Mutations


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Slime Squisher

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Post Friday, 25th February 2011, 03:43

Mutations

In evolution, the mutations that are passed on aren't usually strictly good or bad; instead they allow a different function, which is worse in some circumstances and better in others, so that mutants tend to occupy a different niche than the original animal. The famous example here is the differentiation of Darwin's finches, some with thick beaks for crush hard-shelled seeds, some with longer, thinner beaks for catching insects, so each finch is tweaked to be specialized for it's current niche. (Yes, I know that mutations that don't get passed on tend to be deleterious, so it could be argued that 99% of game mutations should be strictly bad, but I think that would be kind of boring.)

I think the same idea, that mutation results in specialization, be applied to parts of the mutation system of Crawl. I'm not saying to get rid of strictly bad mutations like Deterioration or Frailty or like Lou Gehrigs or Cystic Fibrosis, but rather emphasize that getting a mutation means occupying a different niche, rather than totally emphasizing a good/bad duality. While implementing this idea could mean coming up with more 'double-edged mutations' would be necessary, it might also be possible to pair up existing mutations from the good and bad pools into a single mutation to effect a tweak in play style. Clearly some combinations would be more conducive to a certain play style than others, like (-10% mp + spines) would benefit a more fightery play style. However, an abundance of level 1 random tweaks might be dull. If so, it might be better to slightly weight mutations to complete an existing mutation rather than adding a new mutation.

I think the Alter Self spell might also benefit from a shift away from good/bad mutations. If the natural tendency of the spell was to give you a certain number of “tweaking” mutations, a number beyond which strictly bad mutations would become increasingly likely. The number could also be dependent on power, so that at low levels, you could get one or two “tweaks”, and at high power, you could get five or so, in addition to a good mutation. Of course, to significantly alter the player, each new mutation should be weighted to continue an existing mutation until completion significantly more than the standard weight. This would set Alter Self apart from a potion of mutation, which could have something like a 33% of each good, bad, or tweaking mutation.

There are definitely limitations that would need to be in place. (Frail + Scales or Regen) would encourage more resting and tedious play, so I would say that mutations shouldn't draw from the same area (physical, magical, other). Possible a exception might be (Teleportitis + Blink).
Just some ideas:
(Distortion field + Slow)
(MR + Deformed Body)
(Scales + Low Magic)
(Frail + MP Regen)
Human kind cannot bear very much reality.
TSE
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Slime Squisher

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Joined: Friday, 4th February 2011, 18:04

Location: The South, US

Post Thursday, 16th June 2011, 21:22

Re: Mutations

I'm apologize but I'm gonna practice some topic necromancy.

Right now, non-intrinsic mutations seem to fall under two methods of dealing with them; 1. Avoid them completely OR 2. Scum them until you get a good set. If this is the case, then it seems non-optimal to me. A third viable option - Mutate with Caution - would be interesting to me. Not only does this give the player another avenue of flexibility

To do allow for that third option, I think you will have to reduce the frequency of strictly good and strictly bad mutations. I think that it is the polarity of (Good/Bad) in mutations that means they will be scummed or totally avoided. In the cases of both Demonspawn and Draconians, part of the point of their mutations is to change the way you play and make you adapt to them. (Yes, in both cases, the mutations are weighted heavily towards Good Muts.)

The emphasis of mutations should be on changing the way you play. Making brand-spankin'-new double-edged mutations is one way to end the Good/Bad dichotomy. Combining available mutations is another.

  • Neutral Mutations (like from the potion) should be weighted towards Combined Muts (20% Good, 60% Combined, 20% Bad)
  • When Mutating, there should be a higher weight given to progressing the existing mutation rather than giving a new one (higher weight than there is currently, anyway). (Most mutations really only start changing your game significantly after the first level, especially the beneficial ones.)
  • Potions of Mutation should be more unlikely to remove existing mutations.
  • The more Mutations you have, the likelier you are to get a bad one. (You should not scum mutations until you get a set that is most beneficial to you)

Here is a rough draft of a chart for mutations on Google Docs. I wouldn't recommend combining Body slot Mutations, since these are already double edged.
Human kind cannot bear very much reality.
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Bim

Crypt Cleanser

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Joined: Wednesday, 5th January 2011, 15:51

Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 21:36

Re: Mutations

I really like the idea of changing mutations, I completely agree that there are only two real ways to deal with mutations, either avoid them completely or scum.
However, I think that having good and bad mutations rolled together make mutations even less appealing, as most of the good mutations just add stats/do what a ring/amulet does, and the bad mutations can be quite crippling (See invisible vs frailty).

This being said, I think that mutations should, similar to demonspawn/drac mutations, be less about good and bad and more about playstyle. For instance, Nightstalker changes your playstyle, but isn't innately good or bad, whereas loosing hp/mp is ALWAYS bad and vice versa with good mutations. Although, as you said dolphin, perhaps if it was more strongly weighted towards play changing rather than good/bad that would mean that there would still be 'choice'. I really think that mutations are interesting and would love to see them becoming a bigger part of the gameplay, but its either scum or avoid at the moment I feel.

I really do think mutations need an overhaul no matter what, and would love to see if anyone has any ideas.
2012 Winner of fewest proposed ideas implemented by devs.

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