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Your monkey can now... WHAT?

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Your monkey can now... WHAT?

Postby hidden_magii » April 20th, 2011, 1:28 am

Seriously, go play the new version. Right now.

And thank you to Pender for putting more work into this wonderful game.
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Re: Your monkey can now... WHAT?

Postby smuglapse » April 20th, 2011, 8:17 pm

Heh. I killed some bats and then I felt like the Wicked Witch for a minute.
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Re: Your monkey can now... WHAT?

Postby JonnyAMax » April 21st, 2011, 1:17 am

Heh you had a monkey do it first... I had an OGRE for my first XD
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Re: Your monkey can now... WHAT?

Postby hidden_magii » April 21st, 2011, 11:20 am

Heh you had a monkey do it first... I had an OGRE for my first XD


That would have been even more impressive. I later had two ogres that had examined Dar Blademasters, which sure helped their survivability...
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Re: Your monkey can now... WHAT?

Postby Coriolis » April 21st, 2011, 5:33 pm

So far I've had Trolls that learned to blink, that learned to fireproof themselves, and a Naga that mastered throwing lighting bolts. Gotta say, this is very strange and interesting, watching allies pick up intrinsics the way the player usually does in some roguelikes. I wonder how they know when they can 'upgrade'? Do they get experience points too, and at the point they 'level up' they get to take an intrinsic from their next target? What's the criteria that determines how they choose when to eat a corpse or study one?
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Re: Your monkey can now... WHAT?

Postby Pender » April 21st, 2011, 5:57 pm

Coriolis wrote:So far I've had Trolls that learned to blink, that learned to fireproof themselves, and a Naga that mastered throwing lighting bolts. Gotta say, this is very strange and interesting, watching allies pick up intrinsics the way the player usually does in some roguelikes. I wonder how they know when they can 'upgrade'? Do they get experience points too, and at the point they 'level up' they get to take an intrinsic from their next target? What's the criteria that determines how they choose when to eat a corpse or study one?

Glad you asked! It's something of an experiment in making allies more interesting and durable, with the quirk that (as folks here can attest) most players will encounter it for the first time when their unambiguously ground-based ally suddenly learns to fly by playing with a dead bat. It's weird, and I've wondered in the past if it was TOO weird, but I left it in anyway.

Allies gain invisible experience for being your allies as you as you explore the dungeon: each dungeon space that you see for the first time gets added onto their experience point count, which (a) gradually but noticeably makes them stronger in combat, and (b) permits them to absorb an enemy ability the next time an opportunity presents itself. An opportunity presents itself (as I recall) when the ally watches an enemy with a learnable trait die and can commence absorbing it within the next few turns. If you don't want your ally to gain a trait from a monster (e.g. invisibility), just interrupt the ally while it is poring over the dead enemy and it will abort that particular absorption and try again at the next opportunity.

Here are the traits/abilities that can be learned:

Code: Select all
LEARNABLE_BEHAVIORS = (MONST_INVISIBLE | MONST_FLIES | MONST_IMMUNE_TO_FIRE | MONST_REFLECT_4)
LEARNABLE_ABILITIES = (MA_CAST_HEAL | MA_CAST_HASTE | MA_CAST_BLINK | MA_CAST_CANCEL | MA_CAST_SPARK | MA_CAST_FIRE | MA_CAST_SLOW | MA_CAST_DISCORD)


The particular verb that they use to describe the absorption process, like the attack verbs that monsters use, is purely a matter of flavor and depends on the species of the ally.

I'd be interested to hear suggestions on this stuff specifically or the ally system generally. My goal, which I don't know if I've yet achieved, is to make allies an asset worth cultivating and protecting, to the point that a viable character can be built around them (e.g. staff of healing, staff of haste, wand of plenty, etc.).
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Re: Your monkey can now... WHAT?

Postby Joshua Day » April 23rd, 2011, 1:48 am

I do think it would be nice if that list were filtered for each type of ally, so you have more control over what you're getting and (maybe, just maybe) have an incentive to prefer a monkey from the start of the game to a horror near the end. I love that monkeys learn to fly; it seems a little bit funny that ogres do. Ogres casting lightning, becoming immune to fire, on the other hand, fits with their character.

Invisibility is a hassle for a staff-heavy build, and it's hard to heal them if you want to! I propose that either you be allowed to see invisible allies (perhaps as psychic emanations) or that they turn their invisibility off when they're not using it. Allies are all a bit of a liability once enemies start zapping discord, and it's hard to use door-ducking tactics against dar battlegroups when allies don't respect that. I don't know of any good way to fix that, since making the player issue commands is assuredly off the table.

It's good that allies keep themselves alive; it would be nice if they judged their actual risk a little bit better. I like to rescue ogres when I see them between 5 and 8 because I don't have to worry about protecting my equipment just yet. But if I rescue an ogre and he won't squash an acid mound for me until he's feeling better, what's the point? Beside that, there's nothing cooler than unchaining him and watching him promptly squash his captors! It might be possible to resolve this by judging whether the player is particularly vulnerable to a monster, or a monster is particularly vulnerable to the ally, and prioritizing such cases.
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Re: Your monkey can now... WHAT?

Postby hidden_magii » April 24th, 2011, 6:40 pm

Allies are definitely more useful, but there are some possibly weird behaviours. For example, summoned spectral blades avoid clouds of gas as well, even though they are (I believe) unaffected by them. I guess they are not differentiated from other allies. Also, avoiding grass fires still seems to be an issue, as my allies will try to crowd as close to enemies as possible and stand in the middle of a burning patch of grass. And pink jellies are a nightmare with spectral blade allies.

Personally I would love to see something like a scroll of retrieval that teleports allies to your present location, to be able to pull them back out of tough fights you know they will lose; there's probably lots of other ways to make them either smarter or more controllable, but I do think they still need a bit of behavioural buffing to make them a long-term strategy.
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