Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

General discussion about the game.
MantisAboardShip
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:44 am

Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby MantisAboardShip » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:15 am

Hi! This isn't a complaint - I like the game, love the theme, and enjoy the challenge. It feels a bit unpolished: but in the same way Rogue feels unpolished compared to Nethack.

Rather, it's a game design reflection on what makes great roguelikes great. By 'great', I mean properties like:
- endless replayability
- very emergent gameplay
- determinism on player choice[/list]

By replayability, I specifically mean each game involving different decisions. Something like Nethack, by taking the cross product of all the classes and ways you can play them and events that can happen, allows each game to be unique. Dwarf Fortress is another example: each game is different enough to require completely different choices, even if preferences are built up over time.

The way such depth is achieved in a sane amount of development, is making everything in the world interact with everything else. Items and enemies and abilities synergize and anti-synergize and affect each other, and whole new areas of gameplay (often unexpected ones) emerge.

Now, all of this overwhelming variety and complexity, hinges on the decisions the player makes. The world is extremely random - but the player is given so many choices, that it can be made non-random with the application of knowledge.


The impression I'm getting after ~10 hours of FTL, is that there's a lack of variety in the choices available. There's no "inventory full of scrolls and wands and potions and tools oh my" cornucopia available, to reign in the roll of the dice. On Normal (haven't tried easy, maybe additional salvage increases variety which would be ironic) you're forced to specialize quite heavily. Crew members are precious and locked into their roles, drones require an expensive (and not immediately found) upgrade to even use, and even the inventory system is focused on a small group of choices.

There's no wide variety of choice. And thus, there's a lot less emergence. And thus, randomness is truly random because you don't have the ability to reign it in - because you can only be a specialist, not a generalist.

The end result is... Very arcade-ey. Which is neat for casual short-term play, but killer for long-term replayability. Arcades tend to be intensely twitch-skill-based to compensate, so there's a satisfying endgame mastery to pursue. With practically turnbased combat, that's not the case.

So - I'm entertained for the moment but doubt it will last. And see room to improve and deepen the game, to make it leave a lasting mark on the world. As it is, it seems to miss the mark of what makes roguelikes roguelikes.
Postal
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:31 am

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby Postal » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:27 am

A short reply to a long post, but even during this first release week there's a flood of speculation on post-release content/DLC/whatever you want to call it. There's been enough of an outcry for a "sandbox" mode and various other things that I'm reasonably confident they'll try to extend the long-term value of the game.

As for the "lack of choice variety," that's an incredibly succinct way of phrasing something I've had trouble putting into words. I love this game to death, and have put more hours into it since beta than I'm willing to admit, but I've found myself falling back into two or three set patterns every game just because I know they work (either Crew Teleporter or missile overload). Giving us a greater number of viable endgame strategies would be high on my list.
XIIGage
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:01 am

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby XIIGage » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:34 am

I really want to get the mantis ship to do some fun 4-crew boarding
RynCage
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:25 am

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby RynCage » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:38 am

Pretty much hit the nail on the head Mantis.
id be really dissapointed if this game missed its potiental. So i hope the devs or mods can go the extra mile, flesh it out then top it off with some new content.
Pilgrim of Domina
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:57 am

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby Pilgrim of Domina » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:41 am

Aye. I know exactly what you mean. I just posted a whole rant on how FTL is not a rougelike.
So i hope the devs or mods can go the extra mile,

Extensive modding support
/extramile
Postal
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:31 am

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby Postal » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:47 am

My only worry is that people are expecting a bit too much too soon. The devs have been incredibly involved in the community from the beginning, and launch week has greatly expanded their audience. It's only been two days since launch and the forums are filled with "make more content" posts already.

I'd much rather they take their time and do it well, as opposed to trying to immediately cater to a heavy demand.
RynCage
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:25 am

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby RynCage » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:54 am

Of course, but even if people are expecting to much- they will be just as happy when it arrives.
It's not like they are going to go trade in FTL to the nearest gamestop.
I would also rather they take their time, to ensure the highest quality with whatever additions they bring, rather then rush out somthing silly just to appease the minority that speaks the loudest.
XIIGage
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:01 am

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby XIIGage » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:55 am

So when are we getting 3d graphics and a first person view?
MantisAboardShip
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:44 am

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby MantisAboardShip » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:27 pm

What I would love is for the devs to either:

1) Pull a Toady or Notch. An endless development business model!
2) Open source it, and let the community do what communities do. Retain some sort of governing authority, and hope that eventually something like Nethack will result.
The New Romance
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:08 pm

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby The New Romance » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:02 pm

MantisAboardShip wrote:What I would love is for the devs to either:

1) Pull a Toady or Notch. An endless development business model!
2) Open source it, and let the community do what communities do. Retain some sort of governing authority, and hope that eventually something like Nethack will result.

Two days after the game is out, and you demand such long-lasting choices from the developers? I don't know. I've played the game for over 50 hours, and it hasn't gotten stale in the slightest. I've only unlocked four ships so far, I guess I haven't even seen half of the content! Of course, it might not deliver decades of playtime like Dwarf Fortress, but it's still way deeper and more replayable than most videogames.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 23 guests