If you think about it... the degree of balance in this game is amazing

Discussion in 'Dungeons of Dredmor General' started by Midnight Tea, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. Psiweapon

    Psiweapon Member

    Excuse me.

  2. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    There's more, if you listen longer.


    Attached Files:

  3. Psiweapon

    Psiweapon Member

    Yeah, there are subtle, mind-controlling whispers here and there, but that was the only one I was sure enough to actually quote.
  4. lujo86

    lujo86 Member

    How about just listening to this guy here, who is also the lead programer of the game, state it openly before an audience? It's written on a slide, for gods sake, it's basicaly the introduction to "why dredmor is so sucessful", "when you get down to it Dredmor is a skinnerbox". It doesn't use the skinnerbox monetizing scheme because it doesn't need to - it's addictive as hell the way it is. And the dev's aren't greedy, which is very nice, but it doesn't change the fact that the game is what it is.

    Just freeze the frame at 8:21 and take a good look at it.
    Essence likes this.
  5. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    So the question really is...who cares? ALL games are skinnerboxes. That's the entire point, right? To invent something that people love to do over and over again? It's not like it's an indictment. Is it?
    BDSb, Kazeto, Psiweapon and 1 other person like this.
  6. Psiweapon

    Psiweapon Member

    In fact I largely agree with your statements, save for your addiction to Archaeology, which seems wholly munchkinistic.
  7. lujo86

    lujo86 Member

    Ah, to reply to you both - the problem I have with DoD, and which is there regardless of how much it bothers anyone in particular, is when the, well, skinnerboxiness rears it's ugly head and then you notice all the stuff that could be there but isn't. It's ussually for reasons like time, budget and the realpolitick of developing a game that so much is left unfinished, but for a game with so much charm and appeal it feels like a huge letdown.

    And I'm not addicted to archaeology, it's just that at a certain point, most of the content and rewards start beeing hollow and useless, and it helps me reward myslef for slogging thorough one more floor of samey monsters, bland quests and non-challenging zoos with content I'm sure I can use and have fun with (because skills are the epitome of fun and clever design, don't take limited inventory slots, and in case I'm not randoming I've icked them myself). Theres no munchinism there, the builds I play with no XP ramp are actually more powerfull when it comes to "doing X to accomplis Y", and I most often end up using more skill points on utility skills than I earn from all the XP ramp - but I feel better knowing that my clearing a zoo, a floor or whatever actually got me something I'm interesetd in, instead of another RNG piece of junk which I most likely can't do anything with.

    In other words, why is all this hilarious Role Playing that you get from developing skills, that you can't really find elsewhere and sort of defines all that appeals to my generation and demographic (they made it for me! comment in the lecture) taking a second place to a very, VERY generic grind for deeps related junk which you can actually find anywhere? If I have "It belongs to a museum" i can screw the generic skinnerbox part, and get what I actually "press the button" for in the first place.
  8. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    So basically, you wish Archaeology could be available to every skillset because that would make the game more uniquely suited to your play style? That doesn't sound like very good game design to me. They've already given you an option to help you optimize your game enjoyment while still making things enjoyable for other players, such as Kazeto or myself, who find that option to be annoying after a while.

    An important rule of game design is to recognize that not all players look at the game in the same way. Mark Rosewater, head designer for Magic: The Gathering, wrote a couple of articles on how he realized this and codified it, creating what he calls "psychographics". They're now an important part of how Magic is designed and implemented. You're mistaking your love for XP and your dislike for "random junk" as givens, when they're actually a part of your psychographic. There are people who play DoD who simply love inventory tetris (weird, I know) and would be heartbroken if the opportunity to build outrageous piles of crap was lost or, worse, if the game actively told them that was a stupid idea.

    The rest of your points, about DoD's high level lack of variety, is all true and, as others have said, simply a reflection of the limits of a game studio. Most of us consider that shortfall remedied by the existence of robust modding support. While it's true that we'll never be able to interact with Inconsequentia/LFG/Chests of Evil in super sophisticated ways, we can do a lot that mimics that and, perhaps even better yet, people who don't like the new content aren't required to put up with it. Everyone wins!

    Really, if you want high end variance for DoD, Roguish Renovation, Interior Dredmorating and Vaults of Maslech all offer it to you already, and most people look at them as pretty much a part of the game already. Maybe you should check them out?
    SkyMuffin, Rakankrad and Kazeto like this.
  9. Rakankrad

    Rakankrad Member

    Just to add to this, since I already agree with pretty much ALL of Lorr's post, you (lujo86) could actually mod Archeology's "It Belongs" onto another skillset that you'd want to use. That leaves the few of us who nearly never pick the skillset (I used to never make a single character without it, I never pick it anymore) the option of not using it.
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  10. mining

    mining Member

    Worth noting: Nicholas is talking at a convention for The Society of Skinnerbox Games, basically.

    All games are "skinnerboxes" at their most fundamental level - if that's all your saying (DoD is a game and thus it's a skinnerbox) then that's fine, but if you're saying DoD is exceptional in that it's a skinnerbox and a game, that's not really right.
    Kazeto likes this.
  11. lujo86

    lujo86 Member


    I can't facepalm at you, and it took me a lot of effort to facepalm at Kazeto, and simmilarly I can't bring myself to facepalm at most of you guys because I'm a long time lurker, I've learned a lot from all the stuff you've posted over all the time I've played this game, what with the modding and the commuinty skills guide and all. You guys put so much effort into all this that It's really hard for me to keep this up. Just because I respect you, not because I think you guys are right.

    How do I explain to you that I read just about everything Rosewater ever wrote online? My entire family played MtG, my younger brother qualified for the european campionship when he wasn't yet in grade school, I organized regional tournaments in my country, devised a custom draft set balanced around recrating the fun gameplay that comes from not having cheey bling before anyone ever mentioned the cube online, have as a child memorized about every MtG cards, won regional D&D tournaments, got banned from participating those other than a GM because "it's not fair", played computer games for almost as long as I can breathe... I didn't just walk up and write all this, and just about anything that can be quoted at me about game design I'm very likely aware of. But! -

    I can't mod. That's the bottom line, I can't program, can't mod, and since I can't I'll always be "just another archeology guy", "it's just a phase, it'll pass", and whathave you. And even if I could mod, making a mod for myself would feel abhorrent to me. I don't in fact want a custom tailored expirience - I don't even feel confortable using other people's ones.

    I don't want to pick a skill tree because it grants me "it belongs in a museum", and I don't want to play my own custom mod "because I belong to my own singular psychographic". I don't do that. Even if I like a mod, any mod, I wait till it's implemented officially before I use it on a regular basis, and if it doesn't get approved I don't use it. Hell, I can't even say I approve very much of any of the YHTNTEP skill trees because they seem munchkiny to me (I respect that other people like/want them, but I don't feel very much inclined to use them, I feel the game is easy enough as is).

    Please, answer me theese:

    1) What do I do with all the items I have no use for, and all the zorkmids I have no use for? What do you do?
    2) What do I do with traps if I don't take a trap affinity tree, but instead choose a 1 point wonder which makes me overpowered at the ussually interesting and challenging start, but turns what would generally be a source of new skills and mechanics to play with into a deadly hazard?
    3) What do I do with Chests of Evil if I know that I can't remember the last time I opened one and couldn't deal with whatever was in there?
    4) Why isn't there a micro-goal, or any other way, to gain a skill point instead of gear?

    And I'll quit this now, wait for the next expansion pack to come up, see if any of this has been adressed, if yes I'll buy it, if not, oh, well, I guess there's nothing to be done about it. Sorry about the tone, people, I had the strenght to pull one of theese things over at the Desktop Dungeons beta boards and it cost me too much energy in the end. Hope all this ends up having some constructive effect on the broader DoD community.
  12. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    For starters, I would like to point out that the remark about "facepalming" with no explanation on what is it exactly that had caused you to do that whatsoever is what causes us to have a hard time trying to see it from your perspective (So you just facepalmed at everything I wrote, then? Great, that means you also facepalmed at the part where I agreed with you, and that makes you into a stupid ass. Congratulations). Because you appear pushy with your convictions without appearing to care how it looks from the other side (your attempts at making "It Belongs to the Museum" into a skill available to everyone are a good example there).

    And as for your questions:
    Re.1: Sell them for zorkmids, or change them into lutefisk, or just eat them. Whatever you want to do with them, it's not a game where you are awarded for gathering 1.000 pieces of junk on one tile and there is no "right" choice there - you do with them what you fancy doing with them.
    Re.2: Erm, what do you mean there? If you are asking what are you supposed to do with gathered traps, just use them up on monster zoos.
    Re.3: Learn to deal with them. I only died to such a monster twice, and both times when I was still a beginner, and I never leave such a chest unopened. Open it when standing diagonally to it instead of the tile right next to it, don't engage the monster from the chest in melee regardless of what your build is, and that is pretty much it.
    Re.4: Because you can gain all the skills you would need from normal level-ups, and some people would not appreciate having to pursue some elusive goals for the last lousy skill point. We don't want this game to become a "Farmville" type of game.

    You could spend the time you spent facepalming to ask one of the resident modders to make that modification for you. And the change you want to be made there won't be made, so I guess it's "it was nice knowing you" now because the next expansion is guaranteed not to satisfy you.
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  13. Lutefisk cube. Lutefisk statues. Yeah you kinda are.
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  14. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    1.000 pieces of different junk in stacks of 1, on one tile that is not a special tile. Do not try to make it unnecessarily difficult now, I beg you.
  15. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    1. Who says you have to do anything with them? Why can you not just appriciate their piling up into ever-greater masses? Some people do. I actually think its funny when that little pile of crap in my pocket dimension has all the sparklies on it all the time (then I sell it and consider my part to perpetuate the Dungeon economy done). Again, psychographics, other people may get a huge kick out of that where you don't. That doesn't mean that its wasted, just that its not for you.*
    2. You don't need trap skill to make traps a useful resource/machanic any more than having trap skill makes traps any less of a deadly hazard. In DoD, much as in real life, traps primarily punish the careless or hurried person. Sure, not having trap skill makes manipulating traps in your favor harder, but not impossible. It just requires a little more tinkering. (No, not that Tinkering. I mean experimentation.)
    3. Chests of Evil are... difficult. I once proposed having them spawn a mob of out of depth enimies plus a champion from your floor, instead of one out of depth champion. It seemed a lot more dangerous to the player, at least to me. However, they're still a really swingy mechanic, and I tend to ignore them as detrimental to gameplay. Unless I'm looking for something I want to sell for craploads of cash. (I still privately dream of getting an out of depth miniboss in a Chest of Evil some time. Think of the XP!)
    4. Zoos, Chests of Evil and some Inconsequentia quests all offer varying amounts of XP that you won't get unless you clear them. Those are challenges that get you closer to level-ups, which are the microgoals that, in turn, grant skill points. If you don't like those microgoals and you don't wish to look at mods that introduce new ones, and the developers are clearly heavily invested in a new project now, thus unlikely to produce new content soon, well then, my friend, I fear you are out of luck...

    * I mention and quote Mark Rosewater above mainly because I do not know who has heard of MtG or its head designer. You'd be surprised how many people look clueless when I bring them up in casual conversation around the library where I work, at the theater company I thespianise with, at the grocery store, ect. Just wanted to define terms, in case you were unfamiliar. ;)
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  16. mining

    mining Member

    This is my word of the century. GG.

    On topic: A lot of the concerns you make are things I enjoy.

    1) I like how not all loot is useful. It means I can adapt to use it if it's amazing, or throw it away, or sell it, or fisk it, or horde some up and use it to write UMAD BRO in a shop before I rob brax (though generally it needs to be done outside the store).
    2) Avoid them for a while, until you can see them, then lure monsters into them.
    3) Open them every time while standing right next to them because I WANT THE LOOT NOW.
    4) Because you get XP for killing and loot randomly? You can control your build and your response to gear, but not the gear itself.
    Kazeto likes this.
  17. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Let me get this straight. You have problems with a game that openly encourages people to make changes to it, but you won't make the changes you want because of some philosophical abhorrence...and you feel like it's your right to complain to the developers and the community about the changes that you won't make?

    Sorry -- you just lost basically all of the traction you had.

    Two entirely different questions here. Items can be
    • Sold for zorkmids
    • Fisked for artifacts
    • Used in their intended capacity (all items have an intended capacity -- your build determines which are actually useful to you.)
    Zorkmids can be used to power abilities if you have the right build. As you've said already, they can be used to purchase 'solid' items from Brax or consumables from vending machines. If you don't have uses for Zorkmids, it's because you're playing on too easy of a difficulty setting. I've never had a problem draining my Zorkmid reserves on Clockwork Sawblades, Squid Bolts, BoMs, and so forth, even pushing Banksterism.

    You seem to be implying some specific set of skills here, but whatever you're hinting at, you're being to obscure. The question of what to do with traps, however, is completely irrelevant to '1 point wonders', because all builds do one of two things with traps. Either you pick them up and sell them (or, as Kazeto suggests, use them on zoos, but I've never been that patient), or you walk around them and keep going. What's your point again?

    ...keep opening them?

    Because skill points are tied to levels. This game ties levels to skill points so strongly that you don't actually get any benefits from a level (i.e. stats) until you pick which skill point you're going to get from that level. If you start giving skill points away without level-ups, the entire concept of archetype levels being tied to stats falls apart. That's such an absurd question given the foundational mechanics of character building in this game that it really comes across as more whining than anything else.

    If you're looking to have a constructive effect, you need to start by being constructive -- in other words, suggest solutions. Pointing at things you don't like and saying you don't like them isn't anything. It's just another voice in the crowd. I had issues with the balance of the core skills. I rewrote a meaningful portion of those skills. People agreed with what I did -- my solutions -- and Gaslamp Games thanked me for my work and made most of them part of the core game. It took me several dozen hours over a few weeks, but it worked.

    If you want your problems with the game addressed, start by solving them. It takes time, and effort -- but it can be done. I hadn't ever coded a damn thing except for my high school C++ lessons until I started modding DoD, so I know for a fact that "I can't code" is a pile of self-defeating crap. I'm a liberal arts major and a professional writer -- if I can learn to put XML together well enough that David and Nicholas are willing to put MY code not just in YHTNTEP but in the core game files, anyone can.
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  18. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Speaking of which, David has chatted with me a little bit in conversation and mentioned that he has no idea where the CoE balancing ideas that were supposed to be in 1.11 went. He's looking into it. (I suggested just having all CoE weapons come into play significantly unstable as per encrusts.)
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  19. Midnight Tea

    Midnight Tea Member

    Excellent post, Essence. It got me to thinking about how there does seem to be an inability in a lot of people to make their own fun. Like we have a whole generation (or maybe even more) of people who are used to thinking that their entertainment can only come from pre-packaged outside sources. Except clearly, life becomes a lot more bearable if you let yourself make your own fun and you aren't solely dependent on others to provide you your fun. A great example of that comes in the form the guys who made Space Pirates and Zombies. They pretty much made that game for themselves because nobody else was making the games they wanted to play. I heard that the insane Toady One of Dwarf Fortress got his own start in much the same way. It's more than possible to have fun even if you're setting all the pieces, it just requires developing a sense of play that atrophies if not exercised.

    Bringing the steer back somewhat, this is part of why I think Dungeons of Dredmor has amazing balance. Balance is about interesting and equally viable choices that nonetheless "feel" extremely different. A very difficult thing for any game to strive for. But I do think all the different ways you can play Dredmor is a great beginning in learning how to make your own fun. The fact it's so mod-friendly just emphasizes this philosophy even more.

    And yeah, I mean no disrespect lujo86. I think I understand what you're getting at. But your angle still comes off as a bit entitled since it sounds like you're judging the game for not being what you think it should be. I'm convinced it could just be a misunderstanding, though. I recommend not mixing subjective and objective points, if you don't mind the unsolicited advice. Dismissing mods and modding out of hand is also kind of a faux pas in this community.
    Kazeto likes this.
  20. mining

    mining Member

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