Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

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bvanevery
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Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by bvanevery »

I find the dynamic range of luck in Wesnoth is way too large. I play exclusively single player so that I can level up a kewl army of guys. The large dynamic range of the luck just makes it possible for the AI to kill my leveled up guys for no good reason. I find it tedious to have to prepare the most cautious battle plans imaginable in order to prevent any possible bad luck outcome. I am not willing to lose my kewl leveled up guys, the whole reason I play is to advance them. I see Wesnoth almost as a RPG; I'll wager that people who see Wesnoth as a wargame are more in favor of random battle damage. I find it boring, and thus I've become the poster child for save-load-save-load-save-load. I've decided that as long as Wesnoth is going to cheat with extraordinary good luck, or give me extraordinary bad luck, I'm going to counter-cheat until I get reasonable results. Thus I have a passive-aggressive relationship with luck in Wesnoth.

I intend to 'fix' this problem by writing my own game that doesn't have the misfeature of a large dynamic range of luck. Also get rid of hexes, as they end up creating annoying traffic jams when luck doesn't go your way. I realize there will always be a practical spatial limit of some kind as to how much force one can bring to bear, but I find hexes not fine grained enough in this regard. Pikemen don't operate in a single hex, they have long pointy things allowing them to concentrate greater force at a distance from themselves. Yeah my game will have ranged combat too. And probably many more troops, with many more guys to level up, and always having experience usefully improve their skill instead of leveling up in plateaus. That way, losing them won't be so painful. And ranged combat.

Yeah, just throw out the Wesnoth combat system basically. People often defend the Wesnoth combat system on the basis that "it's a game." Fine, but I still don't like games that have such a large dynamic range of luck. Very annoying.
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Re: Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale

Post by bvanevery »

Noy wrote: Second as many of people above have stated, users have been free to make their own less-random mods and there have been four (or five) separate attempts. Thats the beauty of open source; its not ramming things through without discussion or with limited support. Yet to this day not one has gained anything anything approaching popularity or acceptance despite significant advertising.
The dirty little secret of Open Source is it's not about the source code, it's about the people. An incumbent development team has enormous advantages for getting its way. It is much more difficult for a new team to duplicate the level of service that the incumbent team provides. Not only do they have to duplicate all the man years of effort that go into making things run smoothly, but they have to overcome the perception of the user base that the old way is better. It's a huge organizational hurdle, and is often known in industry as "The Network Effect." Once people are used to using a de facto standard, there are overriding advantages to using that standard as far as most users are concerned, even if someone comes along who wants to make a new and "better" standard.
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by Soliton »

bvanevery wrote:Yeah, just throw out the Wesnoth combat system basically. People often defend the Wesnoth combat system on the basis that "it's a game." Fine, but I still don't like games that have such a large dynamic range of luck. Very annoying.
Don't play games you don't like.
bvanevery wrote:The dirty little secret of Open Source is it's not about the source code, it's about the people. An incumbent development team has enormous advantages for getting its way. It is much more difficult for a new team to duplicate the level of service that the incumbent team provides. Not only do they have to duplicate all the man years of effort that go into making things run smoothly, but they have to overcome the perception of the user base that the old way is better. It's a huge organizational hurdle, and is often known in industry as "The Network Effect." Once people are used to using a de facto standard, there are overriding advantages to using that standard as far as most users are concerned, even if someone comes along who wants to make a new and "better" standard.
I'm curious why you call this the "dirty little secret of Open Source" when it's a known effect with its own name.

Anyhow, I'm not sure what's wrong with the people doing the work getting their way instead of some random guy that suggests a change.


Split because this just brings the original thread more off-topic.
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bvanevery
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by bvanevery »

Soliton wrote:
bvanevery wrote:The dirty little secret of Open Source is it's not about the source code, it's about the people.
I'm curious why you call this the "dirty little secret of Open Source" when it's a known effect with its own name.
Because there seemed such an undercurrent of surprise that the "less random Wesnoth" hadn't taken off as a roaring success. Of course it's not going to. Not as long as the incumbent developers are against it.
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by bvanevery »

Soliton wrote: Anyhow, I'm not sure what's wrong with the people doing the work getting their way instead of some random guy that suggests a change.
Isn't that disingenuous? How many "random guys" have you heard ranting about the luck in Wesnoth, for how many years? It's more like an unserved constituency that keeps showing up, making their views known, and leaving when they can't accomplish anything practical about it. I think the luck centrism relates strongly to multiplayer centrism. I think people who are more focused on the single player experience, and especially the RPG experience, start realizing that Wesnoth is not the ideal vehicle for them. Pretty much around here, if you don't believe in letting your guys get killed due to bad luck, you have the wrong religion and are encouraged to go play some other game.
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by Aethaeryn »

bvanevery wrote:I intend to 'fix' this problem by writing my own game that doesn't have the misfeature of a large dynamic range of luck. Also get rid of hexes, as they end up creating annoying traffic jams when luck doesn't go your way. I realize there will always be a practical spatial limit of some kind as to how much force one can bring to bear, but I find hexes not fine grained enough in this regard. Pikemen don't operate in a single hex, they have long pointy things allowing them to concentrate greater force at a distance from themselves. Yeah my game will have ranged combat too. And probably many more troops, with many more guys to level up, and always having experience usefully improve their skill instead of leveling up in plateaus. That way, losing them won't be so painful. And ranged combat.
Good luck, I hope it's fun.

The reality about open source is that those who do the work determine how things go in the things they work on. There's no market to appeal to for profit, you make it for your own use and hope others like it. If you find things that bug you about a game, by all means make a new game. If it's any good, I'll probably try it.

On the other hand, talk is cheap and most plans fall through. From experience (with my own add-on, not quite a full game), time spent talking about a hypothetical project is time you can't work on it.
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by bvanevery »

Aethaeryn wrote:On the other hand, talk is cheap and most plans fall through. From experience (with my own add-on, not quite a full game), time spent talking about a hypothetical project is time you can't work on it.
I think I've played every Wesnoth campaign that can be added from the add-on server. I am, thus, as experienced at single player Wesnoth as one can be. Here is why I'm not writing a Wesnoth campaign myself:
  • WML isn't a skill set worth investing in. Yes you can do some Lua nowadays but you still have to do WML. If it were all straight Lua, that would be worth it, as Lua is the most popular scripting language in the game industry. "What's the big deal?" people ask. "WML isn't that hard." Well, free time isn't infinite, and open source volunteerism doesn't pay the bills. It's important to spend time on skills that are actually worth money to somebody.
  • Wesnoth isn't so great a medium for RPG. In particular, all the stories pretty much have to be about armies fighting each other. You can do a bit about parties crawling through dungeons, whacking every monster they run into, but then it's back to armies again. RPG has broader scope for narrative and puzzle. It's really hard to do dialogue in Wesnoth because how much can you really say about taking this hex here, that hex there? It's like writing dialogue for porno.
  • I know that nothing I would ever want to do to make Wesnoth more RPG capable would ever make it into Mainline. Can't even get a less random variant into Mainline, so anything farther reaching, forget it! I'd have to support everything on my own. Given the prospect of all that labor, I'm much better off writing everything from scratch. That way, I spend an incredible amount of effort, but I have unfettered commercial licensing opportunity.
  • The Wesnoth history as told in Mainline doesn't appeal to me. Its sense of history is "one darned thing after another." It doesn't mean anything. It isn't devised as a story with rising action, plot points, etc. Rather, it's a compendium. The map expresses this graphically. The landmarks don't mean anything, they're just places. They don't denote any sequence of events or logical progression. When Tolkien made a map of Middle Earth, the hobbits started in the Shire and went through many important choke points until they got to Mordor. The Wesnoth history does not understand narrative as travelogue. I can't see trying to compete with the Mainline history, the incumbent developers would never allow it. So I'd have to do a total conversion. Why would I put that much story energy into it on my lonesome, and be stuck with a GPL?
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by Soliton »

bvanevery wrote:
Soliton wrote: Anyhow, I'm not sure what's wrong with the people doing the work getting their way instead of some random guy that suggests a change.
Isn't that disingenuous? How many "random guys" have you heard ranting about the luck in Wesnoth, for how many years? It's more like an unserved constituency that keeps showing up, making their views known, and leaving when they can't accomplish anything practical about it.
Maybe about 30-50 over the last 4 years assuming you don't mean anyone who ever was annoyed with some bad luck they got. I'm not keeping account anyway. It's not really relevant to people doing the work deciding what goes. Surely if there are many who don't like the way some things work there is a good chance that there are some who are also willing to put in the work to change it.
bvanevery wrote:I think the luck centrism relates strongly to multiplayer centrism. I think people who are more focused on the single player experience, and especially the RPG experience, start realizing that Wesnoth is not the ideal vehicle for them.
Pretty much every mod that has been made to change how randomness works in wesnoth was/is primarily for multiplayer.
bvanevery wrote:Pretty much around here, if you don't believe in letting your guys get killed due to bad luck, you have the wrong religion and are encouraged to go play some other game.
I don't see what that has to do with religion. It seemes quite obvious to suggest to play a different game if you don't like the rules of this one. Not to say that it is all that difficult to not let units die in most campaigns.
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by bvanevery »

Soliton wrote:
bvanevery wrote: Isn't that disingenuous? How many "random guys" have you heard ranting about the luck in Wesnoth, for how many years? It's more like an unserved constituency that keeps showing up, making their views known, and leaving when they can't accomplish anything practical about it.
Maybe about 30-50 over the last 4 years assuming you don't mean anyone who ever was annoyed with some bad luck they got. I'm not keeping account anyway. It's not really relevant to people doing the work deciding what goes. Surely if there are many who don't like the way some things work there is a good chance that there are some who are also willing to put in the work to change it.
The feedback is so "random" that it's FAQ entry #1 for what not to bug the developers about. Stated reason: developer preference.
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by Soliton »

bvanevery wrote:
Soliton wrote:Maybe about 30-50 over the last 4 years assuming you don't mean anyone who ever was annoyed with some bad luck they got. I'm not keeping account anyway. It's not really relevant to people doing the work deciding what goes. Surely if there are many who don't like the way some things work there is a good chance that there are some who are also willing to put in the work to change it.
The feedback is so "random" that it's FAQ entry #1 for what not to bug the developers about. Stated reason: developer preference.
Do you have a point that is relevant to what you quoted?
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by JW »

Soliton wrote:Do you have a point that is relevant to what you quoted?
I believe his point is why have such an emphatic systematic shutdown of an idea if it is doesn't recur so frequently?

And I appreciate the irony in speaking of "random guys" and how they are dealt with by the developers.
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by Aethaeryn »

bvanevery wrote:
Aethaeryn wrote:On the other hand, talk is cheap and most plans fall through. From experience (with my own add-on, not quite a full game), time spent talking about a hypothetical project is time you can't work on it.
I think I've played every Wesnoth campaign that can be added from the add-on server. I am, thus, as experienced at single player Wesnoth as one can be. Here is why I'm not writing a Wesnoth campaign myself:
Perhaps I didn't communicate my point properly. I'm not telling you to make a campaign instead.

I'm merely telling you that instead of an argument that won't persuade anyone (they seldom do), you might as well prove that your concept is better by spending your time working on your game.

(Although easily being moddable via add-ons, and add-ons being easily accessible and often mainlined, probably is one of the strongest points of Wesnoth.)
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by Caphriel »

So, if I understand this right, you want Wesnoth to be a deterministic RPG game focused on the single player experience?
That's not Wesnoth at all. It wouldn't be recognizably Wesnoth; it would be an entirely different game. Wesnoth is a non-deterministic turn-based strategy game with some room for unit advancement.
I think people who are more focused on the single player experience, and especially the RPG experience, start realizing that Wesnoth is not the ideal vehicle for them.
That sounds basically right. Wesnoth cannot be all things to all people. What about people who want it to be less strategy based and more "skill"-based? Should there be FPS elements added to make them happy?

I complain about the RNG with the best of them, but the long and short of it is that it makes multiplayer fun. I've played more deterministic mods before, and they make the game harder to play. If you can predict exactly what the results of an action will be, there is no excuse for not optimizing your actions. The RNG makes very specific long-term plans pointless, and thus reduces to a great extent the amount of work you have to do to play it at a reasonable level. This, despite absolutely hating losing units/games because of the RNG, is why I always oppose efforts to make mainline Wesnoth less random. Despite my opposition being absolutely insignificant :lol2:
Pretty much around here, if you don't believe in letting your guys get killed due to bad luck, you have the wrong religion and are encouraged to go play some other game.
I've had several forms of this conversation with a few people, mostly concerning multiplayer strategy. What it comes down to is that the game is designed to be played a certain way, and if a player doesn't want to play it like that, they can either try to find different ways to play it, create a mod that plays the way they want, or find something else to play. Wesnoth was specifically designed not to be RPG-like. That's the reason unit levels cap at 2-4, mostly 3. RNG or no RNG, you are going to take casualties, especially in the harder campaigns and on harder difficulties. That's the way the campaigns are designed.

I suggest reading the Design Philosophy article on the Wesnoth wiki, if you haven't already.
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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by Dave »

bvanevery wrote:
Soliton wrote: I'm curious why you call this the "dirty little secret of Open Source" when it's a known effect with its own name.
Because there seemed such an undercurrent of surprise that the "less random Wesnoth" hadn't taken off as a roaring success. Of course it's not going to. Not as long as the incumbent developers are against it.
We're not necessarily against it. I developed an "accuracy era" designed to potentially provide a lot more control over the amount of luck experienced. This was and is in mainline. I wanted people to develop and then test eras for it. There was very little interest.

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Re: Split from "Luck in Wesnoth: Irrationale"

Post by Sauron »

Dave, dig into my mod, try it - and consider if your concept is needed IF the mod functionality would be merged into mainline ... You have PM.
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at http://saurons-mod.zor.org/
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