4/26: 33 Raichos is 30 Too Many!

Build links to the right have been updated to the 4/26 build, which makes some balance tweaks and fixes some bugs, including certain nasty errors in the spawn tables… even especially evil-tempered roguelikes like Demon shouldn’t be throwing 33 monsters at you in one encounter. :P


Let’s Talk About Challenge

Hey folks! As promised, a few words about the desired challenge level for Demon, where we’re at now, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

To start with: I want Demon to be a very challenging game, *most* of the time you’re playing it. Not quite all: it’s important to give players some easier stuff now and then, to provide a break mentally, give opportunities to experiment with new strategies in (relative) safety, and to see how much better they’ve become since the days when the now easy encounter wasn’t so easy.

But aside from that, yeah, I want Demon to be challenging, but fair. It can be pretty difficult to objectively define what things like “very challenging” and “fair” mean, but I’m going to try to lay it out here, at least for Demon. (If you’ve read Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup’s documentation, or are well versed on roguelikes in general, some of this may sound familiar to you.)

  • Every death (and here I mean the player *or* even just an allied demon) can be traced back to a reasonable mistake. A mistake is reasonable if the player had access all the necessary information (presented in a clear and concise manner) and tools to avoid the mistake. Note: If the player passed on acquiring offered tools, or expended or lost them due to earlier mistakes, that does not mean they did not access! Mistakes can also be long-term in nature.
  • No death (again, the player themselves or an allied demon) should ever happen without the player or one of his allies having received at least one turn at some point between when the trouble started and when the death occurred. (Note: It is left open whether or not the player will have an opportunity to escape that fate during the turn, it will likely depend heavily on what abilities they have chosen, which demons they have allied with, how they have trained those demons, and what consumables they have conserved. It’s also worth noting I don’t say the turn must be a player turn. I admit I would prefer that, but the only way I can assure it is to make the player immune to any multiple turn loss effects such as Paralysis and Charm.)
  • A global win rate of anything greater than 0% is acceptable if all of the above facts hold true. If I have satisfied myself all of the above is true, I will be okay with where the challenge level is, even if only one person (not counting me) beats it. If it’s still completely unbeatable even when all of the above is true, only then I will consider further modifications.

All that said, if we condense down my overall goals for the desired challenge level to a number for abstraction’s sake, say, 100, the current 4/19 build is around a 105-110. Previous builds going back the last several months were probably more like 70-80. In short, I feel like the current build *is* a bit overly challenging… but not by a lot. There will be some changes, but they will be relatively minor: the current game is pretty close to what I’ve been aiming for in terms of the challenge it provides.

There will be plenty of players, even among those currently playing, who will not enjoy that level of challenge. That’s perfectly okay with me, and I hope it’s okay with them too. I consider taste in games to be no different than taste in any other sense: everyone has their own preferences, and all of them are right. Demon’s target audience is vanishingly small, but this one is for them, even if it’s no more than me and a few hundred or few thousand others.

Now, who’s ready for a nice bowl of beef vindaloo, extra spicy? :)

4/19: Fix for a rare crash, some small manual repairs

Hey folks. :) Fixed up the manual a bit (thanks Lobos!), and also squished a rare crash yaxamie helped me pin down. The crash is rare, but any crash warrants a new build ASAP so here we are. :) 4/19 is available at the links to the upper-right of the page.

By the by, the current non-Herbie record for score in 4/17+ builds is… 752. Mean build is mean. I’ll have some comments to add regarding the difficulty level of the current build a bit later, but for now I want to spread the word about the crash fix build. :) Cheers, and good luck in the tower!

4/17: A Tower Reborn

Surprise. :D Instead of just posting more information about the build as promised, I decided to push a little bit and actually post the build itself!

Build links are now on the right-hand side of the webpage now, but just for consistency’s sake, here’s a link in the post too: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-sx_4eW-B5hWnhNZlRPclZLeUU&usp=drive_web

I feel like all I’ve done for forever is talk about what’s coming in this build, but I suppose I need to do so one more time for a summary. :D Here’s the highlights!

* 19 new demons, including 4 new starter demons!
* 50 new abilities, and significant changes to several existing abilities as well.
* Fairly extensive rebalancing of the game, with an eye to making it as challenging as humans can stand. So long as every death can be traced back to a reasonable mistake (which to me is a requirement for a roguelike to be fair), I will be happy with even very, very, very low win rates.
* New mechanics including cantrips (free action spells that share a cooldown with each other), staggering (delay the target’s next turn, doesn’t fully Stun, so is available more widely), and link penalties which take effect on failed attempts to link with certain demons.
* Hex, a new Dark-element status condition that greatly reduces physical offense and defense, as a counterpart to Light-element’s Mute.
* Various AI & UI upgrades and bug fixes.

Also, here’s a small collection of screenshots showing the results of a rather brief run I had with an Ice/Dark summoner in the 4/17 build. Mean game is mean. :)

1 - wuBXK2i
Picking out a starting ally from among the now 12 options.

2 - csl9PNT
Almost dead on T:1. Demon is still Demon alright.

3 - R83dIfs
Dental hygiene lessons from a zombie? Only in a roguelike. :)

4 - SrNoBJ0
Well, Demon finally has rats… and they set you on fire. This shouldn’t be a surprise.

5 - zrcwWRV
Annnnddd… dead on T:2. Ouch. Shouldn’t I be better at my own game? :P

Small Website Changes

While I finish up the last bits of the new build (including figuring out how to get past T:3 in my own game now that I’ve gone and made it harder…), figured it was a good time to note two small website changes:

1) The forum has temporarily been disabled. Truth is, there just aren’t enough people who would use it yet to justify the constant war against spam accounts I was fighting while it remained open. :P Still, it’s all set up for later, I literally just have to turn it on once the comment threads on here start getting crowded or some other sign that it would actually be used happens. :D

2) Links to the most recent builds can now (and forever always) be found at the top of the little side bar to right, above the Twitter button, which should make them easier to find and grab. :)

Thanks to Jason once again for helping me out with various website-related matters. :D I’ll have a “real” update on how the build is going (including some screenshots) in a few days, hopefully to be shortly followed by the build release itself! :) Stay tuned!

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Getting Close Now

Hey there. :) Sorry for the long delay between posts, but it has been in service to a good cause. :) I can now report the next build of Demon is ability complete. :D All of the new abilities (50 of them), as well as tweaks to existing abilities, required for the new content have been completed. This also means that the build is nearly monster complete: only thing left for them is setting up their capture conditions.

After that, the two steps remaining will be coming up with new spawn tables that include the new monster roster (and account for changes in first appearance position for some older monsters), and some testing to make sure it’s all working reasonably well. Then, finally, at long last, this monster of an update will be ready to release. :)

Hang in there, it won’t be long! :D

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