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Virtua Sinner

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A member registered Aug 11, 2018 · View creator page →

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Having watched the full video (found it here: https://www.twitch.tv/directory/game/Caverns%20of%20Xaskazien/videos/all), I think you're right - maybe I'll try doubling their hesitation to enter dangerous squares.

Also spotted 8 errors in the game via his stream!  Free playtesting!  Hopefully I can repair them soon.

Thanks for calling my attention to it, and thanks to Dynast for playing and recording!

Ah, man, I missed it! It's already gone. Thanks though!

Ha! That's probably a holdover bit of legacy code from when Xaskazien was 100 percent immune to heat damage. His resistances are randomized now.

Thank you! I'll check that out!

Also, there will be a new patch along potentially. I've been AFK for a while, recovering from an injury. But hopefully that's almost done. 

I'll keep an eye on the miracle as I continue to playtest.  I don't want Faith to become common - it's meant to be a luxury you need to parse out rarely, unlike spell points which are a far more universal currency (except when it comes to  Barbarians :P) 

Hey, thanks for the feedback. I’m always tweaking and balancing, so good to keep an eye on what other people are experiencing. Coincidentally, the perks I’m just finishing coding are for the Warlock class, which is a spellcaster devoted to summoning. I have a Female Centaur Warlock who worships Talltioward on the go, and my fearful eye has been kept on whether or not summoning is overpowered. But through this playthrough I think I’m realizing it’s okay, at least for now. Let me answer your question with some detailed thoughts.

 Firstly, very cool that you’ve found a race/class combo you like. I hadn’t thought about it, but a Barbarian is a perfect starting class, since it pretty effectively removes spellcasting from the table, allowing a player to learn other core mechanics first. I think if someone asked for a beginner combo in the future, an Agnostic Half-Orc Barbarian might be my recommendation, since that would also remove Miracles from the list.

 If you’re exclusively playing the same character type, though, it’s important to bear in mind that the experience of other characters would vary widely, making certain things more or less useful. As an example, Hornas’ Striking miracle you mentioned, which costs only 10 Faith Points and allows you to automatically hit on your next swing - I can see how this would be especially devastating for a starting Barbarian character to use. The Barbarian starts with the most powerful weapon among all starting characters - the Small Axe. This is to compensate for their total lack of spell access, but bear in mind its massive damage of 1 to 15, and contrast this with other classes who would start with weapons that do either 1 to 3, 1 to 4, 2 to 4 or 1 to 6, and it immediately becomes clear that Striking serves the starting Barbarian better than any other class. The Small Axe also comes with a massive -18 to hit penalty, so automatically hitting overcomes a big obstacle to its use. A character starting with a Pitchfork, by contrast, has +6 to hit, so Striking, while still useful in many circumstances, is maybe not as necessary to land that blow.

 Now let’s look at Summoning spells as a whole. The purpose of summoning is, generally, to bring into play a monster that will go and kill other monsters for you, so let’s compare it to another common way to use magic, which is with direct damage spells. Invisible Hammer, in terms of raw numbers, is the most powerful Low Power direct damage spell, doing 8 to 15 physical damage at a cost of 35 Spell Points. In the early game, this is an insanely powerful spell that can kill most monsters with a single application. But it does have some drawbacks - firstly, it’s only useful against a single monster. Once you’ve cast it, the spell points are gone, and you may now be defenseless against other monsters. Secondly, it only works against the monster in your square, meaning to cast it, you have to first engage in a single round of combat, possibly taking damage, possibly even being killed before getting a chance to cast it. And thirdly, it always does physical damage, limiting its effectiveness against monsters with physical resistance, most notably various types of Golems who would be unaffected.

 For 35 Spell Points, you could instead (provided you had access) cast the Summon Minor Fiend spell. This summons a low level Diabolic monster (a monster that would most commonly reside on Dungeon Levels 1 through 10). There are some key advantages to this vs. the Invisible Hammer spell. Firstly, depending on what you summoned, it might be able to kill multiple enemies. On a particularly early dungeon level (say Dungeon Level 1 through 5), there’d be a decent chance the summoned monster would outclass everything else on the level, and could rampage through killing literally every enemy without you ever having to face them, while you still reap all the EXP rewards. Secondly, you don’t have to (in fact, can’t) cast it in a square with an enemy, so you don’t have to put yourself at risk in order to cast it, the way you would with most direct damage spells. Thirdly, the potentially summoned monsters are varied, some having attacks other than physical attacks, so while an Invisible Hammer spell could never affect a Golem, your summoned monster might be able to.

 There are drawbacks to Summon Minor Fiend, of course, and that’s that it doesn’t scale as you level up. It’s extremely useful early on, but as you progress deeper in the dungeon, it becomes obsolete. Because of its wide variation in what gets summoned, it’s even possible to use it on Dungeon Level 1 to bring into play a lowly Demonic Larvae, and have that get killed by the first thing it meets, doing no damage whatsoever, so it’s risky. Invisible Hammer isn’t going to kill anything with a single cast beyond a certain depth, either, but it will still do some damage. (Of course, even the Demonic Larvae could get lucky and get a single hit on a Dragon before it dies, but it’s not as sure a thing as Invisible Hammer).

 So they both have advantages and disadvantages to balance each other out. Finally let’s compare Summon Orcish Champion to Summon Minor Fiend. With the Miracles, I always did my best to correspond Faith Point costs to the Spell Point costs of an equivalent spell, if one exists, and right away we see that Summon Orcish Champion costs 40 Faith Points instead of Summon Minor Fiend’s 35 Spell Points, so it had better be more powerful, but not too much more powerful. Summon Minor Fiend brings in a monster of random power (again, between level 1 and level 10) with a median of 5.5. Orcs are a level 6 monster, so we’re pretty in line. But the Summon Orcish Champion miracle doesn’t just summon an orc, it summons a buffed up orc, a little more powerful than the average orc, putting its 40 point cost right about on the money.

 Like Summon Minor Fiend, Summon Orcish Champion only really has application in the early dungeon levels, but can be devastating there. Again, bear in mind that not every character can go toe to toe with enemies (even lowly enemies) and expect to live the way a Half-Orc Barbarian can. For some (like my Centaur Warlock), summoning monsters to do the dirty work, while fleeing or luring enemy monsters back to where the summoned monster lurks may be the only way to survive

Awesome!  Glad to hear!  I'll have more of the races and classes add back in with new perks in the next update :)

Fixed it!  It'll be in the next update, early to mid-August :)

Thrilled to hear it :)

I'll look into it.  In the meantime, you can also use the mouse, btw.  Just right click a square to centre the screen there.  If you hold the right mouse button, you can scroll the map around, with the speed dependent on how far the mouse is removed from the centre of the screen.

Interesting.  It looks fine on my screen.  I'll see if I can casually tweak it without making it look weird.

I usually randomize everything, to be honest.  I would avoid anything with low starting health for a beginner.  So no elvish assassins, say.  Maybe a Dwarven Warrior?  Pretty basic.

P.S.  I'm working on a massive new update.  It's been slow going, but in addition to adding more content and gameplay improvements than any previous updates, it also fixes a couple of critical bugs.  I'll get it out ASAP!

Hmmm...  Not sure what would cause this.  There's been about 500 downloads and you're the first to mention.  Have you tried more than once with the same result?

No.  C++.

I wouldn't even know how, in truth.  If it's a simple process and someone can direct me to info on that process, perhaps.

Let's Play Deathcall!  

Interesting.  I did test it twice with an eye to the Health and such, but nothing regenerated more than, say, passing my turn would merit.  Have you fixed the bug and reuploaded?  Please let me know when/if you do.

I have a newish youtube channel called ROGUELove.  I play and review indie roguelikes.  I have about 200 or so in a folder, waiting to get to, and your title just caught my eye, so I gave it a whirl and found it fun.  A Let's Play will go up in the next few days, probably (I've already recorded it), and probably a short review a little while after.  I'll link it here, if you like.

Further curiosity: is Deathcall your own IP, or is it based on an existing property?  It called to mind the cover of the old Deathstalker movie.  If your own, was it created solely for this game, or have you used it elsewhere, as well?

Enjoyed the game!  What does the Restoration ability do?  Full Restore clearly pumps back up your Health and Stamina, but no amount of experimenting would let me figure out what Restoration does.

Thank you for the idea!

Also, please note, both the readme file and the game manual have been updated to fully explain the new Combat State button and Selective Combat Tab.

AND, thank you to Someone64 for the ideas for both of the above!

Scratch what I said.  It was too good an idea to pass up, so I've implemented it.  You can now toggle your Combat State to Fight, Don't Fight, or Selectively Fight, and can select specific monster types to add or remove from your Selectively Fight list at any time.  While set to Selectively Fight, you won't swing at any monster types you've specified in the list.  The game defaults to Selectively Fight, with any monsters your deity would prefer you not to kill automatically chosen.  (It also defaults to adding Golems to this list, since you won't be able to hurt them in combat at start of game, and trying will just wear down your weapon, though you can remove them or any other monster types from the list at any time).

Interesting idea.  Hadn't considered it.  At present, it'll just be a toggleable option.  Won't have time to implement something more complete before the next release.  I'll bear it in mind for later. 

Thanks for the idea.  I've implemented a new key/button that toggles on or off your swinging at enemy monsters, so you can turn off your side of the combat if you're engaging a monster you don't want to kill (though they'll keep hacking at you).  Will be include in the next upload in a couple days. 

There are ways to minimize the risk, but no way to just not fight.  You can unequip your weapon before encountering them, to ensure you do less damage if you do hit.  You can keep your distance where possible (especially from Animal intelligence monsters, as they won't generally approach if you don't get close).  You can take steps to discourage them from chasing you like Confusing or Paralyzing them...  that's about it, at present. 

Might be a neat idea to add a toggleable "Pacifist" button or something where you can turn off your side of the fight, though.  Never occurrred to me before.  I'll look into it.

Hey, Fenos.  Thanks for the comments.  In specific response:

1) The fonts initially used in the game were a deliberate attempt to match (as closely as I could) the fonts I'd used in the original Caverns.  However, a lot of people complained that they were hard to read, so it now defaults to something much easier to read (at least in most instances), with the option to toggle back to the gothic fonts if a player wishes.  The character creation menu still uses stylized fonts for the large lettering, because the feedback I was getting was that at that scale everything remained legible, even in that style.  But if enough people raise this as an issue, I'll switch the fonts on that page, too.  Wouldn't be too tricky an issue to address, I don't think.  In terms of changing the "new", smaller font (the one I already switched to to make things legible), if that was also deemed hard to read, the one problem would be that since screen co-ordinates remain absolute, and there's finite room to print things in the supplied text boxes, I would have to find something that remained pixel perfect in alignment with the old font.  If a printed sentence grew even one or two pixels longer as a result of changing fonts, it could mess up all outputted text and take dozens of hours to realign everything manually (if that was even possible). 

2) Initially movement was in all 8 directions for player and monsters.  But I hated allowing either to move diagonally between walls or other impassable obstacles (where wall corners abutted, for instance).  Imposing the restriction there ended up being a pain in the ass programming-wise, but even more so in gameplay, because players were getting confused as to why they couldn't do so, so I culled it back to 4 directions, and I've since grown used to it in game.  I've been playing some Moria lately, and I'll admit when first coming back to Caverns it was jarring for me to have only 4 directional movement, but it wore off quickly, so changing it isn't a high priority.  Players who aren't used to roguelikes also find the 4 directional movement easier to grasp, so there's an upside.

3) Not sure what you mean by "Bar buttons" or "down here."  If you mean the clickable buttons to change sidescreen tabs, that's the only screen real estate available where they won't overlap anything important.  At the bottom of the screen they would need either impinge on the view screen or the Situation Panel.  Are those the buttons you're referencing?

4) When I first abandoned Caverns in favour of starting Caverns 2 (in 2010) I was still using a 4:3 monitor.  I had recently programmed another tile based game called "The Zombie Nightmare of Fillibree County" and it used 1024*768.  Since this was a marked improvement over the original Caverns' 640*480, I just went with it.  Today I'm working on a 4K monitor and if I could go back in time, I'd make a different choice.  But, cards on the table, I'm not a savvy enough coder to know how to allow players to choose their resolution.  And I suppose there may well be some players still out there with 4:3 monitors, so 1024*768 might not be the worst choice...  And further cards on the table, screen positions are hard coded - i.e. the game checks absolute X,Y coordinates for the mouse and places things at hard coded specific X,Y coordinates, etc.  Changing the resolution now, even just to a new, single specified resolution, would mean months of work.  And since the graphics aren't going to be scalable, it would really yield little fruit.  Unless I get around to programming COX 3 in 10 or 20 years, this one almost certainly won't change.

Glad you're enjoying the game!  The one thing I can promise is even more content...  in time.

Thank you for playing!