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Thread: Imprison (The Level)

  
  1. #11
    Awakening Game Master Metal Gear Rex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Imprison (The Level)

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    This is where you and I have chosen different paths in live. I agree with you that the combat in DK has no dept to it, I've never really enjoyed the combat in DK - 1 or 2, so I've simply never considered it a game about the combat. For all I care they remove defence/dexterity statistics completely, and only have HP and Damage statistics. As it stands I think that would even be an improvement. Given this, I simply consider the combat as irrelevant to the game, as the dice-roll at the end to show you've made a good-enough dungeon.
    Combat happens frequently enough and is of great enough significance that I feel there should be a larger emphasis on adding more interactive elements to make things interesting and keep the Player involved. That's what I'm pushing for in DK2 at least, and something I'd at least attempt to push for if making a patch for DK1.

    I find DK combat interesting because you can't tell your Creatures what to do. It makes the Creatures feel more alive in a sense, much like how they follow their own needs in the dungeon but still try to listen to what you have to say. You have indirect influence over combat by buffing your Creatures via spells or trying to manipulate their position through pick up / dropping or slapping (the latter applies mostly to DK2 and is a rarer element). The interactive element in patched DK2 comes from a feeling of impact in the results of combat by assisting your Creatures and a certain level of skill and quick decision making required to properly do such.

    Like, this feeling that it couldn't be done without your help, but at the same time, there's an undeniable reliance upon the Creatures you attracted and raised as they still stand at the center of combat while you're more of a background figure pulling strings. That's what makes it feel satisfying for me while still keeping the core DK style of combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    That being said, there are so many bugs in both games, and so many ways to improve upon the design, adding layers of dept and strategy. Not only combat, but also in the way you acquire your creature composition or build your dungeon. A sequel could expand on that greatly, back when it looked like WftO was in Beta, I made some suggestions there, like creature synergies, giving creatures a purpose beyond combat(getting a better dungeon/higher tier units) and map-based unit compositions. But I think that would be the place for such improvements, in a sequel.
    I've dreamed of my own DK game to make what I consider to be maximizing the true highlights and certain styles of the game (I guess sort of like everyone else), but it isn't really supposed to be like a DK3 or spiritual successor. Rather, it's closer to my own vision and game and what I'd like to see from something of that specific genre; it's something that would technically emphasize its own identity as opposed to trying to be another Dungeon Keeper game specifically. Maybe I'll attempt it someday if mostly everything goes right for me, who knows.

    I'm not entirely convinced WftO will match up with what I personally want but I don't keep up with it enough to truly know that. I kinda just want to wait until it comes out to experience it fresh without any background knowledge of stuff going on during its development, although that's kind of impossible I guess at this point considering that I used to also work on WftO.

    While I don't remember the details of all my past WftO suggestions (I made a lot back when WftO was on KK and plenty of my units were intended to be implemented but got scrapped during the IP change, so you don't see any of them now, never bothered with suggestions after that as it would ultimately be a waste of time), there is one particular Hero suggestion that comes to mind and I think matches well with your suggestion on unit synergy in the dungeon, but with a different approach.

    The Maiden I believe is the first publicly accepted suggestion. The thread is quite outdated as I remember I was working on an update but could never get around to finishing it due to a lot of events going on around the time and it eventually became irrelevant to work on. Basically, she is a pure buff unit that supports working Creatures in the dungeon to increase their efficiency or buff them in combat. She creates a bond with a specific male unit and continues to support him to drastically increase his capabilities. In essence, the Maiden works as a clone of another existing creature. While she takes up a slot in your army, she can excel in literally any task in the dungeon, indirectly, by supporting someone who already works well at a certain job. In combat, she works similarly by buffing your strongest creature to make it so you essentially have a second copy of it. In practice it's obviously different from simply that but it is an interesting and fair comparison nevertheless for concept discussion.

    The concept of a Maiden works so well because it fits that role perfectly as a typical damsel in distress type character, something that also works because it fits the DK style of archetype Heroes and she fittingly works well with Knights. Additionally, she fills in the role of pure buffer, something that both vanilla DK1 / Dk2 lack. She has an easily understood concept and consistent usage in both battle and the dungeon while at the same time she adds an element of depth to the game on her own based on the impact she has in dungeon management. It's that strong element of unit synergy that you mentioned.

    I honestly feel that the way to go about expanding on dungeon management in DK would be through units like the Maiden. Creatures that can have this kind of unique and personalized impact on the whole dungeon can certainly add additional layers of depth on their own. At the same time, each creature needs to be given enough thought to make sure its concept matches up properly with its usage to ensure it's easily understandable, while also avoiding the feeling of them being fluff. The Maiden is a prime example of such, I feel.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    When patching a game, you'll have to focus on the core of what makes it fun, then find out which issues inhibit that fun and what is missing in making it more fun, and changing that.

    For me, DK1's key strength is dungeon management, and apparently, for you the strength of DK2 is the combat.
    Funnily enough, this major emphasis on combat that I'm expressing is more or less something discovered sort of accidentally.

    I originally just started with trying to balance the game and I thought it would be interesting if I made it so Keeper Thunderbolt could be castable anywhere to balance out the nerfs I did to it originally with damage drops and a recharge time. I also just sort of randomly created an Invulnerable Keeper Spell to replace the OP Turncoat spell (originally I worked with a Raise Dead spell but that was kinda boring). I then noticed a higher demand for skill and certain interactive elements appearing as, due to recharge times, I had to properly time my castings on the right targets to make the most out of the spells.

    Due to changes I did to Creatures and Heroes, there's a higher reward in personally interacting with combat. Heavy Hitters focus everything in one blow, and it is incredibly rewarding to stun them just as they're attacking to deny them that one blow. Then there's the added capability of burst damage through spells like Fireball and that synergizes with the stun because you double that burst.

    Upon realizing this strong interactive element and how it improves combat experience, I began to move more towards that, especially with the new update I'm working on.

    It's quite good that I'm doing this as DKII otherwise doesn't really have anything. By default, DK1 pretty much does mostly everything better than DKII. DKII just has no soul, nothing really going for it, and its default combat is even less of an experience than in DK1. It just so happens that, due to the way the game's designed and the game's engine, DKII has the potential for expansion in its combat elements. Bringing out the best potential of the game is in essence the main goal of the patch.

    I also feel I downplayed DKII's dungeon management too much. Thinking about it more, I realize it does still have a lot of elements and its own level of depth involved to keep the dungeon at higher efficiency and to better raise your army for when battle encounters do actually occur. There are some things it has that it does better than in DK1, such as trap / door placement due to the better variety of traps and doors in addition to resources required to use them.

    The main problem with it all is just the fact that it's not as fun / interesting or as satisfying as in DK1. There are smaller details that make a difference, but one of the bigger things are the Creatures. DK1 Creatures are much better than DK2 Creatures and they feel more alive, which also makes your dungeon feel more alive and interesting to interact with.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    That's why I say, DK1 for a large part needs better maps. I think the core element of a good but basic map, would be a timing constraint and interesting limitations in building your dungeon. Timing constraint could simply be limited gold or impending hero attack, but also something like a rival keeper that will accomplish something at some point. That timing constraint will force the player to balance sitting back and training, and pushing onward facing danger. A better map will string multiple of these like checkpoints, at each point providing tension, giving the player a sense of accomplishment when reached and a reward in the sense of a new benefit (room, creature, spell, whatever), which is helpful/needed in accomplishing the next goal.
    Well that definitely makes sense to me.

    One of the problems with vanilla DK2 and why its such a casual game is the fact that the game almost never pressures you, like ever. It's also why everyone hates level 10. The increased pressure in my own maps definitely seems to be quite the improvement and forces Players to keep up with their dungeon efficiency to keep their armies healthy and to stay on top of combat, sometimes doing both simultaneously. Naturally, there is a higher focus on the combat latter because that's what patched DKII offers better of. So it only makes sense that DK1 would have more emphasis on the former as that's what it does better.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    The limit is still there, I wonder removing it would still be worthwhile. Even though it is an obvious improvement, I'm not sure it will see much if any use. It's not like there's 10 mapmakers waiting to get cracking once those limitations are gone because they've made the absolute most of what the current game has to offer.
    Fair enough. There isn't enough to do in a map to make it so the IF limit is consistently being hit so it's not really a worry or a priority demand.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Currently Mefisto is the only one working on the game, being developer, tester and designer in one, and as it's his hobby not his job he rightfully so picks up the tasks he prefers doing, and often his priority is in rewriting the original and fixing any technical bugs, over introducing fundamental enhancements and removing fundamental flaws.
    Yeah, I understand and know how it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Personally, unless there would be some real commitment that new mapmaking features would be used, I would put some focus on getting rid of some of the most annoying issues, including a bit of creature balance, and improvements to the AI.
    I would agree with this.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Some of the best designs in any fields come from having to work with a clear set of limitations.
    Well, it forces you to think. You can't just do whatever as you'll run into problems with those limitations. You need to think more carefully on how to get what you want without having it being restrained by these limits, and it forces you to make certain judgement calls.

    I think it's mostly a case of the provoking of thought and more careful planning than what would otherwise be applied that causes such.
    Dungeon Keeper 2 Patch: With More Balance and Pie [Hiatus]
    Forever Hiatus. Probably. Latest Version: 3.5 w/Levels 1-11 Revised.

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  2. #12

    Default Re: Imprison (The Level)

    I tried one of the duke's maps, and although flawed, it probably was the best non-official map I played. I've posted my impressions here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Gear Rex View Post
    Combat happens frequently enough and is of great enough significance that I feel there should be a larger emphasis on adding more interactive elements to make things interesting and keep the Player involved. That's what I'm pushing for in DK2 at least, and something I'd at least attempt to push for if making a patch for DK1.

    I find DK combat interesting because you can't tell your Creatures what to do. It makes the Creatures feel more alive in a sense, much like how they follow their own needs in the dungeon but still try to listen to what you have to say. You have indirect influence over combat by buffing your Creatures via spells or trying to manipulate their position through pick up / dropping or slapping (the latter applies mostly to DK2 and is a rarer element). The interactive element in patched DK2 comes from a feeling of impact in the results of combat by assisting your Creatures and a certain level of skill and quick decision making required to properly do such.

    Like, this feeling that it couldn't be done without your help, but at the same time, there's an undeniable reliance upon the Creatures you attracted and raised as they still stand at the center of combat while you're more of a background figure pulling strings. That's what makes it feel satisfying for me while still keeping the core DK style of combat.
    Currently, I don't even like using spells in DK1 during combat, and pick-up-and-drop micro would really feel like cheating to me. Usually at the most I pull creatures back when near death, and that's it. Your opponent doesn't doesn't get picked up at the right time, nor do the heroes get the spells casted upon them, so you'll get almost an unfair advantage when you use everything you've got.
    That's just me though, and I do think spells should have a place in the game and during combat. The pickup-micro I feel like really goes against what the series is about, so when combat would be improved - which would be nice of course - I would like to see that more in the direction of creature balance and strategy with creature composition and deployment, then I would in quick micro.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Gear Rex View Post
    I've dreamed of my own DK game to make what I consider to be maximizing the true highlights and certain styles of the game (I guess sort of like everyone else), but it isn't really supposed to be like a DK3 or spiritual successor. Rather, it's closer to my own vision and game and what I'd like to see from something of that specific genre; it's something that would technically emphasize its own identity as opposed to trying to be another Dungeon Keeper game specifically. Maybe I'll attempt it someday if mostly everything goes right for me, who knows.

    I'm not entirely convinced WftO will match up with what I personally want but I don't keep up with it enough to truly know that. I kinda just want to wait until it comes out to experience it fresh without any background knowledge of stuff going on during its development, although that's kind of impossible I guess at this point considering that I used to also work on WftO.

    While I don't remember the details of all my past WftO suggestions (I made a lot back when WftO was on KK and plenty of my units were intended to be implemented but got scrapped during the IP change, so you don't see any of them now, never bothered with suggestions after that as it would ultimately be a waste of time), there is one particular Hero suggestion that comes to mind and I think matches well with your suggestion on unit synergy in the dungeon, but with a different approach.

    The Maiden I believe is the first publicly accepted suggestion. The thread is quite outdated as I remember I was working on an update but could never get around to finishing it due to a lot of events going on around the time and it eventually became irrelevant to work on. Basically, she is a pure buff unit that supports working Creatures in the dungeon to increase their efficiency or buff them in combat. She creates a bond with a specific male unit and continues to support him to drastically increase his capabilities. In essence, the Maiden works as a clone of another existing creature. While she takes up a slot in your army, she can excel in literally any task in the dungeon, indirectly, by supporting someone who already works well at a certain job. In combat, she works similarly by buffing your strongest creature to make it so you essentially have a second copy of it. In practice it's obviously different from simply that but it is an interesting and fair comparison nevertheless for concept discussion.

    The concept of a Maiden works so well because it fits that role perfectly as a typical damsel in distress type character, something that also works because it fits the DK style of archetype Heroes and she fittingly works well with Knights. Additionally, she fills in the role of pure buffer, something that both vanilla DK1 / Dk2 lack. She has an easily understood concept and consistent usage in both battle and the dungeon while at the same time she adds an element of depth to the game on her own based on the impact she has in dungeon management. It's that strong element of unit synergy that you mentioned.

    I honestly feel that the way to go about expanding on dungeon management in DK would be through units like the Maiden. Creatures that can have this kind of unique and personalized impact on the whole dungeon can certainly add additional layers of depth on their own. At the same time, each creature needs to be given enough thought to make sure its concept matches up properly with its usage to ensure it's easily understandable, while also avoiding the feeling of them being fluff. The Maiden is a prime example of such, I feel.
    Synergies could go like that yes, but beyond. Your dungeon should be there to get you creatures, and your creatures should be there to expand your dungeon. In DK1 and DK2 they have a very poor system in place in getting a unit composition. Mostly because they have a creature limit, and allow you to fire units you don't want, allowing you to only have the strongest units, and they usually require little to no effort. In DK1 Bile Demons and Dragons are some of the strongest units in the game, but you get them for free, by building rooms you would anyway and at the very start. Beyond that, both games are mostly build room, get creature. And the creatures you have very few options in making themselves useful, basically train and go to bed until you need to fight.
    A better system would be one where getting rid of a creature does not allow you another one, giving you no reason to not want weak creatures like trolls or goblins, and then making sure that a combination of weak and strong creatures makes for a more cost effective combination then just the strong creatures.

    While in your dungeon, getting a new creature tier should require effort from lower tiered units. Like building a summoning altar which needs creatures praying for a strong creature to come through, or have trolls collect rocks and have a fire based creature set it alight in order to get a fire golem. Something. Have the player make a choice to invest in teching up or training up, and you will have an interesting multi-player game as well.

    As for WftO at first I didn't give it much attention, because most fan efforts will never amount to anything. That's what I really like about KeeperFX, that Mefisto knows this too and makes sure every build is playable. However, even after the IP change, they communicated the game was nearly finished, and would have a public alpha(or even beta) en a few weeks.
    That all proved to be a lie, and then they communicated their only developer left. Shortly after a new, seemingly more experienced, team stepped in and started over. Since then I really haven't kept up at all either and until yesterday never even visited the forum. It looks like they will at least finish a game, but all their communication is about the creatures, not about design choices of philosophy. So I have a 'just wait and see' approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Gear Rex View Post
    Funnily enough, this major emphasis on combat that I'm expressing is more or less something discovered sort of accidentally.

    I originally just started with trying to balance the game and I thought it would be interesting if I made it so Keeper Thunderbolt could be castable anywhere to balance out the nerfs I did to it originally with damage drops and a recharge time. I also just sort of randomly created an Invulnerable Keeper Spell to replace the OP Turncoat spell (originally I worked with a Raise Dead spell but that was kinda boring). I then noticed a higher demand for skill and certain interactive elements appearing as, due to recharge times, I had to properly time my castings on the right targets to make the most out of the spells.

    Due to changes I did to Creatures and Heroes, there's a higher reward in personally interacting with combat. Heavy Hitters focus everything in one blow, and it is incredibly rewarding to stun them just as they're attacking to deny them that one blow. Then there's the added capability of burst damage through spells like Fireball and that synergizes with the stun because you double that burst.

    Upon realizing this strong interactive element and how it improves combat experience, I began to move more towards that, especially with the new update I'm working on.

    It's quite good that I'm doing this as DKII otherwise doesn't really have anything. By default, DK1 pretty much does mostly everything better than DKII. DKII just has no soul, nothing really going for it, and its default combat is even less of an experience than in DK1. It just so happens that, due to the way the game's designed and the game's engine, DKII has the potential for expansion in its combat elements. Bringing out the best potential of the game is in essence the main goal of the patch.

    I also feel I downplayed DKII's dungeon management too much. Thinking about it more, I realize it does still have a lot of elements and its own level of depth involved to keep the dungeon at higher efficiency and to better raise your army for when battle encounters do actually occur. There are some things it has that it does better than in DK1, such as trap / door placement due to the better variety of traps and doors in addition to resources required to use them.

    The main problem with it all is just the fact that it's not as fun / interesting or as satisfying as in DK1. There are smaller details that make a difference, but one of the bigger things are the Creatures. DK1 Creatures are much better than DK2 Creatures and they feel more alive, which also makes your dungeon feel more alive and interesting to interact with.
    It's not just you that downplayed the dungeon management of DK2, it's that the game didn't focus on it at all really. I've only done the campaign twice, at launch and a few years ago, and than attempted a few of your levels recently, but the maps I remember hardly even allow for dungeon building. And what is there, indeed really isn't as fun.
    When playing the few levels of your patch, I have to focus almost exclusively on the combat, and managing a dungeon was something hectic in between. I feel what you've done would work best in a 'my pet dungeon' environment: Build first and then have a huge wave of heroes coming towards you. Having a self-sustaining dungeon would then allow you to focus on combat.
    Or have the combat be more in waves, giving ample time for dungeon management in between, with the pressure of knowing you need to be ready for the next wave.

    But like said, reading what you did all makes sense to me, I think you've made the most of what it is, as it will never be a nice dungeon building sim.
    Last edited by YourMaster; August 10th, 2014 at 18:20.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Imprison (The Level)

    Just completed Imprison (and boy was it a nightmare). Nice of MGR to get the unused sound clips from Skybird Trill into this level.
    or that is the question

  4. #14

    Default Re: Imprison (The Level)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hades View Post
    Just completed Imprison (and boy was it a nightmare). Nice of MGR to get the unused sound clips from Skybird Trill into this level.
    Congratulations. So, no bug.
    I did Templars' Nightmare today, and it was pretty fun, not too long and not overly difficult.

  5. #15
    Awakening Game Master Metal Gear Rex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Imprison (The Level)

    Well time to get that reply out. I'm not even a month late, no complaining. At least now I feel I have more to say in response. Like, a lot more. Apparently.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Currently, I don't even like using spells in DK1 during combat,
    I have just beaten Level 8 in my replaythrough of the original DK1 campaign with FX (not using nightly builds although I plan to get the latest one for next time I play). I was pretty much just dicking around too as I know the campaign doesn't get 'serious' until Level 11 or so. In other words, I don't have a very fresh memory on what DK1 combat feels like, so I can only go off of what I remember and what I know based on stats.

    DK1 doesn't really provide good use of Keeper Spells. The vast majority of spells are utility based, I think. Spells like Protect or Invisibility are a bit questionable, as Protect is low impact outside of Keeper Lightning immunity. The most common spell to be cast is Lightning, which is OP as balls. Not even counting Sight + Lightning abuse. Lightning on its own is just broken. Part of it is the insane power of the spell, and the other part of it is similar to the Boulder Trap's OP level: it is instant death. Outside of Protect, there isn't really a counter towards it. Having to cast Protect on your entire army is not only really expensive, but also kind of annoying to do and really shouldn't feel like a necessity. Plus it is only a temporary defense. An enemy can just wait for the Protect spells to wear off before resuming the Lightning spam, causing the Protect player to have wasted all that gold for nothing.

    My point is that the DK1 spells are badly balanced and designed as far as adding to combat. Lightning is good for like a 'God Game' I suppose as it allows you to just have an answer to take out your frustration or something, but as far as any sense of competitive or fair combat between two sides, it's pretty bad.

    I do feel I got it right with the patch at least, where the units are really the main driving force of an army. Spells are support based, but still powerful in their own right when used correctly and strategically.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    and pick-up-and-drop micro would really feel like cheating to me. Usually at the most I pull creatures back when near death, and that's it.
    Pick up and drop practically is cheating. It is an incredibly abusable mechanic that is fundamentally imbalancing to defensive vs aggressive playstyles. It rewards defensive players way too much and makes it annoying for aggressive players as they have to slowly claim an enemy's dungeon to avoid that kind of disadvantage, since that's the only way to play around it outside of exploiting something else.

    It's unfortunate that WftO, based on what I know at least, won't really solve this issue and may in fact make it worse for aggressive players due to limits on Hand-of-Evil. The mana cost to pick up and drop doesn't solve the fundamental balance problem with the mechanic, which is the ability to easily reposition your army to gain a massive tempo advantage. Place some blitzers next to enemy support and you fuck the enemy over so hard. Support units, so long as they stay alive, can put in a lot of work. Denying the enemy that is critical.

    DK2 had it right with the stun mechanic. Stunned units take double damage, which sets up a vulnerability time that makes this strategy more of a high risk high reward strategy, which is fair play I think. The one problem with vanilla DK2 though is that the stun values are probably too high, especially for units like the Bile Demon.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Your opponent doesn't doesn't get picked up at the right time, nor do the heroes get the spells casted upon them, so you'll get almost an unfair advantage when you use everything you've got.
    At least in the patch, I've been able to set it so that the opponent does in fact pick up units at the right time. Sometimes better than a real player, in fact. The one thing they can't do is pick up a unit who is stunned, but that's fair as it creates a strategy to overcome them as they normally have larger armies to make them more threatening opponents. They can cast spells do quite well, and unit balance is just right so that enemy Keepers don't get screwed over by bad army make ups.

    I think it's just a weakness in DK1 honestly. Although I don't really remember under what conditions the AI picks up its units. In DK2, you can set the percentage of health the unit has to have before they get picked up and you can make it so they picked up outnumbered units who are on enemy territory or something. Although, it never does pick up units when a CtA is set up.

    Heroes are more complicated though. Maybe Heroes with a Hero Heart should have been able to cast spells, who knows? Hero Invasion maps can be made to feel fair when casting spells as you're outnumbered and overpowered in a unit vs unit match. You need some kind of extra support to gain leverage. On the other hand, Hero Fort maps are slower and steadier usually, at least how I've seen them traditionally designed. They need some extra work to make them challenging like Hero Invasions, something to apply extra pressure. Limited resources or certain powerful rooms, maybe even reinforcements, to force the player to progress as fast as possible. Something like spell support can go a long ways to speed things up.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    That's just me though, and I do think spells should have a place in the game and during combat. The pickup-micro I feel like really goes against what the series is about, so when combat would be improved - which would be nice of course - I would like to see that more in the direction of creature balance and strategy with creature composition and deployment, then I would in quick micro.
    I think micro still has its place. In general, I like that you can't control units directly. It matches the general feel of unit personality and livelihood when they act on their own as they do. General strategy and management is good for a nice and efficient dungeon, much like an army make up / build is generally sufficient enough to win in battle. However, micro still exists as a means to squeeze out that extra bit of efficiency, which can make all of the difference. It's something that has an added effect over time. Sometimes you can still win a fight with units alone, but you'll suffer some casualties. Micro management is a means to avoid that if you're skilled enough, and to also overcome larger and more powerful threats. It adds an additional element of depth and skill in real time strategy, which makes multiplayer very interesting and also allows for a more challenging campaign.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Synergies could go like that yes, but beyond. Your dungeon should be there to get you creatures, and your creatures should be there to expand your dungeon. In DK1 and DK2 they have a very poor system in place in getting a unit composition. Mostly because they have a creature limit, and allow you to fire units you don't want, allowing you to only have the strongest units, and they usually require little to no effort. In DK1 Bile Demons and Dragons are some of the strongest units in the game, but you get them for free, by building rooms you would anyway and at the very start. Beyond that, both games are mostly build room, get creature. And the creatures you have very few options in making themselves useful, basically train and go to bed until you need to fight.
    A better system would be one where getting rid of a creature does not allow you another one, giving you no reason to not want weak creatures like trolls or goblins, and then making sure that a combination of weak and strong creatures makes for a more cost effective combination then just the strong creatures.
    I heavily question this kind of approach with attraction. I feel like it's born solely from bad results in DK1. Both DK1 and DK2 had flawed and poorly designed attraction systems, but for different reasons.

    In DK1, there are a number of clearly inferior units like insects that are available at the same time as more powerful units like Bile Demons. There is a more complex issue involved, however. Rooms require to be researched, which locks down a lot of units for a significant portion of the game. This limits variety, and also puts pressure on a Player's ability to attract Warlocks. If they're unlucky, they won't get Warlocks and they'll be at a huge disadvantage due to RNG elements. Dark Mistresses, for example, are very powerful and one player having to wait longer to obtain them puts them at a distinct disadvantage. There's no control between room and spell research either, so there are other problems with not attracting Warlocks.

    In DK2, on top of poor balancing, the problem comes with the attraction system failing to synergize with the room system. It's based on furniture, but certain rooms have more furniture than others. Library and Guard Room provide plenty of 'furniture' but then you have the Workshop, which provides significantly less furniture in a 5x5 room. It's worse because rooms don't always need to be built as 5x5 either. Workshop, again, only needs 3x3. Torture Chamber can be anywhere between 3x3 and 4x4 before it gets too excessive. Library varies where it depends on spells availble and specials after that. Standard requirement to max out spells is a 5x4 (technically one tile less than that but might as well go all the way at that point) It causes screwed up variance and attraction rates for certain units. It doesn't help that DK2 also suffers from unit imbalances and the problem of needing to attract certain units. Warlocks are the only units who can research. Vampires can't be obtained until battle (not counting converts for the same problem) and Dark Angels are impractical to obtain so early on.

    Both systems suffer from poor unit balancing. Both systems also suffer from a 'need' to obtain a certain unit, which is the Warlock for research. DK1 is both less and more bad in this, as Dragons are also a possibility and other units can still research, but it suffers from the extra problem of locking down other units and rooms until they're researched. Hell Hounds are almost never obtained for this reason. DK2's problem is in bad room synergy.

    I have to reference my patch again to show that there are alternative routes. In the patch, unit balance is pretty tight. There are no Beetles, only Orcs. Rooms are not researchable and I set the room attraction for units to being only a few tiles, making it so you can immediately and easily attract whatever units you want towards the beginning. Maybe you want a head start in research so you build 3 tiles of Library somewhere, or perhaps you want earlier Mistresses as Torture Chambers are usually built 'last', so you build a single tile of the Torture Chamber first thing. This allows for a higher level of control over what is attracted. I've also done away with the DK2 attraction system of furniture, so now it's based around tiles only like in DK1. You don't need to build more than the required amount, it'll attract the same number of units.

    Due to units being globally balanced, there really isn't something you don't want. Generally what you don't want is too much of one thing. Beyond that, you build an army that synergizes with itself somehow and that fits the kind of playstyle you'll be applying for the map. I've also done away with the limitations of the work rooms. Most melee units can work in the Workshop and most support units can work in the Library, so it's very difficult to just get screwed over by bad Portal luck, or worse: being limited in army builds.

    One problem with requiring very specific units for a room to be functional is that it cripples the player that doesn't use that specific unit. Perhaps a player wants to have Goblins and Trolls for an aggressive approach, then Mistresses as support to deal with bigger targets and Dark Elves for an extra damage boost. They can do that, and they aren't screwed over by not having Warlocks. If not having Warlocks meant not having spells, then it makes that approach impossible for no good reason as spells are practically necessary. Warlocks are not desired, and they can't simply be sacked after they research because it's supposed to be an aggressive approach. Sacking units is too slow, especially later in the game due to the DK2 Portal attracting faster with fewer units. That's why I also changed this in the patch.

    * * * * * * *

    I've played enough of the patch to know that the system I have installed works very well for the most part. There are obviously some things that could be done better, but it's within the limits of my ability to change things and serves well enough as an example and proof of concept.

    What needs to be done with the attraction system is to make it less random and give the player a sense of control. Beyond that, units needs to be more properly balanced so that, in theory, no unit is undesirable. In actual practice, units only become undesirable with certain army builds, much like the example above with an aggressive approach requiring Trolls as opposed to Bile Demons. That's where the element of control comes into play, as there isn't this annoying / frustrating element of RNG and being unable to attract what is needed.

    There should not be specific unit requirements to give rooms functionality like in vanilla DK2. I don't like the idea of giving practically everyone the ability to work in a room like in DK1 either, but some kind of middle ground should be made. In DK1, most units can research only because it is more of a necessity. Research is vital as it provides Rooms, Spells, and Unit availability. At least in the patch, research provides only Spells. While they're pretty important, the most commonly used spells are Thunderbolt and Heal, the first two spells researched, so it's still within easy access to get all that is essentially necessary. There's still the good old pick up and drop, which is effectively like a basic spell mechanic.

    Outside of special cases like the Skeleton or Vampire, units shouldn't be locked down like they are in DK1. A good, general rule would be that units that come from the Portal should never be locked down somehow. It's definitely something I'm going to try applying to DK1 if I ever get around to working on the patch for that again.

    These are the things that an attraction system needs to really work properly.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    While in your dungeon, getting a new creature tier should require effort from lower tiered units. Like building a summoning altar which needs creatures praying for a strong creature to come through, or have trolls collect rocks and have a fire based creature set it alight in order to get a fire golem. Something. Have the player make a choice to invest in teching up or training up, and you will have an interesting multi-player game as well.
    There was a time when I thought unit tiers were a good idea. Now, after experimenting with it more in DK2, I came to realize that they aren't. In the vanilla patch, I made it so that Black Knights, Dark Angels, Horned Reapers, and Vampires were all 'first class' units. They were more powerful but required a lot more time to train and were much more expensive, both to maintain and to attract. Royal Guards and Stone Knights also functioned as first class units for the Hero side. In the second patch release, I changed all this and went for a more interesting approach. I made it so there's higher unit variety. Instead of Black Knights being upgraded Bile Demons essentially, they acted as aggressive style tanks with Invulnerability instead of raw health.

    The problem with multiple tiers of units is that it is really unnecessary and can easily add unnecessary clutter. If there are a limited set number of units, like what I have with DK2, then there is a struggle with variety and / or there is a certain lock down on features. Attempting to avoid such by creating more units is where the problem of unnecessary clutter comes into play.

    Unit functionality between tiers will either be one of two things: Same function, different tier OR different function, different tier. Both of these have their own problems, and I ran into both with the first version of my patch.

    The problem with same function, different tier, is obvious: there's a lack of variety. This is an example I mentioned already with Black Knights being upgraded Bile Demons, or Royal Guards being upgraded Guards. They're tanks with raw health, or in the Guard case, rounded unit or superior rounded unit. Different tiers basically do the same thing as lower tiers, just being better at it with more drawbacks in other ways. The lack of variety comes more within the tier itself. There's only one tank, which is the Bile Demon. Black Knights are high tier, and Trolls are low tier.

    The problem with different function, different tier, is less obvious but it is there nevertheless; it is unit function lock down. This is a problem I had with the Horned Reaper and to some extent the Stone Knight. If I changed the Black Knight to have the aggressive tank with Invulnerable spells without 'lowering his tier', he would also have the same problem. The Horned Reaper is the ultimate crowd control unit due to Inferno, but the drawback is the fact that he also has friendly fire with said Inferno. This goes with his whole anti-synergy concept, and requires his own special management else he'll go out of control. He's also an 'extreme heavy hitter', like the Giant although not as powerful. As for the Stone Knight, he is sort of like a heal tank, although the mechanic is limited in DK2. He heals on his own land, basically.

    Having these units only accessible on higher tiers is essentially the same lock down on function that DK1's research system has on units. That heal tank function with the Stone Knight is a good defense against DPS, but is bad against a good solid burst of damage. The Black Knight is the opposite with his Invulnerability; he's good against an initial burst of damage as Invulnerability negates it, but bad at handling a steadier source of DPS. Horned Reaper's unique function is also locked down as he's the only kind of unit with friendly fire crowd control and deliberate anti-synergy elements, which adds a lot more depth than it might sound.

    These units and their functions are good at handling specific situations, but what's the point if they're locked down like that? Adding more units to give other tiers the same functionality while still retaining a large sum of variety within the tier itself is too much clutter. That is an unnecessary amount of units, which is overly complicated.

    No matter what happens, there is always a problem somewhere. But the problem is within the tier system itself, and can easily be resolved by not having a tier system to begin with.

    That's why I'm now against any sort of unit tier system like this.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    As for WftO at first I didn't give it much attention, because most fan efforts will never amount to anything. That's what I really like about KeeperFX, that Mefisto knows this too and makes sure every build is playable. However, even after the IP change, they communicated the game was nearly finished, and would have a public alpha(or even beta) en a few weeks.
    That all proved to be a lie, and then they communicated their only developer left. Shortly after a new, seemingly more experienced, team stepped in and started over. Since then I really haven't kept up at all either and until yesterday never even visited the forum. It looks like they will at least finish a game, but all their communication is about the creatures, not about design choices of philosophy. So I have a 'just wait and see' approach.
    As far as WftO is concerned, I also have a 'just wait and see' approach, or at least I try to. I want to see the game with as little background knowledge as possible on the development side of things to be able and experience the game 'new' and to see how well the game presents itself to a new player. It's pretty unreasonable though considering I've been apart of the team and do have a lot of background knowledge about it, but at the same time, the game seems to have changed quite a bit since I've last been apart of it. I left the team for good not long before Kickstarter went up.

    I do continue to hear / read about WftO though, and every time I do, I really only get disappointed. I don't think I've ever once been impressed somehow when reading into what WftO has to offer. I'm not even referring to nostalgia or anything more subjective like that; it's just poor design choices that will only hurt the game. The mention of the pick up and drop is like that. From my understanding, the only nerf they're doing to that is the mana cost (and the additional limit of requiring a spell to pick up units outside friendly land). This does nothing to solve the problem of balance as mentioned far above and also has the negative effect of hurting the God game feel of DK by providing a crippling limit that the Player can feel. It damages the atmospheric effect of being all-powerful.

    Then there's the Torture Chamber, which apparently is all automatic now, which takes away any sort of interactive elements with the room and does nothing to balance an overpowered mechanic. What is worse is that the Succubus is required to convert, or so I think it's implied, which runs into the problem DK2 had that I mentioned above of requiring very specific units for a room to have functionality. So on top of worsening an already bad balance issue, a specific unit is required to have access to that overpowered mechanic.

    It's all just really horrible design that expresses a lack of thought and understanding. I'm more concerned about the thinking that went behind these design choices rather than the choices themselves because of what these decisions express. If it is what I think it is, then that's a pretty big problem that will exist in the design as a whole. That's me just speculating though. I'm still holding back my thoughts until the game is finished.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    It's not just you that downplayed the dungeon management of DK2, it's that the game didn't focus on it at all really. I've only done the campaign twice, at launch and a few years ago, and than attempted a few of your levels recently, but the maps I remember hardly even allow for dungeon building. And what is there, indeed really isn't as fun.
    When playing the few levels of your patch, I have to focus almost exclusively on the combat, and managing a dungeon was something hectic in between. I feel what you've done would work best in a 'my pet dungeon' environment: Build first and then have a huge wave of heroes coming towards you. Having a self-sustaining dungeon would then allow you to focus on combat.
    Or have the combat be more in waves, giving ample time for dungeon management in between, with the pressure of knowing you need to be ready for the next wave.

    But like said, reading what you did all makes sense to me, I think you've made the most of what it is, as it will never be a nice dungeon building sim.
    I think I downplayed the management aspect of DK2 again, at least in my patch. While the game still doesn't have that atmospheric touch of DK1, there's still a decent amount of decision making and strategy that influences the dungeon as a whole. These are things that are less obvious, but they're still there and can make for larger impacts than what is initially realized.

    Healing after a battle, for example, is where a decision can be made. Units can be either healed manually via Heal spell or healed naturally via Lair. Due to nerfs on the Heal spell, it takes a bit of time but also quite a lot of mana to fully heal an army, depending on how much damage they took. The amount of time is mostly unimportant unless you are trying to micro manage something else like a convert. It's mostly the mana cost, which can be 37500 mana for only 5 heals. In a level like 6a, you don't have much mana gain until you branch out, so spending so much mana like that can be crippling for when battle comes and you need to support your army. And battle does come by quite often. On the other hand, it takes a lot of time to naturally heal your army in the Lair, and during that time, they're not doing anything. They might even be getting hungrier, which is a problem Bile Demons run into.

    Use of the Casino is another decision that comes to mind. It's a very powerful room as Paydays can be so high, but it is also very slow. It takes time to extract money from units, then if their moods get down, you have to manipulate their moods a bit, which also takes time and micro. It's set up so that you can always recycle gold and keep units happy but it does require that micro, and that is what slows you down. For all its power, it's great in a longer stall game, but bad for a more aggressive game. In a recent playthrough of Level 10, I believe I managed to make up to like, 40000 to 50000 gold profit off the Casino via recycling Payday gold, and that's after the 20000 reduction to build a Casino to begin with.

    These are just some examples, but it shows that the decision making and strategy is there in the dungeon management, it's just probably not as enjoyable or atmospheric as something in DK1. It's better for strategy / competitive play, which would be great if there was a stronger multiplayer scene to support the patch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hades View Post
    Just completed Imprison (and boy was it a nightmare). Nice of MGR to get the unused sound clips from Skybird Trill into this level.
    That sounds like me. I do like to get unused material in where I can as it often adds a nice, refreshing experience.
    Dungeon Keeper 2 Patch: With More Balance and Pie [Hiatus]
    Forever Hiatus. Probably. Latest Version: 3.5 w/Levels 1-11 Revised.

    The Awakening: GM Powers Activate!
    Tesonu is napping!

    LOL, WFTO

  6. #16

    Default Re: Imprison (The Level)

    No complains here. I'm not going to quote you, as it would become an overly long post.
    First up,.. are you saying you made a patch for DK1 as well? Is it in a playable state and available somewhere to take a look at?

    DK1 balance

    I agree with you that DK1 spells are not very balanced around combat,... I would go beyond this and say that DK1 is not balanced around multiplayer at all. I think to have enjoyable games, you'd have to have 'gentlemen agreements', which is really just a way of saying 'don't abuse the design flaws'.
    Not suited at all for competitive play.

    Same way goes against rival keepers and my comment about not even liking using spells,... if you have enough gold you can for example do so much damage with lightning or collapse, but you aren't having fun in the process. Most custom maps I played that try to bring back challenging maps are doing so by severely handicapping the player and or giving the rivals some massive advantages to counteract the imbalances. That also doesn't necessarily make them more fun.

    Those are all of course some mayor strikes against it.

    Pick up-micro

    The pick-up mechanic is a mechanic central to dungeon management, but a detriment to combat. DK2 did improve on this with the stun mechanic yes, as that would steer you away from using it in combat.
    In what I've noticed from your Dk2 patch, you've seem to have taking it in the opposite direction from what I'd like to see,... you now give a mayor advantage to using the mechanic in combat. Example is the slow hitting giants, it now pays of to pickup a creature right before it gets hit,....

    In a sequel I would much rather see combat much more out of the direct hands of the keeper, more in the sense that you would form raiding parties or defensive parties and give them an order to go somewhere. CTA-improved if you will. Micro in battle should come from giving orders (like army generals give orders in battle, not like in a RTS game) Allow specific creatures to attempt to retreat(instead of simply picking them up) or push on to get some effective positioning. This also helps in making dungeon layouts more important,... if creatures have to walk to combat instead of always be instantly where you want them.

    Creature balance and attraction

    The last thing you want in a game like this, is having units that are all roughly as useful/desirable. If the answer to the question "Which unit is better, goblin or troll?" is "Well, neither really, it pays to have some of both but they both have their advantages." I would have fallen asleep after the first three words. Proper balance is not making all units roughly as good in combat, it is about making it a risk-reward game, having investments and payouts. Gaming is for a large part psychology, and you want to give a player a little moment of joy and happiness when he receives a certain creature.

    DK1 does have powerful creatures, the mistress is a prime example of that, but unfortunately not an example of this done well. Having an army of mistresses is the way to go, they are cheap, powerful, effective against everything, easy to maintain, flexible, but the worst offender is, quite easy to attract. Build a torture chamber and they will come. Or not, and you won't get them at all for no good ingame reason.
    The whole point of a 'game' is investment, accomplishment and reward. If the balance is off, it is not enjoyable enough. DK1 lacks investment/accomplishment and gives it rewards for free, DK2, well actually lacks all 3, but the direction you argue would further take away the reward aspect of it.

    There is no inherently bad side to having weaker and stronger units with roughly the same role the in the pool at the same time. The thing is you need gameplay mechanics that support this. If you give the player a choice between a weak and a strong unit, you're actually giving him no agency because he will select the stronger unit. DK1 is like that,... with all the creatures in the pool you would simply throw out your beetle in return for a bile demon(or better yet, sacrifice for a Mistress). The solution to this would be straightforward: Make the player work for the prime creature and have it be an actual reward. Make it so that having the better dungeon(or dungeon focused more on your game plan) would give you the better creatures, but also make sure that every creature that comes in is worth keeping around.
    That last bit is simple to accomplish by making sure that if by removing it, you won't get a (stronger) creature in return. In DK1 I can fire my demon spawn and in it's place a Dragon walks in. Instead, when I fire my demonspawn I should have had 1 creature less. That way I would have kept it. A bonus would be that having both dragons and dungeon spawns, would give me a bit of synergy. This would also reward players for keeping their early game units alive.

    This would also prevent your issue with locking down functionality and player choice,... If the player does not want to focus in construction and therefore not invest in getting bile demons, he would still have other creatures with the same combat role, that would not be as effective pound for pound in absorbing damage as the bile demon, but it would have for example left the player with more resources in investing in better blitzers.
    Player A should be very happy to have received a bile demon, Player B should be very happy to have received a mistress. For that, weaker creatures have to exist, and the strong creatures are the payoff for the playstyle and investment.

    Simply put, balance the creatures around the dungeon management, not against each other.

    Investing in a strong creature should be worth it, but over time. Short term it should be cost effective to invest in training weak creatures over attracting strong creatures, long term the opposite. Midpoint should be balanced, and should for example give one side '5 trained up weak creatures' and the other player '4 poorly trained week creatures and a poorly trained strong creature'. This gives the first player an incentive to end the game or do damage before the investments of the second player pays off.

    Tier System

    I'm not seeing your problem in 'lockdown'. DK1 you never got Hounds, true, but this had nothing to do with it being a tier system, but rather a problem with the portal system, and the max creature count. Each portal should attract a fixed number of creatures independent of how many creatures you manage to get into your dungeon through other means, and it should take much longer to get to the maximum number.
    I'm also not that trilled by having the library for everything, hence why I mention having other game play mechanics in place to get the higher tiered units. Branching tech paths if you will.

    Yes, you wont get everything straight away, but stuff isn't just 'locked out' until you wait long enough (like researching rooms in DK1), it is available to be earned. And yes, you'll see more of early game units,... that makes the late game units all the more special.
    The game is about building up towards an army, not having the army of the composition of choice.

    DK 1 Campaign

    The DK1 campaign really takes a long time to get started yes, half of it is tuturial, and unfortunately most levels with rival keepers lack any challenge because they are not strong enough.
    I've just 'finished' making a campaign, a 'New Game Plus'. I haven't really made it difficult, but made it so that the early levels are either a lot quicker or have something to offer, just some very small changes really, so that the levels are enjoyable for somebody who doesn't play it for the first time.
    I've also given rival keepers a big head start to be able to provide a bit of resistance, and made some small changes to some of the maps to make them just a bit more interesting. I also used the new script commands to solve a mayor issue: In DK1 if you have imprisonment on, you'll get all the time in the world as many events trigger when all heroes are killed(not imprisoned). The new 'If_controls' command solves that. To top it off I've rewritten the level script of level 20, now with the 'Kill Creature' command.

    Before I release some more play testing is required, but If you're interested I'd love to get some feedback.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Imprison (The Level)

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    First up,.. are you saying you made a patch for DK1 as well? Is it in a playable state and available somewhere to take a look at?
    I did, long ago. It isn't in a playable state because it uses an outdated version of FX, and it also is something I made when I was younger, about 14 to 16 when I worked on it. The balance is still there but I can probably do better.

    I was referring to the possibility of a new patch, which I haven't really started. Really what I have is this. I recorded all of FX's stats, the only difference is I reset the Dexterity values.

    Looking between Creatures and FX Creatures, you can see I did some 'slight' tweaking on some units. For the most part, I just wrote out the function of units and I rewrote the experience system. That's on a separate file though.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    The pick-up mechanic is a mechanic central to dungeon management, but a detriment to combat. DK2 did improve on this with the stun mechanic yes, as that would steer you away from using it in combat.
    In what I've noticed from your Dk2 patch, you've seem to have taking it in the opposite direction from what I'd like to see,... you now give a mayor advantage to using the mechanic in combat. Example is the slow hitting giants, it now pays of to pickup a creature right before it gets hit,....
    It's funny, but I never actually thought of that. I've thought of so many things, but using pick up and drop like that is something I've never tried. Generally it's bad because it only works on defensive battles and casting Thunderbolt on the Giant instead is even better. It's also bad because it forces you to reposition your units a bit as you can't always drop them back in the same spot as that's where they're vulnerable. Unless it's a Goblin or something, but that's a perk with the Goblin.

    The stun timing in my patch as far as the pick up mechanic is concerned is actually worse than in vanilla, I have to admit. The problem is that I need two separate stun values. The 0 to 2 second stun time I have set up is ideal for combat stuns, which are much more abundant in the patch than in vanilla. However, 0 to 2 seconds is too low as far as pick up and drop is concerned. It needs to be at least one second higher. I won't change it because it's better like this for combat, but yeah.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    In a sequel I would much rather see combat much more out of the direct hands of the keeper, more in the sense that you would form raiding parties or defensive parties and give them an order to go somewhere. CTA-improved if you will. Micro in battle should come from giving orders (like army generals give orders in battle, not like in a RTS game) Allow specific creatures to attempt to retreat(instead of simply picking them up) or push on to get some effective positioning. This also helps in making dungeon layouts more important,... if creatures have to walk to combat instead of always be instantly where you want them.
    That is certainly one direction to take things. I can't really say it's a bad or good direction because really, it's just a different direction to take the design. Like any direction, it has its pros and cons and attracts different kinds of players.

    It's not a direction I would like to take things, personally. I like giving some sense of direct control to battles as they're such a critical point, and it can be frustrating to lose a battle and thus the game and feel like there's really nothing you could have done in that situation. With only indirect control, it can also be hard to see what really went wrong if it is something that happened in battle or if it was something that happened in the dungeon. You can argue that the player also did poorly to get themselves in that situation, sure, but it may not be something that could have easily been changed.

    One reason why I dislike this direction is because the way to make it really work involves making combat less relevant and more like what you said earlier in the thread: just an end show to prove that you've made a good dungeon. This is great for what you want in a DK game, but for me, it feels like a waste of the mechanic. Combat should have depth and its own feel so that it adds a new experience in order to spice things up so it isn't just all dungeon management all the time. Not using combat in this way just feels like squandering the game's potential.

    Dungeon management should be expanded, yes, but I also like the idea of adding more combat elements to give both mechanics a level of depth. Having a little more direct influence with things like spells is how it should be done as opposed to more direct unit control. Dungeon management becomes something of planning and foresight with general strategy, where as combat is real time strategy and skill. They're both necessary on a basic level, so focusing all on one over the other is bad. But it still leaves for different ways to gain an advantage over another player, either through better dungeon management or through better combat skill. Army make up is another factor that could come into play to add more depth to both dungeon and combat strategies.

    That's what I think on the matter anywho. I want to aim to give a dk style game more depth in general with multiple major game components and different ways to gain an advantage: advanced strategy or superior skill.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    The last thing you want in a game like this, is having units that are all roughly as useful/desirable. If the answer to the question "Which unit is better, goblin or troll?" is "Well, neither really, it pays to have some of both but they both have their advantages." I would have fallen asleep after the first three words. Proper balance is not making all units roughly as good in combat, it is about making it a risk-reward game, having investments and payouts. Gaming is for a large part psychology, and you want to give a player a little moment of joy and happiness when he receives a certain creature.

    DK1 does have powerful creatures, the mistress is a prime example of that, but unfortunately not an example of this done well. Having an army of mistresses is the way to go, they are cheap, powerful, effective against everything, easy to maintain, flexible, but the worst offender is, quite easy to attract. Build a torture chamber and they will come. Or not, and you won't get them at all for no good ingame reason.
    The whole point of a 'game' is investment, accomplishment and reward. If the balance is off, it is not enjoyable enough. DK1 lacks investment/accomplishment and gives it rewards for free, DK2, well actually lacks all 3, but the direction you argue would further take away the reward aspect of it.
    I don't think you could be any more wrong on where my direction would take things. If there is one similarity we're both aiming for, it is actually a reward to be found in certain units. But the means to obtain that is different between our different approaches.

    You're aiming more towards something very much like DK1, where the reward is in obtaining the unit. Some units are simply better than others, and the difficulty is in the climb to get those units.

    What I'm aiming for is something I created in my patch, which is better unit progression. The reward is not in obtaining the unit, but in empowering that unit and watching them grow to higher levels where they become super powerful in their own way. Just about every unit rewards the player for using them more by unraveling their full potential, but they have to be kept alive long enough for that to happen. With efficient dungeon and combat strategies, units can reach that point even faster. That is the work and the climb involved as well as the reward as far as individual units are concerned. With better unit synergy in certain roles, there is an additional benefit in proper planning, something that comes along with the dungeon management elements.

    I can certainly understand why you have your own point of view though and why it's so different from mine. DK1 has no sense of unit progression, at least compared to what can be done in DK2. Units can train up to level 10 in the dungeon, reaching their max potential easily enough. Spamming speed can make it be done faster, so long as proper gold management is being done. Combat is also very unrewarding. Often on, the time it takes to fight and then rest up afterwards is not worth the experience gain, as it's better off to just be in the Training Room. DK2's experience system may not be perfect, but neither is DK1's when it comes to spells like Drain, Flame Breath, Lightning, and Hailstorm.

    The progression just isn't there in DK1 as it's often too easy to consistently level units up to 8+. In the patch, even with the Combat Pit, there is still a better sense of progression. So I really have a pretty good understanding of what that approach has to offer. I prefer that over the idea of obtaining certain units for power for reasons I feel I already explained with the tier system; it allows for more variety without clutter.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    There is no inherently bad side to having weaker and stronger units with roughly the same role the in the pool at the same time.
    A Unit who does the same thing as another unit could just as easily do something else, expanding the game by adding more unit variety. This helps the game both on a gameplay aspect and on a more atmospheric (for lack of a better word) stand point by making it feel better and less redundant.

    Too many redundant units does start to feel more like unnecessary clutter to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    The thing is you need gameplay mechanics that support this. If you give the player a choice between a weak and a strong unit, you're actually giving him no agency because he will select the stronger unit. DK1 is like that,... with all the creatures in the pool you would simply throw out your beetle in return for a bile demon(or better yet, sacrifice for a Mistress). The solution to this would be straightforward: Make the player work for the prime creature and have it be an actual reward. Make it so that having the better dungeon(or dungeon focused more on your game plan) would give you the better creatures, but also make sure that every creature that comes in is worth keeping around.
    That last bit is simple to accomplish by making sure that if by removing it, you won't get a (stronger) creature in return. In DK1 I can fire my demon spawn and in it's place a Dragon walks in. Instead, when I fire my demonspawn I should have had 1 creature less. That way I would have kept it. A bonus would be that having both dragons and dungeon spawns, would give me a bit of synergy. This would also reward players for keeping their early game units alive.

    This would also prevent your issue with locking down functionality and player choice,... If the player does not want to focus in construction and therefore not invest in getting bile demons, he would still have other creatures with the same combat role, that would not be as effective pound for pound in absorbing damage as the bile demon, but it would have for example left the player with more resources in investing in better blitzers.
    I'm not going to bother replying to the first part as I already talked about that and Unit progression, just leaving it in for context for the second part.

    The idea of making it so you can't sack units is, actually quite terrible, I have to say. The problem is just as simple: RNG. It's way too much RNG in unit composition that can easily screw over players for no good reason. The original Portal system was already pretty RNG based, but there was at least a solution in sacking. Now, if a player gets bad unit composition, then they're basically screwed.

    Bad unit composition is obvious when it comes to things like a build for an army. Too many supports or not enough supports for a simple example can cause an almost immediate loss in combat, especially if going in the direction of removing any skill / direct control elements from battle.

    Even without combat, there is still differences in dungeon synergy. Some units might synergize better with certain other units in the dungeon, so having the ability to have some impact on unit makeup is important as it allows players to have that synergy. Leaving it all to random is just bad and frustrating design. Some players won't get the synergy they want or they won't get any synergy at all. Depending on the map, some forms of synergy can be far more valuable than others, so being able to make that decision and have that control is so very important.

    The only way this kind of system can work from the way I see it is, funnily enough, by introducing another problem: unit simplicity. If units are simple and similar enough in function and there isn't a real 'advanced' kind of dungeon synergy that they produce, then players can't really be badly screwed over that much. Of course, this naturally introduces the problem that units are too simple, there's a lack of depth in dungeon management, and a lack of proper unit variety, but there you go.

    If there is another way to do this system without running into those problems, then do elaborate.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Simply put, balance the creatures around the dungeon management, not against each other.
    That only works in the approach of sacrificing combat and devoting the game's entirety to dungeon management. It can work, but with the approach I have in mind of mixing things up more, units need balance on both a dungeon and a combat basis.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Investing in a strong creature should be worth it, but over time. Short term it should be cost effective to invest in training weak creatures over attracting strong creatures, long term the opposite. Midpoint should be balanced, and should for example give one side '5 trained up weak creatures' and the other player '4 poorly trained week creatures and a poorly trained strong creature'. This gives the first player an incentive to end the game or do damage before the investments of the second player pays off.
    This is similar to what I already have in the patch with unit progression. Some units have more end game than others, but those that have more often require more experience and investment. The Goblin and the Vampire are total opposites in that way. Goblins are great for getting earlier levels, getting to level 10, then just rolling over enemy units who are less fed on experience. Vampires are extreme late game, being kind of sucky and expensive support units at first, even with a delay to obtain them. But with proper investment, they can become real power houses at Level 9 and especially 10.

    Goblins are good for aggressive players that want to end the game early. Vampire players want to stall while slowly feeding on experience where they can get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Tier System

    I'm not seeing your problem in 'lockdown'.
    My problem with unit tiers and functionality lock down essentially relates to unit variety. No matter how it's done, there's some kind of problem that doesn't have to be there.

    1) Units on multiple tiers are the same when they don't have to be, causing a lack of variety. This limits the gameplay and hurts the feel of the game by making it less interesting for players.

    2) Certain functions / mechanics are only available on certain tiers, which has problems when a certain strength is needed at a certain point in the game. The differences between Bile Demon and Black Knight serve as a good example. One is good at tanking in general while the other is more situational with specific strengths and weaknesses, being strong against burst but weak against lightning damage and stun as those bypass Invulnerable. Perhaps the Black Knight is desired in the early or mid game because of his strengths, but is set up as a high tier unit so he can only be obtained in the late game. Reverse the situation and perhaps his weaknesses keep him from being useful and an alternative is desired, but cannot be obtained as the Bile Demon is the late game, higher tier unit.

    This is more complicated and difficult to see, requiring more explanation, but the problem is still there. Lock down on functionality with a tier system can really hurt the game by reducing flexibility and be annoying to deal with in general. The example is with combat, but it could just as easily be with dungeon synergy too and the same problem arises.

    3) Too much clutter. In an attempt to prevent both 1) and 2) outcomes of limited variety or limited flexibility, more units are added to make sure every tier has possibilities. That's when there are too many units and it becomes way too cluttered and overly complex.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    DK1 you never got Hounds, true, but this had nothing to do with it being a tier system, but rather a problem with the portal system, and the max creature count.
    I never said it did have a problem with the tier system. I said it was a problem with the attraction system and the lockdown on rooms which also locks down unit availability, which can deny certain units because the portal limit is hit before the necessary rooms are researched. The max unit count is fine as it is, the problem is bad synergy with the research system and the attraction system.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Each portal should attract a fixed number of creatures independent of how many creatures you manage to get into your dungeon through other means, and it should take much longer to get to the maximum number.
    That's basically the system I have installed in the patch. Technically you can get units faster at the start, but with 20 max instead of 15, it does take a lot longer to get all of them. I forgot the time but it's somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes in game time without sacking.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    I'm also not that trilled by having the library for everything, hence why I mention having other game play mechanics in place to get the higher tiered units. Branching tech paths if you will.
    I'm not excited about tech trees in DK. Never was since it was first mentioned in WftO development back when I was on the team. It really seems to steer away from one of the core elements of DK, which is flexibility and a feeling of being limitless in the way that you can build whatever kind of dungeon you want and that there's no definite way to beat a map.

    I agree that there should be other ways outside of just the Library to get everything, but it just shouldn't be in the form of a tech tree.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    The game is about building up towards an army, not having the army of the composition of choice.
    It's probably an obvious thing to say, but that is pretty subjective. I also think it might even be a little boring. Assuming that DK1 did that right, then every end game army is basically the same thing: Dragons, Bile Demons, Dark Mistresses, and Horned Reapers. They're so well rounded and good at doing both a general and specific thing that there isn't a real problem with them being countered or anything.

    Having more decision making on a deeper level and interactive elements is good for a game like this, and more variety in general is also good.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Before I release some more play testing is required, but If you're interested I'd love to get some feedback.
    I'm not really in a position to provide good feedback / playtesting, especially on a larger campaign. I'm still getting back into the feel of the game, and that's only when I have time for it. I already made plans on what I was going to do after I released my next patch update, and any time I had for the DK1 scene would go towards developing a patch, surely.
    Dungeon Keeper 2 Patch: With More Balance and Pie [Hiatus]
    Forever Hiatus. Probably. Latest Version: 3.5 w/Levels 1-11 Revised.

    The Awakening: GM Powers Activate!
    Tesonu is napping!

    LOL, WFTO

  8. #18

    Default Re: Imprison (The Level)

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Gear Rex View Post

    That is certainly one direction to take things. I can't really say it's a bad or good direction because really, it's just a different direction to take the design. Like any direction, it has its pros and cons and attracts different kinds of players.

    It's not a direction I would like to take things, personally. I like giving some sense of direct control to battles as they're such a critical point, and it can be frustrating to lose a battle and thus the game and feel like there's really nothing you could have done in that situation. With only indirect control, it can also be hard to see what really went wrong if it is something that happened in battle or if it was something that happened in the dungeon. You can argue that the player also did poorly to get themselves in that situation, sure, but it may not be something that could have easily been changed.

    One reason why I dislike this direction is because the way to make it really work involves making combat less relevant and more like what you said earlier in the thread: just an end show to prove that you've made a good dungeon. This is great for what you want in a DK game, but for me, it feels like a waste of the mechanic. Combat should have depth and its own feel so that it adds a new experience in order to spice things up so it isn't just all dungeon management all the time. Not using combat in this way just feels like squandering the game's potential.

    Dungeon management should be expanded, yes, but I also like the idea of adding more combat elements to give both mechanics a level of depth. Having a little more direct influence with things like spells is how it should be done as opposed to more direct unit control. Dungeon management becomes something of planning and foresight with general strategy, where as combat is real time strategy and skill. They're both necessary on a basic level, so focusing all on one over the other is bad. But it still leaves for different ways to gain an advantage over another player, either through better dungeon management or through better combat skill. Army make up is another factor that could come into play to add more depth to both dungeon and combat strategies.

    That's what I think on the matter anywho. I want to aim to give a dk style game more depth in general with multiple major game components and different ways to gain an advantage: advanced strategy or superior skill.
    Well, talking about how we'd want our successor is a pipe dream anyway, so yes, were it to be perfect it would both have entertaining combat and entertaining dungeon management and a proper balance between the two in mindspace,... I'd sure take enjoyable combat. As the game revolves for a large part in getting stronger creatures which have a mind of their own, directly controlling them or making them beat stronger opponents by using spells would not be my direction.
    I agree with you that having enjoyable combat would be a nice change from the dungeon management, and were I to get it, I'd like that to revolve around getting the right creatures in the right spot(my blitzers next to their casters for example, or my damaged fighter behind my full health fighter) without dropping them there.

    That being said, if you can't have it all, it's best to do a single thing really well, than to do multiple things half baked. And lets face it,... the quality of DK combat can't exactly compete with something like the total war series for example. The building part is something that can compare favorably to some Sin/Theme games.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Gear Rex View Post
    I don't think you could be any more wrong on where my direction would take things. If there is one similarity we're both aiming for, it is actually a reward to be found in certain units. But the means to obtain that is different between our different approaches.

    You're aiming more towards something very much like DK1, where the reward is in obtaining the unit. Some units are simply better than others, and the difficulty is in the climb to get those units.

    What I'm aiming for is something I created in my patch, which is better unit progression. The reward is not in obtaining the unit, but in empowering that unit and watching them grow to higher levels where they become super powerful in their own way. Just about every unit rewards the player for using them more by unraveling their full potential, but they have to be kept alive long enough for that to happen. With efficient dungeon and combat strategies, units can reach that point even faster. That is the work and the climb involved as well as the reward as far as individual units are concerned. With better unit synergy in certain roles, there is an additional benefit in proper planning, something that comes along with the dungeon management elements.

    I can certainly understand why you have your own point of view though and why it's so different from mine. DK1 has no sense of unit progression, at least compared to what can be done in DK2. Units can train up to level 10 in the dungeon, reaching their max potential easily enough. Spamming speed can make it be done faster, so long as proper gold management is being done. Combat is also very unrewarding. Often on, the time it takes to fight and then rest up afterwards is not worth the experience gain, as it's better off to just be in the Training Room. DK2's experience system may not be perfect, but neither is DK1's when it comes to spells like Drain, Flame Breath, Lightning, and Hailstorm.

    The progression just isn't there in DK1 as it's often too easy to consistently level units up to 8+. In the patch, even with the Combat Pit, there is still a better sense of progression. So I really have a pretty good understanding of what that approach has to offer. I prefer that over the idea of obtaining certain units for power for reasons I feel I already explained with the tier system; it allows for more variety without clutter.
    The DK1 unit progression is the little number above the creature,.. it gets bigger sometimes. The only actual milestone is it becoming level 10 so you can give it another job than training. However, that being said, with 60 creatures to manage, you can't really care about it anyway.
    I believe you in what you're saying, in DK2 you'll have to work for your creatures to gain levels and there is proper payoff in that. However, a player only experiences something as a reward when there is confetti, bells and whistles,... and then unlocking new gameplay possibilities and more agency for the player.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Gear Rex View Post
    A Unit who does the same thing as another unit could just as easily do something else, expanding the game by adding more unit variety. This helps the game both on a gameplay aspect and on a more atmospheric (for lack of a better word) stand point by making it feel better and less redundant.

    Too many redundant units does start to feel more like unnecessary clutter to me.
    That's assuming you want there to be many things to do. You could just as well over-complicate things. I'm not saying you want two units to be exactly the same except for the color and amount of HP. I am saying it is a good thing to have some units that can fill a similar role. If every unit has a single role which you can't go without, you'd always have to have all of those unit types. This gives the player less, not more choice.
    And also like you state below, if you don't have direct control over your unit composition, you'd need simpler units.

    Having some units be really powerful(but still balanced) is something that I feel adds atmosphere and I'm sure adds more variety. Your suggestion is make all units of a different shape to fill a different hole in the board, and as such they are all different. I say, make sure you have them of different sizes as well, a few exceptional creatures to give flavor to the rest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Gear Rex View Post
    The idea of making it so you can't sack units is, actually quite terrible, I have to say. The problem is just as simple: RNG. It's way too much RNG in unit composition that can easily screw over players for no good reason. The original Portal system was already pretty RNG based, but there was at least a solution in sacking. Now, if a player gets bad unit composition, then they're basically screwed.

    Bad unit composition is obvious when it comes to things like a build for an army. Too many supports or not enough supports for a simple example can cause an almost immediate loss in combat, especially if going in the direction of removing any skill / direct control elements from battle.

    Even without combat, there is still differences in dungeon synergy. Some units might synergize better with certain other units in the dungeon, so having the ability to have some impact on unit makeup is important as it allows players to have that synergy. Leaving it all to random is just bad and frustrating design. Some players won't get the synergy they want or they won't get any synergy at all. Depending on the map, some forms of synergy can be far more valuable than others, so being able to make that decision and have that control is so very important.

    The only way this kind of system can work from the way I see it is, funnily enough, by introducing another problem: unit simplicity. If units are simple and similar enough in function and there isn't a real 'advanced' kind of dungeon synergy that they produce, then players can't really be badly screwed over that much. Of course, this naturally introduces the problem that units are too simple, there's a lack of depth in dungeon management, and a lack of proper unit variety, but there you go.

    If there is another way to do this system without running into those problems, then do elaborate.
    Well, for some part, yes, units can be simpler. That's also where units of different tiers come into play to give variety.

    But for the most part, I'd say get rid of the RNG. Or at least give the player enough control in manipulating it that he feels that he deserves the unit composition you end up with. Getting a dungeon filled with beetles should be your punishment for not building any rooms. Ending up with just warlocks should ONLY happen when you refuse to build something other than a library.
    If you build the basic rooms you could receive some basic Fighter, Ranged and Support units. Then build an altar to get a big magic unit or an arena to get a big fighter unit.
    If you now have 5 fighters, 5 ranged, 5 support and 1 giant fighter, you have some variety. You might now want to focus more on support and less on fighters. If you'd be able to toss out your 5 fighters and end up with 5 giant fighters, or 15 even, you're lacking it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Gear Rex View Post
    That only works in the approach of sacrificing combat and devoting the game's entirety to dungeon management. It can work, but with the approach I have in mind of mixing things up more, units need balance on both a dungeon and a combat basis.
    I strongly disagree with this. Every good RTS game balances the units around the economy not against each other. If you play Starcraft II and have 200 supply of voidrays than yes, they seem OP as hell. They are balanced in being expensive and relatively difficult to acquire in large numbers.
    You can have a really well balanced game with really well balanced combat, with units that are a lot better than others.

    And having all units be as big or strong as marines would make it boring by the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Gear Rex View Post
    My problem with unit tiers and functionality lock down essentially relates to unit variety. No matter how it's done, there's some kind of problem that doesn't have to be there.

    1) Units on multiple tiers are the same when they don't have to be, causing a lack of variety. This limits the gameplay and hurts the feel of the game by making it less interesting for players.

    2) Certain functions / mechanics are only available on certain tiers, which has problems when a certain strength is needed at a certain point in the game. The differences between Bile Demon and Black Knight serve as a good example. One is good at tanking in general while the other is more situational with specific strengths and weaknesses, being strong against burst but weak against lightning damage and stun as those bypass Invulnerable. Perhaps the Black Knight is desired in the early or mid game because of his strengths, but is set up as a high tier unit so he can only be obtained in the late game. Reverse the situation and perhaps his weaknesses keep him from being useful and an alternative is desired, but cannot be obtained as the Bile Demon is the late game, higher tier unit.

    This is more complicated and difficult to see, requiring more explanation, but the problem is still there. Lock down on functionality with a tier system can really hurt the game by reducing flexibility and be annoying to deal with in general. The example is with combat, but it could just as easily be with dungeon synergy too and the same problem arises.

    3) Too much clutter. In an attempt to prevent both 1) and 2) outcomes of limited variety or limited flexibility, more units are added to make sure every tier has possibilities. That's when there are too many units and it becomes way too cluttered and overly complex.
    I think I've gone into this above,...

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Gear Rex View Post
    I'm not excited about tech trees in DK. Never was since it was first mentioned in WftO development back when I was on the team. It really seems to steer away from one of the core elements of DK, which is flexibility and a feeling of being limitless in the way that you can build whatever kind of dungeon you want and that there's no definite way to beat a map.

    I agree that there should be other ways outside of just the Library to get everything, but it just shouldn't be in the form of a tech tree.
    Are we thinking about the same kind of tech tree? I'm not thinking research points and unlocking things from graphs,... I would like to expand upon the feeling of there being more than one way to beat a map,... by making the dungeon management about choice. In DK1 you basically build every room as it is researched.
    I would like to see that the dungeon you build effects the creatures you receive, and what you do with your creatures(and which you have available) determines how you can improve your dungeon,...

    This links with there being more activities for the creatures in the dungeon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Gear Rex View Post
    It's probably an obvious thing to say, but that is pretty subjective. I also think it might even be a little boring. Assuming that DK1 did that right, then every end game army is basically the same thing: Dragons, Bile Demons, Dark Mistresses, and Horned Reapers. They're so well rounded and good at doing both a general and specific thing that there isn't a real problem with them being countered or anything.

    Having more decision making on a deeper level and interactive elements is good for a game like this, and more variety in general is also good.
    Ehm,... I'm arguing there that trying to GET a nice unit composition is a large part of what the game should be about. My point is that just having the unit composition of choice would be boring.
    And I think DK was very far from getting this right. In fact, due to the possibility of getting rid of creatures, you could end up with the composition of choice without any effort. For your composition of choice you need the basic rooms and 3 small other rooms and just some patience.
    In fact I think most people play this way, just get rid of whatever creature they don't like.

    I also argue for more decision making on a deeper level, and more interactive elements. And I think just throwing out creatures you don't like until you have the ultimate army is the exact opposite.(current situation)
    Being able to build the dungeon right away to be able to attract all the creatures you want for your ideal composition, is also not really decision making. Making a choice is having two good options but being able to select just one. If you have the choice between a good or a bad option, or get all the good options, there is no choice and no dept involved.

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