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General Category => Starward Rogue => Topic started by: Pepisolo on January 06, 2017, 10:50:19 AM

Title: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 06, 2017, 10:50:19 AM
Hey guys

So, I thought I'd start a thread requesting feedback about the current difficulty of the game. Overall, I think there is a much nicer progression in this latest build. When you get to Terminus, you now actually have a fight on your hands. However, it also seems like early game might be a bit too difficult, and the game is perhaps generally a bit too much of a slog, with too many tanky enemies. Any thoughts? We might look to pushing a more refined build sooner rather than later, depending on the feedback. Cheers!
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Logorouge on January 06, 2017, 11:47:25 AM
From my point of view, the current Normal is somewhere between a normal and hard difficulty. For a veteran of the game I think it's relaxing yet still interesting to play (Windless would probably like it), but it's definitely not recommended for a new player. At the moment, I would recommend any new player (regardless of experience with the genre) to start on Easy, which is not what was intended as far as I know.

As for tanky enemies, it's only a select few that stick out and could use a slight reduction in HP (around 1/3 less would probably do the trick in most cases). Once that's adjusted and some of the overcrowded rooms are fixed, I'm not even sure the damage perks current unreliability will be much of an issue. If worse comes to worst, adding some occasional static levels including a minor damage perk would prevent the player from being ever completely screwed by RNG. (+10% damage, +2HP, +25 energy?)

That's my take on things currently.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 06, 2017, 11:53:55 AM
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From my point of view, the current Normal is somewhere between a normal and hard difficulty. For a veteran of the game I think it's relaxing yet still interesting to play (Windless would probably like it), but it's definitely not recommended for a new player. At the moment, I would recommend any new player (regardless of experience with the genre) to start on Easy, which is not what was intended as far as I know.

This doesn't sound too bad, then. If we tone the difficulty a little that should suffice.

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As for tanky enemies, it's only a select few that stick out and could use a slight reduction in HP (around 1/3 less would probably do the trick in most cases).

Do you have a list of enemies that you think are a bit too tanky? Thanks!

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If worse comes to worst, adding some occasional static levels including a minor damage perk would prevent the player from being ever completely screwed by RNG. (+10% damage, +2HP, +25 energy?)

I see, you mean a level with only 3 choices. That's possible, although toning enemy HP down a bit should also hopefully do the job.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Draco18s on January 06, 2017, 11:57:01 AM
Things are definitely more difficult than they were.  Normal was already giving me occasional trouble (but I was usually making it to the Warden, if not Terminus).  But I've been getting my face bashed in on levels 1 and 2 a lot more now.  A good run will get me to level 4.

It's probably due to the slight tankiness and loss of huge damage perks (down to almost none).  And probably the fact that I like Indigo Dipole which uses a defensive energy weapon, rather than purely offensive.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Logorouge on January 06, 2017, 12:30:52 PM
Do you have a list of enemies that you think are a bit too tanky? Thanks!
I do. Flak Launcher, Rusted Lumiflare, Larvas (mostly because of their size and speed), Core thingies (Terminus helpers with varying Core names).

My main issue with the Core helpers is that they come in pairs, twice during the Terminus fight, but they each have as much HP as a major boss phase, extending an already long fight with a sequence that amounts to "Ugh, just die already." I think it drags down an otherwise epic boss encounter.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 06, 2017, 01:25:46 PM
Well, I had mentioned here (https://forums.arcengames.com/starward-rogue/stealth-1-503-update/msg212347/#msg212347) about maybe doing a low/no damage boost redshift run just to see if the experience replicated. So I, uh. Did. 1.506. I'll spoil it 'cause it's fairly lengthy, but hopefully the writeup/pseudo-text-LP thing helps someone or another. General thought was it went a bit smoother, but even with some better items some stuff just took freakishly long to kill. Overall time was less, and the warden killed me, but still approaching the same ballpark. Regret not swapping missiles out earlier, because there were sod all for block shards and I ended up with the torp cannon, bleh. Also, trap master is bugged, apparently (I've actually got a save for this, though I don't know where to put it for it to be useful). And good gods does magnetic offense screw the sky-hammer sniper rifle. Just, sideways, upside down, on the ceiling. The power up pretty much ruins the weapon.

... also it's a bit inconsistent between floors in formatting/order of observations, et al. I had a headache by the time the run ended, heh.

Redshift no damage perk run, floor 1: Time, 7:58 AM

Shops, weapon, robot, cheap, keycards: 1 (2) (Indicates in shop) Floor's total credits: 22. Shops might as well not be there, pick up a shard and keycard from cheap shop.

Immediate thought: Let us know somewhere what our max missile count is.

Minibosses: Loco (three shots of precision railgun), time negligible. Drops triple missile launcher -- good damage, bad utility. Functionally worthless without another means of getting shards. Paragon (All four shots of railgun plus maybe a half dozen LR minigun shots brings down to somewhere between a third and half), takes somewhere in the 30-60 second range to kill after railgun shots are expended, fire uptime probably around 90, 93%. Drops shard. No damage from either.

Levels: 2: Savings Interest, Wishing for More, Shard Splitter. I take wishing; hard I would probably take splitter.

Blue Guard Flea benchmark: 1 precision shot. Eat a shot checking the name, heh. Only time hit this floor.

Other notes: Replaced minigun with sky-hammer after paragon.

Boss: Sunder. Full railgun (4 shots) takes off about a fifth of the health bar. Check time at 8:12, health bar right in line with the right side of the d. 8:13, fight finished. No damage, missed maybe... 3 shots, otherwise was firing hammer on CD. Gave 20/20 vision. This run, at least, I'll take crit chance, if not overcritical or base damage.

Total time for full clear with maybe 30-45 seconds on typing, 7:58-8:13, 15 minutes.

====

Floor 2, start time 8:17, start credits 8

shops: health (shield transfer... I take it), defense, cheap, main item (more munitions, door wasn't locked) . Keycards [1] [Indicates inside trap net thing], I don't try for it. Sac shop found (don't think there was one on floor 1), keycard, overcrit (;_;), blood avenger. I got the health but they're either unnecessary, against the run's conduct, or just not useful enough to take, particular with -1 shields, ehehe.

Level 3, Brute, Small Energy Tank, Small Missile Pack. I take the tank.

Challenge thing, no damage.

Items seen: Beaming probe (take), mini black hole (I actually remember to go back for it after miniboss fight). // End of run note: I never end up using it, and replace it two or three floors later, never to see it again

Blue Flea benchmark: Still 1 shot.

Level 4, Rally, Resupply, Map Master. There's, uh. I take the third.

Miniboss: Bastille. I use the probe, my weapon setup is kinda' bad for this 'un. Take a couple hits here... one time too close when it let out the exploding bullet thing, other time just forgetting to toggle off sprint and moving a bit too far. Would be dead if I hadn't found a health upgrade, though even a single shard upgrade would have managed it. Fight ends at 8:30, didn't check when it started. Bast had just entered 3rd cycle; as seems oddly common, ended up killing it with a missile against the inner layer as it was forming in the 3rd cycle. It drops... 2 missiles.

Sprint over caltrops going to the boss, heh. 9 health going in after bast fight brought me to seven and health pickups back to 10.

Boss: Wallmaster, start 8:34-ish. Full railgun (90 energy, so 6 shots) and one hammer hit brings health down to right at the right of the B. Fight ends 8:36, maybe 30 seconds after railgun empties. Wallmaster is probably the easiest normal redshift boss, tbh. Drops Every Shot Counts. Crying inside, I leave it. Give it two minutes on typing this time, call it 17 minutes for full clear.

Level 5 off XP orb in boss room. Bloodlust, Missile Salvager, Critter. I take Critter.

Total credits at end: 19. Floor dropped... 11. I don't bother opening the defense shop. Buy dilithium power cell and shard from cheap. Tiny Damage boost tempts me terribly. I now have 2 credits going into floor 3.

End-level summary says it took 5:51.

=====

Floor 3, start time 8:44, start credits 2.

Shops: Consumable, cheap (keycard, 4 rocket pack, tiny damage boost (;_;)), health (hardened field emitter. After some thought, I take, after hunter fight. Energy now back down to 95, 6 HK shots, health back to 11), main item (Locked, +5 missile capacity, I take). Keycards 1 (1). Sac shop has magnetic offense. I take it. Max health now 6. Actually kinda' bad for this weapon setup -- it seems to screw with the sky-hammer somewhat, makes its damage somewhat inconsistent even if you land the shot directly on something -- but eh. Choice room there, has hunter killer. I... take it, after some deliberation. Damage is notably better than railgun.

Miniboss: Green Hunter. Full HK shots plus 1 or 2 hammer hits takes it down to just to the left of the M. I use a couple missiles just to speed things up. Drops homing multi mini missile launcher. Major damage upgrade, major utility downgrade. See statement on triple.

First +max health from shard collection.

General floor note: Let me reiterate: Magnetic offense when I have this main gun was a bad idea. Shots regularly pass through smaller enemies doing no damage, or spaz out on top of them, again doing no damage. Enemies in general, really. I just watched three direct hits in a row on a sparkler dance a jig on top of the enemy and do nothing of worth.

Level 6, Second Chance, Time Apprentice, Trap Master. I take trap master -- it's without doubt one of the absolute strongest perks in the game, imo. //End of run note, well, it would be if it worked consistently <insert string of vulgarities>

Boss: Invader. Start time 9:06. HK shots empty around 1/6th health missing. Maybe... 3 actually landed on the boss. Magnetic offense is royally screwed up levels of bad in this fight with this weapon. End up taking a few hits this fight, some due to inattention, more due to things just not ruddy dying when I shoot them because that powerup screws the sky-hammer to hell. It takes two shots of damage to kill the smaller centipede enemy. At one point my bullet overlaps with one about seven times before it actually dies. Second/third phase (when the reflecting bullets come out) takes a while real time -- there's definite slow down from too much crap being in the room. The crap wouldn't be there if I didn't have MO, heh. Or if it just worked consistently; when it actually registers hit the pierce+home will kill like four or five centipede things in one shot. When. Fight finally gorram ends at 9:22.

End credits: 70. Total credits on floor, 68. I buy a keycard, don't bother to open the consumable shop.

Some fiddling around (shopping, picking up heals -- I end up with 10/11), I leave the floor at 9:25. Game says total time was 13:31. Say five-ish total minutes typing. Floor took ~36 minutes, a bit shy of half that just on the boss.

====

Floor 4, start time 9:27, start credits 63, 1 keycard.

Slide out of room before checking the challenge... again. Did that last floor, too. Sprint+moment of inattention = whoops.

Shops: Cheap (two keycards, heal.* I take 'em all. 122->105), weapon (has torpedo cannon, rest irrelevant. Give me money, game.), robot, main item (hardening module. Eh. Had TK repulsor from floor... 2, I think. If it did anything I couldn't tell.). Keycards 2 {2} (2) {Indicates behind missile-break barrier}. Only sac shop (Compact molecules, large and in charge. Down to 4/12 health when I get there, so I take the 7 cost molecules. Health now 4/5. I am magnificently tiny.).

Blue Flea benchmark: No railgun anymore. 1 hk kills, as does 1 crit hammer shot.

Level 7: Medium Energy, Enhance Warheads, Medium Missile Pack. I take the energy, lamenting my decision to not take the warheads. 9 HK shots now.

Condemned: Maze bomb, central space variant. Dead easy with redshift, ha. Drops anger protocol. It installs in my brain as I leave it on the floor :V

Shot passes through a green flea about ten times before it gets hit a second time and dies. Another, I put eight shots into one of the smallest pieces of that floating debris stuff from the block whatsits before one actually registers. ... a second one in the room has 22 shots phase through it before it gets destroyed.

Tiny transport nets me my second shard HP boost. I haven't been missing shards.

... I take a hit from caltrops. What.

Miniboss: Arcoris x2. Full HK shots bring the bar to the :. Both still alive, though. Drops hornet nest. I... I take it. Bloody magnetic offense. Bloody sky-hammer.

Level 8: Power Orbital, Energy Orbital, Fight or Flight. This. This level is complete trash. I take fight or flight. // End run note, I'm pretty sure that actually ended up getting me hit once or twice, from the speed boost throwing me off and ending up with me in another shot when the I frames wore off, ha. Energy orbital would have been a better choice.

2nd miniboss: Toxic Reaper. Full HK shots take maybe a 5th of its health. Fight starts ~10:05. Ends 10:11. Felt like double that, boss is entirely too monotonous for how much health it has. I take one hit stepping on the slime, bleh. It drops the turbo blaster! I don't want it, but I take it anyway.

Enough money for torp, after cheap shop. 105-15. I go back and get those keycards hiding behind explodable barriers.

Boss: Lady Staccato. Start 10:16. Full torp barrage (7 shots) and however much main gun fire was involved leaves health at something between 3/4ths and 4/5ths full. Take one hit from being a bit too stationary and getting caught in a net. Fight ends 10:24. Eight minutes. Drops recovery module. I shrug and replace the hardening.

Floor ends 10:25. Summary total time says 21:29. Say five minutes for typing. Total time: ... about 57 minutes. End credits, 22. Total floor credits... 66, if I'm mathing right.

*Just to make sure, since that gets me full health, I check on trap master again. I don't know what's happened, but it's not working anymore.

======

Floor 5, start time 10:30. Start credits, 22. 5 keycards. 10 spent on xp

Disarmament challenge! I have no missiles at the moment, and a torpedo cannon. Hrm.

Shops: Cheap (2 health, worthless spire knowledge), defense, consumable (orbiting station, lighter alloys circuit, wormhole journey), main item (main gun railgun. I cry a little inside some more and leave it.). Sacrifice room. Keycards: 3 [1] I actually get the [] one, mostly by spamming torps at the turrets.

1st condemned: Hunter. Fortunately without hard mode's increased bullet speed, I just run circles around the room until they explode. Looks like it dropped the corrosive module, but unfortunately I have no shields, 5 health, and trap master is acting wonky. I don't actually check to make sure. Or pick up the item, heh.

Level 9: Missile Salvager, Bloodlust, Energize. Got negative shields, got no interest in missiles, so I take bloodlust because it's all that's left.

Discover torp cannon can't one shot least krill spitters. Only half-kills the gold ones. Bleh. Same room gives 3rd shard health up.

Blue Guard Whiteblue can take three torps to the face, and still need some helping along with the main gun to die.

2nd condemned: Mission. Thank you, rng. Drops Supercharged. Fire rate up is fine.

I find out a room or two later Blue Guard Whiteblues are harder to kill than inferno cannons. They die in just three torps, no excess. Imperial tab in same room, awesome.

Oh bloody hell. Intent on testing if the imperial tab works in sac shops (Yes, awesome), I forget what I was doing and pick up glassbreaker. Damage boost is now at 20% ;_;

Miniboss: Arcoris x3. Five torps(missed a shot) and some incidental main gun bring it to right on the i in arcoris. None of them dead. Take a hit from not paying attention to how far I was sliding, otherwise uneventful. Drops repulsive hornet mines (yeah, no).

Level 10: Large Missile Pack (No.), Brutal Deluxe (;_;), Large Energy Tank. Process of elimination. I now have 11 torp shots.

Remnant Mark I: 6 torps, one of them a crit.
Rusted Lumiflare: With about a 6th or 7th of bar missing to main gun: 9 torps. Didn't count crits. Had a bit of health left over. Probably would have taken 10 and a bit without the main gun fire. I swear these bloody things are my most hated enemy by a couple orders of magnitude. Please stop existing, rusted lumiflare's freakish tankiness. Or at least put less crap on my screen ;_; Also trap master didn't work on this room. The long twisty spike with lasers, caltrop surrounded loot box, and small-ish enemies on both sides. Without the teleporter. There were three rusted lumiflares in this room. I didn't have 30 torps.

Note to self: Don't use trap master until someone fixes it.

Level 11: Major Shield, Time Master, Heavyweight. First, no immediate help. Third, glassbreaker. Hrm.

Find guide to the galaxy in a locked loot chest. How magnificently useless.

Warden ti-- freaking non-functioning trap master. Maybe just have that perk explode every caltrop and applicable trap on the map when you enter the floor or somethin'? Back I go to get full health.

Alright. Warden time. 20% damage boost, turbo blaster, torpedo cannons, no robots, one tac nuke, full (15) missiles. Start, 11:29. Hrm. Let's count, corner thingy with just main gun. Pretty much non-stop, 23 seconds. Rets dead, using torp cannon one shot down. All shots gone, maybe 1/5th HP gone. Wavey laser phase seems to be causing a little slowdown. Not really bad, though. Bleh. End up dying at 11:37, not quite half way through, maybe a minute of that typing, probably less. Didn't move quite far enough to the south. Apparently actually forgot to pick up the recovery module, heh. Would have lived through that hit if I hadn't been stubborn about the no-missile challenge until after something clipped me. Only times I stopped hitting the blighter or the rets were when I was moving between rets and couldn't hit one, or the shield popped up and I had to reposition a bit. Actually remembered to drop the nuke on the warden, too! Oh well.

Floor apparently took about an hour all its own. I'm not sure how. Call it maybe six, seven minutes for typing, would leave a near dead on 60 minutes from start of floor 'till death. Forgot to check credit total. Eh.

Total time according to game... 69:<somethingorother>. It's now 20 minutes 'till noon. I started at eight. Not doing this again, heh. Now for the vulgarity/spelling passover.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 06, 2017, 03:09:17 PM
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Well, I had mentioned here about maybe doing a low/no damage boost redshift run just to see if the experience replicated. So I, uh. Did. 1.506. I'll spoil it 'cause it's fairly lengthy, but hopefully the writeup/pseudo-text-LP thing helps someone or another. General thought was it went a bit smoother, but even with some better items some stuff just took freakishly long to kill. Overall time was less, and the warden killed me, but still approaching the same ballpark. Regret not swapping missiles out earlier, because there were sod all for block shards and I ended up with the torp cannon, bleh. Also, trap master is bugged, apparently (I've actually got a save for this, though I don't know where to put it for it to be useful). And good gods does magnetic offense screw the sky-hammer sniper rifle. Just, sideways, upside down, on the ceiling. The power up pretty much ruins the weapon.

... also it's a bit inconsistent between floors in formatting/order of observations, et al. I had a headache by the time the run ended, heh.

Wow, thanks for going into that much detail about your run. That is extremely helpful, thanks! :)

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Immediate thought: Let us know somewhere what our max missile count is.

For some reason I thought that the max missile count was visible -- I guess not! :) Perhaps some text on the bar similar to that of the energy weapon might work. 8/8 for example.

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Drops triple missile launcher -- good damage, bad utility.

Yeah, I was thinking that having some launchers that were more damage focused would be a good thing. I do enjoy picking these style launchers up and then stacking missile damage boosts and capacity.

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Beaming probe (take), mini black hole (I actually remember to go back for it after miniboss fight). // End of run note: I never end up using it, and replace it two or three floors later, never to see it again

Those two aren't the greatest consumables, the probe especially.

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Magnetic offense when I have this main gun was a bad idea. Shots regularly pass through smaller enemies doing no damage, or spaz out on top of them, again doing no damage. Enemies in general, really. I just watched three direct hits in a row on a sparkler dance a jig on top of the enemy and do nothing of worth.

Yeah, I'll have to take a look at that interaction, thanks!

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Had TK repulsor from floor... 2, I think. If it did anything I couldn't tell.

Yeah, that module needs a bit more work, I think.

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Level 8: Power Orbital, Energy Orbital, Fight or Flight. This. This level is complete trash. I take fight or flight. // End run note, I'm pretty sure that actually ended up getting me hit once or twice, from the speed boost throwing me off and ending up with me in another shot when the I frames wore off, ha. Energy orbital would have been a better choice.

The orbitals should be fine as they give you pretty big bonuses. x10% damage multiplier per orbital for the Power Orbitals, for example. Fight or Flight could probably do with some work, in most other games that would be fantastic, but in a bullet-hell the movement speed is actually probably very bad. I thought that the movement speed combined with invincibility would perhaps work, but it probably doesn't. I may have to remove the movement speed on that perk.

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Just to make sure, since that gets me full health, I check on trap master again. I don't know what's happened, but it's not working anymore.

Yeah, I'm not sure what's up with that. I'll have to investigate.

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Total time according to game... 69:<somethingorother>. It's now 20 minutes 'till noon. I started at eight. Not doing this again, heh. Now for the vulgarity/spelling passover.
69 minutes according to the game? Sounds like the run took a lot longer than that. I think at the moment, generally runs still take way too long. You're probably looking at 4 to 5 hours for a full clear 7 floor run unless you get pretty lucky with damage drops. I think we should be looking for full clear runs through to Terminus to take on average more like 3 hours. That's something we need to work towards, I think. Ptarth should find all your pickups, credit drops and shopping habits data very interesting. Great feedback, thanks!
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 06, 2017, 05:36:08 PM
Wow, thanks for going into that much detail about your run. That is extremely helpful, thanks! :)
Happy to do it, heh. Mostly. If I'm going to do something like that to myself I might as well make it useful, ha.

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Yeah, I was thinking that having some launchers that were more damage focused would be a good thing. I do enjoy picking these style launchers up and then stacking missile damage boosts and capacity.
Oh yeah, they're pretty great... when you're not redshift, or have another means of cracking open shard blocks. I've had a few other runs, either with other mechs or just one of the cheat ones, where I had enough give (either didn't really need more health, or had in the wrist or the torp cannon, stuff like that) to stack up warhead damage and whatnot... then found the large homing missile thingjigger. Or the five-shot one. Those were fun. Lots of things lived for not very long at all, ehehe.

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Those two aren't the greatest consumables, the probe especially.
Oddly enough, I've actually been finding that specific probe to be one of the more useful consumables in the game, heh. It helps to a pretty significant degree with the Bastille fight, which is both more annoying than dangerous and apparently pretty likely to show up. I usually get at least one in every run, and I've seen three different ones in a single run at one point, iirc. The beaming probe's ability to fire through the bullet walls without issue speeds the fight along pretty well, which is quite nice.

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The orbitals should be fine as they give you pretty big bonuses. x10% damage multiplier per orbital for the Power Orbitals, for example. Fight or Flight could probably do with some work, in most other games that would be fantastic, but in a bullet-hell the movement speed is actually probably very bad. I thought that the movement speed combined with invincibility would perhaps work, but it probably doesn't. I may have to remove the movement speed on that perk.
Yeh, if I hadn't been doing a no damage attempt, I probably would have taken the damage one. This particular case, though, I had pretty good energy, an aversion to damage, and the third was all that was left. That said, I pretty seriously devalue most of the perks that only trigger when you get hit, especially when I'm playing redshift. When you're in a state you can't take many (or any) hits, something that only activates when you get hit isn't the most helpful thing in the world :V

Though with FoF, another thought other than just removing the movement boost is to have the boost not last as long as the invincibility. That way you're not coming back into vulnerability at the same time your movement rate is shifting around.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: carldong on January 06, 2017, 07:18:55 PM
I typically play on the Very Easy/Easy difficulties. I too find Rusted Lumiflare and Larvis very tanky. The former just has lots of HP, and the latter is also hard to hit. Also I feel that Floor 6 is a sudden jump in difficulty. The enemies are suddenly very hard to kill, and gets much more bullets in the air, even Very Easy. Feeling like, on a VEasy run, I can get incredibly OP up to clearing 5F with all the dmg bonus possible, then suddenly nerfed to ground(maybe not that serious) by facing way more powerful enemies.

I am not sure how other feels, but it took me a long time after the unlock of 7 floors to see Terminus, a long time before beating him, and another long time to see him again and beat him. I beat Terminus for the first time in 1.502, but the second time in 1.506. On Easy/Normal I'd usually die on Floor 6, but on VEasy I usually lost patience at that time or so and restart on a harder difficulty(and die). Sometimes I wish I can revert to a 5-floor run because then I can at least clear the game a few more times.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Misery on January 06, 2017, 10:20:33 PM
Hmm, the jump in HP in floor 6 is probably my fault.  One issue is that there was ZERO feedback for floors 6 or 7 for the longest bloody time... and until THIS update, player power-creep was so utterly broken that the last two floors were totally irrelevant.

This is actually a pretty easy fix since the floor 6/7 foes are specifically set and dont really mingle with lower floors.

I'll have a look at it ASAP.


However.... actual DIFFICULTY of enemy patterns and attacks is a whole other story.  Floor 6 is an intended spike in terms of enemy threat.  Overpopulation of some rooms though may be inflating this beyond where it's supposed to be.  Too many heavy-congestion foes in one room is ALWAYS going to exaggerate problems, after all.  Though I'm still going to have a look at the different patterns and nerf any that might be a bit much.   Good ol' trusty nerf bat...
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 06, 2017, 10:54:21 PM
Will say, re: that TK repulse module, I've played with another mech using it, just now, and what it does is a lot more obvious.

Well, what it's intended to do. What it also does is kill the hell out of you. It's actually pretty nasty to have that module in a room with something like the shred guardians or that buzzsaw thing and get hit, because the bloody thing will very very happily ricochet those giant projectiles around the room at hyper speed and slam them right back into your face.

It took me a couple times to figure out exactly why those shred projectiles were suddenly accelerating and making bloody weird curves. General issue with the module and any projectile that's particularly long lasting and/or bounces, really.

Suggestions for it, if it's possible. Add some kind of graphic effect when it triggers, white-ish circle emanating from your mech or somethin'.* And make any projectiles it effects not hurt you. Either that or force 'em to dissipate when it they hit a wall or whatev'. Right now that module is a bit of a death trap.

Though re: pattern difficulty, tbh I don't really notice much of a spike in that in the six+ floors. Stuff sticks around longer so they fill more of the room, and I'm still pants at bullet hell so if I'm not playing redshift I often can't navigate the things even if I can see what I'm supposed to do, but the patterns themselves are... not that bad? At least to me, and again, I'm terrible at this sort of thing.

... that said, hard's patterns aren't really that troublesome from a comprehension standpoint to me, either. Doing anything about them when the bullet speed has something like doubled is a different issue, but knowing what's killing me and how it would be dodged if I wasn't aging rather ungracefully hasn't been a source of frustration or anything.

Still, as specific points of maybe concern, stuff that accelerates really freaking quickly is maybe something to be looked at. Immediate ones that come to mind are the rear fire turret things (after they hit the wall is okay-ish, but that first shot is just *internal screaming*) and whatever that front firing red death bullet the remnant mark 1s fire, that crosses half the screen in between frames or some nonsense like that. Ideal for making that less of a concern would probably be much, much more obvious tells. There's sound for some of 'em, but some (more) visual feedback would be wonderful. If it's possible in the engine, some kind of no-damage tracer fire type effect would be amazing for some of the nastier attacks. It'd require less incredibly split second reacting from players if there was a line of gtfo preceding the speeding death bullet, heh.

*E: Actually, I just now noticed it seems to actually have that, it's just inconsistently triggering or something and fairly tiny regardless. It could stand to be bigger. The plasma punisher, ferex, is incredibly obvious when it triggers. It doesn't have to be that showy but a bit larger and more attention getting would be nice.

E2: Sweet mother of zeus the reaction when a bulldog rams you when you have the TK repulse module. That is an interaction that needs to be looked at and stopped, because suddenly finding your mech being hurled across the room at speeds exceeding a charging bulldog is something that seriously should not be happening.

E3:... actually actually, has there been much discussion on how all the defensive modules seem to want to kill you? This run is making it more and more obvious I should never pick up a substantially active/reactive defense module again. I get the TK repulse, it bounces things off walls (including me) and tries to kill me. I replace it with the cyrofreeze module, and by the time I'm a room away from the warden it's tried to kill me in like five different rooms, by exploding mines in my face or unleashing debris hell upon a room filled with those oversized blocks. A previous run I actually use the plasma punisher, and while it's much less overtly ~I want you to die~, it still fills like half the screen with incandescent white noise and got me hit more than once because I couldn't see incoming bullets anymore in the mess. It actually reached the point this run, on the floor 5 sac room I've decided spending 9 health to replace the freeze module with a deadeye is worth it, just so my own kit stops trying to do me in. Not so sure how much that's intended, but it doesn't make the items in question particularly appealing. Tradeoffs are one thing, this seems like it might be something else, heh.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: TheVampire100 on January 07, 2017, 01:50:34 AM
I'm gonna add some detailed analyzation on the game when I'm done testing the new patch. At the moment I cannot say much about it.

What I can say is, that I LOVE it. Holy shit, this thing is so awesome, I don't care if the balancing is off right now, everything is so much better.
Some minor examples: Cryo module finally got a much needed buff, actually time dilation/stunning in general. The effect is now visual appearent on enemies, making it better to spot stunned enemies and notice when the effect wears off. Extremly helpful in crowd control tactics.
I notice some weapon changes, Boomerang needler seems to be buffed or at least it works now different. For me it looks like a buff. The thing was strong before already but a little akward to use, the new spinnign animation and soudn make it easier to spot and aim the return damage better.
You still missed the opportunity to make a visual idnication when a weapon is fully charged (like shotgun). I don't liek guessing, that's why I skip these weapons and I can guess that other would do the same.
It appears the game IS harder now, it could be because I didn't play a long time but I die at floor 1 or 2.

Some enemies attack from angles and ranges they didn't do before. bomber isa good example, it's hard to figth an enemy that you cannot see or reach with your range but they can.

New perks are hell of a fun to use and experiment with. The variation these provide is INSANE. You can do now even MORE different builds with different specializations. How crazy is this?!


Anyway, more details on this later.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Misery on January 07, 2017, 02:44:57 AM
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Still, as specific points of maybe concern, stuff that accelerates really freaking quickly is maybe something to be looked at. Immediate ones that come to mind are the rear fire turret things (after they hit the wall is okay-ish, but that first shot is just *internal screaming*) and whatever that front firing red death bullet the remnant mark 1s fire, that crosses half the screen in between frames or some nonsense like that. Ideal for making that less of a concern would probably be much, much more obvious tells. There's sound for some of 'em, but some (more) visual feedback would be wonderful. If it's possible in the engine, some kind of no-damage tracer fire type effect would be amazing for some of the nastier attacks. It'd require less incredibly split second reacting from players if there was a line of gtfo preceding the speeding death bullet, heh.

So basically, those enemies are working as intended :D

They're not supposed to have big obvious tells; you guage the amount of time in-between shots, and zoom past when it's safe to do so.  They dont react to your presence in line of sight; they just repeatedly fire at your position.   Rooms that use these enemies (sniper class, named so for a reason) are always structured with available cover.

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What I can say is, that I LOVE it.

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but I die at floor 1 or 2.

So basically it's okay for me to add in more murder like that, yes?

Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: NickAragua on January 07, 2017, 02:51:54 AM
Caveat: I play on normal, and I haven't read the patch notes.

The good:

 It's now a lot less obvious which perks to pick when leveling up. So, good job on making that choice meaningful. Before, I would always go for +shields > +damage > other stuff, but now... well, I still go for that, but since the good stuff is much more rare, I pick the other stuff more often.

 More enemy types is always welcome.

I really like that perk that makes your standard gun destroy bricks and such. Makes it so I can actually use my missile launcher for something other than breaking bricks.

The not so good:

Starward Rogue was one of my go-to games for zoning out. Now I can't zone out on normal (because of the difficulty spike), which is kind of disappointing. Difficulty meaning, among other things, lack of damage powerups, relatively high enemy health and the new lopsided damage/healing ratio. So I always have to be on edge and any minor mistake with the magnitude of a pixel is rewarded with a "bzzt" and two health down. Maybe I'll crank the difficulty down next time.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 07, 2017, 10:07:14 AM

So basically, those enemies are working as intended :D

They're not supposed to have big obvious tells; you guage the amount of time in-between shots, and zoom past when it's safe to do so.  They dont react to your presence in line of sight; they just repeatedly fire at your position.   Rooms that use these enemies (sniper class, named so for a reason) are always structured with available cover.
... y'know, I've killed probably a couple dozen of the remnants at this point, and I don't think I would have known they were a sniper if you hadn't just told me. I've been hit by it more than once (though I've only become aware of it in hindsight), but I've only actually seen that red bullet in close range, where it slams into my face and that's about that, and that like... once. Thought they were just something like the larger spiders so far as behavior goes, and didn't even realize they had the attack until the last few runs. Was under the impression until now it was some kind of defensive response or a "screw you" shot of some sort. If it's intended to be identified as a sniper I'm not sure it's working as intended :P

Half the potential issue there may actually be the rearfire whatsits. They do have pretty obvious tells (glowing, that noise, the very visual impact, which is about what's good, I just wish I had a bit more of a window to actually take advantage of cover when they're lobbing shots at me from outside my field of view or a better indicator of which direction the shot's coming from before it splatters itself across my windshield), and they show up much earlier and a lot more often. In other words, they're what's training the player on how snipers work. If the remnants have anything like that, I haven't noticed at all. Maybe at least make the bullet brighter or somethin'? Having it be like those... arsenal? Spinning triangle shield things, might be neat, too. Shot orbits a bit (just a bit, maybe even just one orbit, no more than two or three), accelerating up to speed, then fires out. Could let it randomize the angle of the shot a bit, little less predictability on that front would be worth the indicator it's actually happening.

Don't mind having to time movement between shots, it'd just be really nice if it was easier to tell I need to be doing it, ehehe.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 07, 2017, 11:37:41 AM
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Oddly enough, I've actually been finding that specific probe to be one of the more useful consumables in the game, heh. It helps to a pretty significant degree with the Bastille fight, which is both more annoying than dangerous and apparently pretty likely to show up. I usually get at least one in every run, and I've seen three different ones in a single run at one point, iirc. The beaming probe's ability to fire through the bullet walls without issue speeds the fight along pretty well, which is quite nice.

Interesting, glad to hear that consumable is at least somewhat useful.

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Though with FoF, another thought other than just removing the movement boost is to have the boost not last as long as the invincibility. That way you're not coming back into vulnerability at the same time your movement rate is shifting around.

Yeah, I'll have to check the timing on that. Good call, thanks.

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Will say, re: that TK repulse module, I've played with another mech using it, just now, and what it does is a lot more obvious.

Well, what it's intended to do. What it also does is kill the hell out of you. It's actually pretty nasty to have that module in a room with something like the shred guardians or that buzzsaw thing and get hit, because the bloody thing will very very happily ricochet those giant projectiles around the room at hyper speed and slam them right back into your face.

It took me a couple times to figure out exactly why those shred projectiles were suddenly accelerating and making bloody weird curves. General issue with the module and any projectile that's particularly long lasting and/or bounces, really.

Suggestions for it, if it's possible. Add some kind of graphic effect when it triggers, white-ish circle emanating from your mech or somethin'.* And make any projectiles it effects not hurt you. Either that or force 'em to dissipate when it they hit a wall or whatev'. Right now that module is a bit of a death trap.

Yeah, I'm considering just disabling that module for the time being, I think. Until I can sit down and think of a better implementation. It causes too many screwy things regarding other projectiles.

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E3:... actually actually, has there been much discussion on how all the defensive modules seem to want to kill you? This run is making it more and more obvious I should never pick up a substantially active/reactive defense module again. I get the TK repulse, it bounces things off walls (including me) and tries to kill me. I replace it with the cyrofreeze module, and by the time I'm a room away from the warden it's tried to kill me in like five different rooms, by exploding mines in my face or unleashing debris hell upon a room filled with those oversized blocks. A previous run I actually use the plasma punisher, and while it's much less overtly ~I want you to die~, it still fills like half the screen with incandescent white noise and got me hit more than once because I couldn't see incoming bullets anymore in the mess. It actually reached the point this run, on the floor 5 sac room I've decided spending 9 health to replace the freeze module with a deadeye is worth it, just so my own kit stops trying to do me in. Not so sure how much that's intended, but it doesn't make the items in question particularly appealing. Tradeoffs are one thing, this seems like it might be something else, heh.

I definitely agree with you on the Repulsor Module, I messed the implementation of that one up, I think. The others seem pretty good to me, although I should be able to make the Plasma Punisher shots transparent, so that you can see more easily what's going on when it fires.

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What I can say is, that I LOVE it. Holy shit, this thing is so awesome, I don't care if the balancing is off right now, everything is so much better.

Awesome! Glad to hear that, thanks! It's a shame the balance is a bit off, but we should be able to fix that easy enough.

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Starward Rogue was one of my go-to games for zoning out. Now I can't zone out on normal (because of the difficulty spike), which is kind of disappointing. Difficulty meaning, among other things, lack of damage powerups, relatively high enemy health and the new lopsided damage/healing ratio. So I always have to be on edge and any minor mistake with the magnitude of a pixel is rewarded with a "bzzt" and two health down. Maybe I'll crank the difficulty down next time.

Yeah, that sounds about right. We're going to push the healing pickup amount back up to 2 for Normal mode, and save the attrition challenge for Hard, that should help a lot. Plus, damage buffs are going back up a bit, and enemy HP is being tweaked, so the next build should be a lot better for chilling out with on Normal.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: NickAragua on January 07, 2017, 02:55:56 PM
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Starward Rogue was one of my go-to games for zoning out. Now I can't zone out on normal (because of the difficulty spike), which is kind of disappointing. Difficulty meaning, among other things, lack of damage powerups, relatively high enemy health and the new lopsided damage/healing ratio. So I always have to be on edge and any minor mistake with the magnitude of a pixel is rewarded with a "bzzt" and two health down. Maybe I'll crank the difficulty down next time.

Yeah, that sounds about right. We're going to push the healing pickup amount back up to 2 for Normal mode, and save the attrition challenge for Hard, that should help a lot. Plus, damage buffs are going back up a bit, and enemy HP is being tweaked, so the next build should be a lot better for chilling out with on Normal.

Glad to hear it. I'll revisit it next time I see a patch.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Misery on January 08, 2017, 12:01:37 AM
We SERIOUSLY should think of just adding another difficulty level here.

The reason:  Putting the health pickups back up to 2 is going to wreck what difficulty is there;  the attrition is the entirity of what keeps it this way.  Every single game in the genre that actually has challenge to it does this.  Isaac doesnt, which is a huge part of why it's too easy.

However, with Normal likely becoming another "dont have to try", which is what would happen (no need to avoid damage when it's that easy to heal), that means the only other option is Hard for those actually looking for something more interesting, and that's a big jump up.   Hard mode is intended for those that have completely mastered normal mode.... when normal mode is putting up a fight. Which would effectively mean that, with the change, Hard mode would be for those that have mastered a totally non-existent difficulty that comes between normal and hard.  And no, I'm not re-balancing Hard mode.  The ONLY way to do that is to completely restructure.... everything.  ALL of the patterns.  All of them.  It's not stats that drives that mode.

Also, one other major reason:  Switching something like that core mechanic between difficulty modes is a very bad design choice, and usually seen as artificial difficulty.  Enemy stats are one thing, but changing the nature of a basic pickup is bad.  In other words, as far as I"m concerned, this one's a definite no-no here.  The player is taught from the beginning that a health pickup heals for a specific amount.  Just deciding "sorry, nope, it does this now" when going up a notch is not a good move.   Remember how enemy damage was multiplying on higher difficulties, and how much of a mess THAT was?  It's a similar thing here.

And one way or another, this game was never supposed to be a zone-out sort of thing to begin with.  That's been a huge reason for all of these changes to begin with.  Something like Isaac is alot better for that.    The only reason this game was like that is because it was broken.  We need to not forget this when making changes here.

This all makes me think of 20XX actually.   Where the default mode, in which everything does 1 damage and healing is equal to that, is considered simply too easy.  Much too easy.   But make ONE change... double the damage enemies deal (effectively creating the attrition effect, because healing no longer keeps up if you're tanking too much) and the game's challenge rises dramatically.   And that's the ONLY change you need to make.  No other difficulty options even need to be set to produce that effect.

That's how strong of an effect this sort of thing has on any game in this genre.  It doesnt matter how dangerous enemies or bosses are:  If it's too easy to heal, the player doesnt have much effort needed.   Which also means that everything in the game seems less important/meaningful.  Been trying to avoid this since the start.

If you must put the HP things up again, do it only on easy and below. 


Now, none of this is to say that we cant tweak Normal mode AT ALL.   But this is absolutely the wrong way to do it.

And like I'd said elsewhere:  We shouldnt make huge changes until the rooms are dealt with.  I guarantee you, the room issue is a huge cause of the difficulty being warped on normal.  Fix that, and rooms are less congested and it's not as ridiculous for the player (whereas hard mode wont get hit as much by that, because enemies will pump out lots of crap anyway).  I seriously cant emphasize enough how important this room thing is for the game's balance and such. 
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Logorouge on January 08, 2017, 12:43:40 AM
We SERIOUSLY should think of just adding another difficulty level here.

The reason:  Putting the health pickups back up to 2 is going to wreck what difficulty is there [...]
I see your point, but I don't think you need to add another difficulty level and I also don't think health pickups need to go back to 2.

Here's why: Easy and Very Easy levels already exist. The same zone-out (or just less unforgiving) gameplay that many seek out will still be there, especially with the incoming damage boosts, rooms and HP tweaks. The big task would be to convince players that playing on Easy and Very Easy doesn't make you any less of a gamer.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 08, 2017, 08:55:03 AM
... I'unno, I'd love a difficulty option that was just hard with normal's bullet speed, heh. Think someone mentioned one of the incrediblities does something like that, but those things aren't guaranteed and takes junking up a shop besides. I probably should poke around and see how feasible it is to mod mechs to start with it, I suppose.

An immediate thought, mind you. Why not just have a custom difficulty option, that lets the player tweak things like bullet patterns and speed, damage, pickup heal, etc. as they please? Then instead of trying to predict what will give most players their ideal run, you can give them sliders and let them figure it out for themselves :P

E: A second/additional thought would be some wording change, too. Instead of very easy and easy, you could have something like relaxing and "less difficult", respectively, or somethin' along those lines. When it comes to getting folks to be less adverse to lower difficulties, framing things so some of the sting/stigma isn't there/as obvious/using normal descriptors can help.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Logorouge on January 08, 2017, 11:06:14 AM
... I'unno, I'd love a difficulty option that was just hard with normal's bullet speed, heh. Think someone mentioned one of the incrediblities does something like that, but those things aren't guaranteed and takes junking up a shop besides. I probably should poke around and see how feasible it is to mod mechs to start with it, I suppose.
The incredibility "The One" does slow down bullets while you move. If you want to try it from the start on your favorite mech, just add the following to the mech's settings (ideally near his other systems to keep things organized): <system type="TheOneSystem" offset="0,0" />

An immediate thought, mind you. Why not just have a custom difficulty option, that lets the player tweak things like bullet patterns and speed, damage, pickup heal, etc. as they please? Then instead of trying to predict what will give most players their ideal run, you can give them sliders and let them figure it out for themselves :P
Sounds like purgatory for the devs in charge of balancing things. :P
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 08, 2017, 11:59:36 AM
Ah, was talking about creator instead of the one, heh. One might work, too, though. Can't recall if the slowdown's actually that strong or not.

Though re: balance, you'd still do... more or less what you're doing, a challenging "normal" (your baseline parameters... maybe even a bit over the default if you're looking to psychology people into being okay with less challenge), a notably moreso hard, etc., etc. You wouldn't really worry much about folks that want to be somewhere in between, or playing misery with no health pickups and doubled bullet speed or somethin', but they'd still be able to make 'emselves happy. Less need to aim for a general case that fits everyone, you can just get most and let the sliders handle everyone else. Would also allow for much more nuanced progression into harder difficulties and whatnot, too, which would probably be nice.

... it would also make balance testing a lot easier, since folks could just change params and see if it's better. Maybe a 5% drop in bullet speed is all current normal needs, or somethin' along those lines.

E: Also it'd make something like a graduating difficulty... easier? Which'd be neat. Longer the win streak, harder it becomes, until you lose and then it resets. You'd do it manually if all there was was a custom diff option, but it'd be a lot more accessible than having to mod stuff. I think it'd add to the game, is all I'm sayin'.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Logorouge on January 08, 2017, 12:11:32 PM
Ah, was talking about creator instead of the one, heh. One might work, too, though. Can't recall if the slowdown's actually that strong or not.
I think it's half speed while moving, normal speed when immobile. The Creator on the other hand, will basically make enemies spawning go crazy. I wouldn't recommend it unless you want to see how long you can survive.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: TheVampire100 on January 08, 2017, 12:11:50 PM
I don't remember on which Mech I had this but there was this Perk that destroys missile barricades with normal shots. Wonderful idea, really.
But I got this on level 4. This thing is op as hell and I think you should move this to later levels.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Cinth on January 08, 2017, 04:56:08 PM
An immediate thought, mind you. Why not just have a custom difficulty option, that lets the player tweak things like bullet patterns and speed, damage, pickup heal, etc. as they please? Then instead of trying to predict what will give most players their ideal run, you can give them sliders and let them figure it out for themselves :P

That functionality has been included in the game since, well, forever.  It's in the Configuration folder and it's open to modification by anyone.  Infinite customization at your fingertips ;)
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 08, 2017, 05:21:03 PM
Heh. If I could mod the difficulty settings to have in-game parameter adjustment, I would have done it and just stuck it in the mod subforum or handed it over for main game implementation. I'm impressively terrible at coding, unfortunately :-\ also I don't even know if the menu bits are in there, or how to set it up to adjust on the fly-ish, or how to figure out how to without getting very very literal headaches
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Cinth on January 08, 2017, 05:25:45 PM
That was a bit tongue in cheek from me.  There isn't anything in game but you can modify the file contents out of game.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Misery on January 08, 2017, 05:36:18 PM
... I'unno, I'd love a difficulty option that was just hard with normal's bullet speed, heh. Think someone mentioned one of the incrediblities does something like that, but those things aren't guaranteed and takes junking up a shop besides. I probably should poke around and see how feasible it is to mod mechs to start with it, I suppose.

An immediate thought, mind you. Why not just have a custom difficulty option, that lets the player tweak things like bullet patterns and speed, damage, pickup heal, etc. as they please? Then instead of trying to predict what will give most players their ideal run, you can give them sliders and let them figure it out for themselves :P

E: A second/additional thought would be some wording change, too. Instead of very easy and easy, you could have something like relaxing and "less difficult", respectively, or somethin' along those lines. When it comes to getting folks to be less adverse to lower difficulties, framing things so some of the sting/stigma isn't there/as obvious/using normal descriptors can help.

One thing that would be a huge help as difficulty goes:   If you're running into any enemies/bosses that just seem way overboard (in terms of patterns/behavior, not health and stats) list them here on the forums.  One big thing relating to difficulty is finding baddies that might be a bit overboard.

Now, granted, some are certainly meant to be easier or harder than others.  Bosses for instance, Sunder is the hardest, and Battleswarm the easiest... that's pretty much where they should be.  But if someone is getting wrecked over and over by, say, Crystal Mother, that's not right.   That sort of thing.

Same for individual enemies.  Generally, probably about the toughest things you should be running into early in the game is stuff like Sideshots... they shouldnt really be getting any harder than those that early. 

But yeah, any info at all on what anyone thinks of specific enemies would help a ton.  I'm *not* good at catching problems with these.  I'm usually the SOURCE of the problems instead, heh.   The bosses for the most part seem fine to me, but it's the little guys that are so much harder to gauge.  There's probably some that are a bit much, particularly for the early floors.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 08, 2017, 07:11:51 PM
Ehehe. Sunder definitely isn't the hardest normal boss t'me, for what it's worth. First phase you just skootch around a little in more or less the same spot and the second about all it takes is moving in a square pattern around the room. It'll slide you through the openings without much trouble. It's no wallmaster (definitely the easiest normal boss, as literally all you have to do is move up and down a little -- I wouldn't be surprised if you could perfect it on normal with no perks or weapon changes without moving on the horizontal at all once you're in weapon range) or battleswarm, but most of the other bosses are significantly harder, heh.

Though so far as other stuff goes, you might not be amiss if you gave the vipers something like a lower initial aggro range. Those guys can get pretty out of hand if they keep firing long enough, and when they start shooting from a screen or three away and you can't get at them very quickly it can end up with you not being able to do much but missile or tank your way through the pretty solid bullet wall covering the screen. Dunno what it is about 'em but sometimes their patterns end up turning into like a nest or somethin', and there's not too many things you can do about it when it does.

Diffusion, I think it is (the one that puts out the formations of tiny guard flea shield looking things) can do something similar, particularly in concert with other ships. I've had times where the only way to get a firing angle on one of those things was to walk into shots, because the corridor or whatever they were on the other side of was just filled wall to wall with bullets. And wasn't really letting up.

Pretty definitely stuff I'm forgetting, too. Though that said, at least on normal the early floors generally aren't that bad, at least to me. It's in the 5+ range that you start occasionally running into things that are just kinda' silly.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Misery on January 09, 2017, 02:19:10 AM
Just as a note, there's a couple of things coming up that might smooth out the difficulty a bit.

1.  New types of health drops.  The orange ones are the most common and heal for 1 point, but there are other types now too, one which heals for 2, and one which heals for 4.   Needless to say, these dont appear nearly as often.   But they show up often enough to help (and can appear in the store, too).  These are also just satisfying to find, and they go along with other types of pickups (EXP, missiles) that have multiples.  Just be sure not to waste them, like grabbing a 4-HP one when you're only 1 HP down.  That's just silly.

2.  Slightly higher chance for health drops to appear.  Not a huge change, more of a subtle thing, but it's there.

3.  I'm changing a few enemies around here.  Again not huge changes, but some things that might be sticking around too long will get nerfed, and a couple of patterns might change.  Some of the most complained about enemies have been hit with the HP nerf bat (Flak Cannons, Rusted Lumiflares) as well as some others that werent mentioned.  No changes for bosses here (and this is unlikely to happen, for now).    Right now, the changes you'll see first are the HP changes.  I havent made pattern alterations yet.


These are things that we can patch in pretty much right away (far as I know, they're done already). 

Now, I was hoping to have a blob of room changes for you today, but it took AGES to get this to work on my evil laptop.  So I'll have to do that first blob tomorrow instead.   ...Seriously, it took forever.  Very frustrating.  Got a good test run in though (mostly for enemy HP changes).   But yeah, there's a list of a number of really nasty rooms, so some of the worst should be knocked out quickly.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 09, 2017, 02:33:30 AM
... before I forget, actually, if it wasn't already noticed/fixed. There's that one room inundated with... eggs, I think someone called them? The lingering flame mine things. Don't have the game computer on to check the name of the room. All over the place, and you're intended to blow them up to clear the room of the similarly massive amount of missile-breakable blocks.

There's a small problem with, at least, the potential upper right side entrance, or however rotation or whathaveyou works. It (one of the doors, anyway) has an egg close enough to the door a cryofreeze or incinerator module can pop it pretty much the instant you walk in... and also close enough the explosion/flames can hit the player, and is rather likely to. Probably could stand to be moved a square or two away, to keep people from being greeted with an immediate explosion and close to unavoidable damage just because they happened to be using those modules.

E: Woke up and poked around a bit. If I'm interpreting what the room editor and room's text file is saying correctly, then it's probably quadssee/zmc_terraforming and either the leftmost egg on line 28 or rightmost on line 8. If the edge number highlight whatsits in the editor means that's a potential entrance, one or both has an egg closer to the entrance than there probably should be an egg.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Draco18s on January 09, 2017, 12:50:43 PM
Probably both of those are a problem.
Should be an easy enough fix just to move them up-diagonally about one tile (the one at 8,27 would move to 9,26 and the one at 30,7 would move to 28,6)
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: z99-_ on January 09, 2017, 07:35:32 PM
I actually noticed that room as one in need of fixing too, but for a different reason. Some/all of the room entrances are blocked by missile breakable blocks; but they're also close to eggs, so no problem, right? But because the eggs disappear without exploding once all enemies are killed, it is possible to wind up in a situation where part of the map is inaccessible (assuming no special code has been put in to avoid this). The one time I encountered this room, I was fortunate in that I had some spare missiles and the blocked door led to a section that I could access another way, but I could easily see that not being the case. Maybe redesigning it so there's thin corridors connecting all of the doors, but there are !!fun!! block ignoring mobs like blaze cannons in the middle of the missile block/egg sections to 'strongly encourage' players to destroy everything. :D

Also, I wanted to say +1 to Misery's comments about reverting the health pickups to double again being unnecessary. Attrition is one of the best ways of dying, because the downward spiral is slow enough that you usually have a few chances to pull out of it; if you manage to live, you get a feeling of accomplishment, while if you end up dying you sort of feel like you deserve it. They can be a bit annoying when compounded by Rooms of Uber-Death (great band name, by the way), but since those are going to be fixed anyways, I don't see a problem. :)
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Draco18s on January 09, 2017, 07:53:35 PM
I actually noticed that room as one in need of fixing too, but for a different reason. Some/all of the room entrances are blocked by missile breakable blocks; but they're also close to eggs, so no problem, right? But because the eggs disappear without exploding once all enemies are killed, it is possible to wind up in a situation where part of the map is inaccessible (assuming no special code has been put in to avoid this). The one time I encountered this room, I was fortunate in that I had some spare missiles and the blocked door led to a section that I could access another way, but I could easily see that not being the case. Maybe redesigning it so there's thin corridors connecting all of the doors, but there are !!fun!! block ignoring mobs like blaze cannons in the middle of the missile block/egg sections to 'strongly encourage' players to destroy everything. :D

I think this was previously mentioned and the "more better" idea was to make the eggs pop (spawning their projectiles) when the room clears, or not disappearing at all.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 09, 2017, 08:35:17 PM
... though re: health pickups, a quick thought might be including more "risky" ones -- stuff like the rooms with credits/health/missiles in the middle of those trap spiral path things. Toss a few in those spinning turret into hole rooms you normally just run through, stuff like that. Keep the easily accessible amount of pickups roughly the same, but add some degree more of not so easily accessible ones. Then you'd be able to make it so the attrition doesn't have to be as bad (or possibly even be able to be outright negated), but only if the player's willing to risk a negative return on investment, ehehe.

Also on that particular note, have y'all ever considered missile launching turrets? Or ones with knockback bullets or somethin'. Stuff fancier than just sometimes-reactive plain shots. Might be able to do somethin' with that. Be really neat if there was a no-damage knockback one (or similar for mines or whatev', like malicious pinball bumpers) you could force the player to bounce themselves off of to get through specific parts of an optional trap maze, or something along those lines. And I'm not just asking that because pinball themed levels/rooms/etc. in roguelike style/influenced stuff fascinates me but no one ever seems to indulge ;_;
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: eruanion on January 09, 2017, 09:49:50 PM
I just had a Toxic Reaper fight on normal that took quite a long time (long for a mini-boss, anyway). This with the flame tank (pretty good damage out of the box). My damage boosts were tiny damage boost and divine purpose.

I also saw the boss Invader for the first time in a long time. I'm guessing Misery has been beefing it up? It seemed too tanky, especially for a boss that has so many minions protecting it. And in the last phase the minions (running around like snakes and leaving trails that block the way to the boss) were getting so thick I rarely got any chance to damage the boss itself.

I've seen Loco and Paragon a lot on Floor 1 on normal on 1.506 (especially Loco). IMO they are too tough that early.

An aside: the Flame Tank Incinerator is pretty useless in narrow corridors - it's range gets cut way down to 2 or 3 times the length of the mech. Is that supposed to happen? Maze-type rooms with solid barricades are hard with this mech, especially since the enemies often found in them (called Guard Fleas? I can't remember for sure) are better at blocking shots than they used to be. You have to get up close to them to hit anything in a narrow corridor.

Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Misery on January 10, 2017, 12:28:29 AM
Invader, actually, isnt my fault; it's the one boss I didn't make.  You can blame Ptarth for that one, heh.  All I did was alter it's field attack later on (to make it possible to approach it).  It hasnt received any stat changes as far as I know.

Also yes, Loco might need to be toned down a bit.  Also not my fault. 
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 10, 2017, 09:24:23 AM
Quote
Also on that particular note, have y'all ever considered missile launching turrets? Or ones with knockback bullets or somethin'. Stuff fancier than just sometimes-reactive plain shots. Might be able to do somethin' with that. Be really neat if there was a no-damage knockback one (or similar for mines or whatev', like malicious pinball bumpers) you could force the player to bounce themselves off of to get through specific parts of an optional trap maze, or something along those lines. And I'm not just asking that because pinball themed levels/rooms/etc. in roguelike style/influenced stuff fascinates me but no one ever seems to indulge ;_;

Interesting ideas, thanks. Missile launching turrets might be cool, yeah. I believe that Ptarth had been working on some kind of pinball room at one point. I'm not sure on its current status, though.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: ptarth on January 10, 2017, 12:12:25 PM
I am working on a pinball room. It's harder than you think. Angles of reflection are really complicated to work with given the system limitations. Plus making the flippers behave well.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 10, 2017, 12:51:55 PM
Godspeed, then.

... kinda' do know how hard it is, though, ehehe. At least in regards to anything precise and/or consistent. Is why generally my thought process stops at "make everything in the room bounce off everything else then watch the fireworks". They're great fireworks, but for whatever reason you don't see 'em very often :V

Will say, if nothing else the engine definitely can handle some impressive amount of knockback. Think I mentioned vis a vis that tk module getting slammed across a screen or two, once. It would have been entirely instead of just mostly amazing if it hadn't also shanked my health bar :P
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: ptarth on January 10, 2017, 01:21:33 PM
In previous versions strong enough knockback could move the player through walls. That was funny and unexpected. I put it on a missile launcher. ;)
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Frumple on January 10, 2017, 02:06:17 PM
Ah... that reminds me, you can still walk through on diagonal ones, for what it's worth/if it wasn't already known.* Don't know if it's a redshift+extra speed specific (or maybe slight lag/chug/etc.?) thing or not, but it's a thing that's doable. Can also use those respawning blocks to phase through other blocks, ehehe. Neat stuff, probably engine quirks and known ones, but just in case, etc., etc.

Code: [Select]
*Like, if there's something like
_#
#_
where the _ is empty and the # is blocks (those black indestructable ones, missile breakable, it seems to be just kinda' whatever), you can push your way from one _ to the other. Some (most?) weapons can get shots through those non-spaces, too, heh, if you angle it right or shove your face into it, first. Balance wise it's actually somewhat of an issue for a few rooms (iirc, those ones with... blocked in rectangles split by the debris blocks, with each wing filled with lots of those little ships? That's on both the top and bottom sides of the room. As an example.), since you can sidle up to a corner and just kinda' murder everything on the other side from more or less absolute safety, heh.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: carldong on January 10, 2017, 04:29:29 PM
Ah... that reminds me, you can still walk through on diagonal ones, for what it's worth/if it wasn't already known.* Don't know if it's a redshift+extra speed specific (or maybe slight lag/chug/etc.?) thing or not, but it's a thing that's doable. Can also use those respawning blocks to phase through other blocks, ehehe. Neat stuff, probably engine quirks and known ones, but just in case, etc., etc.

Code: [Select]
*Like, if there's something like
_#
#_
where the _ is empty and the # is blocks (those black indestructable ones, missile breakable, it seems to be just kinda' whatever), you can push your way from one _ to the other. Some (most?) weapons can get shots through those non-spaces, too, heh, if you angle it right or shove your face into it, first. Balance wise it's actually somewhat of an issue for a few rooms (iirc, those ones with... blocked in rectangles split by the debris blocks, with each wing filled with lots of those little ships? That's on both the top and bottom sides of the room. As an example.), since you can sidle up to a corner and just kinda' murder everything on the other side from more or less absolute safety, heh.
On the other hand, if you stand too close to wall, sometimes your weapon will just hit the wall despite shooting forward. Maybe another sort of hitbox problem
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Draco18s on January 10, 2017, 05:43:53 PM
On the other hand, if you stand too close to wall, sometimes your weapon will just hit the wall despite shooting forward. Maybe another sort of hitbox problem

Especially annoying when it happens with missiles.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Cinth on January 11, 2017, 12:50:12 AM
On the other hand, if you stand too close to wall, sometimes your weapon will just hit the wall despite shooting forward. Maybe another sort of hitbox problem

Especially annoying when it happens with missiles.

Probably has to do with how all weapons systems are actually offset form the center of the mech and collision detection.  Just speculation on my part though.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: ptarth on January 11, 2017, 12:52:19 AM
Wall hitboxes are probably not what you expect. Press F7 and see where they are.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: z99-_ on January 12, 2017, 03:06:25 PM
Now, granted, some are certainly meant to be easier or harder than others.  Bosses for instance, Sunder is the hardest, and Battleswarm the easiest... that's pretty much where they should be.  But if someone is getting wrecked over and over by, say, Crystal Mother, that's not right.   That sort of thing.

When Invader was showing up every run, I remember talk about restrictions on which floors certain bosses can spawn at. If Sunder is the hardest boss, should it be moved to appear on later levels only? I'm not sure which floor I just encountered it on, but I'm pretty sure it was 1 or 2. Was a bit of a surprise :)
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Misery on January 12, 2017, 07:40:34 PM
Sunder isnt the hardest boss overall:  It's the hardest boss of it's group.

Bosses are grouped into multiple categories based on level ranges:  1-2, 3-4, 5 (Warden), 6, and then 7 with Terminus.

Sunder is usually considered the toughest of the 1-2 range.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: NickAragua on January 12, 2017, 08:44:16 PM
Since the latest patch, I feel like you guys have hit a pretty good sweet spot in terms of balance, on normal difficulty. It's challenging (I got killed on the third level), but the enemies don't take half an hour to kill and I don't get a "this is BS" feeling. So, thumbs up.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Bluddy on January 13, 2017, 11:34:46 AM
Just wanted to chime and in say congrats on your achievement. I haven't played this game in a while, but I just booted it up, and the difficulty curve is excellent. Many interesting enemies, interesting strategic choices, and the difficulty curve is terrific, with health and credits balanced just right. Great job guys!

If there's one complaint I have at this point, it's that having several shops is overkill, requiring too many keys to observe what might be good items at prices you can afford, but quite possibly none of the above. Buying the skeleton key was a no-brainer (even at the cost of health) for this reason.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: TheVampire100 on January 13, 2017, 01:25:03 PM
I could finally finish the game as Redshift Mech with the last patch. Seriously, the thing is so goddamn hard to use. Overpowered for sure but only if you don't screw up int he first two floors. A single hit can basically screw you forever.
But if you manage to get past the first two floors, the Mech snowballs hard, with every single extra helth he becomes harder to defeat. I died once but I had the "Second Chance" Perk (very good idea). I also had the improved Cryofreeze module which is so goddamn strong. It's ridiculous how useful it is.

My final build was something like this: Grenade Launcher, Railgun (Energy), Cryofreeze Module, 21-24 hp, ~50% crit chance, Regeneration Hull (this thign is INSANE with Redshift) and soem other minor stuff. Really cool build overall with a lot of cool perks and pickups. And I got most of the stuff I needed at floor 1 and 2.

Edit: Also the new health pickups were an excellent idea. They fit so perfectly into the game that I wonder why no one has thought before of them. They make the "get double health from drops" more viable now.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Misery on January 13, 2017, 05:02:11 PM
Just wanted to chime and in say congrats on your achievement. I haven't played this game in a while, but I just booted it up, and the difficulty curve is excellent. Many interesting enemies, interesting strategic choices, and the difficulty curve is terrific, with health and credits balanced just right. Great job guys!

If there's one complaint I have at this point, it's that having several shops is overkill, requiring too many keys to observe what might be good items at prices you can afford, but quite possibly none of the above. Buying the skeleton key was a no-brainer (even at the cost of health) for this reason.

Well, with the keys, you shouldnt really be opening EVERY shop.  It's meant to be a decision:  Go for the weapon shop?  Maybe get a powerful consumable (or even a Bundle) for the boss?  Or maybe open some locked chests?  That sort of thing.

Skeleton key really is very good though, yeah.  That's one of my favorites to grab from sacrifice rooms.  Also the one that gives you 2 more missiles per room is another favorite.  Particularly with something like the huge homing missile.



I could finally finish the game as Redshift Mech with the last patch. Seriously, the thing is so goddamn hard to use. Overpowered for sure but only if you don't screw up int he first two floors. A single hit can basically screw you forever.
But if you manage to get past the first two floors, the Mech snowballs hard, with every single extra helth he becomes harder to defeat. I died once but I had the "Second Chance" Perk (very good idea). I also had the improved Cryofreeze module which is so goddamn strong. It's ridiculous how useful it is.

My final build was something like this: Grenade Launcher, Railgun (Energy), Cryofreeze Module, 21-24 hp, ~50% crit chance, Regeneration Hull (this thign is INSANE with Redshift) and soem other minor stuff. Really cool build overall with a lot of cool perks and pickups. And I got most of the stuff I needed at floor 1 and 2.

Edit: Also the new health pickups were an excellent idea. They fit so perfectly into the game that I wonder why no one has thought before of them. They make the "get double health from drops" more viable now.


Yeah, in retrospect those other types of health pickups do seem really obvious, dont they?  Particularly since pretty much every single game in this genre uses that exact concept.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: z99-_ on January 13, 2017, 08:29:11 PM
Coincidentally, I also just finished a Redshift run (first non-cheese win on the new normal (though Redshift is really a sort of cheese)!). My starting present was the air sniper rifle, so I did a total sniper run. I got every critical hit booster I could to add to the air rifle's 30% critical hit chance, so it ended up with like 80% - and the only sacrifice item I got was overcritical, of course ;) Terminus was a cakewalk, but he at least got to go through all his phases (only 5 - 10 seconds each though). The 6th floor boss fight with Valor lasted less than 10 seconds, which seemed surprisingly short, even with all my boosts. He might need a health boost.

Other thoughts:

I think there are 3 face ripper variants, but 2 of them just rush you and die like normal, while the other spawns 2 copies on death, and those then spawn 3 copies on death. It seems like this ability should be present in all variants, and just the intensity of it varies with the variants (like, Green Facerippers spawn a single copy when they die, and Brown Facerippers spawn a single copy, which then spawns 2 copies).

The Split Cannon has longer range than the Precision Railgun. As the Precision Railgun is the textbook long range sniper weapon, this seems odd to me. Would increasing the Precision Railgun's range make Redshift too OP?

Is it intentional for some of the glass blocks to drop nothing? I've noticed it a bit on other runs, but this time it seemed worse (10%, maybe?)

The secret room still seems to need some better items. Most of the time I went in there, I didn't bother picking up anything :/ I think only really good weapons and modules should be included, because if the RNG gifted you with good weapons already, you'll often be leaving the room empty handed . . . What about adding all the familiars to the secret room item list? Many of them are really awesome - and even with the meh ones, since they can stack you don't have to give anything else up to take them. Or just limit the items to Divine Purpose and Time Machine, that would work too :P

Speaking of really good modules, I had the TK module for 90% of my run, and it seems as awesome as the description says, if not more so. Didn't notice any problems with it.

The perk choices for level 11 (I think) where there was one that slowed down enemies and bullets a significant amount, and one that gave you a 75% chance of surviving a fatal blow, seemed very well balanced. I spent a long time agonizing over that decision :)

There was another perk with the same Small Hull Reinforcements issue I mentioned with White Gloss. Would fixing one fix the other, or are they defined separately?

While I was able to run away at the very end, the difficulty overall seemed pretty consistent. Mission Accomplished!  \O/
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 13, 2017, 09:47:11 PM
Thanks for the praise on the current difficulty balance guys, it's been a hard road getting near where we want to be with the overall balance, but we seem to be in the right area now. Phew!

Quote
The Split Cannon has longer range than the Precision Railgun. As the Precision Railgun is the textbook long range sniper weapon, this seems odd to me. Would increasing the Precision Railgun's range make Redshift too OP?

Not sure. It probably wouldn't matter that much if we increased the range. Having a lot of range on energy weapons isn't so bad. For main weapons, though, we have to be a lot more careful.

Quote
Is it intentional for some of the glass blocks to drop nothing? I've noticed it a bit on other runs, but this time it seemed worse (10%, maybe?)

Yeah, I think so. I think things have always been like that and we haven't broken anything in the latest build, but I'm not 100% sure, surprisingly.

Quote
The secret room still seems to need some better items. Most of the time I went in there, I didn't bother picking up anything :/ I think only really good weapons and modules should be included, because if the RNG gifted you with good weapons already, you'll often be leaving the room empty handed . . . What about adding all the familiars to the secret room item list? Many of them are really awesome - and even with the meh ones, since they can stack you don't have to give anything else up to take them. Or just limit the items to Divine Purpose and Time Machine, that would work too :P

I'm presuming you do mean only the secret rooms and not the sacrifice rooms, too (just checking). If so, then yeah the secret rooms pretty much need a complete overhaul, heh. Not sure when we'll get around to that, though. What I have in mind is basically creating a bunch of borderline OP crazy items for the room. Stuff similar to Time Machine.

Quote
Speaking of really good modules, I had the TK module for 90% of my run, and it seems as awesome as the description says, if not more so. Didn't notice any problems with it.

I actually snuck a fix in for that before the latest patch, so I'm glad to hear that it seems a lot better now. It used to cause a lot of craziness with regards to certain enemy bullets, speeding them up and stuff, but it clears most of those shots now.

Quote
The perk choices for level 11 (I think) where there was one that slowed down enemies and bullets a significant amount, and one that gave you a 75% chance of surviving a fatal blow, seemed very well balanced. I spent a long time agonizing over that decision :)

Glad to hear that! :)

Quote
There was another perk with the same Small Hull Reinforcements issue I mentioned with White Gloss. Would fixing one fix the other, or are they defined separately?

Yeah, fixing one will fix the other. I've already fixed that in our internal build.
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: carldong on January 13, 2017, 10:11:35 PM
Stuff similar to Time Machine.

A ContrishooterX that costs 0.01 credits per shot? For everyone except Humble, who gets a 10% off of course :)

BTW I really really like the Contrishooter. It basically allows a different style of gameplay. Basically, it allows me to not enter shops at all, and dump those shiny metal to trade shot to shot with the hail of bullets.

Also a side note. I have not had this happening in the recent update yet(because of RNG, I haven't got the defensive drone yet), Defensive Drone seems to cause all sorts of problems. First, they really love to detonate mines in my face, or wake up a room of sleeping enemies. My memory is distant, but I think they shot at a Red Banshee one time, and filled the room with pain.

In boss fights, DD shots may destroy some big source bullets, and cause small bullets to split out prematurely, and then those shots combine with the subsequent pattern... It's undodgable, basically. Most of the time the DD is fine, and saves my life quite a lot. But then it kills just as much as it saves. Is it intended?
Title: Re: Current difficulty balance?
Post by: Misery on January 13, 2017, 10:34:52 PM
Probably best not to go too powerful with secret room items.  The reason: It's really not at all hard to find it.  Heck, you can get it opened on accident.  Or sometimes without doing anything at all, when the game decides to place it next to a room that has no health-shard blocks.

It would need to be tougher to get to before making the overall pool stronger.