Positive feedback

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Positive feedback

Postby 2tousent » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:24 am

Demon is one my favorite roguelikes, it has been so for a while, but i didn't play much since i couldn't get very far, so i'd play a bit, lose horribly a couple of times and give up till i built up some will to pick it up again. (Demon feels harder, but more fair for both sides than my other favorite roguelike, DCSS, wich you seem to know very well :P)

Altho some of things that make me like this so much are things that you changed from classic roguelikes. It's like you picked up the roguelike genre, took out some rotten parts and added fresh stuff.

You removed equipment, wich makes people rely more on skill than on loot, while keeping the feeling of getting said loot by acquiring new demons, skills, and skills for demons. It keeps that sense of, awesome, i managed to get that cool sword, exept instead of it being found laying on the ground you convince it to join your side... I mean, there is a difference between going to an optional side place, destroying everything (maybe have a tougher time with a couple of enemies, or a straight up horde) and hoping some good stuff spawned in there for you, from going to Ccoa's sanctum and having to actually do stuff, rather than just surviving to get the big reward (Ccoa itself). If you don't get the big reward its not because you got unlucky, but because you messed up. Grabing a raiju is just a nice bonus that may or may not happen depending on your luck (and again, ability to conclude its link).

The enemies and abilites (most of them, Demon has a lot of skills after all, it's especially hard going by name, or abilities i havn't used yet, but that seems like a minor drawback of having a lot of skills) are unique and memorable. Maybe the demons are memorable because they are... Demons... Like, Artemis is Artemis, and a Raiju is a Raiju, but there may be more to that! For example, this happens with DCSS too: almost all enemies and spells there are recogniseable, and i don't think its just because i played it so much. I think anyone that has played it can instantly recall a Shock Serpent, an Orb of Fire, Grinder, a Toenail Golem, or even common stuff, like Adders or Ogre Magi.
Meanwhile in ToME or Angband, i can't really distinguish the enemies, most of them are just boring, they lack the Personality that Demon and DCSS have.

The combat is ability based, not just magic, everything is based on abilties, actives, passives, theres no boring regularly attacking enemies until they die. Altho not all of them are exactly the best (i'm looking at you, Fierce Stab! Don't laugh, Heavy Blow, you and your stronger variants that just cost more SP are the same! Just a stronger basic attack that you may not be able to infinetly use) they still have an element attached to them, wich makes them both better and worse than other similar basic stuff depending on the situation, the darts at least have a side effect according to their element, while i haven't seen a big difference between fierce stab and heavy blow as almost all passives that work on one work on the others (actually, now that i think of it, heavy handed or whatever only works with impact i guess). I guess them sharing that makes them differ from magic, its just that they don't between themselves. Light/Dark does similar things, but in more interesting ways.

The AI is cool! its not perfect, it can't be, and you're just a guy, but both enemies and allies alike don't mindlessly charge in, or attempt to hurt you with stuff you are immune to, or wait until its too late to heal their allies, or know your exact location so they can keep chasing you until they decide its not worth it anymore, or the reverse, or...
(sometimes they overdo stuff tho, you don't need to might the pyromancer when i'm fighting fotis, you have ice dart after all!)

The game is party based! I do love having allies, thats why i like JRPGs, it allows you to have specialized units instead of picking a class and going with it, and only it for the whole game, i'm not fond of concentrated power, i rather have allies to cover my weaknesses than just overpower them or negate them altogether (i mean, your allies are there to do what you can't i guess, but you still can't do it, no single unit can, exept for maybe heroes, but thats their whole thing, and they tend to lose... unless they are fighting me and they are called Madevra ). It also makes the game much less lonely, and even if you can't talk or interact them besides pimping them out, they're still there, they have a "mind" of their own, and they matter.
I also allways loved to play the summoner kind, ever since i played Dofus, about 10 years ago, i allways tried out summoners in any game they exist, hoping i'd like them just as much, but almost allways ended up being disapointed... But this game beat that standard :D

Progress: I don't know if it gets stale past what i've been to, but i doubt it...
It feels like i'm allways progressing and getting new stuff. Its not just about fighting new enemies, but changing myself a lot, not the summoner per se, but you're constantly getting new demons, fusing them, losing them because you're not good enough at this, and think they do not need to be dismissed because the enemy won't deal enough damage... Replacing them....
One time you have a healer thats weak to fire, then you have a different healer thats weak to body, then you lose your electric demon and can't replace it with a similar one, so you end up getting one focused on ice, etc...
Its much better than miraculously finding a Wyrmbane early on and using it until you finish the game (one way or another)

Emphasis on status effects tickles my fancy, there are negative conditions flying back and forth, lots of them, and all unique!
It's not a thing thats only viable early on, tough enemies aren't immune to them, they are not under/overpowered and they add a new dimension to the fights.
Those tend to either be neglected, useless against any midly strong opponent, or only dangerous to the player in other games.
In Demon they are a requirement i think, like dealing damage, or healing, but they are tacked onto nearly everything so its not that you need to focus on that (you can't really avoid using them anyway, even if you try), and as i said, they are like an extra dimension, after all, playing without ailments in Demon would be like playing almost every other game without dealing damage... so i really see no problem at all.

Talking about that, i also like the symetry, both the player and the enemies are in a relatively similar playing field. This works especially well with relic wraiths, as it really feels like PVP... in a single player game... a rogue-like nonetheless, and i love it, interacting with other players is cool, even if it feels like you're allways on the receiving end, despite getting informed of how many people your dead character killed.
(This is not a suggestion at all, just daydreaming... It would be awesome to have some sort of gamemode where you could draft or use your ingame characters and upload them / download other player's / or even use your own characters and pit them against each other... Since i'm daydreaming i can even pretend 2 AI summoners fighting each other wouldn't most likely be a stalemate. )

The last thing i want to say is that i love the theme of the game and how it incorporates real world mythology into it... i don't know much about mythologies, with most characters i know either being well known stuff like the Greek/Roman/Norse Pantheon and Kappas, Dryads, Sirens and all that stuff, or Demons from SMT (played quite a bit of that, me liking it is most likely related to me liking Demon as well, probably more of a correlation than a causation, bet its a big influence for you too!).
It's allways nice to see how they are depicted here, from reading the Codex to examining how their abilities and weaknesses/resistants relate to them, wich seems creative considering how generic those are (you give them thematic modifiers, but creating unique skills for someone would be overdone, so you gotta make use of what you have. For example, if you one day add powerful gods such as Baldr, you can't make a single mistletoe spear ability just to kill him, so i'd expect him to have extreme resistances but a weakness to Pierce in general, maybe even mind because of panic).
Same for their sprites too, you did a cool job, and by you i mean geminimax, because, assuming you did the original tileset, its worse than your UI game... much worse :P (i don't really have a problem with the UI tho, biggest problem is i can't figure out how to swap ability hotkeys, "=" doesn't seem to work... And the resolution not allowing me to see the bare bottom part of the game, the letters and numbers under the menu/ability icons, trivial... And me only realizing there was an options menu after watching a youtube video... And the Codex reseting every version, kinda hurts my little completionist side, not that i try to add all of them, but it feels bad having the progress reset like that... ). Roguelikes arn't exactly made as eye candy, but it gives the game a lot of flavour, and they are detailed enough to convey their looks while still living some room for myself to fill the gaps. Tell him i said "Bom Trabalho!"!

So yeah, just some words of encouragment, and telling you what i like about the game, counts as one player's opinion so you don't end up changing the game for the worse, i hope :lol: (all of what i said is intentional by you i supose, and are the core of the game, so i don't think you'd have a reason to change it anyway) Hopefully i will get better and end up beating it, after all, it only took me a few years to beat DCSS for the first time...

PS: The post is ridiculously big, and the punctuation is all over the place... It may be a bit hard to read but i was never good at writing anyway (i wouldn't have put such effort into a school project most of the time)
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Re: Positive feedback

Postby wizzzargh » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:47 am

This positive feedback mirrors many of my own feelings about why Demon is great!
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Re: Positive feedback

Postby Ferret » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:56 am

[this space for rent: this warrants a longer reply than I'm awake enough to give right now! check back tomorrow!]
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Re: Positive feedback

Postby Ferret » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:42 am

Whew, okay. :D Sorry for the delayed reply, I could tell when I saw this I wanted to wait until I had time to do a proper job of it. :)

It's funny you mentioned fairness first: that's something that I was interested in from the start. I wanted to make a roguelike that made everyone play by the same rules... or at least, as much so as proved to be possible. The end result is pretty close: nastiness that enemies do to you in almost every game can happen in Demon, but you can do it right back to them, even crazy things like draining MaxHP. :D

And yeah, I do know DCSS pretty well... though the knowledge is somewhat outdated relevant to recent builds. I was never great at it, but I did alright when I was still into it: probably my happiest achievement there was winning a 15-rune game with an Ogre of Trog who never switched to another god like most folks do for a 15-rune run back in the 0.17 tournament, but that was the last time I was playing it heavily.

You have the same idea re: equipment being replaced with demon and abilities, but not everyone agrees. :D I do get asked about adding equipment, and I even have a dusty not-often-discussed plan for how I'd do it, but I'm not sure the game would be recognizable... your access to abilities being based on your weapon (and to a smaller degree other items), your stats being based on all your equipment together, your resistances coming from your armor... I mean, it could have worked, and could even still work, but on the other hand, what's the point of shoehorning the usual way of handling the equation when you have access to a perfectly good much more unique flavor of answer?

I think ToME's issue with monster same-feelingness may go a bit beyond personality/lore issues. I love ToME and have also played a fair bit of it... but I also don't like it sometimes because the play experience, at least for me, is 99% popcorn and 1% IMMEDIATE DEATH DANGER. Maybe it can be more interesting with some builds... but I tried a wide variety of characters, and other than obvious challenge builds/in-need-of-revamp classes, it always tends to go that way for me. It's hard to remember monsters if you barely noticed you were fighting them. :P

I've never understood roguelikes where mages are the only ones who get to have all the fun. I suppose there's an argument to be made that maybe some people want to play a simpler character... but I'm not sure roguelikes are a genre where that's a real issue usually? :D At any rate, regarding Demon, Physical attacks are designed to be a little more interchangable on purpose: physical attackers (as one of their advantages vs. magic) are supposed to be less troubled by resistances in general, and that's why you see lots of passives that treat all three types equally, and in some cases, very similar abilities. That said, they do have some distinct flavors: Slash attacks can have Fire, support, or movement elements. Impact attacks can have Ice, Mind/Debuff, and limited movement and ranged ability. Pierce attacks can have Electricity, Body debuff, or ranged ability.

It probably won't surprise you to learn I also almost always play summoners/pet classes when possible. :D Demon's not perfect yet even to my own mind, but I'm still pretty happy with it. :)

Re: progress, I have heard feedback that once you get your ideal build, finding stuff becomes a little less exciting, especially if you have a build you can complete relatively early. But yes, the fact that you outgrow demons is pretty important to Demon: it's why I can do things like give you a Raiju in Ccoa's sanctum once in awhile: unlike the crazy artifact sword or spellbook in another roguelike, while it will be (if you can recruit it!) be an awesome help, it has a shelf life: eventually you will have to move on from it. This also comes in handy for me as a way to deal with overly powerful player-made demons. :D Eventually, even the best have to be replaced and new ones found to take their spots.

I'm a fan of status effects too... and now that I have a half-decent UI for showing them, I can finally justify adding some I'd be holding back until now, such as the new ones coming with Matter. :D That they remain an effective strategy throughout the game is part of the "fairness" I talked about earlier too: it is a sort of deception to allow players to use a strategy for 50%+ of a game and then just hard stop cut them off from it... which is often what happens in games w/ status effects. Almost worse? Letting them work the whole game... except on bosses. I've never understood that one: bosses are supposed to be the epic battles, why remove a dimension of combat entirely? (To be fair, modern games have tended to be better about this, but Shin Megami Tensei, which I otherwise love, still clings pretty hard to this, and it isn't like there aren't plenty of good examples on how to balance this properly out there at this point.)

Shin Megami Tensei and mythology in general are definitely big influences for me, and I enjoy both. :D I apologize for the Codex resets and will here hide behind my "still in alpha development" shield. :P It's one of those things I *could* try to fix, but like version/save compatibility (if to a lesser degree) it would end up being a periodic drain on dev time to work on keeping them version compatible. That said... I bet for the Codex, you could *usually* just copy the appropriate file (YourSharedCodex or whatever it is called) over from version to version? This is an unofficial suggestion though: no idea if it actually works, and I can't help further if it doesn't. :P

Yes I did the original tileset. :P

Hmph.

This was supposed to POSITIVE feedback, wasn't it? :D Don't worry, I'm teasing: I'd be one of the first to admit my original sprites are... well, they are what they are: programmer art. Geminimax's are indeed awesome :D I'll make sure he sees this post and your comments :D As for the UI problems you've mentioned... huh. The options menu being hard to find I can understand, but I can't understand what'd make = not work or the bottom of the screen get cut off. Could I trouble you to post about those in the bug forum and give a little more info on your system (desktop/monitor resolution, operating system, keyboard language, etc.)? Thanks!

I appreciate you taking the time to type all this up. :D I value all feedback (after all, even the negative feedback often contains clues on how I might improve Demon!), but I admit it is nice to get a chunk of positive feedback once in awhile to tell me what I'm doing well with.

Thanks again for the write up, and I'm glad you're enjoying Demon, and I hope you continue to do so. Cheers :D

(and thank you too Wiz, while we're here. :D I'm pretty sure at this point you're one of Demon's longest running active fans... wait, have you really been posting on here for nearly 2 years?! :o )
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Re: Positive feedback

Postby 2tousent » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:03 am

On the tileset thing, let me just get this clear: i may not like the characters, but the skill icons are neat and potray their effects properly, i see no problem with that whatsoever, so your art is cool on some level :P

Also, i have no idea if this would please those people that want equipment in this game, but i wouldn't be oposed to a soul armour-like thing and/or making it more crafting-like.

By that i mean, inbuing basic accessories or something with the souls of the demons. You could obtain equipment by finding them as loot, but not making that the way how you obtain powerful ones.

Like you'd find a necklace in tower 1/2 that gave you 2 strength and 1 vitality, or a knife that slightly powered up your piercing attacks and/or change your basic hit into basic stab. And that could have one empty soul slot in it.
There could be various ways to get souls: You could use a demon until it trusted you with a piece of its soul, you could forcefully sacrifice them with a relic upgrade like the orb of power or the titan's fist, or maybe you could get them by linking with demons that you already own ( Faerie: "I see you've made friends with my cousin! Take this to help you take care of her." )

So, after you leveled up Headless say, 3 times, it would gift you a piece of his soul that when inbued into an accessory would give it 1 agility and a small chance for your slash attacks to buff a nearby ally.

It wouldn't necessarily conflict with the current copy ability, (wich i honestly don't want to see go altogether. If it were to be removed i wish it would be a steady evolution where it would slowly end up being unrecogniseable as it is now.) just another mechanic.

I can see this flopping in different ways tho: Perhaps it would be too convuluted, or it may just not make the people that want equipment happy. After all, this would probably not have the same feel as looting an awesome artifact that carries you trough the game! If that's what they want.
I also see this hard to inplement into enemies unless they are summoners, or maybe heroes, so it could cause some player power creep.
Implementing any new mechanic as impactful as equipment would be a pretty big gamble too! (adding corpses, relic wraiths, new elements or maybe even terrain doesnt seem to affect balance as much as equipment) It would take a long time to implement it since it doesnt seem very gradual, and for it to make the game worse would be a major setback.

This is just me saying: While i'd probably dislike classic equipment due to how it functions in general, i wouldn't be opposed to something that gives similar vibes to what i've just discribed.
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Re: Positive feedback

Postby wizzzargh » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:50 pm

wow, 2 years, so it is. :o

2Tousent wrote:So, after you leveled up Headless say, 3 times, it would gift you a piece of his soul that when inbued into an accessory would give it 1 agility and a small chance for your slash attacks to buff a nearby ally.

This sort of thing sounds like it could possibly fall into the as-yet-unused Trait system.

Speaking of Traits, I think it could be neat to implement something so the +5 stat from Essences would show up there.
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Re: Positive feedback

Postby Ferret » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:52 am

I honestly think the equipment requests largely are borne of convention and a desire for the familiar more than anything else: Demon gives a lot of customization already. :D It's just all... weird... compared to most roguelikes. :)

But yes, as wizz already pointed out, your idea actually noses pretty close to the territory of the oft-mentioned-but-still-not-here Traits system... or, perhaps even more so, the also oft-mentioned-but-still-not-here-yet Soul Brand system.

Traits are basically passive abilities you can't easily change. Adding new ones is more possible than removing current ones. Some existing abilities would likely become traits once this is (major example: Low Profile, but Malleable is another example.)

For Soul Brands, well.... in brief, every character (summoners and demons, that is) gets a Soul Brand slot. Summoners find Soul Brands in the dungeon: you can spend Credits to apply a Soul Brand to a demon. Doing so does *not* consume the Brand, only the credits: you can use a brand on as many demons as you like, though you can only carry a certain number of them before you have to start discarding to pick up more. Discarding doesn't remove that Brand from any demons who already have it though.

There are specifically types of effects I do not allow passive/reactive abilities to have because I'm saving them for the Traits and Soul Brand system. (Example: no abilities modify stats at the moment, nor resistances for that matter, or if they do, it is only in a very limited, fleeting way, such as Auraward. Also, abilities that have 'downsides' to them are another excluded group.)

And yeah, essences could probably be converted to traits, perhaps... some minor issues with that, but nothing insurmountable.
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