Author Topic: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V17  (Read 7426 times)

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V12
« Reply #125 on: August 21, 2018, 12:33:55 PM »
Yeah. I wonder though if one could use two fonts with the libtcod library; one for the grid-based maps and one for text-based interfaces. I'll look into the feasibility of that later. Right now, I'm working on learning how to create custom menus and interfaces, and hopefully have a redesigned interface for at least a few of the menus for Alpha V13.
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade.
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Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V13
« Reply #126 on: August 25, 2018, 12:26:00 PM »
Alpha V13 is released.

Mostly a quality of life update, to make it easier for new players to get into the game.

Spent most of the week working on learning how to use Class Inheritance, new ways of manipulating Strings, and work towards an interface overhaul. Hoping to have some interface improvements in for next week's build.
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V13
« Reply #127 on: August 25, 2018, 09:20:41 PM »
I'm adding a Linux usage note, mostly so I don't have to look this up again.

The libtcodpy library can use the environment variable LIBTCOD_DLL_PATH to find the libtcod library. That means when you compile libtcod, you can do a usual system install (sudo make install) to copy the files to /usr/local/lib, and then set LIBTCOD_DLL_PATH=/usr/local/lib before running the game. This can be done either on the line to run the game (LIBTCOD_DLL_PATH=/usr/local/lib python Game.py), or you can permanently set the environment variable in ~/.profile or similar with export LIBTCOD_DLL_PATH="/usr/local/lib".

Source (Note comment #3 from from libtcodpy/__init__.py):
Code: [Select]
    pathsToTry = []
    # 1. Try the directory this script is located in.
    pathsToTry.append(os.path.join(__path__[0], libname))
    # 2. Try the directory of the command-line script.
    scriptFilePath = sys.argv[0]
    scriptPath = os.path.dirname(scriptFilePath)
    if len(scriptPath):
        pathsToTry.append(os.path.join(scriptPath, libname))
    else:
        pathsToTry.append(os.path.join(os.getcwd(), libname))
    # 3. Try the environment variable LIBTCOD_DLL_PATH.
    if "LIBTCOD_DLL_PATH" in os.environ:
        envPaths = os.environ["LIBTCOD_DLL_PATH"].split(";")
        for envPath in envPaths:
            if os.path.exists(envPath):
                pathsToTry.append(os.path.join(envPath, libname))
    # 4. Try the top-level path in the development tree.
    potentialTopLevelPath = os.path.realpath(os.path.join(__path__[0], os.pardir
, os.pardir))
    pythonPath = os.path.join(potentialTopLevelPath, "python")
    if os.path.exists(pythonPath):
        pathsToTry.append(os.path.join(potentialTopLevelPath, libname))

Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V13
« Reply #128 on: August 25, 2018, 09:54:13 PM »
Ok, way too much wall of text. It's particularly bad because the font spacing makes it so hard to read. I just wanted to play, but instead I was greeted with page after page of text. I got bored and stopped reading it. Even still, it was minutes before I even got to see the game.

The character selection was asking me to make decisions that could impact the rest of the game, yet I had no experience with the game yet to inform those decisions. At best I could use my experience from other hopefully similar games to guess what I wanted.

The game was asking me to name my character, while also simultaneously telling me this didn't really matter and had no impact on the game, and how my name would be capitalized. Way too much info. And if it has no bearing on the game, maybe it can be skipped, or delayed until later once I've had a chance to try the game.

For character naming, I rather liked how Final Fantasy 3 (FF6 if you follow the Japanese releases) introduced and named characters. They'd start off with a cut scene, show some character, build some back story, get some emotional engagement for the new character, and then and introduction of sorts, such as "why hello, and your name is...?", and then the character name prompt pops up. With a suggested name already filled in.

Naming of characters was nicely delayed until you know who the character actually was, what they were about, and had some emotional engagement as to why you should care.

As for the character classes, and attribute bonuses, that could also potentially be delayed until in game. Examples might be FF2 (FF4 if you follow the Japanese releases). They let you choose, and change, your profession during the game. If you've made a mistake about how you're developing your character, you can change focus and go down a different path. That doesn't play so well with race, which people view as unchangeable, but it does work with profession. Of course, that's not to say you can't delay the race selection in a similar manner to delaying character naming.

Another alternative is how Runescape worked (or the FF2 Japanese release, not released elsewhere), where character stat increase depends on what you do. The stats you actively work on are the ones that get better. Again, this delays or even eliminates the in game selection of what your bonuses will be.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V13
« Reply #129 on: August 26, 2018, 12:21:54 AM »
I'm in the process of making an interactive tutorial, it just didn't make it in for this build. I also intend to make a help directory, and break up the walls of text into manageable reading bits, delivering a specific piece of information. The intent is that with the interactive tutorial, is to teach all of the basics of gameplay, and the help directory is used to refresh oneself on a particular topic, or learn about a more advanced mechanic. Also, most of the initial text can be skipped and read again later, either with the Help/Tutorial menus, or accessing it via the Pause Menu (esc).

Never played a final fantasy game. Most of the RPGs that I played always asked you up front to design your characters. However, they never really bothered to explain what different things will do. I tried to make the user informed about what each choice does... maybe I failed to provide enough instruction.

In most games, the name of a character is irrelevant. Even in story driven games like Mass Effect, your name is irrelevant except for your last name, which is Shepard. The reason I mention that the name has no relevance is that all the previous choices HAVE relevance. Thus, the player can name their character as they so please, and have no concern for the consequences.

The issue is that the characters are basically irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Well, at least the "bodies" are. What I mean is that the Chaos God has trapped your soul in the Cataclysm of Chaos, and whenever you go insane, the Chaos God destroys your body, creates a new one, and sticks your soul into the new body. So, in a lot of ways your body is simply a temporary vessel, being used to accomplish goals until it's usefulness runs out, and the cycle repeats. Every time you go insane, you generate a brand new character, and are told that you entered the Cataclysm of Chaos as that person, when in reality, it is just something created with certain memories applied to the body. At least, that is how I was thinking of doing the lore. ... However, giving each character more backstory could be beneficial, so I'll look into doing that and add more character to the characters.

The secondary purpose of the interactive tutorial is to help the player figure out what kind of character they want to play as. However, with that said, you can always change your playstyle by putting the effort into whatever way you want to play. As an example, you might want to play as a powerful spellsword. You might choose choices to give your Physique a large starter advantage and then focus on building up Intelligence, and thus be able to build both attributes reasonably well. But, that is more for advanced players. The game gets a lot of inspiration from Elder Scrolls games, in that you can be whatever you want to be, but your starter choices make certain things easier and others harder. But, with enough diligence, you can take that berserker nord, and turn into an exemplary thief.

The last point is Attribute Training in a nutshell. If you focus on melee/martial, you train Physique. If you focus on ranged/stealth stuff, you train Dexterity. Etc... It is just that your starter choices impact how easily it is to train different Attributes.

Thanks for the feedback, and I'll see about integrating some changes into the next build.
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade.
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V13
« Reply #130 on: August 26, 2018, 03:25:53 AM »
Quote
In most games, the name of a character is irrelevant. Even in story driven games like Mass Effect, your name is irrelevant except for your last name, which is Shepard. The reason I mention that the name has no relevance is that all the previous choices HAVE relevance. Thus, the player can name their character as they so please, and have no concern for the consequences.

Why are you explaining this? ;)

As for backstory, I'm not saying you need to add that. In some cases, maybe you shouldn't. In Final Fantasy, I think it worked out well. I'm not so sure about a rogue-like.

Keep in mind that Final Fantasy, particularly FF3 (aka FF6), was a story telling game. A rogue-like has a much different focus.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V13
« Reply #131 on: August 26, 2018, 10:54:01 AM »
I was explaining it because you seemed to have an issue with giving your character's name right away. The only real reason I take the player's name immediately is because the Chaos God is intended to use your name with their messages; doesn't do so yet, as I've been focusing on quality of life and usability features for the last couple builds.

It is true that many games will have you do a tutorial first and then name your character, ie Elder Scrolls games. However, as I currently lack the tutorial, I just request it immediately.

Mostly I was explaining it because not everyone has played a lot of RPGs and may not know that it is common practice to get a name up front immediately or that the name is basically just fluff.
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V13
« Reply #132 on: August 26, 2018, 09:49:13 PM »
... and why are you explaining that?  ;)
(Hint: I'm not looking for an explanation!)  :P

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V13
« Reply #133 on: August 27, 2018, 11:03:09 AM »
Sometimes I reply to a question, without considering why I'm replying to a question. Other times, I answer because I can. Further times, I do as Cthulhu commands.
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Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V14
« Reply #134 on: September 01, 2018, 04:41:50 PM »
Alpha V14 Released.

Was a frustrating week designing out the new interactive tutorial and the help directory system, meant to supplement the tutorial. Tossed out several prototypes, and took me a few days to fully debug my new help directory system, so didn't get much in the way of code implementations done. However, as the biggest feedback from players is the need for a really good tutorial and better formatting for the help systems, I felt that prioritizing these this week was critical.
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V14
« Reply #135 on: September 02, 2018, 10:28:14 AM »
... I don't want a help directory. I don't want to read. I want to play!

The menu systems when starting the game seem a bit buggy. I get blank screens until I click the left mouse button. After each screen of text, it blanks out, and I need to click to see the next one. Additionally, it was eating most of the letters I typed when trying to name my character. Very frustrating experience.

Also, there is very little feedback concerning ranged attacks. It seems some monsters avoid me completely, where they don't come attack me, but I also can't get near them. If I click to do a ranged attack, then they attack me. After a few rounds of not much happening, I wandered off. At some point I was killed with no enemies around me, and some text that suggested I was killed by a ranged attack, though there was no obvious feedback that I was being attacked.

Also, I'm not sure I can see the entire text log at the bottom. I think it cuts off for me. I tried to enlarge the window (it's already max screen height), but the enlarge button doesn't respond at all.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V14
« Reply #136 on: September 02, 2018, 10:59:56 AM »
I am aware that players don't like to read (which is surprising as so many people still want Game Manuals, for some reason and why many of the older roguelikes, like ADOM has a large Help Directory). However, the tutorial wasn't finished and I didn't want players complaining about CTDs or broken save files. The Help Directory is meant to supplement the tutorial when completed, and is also meant to phase out the huge walls of text, into smaller bite sized bits.

For the text input, how long was your name? Also did "backspace" help to clear letters so that you could enter in fresh letters?

Mouse support for menus is buggy; has been since the beginning. The tutorial maker added mouse support to the menus, and that then caused numerous other errors. I fixed or duct-taped those issues, but the big issue is the "double window" bug. For some reason, with mouse support, it creates two of the same window, overlaid on top of eachother. My workaround, which works with keyboard inputs, is to effectively make the window invisible. But for some reason, when you click with a mouse, the invisible window appears, creating a blank, black screen. When I figure out how to create good interfaces, I'll look into trying to solve the issue. It took me about 5 months to create a workaround for the double window (after trying out at least 30 other failed solutions to the problem), so don't expect a fix anytime soon. I've run through the code numerous times and I do not know how to solve it yet.

What is your threat value and their threshold values? If your threat value is <= to their threshold, they are non-hostile; this is called Passive Stealth (can read up on it in the Help Directory, under Advanced). If they are nonhostile, attacking them causes them to be hostile towards you. If they are a Treasure Fiend (black T) they always move two spaces away from you, unless you are using Active Stealth. If you hit a mage with a ranged attack, they flee, moving at two spaces per turn; if you attack an archer and get too close to them, they also flee away from you moving two spaces per turn. Most of this information is already in the game, and available for players to help themselves, rather than, say I spoonfeed them everything.

I'm not sure I know what you mean by no feedback. I regularly check my health bar, and scan my environment before moving forward. What about the message log? Any time you get attacked, a new message appears in the message log. I know that in most games, you have graphical animations or sound effects to produce feedback. In most roguelikes, the feedback a player gets is a change to their health bar or a message in a log. I understand in modern games this is insufficient and I do intend to build in more reliable feedback systems. When you say feedback, what kinds of things would you like to see?

The window mostly fills my tiny laptop monitor of 1366 x 768, with a bit of empty space on the edges. Vagabond mentioned back around V5 or V6, that he had a problem with the window size, that fixed itself by entering fullscreen (ALT + ENTER) and then hitting it again to bring it back to normal size. The window is a somewhat poorly designed terminal interface, and thus the only way to currently make the window larger is fullscreen (ALT + ENTER). I am looking into resolution scaling or aspect ratio type stuff, just haven't gotten to it with the focus on the tutorial.

Thanks for the input!
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 11:02:31 AM by lordpalandus »
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V14
« Reply #137 on: September 02, 2018, 11:32:32 AM »
The game seemed to be dropping random letters when entering the character name, as if the key was never pressed. It was intermittent. I had to press keys a few times repeatedly to get the letter to appear.



I think having to regularly check the health bar is an issue. If there are no enemies around, and no visible log messages (the log might overflow the screen), then it's very hard to see any unexpected health bar updates. If the health bar flashed, or if the screen flashed or tinted red when you were low on health, that would alert the player to trouble.

For a ranged attack, I would expect to see some kind of animation indicating a ranged attack.



The message log cuts off the last 2 lines when not in full screen mode. Using Alt + Enter works. The maximize button does not.



When there are many enemies on screen, I've noticed some performance issues. There is noticeable lag between pressing arrow keys and seeing the character move.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V14
« Reply #138 on: September 02, 2018, 11:59:05 AM »
Okay. I'll look into it. The method I used for keyboard input may be the incorrect one to use (there is like 5 different functions it uses to take in input), so I'll see if I chose the wrong one for the job.

I am planning on creating a longer message log (again not a priority) as I really liked it with the old build with the smaller font. I'll see about trying to get the health bar to flash when low on HP, or tint the screen red or perhaps a popup window that says you are low health. I'll look into having an animation play when an attacker attacks you.

Maximize button not working isn't surprising. Annoying, but not surprising.

The lag is one of two things: 1) the method that the game uses for taking in input is creating the lag or 2) the enemy pathfinding code is computationally expensive. I'm leaning towards the pathfinding code being the culprit. Will look into ways of optimizing it.

EDIT: If I can get the tutorial done swiftly, I'll try to implement some of the stuff you suggested Hooman. If not for this build, then likely for the next build. All of your feedback definitely highlights areas where improvement is necessary, but as you pointed out yourself... you don't want to read. Thus, the priority for this week is to create an effective, informative, and interactive tutorial so that players can learn by playing rather than reading.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 02:46:09 PM by lordpalandus »
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V14
« Reply #139 on: September 02, 2018, 10:03:58 PM »
For the love of God, no popups!

Although it may be instructive to solve the keyboard issue when entering a character name, perhaps there is a better course of action. Consider this: The player starts up the game, and bam! they're in the dungeon. If they want to load a previously saved game, they can select that from the menu. Their current game is discarded. They want to choose a character class or profession, they do that in game, by finding some appropriate map marker or quest point and moving onto it. Choice selection is controlled by character movement, rather than a menu system.

As for naming the character, maybe just dump that feature. If it's really desired, perhaps add it in game, as a delayed choice. My preference is to just dump it though. Names are more relevant when you have multiple characters to control. For a single character game, it's just noise.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V14
« Reply #140 on: September 03, 2018, 10:37:12 AM »
Ahh popups, the bane of players... unless it is a 4x game. I'll just have to find another way of doing it.

Interesting idea. Kind of reminds me of Dragons Dogma's character creation where you choose your starter class by picking up an item (a sword, a dagger or a staff) in a room.

I only really included the name as many games offer the ability to name your character. But in this game it is likely just fluff/noise, so I'll consider removing it.

Thanks for the input.
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Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V15
« Reply #141 on: September 08, 2018, 02:56:16 PM »
Alpha V15 is now released.

EDIT:

Although I didn't get it into this release (as the problem flummoxed me), I have managed to implement flashing health bars and flashing energy bars when below 25% of maximum values, into the next build. They do not strobe, but the flashing effect is quite noticeable, to help draw your attention to your health or energy meters.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2018, 08:25:16 PM by lordpalandus »
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V15
« Reply #142 on: September 12, 2018, 08:41:53 PM »
Where did the enemies go? As far as the heath bar updates go, I couldn't find anyone to flash me!  ;)

The game got considerably easier though, and I was finally able to completely explore a map.

Side note, you've got kind of an open dungeon theme going on here. There isn't really a concept of rooms. Very unlike the original Rogue in that regards. I also didn't see anythings stairs like that suggested it would lead to a new dungeon, or back some way I'd come.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V15
« Reply #143 on: September 12, 2018, 11:42:58 PM »
Sigh.

Anyways, stuff will be different for Alpha V16. Things will be made clearer. Sigh.

EDIT:

I get it, you do not like to read, Hooman. So, how would I, a developer, make a player such as yourself, aware that you are playing an interactive tutorial?

I mentioned in the first post of this thread, in the Changelog that comes with the game, and within the game itself that the first level has been made into the interactive tutorial... one you learn by doing, experiencing things, and exploring the level, free from enemy threats, while the player learns and masters the basic controls.

With the current iteration of the interactive tutorial, you are given a series of tasks, with instructions on how to complete those tasks in the Task List window (Shift + 1), and once you have completed those tasks you can leave the floor. In the next build, I am going to be making it clearer that the interactive tutorial is active, such as mentioning that you can view the task list with Shift + 1 (this keybind is mentioned once in the current build, but it can be easily missed).

Yes, I have noticed that as I develop the game further, it definitely lacks things that Rogue had, namely, Rooms, Permadeath from Death, and Food Timers.

As for your question, there is actually three possible exits to the level; one is found in a corner and the other two are randomly placed in the level somewhere. You'll know you found one if you either find the ">" symbol or an object called a "Descending Runic Gate".
« Last Edit: September 13, 2018, 10:17:09 AM by lordpalandus »
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V15
« Reply #144 on: September 14, 2018, 11:03:37 AM »
I explored the whole map, and nothing stuck out as an obvious gateway. Maybe a different symbol or color would stand out more. I suppose I didn't read any of the instructions, but then, after having to click through so many walls of text I had become largely blind to instructions.

Would be nice if exits were highlighted even when not currently visible by the player. Something to make them standout even when the player is far away, though only after they have first been uncovered.

For an interactive tutorial level, perhaps consider making it smaller. You probably don't need a full sized map for a tutorial. I think a smaller map with more limited play space would go better with a smaller more limited tutorial environment. At the very least, there would be a visual cue that something is different. As for monsters and combat, those probably are an important part of an interactive tutorial. Though I noticed previously the levels seem to spawn an infinite and increasing number of monsters. I think a tutorial should have a set number of monsters.

As for rooms, they can help guide an interaction. They limit options. You can only leave through a set number of corridors. That would be particularly useful in a tutorial, where you want to guide a player along a specific path. As the game progresses the number of options can be slowly increased. Perhaps more corridors, to larger rooms, to merged interconnected rooms, to open areas with a handful of obstacles.

I think the open dungeon theme reminds me a bit of the Caves area of Diablo. I think I would rather start in an area like the Cathedral or the Catacombs, where movement is more guided.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V15
« Reply #145 on: September 14, 2018, 12:44:20 PM »
Well, I've actually already implemented in this coming build something to address that. The Runestone, Primal Chaos Portals and Descending Runic Gates are now prismatic, constantly changing colors and will even do so when they are out of FOV. The Horde Portals and Ascending Runic Gate are chromatic (not sure right word), and shift between black, grey and white constantly.

The reason I chose the format for the tutorial is to have the tutorial representative of the actual game; exploring a large map, collecting loot, training skills and attributes and gaining levels. The first level, is the "basics" tutorial; it is meant to teach the player the basics of gameplay, such as using the mouse to look around, perform various common commands like crafting items, and exploring the map, without being constantly attacked. The second level, will be the "advanced" tutorial, introducing the player to combat, horde monsters and other advanced topics, and the advanced tutorial will be in the coming up build. If I have time, I'll include the "expert" tutorial, involving Primals, and Endgame related stuff, but may not have time to do so with the other stuff that needs to be in for this build. More likely I'll wait on the expert tutorial until I've figured out how to code in the Portal Levels, Chaos System, Harvester (ever wondered where all those Crystallized came from?), and Primal Chaos abilities are put in.

Again, that (rooms) would defeat the purpose of having a tutorial that represents actual gameplay. The problem I find with many tutorials, is that you are thrust in essentially a controlled laboratory experiment, that is hardly ever representative of actual gameplay, and are taught mechanics that are rarely if ever used in the actual game. For example, while doing the Dishonored 2 tutorial, you have to do a sprinting slide maneuver. In the actual game I never found an actual useful situation where that maneuver would be useful... in the tutorial you had to use it to get under a gate that would close too fast if you simply tried to run and crouch under it.

Don't you mean the lava caverns in Diablo? There were cave sections in the catacombs as optional quests, that were very guided and restrictive.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 12:46:16 PM by lordpalandus »
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Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V16
« Reply #146 on: September 15, 2018, 12:11:19 PM »
Released Alpha V16.

Another large release, and updated the first post with a list of major feature changes.
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Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade (ASCII) - Alpha V17
« Reply #147 on: Today at 01:39:40 PM »
Released Alpha V17.

Mostly a major bugfixing release, with a little more content and the Advanced Tutorial now fully works.
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