu of items in your knapsack, it's because /your character/ is
occupied in rummaging through his knapsack. But if you take your eyes
off the "@" to consult a drop-down menu, while /your character/ is
obviously still on-screen waiting to do battle, something is wrong.

my $.02,
-Arthur

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Jan 8, 2007, 8:16:27 PM1/8/07
to
At Mon, 8 Jan 2007 14:35:15 -0500 (EST),

Arthur J. O'Dwyer wrote:
> On Sun, 7 Jan 2007, Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:
>> Christophe Cavalaria wrote:

>>> A possible solution would be that the dip command will make the user dip the
>>> currently wielded item into the selection potion. Now, maybe the Nethack
>>> style "thou can wield anything!" interface might be of some use after all.

>> That's something I was trying to avoid -- it creates some sort of
>> "internal environment" **inside** of the player character, making into
>> something much more than a tool of the player. Instead of means for
>> exploring the world, the avatar becomes a wolrd to explore. Soon you
>> need helper-slots for helper-slots for slots, like in Omega :)

> I think your "#dip" example was just bad. In fact, no matter what,
> if your verb takes a noun, you're going to need to specify that noun.
> "Dip what? Dip the sword into what?" is complicated and might break
> the player's train of thought.

Keeping the train of thought intact is not exactly my goal here. It's
rather more like making it break in the game's world rather than in
the menus or other parts of interface -- so that you think, look around,
analyze situation, etc. while controlling the avatar, not while
controlling the menu cursor.

Sure, some actions are inevitably complicated, and some can be even *made*
complicated on purpose in the game -- after all, user interfaces for games
are not always the most efficient ones, just the most fun ones. Consider a
sacrifice ritual, for example -- it could be fairly complex, requiring an
altar, an object to sacrifice, maybe some additional materials like
(un)holy symbols, maybe an item to be blessed or enchanted by the god as
the result of the sacrifice, etc. It becomes even more complicated when
the creature to be sacrificed needs to be alive.

Of course, and efficient interface could handle it using a set of menus or
even a form. You fill in apropriate fields, press "submit" and voila! But
it could also be made in a form of a real ritual, where you put objects in
designated places around the altar at designated times, preparing them
properly before (i.e. stunning the victim so that it doesn't move), and
then reading a scroll or a prayer from your holy book. Much more fun, eh?

The latter interface is even more complicated than the simple form. Yet
the complexity is outside the immediate user interface, and inside the
game world somehow. It does not only increase immersion -- it also engages
the user's creativity and problem solving -- there are multiple ways to
get the monster on the altar at the right moment, there are several ways
in which the ritual can fail, etc.


> But "Zap what?" and "Magic-missile which direction?" and "Eat what?"
> are the same kind of complication, and you haven't given any ideas
> (in this subthread) about how to eliminate that complication.

Excuse me for not solving all the problems for you beforehand :)

I don't really view them as such great problems -- especially the
single-choice actions -- you usually submit the command and select the
parameter immediately after determining the way to do so. And with
aproporiate feedback (like telling the inventory slot letter when picking
up items, for example) you really spend very short time in the menus. The
fact that they don't have a cursor and consist of a single step makes it
even better -- you're unlike to develop a sense of position in them.

I am a little bit worried about the two-step commands, like zapping
a wand or throwing. Certainly, they require attention -- the steps should
be kept in the same order all the time, and there is no place for
a "return to previous step" option -- abort is of course a must.

Of course, a "missile" slot a la Angband or ADOM (and recently even
NetHack) would remove one step -- but at a cost of increased **internal**
complexity. Adding facing is too awkward and complicated, and a text-mode
roguelike would count as internal state anyways. Throwning might be maybe
composed of a "drop" and "kick" commands...

Fortunatelly, the direction choice is a no-brainer and doesn't require
focus.

> All you've suggested is replacing "Verb, direct object, indirect
> object" with "Verb, object"; when what you really want to do is replace
> everything with "Verb".

I think you missed the point. I don't care about verbs, nouns and objects.
I just want them all in the game world, not in the menus.

> IMHO, you /can/ make a roguelike where most actions are "Verb".
> DoomRL is the closest I can think of right now, although I don't play
> many cutting-edge roguelikes.

Z-Day is even closer -- if not the "run" command.

> The easiest way to make everything "Verb" is to downplay the
> complicated stuff --- just don't make the player need to use it!
> Move. Bump into monsters to attack them. Point and shoot.
> One-object-per-space means no menus when you pick up an item.

That's how z-day does it.

> Simple combat mechanics mean less time switching weapons (to use
> a pike against a knight and a club against an orc, for example).

Or just make switchng the weapons a single keystroke, like in some
action games -- just press it multiple times. Works well when it
doesn't consume turns.

> Specialized inventory slots like "Quiver" mean less time selecting
> ammunition.

This I'm trying to avoid, as it adds to the "internal" world, not the
"external" one.

> Angband's auto-target means less time tabbing among
> potential targets. (And so does Nethack's directional targeting.)

Tabbing, hmm...

> However, notice that everything in that list doesn't just make
> the game /quicker/, or reduce the number of keystrokes.

Of course not.

> Those are
> things that actually increase immersion, because they mimic real
> life. In real life (defined here as "the Lord of the Rings movies" ;)
> it doesn't take any time or thought at all to draw an arrow from
> your quiver, or scoop up an item from the ground.

More precisely, by mimicking some of the real life mechanisms they allow
for the most processing to be delegated to the primal, heavily automated
yet very fast and effective, multitasking parts of the brain.

> Contrariwise, I hate games with auto-opening doors. In real life,
> it /does/ take time and thought to open a door. You have to consider
> whether you want to open it at all, for one thing --- maybe there's
> something bad on the other side! Then you have to put your hand on
> the knob and turn it, and so on. (Unless you're playing a giant who
> reflexively smashes doors down instead of opening them, in which case
> auto-open would be the Right Thing. Auto-open would also be close to
> right in a Star Trek setting.)

Not really. Honestly, how many times have you gone through a bulding and
then coudn't recall if there were any doors in your way or whether they
were opened or closed? How many times have you reflectively closed doors
behind you, even though you've been explicitly told to leave them open
because of summer heat? You do think before entering an unknown room --
but you would hesitate the same if there was just a dark hole there
instead of door.

> In short: Reflexive, unthinking actions should be reflexive and
> unthinking in the game. Slow, considered actions should be slow and
> considered in the game.

They are usually composed of the small, reflexive ones.

>>>>> What will you do when the user finds a wand of stone to mud and
>>>>> wants to target that little section of wall there?
>>>> This is easily handled by the Rogue's 8-way directions.
>>> And of course, it's exactly the same problem than Rogue when you want to
>>> target a monster that isn't in the 8-way directions.
>> Why do you target a monster with a wand of stone to mud?
> Don't play stupid. That's no fun for anyone.

No, really, apologies, but I mean it. There are offensive items, and there
are hm... utility items. You usually don't mix them. Even if you do, it's
easy to avoid -- by game design. Then you can have a "choose direction"
prompt for the utility stuff, and a "target monster" prompt for the
offensive items. Using a wnad of stone to mud on a golem becomes then
somehow even more satysfying.

>> Note also, that the existance of an accurate targetting system is exactly
>> what make th wnds of stone-to-mud and of wall-building extinct -- it's
>> impossible to dig a tunnel going at arbitrary angle in a roguelike.
> Or perhaps: It's possible, but it's difficult for the programmer, so
> it is typically not done.

Especially when it really brings no benefit to the actual game.

> The programmer can always make a special case for the wand of
> wall-building, if he wants it so much. (Or use Nethack's directions,
> of course, as you say. I have nothing against Nethack's targeting
> metagame; I think of it as an in-game equivalent of "dodging" or
> "lining up the shot", which actually increases immersion, because it
> increases the control I have other whether my character gets hit.)

Yes. It's possible to explore the topic further and provide, e.g. special
attacks for the fighter classes, where your previous position determines
the kind of attack -- advancing makes a charge, retreating -- defensive
stance, etc. Much better, in my opinion, than selecting them from a menu.

>>>>> And what about timed
>>>>> effect spells where the player will want to throw that delayed blast
>>>>> fireball somewhat before that monster charging at him.
>>>> A what? Honestly, I don't know what are you talking about here, can
>>>> you give an example from an existing roguelike game to illustrate it?
>>> There's a spell like that in NWN ( and D&D I suppose ). Throw the fireball
>>> in one space, and 3 turns later it explodes. That special fireball in
>>> itself is much more powerful than a regular fireball which makes using it
>>> worthwhile. You just have to time it correctly because the explosion radius
>>> isn't that big after all. It is a matter of careful placement, timing and
>>> oponent manipulation to make the best use of it. With a severly limited
>>> targeting system, such spell might very well be of little use since you
>>> lack the control required to make the best use of it.
>> So, you're basically talking about a delayed-detonation bomb?
>> Well, you could handle them by using... uhm... delayed-detonation bombs?
> Yes, I would have suggested "hand grenade" as another example of
> this mechanic. But "hand grenade" is not a UI implementation. Your
> suggestion was to eliminate precise targeting, which would make precise
> targeting of hand grenades (or fireballs, or delayed-detonation bombs)
> impossible.

It's true. Unless you use one of the ideas for the teleportation spell and
just fix the throw distance to some convenient value -- preferably just
outside the range of explosion. That's how many action games do it,
actually. It's much less powerful, of course, and generally involves much
less planning.

I think that my ideas would favor a fighter class.

>>> Also, there are situations where you want to target your area of effect
>>> spell in an empty spot because the radius makes it so that point in space
>>> is more efficient than any point centered around a monster.
>>
>> Well, this pretty much turns it into a board game, doesn't it?
>
> Huh? I'm a big board-game player, and I've never seen a board game
> with area-effect offensive spells. OTOH, precision targeting is a big
> part of Angband (a roguelike), and I've had cause to throw fireball
> against the wall in Nethack before, too.
>
> (Nethack also has the special case of Stinking Cloud, which can be
> precision-targeted.)

I don't say it's bad. It just doesn't fit the particular kind of game
I'm proposing here.

>> On the other hand, I propose to base the game design on the user
>> interface, because that's simply what the user sees and that's what
>> defines the feel of the game. I think that this way of doing things -- that
>> is, start with defining how do you want the game feel (not the game
>> world!), and **then** create everything based on it, including all the
>> game world -- has a chance of producing something consistent that you
>> really intended.

> But maybe the designer has a great idea for a game, but isn't much
> good at UI design? IMO, it's usually much better to let the game
> "universe" drive the UI, than the reverse: "Let's see, how can I use
> an 80x25 display to make the player feel like he's an international spy?"
> instead of "Let's see, what kind of game can I make using only
> intransitive verbs and mouse gestures?"

Well, maybe he's a great singer, but can't draw very nice? I'd advise him
to stick to singing then. On the other hand, if someone tends to dream of
his game in form of vivid images or even short scenes, if he does exactly
now how it is supposed to "feel", just doesn't have the colors of elven
hats planned very well, if he recognizies that repeatedly hitting
a monster should, after some time, kill it, just doesn't have the exact
formulas written down -- well, *then* he might consider the ui-driven
design.

> The big BIG exceptions to my rule of thumb are the few excellent
> games driven by a novel UI mechanic. Unfortunately, the only one I
> can think of right now is "Joust" ("push button to flap wings").

Ah, this mechanic was present in the oldest computer game ever, "lander".

> One other arcade-game example I want to bring up, though, is the
> now-ubiquitous driving sim in which you drive through "powerups" to
> gain time or extra maneuverability, and the only interaction with
> other cars (AI or other players) is by cutting them off or driving
> into them. This is an excellent example of a simple "Verb" UI. The
> verbs are "turn left" and "turn right", with "take your foot off the
> gas pedal" for advanced users. Everything else comes out of that UI.

I bet people tend to twist all ways and scream and shout and whatnot while
playing it. I bet they are tormented by the poor quality of the gameplay
and terrible immersion ;)

> The antithesis of the driving sim is the modern Doom-style PC shooter,
> in which the verbs are left-right-forward-backward-strafe-jump-fire,
> plus the verb-object combos "swap weapon" and perhaps "use item" and
> "manipulate object" (e.g., "open door" or "push button"). It takes
> too much thought to do things that are reflexive in real life.

I don't think that my ideas are such a devastating hit to the actual
complexity of the game mechanics. Sure, there *are* some simplifications,
the most notable being the lack of precise targetting (of course, you can
still add it if you insist -- for some rare occassions where it's really
needed).

>>> But before you answer, I really like your ideas on the interface. If it was
>>> possible to provide a trully imersive interface which still handles enouth
>>> targeting control for the user it would be perfect.
>> I don't think it's possible. Precise targetting is something that requires
>> a focus switch even in the real world. However, precise targetting is
>> extremly rare in the real world -- you usually target objects or areas.
> Precise targeting doesn't require a focus switch if you are truly
> immersed --- if you /are/ the character. If you take your eyes off the
> "@" to look over there, it's because /your character/ is looking over
> there. If you take your eyes off the "@" to consult a full-screen
> menu of items in your knapsack, it's because /your character/ is
> occupied in rummaging through his knapsack. But if you take your eyes
> off the "@" to consult a drop-down menu, while /your character/ is
> obviously still on-screen waiting to do battle, something is wrong.

I really can't imagine a real-life situation where you're targetting
something and not focussing on it. Even to the degree that Zen archers do.

Gamer_2k4

unread,
Jan 8, 2007, 8:40:30 PM1/8/07
to
> >>> What will you do when the user finds a wand of stone to mud and
> >>> wants to target that little section of wall there?
> >> This is easily handled by the Rogue's 8-way directions.
> > And of course, it's exactly the same problem than Rogue when you want to
> > target a monster that isn't in the 8-way directions.
>
> Why do you target a monster with a wand of stone to mud?

I may be remembering incorrectly, since it probably happened almost ten
years ago, but I seem to recall my brother had trouble defeating a
stone golem in Moria, and a wand of stone to mud did the trick. This
may be giving Moria too much credit, but I guarantee it would work in
Nethack. That's why you target a monster with stone to mud.

Gamer_2k4

Brendan Guild

unread,
Jan 8, 2007, 8:51:12 PM1/8/07
to
Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski wrote:
> Obviously, avoid menus and other uses of cursors (for argetting,
> for example), have at most one-level menus displayed on the same
> screen where the main view is (switching screens is also perseived
> as moving around). Try to make most actions use direct manipulation
> of the in-game objects. Easy to say, eh?

This has inspired me to a radical interface design idea and I wonder
if it matches what you are trying to say.

As in any normal roguelike, you have equipment slots such as armor
and weapon, and each slot has a corresponding key for putting an item
into the slot. However, in this game there is no inventory menu, so
you can only equip from the ground.

You can still have an inventory, but it must be dropped to be used.
Pressing 'i' would cause your entire unequipped inventory to spill
out onto the floor, assuming there is enough space for it there.
Naturally, there would be one item per tile to avoid menus that way,
and if the player is cramped by walls, other items, or monsters, then
'i' will simply have to refuse.

To change what you have equipped, simply move over an item on the
floor and press the appropriate key, then it will be replaced by the
item you currently have in that slot. When you are finished, you must
collect the items that you want to keep by picking them up from the
floor in the usual manner.

In addition to 'i' which would spew out all of your inventory, you
could have a 'drop' key for leaving behind the item you most recently
picked up. The inventory could act like a stack that you push and pop
from the floor. And for dipping, you could simply pop an item out
onto the floor in a place that already has a potion.

This prevents you from doing inventory manipulation while in the
middle of combat, especially if monsters could steal your inventory
while it is out on the floor, which fits with realism.

Gamer_2k4

unread,
Jan 8, 2007, 9:02:52 PM1/8/07
to
> [quote about dropping items to equip them]

Realistic and logical, but that's not necessarily a good thing. I
mean, seriously, did anyone like the complexity of Omega's inventory
system?

It would still be interesting to see used. Maybe something for the
upcoming 7DRL Challenge?

Gamer_2k4

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

unread,
Jan 8, 2007, 9:21:41 PM1/8/07
to
At Tue, 09 Jan 2007 01:51:12 GMT,
Brendan Guild wrote:

> As in any normal roguelike, you have equipment slots such as armor
> and weapon, and each slot has a corresponding key for putting an item
> into the slot. However, in this game there is no inventory menu, so
> you can only equip from the ground.

> You can still have an inventory, but it must be dropped to be used.
> Pressing 'i' would cause your entire unequipped inventory to spill
> out onto the floor, assuming there is enough space for it there.
> Naturally, there would be one item per tile to avoid menus that way,
> and if the player is cramped by walls, other items, or monsters, then
> 'i' will simply have to refuse.

> To change what you have equipped, simply move over an item on the
> floor and press the appropriate key, then it will be replaced by the
> item you currently have in that slot. When you are finished, you must
> collect the items that you want to keep by picking them up from the
> floor in the usual manner.

Yes, this is the direction I wanted to go, only a little farther than
I ever even thought of venturing... You see, in order to keep the
complexity of Rogue, you'd need at least... hmm... 10 slots? Let's see,
weapon, ammo, armor, two rings, amulet, wand, at least two scrolls, at
least two or three potions, food, hmm... were there shields in Rogue?
I don't think so, at least not in the plain one. So, this makes, hmm..
13 slots, 10 if you're willing to limit the player to one potion and
scroll during any encounter. This makes the internal structure of the
avatar much too complicated -- and again makes the player spend more
time in the world of slots than actually adventuring.

Not to mention that you'd need rooms large enough to fit the whole
inventory, and that any item-collecting monster would be universally
hated by all the players :)

But still a great idea, shows some potential ;)

Nolithius

unread,
Jan 9, 2007, 12:15:30 AM1/9/07
to
"Brendan Guild" <do...@spam.me> wrote in message
news:Xns98B2B59E07...@64.59.144.76...
[snip]

> As in any normal roguelike, you have equipment slots such as armor
> and weapon, and each slot has a corresponding key for putting an item
> into the slot. However, in this game there is no inventory menu, so
> you can only equip from the ground.

This is an interesting idea-- but I'd rather have either a) a small
[battle-accessible] inventory to allow some choice mid-battle, or b) some
way to switch wielded items without having to drop everything. Most players
would expect to switch between a dagger and a crossbow without having to
spill their whole inventory into the floor ;). Note that these two are not
mutually exclusive.

> You can still have an inventory, but it must be dropped to be used.
> Pressing 'i' would cause your entire unequipped inventory to spill
> out onto the floor, assuming there is enough space for it there.
> Naturally, there would be one item per tile to avoid menus that way,
> and if the player is cramped by walls, other items, or monsters, then
> 'i' will simply have to refuse.

To avoid space bloat the most reasonable option is to limit the player to
only 8 items (that's really 16 total, 8 equipped and 8 in the inventory).
This sounds like a serious limitation under the common fantasy-packrat
paradigm, but can be interesting in a game where a) The focus is not so much
on equipment but more on character development, b) Items are dropped/found
scarecely and subsequently c) Most items the player finds is potentially
useful in some way other than selling junk.

To illustrate how a, b, and c are possible, consider basically any action
movie. In a high-stress situation, say when you have to fight a bunch of
guys to get out of a place but have no option of returning from where you
came, for example, if under pursuit by worse enemies or followed by
catrastophe such as a building collapsing or on fire-- environments like
these create a very hurried pace where the character is not focused on
juggling items in his inventory, but rather running/saving his ass by
blasting bad guys/using some skills like jumping bashing in doors to escape.
This atmosphere is hard to achieve in an RL but definitely not impossible
(fulfills a). For b and c, and assuming a limited inventory like "weapon in
right hand, unconscious girl over left shoulder" for an extreme example, the
items that are relevant to the character (in this case weapons or
unconscious women) appear rarely (fulfills b), and when they appear the
character can just ignore them if they can be quickly identified as inferior
to his currently equipped item. The only inventory juggling here is if you
find an awesome gun to surpass your puny one (and make the call to risk
picking up a potentially empty/damaged/jammed gun)-- or if you run out of
ammo, in which case you will pick up ammo or ditch your weapon for another.
Items in this environment are either junk that you can't care to carry
around anyway, or very useful (fulfills c); the idea is basically to avoid
the grey area where the packrat mentality kicks in: "Oh, this is nice, I
might find a use for this... some day."

Note: I am not claiming that a packrat-oriented design is in any way
negative so spare me the criticism :P it just obviously does not fit in the
proposed system.

>
> To change what you have equipped, simply move over an item on the
> floor and press the appropriate key, then it will be replaced by the
> item you currently have in that slot. When you are finished, you must
> collect the items that you want to keep by picking them up from the
> floor in the usual manner.

Suggestions:

1) When you move onto an item and swap it with your current item, your last
item is dropped in your last position and not your current one (you may
already have accounted for this in your design, just pointing it out). This
allows you to swap back and forth easily if you want and to retrace your
steps to return to your previous equipment configuration.

2) Please, PLEASE have an autopickup key that picks up all of your dropped
items in one shot (preferably the same 'i' so you can toggle it). Ideally it
would pick up all the 'inventory-dropped' items in a 2-square radius so that
you don't have to return to the center if you just walked over an item to
the edge-- although this is something you may want. Additionally if you want
to account for the time that it takes to pickup the inventory just make the
action take a lot of energy and possibly be automatically interrupted if a
monster comes into LOS.

<snip>


> This prevents you from doing inventory manipulation while in the
> middle of combat, especially if monsters could steal your inventory
> while it is out on the floor, which fits with realism.

Note that there are several other ways to discourage inventory manipulation
while in combat that might arguably be more effective: in a game like
Fallout, with a spendable X number of action points per turn, have the
inventory cost you AP. Inventory management in Fallout was definitely a
tactical decision. Or as I do in my game, just have opening the inventory
NOT be free: opening the inventory costs some considerable amount of energy,
so you wouldn't do it in the middle of battle just like you wouldn't walk in
place while surrounded. Another feature I have in my game is a sort of
'battle rage' that compounds as you kill your enemies (it adds damage in
melee as well as resistance to pain): walking causes it to drop slightly but
most other actions (including opening the inventory) cause it to drop
dramatically. I should mention however that I do allow for energy-cheap
weapon-switch and other quick actions that affect rage as little as
movement.

I'm not going to poke at the argument from realism here because I know what
you mean. In the same spirit, however, you must allow certain slots (perhaps
the weapon and the potion slot, for example) to be hot-swapped without the
need to drop everything-- this also 'fits with realism' ;)

Looking forward to your game! :)

--Nolithius


Gamer_2k4

unread,
Jan 9, 2007, 12:39:45 AM1/9/07
to
> To avoid space bloat the most reasonable option is to limit the player to
> only 8 items (that's really 16 total, 8 equipped and 8 in the inventory).

This looks like a job for radial menus. :)

Gamer_2k4

Brendan Guild

unread,
Jan 9, 2007, 2:12:36 AM1/9/07
to
Nolithius wrote:
> "Brendan Guild" <do...@spam.me> wrote in message
> news:Xns98B2B59E07...@64.59.144.76...
>> As in any normal roguelike, you have equipment slots such as
>> armor and weapon, and each slot has a corresponding key for
>> putting an item into the slot. However, in this game there is no
>> inventory menu, so you can only equip from the ground.
>
> This is an interesting idea-- but I'd rather have either a) a
> small [battle-accessible] inventory to allow some choice
> mid-battle, or b) some way to switch wielded items without having
> to drop everything. Most players would expect to switch between a
> dagger and a crossbow without having to spill their whole
> inventory into the floor ;).

Refusing to use menus is a severe limitation, but perhaps there is a
way to allow something similar without compromising. I mentioned in a
previous post that the inventory might behave like a stack, so
suppose that it is actually several stacks, one for each category of
item.

Each stack would have an associated key that would pop and item off
the stack and onto the floor beneath the PC (when not already
standing on something). Then swapping a dagger for a crossbow could
be done by: drop the dagger with 'd' (the key for dropping the top
weapon on the stack), wield the dagger from the ground with 'w', and
finally (if you can spare the time) ',' to get the crossbow off the
floor.

Similarly, we might not need a slot for scrolls if scrolls have their
own inventory. To read a scroll in battle, you can drop the top
scroll from your inventory and read it from the ground. It just
requires that you pick up the scrolls in reverse of the order that
you will want to use them.

This even has an argument from reality, since you can usually most
easily access the items that you most recently put into a pack, since
they would be at the top of the pack.

> To avoid space bloat the most reasonable option is to limit the
> player to only 8 items (that's really 16 total, 8 equipped and 8
> in the inventory).

I think it would be safe to let the player choose the inventory size
limit with a game like this. It would quickly become difficult to
manage a large inventory. Since manipulating inventory actually
requires dropping, moving around, and picking up, it takes turns and
there is a possibility of being attacked with your pack all over the
floor.

Especially if the player is required to manually pick up each item
after dropping it, I doubt players would choose to carry around junk.
If they did choose to, it would not be because the junk was sitting
forgotten in the pack.

With the ability to access different categories of items
independently, I think more than 8 items could be managed.

> 1) When you move onto an item and swap it with your current item,
> your last item is dropped in your last position and not your
> current one (you may already have accounted for this in your
> design, just pointing it out). This allows you to swap back and
> forth easily if you want and to retrace your steps to return to
> your previous equipment configuration.

I am actually thinking of disallowing a character and an item to be
in the same square. This allows the player to easily see everything
at a glance, not covered by monsters or even the PC itself. This has
the downside that the player would not be able to get a message line
of information on the item by standing on it just before taking an
action on that item.

But if we were to use such a system, all actions on items would take
a direction, so equipping something would naturally move the PC into
the place of that thing and leave the old equipment behind. Pressing
a direction without an action would naturally swap the PC with an
item.

> 2) Please, PLEASE have an autopickup key that picks up all of your
> dropped items in one shot (preferably the same 'i' so you can
> toggle it). Ideally it would pick up all the 'inventory-dropped'
> items in a 2-square radius so that you don't have to return to the
> center if you just walked over an item to the edge-- although this
> is something you may want.

'Inventory-dropped' is a bit ambiguous. This autopickup idea seems
rather complicated, so I think I would instead use a more normal
autopickup that picks up items just by moving over them. I would have
the player do it by holding 'Shift' (or some similar key) while
moving, so that it is not modal.

This is especially important if the order in which items are picked
up affects how they can be used, as I suggested above.

Mario Donick

unread,
Jan 9, 2007, 6:28:19 AM1/9/07
to
> You can still have an inventory, but it must be dropped to be used.
> Pressing 'i' would cause your entire unequipped inventory to spill
> out onto the floor, assuming there is enough space for it there.
> Naturally, there would be one item per tile to avoid menus that way,
> and if the player is cramped by walls, other items, or monsters, then
> 'i' will simply have to refuse.

I had the same idea while thinking about LambdaRogue's inventory, but I
rejected it (and instead made my variant mentionend in the other path
of this discussion), because this would be very difficult to realize
when you have to use something from your inventory in tight corridors
of a dungeon or while attacked by various monsters. Imagine a situation
like:

##########
..p@p.....
###+######
###a#####.
###.##....

HP 2/26
PP 1/8

Here we have the @ attacked by two dark preachers (p) at once, and if
he'd opened the door, an abandoned android (a) would do the same. Now
also imagine that the @ has the choice between dying, between drinking
some healing potion or perhaps drinking some potion that regenerates
his psychic powers so that he can chant magical songs. If he now wants
to use such a potion, he can't because there's no space. This may be
realistic, because in battles in reality you usually don't have the
time to heal yourself, but in a roguelike this would be very
frustrating. You always had to try to stay outside of corridors and
only fight in wider rooms, but even there the space on the floor is
often too less...


> And for dipping, you could simply pop an item out
> onto the floor in a place that already has a potion.

This idea is good. It's like the way I sell items to traders; i place
the @ "on" (of course this is called "in front of") a trader and then
drop an item. Then it becomes sold automatically.

Mario

Radomir 'The Sheep' Dopieralski

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Jan 9, 2007, 8:43:34 AM1/9/07
to
At Tue, 09 Jan 2007 07:12:36 GMT,
Brendan Guild wrote:

> Nolithius wrote:
> Refusing to use menus is a severe limitation, but perhaps there is a
> way to allow something similar without compromising. I mentioned in a
> previous post that the inventory might behave like a stack, so
> suppose that it is actually several stacks, one for each category of
> item.

Having fun, eh?

> Each stack would have an associated key that would pop and item off
> the stack and onto the floor beneath the PC (when not already
> standing on something). Then swapping a dagger for a crossbow could
> be done by: drop the dagger with 'd' (the key for dropping the top
> weapon on the stack), wield the dagger from the ground with 'w', and
> finally (if you can spare the time) ',' to get the crossbow off the
> floor.

Why not have 3 stacks, but add a limitation that you can only put smaller
items on top of larger ones? Then add 3 commands to move items between the
stacks, and make the order of items in the first stack control what is
euqipped...

Gerry Quinn

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Jan 9, 2007, 8:53:24 AM1/9/07
to
In article <1168306830....@s34g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
game...@gmail.com says...

And in Crawl you target monsters standing near walls with unknown
wands, just in case they are wands of stone to mud.

- Gerry Quinn

Gamer_2k4

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Jan 9, 2007, 9:13:35 AM1/9/07
to
> > Each stack would have an associated key that would pop and item off
> > the stack and onto the floor beneath the PC (when not already
> > standing on something). Then swapping a dagger for a crossbow could
> > be done by: drop the dagger with 'd' (the key for dropping the top
> > weapon on the stack), wield the dagger from the ground with 'w', and
> > finally (if you can spare the time) ',' to get the crossbow off the
> > floor.
>
> Why not have 3 stacks, but add a limitation that you can only put smaller
> items on top of larger ones? Then add 3 commands to move items between the
> stacks, and make the order of items in the first stack control what is
> euqipped...

Haha, new algorithm: Inventories of Hanoi.

I still like the idea though. Combat shouldn't be a matter of holding
down the arrow key until letters disappear. Thought and strategy
should be involved. If you go into combat, you should have the items
readied that you want to use. Remember how Castle of the Winds did it?
If you had items in your belt, you could use them without equipping
them to your free hand first. Maybe something similar could apply
here.

Gamer_2k4

Martin Read

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Jan 9, 2007, 3:25:42 PM1/9/07
to
ne...@sheep.art.pl wrote:
>Ah, this mechanic was present in the oldest computer game ever, "lander".

Lunar Lander is, at best, the tenth-oldest game ever written for a
digital computer (it's only the tenth or eleventh oldest *that Wikipedia
knows of*).

In particular, it is not the first game to represent a spaceship moving
under the influence of gravity and inertia :)
--
Martin Read - my opinions are my own. share them if you wish.
\_\/_/ http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~mpread/dungeonbash/
\ / "the lights shine clear through the sodium haze the night draws near
\/ and the daylight fades" -- Sisters of Mercy, "Lights"

Arthur J. O'Dwyer

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Jan 9, 2007, 4:00:59 PM1/9/07