Testers wanted: Avenie's Awful Adventure

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minmay
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Re: Testers wanted: Avenie's Awful Adventure

Post by minmay » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:35 am

One thing I want to do with this mod is allow a variety of balanced character builds. To accomplish this, I've made a few changes from vanilla Grimrock 2.
Screenshot 1
The four attributes are now Force, Finesse, Fortitude, and Focus, and they begin at 0.
  • Force represents Avenie's ability to impart force with her magic, whether for swinging a weapon or casting an attack spell. Each point of Force increases the damage Avenie deals with physical and magical attacks by 5%.
  • Finesse represents Avenie's ability to precisely direct her magic. Finesse allows her to move her body quickly and precisely. Each point of Finesse increases Avenie's evasion by 1 and her critical chance by 1%.
  • Fortitude represents Avenie's ability to weather attacks. Each point of Fortitude increases Avenie's protection by 1 and her maximum health by 5. (This one is likely to change slightly)
  • Focus represents Avenie's ability to control her reserves of magical energy. Each point of Willpower increases Avenie's maximum energy by 5, and her damage multiplier for critical attacks by 10%.
All four are useful for all character builds; you might notice that Force is purely offensive and Fortitude purely defensive. Finesse and Focus offer both offense and defense, but in different ways. You can, of course, still find equipment that increases your evasion/health/protection/energy/critical chance/critical multiplier directly.
The motivation is not only to make all four attributes useful, but to make it an interesting decision to choose between them - because every time you gain a level, you get to pick one attribute to increase by 1. Games with such a system often suffer from a problem where the obviously optimal choice is to put all your attribute points into one stat. The inherent synergy between Force, Finesse, and Focus is an intentional attempt at fighting that.
(Note: the screenshot shows the wrong spell critical chance, it should be at 4% because of the 4 Finesse. Yes, spells crit now.)

Protection and Evasion have also changed. Avenie's Protection number is simply subtracted from all incoming damage, and I mean all - melee attacks, arrows, spells, everything. For comparison, the default behavior in Grimrock 2 is that a random number between 50% and 150% of your Protection is subtracted from melee attack damage only, and it doesn't affect ranged attacks at all.
So don't panic when you see that a plate cuirass only gives 6 protection - it's much more valuable than 12 protection is in Isle of Nex.
Evasion is even more different. Like Protection, it now works on all incoming damage. (Maybe you can't dodge an explosion, but Avenie can.) Each point of Evasion reduces the remaining chance of being hit by 2%. In other words, the chance of Avenie dodging an attack is 1-0.98^Evasion.

Code: Select all

Evasion   Dodge rate
0             0%
1             2%
10            18%
20            33%
30            45%
40            55%
50            64%
75            78%
100           87%
150           95%
You might notice that each point of Protection offers the same absolute damage reduction as the last, and each point of Evasion offers the same relative damage reduction as the last. You might worry that this makes Protection overly powerful by comparison, but since monsters deal more damage the later you are in the game - making each point of Protection less effective - it balances out. Hopefully, this system makes Protection and Evasion sufficiently differentiated to be interesting.

The fundamentals of the skill system are still in place. However, there are fewer skills, skills don't have breakpoints anymore, and they aren't capped at 5 levels.
The skill bar does this instead: Image
The skills screen is still unfinished, and has some placeholder graphics, but I think it's worth looking at:
Screenshot 2
Every skill has a rebalanced effect, but the most interesting changes are to weapons and spells. Avenie can cast spells no matter what she's wielding; using spells while wielding two daggers, or an axe and a shield, or even two shields, is possible. Spellcasting still shares a cooldown with weapon attacks, however.
Weapons have changed quite a bit, too:
  • Heavy weapons are the simplest. They're big and do big damage, much more than light weapons and ranged weapons. Two-handed heavy weapons are even more powerful.
  • Light weapons don't have nearly as much DPS as heavy weapons. However, light weapons have independent cooldowns - attacking with a light weapon won't place Avenie's other hand, or her spellcasting, on cooldown. A two-handed light weapon places both her hands on cooldown, but not her spellcasting. This is what allows dual-wielding, and there is no penalty for dual-wielding. If you're looking for high melee damage, an alternative to two-handed heavy weapons is dual-wielding a one-handed light weapon and a one-handed heavy weapon - though you'll need investment in both skills for this to be effective. Another option is two light weapons + spellcasting.
  • Ranged weapons are all consolidated into the Missile Weapons skill. Throwing weapons are one-handed. Bows, crossbows, and the like are two-handed and more powerful. Firearms can be one-handed or two-handed. All ranged weapons have infinite ammunition. Ranged weapons do less damage than melee weapons.
As for spells, they're significantly reorganized. There are both attack spells and buff spells. Attack spells are things like fireburst, firebeam, lightning, and so on. Spell skills still give you +20% damage per level with their attack spells. Buff spells don't expire like e.g. the standard Shield spell: instead, you toggle buffs on and off, and while a buff is on, it reduces Avenie's maximum energy capacity. (don't worry they aren't actually called "buffs" in-game)
All attack spells use only a single skill. Firebeam only uses fire magic, Ball Lightning only uses air magic, etc. So if you're looking to maximize your damage per spell, sure, put all your points in one skill.
But all buff spells work best with skills spread around. The new Shield spell uses both your Earth and Water Magic skills to determine how much Protection it grants you, and 5 levels of both is better than 10 levels of one.
Furthermore, Fire Magic isn't useful against fire immune monsters, so spreading your magic skills around will give you better coverage.
  • Fire Magic attack spells deal fire damage. Fire attack spells are powerful, practical, and plentiful, but fire magic offers no defensive powers.
  • Air Magic attack spells deal shock damage. Air attack spells are powerful, but cannot be precisely controlled. Lightning Bolt can't be aimed, it just zaps the nearest monster; Ball Lightning bounces around like crazy.
  • Earth Magic attack spells deal poison or physical damage. Earth attack spells have poor range, but physical damage is rarely resisted and the spells may have useful secondary effects, such as Leeching Grasp's life stealing.
  • Water Magic attack spells deal cold or dispelling damage. Water attack spells aren't finished yet.
As for the buff spells, the current prototypes (subject to complete and total change) are:
Earth+Water offers Shield, which covers Avenie's skin with ice and rock, increasing her Protection.
Air+Water offers Repulsion, which deflects incoming attacks, increasing Avenie's Evasion.
Air+Earth offers Elemental Barrier, which increases Avenie's resistances.
Air+Earth+Water offers Augmentation, which increases Avenie's core attributes proportional to her skill with the aligned element (Fire: Force, Air: Finesse, Earth: Fortitude, Water: Focus).
Expect these to change.

Note that you don't actually get 70 skill points at level 11 - that's just for demonstrative purposes. You get 2 skill points per level, and one attribute point per level. Every 5th level, you get a trait point, allowing Avenie to learn a powerful unique ability. I showed this in the original post, but the trait shown in that post was more of a placeholder. The real traits give more unique bonuses:
  • Aura of Might - Avenie's magical strength is so great that she can wield two-handed weapons in one hand. Use a powerful two-handed heavy weapon with a shield? Dual-wield two-handed light weapons? Dual-wield a two-handed heavy weapon and a two-handed light weapon? All possible.
  • Unbound Magic - When Avenie casts a spell, pure energy zaps all her foes within a radius of 2 squares, with base attack power equal to the spell's energy cost. If there are no foes in range, Avenie is refunded half the energy cost instead. Remember, this damage is increased by Force and can crit.
  • Absorption - When Avenie deals damage to a foe, her health and energy are restored by 10% of the damage dealt. Combine this with Force of Will to stay fighting for a long, long time.
(by the way, the current portrait is a WIP, don't worry it won't look that bad in the final version)
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Isaac
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Re: Testers wanted: Avenie's Awful Adventure

Post by Isaac » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:10 pm

minmay, have you played Fallout? This has more than a few similarities to Fallout; (and that's a good thing IMO). 8-)

*Personally I prefer that all ammo be finite, and have weight, but of course, this is a personal mod. I look forward to playing it when it's fished.

One question though: Why not a color shift, and/or numeric graphic for the stats? (instead of a subdivided bar; it couldn't be any less work right?)
SpoilerShow
Either/any/or; not necessarily both
Image
Image

minmay
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Re: Testers wanted: Avenie's Awful Adventure

Post by minmay » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:33 pm

i've never played any of the fallout games

the skill number is already shown at levels 40+ (since the bar can't be subdivided any further without the pips shrinking below one pixel), although you can't actually enough skill points in this mod for that to happen. I've been considering showing it at all levels.

i considered using layered pips instead of subdividing the bar, like in your second screenshot, but it ended up being less readable; changing the bar to start subdivided into 40 slots is more likely than going back to that.

using just color for something like this is terrible because the player 1. might be colorblind, 2. has no way of knowing at a glance which color corresponds to which level
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AndakRainor
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Re: Testers wanted: Avenie's Awful Adventure

Post by AndakRainor » Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:12 pm

Why not showing numbers only instead of bars?

minmay
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Re: Testers wanted: Avenie's Awful Adventure

Post by minmay » Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:02 am

easier to glance at; same reason the game uses the bars in the first place

it is of course a problem that the bars suggest a cap, which is why I may start them at 40 slots
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Isaac
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Re: Testers wanted: Avenie's Awful Adventure

Post by Isaac » Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:19 am

minmay wrote:i've never played any of the fallout games
3 & 4 are totally skippable, but 1 & 2 are superb RPGs; provided that cavalier oblique visuals and turn based combat are not unacceptable.
using just color for something like this is terrible because the player 1. might be colorblind, 2. has no way of knowing at a glance which color corresponds to which level
Terrible if used by itself I suppose.

Killcannon
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Re: Testers wanted: Avenie's Awful Adventure

Post by Killcannon » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:38 am

Here's my feedback so far.

You've got something good going here and I like it over all.

I have to agree here that the 20 and 40 pip bar is just too small to really count UI wise. While I can 'understand' the 20 pip bar because of what's happened with the 5 and 10 bar. I can't really actually count them at a glance with 2 bars like that. The dots between 13 and 17 become a mess of " is that 14 or 15 dots let me stop and count." The 40 just starts looking like a mass of dots to my eye and I quickly would lose interest in the why/where/what of it. So while it's very pretty and I like the concept you're going with. The information needs to remain clear and quickly countable at a glance if you're going to use imagery to represent numbers.

Perhaps you could split it at the 10 mark. Add a second box with 4 dots each to represent a 10. Your current 40 box would work wonders at counting 1 - 5 in two rows as well, giving plenty of room in the current UI scheme and splitting that long row of 10 into something you can quickly recognize as "that's 3" or "I have 2 on this side for 20. Over here that's 5 on the first row and 2 on the second for 7 total. Plus the 20 for a total of 27." You could even just have the interface up all the time so when the player gets to 10 and it fills that first dot in the other field, they instantly understand exactly what happened.



I also have a concern about the Protection stat compared to the other stats especially that of the Finesse and Focus stats. All of your other 3 stats offer some sort of offensive capability. Raw damage, critical strike chance, and critical strike damage. While Protection is simply a raw damage reduction and flat HP increase without any damage increase at all. Now as you said mechanically this should be fine with the damage reduction being a 1 to 1 trade off combined with items that provide additional protection. The problem is once the player realizes that the defense from items is the same reduction that this stat provides, it will weaken the value of the stat; and since it already offers nothing additional besides an HP gain. It could become quite negligible in the eyes of a player as far as choices go. Right up to the point where some boss manages to make it through their Finesse dodge and 1 shot them because they don't have a single point in it as min/max rules say the other stats are 'better'.

My suggestion here is to mix up the defensive and offensive abilities a little. If each stat is to be equally important, each should probably have an offensive and defensive benefit. Really making the player weigh in on their options for what they want to build. It also says to the player at that point. "I'm not sacrificing potential offense or defense by making a choice. It's down to what I feel like playing as." I'll put my idea on how to do this in the spoiler below as an example of what I'm thinking of.
SpoilerShow
Focus: Represents Avenie's ability to increase the impact of her spells and weapon attacks as well as deflect and lessen the blows on her. Each point of Force increases the damage Avenie deals with physical and magical attacks by 5%. It also increases your Protection by 1 per point, reducing the damage a landing blow will deal.
Finesse: Represents Avenie's ability to control and direct her body quickly and precisely. Each point of Finesse increases Avenie's evasion by 1; increasing the chance she'll completely avoid an attack. This will also increase her chance to critically hit by 1%.
Strength: Represents Avenie's ability to weather attacks and to dish them out. Each point of Strength reduces the chance that she will be critically hit by 1% per level. It also confers on her the ability to brutally pierce through the enemies protection. Ignoring 1 point of protection per level of Strength.
Will: represents Avenie's ability to control her reserves of magical energy. Each point of Willpower increases Avenie's maximum energy by 5, and her damage multiplier for critical attacks by 10%.

minmay
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Re: Testers wanted: Avenie's Awful Adventure

Post by minmay » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:16 am

yeah the skill bar is getting fixed.
enemies don't get crits and Avenie still gets +5 health and energy per level, so 1-shots aren't going to happen unless you attempt to complete the mod without gaining any xp
pierce isn't in this mod at all (because it's not an interesting enough mechanic to be worth the cognitive load, it's just a damage increase against enemies with nonzero protection)
Killcannon wrote:The problem is once the player realizes that the defense from items is the same reduction that this stat provides, it will weaken the value of the stat
it doesn't make any sense to single out protection and evasion for this - protection and evasion aren't the only things you can find on items. health, crit chance, energy, critical multiplier, and attribute bonuses/penalties themselves are all present on equipment. it would, in some ways, be nice to not have overlap between stat effects and equipment effects at all, but it's awfully hard to do that in a way that isn't obtuse (i can think of many, many games that attempt this and fail miserably).

if you're thinking about the exact numbers, keep in mind that 1. the exact numbers will change as needed to be balanced, 2. you haven't seen a single one of the items in this mod. but i appreciate the concern
Killcannon wrote:"I'm not sacrificing potential offense or defense by making a choice. It's down to what I feel like playing as."
if there's no sacrifice involved in a choice it ceases to be a meaningful choice. to have differentiation between characters, it's necessary that the characters actually be different from each other; there is no point in having multiple stats if they all do the same thing. (it is likely that I would have trimmed down to 3, 2, or 0 stats if not for the number of GUI elements I would have to re-draw)



I guess I should also mention, I've changed the difficulty level system. There are still Easy, Normal, and Hard, and they still affect monsters' aggressiveness, but they don't affect monsters' damage. Instead, monsters get fancier attacks on harder difficulty levels, and sometimes their animations get faster. For example, on Easy, an uggardian can only throw fireballs directly forward. On Normal, it gains turn attacks. On Hard, it gains Firebeam, which it can cast in both cardinal and diagonal directions. Hard is definitely the way to play if you want the most tactical challenge.
There's also a binary "no-sweat" option. If it's on, when you die, instead of getting a game over, you are fully healed and continue without having to reload a save. (The number of deaths in this mode is tracked so you can still pressure yourself to perform well if you want).
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kelly1111
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Re: Testers wanted: Avenie's Awful Adventure

Post by kelly1111 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:11 pm

Hello Minmay,

Just curious. Any updates on your project?
looking forward to playing it !

Gradunk
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Re: Testers wanted: Avenie's Awful Adventure

Post by Gradunk » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:36 am

i'm down for beta testing... doesn't look like im too late for it. If you could possibly help me with some scripting issues i'm having too that would be glorious. i'm just getting back into it. thanks
I smell you, i do! You GRADUNK! No be hiding on TORGAL!

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