travel between dungeons - requesting input (somewhat long)

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

I've been working on my variant (based on Sangband) for a year now
and it is nearing a point where I'd like to release something. It now
has a name -- Exangband (for Experimental Angband (and eventually, if I
make all the changes on my todo list it will also stand for Ex-Angband
as the game will have diverged considerably from Angband)).

One of the ways it already departs from Sangband is that it supports
multiple scenarios (the one played must be chosen at birth) specified
using text files in lib/edit.

Scenarios may have multiple (in some cases many) themed dungeons,
some with guardian uniques that must be defeated before descending
further in that dungeon.

I want to encourage players to explore these dungeons and I
can provide incentives for them to do so (i.e. have the victory
condition be defeating a monster or bringing back an item from a remote
dungeon, have spells and/or artifacts that can only be found
in such places, have quests be assigned to be attempted there, etc.).

Currently to test dungeon generation I use wizard mode to travel between
them. Obviously, I need to provide ways for players to change dungeons.
I've thought of several designs for this, but am not happy with any
of them and would like to seek input from Angband (and variant) players
and maintainers.

There are at least three ways that variants of Angband (and Crawl, which
isn't an Angband variant, but since I intend to borrow some ideas from
Crawl as Exangband evolves, I include it here) allow players to travel
between dungeons:

1. Have a "wilderness" as Zangband and ToME (and Hengband?) do.
There is a separate map which has (among other things) dungeon entrances.

2. Allow the player to travel to a small number of specified other
dungeons if they are at the top level of a dungeon (some of these
destinations may need to be "unlocked" by defeating a guardian at the
bottom of the current dungeon) with a special use of the '<' command
(Unangband).

3. Place doors (2-way) and portals (1-way) to other dungeons in the
dungeon itself as in Crawl. Some doors and portals might not
be generated unless guardian monsters are defeated or other conditions
are satisfied.

My vision of the dungeons is that at least many of them
are linked underground, physically or by magic, rather than all of them
being reachable from "ground level" as a wilderness would imply, so I
have rejected #1.

I like #3, but I think that without some additions, it will make
dungeon exploration very tedious (which I want to avoid). Suppose for
instance that the entrance to the Orcish Mines is at 400' in the
main dungeon and the entrance to the Elven Halls is at 300' of the
Orcish Mines. A player has explored to 800' of the main dungeon
without exploring the Elven Halls and decides that he now wants to do so.

It is unreasonable IMHO that he either be forced to go back to town,
manually descend to 400' (or recall to 800' and ascend to 400') slogging
through many probably uninteresting levels of the main dungeon, then
some more levels of Orcs before reaching his chosen destination. The
ability to reset recall depth would reduce, but not eliminate this
problem.

While this is exactly how it is in Crawl, there are three reasons it
works well in Crawl, but won't in Exangband:

* Crawl has fewer dungeon levels (i.e. 27 in the main dungeon versus
100 in most Angbands) - this one is easy to fix if desired.
* Crawl's levels are smaller.
* Crawl's levels are persistent and once a level is cleared, monster
generation is very slow - this means each level is (generally) mapped
*forever* once it is explored so it is easy to run up and down these
levels without having to do much exploration or monster fighting.
This is the most important reason IMHO.

I'm not going to support persistent levels.

I do think that by adding something, this method can be "fixed" for
Angband (similar to how the addition of the Word of Recall
scroll/spell/rod fixed the problem in the single dungeon case).

I have come up with several alternatives, some are incompatible with
others, some could be combined:

a. Add a scroll/spell of Travel which will return you to the starting
town if used in a dungeon, or the deepest level of the last dungeon
you were in if used in town (or change the WOR to do this). Items
might also have activations of this sort.

b. As in a., but if used in town the player is given a choice of dungeons
(only ones he's seen the entrance to? he's entered?) to return to.

c. Have a portal in town that the player can use to travel to the
top level of any dungeon he's seen for free. He can then WOR to the
deepest level he's been to.

d. Have the Inn provide a service like that in c. for a fee.

e. Once a player has found stairs or a portal to somewhere in a dungeon,
a copy of each such stairs/portal is generated on the top level each time
he enters this dungeon in the future (so he only has to explore this one
level to get to where he really wants to go).

f. As in e., but allow use of the '<' command as in Unangband to go to
these places instead of generating extra stairs/portals. This still
requires the player to find the stairs/portals the first time by
exploration.

g. The player could buy or find a scroll, which if read would send him
to the top level of a particular dungeon (i.e. one might read a scroll of
travel to the Abyss). This could be used only once (but from anywhere).
Reading one unidentified could be quite dangerous...

h. The player could buy or find a map or other device, which if used
would send him to a dungeon as in g. above. This could be used as many
times as desired. I believe Unangband implements something like this.

a. seems insufficient to fix the problem, perhaps c. makes things
too easy.

I'd be interested in people's opinions on this (or other ideas beyond
a. to h. above).

Thanks.

Larry
14 answers Last reply
More about travel dungeons requesting input somewhat long
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    "Larry Bassel" <labbmf@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
    news:MPG.1d13d83919ea29f99896e0@news.east.earthlink.net...
    > a. Add a scroll/spell of Travel which will return you to the starting
    > town if used in a dungeon, or the deepest level of the last dungeon
    > you were in if used in town (or change the WOR to do this). Items
    > might also have activations of this sort.

    Heng currently does this with WoR's, except it allows you to recall to your
    choice of dungeons, going to the deepest level you have seen in each.
    Doing this solve many of your problems. Once you have found L1 (deepest
    level etc...) of any of the dungeons you can always head back in there.

    This would be useful as if you had found a guardian in one dungeon that was
    currently too tough, you could explore a parallel branch until ready.
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    > Suppose for instance that the entrance to the Orcish Mines is at 400' in the main dungeon and the entrance to the Elven Halls is at 300' of the Orcish Mines. A player has explored to 800' of the main dungeon without exploring the Elven Halls and decides that he now wants to do so.

    Perhaps have the player dig in a direction INTO the Elven Halls, from
    800'?
    This way when the player reaches the 800' level of the main dungeon, he
    can just tunnel to his left through the dirt and into the left side of
    the Elven Halls.

    It is:
    + A *Direct* route to the player's destination
    + Simple, in that all the player has to do is dig in a direction.
    - Somewhat time consuming for the non-magical pickaxe/magic/wand user

    Player starts out in the main dungeon:
    ######
    #.@...
    #.....
    #.....
    ######
    Digs his little heart out:
    ######
    #.___@
    #.....
    #.....
    ######
    Then moves left, right out of the main dungeon and into the Halls:
    ######
    @#e#e#
    #e#e##
    e#e#e#
    ######
    Where '#' is impenetrable rock, where '.' is just simple dirt, '_' is a
    floor, and 'e' is a elf.

    And if there's multiple branches on the same level, then have one
    direction go to a specific branch... of course, this limits you to 4
    branches, unfortunetly.

    North to the Crypt, East to the Tomb, South to the Lair, and West to
    the Swamp! 8)
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    Hengband does this already wonderfully, much better than TOME
    and Z. I suggest you go play Heng! :)

    It works this way
    Fixed wilderness, and as you enter a dungeon, you can from
    now on read WoR to return to it. You can WoR to ANY dungeon
    you´ve been at the deepest level. Scrolls of Reset Recall
    reset the deepest level of the dungeon you are.
    When you WoR from the dungeon, you return to the last
    LVL 0 (towns and wilderness) position you´ve been.
    Most dungeons are VERY themed with different physics/laws
    and do have a boss that usually gives some special item.
    --
    I will hold the candle till it burns up my arm.
    I'll keep taking punches until their will grows tired.
    I will stare the sun down until my eyes go blind.
    I won't change direction and I won't change my mind...
    How much difference does it make?
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    Larry Bassel wrote:
    > Scenarios may have multiple (in some cases many) themed dungeons,
    > some with guardian uniques that must be defeated before descending
    > further in that dungeon.
    >
    > I want to encourage players to explore these dungeons and I
    > can provide incentives for them to do so (i.e. have the victory
    > condition be defeating a monster or bringing back an item from a remote
    > dungeon, have spells and/or artifacts that can only be found
    > in such places, have quests be assigned to be attempted there, etc.).

    I'm currently working on a multiple dungeon idea, too, but for
    different reasons - I'll be very interested to see how you address the
    issues that arise.

    > 1. Have a "wilderness" as Zangband and ToME (and Hengband?) do.
    > There is a separate map which has (among other things) dungeon entrances.

    I'm looking at something a bit like this. The principal difference (if
    any of this ever happens!) will be graded difficulty of wilderness.
    There will be a concept of "danger level", meaning essentially the same
    as "dungeon level", but not in a dungeon.

    > I do think that by adding something, this method can be "fixed" for
    > Angband (similar to how the addition of the Word of Recall
    > scroll/spell/rod fixed the problem in the single dungeon case).

    My current planned solution is as follows: The player starts in his/her
    home town. There are multiple towns, but the player only gets one
    house; there is, however, facility to "move house" from one town to
    another. Recall will be similar to the Heng version described
    downthread; upwards is always to the current home town, downwards is to
    a choice of set level in any visited dungeon, or "current wilderness
    location" (whatever that means).


    > I'd be interested in people's opinions on this (or other ideas beyond
    > a. to h. above).

    Me too.

    > Thanks.
    >
    > Larry

    No, thank you!

    Nick.
  5. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    Larry Bassel wrote:
    > I've been working on my variant (based on Sangband) for a year now
    > and it is nearing a point where I'd like to release something. It now
    > has a name -- Exangband (for Experimental Angband (and eventually, if I
    > make all the changes on my todo list it will also stand for Ex-Angband
    > as the game will have diverged considerably from Angband)).

    Nice. Looking forward to that.
    <SNIP>

    > There are at least three ways that variants of Angband (and Crawl, which
    > isn't an Angband variant, but since I intend to borrow some ideas from
    > Crawl as Exangband evolves, I include it here) allow players to travel
    > between dungeons:
    >
    > 1. Have a "wilderness" as Zangband and ToME (and Hengband?) do.
    > There is a separate map which has (among other things) dungeon entrances.
    I like the 'travel agency' in Morrowind that safely transports
    players
    from one city to another with a caravan. Large sums of money would
    imply highly dangerous or very far destinations. ( Going to Hellmouth
    might cost you 100000 gold )

    > 2. Allow the player to travel to a small number of specified other
    > dungeons if they are at the top level of a dungeon (some of these
    > destinations may need to be "unlocked" by defeating a guardian at the
    > bottom of the current dungeon) with a special use of the '<' command
    > (Unangband).
    Nah.

    > 3. Place doors (2-way) and portals (1-way) to other dungeons in the
    > dungeon itself as in Crawl. Some doors and portals might not
    > be generated unless guardian monsters are defeated or other conditions
    > are satisfied.
    Cool !

    > I like #3, but I think that without some additions, it will make
    > dungeon exploration very tedious (which I want to avoid). Suppose for
    <SNIP>
    > I'd be interested in people's opinions on this (or other ideas beyond
    > a. to h. above).

    i.
    Again, Morrowind, has the Mark spell and the Recall spell. You can
    create ten marks which are linked to the city or the dungeon ( with
    corresponding floor ) where you are. When you Recall you choose one of
    the 10 marks you made.

    >
    > Thanks.
    >
    > Larry

    Cheers,
    T.
  6. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    "Nick" <nckmccnnll@yahoo.com.au> writes:

    > I'm looking at something a bit like this. The principal difference (if
    > any of this ever happens!) will be graded difficulty of wilderness.
    > There will be a concept of "danger level", meaning essentially the same
    > as "dungeon level", but not in a dungeon.

    Damn, but that's a good idea. Most of my Zangband deaths involve me
    going "think I'll just wander around the wilderness, find some
    interesting towns", and then run into a small posse of really-deep
    monsters...

    >
    >> I do think that by adding something, this method can be "fixed" for
    >> Angband (similar to how the addition of the Word of Recall
    >> scroll/spell/rod fixed the problem in the single dungeon case).
    >
    > My current planned solution is as follows: The player starts in his/her
    > home town. There are multiple towns, but the player only gets one
    > house; there is, however, facility to "move house" from one town to
    > another.

    That's a good idea. I was always puzzled why your house didn't follow
    you around - and remembering what is in which is tedious.

    > Recall will be similar to the Heng version described
    > downthread; upwards is always to the current home town, downwards is to
    > a choice of set level in any visited dungeon, or "current wilderness
    > location" (whatever that means).

    Nice.

    cheers, Rich.

    >
    >
    >> I'd be interested in people's opinions on this (or other ideas beyond
    >> a. to h. above).
    >
    > Me too.
    >
    >> Thanks.
    >>
    >> Larry
    >
    > No, thank you!
    >
    > Nick.
    >

    --
    rich walker | Shadow Robot Company | rw@shadow.org.uk
    technical director 251 Liverpool Road |
    need a Hand? London N1 1LX | +UK 20 7700 2487
    www.shadow.org.uk/products/newhand.shtml
  7. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    "Rich Walker" <rw@shadow.org.uk> wrote in message
    news:m3fyvlt2n1.fsf@shadow.org.uk...
    > "Nick" <nckmccnnll@yahoo.com.au> writes:
    >
    >> I'm looking at something a bit like this. The principal difference (if
    >> any of this ever happens!) will be graded difficulty of wilderness.
    >> There will be a concept of "danger level", meaning essentially the same
    >> as "dungeon level", but not in a dungeon.
    >
    > Damn, but that's a good idea. Most of my Zangband deaths involve me
    > going "think I'll just wander around the wilderness, find some
    > interesting towns", and then run into a small posse of really-deep
    > monsters...

    This is why I despise most wilderness settings. You seem as likely to find a
    Fruit Bat, as a Warg, as a moderate level Unique. Boring on one end, instant
    death on the other.
  8. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    "William Klett" <cyclops@mn.rr.com> writes:


    > This is why I despise most wilderness settings. You seem as likely to find a
    > Fruit Bat, as a Warg, as a moderate level Unique. Boring on one end, instant
    > death on the other.

    I actually quite enjoy the whole wilderness thing, which is why I keep
    getting killed in it. Probably ought to rethink my playing style :->

    cheers, Rich.

    --
    rich walker | Shadow Robot Company | rw@shadow.org.uk
    technical director 251 Liverpool Road |
    need a Hand? London N1 1LX | +UK 20 7700 2487
    www.shadow.org.uk/products/newhand.shtml
  9. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    On 2005-06-14 19:16:36, Rich Walker <rw@shadow.org.uk> wrote:

    > "William Klett" writes:
    >
    >
    > > This is why I despise most wilderness settings. You seem as likely to find a
    > > Fruit Bat, as a Warg, as a moderate level Unique. Boring on one end, instant
    > > death on the other.
    >
    > I actually quite enjoy the whole wilderness thing, which is why I keep
    > getting killed in it. Probably ought to rethink my playing style :->
    >
    > cheers, Rich.
    >

    There is a concept of power level in the Zangband wilderness - law level. From
    the code:

    /* Toughness (level 0 - 64) */
    w_ptr->done.mon_gen = (256 - law) / 4;

    The biggest problem is however the lack of barriers to player movement between
    high law levels and low law levels. Its also not necessarily clear - without
    checking the lib files, what is a high law level vs. low law level area.

    Its also

    --
    Unangband L:C E+ T- R- P+ D-- G+(+) F:Sangband RL-- RLA-- W:F Q++
    AI+(++) GFX++ SFX++ RN+++(+) PO++ Hp+++ Re--(+) S++ C- O* KG--
  10. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    Rich Walker <rw@shadow.org.uk> wrote:
    >Damn, but that's a good idea. Most of my Zangband deaths involve me
    >going "think I'll just wander around the wilderness, find some
    >interesting towns", and then run into a small posse of really-deep
    >monsters...

    Scrolls of Teleport. Don't leave home without them.
    (Also, level >10 is necessary, lvl >20 is when I usually start
    to stray off the roads.)


    Otto Martin
    --
    "I could use a feelings reset on a regular basis."
    "Don't you think that's kind of sad?"
    http://www.megatokyo.com/index.php?strip_id=471
  11. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    Andrew Doull <andrewdoull@hotmail.com> writes:


    > There is a concept of power level in the Zangband wilderness - law level. From
    > the code:
    >
    > /* Toughness (level 0 - 64) */
    > w_ptr->done.mon_gen = (256 - law) / 4;
    >
    > The biggest problem is however the lack of barriers to player movement between
    > high law levels and low law levels. Its also not necessarily clear - without
    > checking the lib files, what is a high law level vs. low law level area.

    In which case, as far as the player is concerned, it's random. (No way
    to tell - can't control - random.) Is this why people tend not to like
    wilderness?

    cheers, Rich.

    --
    rich walker | Shadow Robot Company | rw@shadow.org.uk
    technical director 251 Liverpool Road |
    need a Hand? London N1 1LX | +UK 20 7700 2487
    www.shadow.org.uk/products/newhand.shtml
  12. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    On 2005-06-15 02:26:28, Rich Walker <rw@shadow.org.uk> wrote:

    > Andrew Doull writes:
    >
    >
    > > There is a concept of power level in the Zangband wilderness - law level. From
    > > the code:
    > >
    > > /* Toughness (level 0 - 64) */
    > > w_ptr->done.mon_gen = (256 - law) / 4;
    > >
    > > The biggest problem is however the lack of barriers to player movement between
    > > high law levels and low law levels. Its also not necessarily clear - without
    > > checking the lib files, what is a high law level vs. low law level area.
    >
    > In which case, as far as the player is concerned, it's random. (No way
    > to tell - can't control - random.) Is this why people tend not to like
    > wilderness?
    >
    > cheers, Rich.
    >

    You're entirely right. What would help alot is little skull symbols on the map
    in areas that are more dangerous than your current dungeon depth.

    Or some other easy to recognise mechanism.

    My hunch is actually that level 64 is probably too deep for wilderness. If we
    operate on the basis that the wilderness is designed for people who have
    finished the first dungeon, you'd probably want to have all wilderness monsters
    at pre-stat gain depth, before the power inflation that comes with hitting stat
    gain.

    A better formula might be: depth = (256 - law) / 8;

    Dungeon entrances and quests would be an exception to the above - they should
    reflect the toughness of the first level of the dungeon, or the quest
    difficulty, respectively.


    Andrew

    --
    Unangband L:C E+ T- R- P+ D-- G+(+) F:Sangband RL-- RLA-- W:F Q++
    AI+(++) GFX++ SFX++ RN+++(+) PO++ Hp+++ Re--(+) S++ C- O* KG--
  13. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    Andrew Doull <andrewdoull@hotmail.com> writes:

    >>
    >
    > You're entirely right. What would help alot is little skull symbols on the map
    > in areas that are more dangerous than your current dungeon depth.

    That'd be good. Or just having some NPC tell you not to go in a certain
    direction if it's too harsh for you :->

    > Or some other easy to recognise mechanism.
    >
    > My hunch is actually that level 64 is probably too deep for wilderness. If we
    > operate on the basis that the wilderness is designed for people who have
    > finished the first dungeon,

    And people who got *really* pissed at the shop selection in the first
    town. I mean, no arcane armory? no deep potion shop? Store limit of 200
    for magic lanterns and torches? Makes you go for a walk in the woods :->

    > you'd probably want to have all wilderness monsters
    > at pre-stat gain depth, before the power inflation that comes with hitting stat
    > gain.
    >
    > A better formula might be: depth = (256 - law) / 8;
    >
    > Dungeon entrances and quests would be an exception to the above - they should
    > reflect the toughness of the first level of the dungeon, or the quest
    > difficulty, respectively.

    Once you know you're getting near a dungeon or quest, Run Away is always
    the correct policy :-> Personally, I like to find them just to know
    where the towns I haven't found yet are.

    cheers, Rich.

    >
    >
    > Andrew
    >
    > --
    > Unangband L:C E+ T- R- P+ D-- G+(+) F:Sangband RL-- RLA-- W:F Q++
    > AI+(++) GFX++ SFX++ RN+++(+) PO++ Hp+++ Re--(+) S++ C- O* KG--

    --
    rich walker | Shadow Robot Company | rw@shadow.org.uk
    technical director 251 Liverpool Road |
    need a Hand? London N1 1LX | +UK 20 7700 2487
    www.shadow.org.uk/products/newhand.shtml
  14. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.angband (More info?)

    Rich Walker <rw@shadow.org.uk> wrote:
    >Andrew Doull <andrewdoull@hotmail.com> writes:
    >>You're entirely right. What would help alot is little skull symbols on
    >>the map in areas that are more dangerous than your current dungeon
    >>depth.
    >That'd be good. Or just having some NPC tell you not to go in a certain
    >direction if it's too harsh for you :->

    Definitely a good service to add for mapmakers; the current one is ok,
    but not all that useful.

    >>My hunch is actually that level 64 is probably too deep for wilderness.

    Not IMO.

    >>If we operate on the basis that the wilderness is designed for people
    >>who have finished the first dungeon,
    >And people who got *really* pissed at the shop selection in the first
    >town. I mean, no arcane armory? no deep potion shop? Store limit of 200
    >for magic lanterns and torches? Makes you go for a walk in the woods :->

    This is a bit of a problem. However, I think the focus should be in making
    the area between the starting town, the next few towns, and the closest
    dungeons (which should be depth 1-3), safe enough so that level 10+
    characters can ener them without too much risk. (As long as they carry
    ?oTeleport, of course. :-)

    >Once you know you're getting near a dungeon or quest, Run Away is
    >always the correct policy :->

    Yeah, it's just that the game doesn't announce it when a dungeon comes
    into view... (at least yet)

    >Personally, I like to find them just to know where the towns I haven't
    >found yet are.

    Won't work with dungeons in the future, hopefully not with quests either.


    Otto Martin - cleared a tower dungeon lvl at 2300´ from rubble; profitable
    --
    "I could use a feelings reset on a regular basis."
    "Don't you think that's kind of sad?"
    http://www.megatokyo.com/index.php?strip_id=471
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