Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

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

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby MantisAboardShip » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:29 pm

Twelve hours of play in, I think I've seen a good portion of the depth available. (With the help of online mechanic references.) I'll enjoy it a whole lot longer, but I think I've run out of surprises :)
omnirizon
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby omnirizon » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:24 pm

MantisAboardShip wrote:
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.


Forced into specialization is not a bad thing because it means that not "everything works." You have to make choices and there are good choices and bad choices. That does not mean there is only one way to do things, but you certainly must have specific goals in mind, and work with the RNG given what you want and what it gives you. There's enough randomness and opportunity to make these decisions so that each ship doesn't have some deterministicly best mixture of equipment, crew, and boosts. An early find of a particular crew member, weapon, or drone can completely change the ultimate trajectory you take for a particular vessel. I'm finding that part of what makes me better is knowing when to hold my scrap and finds, and when to move them to go for another option. Indeed what I am most concerned about is that at the end of the game, all the ship builds end up being too similar.

That said the game lacks 'emergency button' or a variety of 'swap' options to deal with specific events and to reign in the randomness, as the OP says. Often an event occurs where there is no escape. You're just dead. This is most notacible where it happens in the first half-dozen jumps, before you had any chance to make a lot of bad decisions or poor choices. The game has no consumables for dealing with these types of events. You can get a 'healing potion', as it were, but not until you find a hull repair drone. You have swap options from your set of guns and drones, but the gun/drone slot limitations mean you might have at most one or two backup options, and these are usually of the nature of something like a lower power gun/drone for use in nebula storms. I would like to see more difficult and varied encounters, but more emergency and swap options for dealing with them.

The tactical element of the game is also a good start, but I think it will need some more development if it is going to provide long-term interesting game play. The game has many tactical elements: choosing targets, shuffling availalbe power around the ship, choosing guns/drones, responding to intruders and damage. It is also a nice level of tactics, not to micro-managy, but enough to ensure there is interesting engagment. Expending the tactical dimensions might be good, but too much could just make the game cumbersome. Again, I'd like to see more difficult engagements and randomness to deal with, but also the availability of more consumambles and other options to deal with them.
liq3
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:25 pm

Re: Roguelike game design: Choice/Emergence/Strategy

Postby liq3 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:37 pm

MantisAboardShip wrote: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.

What? I thought nethack was so brutally hard because 99% of the time the RNG screws you over and there's nothing you can do about it. I'm pretty sure that's the whole reason lots of people have been playing it for years and not beaten it.

FTL doesn't suffer from a lack of choice, it suffers from a lack of content. There's plenty of different strategies one can pursue already.

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