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Forum: AF Development & Design
Thread: New Areas
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-01-01 04:57:41
Hi all. I'm going to be developing a few more areas in the coming weeks. If you have any feedback or criticisms about the current areas, let me know here. Telling Peter in person about game flaws doesn't really help since I'm the one doing the development. ;-)
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-01-08 02:17:16
Hmm, great to hear that there will be more areas...

As for the balance of the game I have a few remarks:

Mountain's Foot: Hard enough and enough fights although maybe more by resting than by exploring.

Sunken Pirate Ship: here is it where the balance goes away...By exploring there are not enough fights, but by resting you get plenty. There can hardly be found any gold here but this is covered by the extravagant amount of Magic Items and Gems found here. Yet still something feels wrong here...:)

Another flaw: the fact that we can only wear two rings also stings me... I think we should have the ability to wear ten of them.
Post by: m_carta(37500)
2005-01-08 02:55:45
Maybe...every character in AF only has two fingers? :D
Post by: gatcholio(28366)
2005-01-08 22:27:16
My experiences in Non Basic Areas (Not AF, or the twins)

Explore: ratio of pushing button to encounters = less than 50%.

Rest: ratio of pushing button to encounters = greater than 90%

It seems you should encounter more while exploring, or at least drop the rest ratio to 80% or less.

These #'s aren't exact, but I feel they are close, if you play, you know what I mean.

:)
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-01-09 03:49:29
Gatcholio I don't agree... there are lots of differences on those ratios between the areas.

Post by: gatcholio(28366)
2005-01-12 11:46:05
this is my experience in the Kobold Cave.
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-01-13 04:48:28
Everything cited so far was put in for a reason except for maybe some imbalances in the explore vs. the rest at mountain's foot. The 99% rest encounter in SPS is completely intentional, and I admit that exploring there is currently useless. I wanted to put in a very large treasure chest for explorers, but the treasure is actually in the code and I'd have to ask Peter to change it.

Also, remember too that Explore doesn't translate directly into "looking for monsters." Sometimes when I explore, I want to avoid monsters. When you are asleep (alone, remember, with no guards), you can snore, flatuate, and generally stew in your own juices until you wake up, making you easily detectable by monsters with good smell and hearing.
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-01-13 04:49:31
As for the rings, they may be expanded if there is a need for the use of more magic items in the game.
Post by: Infamous_Infants(23)
2005-01-13 06:12:35
Anyone ever tried to chop wood or use a hammer/tool while they was wearing 10 ring???

Well the ring will be beaten flat on the inside of your hand if they donít break. They could also make some serious damage to your fingers. Not to talk about how easy you will lose your grip on what ever tool/weapon your are using. Now try to pull on your heavy war gloves wearing 10 rings..



There are plenty of reason not to wear more than 2 rings. Iím not against it, but its not up to me to decide this.. and after all we are warriors that are very familiar with our weapons and as our skills grow to higher levels at all the time, it is reasonable enough that we at time reach the ability to wear more rings. Say something like 1 extra ring pr. 50 levels or maybe higherÖdonít know.

:)

Post by: TrickytotheMaximus(8206)
2005-02-12 06:23:20
I built a rigged character to take the top of the board (I'm Throwback). Got enough skill to survive in a high fame area like kobold and bandit. Then I bought every energy point possible, putting nothing else in other skills. Worked like a charm.

I think it's the simplicity of the scoring system that is the problem. The 1 fame per kill, regardless of difficulty is probably not a good idea. I go to areas that are less challenging, but yield the best fame. I just rest once and then refresh in those areas until the energy is expended. I have so much energy (282 atm) that I started using a macro to play the game.

I'm still playing to see where the fame curve will top out. I should reach a point where fame gained and lost balance and then practically stop advancing because I'm putting on levels so slowly.

Post by: Infamous_Infants(23)
2005-02-12 10:25:02
Well Max you are only at the top because i let you ;)
-but you already know that !!
Post by: raynbow(16237)
2005-02-14 23:23:42
Actually, I have the same complaint here that I do on SfP.

I can walk through hilltop/elven/harbortown without even paying attention.

But I still get my butt kicked in Mountain's Foot/Sunken Ship.

How about an area in the middle there?

Alot of 'old timers' would have skipped this weak point because those high level zones didnt exist so they leveled up forever in the lower level zones. But for those of us who are still working our way up, there's a definite difficult jump.
Post by: TrickytotheMaximus(8206)
2005-02-15 00:38:44
Yes, of course II let me. Plus I would always stay at the same Inn and send drinks and wenches over to Pasha's table. My secret weapon.
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-02-16 23:39:00
That is a good point. However, I don't think the problem is with the difficulty of the newer areas in general, just of specific monsters, i.e. the Orc War party and the reef giant. These monsters are kick-ass, while everything else is a modest 25% more difficult than the previous level. The easiest solution is to make the occurrance of these monsters rarer. Another possibility is that it's a good thing that you can't walk through these 2 levels without thinking. Loki the Lewd still has to think in these two areas because of these 2 monsters (less so now for reef giants though). Regardless, I think the OWP should be decreased in occurrance, to maybe at least 1/2 the current frequency. Comments?
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-02-17 07:24:17
Hummmm, but the OWP gives good xp :)

For me, (Zeus, level 58) it is practically possible to last a long time at Mountain's Foot without needing to withdraw due to low hit points. What I mean is, there is resting opportunity enough since you do not get ambushed that often at MF, and actually the only times that I have to withdraw is that the second OWP comes too quickly after the first one. In most other cases I can easily heal up my hp.

Now this is ofcourse because I am level 58, have 300 hp's and 200+ weapon defences. I know that MF is a hazardous place for someone of lower level. I recall having lost thirty potions in one fight against an OWP(Level 42-45), as well as losing 500 energy because Poseidon(now retired, happened at about level 37-39) ran out of potions in his first fight at MF against a Cyclops.

In this view, I think lowering the occurrance of the OWP is maybe a good idea. You then, roughly, create(as said) an area about 25-30% harder as the Hilltop which is a healthy increase in difficulty. The Cyclops and (Mountain Foot)Hill Giant will still be enough of a challenge and the, in this case, rarer OWP's will keep the adventurers cautious and make the potion sellers rich.

However, if this happens, a harder place should come quickly...

Secondly, Mountain Foot has practically no advantages on SPS. You get lots more fights at SPS, thus you also get more XP and fame, plenty of gems, and a lot of magic items. Only thing found rarely here is gold, but the abundance in unnecessary magic stuff makes sure the char gets enough cash for his Training and Potions.

A re-balance is I think needed here, I have the slight feeling that Mountain Foot is obsolete in the game, and to a lesser extent a bit the same about Elven Camp(but that can be because it was implemented at a time when my char was already over-level for that area).

Post by: raynbow(16237)
2005-02-17 22:29:40
I think you're right about the last part Zeus. They are unneccessary because by the time they came in you were over the level where you needed them. For those of us still trying to work through those levels, they are VERY necessary.
Post by: raynbow(16237)
2005-02-17 23:41:44
Doug, reducing the frequency of the OWP might help some. It might also help if there was a place more than 2 hops away to buy healing potions. I have to waste 20 ap (10 there and 10 back) everytime I need more healing potions, which is often when you're starting out in those areas.

Maybe make healing potions available in Hilltop and Harbortown?
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-02-17 23:51:57
Mountain's Foot is simply an entryway level up to the top of the mountain and the dungeon under the mountain. It is not meant to stand alone. Elven encampment was also to be an entryway level into a forest dungeon. The SPS is a stand-alone board, and the common encounters and the loads of magic items were done on purpose, because, quite honestly, without them, players will die in droves once they start up the mountain. I wanted every player to at least have a complete pirate set before moving past MF.

The reason why I haven't done anything yet is because some code changes are needed to accomodate the later boards, most notably, the ability to limit the types of inns available (currently all or none), and the ability to make portals one-way (for the badlands). I also want to make some new moss effects.

The reality of the game is that advancement will be almost impossible after a certain point, and the only way to provide monsters with enough XP to make advancement possible, along with providing the level of "meanness" I want to keep the players interested, will require that the players get extensive help from magic items, so that fact that you are all getting pumped up on the pirate ship is actually intentional ;-)
Post by: raynbow(16237)
2005-02-18 21:51:35
Based on todays adventures or lack thereof.

The cyclops is also really strong.

And the major problems are that the surprise rate is high enough that if you get hit by the cyclops or the OWP, you can't rest and recover. And if you try, you just end up losing all your potions, and having to waste 20 ap going to get more.
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-02-18 22:17:27
How many HP do you have? If you're going into MF with less than 150, you're pretty much doomed.
Post by: raynbow(16237)
2005-02-19 03:47:36
155

And the cyclops can do over 100, easily. I'm not the supreme built character. I don't argue that I am.

But I *am* at a stage where Elven is too easy, and Mountains Foot, Sunken Shipyard are too hard. And I've been stuck at this spot for SEVERAL levels.
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-02-19 04:44:17
Hmm; the Giant Bear at the Elven gives good xp too :)
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-02-19 23:35:40
I've been doing some thinking, and some of the "fun" things I want to implement will make the game nearly impossible for non-donors, so I am going to ask Peter to instead of capping non-donor XP at whatever it is now, to instead cap it at each players energy max, since it is my understanding that it is now possible for non-donors to have energy maxes higher than the cap, which is stupid. I'll ask for this when I get working on the other stuff.
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-02-20 02:50:45
You mean AP instead of XP probably?
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-02-22 09:54:40
Yes.

I have just sent Peter the first small change from my list of changes to make in the next few weeks. The only effect you may notice is a change in the XP rewards of about half of the monsters that I created (all the levels post Hilltop inn). At the time I made them, I hadn't realized Peter had a formula for generating XP; I just discovered it today and adjusted my monster's XP accordingly.

However, the result of this is that some of the monster's XP values are probably broken, specificly, monsters that are not uniform in statistics. The original forumla is the following:

(Offense + Defense + Damage + HP)/2

The problem with this is that you have 2 different categories of stats being given equal weight in the formula (offense & defense vs. Damage & HP). It works fairly well at low levels where the values for each are in the same ballpark, but the higher we go, the more skewed the numbers will be, especially in top-heavy monsters like the Jelly Fish (more XP by this formula) and the Orc War Party (less XP by this formula). Obviously the OWP is harder than the Jelly Fish, so a new formula will be required.

I will be working on the new formula over the next few days, so don't get used to the new values.
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-02-22 10:08:22
I have analyzed the areas and have ranked them by average difficulty level:

AF:1
ET:1
WT:1
KL:2.24
BC:2.24
HI:4.08
EE:4.08
HT:4.38
MF:5.65
SPS:6.88

This basicly says that SPS is 6.88 times harder than AF. It is of course flawed for the same reason as the XP levels.
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-02-22 23:35:04
I have come up with an XP formula that I think works well. I will be updating the monsters and will test it out on the test server before I put it on the main server.



Since HP is taken into account twice in the old formula (total attacker and defender HP lost is added to XP, in addition to 1/2 the player's HP already in the formula) I eliminated it from the base formula, and instead based the new formula on an "ouch factor" that takes the monster's offense and damage and compares it to the median monster defense for that level (using median instead of mean eliminates skewage from crazy monster types like Jelly Fish). This factor is then applied to 2 times the square root of the median defense to get the new base experience.



This will affect each level in the following ways:



AF/WT/ET: +3 XP per encounter average

KL: +1.5 XP per encounter average

BC: -0.9 XP per encounter average

HI: +14 XP per encounter average

MF: +86 XP per encounter average

HT: +17 XP per encounter average

EE: +8 XP per encounter average

SPS: +22 XP per encounter average



(Notables: Jelly Fish -242, OWP +430, Cyclops +151)



To offset the balance shift away from SPS, I intend to add some higher exploring gold payouts, hopefully including a "jackpot" payout if it is possible. Also, the OWP may be removed from MF entirely and moved up the mountain.



I plan on judging level difficulty then by using a similar formula to the XP formula, but that also takes into account monster frequencies and HP (staying power).
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-02-23 02:47:28
No keep the OWP at MF, otherwise MF is no more than the Hilltop II :)
Post by: raynbow(16237)
2005-02-23 03:16:11
Ugh, please get rid of the OWP. Mountain's Foot is plenty harder than Hilltop. I finally gave up on it, as I was going through dozens of potions every day and still ending up dead almost every day.
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-02-24 23:40:05
I have finally come up with a difficulty ranking system for monsters and levels. Essentially, a monster's difficulty is the amount of damage a monster can do (based on max damage) before he is killed by the median monster of that level. A Level's difficulty is the weighted averages of all the monsters difficulties. Difficulty is relative to the level: An OWP transplanted onto a much higher level will have a much lower difficulty rating.

Top 5 most "difficult" monsters:

Orc War Party 391.6690442
Giant Bear 217.7372852
Cyclops 210.6158215
Reef Giant 200.3442188
Giant Squid (HT) 116.1103048

Reference: Wolf is a 3.5

Location Difficulties:

AF,ET,WT: 21

BC: 26
KL: 27
HI: 45
EE: 49
HT: 58
SPS: 64
MF: 93

This basicly shows us that Hilltop Inn is twice as hard as the lower levels relatively. For a smooth transition, the boards would all have difficulties in the 20s. Characters could advance seemlessly from one to another as their stats progress, as opposed to waltzing though easy areas to get XP because the next area is disprportionately harder.

Additionally, the difficulty of the board will dictate how long the training curve for that board is. For example, the difficulty difference means that it will take a player twice as long to master Hilltop Inn than it took them to master Western Twin. Having adjacent boards have similar difficulties will make seemless play, with the difficulty dictating the length of stay. The problem then is abrupt difficulty jumps, like Mountains Foot, which is nearly 4.5 time harder relatively than AF, and over 2 times harder than Hilltop Inn. As this is a 2 fold stair-like progression, theoretically, it should take 4 times longer to advance from HI to MF as it took to advance from WT to HI.

The problem as described by raynbow seems to be that since a 2-fold progression between HI and MF actually translates into a 4-fold time increase, HI becomes too easy before MF becomes feasable, probably due to a mismatch between the diffficulty and player progression curves. The optimal solution is to actually chart player progression and then base each area off of a minimal player level, i.e. make Hilltop Inn for players level 30 and over (hypothetical example). This is complicated by the fact that two charts will need to be made for lower and higher level players (since higher level players buy training. A more artificial solution is to just keep all areas after HI at about the same difficulty level as HI itself. This approach would work for now, but as players reach the terminal end of their level advancement (players generally only gain 2% skill benenfit per level advancement from level 50 onwards), we'd have to keep careful attention paid to the case of the monsters outpacing the players. I'll tinker with some more formula, but it appears almost certain that the OWP will have to be removed or greatly reduced in MF.
Post by: raynbow(16237)
2005-02-25 00:12:49
I told you the cyclops was mean! :)
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-02-25 22:49:06
I've now charted out player stat progression based on the proportion that Loki the Lewd has spent on his stats (I figured he's in the top 4 for gladiator sports, so he must be doing something right, and hence would make a good template). Area's will now be designed for certain "level" players in mind, although since players will develop their characters differently, different characters will be able to takle these levels sooner or later. For skill progression, it was assumed that by Lv 25, all players are buying training for their characters.
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-02-26 06:24:09
Interesting, good thoughts here.

On first sight the changes look fine; only significant change at SPS being the Giant Jelly Fish, which is fair since that was actually too much xp for a fish that only hit you for two or three every round.


Hmm, as for the progression it is right that the gap between HI and MF too big is.

You should be able to lower the difficulty, following your numbers, to about 60-65 I think so that progression is easier. And then it is probably time for a new area behind the Mountain Foot.


Yet I still think that there are some strange things. Honestly, for me it is easier at MF than at SPS, and it is also more profitable for me at SPS.

This being logical of course, but following the above numbers MF should be one and a half time as hard as SPS(or do I calculate something wrong here?)


Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-02-26 10:33:26
You are correct.

MF is harder than SPS for me. I think that your experience is unique to yourself, probably based on how you built your character. I lose HP faster at MF, and definately use more potions.

On another note, my character progression table I made turned out to be crap, so I'm just going to drop the over-analysis and just make the darn levels ;-)
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-02-26 16:37:09
hehe --- well I have maybe more hp's than the average char; by the same time maybe more weapon defences than the average char of my level

I am, for the comparison in fact working with an MF where I explore until lose about 60 hp's and then start resting, and SPS where I rest all the time until my hp's go under 60 and I move to HT to rest.

I must admit that, when exploring in both areas, MF will definitely be harder, but the way I play right now it is a lot, but really a lot, more profitable for me to stay at the SPS.
Post by: raynbow(16237)
2005-03-15 23:04:55
I still can't survive in either. I'm napping my way though Hilltop/Harbor and every level I check and see if I can do one of the other areas yet.
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-03-19 00:44:02
The difficulty of MF has been reduced. Try it again and let me know what you think.
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-03-19 04:55:39
Nice Doug ;)

"Round 1
Zeus hits for 22
Orc Scouting Party Miss

Round 2
Zeus hits for 24
Orc Scouting Party hits for 1

Round 3
Zeus hits for 25
Orc Scouting Party Miss

Orc Scouting Party DIES !!!
462 experience gained
You find 28 gold
Fame: 1"

Orc Scouts seem to be quite weak compared to the Orcs in a War Party...

But the place is probably much more survivable for the people who have just got to good for hilltop and elven camp.

For me, I go back to the SPS :)
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-03-19 04:56:22
Okay this Scouting Party did a bit better:

"Round 1
Zeus hits for 22
Orc Scouting Party hits for 12

Round 2
Zeus hits for 27
Orc Scouting Party hits for 23

Round 3
Zeus hits for 23
Orc Scouting Party Miss

Orc Scouting Party DIES !!!
556 experience gained
You find 6 gold"
Post by: raynbow(16237)
2005-03-25 22:09:09
Well, I still died, but I lasted longer.

I think it's definately more do-able.
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-03-26 07:27:27
And I noticed that there is a Mountain Trail now, so that new Area is there too.

Thanks Doug, although I have spent 200 energy exploring at MF and still didn't find the path there...
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-04-23 01:08:40
Just to let you all know, I am currently working on expanding the game considerably. The number of new areas will probably quadruple the size of the game. While most are for the high-level players, I have added 2 new areas that are intermediate to the twins and the kobold caves, and also a new single level dungeon area off of Elven Encampment.

I won't give away all the surprises, but there will be two high-level dungeons with multiple levels, and, the penultimate area, the Badlands, which I consider my favorite achievement in the game (and may sport new, yet-to-be implemented game features).

The skeleton for all this is well on its way to being finished, but it will be the fine-tuning that will take some time, specificly, monster treasure and Experience. Bug testing will also take time.

I just wanted to let you know so you can all get excited!

I expect to be finished with this by the end of May, possibly earlier.

If any of the younger players have any input or feedback, please say so now, because I can retool the existing areas while I'm making the new ones.
Post by: FloriZeus(7923)
2005-04-23 03:43:26
Hmmm, you say you added two new areas...but I presume they aren't really in the game yet? Since Game Status still reads 11 areas?
Post by: Doug the Designer(55)
2005-04-23 03:59:49
Yes
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