Author Topic: Energy, shields, and basic loot  (Read 5107 times)

Offline Hearteater

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Energy, shields, and basic loot
« on: February 03, 2016, 01:59:54 AM »
So after playing far too many hours in the last few days, I've identified some issues that I think may be solvable, but probably not with just modding.

The Issues
So what are the problems? They aren't game breaking, but I think they reduces the options, richness, flavor, and flow of the game.

Basic Loot
This is the coins, health, missiles, and other random stuff you get from breaking containers. There are two main issues: 1) There isn't enough variety, 2) I don't care what drops, whatever it is I'm going to pick it up anyway, no need to even look as I zoom past.

Shields
They are awesome, but we are capped at two. Which is good, because they are awesome. But that feels bad when you get a combo that should give you 3 shields. Also, they are pretty damn awesome, which is concerning.

Energy
Since you get it back every room (even re-entering rooms), often you start clearing a room with your energy weapon, use it until it's empty, and then finish everything remaining off. Sometimes you save it (Guardian Blaster) to deal with a specific enemy, but most of the time you can just go to town right out of the door. This tends to constrain the energy weapon to the start of each room, and makes tactical choices about using it less interesting.

The Solutions
So what would I change to improve things?

Part 1: Energy, Power Ain't Cheap
First, energy is ONLY awarded when clearing a room once, not every time you enter a room. That's not going to impact most people, but it opens up a bunch of other options. So next, let's cut out the free unlimited refills and give the mechs an energy regen stat. It may be pretty high, 50 or so for the white mech, but it not only adds a new stat to customize for each mech, but gives us a stat that can be changed with drops (more drops!). Now that we might not always be topped off, adding energy tanks that drop from containers and enemies is much more meaningful, and helps with the issue of energy being so front-loaded now that you can get more energy mid-clear on a room.

But energy tanks have a lot of potentional. So instead of just being mindless +x energy pick-ups (which would still be a great improvement), they now function as reserve tanks for which most mechs can hold only one (bonus, another stat on mechs to customize or change with drops). Whenever you pick up a reserve tank, it attempts to refill your energy bar. If it would overfill it, you instead keep it and it automatically refills your reserve bar if you try and use your energy weapon when you don't have enough energy to fire (UI side-note: It would be great if our energy bar UI and the shot count = 0 should turn red when you cannot fire another shot, same for missiles). To accommodate multiple sizes of reserve tanks, if you have one already and walk over another, you keep the largest one, possibly adding the smaller one to your energy bar if it will all fit, otherwise dropping it to the floor in case you need it later.

So we've got new drops, mech stats, and a new mechanic involving stocking up on the largest reserve tank for that room you really need to go crazy in.

Difficulty Very Easy: x2 energy regen stat
Difficulty Easy: x1.5 energy regen stat

Part 2: Shields, Some Conditions May Apply
In order to have more shields, they need a tiny limitation. Part of this limitation will relate to energy. First, you only get shields back when you clear a room for the first time, just like energy. Second, you only get one shield back per room, even if you are missing more. Third, if you get a shield back after clearing a room, you only get 50% of your energy regen stat back for the clear. So now 3+ shields are more reasonable. But we aren't done yet...we can add a new reasonably rare pick-up that restores one shield point.

Speaking of loot, to make players think more about look. New EMP proximity mine "pick-ups", which are a bad thing. These are proximity mines that ONLY take out a shield point of any nearby mech. They also only exploded if you come near, making it nearly impossible to dash in-and-out without getting hit. Normally you clear the room so they auto-explode, but they can be detonated with missiles, if you really need to get by. This now means clearing containers mid-fight can add obstacles. If a room is already cleared, an EMP mine explodes as soon as dropped, so it is only dangerous if you are clearing containers up close. Remember though, EMP can't take away health so they can't ever kill you. On the plus side, EMP mines also destroy all shots when they trigger and stun enemy ships, so they've got that going for them.

Difficulty Very Easy: You get all your shields back and no energy hit.
Difficulty Easy: You get onyl one shield back, but no energy hit.
Difficulty Hard+: EMP mines take out all shields, not just one.

Conclusion
So we've added two mech stats (energy regen, reserve tank capacity), five basic loot drops (small reserve tank +20, medium reserve tank +50, large reserve tank +80, shield recharger, and emp mine), multiple possible power-up drops involving energy regen and reserve tank capacity, not to mention reserve tank efficiency (get +20% energy from reserve tanks). And also made energy weapons more interesting and flexible, along with giving a lot more room to the design space for shields.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2016, 02:09:58 AM »
As has been hinted at other threads, shields are necessary for most people to enjoy the game since they are not perfectionists.

Nerfing shields will not harm the hardcore audience much, but has a drastic impact on the casuals.

Already there are plenty complaints for casuals for this game regarding this game due to bad RNG, and shields are a helpful band-aid for this. Removing shields reveals the problems of the RNG. Unless you address RNG (which is a LOT of work) hurting shields just makes a niche game even more so.
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Offline Hearteater

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2016, 02:21:17 AM »
This suggestions would have no impact to one shield mechs, as you always get one back.

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2016, 02:23:32 AM »
But the two shield players, like me. I'm used to take hits and absorb it with my shields and most of the time I don't get hit by my health and only on my shields.
And what about the items that give you shields when you kill an enemy? More shields mean that this would get too powerful.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2016, 02:25:41 AM »
This suggestions would have no impact to one shield mechs, as you always get one back.

I am afriad I do not fully understand. In your OP you make it clear shields recharge only the first time, but there are plenty of rooms which need more then one shield even after clearing. Also, you make clear you only get one shield back. There is plenty of challenge already with getting all your shields back. Only vets seem to claim that is too much.

You are overall asking for a nerf for shields, but I do not see anyone aside from vets who think shields are OP, and even the master of this genre agrees shields are a very healthy aspect to this game.
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Offline Hearteater

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2016, 02:31:56 AM »
The new shield drop would only replace lost shields, not another brand new permanent shield spot, or somehow let you go over capacity.

So at minimum, you get 1 shield back per room, plus you will occasionally get a shield drop you can save to get more shield points restored after a particularly tough room. In exchange, you could actually have a legit 3 shield mech (instead of 2 +1 invisible shield that does nothing).

CA: Wait, so your concern is losing shields repeatedly in rooms with no enemies? You said shields were for RNG, not for pre-planned obstacle-course rooms with fixed solutions (which you only need to do once anyway). Do you just sprint through caltrops in rooms running back-and-forth, is that the reason you want shields to recover even on the 4th or 5th trip through a room? That doesn't seem like the problem shields are there to solve honestly.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2016, 02:38:23 AM »

CA: Wait, so your concern is losing shields repeatedly in rooms with no enemies? You said shields were for RNG, not for pre-planned obstacle-course rooms with fixed solutions (which you only need to do once anyway). Do you just sprint through caltrops in rooms running back-and-forth, is that the reason you want shields to recover even on the 4th or 5th trip through a room? That doesn't seem like the problem shields are there to solve honestly.

It is not the ideal solution, but it is a band-aid for a larger problem: There was not enough quality control for the rooms in the current game. There are way too many annoying room where the foes are not the problem but the environment is. This environment does not present a good challenge. It tests your patience with your ability to fight the control scheme, not with your ability with "solving" rooms.

Also, I have heard plenty of comments lamenting these rooms. I have never heard anyone say "I'm glad I encountered that room". Shields are a band aid for a bad design concept. Removing the shields only makes the bad concept more apparent.
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Offline Cinth

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2016, 02:49:15 AM »
That's a lot of work suggested for minimal gains tbh (I wouldn't even call them gains).
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Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline Misery

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2016, 01:23:32 PM »
This suggestions would have no impact to one shield mechs, as you always get one back.
There is plenty of challenge already with getting all your shields back. Only vets seem to claim that is too much.


Definitely.  So many people take quite a long time just reaching the Warden, and then an even longer time to finally take him down.  For those that are used to games like this, it's very easy to not quite see how hard it truly is.  As with most games in this genre, it's definitely not an easy game.


Quote
You are overall asking for a nerf for shields, but I do not see anyone aside from vets who think shields are OP, and even the master of this genre agrees shields are a very healthy aspect to this game.

I agree with whoever that is.

Definitely healthy for the game, mostly.  The only real problem that results is that people coming in purely from the shmup side of things might get turned off by the shields; but they'd also get turned off by the health bar, so maybe that's not so bad.  Those into that genre are used to their ships exploding from one hit, and HP/shields are seen as things that just screw up the challenge.   This, however, is not a pure shmup.  One thing we all wanted from the very start was a game that was accessible to LOTS of people.  That's part of what this combination of genres tends to be about, is that all sorts of players can get into it, and get something out of it, even if that something is different from one person to the next.

But as has already been mentioned above in the thread, it's also very, very good at reducing the effects of RNG failures.  And that's not really a design failure, honestly.  Games in this genre, and roguelikes in general, never avoid this issue.  They just dont.  Bad RNG *will* happen every now and then, and no matter what... it's always frustrating, and it always drains the fun out of that particular session with the game in general.  The shields give you a nice buffer against that.  The sniper that blasted you in the face the instant you walked in the door, because of an odd spawn position?  Not that big of a deal; he didn't do permanent damage and you have time to move before his next attack.  Annoying, yes, but the lack of permanent damage does alot to decrease the annoyance factor.  And that's DEFINITELY a good thing.  I think it really helps alot.  Even if it lowers the challenge a bit... I'd rather people just be having fun with the game rather than frustration.  I can think of certain other games that very badly have these problems and did NOTHING to reduce them, and those games often just arent fun at all.


That's not to say there isnt balance issues in this game, of course.  I mean, of course there are.  But as we continue to get more and more feedback, they'll get worked out over time.  Right now the biggest one is the hitbox.  I'm certain that'll get dealt with.  I'd do it myself (with permission from Chris) if I knew how....  I didn't make the mechs or anything so I've no clue how they work.  I just make the game try to kill everyone.

Offline Cinth

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2016, 02:30:32 PM »
Right now the biggest one is the hitbox.  I'm certain that'll get dealt with.  I'd do it myself (with permission from Chris) if I knew how....  I didn't make the mechs or anything so I've no clue how they work.

Hitboxes  got shrunk in 1.011.

Quote
The hitboxes for all the mechs are now half as large as they were before. This is more in line with most SHMUPs and Isaac and a number of other games, and allows for more precision play.
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline Misery

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2016, 02:40:42 PM »
Right now the biggest one is the hitbox.  I'm certain that'll get dealt with.  I'd do it myself (with permission from Chris) if I knew how....  I didn't make the mechs or anything so I've no clue how they work.

Hitboxes  got shrunk in 1.011.

Quote
The hitboxes for all the mechs are now half as large as they were before. This is more in line with most SHMUPs and Isaac and a number of other games, and allows for more precision play.


One of these days, I'll start remembering the patch notes exist when I'm *not* writing something in them.  Though I've enough trouble remembering to do that as it is.

Glad to see the change though!  That'll help a TON.  I can now start to move forward with the misery mode designs.  Well, soon-ish anyway.  There's a few new enemy ideas I'm going to do first and a couple of bosses need hard mode patterns (argh), and Ptarth's boss needs implementing too (probably do that first).  Probably start on that stuff tomorrow.  didn't today, same reason as yesterday, ugh.  Seems it's time for another playthrough though!  As if I dont already play this enough, heh.

Offline Cinth

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2016, 02:48:50 PM »
Nah, who needs to "read the notes" when you got me here to remind you of what's in them. :p
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline Hearteater

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2016, 02:56:49 PM »
I can only take this response to mean that running through caltrops in empty rooms is a common problem. There is only 1 mech that has more than 1 shield to start, and only 2 ways to get +1 shield: The level-up perk and the no shield for one floor challenge. So most people have only 1 shield for most of their run, and under this proposal would still get that one shield back after each room they clear. The only way they get hurt is if they are taking damage in empty rooms.

Anyway, I would actually be surprised if it is normal rooms that are the barrier to most players as opposed to bosses, where this change would have no impact. I don't know about anyone else, but I find the rooms vastly easier than Isaac, but bosses much harder.

Offline Misery

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2016, 03:12:44 PM »
I can only take this response to mean that running through caltrops in empty rooms is a common problem. There is only 1 mech that has more than 1 shield to start, and only 2 ways to get +1 shield: The level-up perk and the no shield for one floor challenge. So most people have only 1 shield for most of their run, and under this proposal would still get that one shield back after each room they clear. The only way they get hurt is if they are taking damage in empty rooms.

Anyway, I would actually be surprised if it is normal rooms that are the barrier to most players as opposed to bosses, where this change would have no impact. I don't know about anyone else, but I find the rooms vastly easier than Isaac, but bosses much harder.

The reason for the disparity in difficulty between normal rooms and bosses is that the bosses are nearly all bullet-hell style in design (as I made most of them) while in the normal rooms, the "bullet hell" sorts are all "high end" enemies, and not all rooms even have those.  Most of the lower/simpler foes just dont fire all that much stuff at you.

Perhaps this means that some aspects of them in a general sense need a bit of a boost... I do think the HP on some could be upped a little.

There's other ways the challenge could be upped a tad in normal rooms, but I'd rather not change anything right now.  Me trying to up the challenge a bit typically ends up with everything blowing up the universe every time they fire.  If anyone has specific thoughts on any individual enemies though, by all means, let us know.

One thing I might change:  Activation range on jumpscare enemies actually seems way too low right now.  I might try a change with that, and see what happens.

Offline Bluddy

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Re: Energy, shields, and basic loot
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2016, 03:21:51 PM »
Well, some of the rooms are easier than Isaac IMO. That has mostly to do with
a. Your starting weapon has high range and very rapid shots.
b. Most rooms are bigger than Isaac rooms, giving you plenty of maneuvering space.
Of course, in Isaac, you almost inevitably become so powerful so quickly that your weapons eclipse the weapons in SR.

 

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