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有关roguelike游戏设计的8大规则

发布时间:2013-05-22 16:39:53 Tags:,,,,

作者:John Harris

之前我曾在@Play论坛上提到过一些有关roguelike游戏(游戏邦注:是一种具有极高自由度的游戏,一般只有几兆至几十兆,简单的游戏画面构建出一个真实而复杂的世界)的设计规则,并承诺会对这些规则做出相关描述。而今天我就要在此实现自己的诺言。

我称呼这些规则只是出于修辞目的。我不确定是否存在任何游戏设计规则。但考虑到我们所谈论的是roguelikes游戏,所以我们便需要注意到有关这一类型游戏的某些重要属性。

也许并非所有roguelike游戏都是如此;例如有些游戏便需要具有一个优秀的道具识别系统,而最近的许多游戏也并未使用这一理念。我很直接地表现出了对于道具ID系统的欣赏,所以也希望你们能够适当地修改自己的方法。

在此我会多次使用“合理的游戏”这一术语。这是基于危险而言的一种中性状态。举个例子来说吧,如果玩家在错误的时间使用了道具,那么这种消极影响将会是致命的。如果一只巨怪正攻向你,而你因为慌张匆忙喝下一瓶药剂,那便是非常危险的事—-请千万不要这么做!

如果你只剩下一个生命值,那么任何轻微的损害都有可能置你于死地,并且有些游戏还拥有只能创造出微小破坏性的道具,所以也不要轻易尝试。在roguelike游戏中,玩家大多数情况下都不会处于直接危险里。这便是合理游戏所坚持的理念。未知道具可能具有危险性,所以游戏必须提供一些危险性较小的道具。基于不断涌出危险的理念的游戏则需要拥有不同的设计要求。你必须亲自进行规划。

现在,尽管负面影响也是积极的,我们还必须创造出特殊的怪物去攻击玩家。这是一种不寻常的情况,但是玩家能够测试道具ID,同时在一个巨大明亮的房间中,我们将降低未知怪物在玩家喝完药剂前碰触到他的几率。实际上在大多数roguelike游戏中,我们总是很难判断何时才能安全地执行危险行动。如果游戏中存在有关混淆药剂的ID测试规则,然后我们便可以判断它们不应该出现在游戏中!

当然了,游戏设计并不是一种科学。当我听到有人说某些功能不能出现在游戏中时,我总是会对此进行反驳。以下规则也是一样的。尽管它们非常有用,但是当谈及roguelike游戏和设计的默认状态时,我将从《Rogue》的角度进行定义。但已经有许多roguelike游戏基于不同精确性而使用了这些规则,例如《Nethack》,《Angband》,《ADOM》以及《Dungeon Crawl》。

以下我将列出这8种规则。每一个规则都具有自己的名字,从而帮助我们更好地进行讨论。

1.“不会致命的规则。”只要是合理的游戏,玩家角色便不能在攻击中被杀死或遭遇巨大的重创。

例子:在《Nethack》中,毒蛇不能在一次攻击中便立刻杀死玩家。而这种延迟将给予玩家治愈自己的机会。

反向例子:在之前的《Nethack》版本中,Medusa是一个会随机出现在更深的地牢中任何一个房间里的怪物。如果Medusa能够轻易杀死玩家便违反了相关规则,除非游戏能让玩家预先掌握Medusa的动向,但是游戏却因为过于随机而未能提供这种机遇。所以说这是一种糟糕的设计,同时也解释了为何最近的《Nethack》版本选择将Medusa置于一个特殊关卡中,而有经验的玩家能够掌握她的行踪。但是Medusa仍然出现在地牢中的一个特殊关卡中,并且总是待在楼下,即不会像楼上那样出现于同一个房间,所以玩家可以为了应对她而做准备。这更多的依靠于游戏的提示而不是《Rogue》中所要求的内容。

怪物们还掌握了一些能够一击致命的道具,如Vorpal Blade或Tsurugi of Muramasa。但是玩家却很少能在地牢或某些特定场景中遇到怪物,像Medusa等只会出现在Samurai任务中。除此之外玩家还面临着其它难度,如遇到带有致命魔杖,点穴术咒语之类技能的怪物,如此玩家便需要更加主动地保护好自己。

反向例子:《Shiren the Wanderer》。《Shiren》非常擅长于这点,但是它的Skull Wraiths太过强大了。他们的远程攻击具有巨大的危险,并可能导致Shiren在做出其它决定前死去。如果谨慎游戏的话这种情况便有可能被避免,但在完全开放的关卡中,玩家将难以逃脱这种情境。

nhsunsword(from gamesetwatch)

nhsunsword(from gamesetwatch)

2.“没有氰化物的规则。”在一些合理的环境下,明确的道具将能立即产生致命效果,反正玩家永远都不会尝试着使用身份。

例子:在《Rogue》中,最糟糕的道具应该是失明药剂,即让游戏变得不再具有游戏性。它不仅呈现出了水平范围上的所有空间(这比黑暗的道路还糟糕),同时玩家在失明状态下还不可能找到秘密之门,这种状态将阻止玩家前行直至他喝下治疗药剂。但是游戏中却不存在一个失明环,因为这种道具必须在一开始就遭遇诅咒,如果玩家受到了失明环的诅咒,他可能会找不到解开诅咒的方法,而如果真的是这样,他便难以走出困境。因为死亡几率,玩家便会轻率地尝试身份测试环。有人会说如果没有任何撤销诅咒的方式,那么使用测试ID环便是不明智的选择,并且考虑到游戏中的所有咒语解除是随机的,所以这也是不合理的设置。

例子:在《Nethack》中也存在一种随机道具能够在正常情况下杀死对手,也就是Amulet of Strangulation。不过它所带来的是一种延迟的死亡,而祷告能够帮助玩家逃离死亡。如果玩家刚刚进行祷告并且他的休息时间还未结束会怎样?如果玩家身处Genhennom而不能有效地祷告会怎样?如果玩家的运气是消极的,导致他不能有效地进行祷告又会怎样?这些都不是常出现的状态。在Genhennom,玩家将清楚不能在此测试护身符。

例子:在《Nethack》中还有其它道具能够在使用时立即置对方于死地,但却不是基于常见的用法。就像如果玩家未能抵抗魔法而又对魔杖发起攻击时,那么Wand of Death便能够立刻让他致命。但是通常情况下玩家并不会随机攻击魔杖,所以这种设置便是合理的。

反向例子:我们可以注意到在《Nethack》中,有些死亡是不合理的;例如每个随机的鸡蛋都有可能变成毒蛇蛋,所以吃鸡蛋是一个非常糟糕的想法。

反向例子:《Dungeon Crawl》设置了一种具有长期功效的毒药。我们必须谨慎地面对这种毒药,因为它能够较轻松地杀死低级别的角色,但通常在发挥功效前它便已经在慢慢衰退了。

规则3和规则4是关于道具识别。最近的许多游戏都未包含这一功能。所以在此我将解释为什么要使用这一系统。在roguelike游戏中,道具识别既能帮助游戏呈现出一个神秘的世界,推动着玩家去揭开其神秘面纱,并在地牢中设置一个不同于怪物的危险角色,同时也具有游戏设计原因。它能将玩家的进程隔离于随机数生成程序:玩家将在第一个关卡便找到所有出色的道具,但是他却仍面临着挑战,即需要在不浪费资源的前提下认识这些道具。对于玩家来说,发现道具并不是一种奖励;他仍需付出更多努力去理解自己所找到的内容。

在roguelike游戏中,识别游戏是设计师们最不愿意尝试的。直到现在,《Rogue》也仍是最优秀的ID游戏,而《Nethack》也不差。因为《Rogue》的设计并未基于识别卷轴,所以玩家在游戏中几乎找不到想要的卷轴。加之,因为游戏并未保证可能出现的随机道具,所以玩家永远都不会知道自己是否能够找到同样类型的其它道具。虽然有些道具很棒,但却很容易被浪费掉。它们都显示了不同寻常的设计,使用它实际上也是在浪费它,但这也是唯一可以无需拾起而识别的卷轴。

3.“乔装道具的规则。”因为同类型道具的相似性,即使是资深玩家也很难识别出来。

如果未完全遵守这一规则也没关系;而提供给富有洞察力的玩家相应奖励也是符合roguelike的游戏玩法。

例子:在《Nethack》中,Potions of See Invisible和Potions of Fruit Juice都拥有相同的使用信息。

例子:在大多数游戏中,大多数环的效果都很模糊,并且只能通过近距离观察进行推断。

例子:《Nethack》和《Shiren》都通过提供同样价格的各种道具而模糊了道具识别。

例子:《ADOM》在库存屏幕上明确标记了道具的重量。一些随机道具和人造产品拥有不同的重量,这是富有观察力的玩家能够注意到的,并会想办法挑出这些道具。

4.“情境ID优势规则。”当道具是未知的,它们对于类别的影响将基于某种方式(在某些情境中是有益于发现,而在其它情境下则是不利的)进行重叠。

如果没有任何药剂能够提供战斗劣势,那么玩家的最大兴趣便是在战斗过程中对其进行测试。如果没人能够造成直接破坏但却有人能够治愈,那么玩家便只会在低于最大生命值的情况下测试ID。我们很容易在消除这种情境ID优势中做得太过火,但是优秀的设计师仍然能够意识到它们,并且不会太费劲去减少它们对于游戏的影响。

例子:《Rogue》拥有在战斗中非常有帮助的道具(额外的治愈作用)以及非常糟糕的道具(如困惑和失明)。当玩家攻击怪物时,怪物的速度将会变慢(非常好),然后加速(糟糕),离开(通常是不错),直接朝着玩家那一方行进(有点糟糕)或变化(在早期关卡时可能会导致游戏的结束,但是随着游戏的继续将会变得更有益)。对于这些道具的研究包括在游戏中明确一些想法,即在大多数情境下提供大量的风险,并提供较少“无需思考的”情境让玩家去使用未知的道具。

5.“道具魔法规则。”当道具是已知的,它们将能够呈现出一些有趣的决定。

例子:从某种程度上来看,所有主要的roguelike游戏都使用了魔法武器和魔法铠甲卷轴。当你使用卷轴时,它的魔法奖励将永久作用于它所使用的一个道具上。如果在之后出现了一个更棒且拥有更高魔法的道具,那么卷轴便有可能就这么浪费了。而玩家等待看到更棒道具的时间越长,他便能够避免浪费更多道具。所有主要的roguelike都在某种程度上突出了这一点,而《Rogue》则最有效里利用了它,就像之前所提到的,在游戏中,玩家并不知道自己是否能够找到更好的武器或魔法更强大的卷轴。

例子:在《Rogue》中,盔甲也拥有额外的利好元素。最弱的道具Leather Armor也拥有特殊的属性能够抵抗腐蚀的陷阱和腐蚀的怪物。如果玩家在皮上使用了魔法盔甲卷轴,他并不会失去这些魔法,但他所使用的魔法可能就达不到铠甲的高度了。不过玩家也可以选择在使用卷轴前进行等待,从而克服这些问题。所有《Rogue》版本都提供了维持盔甲环,即让玩家可以无需担心盔甲是否变弱—-不过这需要以消耗食物为代价。

反向例子:之后的《Rogue》版本也提供了维持盔甲卷轴,但是当一个卷轴出现时却会做出一些无意义的决定。

6.“硬币正反面规则。”基于识别和使用的完美知识,道具永远都不会失去意义。

实际上,我所知道的所有roguelike游戏都未能够有效地做好这一点,但是许多游戏都在努力减少无意义道具的使用。这么做并不只是为了奖励富有智慧的玩家;如果没有一种道具是完全糟糕的,那么玩家将与随机生成道具隔绝开来。这并不意味着所有道具都必须是有用的。

例子:在《Rogue》,甚至是失明药剂也是有用的,即在与medusas打斗时便能够混淆对方的视线。玩家可以将负面药剂扔在怪物身上而打击它们。

例子:在《Shiren the Wanderer》中,大多数负面道具都将对敌人产生影响,即造成某种程度的伤害。这也能够用于消耗魔杖。

例子:《Nethack》非常擅于这点,并确保在最上方将一些糟糕的陈述隐藏起来。Hallucination将保护玩家不受“点穴术”魔法的攻击。Confusion有时候也非常有用,即能够提供大多数具有交替影响的卷轴(这能让一些糟糕的卷轴变成优秀的卷轴)。打破药剂将创造出烟雾效果(游戏邦注:不过通常情况下这种效果并不是很重要)。手持“糟糕”魔杖的怪物将让你能够从它身上获取好处。相反地,游戏中也存在一些优秀的道具,如Wands of Cancellation,但是如果使用不当的话,它们也会变得很糟糕。

adomtension(from gamesetwatch)

adomtension(from gamesetwatch)

7.“减少刷任务的规则。”花时间的行为将消耗有限的资源,所以我们需要推动着玩家去保持这些资源并限制他们所需要面对的“刷任务”。

例子:从历史上来看,许多游戏都是利用食物计时器去做到这点。《Rogue》便做得很好:食物只能通过道具生成才能进入游戏,这与新关卡的生成紧密维系在一起。从技术上来看,玩家可以通过杀死一些怪物而生成食物,但这种情况却很少见,是随机的且具有一定危险性。

例子:《Dungeon Crawl》的食物计时器尽管不如《Rogue》那般精确,但它也拥有着传统的功能,即严格限制玩家的活动。《Dungeon Crawl》的明确目的是减少刷任务。

例子:《ADOM》在大多数环节中都做得很好。尽管游戏中对食物的限制不如《Rogue》或《Crawl》那般严格,但是它的计时器服务也遵循着同样的目的。虽然它当道具仍具有一些缺陷,但这却能够推动聪明的玩家想办法走出时间的压迫。

8.“永远赢不了比赛的规则。”考虑到平均统计和默认装备,游戏中怪物难度的提高速度应该稍快于玩家的前进速度,从而才能推动着玩家去使用道具和战术。

这里所存在的原因是,如果玩家不再需要依赖于随机发现的道具,那么这些道具便会变得不再那么重要了。但是如果玩家需要使用特殊的道具才能获取成功,那么许多游戏便很难取得胜利。这两个极端的平衡便是创造出随机地牢生成难度的元素,而这同时也是赋予随机地牢游戏玩法乐趣的组成部分。

例子:《Rogue》又一次做得很好。即使拥有非常棒的装备,你也不能轻松通过所有怪物;一开始你将遇到卷轴,你需要使用一些战术或资源存活于多长战斗中,然后进一步下赌注,而不提及medusas等怪物。《Shiren》在这方面也做得不错;游戏中的许多敌人都拥有特殊的属性,这也意味着玩家可以采取更多策略。

原文发表于2011年1月22日,所涉事件和数据均以当时为准。

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转载,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

COLUMN: @Play: The Eight Rules of Roguelike Design

by John Harris

Back in November, in the previous @Play column, I mentioned a number of proposed rules of roguelike design, and promised soon to describe them. It’s taken a bit longer than I expected, but here they are.

I call these rules for rhetorical purposes only. I don’t think there are any inviolate laws of game design. But given we are talking about roguelikes, there are certain properties that have been important to the genre.

Maybe not to all roguelike games; some of these have to do with designing a good item identification system, for instance, and many of the more recent games do not use that. I’m fairly outspoken in my appreciation for item-ID systems, so please calibrate your wonk-o-meter appropriately.

I use the term “reasonable play” several times here. It refers to being in a neutral state in terms of danger. For example, almost any bad effect from using an item can prove fatal if the player uses it at the wrong time. Discovering the potion of confusion by quaffing when a troll is attacking you is dangerous—so don’t do that!

If you’re down to one hit point, even slight damage could kill you, and some games have items that do piddling damage, so don’t do that either. Most of the time in a roguelike the player is not in immediate danger. That is the fact on which the idea of reasonable play rests. Unknown items are possibly dangerous, so there must exist times of lesser danger in which to try them. A game built on the idea of literally constant peril would have different design demands. You are on your own in figuring those out.

Now, while a bad effect is active, it’s possible for a previously out-of-sight monster to walk up and start hitting the player. That is a less obvious case, but the player could have test ID’d the item while in a large, lit room, decreasing the chance that an unseen monster could reach him before the potion wore off. This helps to make it okay. In fact, the most effective roguelikes purposely make it difficult to always know when it’s safe to perform dangerous actions. If there were a hard-and-fast rule about test-IDing potions of confusion, then an argument could be made that they shouldn’t be in the game!

Of course game design is not a science. I tend to rebel whenever I hear someone tell me about features that “obviously” should never, or always, be present in a game. The following rules are no different. They are useful, however, when talking with respect to the default state of roguelike play and design, which I will define here as being that of Rogue itself. But they all apply, with different strictness, to all the other major roguelikes: Nethack, Angband, ADOM and Dungeon Crawl.

So here is a list of eight rules. Each leads with a name, in quotation marks, to facilitate discussion, followed by the rule itself in around a sentence, followed by discussion, and then finally followed by both examples of games using it well and “reverse examples” of games doing it badly. I apologize in advance for there being a lot of Nethack in these examples, but, well, it still has many features worthy of discussion.

1.”No beheading rule.” Provided reasonable play, the player’s character should not be killed or harmed too greatly & permanently in one attack.

Example: In Nethack, cockatrices can’t immediately kill the player through a single attack. They can initiate delayed stoning, but that gives the player a few turns to cure the condition.

Reverse example: In old versions of Nethack, Medusa was a random monster that appeared in a random room in the deeper dungeons. Since merely seeing Medusa kills the player, this breaks the rule unless the player had a way of knowing Medusa was there before stepping into sight, and the game was random enough that there was no reasonable chance of that happening. This was arguably bad design, which may explain why more recent versions of Nethack put Medusa on a special level, where at least experienced players will know where she lurks. Still, Medusa always appeared on a specific level of the dungeon, and it was always on the downstairs which were never generated in the same room as the upstairs, so a player could conceivably be prepared for her. It’s still rather more reliance on spoilers than anything in Rogue requires.

There also items that can be wielded by monsters that can kill with one hit, such as Vorpal Blade or the Tsurugi of Muramasa. But the chances of running into a monster wielding the first in the dungeon are vanishingly rare, and the second is in a specific location like Medusa, and only appears in the Samurai quest anyway. There are also other difficulties with monsters with wands of death, Touch of Death spells and disintegration beams and the like; after a certain point, the game requires that the player be proactive in protect himself from sudden instadeaths.

Reverse example: Shiren the Wanderer. Shiren is mostly really good at this, but its Skull Wraiths may be a little too strong. Their distance attacks can inflict amazingly dangerous status ailments that could conceivably result in Shiren dying before he gets to make another decision. With careful play this can be negated mostly, but there is still a chance on the last wide-open level that the player could face a situation he cannot escape.

2. “No cyanide rule.” No unidentified item should be immediately fatal upon use given reasonable circumstances, otherwise the player should never try to use-identify.

Example: In Rogue, probably the worst item is the potion of blindness, which makes the game nearly unplayable. Not only does it give all spaces on the level a vision range even worse than that of dark passages, it is impossible to find secret doors while blind, which state has a good chance of stranding the player until the blindness wears off of he drinks a potion of extra healing. But there is not ring of blindness, because for such an item to have bite it must be initially cursed, and if the player put on a cursed ring of blindness he might not have any means of curse lifting available, and if that were true and he was blocked from the exit by a secret passage he would not be doomed to starve. The effect would be to make it unwise to try to test-identify rings because of the chance of death. One might qualify this by saying it’d be unwise to test-ID rings if no means of curse removal were available, but considering all curse-lifting in that game is from random sources it might be considered unreasonable.

Example: In Nethack, there is a random item that can kill in normal situations just from ordinary use: the Amulet of Strangulation. However, it is a delayed death, and prayer can get the player out of it. However, what if the player has recently prayed and his timeout hasn’t expired? What if he’s in Genhennom and can’t effectively pray? What if his luck is negative, making it impossible to pray effectively? These aren’t the more common states though. In Genhennom, the player should know enough lore to know not to test amulets there.

Example: There are other items in Nethack that can kill instantly from use, but not by their most common uses. The Wand of Death, if zapped at self, kills instantly if the player isn’t magic resistant. But players don’t usually zap random wands at themselves, so one might consider this to be reasonable.

Reverse example: Note that there _are_ cases in Nethack where death might be considered unreasonable; every random egg has a chance of being a cockatrice egg, so eating eggs is an unexpectedly bad idea.

Reverse example: Dungeon Crawl has a potion of poison with a long-lived effect. This one plays carefully with the line, since it could well prove fatal to a very low-level character, but usually by resting during that time it has a chance to wear off before death ensues.

Rules 3 and 4 are about item identification. Many recent games don’t include this feature. Here I give my reasons for suggesting such a system. While item identification in roguelikes does aid in presenting the world as a mysterious place to figure out, and in giving the dungeon itself a dangerous character as opposed to just the monsters, there is also a game design reason. It disassociates the player’s progress from the random number generator: the player could find all of the best items in the game on the first level, but he’ll still have challenge figuring that out without wasting the resources. The items found are not a gift to the player; he must still expend some effort to properly understand what he’s found.

The identification game in roguelikes is one of the least considered by designers. Even to this day, it’s probable that Rogue has the best ID game, although Nethack’s isn’t bad (although mostly irrelevant as soon as the mid game). Rogue’s is designed so that scrolls of identify cannot be relied upon, for players almost never find all the scrolls they want. Plus, since no random items are guaranteed, the player never knows if he’ll find another item of a type. A few items are extremely good but easy to waste. The best of them all (scroll of scare monster) shows unusual care in its design; using it in fact wastes it, but it is the only scroll that can be identified without even picking it up.

3. “Item masquerade rule.” Items should be difficult to identify even for spoiled players, due to similarities between items of the same type.

It is best if this rule is not perfectly adhered to; giving observant players some benefit for their insight is in keeping with roguelike gameplay.

Example: Yes, another Nethack example. Both Potions of See Invisible and Potions of Fruit Juice generally have the same messages upon use.

Example: In most games, the effects of most rings are vague and can only be deduced through close observation, if even then.

Example: Nethack and Shiren both take steps to obscure item identification through shop pricing by offering many items that sell for the same amount.

Example: ADOM clearly marks the weights of items on the inventory screen, in “stones.” A few random items and artifacts have distinctive weights, which an observant (or heavily spoiled) player can note and use to pick those things out.

4. “Situational ID advantage rule.” When unknown, item effects in a category should overlap in such a way that use in some situations would be good to discover, while others simultaneously would be bad.

If no potions provide combat disadvantages, then it’s in the player’s best interest to test them out while fighting. If none do direct damage but one does heal, then the player should only test ID when below maximum hit points. It is easy to go overboard in eliminating these kinds of situational ID advantages, but a good designer will still be cognizant of them and devote a little thought to lessening their influence on the game.

Example: Rogue has items that can be very useful when used in battle (extra healing) and very bad (confusion, blindness). When zapping wands at monsters, it’s possible a monster to be slowed (very good), hasted (bad), teleported away (generally good) teleported directly to the player’s side (somewhat bad) or polymorphed (potentially game-ending at early levels, more beneficial as the game continues). Study of the items included in the game make it clear that some thought was put into providing a healthy amount of risk in most situations, to provide fewer “no brainer” situations to using unknown items.

5. “Item enchantment rule.” When known, items should as much as possible present interesting decisions.

Example: All of the major roguelikes, to some extent, use scrolls of enchant weapon and enchant armor to do this to a degree. When you use a scroll, its enchantment bonus becomes a permanent fixture on the one item it’s used on. If a better item comes along later that the player would rather use, maybe one that already has a high enchantment, it could be that the scroll was wasted. However, the longer the player waits to see if something better comes along, the less total use he gets out of it. All the major roguelikes feature this to a degree, but it’s Rogue that makes the best use, since as stated previously, the player has no idea if he’ll find a better weapon or any more enchantment scrolls.

Example: Also in Rogue, armor has an extra wrinkle. The weakest, Leather Armor, has the special property of being immune to the rust caused by rust traps and rust monsters/aquators. If the player uses all his enchant armor scrolls on leather, he can be sure of never losing those enchantments, but he probably won’t be able to get the suit enchanted up to the heights of plate mail. The player can overcome this a bit waiting until after the aquator floors before using his scrolls. All versions of Rogue offer rings of maintain armor which allow the player to not worry about having his armor weakened, though at a cost of food.

Reverse example: Later versions of Rogue also provide scrolls of maintain armor, which, if one appears (they are fairly common) make the decision pointless.

6. “Two-sided coin rule.” Given perfect knowledge of identifications and uses, items should never be completely useless.

In fact no roguelike that I know of does this perfectly, but many of them show a lot of effort has been expended towards reducing the prevalence of completely useless items. The reason for this is not just to reward player wit and knowledge; if no item is entirely bad, then the player is additionally insulated from the caprices of the random item generation. This does not mean that all items need be great.

Example: In Rogue, even potions of blindness are useful when fighting medusas, which sometimes confuse on sight. Bad potions can also be thrown at monsters to possibly affect them.

Example: In Shiren the Wanderer, most bad items will affect enemies when thrown at them, making few things completely baneful. This can even be used to get a last use out of depleted wands.

Example: Nethack is pretty good about this, and has shown special care in making sure many bad states have hidden upsides. Hallucination protects against “touch of death” magic. Confusion is sometimes very useful, providing most scrolls with alternate effects (which also makes some bad scrolls into good ones). Thrown potions break and provide vapor effects (which are, sadly, usually negligible). “Bad” wands that help the monsters can be zapped at yourself to give you their benefits. Conversely, there are also good items, such as Wands of Cancellation, that can be very bad if used incorrectly.

7. “Reducing grind rule.” The mere act of spending time should deplete some finite resource, forcing players to keep those resources up, while also limiting the amount of “grinding” he can do.

Example: Historically, this is done through a food timer. Rogue has the best of these: food only ever enters the game through item generation, which is tied to generating new levels. Technically food can be created by killing some monsters, but that’s fairly rare, random, and suitably dangerous.

Example: Dungeon Crawl’s food timer, while not as strict as Rogue’s, still serves its traditional function of forcing a hard limit to the player’s activities. Dungeon Crawl is explicitly designed to reduce grinding, an admirable goal.

Example: ADOM does this okay for the most part. Although food is not limited as strictly as in Rogue or Crawl, its corruption timer serves much the same purpose. There are loopholes in its item scarcity, however, that can give particularly clever players a way out from under the weight of the clock. Look up “ADOM wish engine” on Google sometime….

8. “Race you can’t win rule.” The game’s monster difficulty should increase slightly faster than the advancement of the player, given average stats and default equipment, so as to force him to rely upon items and tactics.

The reasoning here is that if the player doesn’t have to rely on randomly-found stuff then they become unimportant to play. However, if it’s required to have specific items to be successful then many games will be outright unwinnable. The balance between these two poles is what makes random dungeon generation difficult, but it’s also part of what makes random dungeon gameplay interesting.

Example: Rogue is, again, best at this. Even with excellent equipment, you can’t just pound through all the monsters; starting around the time you encounter trolls, you’ll need to use some tactics or resources to survive more than one fight, and griffins up the ante even further, not to mention medusas, ur-viles, and of course dragons. Shiren is also pretty good at it; more enemies in that game have special attributes, which in practice means you can get further on strategy.(source:gamesetwatch)


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