Abyss Vaults


If you are interested in helping with tiles, vaults, patches or documentation, this is the place for that.

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Post Wednesday, 9th March 2011, 11:24

Abyss Vaults

The abyss can be a pretty boring place - it tends to be the same in all directions, with the only variation being the density and mixture of walls/floors/water/lava and sometimes doors.

One thing I think can make the abyss more interesting is more vaults. I've made a large number of them (mostly just small ones) which are in 0.8 now, and I'm going to try to make a few more soon so they can hopefully get into 0.8 before it's released. I have only made exit vaults and rune vaults so far, although I have some ideas for regular minivaults. I think this helps move the abyss away from being basically a bunch of random noise, to something that is still chaotic but with an island of order here and there (I think this potentially makes the abyss a lot more interesting). They can also help in highlighting where exits/runes are sometimes, can make finding the rune more interesting (it can be guarded now) and have the occasional guarded exit (usually nothing too severe, although there are a couple of evil ones).

Designing these can be a bit tricky, because you need to keep them small-medium sized, and have to take into account the abyss shifting occasionally. You also need to consider how LOS works in the abyss, and the question of whether or not the vault should be easily noticed from the outside (some of the ones I made are easy to spot, others are camouflaged a bit.)

Unfortunately, abyss vaults are still very rare (the .des file still has dummy vaults which will be selected at a chance of 90%). Hopefully these numbers can change a bit eventually (when/if I submit some new vaults I'll probably tweak the dummy vault rates).

I'm making this thread mainly just because I'm curious what other people think of abyss vaults in general. Here are some of the questions I have (I'm curious what players think, and also what devs think if any feel like responding... also, no need to answer all of these): how common do you think abyss vaults should be? What proportion of abyssal runes should be within vaults, vs just laying on the ground (right now I think about 10% of runes are in vaults if I understand how the dummy vaults work). What proportion of exits should be in vaults? How often should exit vaults be guarded by monsters? For the dangerous vaults, what sort of threat should they have (I've been aiming mostly for late-midgame stuff so far)? Should abyss vaults try to "blend in" with the rest of the chaos, or stick out so the player knows there's a vault and probably something inside it? Are abyss vaults even a good idea (I think so, but maybe there are detractors)? What sort of overall design principles should be followed? What do you think of the abyss vaults you've encountered so far, if you have found any? How often do you find vaults in your trips to the abyss? etc

Aside from that, I'd also like to know if anyone has ideas for cool new abyss vaults. I'm planning on making a few more, and if anyone has an idea they'd like to see get made into a vault I (or someone else) could always use some inspiration. Or, if not ideas, then maybe some pointers or words of advice could be helpful. It would also be interesting to see other people try to make some abyss vaults, and maybe this thread will help encourage that.


(Also, for anyone who doesn't know this, vaults can range from anything to a large fortress guarded by several monsters, to something simple like an exit portal surrounded by a ring of fountains. Most of the ones I made are of the latter sort. All "vault" means here is a predefined map that is inserted into the level. This is common knowledge to a lot of players, but maybe not to everyone posting here.)

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Post Wednesday, 9th March 2011, 14:11

Re: Abyss Vaults

heavily guarded exits are good. If we have lot of them, we can increase the rate at which exits spawn, thus removing tedium for powerful characters, while keeping it challenging for early ones.
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Post Wednesday, 9th March 2011, 14:42

Re: Abyss Vaults

minmay wrote:I think the Abyss would be a lot more interesting if all the exits and runes were guarded.

Runes sure, but for exits, we do need to keep some undefended or at least lightly guarded, to give a chance to survive an early banishment.
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Post Wednesday, 9th March 2011, 14:48

Re: Abyss Vaults

minmay wrote:Well, obviously you'd need challenges that would scale with the player's power.

As I've just said in the other thread, I hate the idea of scaling difficulty with player level. The abyss should be unpredictable. You get more exits, but most of them are too tough for you (when banished early). You can either outsmart the monsters and run for it, or find an easier one.
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Post Wednesday, 9th March 2011, 21:39

Re: Abyss Vaults

minmay wrote:I think your Abyss vaults are very good, although most of them are weird as hell too. More vaults is always a good thing; I think the Abyss would be a lot more interesting if all the exits and runes were guarded. I would like to make some Abyss vaults myself but I'm short on ideas.

Yeah, I tried to go for weirdness - the abyss currently doesn't have it's own monsters (at best, it just has regular monsters that appear somewhat more frequently, eg hellephants), but it does at least have the theme of being the most chaotic place in the game. Things like blinking, chaos/distortion attacks, mutation, and tentacles also seem appropriate. I tried to work with this by making some of the vaults themselves weird. The few abyss vaults that were already in the game were themselves pretty strange too: an full ecumenical temple, a room with liches in closets, a room full of kobolds with weapons of distortion, etc.

One idea I have for (relatively) more "normal" vaults involves bands of monsters that have been banished to the abyss and have made their home there. For example, I think it would be interesting to have something like a merfolk outpost (probably with the layout being shoals-like), or a naga outpost, or even a draconian one. To make the vaults more abyss-like, some of the monsters could be spectral, or there could be vault-defined "insane" variants. (There's also the possibility of giving them distortion/chaos/dispersal weapons, but there are a number of vaults that do that now and I won't want to overdo it.) Exits would be inappropriate for these vaults (you'd think the monsters living there would just leave...) but these sorts of things could work as rune vaults.

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Post Thursday, 10th March 2011, 09:12

Re: Abyss Vaults

evilmike: Your vaults are awesome, but I already told you on Mantis :)

Here are some more vault ideas: exits behind rivers and on islands (water, lava and mix are fine); this way, players have to levitate to get out. Miniscule vaults (1x1) that contain uniques (of the mercenary/adventurer) type can be interesting, implying that those guys can get banished, just like you. A fun combination of order and chaos might be achieved using weird serial vaults (for furniture-type vaults, but also to place a certain type of odd monster). There could be a trail of used exits leading to an open exit. Using triggers, colours (of walls or the floor) could change when you touch specific features (like Lugonu altars, or offending altars).

I third that XL is not the right measure to use here. What could be used is something like this: The Abyss has a threat level (which can be interpreted as "how striking is your presence to the Abyss population"). It increases with time spent in the Abyss but moreso with monsters killed in the Abyss. At higher threat levels, you'll find more vaults (hence also exits and runes), but it'll also be more dangerous. (Rationale: You're ending up in nastier parts of the infinite Abyss.)

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Post Thursday, 24th March 2011, 01:05

Re: Abyss Vaults

I second the notion that scaling difficulty would be unbeardy (I forget where that term comes from, but I like it better than saying "opposed to the canon"). I love the idea of abyssal vaults, especially around the rune and/or special items. One of the reasons I've never bothered to go for the abyssal rune is that people keep telling me how boring it is, even when you can beat all the monsters. I don't want to wander around for hours until the RNG, through no ability of my own, lucks me onto it. But I wouldn't mind wandering around for a smaller amount of time (a dash of chaos is welcome), and finding a challenging but chaotic vault to think my way through.

Exit doors, on the other hand, right now evoke that wonderful sense of relief, particularly when a nasty set of monsters is on your tail and you're too low level. It's a rush!

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Post Thursday, 15th September 2011, 10:01

Re: Abyss Vaults

dpeg wrote:(Rationale: You're ending up in nastier parts of the infinite Abyss.)


I like this. It could even be formal.

"You are thrown into the first level of the abyss." -- a barren and somewhat boring place, but not without danger.

... right up to ...

"You are thrown into the 666th level of the abyss." -- morphs every two steps, the floor and walls are totally discorobin, exits are all insanely guarded - for all practical purposes not survivable.

Upon any banishment, you always end up in a fairly high-up part of the abyss, but if your abyss reputation level is high you're going down many, many steps with each teleport.

Monsters who can banish you could also be able to do it in the abyss - that sends you much further down in the abyss.

Your abyss reputation should also decay slowly if you stay away from it for a long time - but maybe not if you spend time in Pan or Hell or kill lots of demons elsewhere (word gets around).
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Post Thursday, 15th September 2011, 12:37

Re: Abyss Vaults

I think this is a great idea. I'll work on a few vaults. Where exactly do I post them on mantis for review? I'm still new to this and find mantis a little confusing.

I also think that Pan should have more exits too, but they should be in the pan lord vaults usually instead of in some random hallway. Exiting Pan should be also be a bit more of a challenge for a reason other than requiring patience. I like how fast this game plays compared to the old roguelikes, but abyss and pan can feel like tedious time sinks.
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Post Thursday, 15th September 2011, 12:51

Re: Abyss Vaults

Guppyfry wrote:I think this is a great idea. I'll work on a few vaults. Where exactly do I post them on mantis for review? I'm still new to this and find mantis a little confusing.

In mantis click on report issue and select "Upload: Map and Vaults" as a category.

Guppyfry wrote:I also think that Pan should have more exits too, but they should be in the pan lord vaults usually instead of in some random hallway. Exiting Pan should be also be a bit more of a challenge for a reason other than requiring patience. I like how fast this game plays compared to the old roguelikes, but abyss and pan can feel like tedious time sinks.

Yes, especially since it's planned that when returning from the abyss, you go back to where you were banished instead of the dungeon. The Pan Demonic Rune vaults already have one chance in 9 of having an exit (and one chance in 9 of a rune). I'm thinking of raising this chance to 4 in 9.
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Post Friday, 16th September 2011, 00:31

Re: Abyss Vaults

So I hadn't played in the new abyss until testing a few vaults I just wrote. Is there any trick to testing vaults in the abyss? I had a lot of trouble finding them. When I did find them I found that the new abyss seems much less vault friendly. The tiles change so much that the vaults morph into random abyssness pretty quickly. I think this is fine, but it does make me question the value of more vaults. It also felt like there were generally more exits and more badass monsters too, is that true?
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Post Friday, 16th September 2011, 05:41

Re: Abyss Vaults

Make sure you're testing with latest trunk, I did many changes very recently. Vaults are not supposed to be affected by morphing. They seem to be properly immune in my testing. When placing your vault, use &L*vault_name. The * will make the vault to be placed at your position. You might get teleported away if you end up in a wall. In that case, use &{ to map the level, but you can't &^B to it because abyss even prevent wizmode cTele. I'll try to fix this.
I didn't touch the chance for exits nor the monster set yet.
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Post Friday, 16th September 2011, 08:35

Re: Abyss Vaults

galehar: Cannot test right now: Is the &L* feature announced when using the &L wizmode command? I wasn't aware of it and it's really useful. (It would also be helpful if &L mentioned that substrings will work.) Thanks for taking care of the abyssical affair!
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Post Friday, 16th September 2011, 09:03

Re: Abyss Vaults

dpeg wrote:galehar: Cannot test right now: Is the &L* feature announced when using the &L wizmode command?

It will be next time I git push.
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Post Friday, 16th September 2011, 11:50

Re: Abyss Vaults

I suggested this on irc but it got lost: might an allow_abyss_morph vault tag be a good idea? Since for some vaults morphing might not matter so much, it'd give designers the option.

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Post Friday, 16th September 2011, 15:23

Re: Abyss Vaults

&L* = brilliant! D/l new trunk today and definitely still seeing vaults morph though. My vaults are below in case I'm forgetting something (and for general review)

  Code:

#####################################
#
NAME:  guppyfry_abyss_exit_glass_guarded
TAGS:  abyss_exit allow_dup
KFEAT: O = exit_abyss
MAP
.............
.xmxmxmxmxmx.
m.m.......m.m
xm.mmm.mmm.mx
xxxx.....xxxx
x00...O...00x
xxxxxxlxxxxxx
lllllllllllll
mxmxmxmxmxmxx
.............
ENDMAP

#####################################
#
NAME:  guppyfry_abyss_exit_spiral_guarded
TAGS:  abyss_exit allow_dup
KFEAT: O = exit_abyss
SUBST: - = llx
MAP
.0---------0
.-........--
..--------.-
.--.....--.-
.-.-----.-.-
.-.--O--.-.-
.-.-.---.-.-
.-.--...--.-
.-.-------.-
.--.......--
.0---------0
ENDMAP

##############################
#
NAME: guppyfry_abyss_exit_imp_island
TAGS:  abyss_exit allow_dup
KFEAT: O = exit_abyss
SUBST: - = Wwwww
MONS: imp / white imp / iron imp / shadow imp
MAP
 ---------
---..1..---
--..1.1..--
---..1..---
.---------.
.....O.....
.---------.
---..1..---
--..1.1..--
---..1..---
 ---------
ENDMAP

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Post Friday, 16th September 2011, 15:57

Re: Abyss Vaults

Some weird stuff with whitespace on that last one, I think you made a mistake (look at the first and last lines of the map). Also, you know shadow imps and iron imps can't fly, right?

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Post Saturday, 17th September 2011, 22:07

Re: Abyss Vaults

Yeah, the top and bottom lines should be in one space. There is supposed to be a little bit of shallow water for the shadow and iron imps to cross, but I guess it is a little silly to put them on an island.
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Post Sunday, 18th September 2011, 11:23

Re: Abyss Vaults

mumra wrote:I suggested this on irc but it got lost: might an allow_abyss_morph vault tag be a good idea? Since for some vaults morphing might not matter so much, it'd give designers the option.

Yeah, we not. But it's not trivial to implement. They'd need some resilience to morphing or they would be completely morphed once the player find them. So I'm not sure it's worth bothering.
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Post Monday, 19th September 2011, 19:06

Re: Abyss Vaults

galehar wrote:They'd need some resilience to morphing or they would be completely morphed once the player find them. So I'm not sure it's worth bothering.


Although, a vault could morph into existence around you (I'm thinking purely architectural / decorational vaults here rather than exit or rune vaults).

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