Lostcast 150: Loot'cast


  • LDG


  • Tiger Hat

    A dungeon crawl is an RPG where the focus is on combat rather than the role play - most Rogue Like games are crawls.

    The best example I could suggest is Baldur’s Gate, and Ice Wind Dale, essentially the same game under the hood, but vastly different in scope, the former being about a grand plot, the latter being more about diving a dungeon and snagging loot.

    Of course, it’s a sliding scale, with Gauntlet on one side, and Role Master Standard System at the other end :)

    As for loot drops, something I’ve been toying around with is graphing the gameplay. There’s plenty written about having a non-linear progression of excitement in movies, games, et al, so after a really intense scene, give the player a bit of a rest, escalate the intensity, but provide breaks as well. You could define that function mathematically, which means you could use it to actually procedurally generate a variable intensity game.

    Just because you’re randomizing your loot drop, does not mean they have no relation to the seed - take a chest, and generate a float that determines how favourable to the player it is, and then randomly fill it based on that number - you could heuristically figure that number out even, it all depends how much work you want to do.

    You could generate the type of drop a chest gives, for instance, perhaps weapons, a “useful” chest would drop something the player doesn’t have, but a useless box could drop something the player is already carrying (or has been throwing out).


  • LDG

    @salmonmoose said:

    A dungeon crawl is an RPG where the focus is on combat rather than the role play - most Rogue Like games are crawls.

    That’s a good definition! RPG itself can be very open-ended tho, I feel like these days anything with any type of leveling system gets tagged as RPG. Combat over story/character is a useful measuring stick, good stuff.

    after a really intense scene, give the player a bit of a rest, escalate the intensity, but provide breaks as well. You could define that function mathematically, which means you could use it to actually procedurally generate a variable intensity game.

    We try to align the experience to the human interest curve, but the problem is that we don’t necessarily know where a player will be at a given time. Especially in AWL2 where the dungeon paths overlap and allow for multiple ways through a dungeon. I like the breathers between intense rooms, those always feel good.


  • Tiger Hat

    I don’t think it AWL 2 should be deterministic at all. I think you should go “director” style and not only influence the loot so that the player is kept interested, but just like Left4Dead keep the action going as well. The only reason IMO to really have it be deterministic and replayable is for speed runners. Though, Crypt of the Necrodancer is procedural and still gets plenty of speed runner love. Perhaps if it were a multiplayer game, it’d be nice to do a seed version, so that you don’t have to transmit the level from one user as a server, but as a single player game, I think I’d much rather see something new every time.

    Plus that one time @richtaur was streaming AWL and kept getting health screwed and cursing your (geoff) name I think goes to show that it’s not super fun to get screwed by procgen.

    Rogue Legacy did something interesting with the seed, and that is that it was an upgrade that you could purchase that would allow you to retry the same seed. In that case it was helpful, as you could sometimes stand a better chance of navigating the dungeon and perma-death was in a sense less harsh. However, the core mechanic for AWL 2 really seems to be that you should never really die. You’ll jump into mobs and continue to survive until you can rez. To me that seems like it encourages the ability to actually complete the game in a single run. I don’t think that’s a bad thing either, especially if every time your experience will be different. Plus as a recent tweet reveals, being able to beat the game is kinda an issue in AWL 1.

    As long as you feel like you just scraped by (as best as your heuristics can muster), I think it’d be really fun to beat the game 85% of the time you run through it. Players get to experience more content that way, try other modes and challenges, and maybe even branch out to something like speed runs. Which by the way, I can see an emergent gameplay mode “chicken speed run” where you somehow beat the entire game as a (or many) chicken.


  • Tiger Hat

    Though, Crypt of the Necrodancer is procedural and still gets plenty of speed runner love.

    Procedural is deterministic, random is not.


  • Patron

    @salmonmoose said:

    Procedural is deterministic, random is not.

    Hmmm… I think that distinction is a lot harder to make than it seems…

    I mean, if you stop to think about it, any game that utilizes any kind of algorithm to create a map is procedurally generated.

    But… even if you just assigned each tile in the map to Math.random… it would still be technically deterministic?

    I’m just nitpicking about terminology here, but… defining what is random is hard.


  • LDG

    Deterministic means that given the same input conditions, the end result will be the same. If Math.random were seeded with the same value before each map is generated then it would be deterministic. (Ignore the fact that Math.random can’t be seeded in JavaScript. However, it’s not very hard to create a simple PRNG in JS.)

    The gotcha is that PRNGs aren’t truly random. e.g. If you seed a PRNG with a specific value, you’ll always get the same sequence of “random” values each time you ask for a new random number.


  • LDG

    @Warspawn said:

    and cursing your (geoff) name

    That trend will likely continue no matter what we do to the game ;)

    Rogue Legacy did something interesting with the seed, and that is that it was an upgrade that you could purchase that would allow you to retry the same seed

    Oh yeah! That’s a cool idea. It leaves a foot back in the world of hand-curated levels like Mega Man, etc. I dig that.

    As long as you feel like you just scraped by (as best as your heuristics can muster), I think it’d be really fun to beat the game 85% of the time you run through it.

    That is one of our goals this time around! We want even novice players to be able to beat it. The challenge for us then will be to give those players incentive to increase difficulty organically in-game, e.g. going to harder areas, picking items/monsters that are harder to play. Good stuff.



  • interesting how people are so split on this :) i’m definitely in the “deterministic” camp, for a lot of the reasons you guys discussed on the cast.

    i’m sorry, but i’m gonna use the ‘s’ word.

    i’m still terrible at spelunky, but some of the most memorable runs for me – to play, or watch – have been when there were imbalances. “rahhh! nothing but ropes!” moments like these, where you curse the creator, aren’t necessarily bad. in spelunky, these situations make me adjust how i play, force me to make interesting decisions, and demand i be resourceful. when i die, it’s my fault, and when i just scrape by, it’s because I AM AWESOME.

    i don’t need a director to throw in a bunch of stuff – to make the run hit that sweet spot – and i don’t need to win X% of the time to feel like i’m enjoying myself. if the randomness is perfectly tuned, to offer a “balance of imbalances,” each play through can be unique, challenging, and a lot of fun.

    i also second the idea of making a “single chicken run” possible! dunno how you’d do it, but i could see it definitely being some sort of epic achievement, like the eggplant run.


  • Patron

    OH YEAH, I’M BACK TO THE LOSTCAST TRAIN!

    • About copyright, all I have to say is Happy “Happy Birthday” Day!.
      P.S: Vihart is a genius

    • 1:30 " Don’t do it! "
      Shia is disappointed.

    • 5:00 Maybe it’s like a… Crypt…Run…?
      Gosh, can’t believe Matt lost that opportunity! This type of thing only comes once in a decade!

    • Reactive loot sounds really interesting, but I think the system needs to be a bit more complex if you’re gonna add it to all game modes.
      tl;dr: make it more likely that the player’s gonna get something they already know they like but also anticipate what equipment/items the player might like, based on their playstyle.
      Sure, “increase the players chance of getting health drops if they’re low on health” sounds simple enough and could be balanced to be fair I believe, but item drops?
      What I’m thinking specifically here is about equipment. You might increase the chance of the player getting items that would go along nicely with the weapon/equipment they’re currently using, but they might actually not like what they have at all and just be using it because they didn’t get anything better in that run.
      In addition to that, there’s also the point other people mentioned, about how randomness forces you to adapt to complicated situations and learn new things. The first example that comes to mind for me is Super Crate Box. In order to really progress in that game, you must master each weapon and they all behave drastically different in comparison to each other.
      What I really like about that system tho is that, by forcing you to use weapons that seem “bad” at first, the player ends up finding out how each one of them can be useful. It turns out being not about learning how to adapt to worst case scenarios but more like about finding out that there are none.
      Taking all of that in consideration, I believe an ideal reactive loot system would be able to figure out what kind of equipment the player likes the best/is the most efficient with and increase the probability of getting those based on the players playstyle.
      No, I have absolutely no idea of how to even begin implementing a system like that, but…

    • I loved that mechanic in Rogue Legacy that enables you to replay a certain castle layout, probably because I’m so fond of speedrunning/memorization.
      That’s definitely something I would like to see implemented in AWL2, specially in competitive modes.

    • 40:10 The heck was that??!


  • LDG

    @Josue said:

    OH YEAH, I’M BACK TO THE LOSTCAST TRAIN!

    Welcome back to the train boss!!

    • 40:10 The heck was that??!

    Not sure what happened when but it probably was either a cat or Geoff was hit by a fleet of bombers.


  • Patron

    Enjoyed the episode. Gave me entertainment for a long Thanksgiving car drive.


  • Tiger Hat

    At the end you talked about ES6, I started a thread to talk more about it here.



  • Native St. Louisan, and former resident of Tilt! arcade. I lived at the one at Northwest Plaza in North County for a few years when I was around 11 - 13 yrs old. Well, I tried to live there, but they always made me go home. 40,000 square feet of arcade, with 18-holes of miniature golf. It was underneath the food court, and the food court was underneath the movie theater. It was a magical place. At least for a while it was. Sadly, the wrong element started hanging out at the mall, and drove away the people that were actually spending money there. That mall has been gone for quite a few years now. Good times though.


  • LDG

    Hey welcome to the forum – small world! Being from southern Illinois, St. Louis was the closest proper city, so we visited there often as a family. LOVED going to Tilt!


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