Friday, July 03, 2009

UnAngband competition post-mortem

The UnAngband competition is over, and although it looked like I came in second, I really didn't have the time to fully get into the game with assignments and Uni bearing down on me.

To contribute to the post-mortem, here's a few things I liked / disliked about this variant:

+ stacking rules It really helps satisfy what you think you should be able to carry. It may not be practical to think of how you would carry 12 rods of cure medium wounds, but in a game sense they all serve the same function and are seen as equivalent.

+ Bags and quiver. These really help bring more use to lower level items once you're deeper in the game. It's a tough choice between bringing along a staff of perception or a bag of scrying, whereas scrolls of identify simply don't match the staff.

- Sometimes Bags of holding would be named instead of the item inside it. Eg: you walk over a mushroom and it says "you have picked up a magic bag of helpful mushrooms" instead of the type of mushroom it was. Minor code cleanup I'd say.

+ Rune system. It has the gottaCollectEmAll vibe going. I felt I had to hoard every rune I found purely for the promise they brought even though I only got to craft one item. I was also hoarding useless items in the hope that there was a way of extracting runes from them at a later date. Still haven't found out whether that is the case or not yet.

+- coating system. I really REALLY liked the coating system at the start, but I rarely used it once past the initial stages as you couldn't coat any branded/ego stuff. It certainly lifted the profile of detrimental items, but I didn't really see the negative impact of using up a resource on enhancing any weapon for a limited time.

+ Themed dungeons. I've never been that far into the game before, but the themed dungeons really give a better sense of realism to each area. I still believe that there's more room for improvement and I'd like to see the dungeon creation make levels with more meaning. I liked the change in intensity of some dungeons too. I really liked the towers as they reminded me of playing Lost Soul characters, but with the added bonus of having everything packed into a screen size, scryable shape.

- Weapon damage calc. I'm not sure what variant had damage calculations for monster types (might have been FuryBand?), but I really would have liked to have seen an aggregate damage representation somewhere to figure out whether a ring of damage (+8) was better or worse than a ring of Acid (x2). It used to be on examining your wielded weapon and would list the damage for normal monsters, resistant monsters, etc. I also never figured out what a good skill in throwing did for you instead of your skill in shooting apart from the throws per round.

++ ID system. I'm an info hoarder and most of my characters tend to value information gathering very highly. I really enjoyed the sensing of items and then the division of identification by gauging, sensing, IDing, Loreing, etc. Really played out well for the early stages and enhanced by bags of scrying later on. Also really well done was figuring out what something was by using it or being exposed to situations that could tell you what it was (like being hit by a fireball then figuring out that an unID'd item may be fireproof).