Transparency of Old-Shool vs Modern Dungeon Crawlers

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Transparency of Old-Shool vs Modern Dungeon Crawlers

Postby Hermundure » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:32 pm

Hi all!

If I perceive it correctly, one main difference in comparison between the "Old-Shool" games and the more modern Dungeon Crawlers (Grimrock and the like) is the "Transperancy" of game mechanics and stats.

For example back in the day when playing DM, I had no idea on how much better (or worse) I would be protected while wearing armor x in comparison to y. The modern games pretty much reveal anything in this regards (AC, resistances, dodge penalities, etc.), DM only showed a tiny bit (a raise in the STR stat would be visible for example, or a few points more mana).

The question here is, which "transparency-level" do you personally consider to be more immersive and enjoyable in these kind of games?
Do you like experimenting and discovering things yourself or do you like to see the strength and weaknesses of items at a glance in a pop-up which reveals all info, reducing items to simple numbers?
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Re: Transparency of Old-Shool vs Modern Dungeon Crawlers

Postby Isaac » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:51 pm

Even The Bard's Tale [1985] series showed the relative protection of armor, as did the the Eye of the Beholder series. Game mechanics (and puzzle-craft) are the armature upon which a dungeon-crawler stands; without it, it flops like a boneless chicken...
Spoiler: show

..., and then there is the story; but as Carmack so eloquently mentioned... it's not that important. :mrgreen:

Transparency-wise, I want nothing undefined—that doesn't mean that some items shouldn't be a mystery; but it should be a solvable mystery. In Eye of the Beholder (for instance), the player encounters an Oracle alcove early in the game, it can fully identify magical items, but it takes a power-artifact to activate it; one found only on the last level of the game. But even before that, the player (usually) has spells to identify at least those items as having a magical quality.

The effects have to exist in a way that a player can definitively estimate their value—even it if is just blatant numbers. The player never handles the item themselves; only the PCs do that, and while they could (and would) conceivably realize quality, and develop a preference from handling the items... That's not so easy for the player; especially if the combat mechanics are hidden from them.

In Baldur's Gate & Icewind Dale, the game graciously offers to display the actual combat rolls of each attack. This allows the player to immediately realize the proficiency of their opponents, and the severity of their own failures; a thing the PC's would know from the first round—because they lived through it (or didn't). But the player sees only the standard animations, and they look the same for an expert or novice.

*It's certainly an option to omit the numerical combat rolls if the game clearly displays the proficiency with different (and identifiable) animations that represent expertise. Most don't.
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Re: Transparency of Old-Shool vs Modern Dungeon Crawlers

Postby trancelistic » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:37 pm

I personly like it as with DM.
To guess or to try to found out yourself what a piece of equipment does, or even if combined with other items, always motivated me.
Also a fun rewarding feeling if you know what it does.

This kinda reminds me of the dex cloack Gotmog in DM was wearing:)
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Re: Transparency of Old-Shool vs Modern Dungeon Crawlers

Postby Khollik » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:47 pm

I don't know if some people are still interested by this topic...

As a huge fan of DM, I always found quite realistic (and fun, like Trancelistic), that you don't know the stats of weapons or pieces of armour you find during the game. The drawback is (and for me it always has been the main flaw of Dungeon Master, as much as I love this game), sometimes you just can't figure out which weapon is better, and particularly thrown weapons. You just have to guess that the later in the dungeon you find one , the more powerful it has to be (so shuriken are better than rocks, but are shuriken better than darts???).

I suppose it should be possible (but quite tedious) in LOG to redefine each weapon in the assets so that the damage range does not appear in the description of the weapon (as for the One Ring).
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