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Topics - Coolthulhu

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Currently we have the following ranged skills:
  • Marksmanship
  • Pistol
  • SMG
  • Rifle
  • Shotgun
  • Launchers
  • Archery
  • Throwing (not exactly a ranged weapon skill, but shares a role)

8 ranged skills is way too many.
This results in the following problems:

  • Pigeonholing, like with the crossbows or miniguns, is more jarring than if the categories weren't so strict.
  • Total separation of most firearm learning. Is hunting rifle all that different from a shotgun loaded with slugs? I'm certain shotgun is more similar to rifle than rifle to minigun.
  • Arbitrarily solved edge cases. Like that rivtech shotgun which is a pistol due to small size.
  • Weapon balance suffers. Some of the weapon types have only limited uses and simply can't compete for XP with the better ones.
  • Weapon skill gain for some types is cheap (laser rifles/pistols, pneumatic rifle), while others are permanently kept low due to expensive ammo (shotguns).
  • Heavily modded weapons retain their categories, even after the addition of stock and burst fire turns a pistol into SMG except by name and type.

The heavily specific categories are necessarily arbitrary at the edges, as not every gun fits neatly into exactly one of the categories. On a side note, the same problem exists in real life, with legislature.

Some ideas of fixing those problems without introducing worse ones:
  • Rifle and shotgun merged. This is pretty much a no-brainer, the only reason not to do that would be doing a different skill merge.
  • SMG merged into either rifle or pistol. Merging into pistol would be better for balance, but rifle would probably be more muh realism, considering SMG is classified as a long arm.
  • Caliber based: pistols and SMGs merged into small guns, rest of firearms into big guns, launchers merged with archery into misc guns. Sci-fi guns possibly as a new category.
  • Drop all skills and keep just marksmanship.
  • Total rework of ranged skills. Instead of weapon type, different skills cover: accuracy at perfect aim, starting accuracy before aiming, aiming speed, and recoil control.

The Lab - Contributions and Mods / Coolthulhu's patches
« on: July 22, 2017, 07:34:50 PM »
Newest versions always available at:

Changes from current master:

Most important changes:
  • Restored normal distribution ranged accuracy math - compared to current master, it greatly buffs early and midgame ranged, but leaves endgame mostly similar
  • Getting hit in a mending limb for 0 damage won't reset the mending process
  • Allows using jacks stored in non-adjacent vehicle trunks
  • Includes BrettDong's "NO_CBM_PAINKILLERS" mod -

In this post I'll call old batteries, the ones that can be divided and merged freely, "pool batteries" (as in, "battery pool"), and the discrete batteries that have a charge (for example, vehicle batteries) "magazine batteries".

The vehicle battery compartment mod is supposed to be a step on the eventual migration of all tools to batteries.
The migration could possibly even happen now, as it isn't really a new feature, just a json tweak.

We probably don't want it right now. Mostly because of the stable version being stabilized, but also because of the issues it would cause even if executed with no bugs:
  • Existing battery migration - loaded tools could just get a battery for free, but there might be edge cases, harder to solve. Piles of pool batteries would need to be converted into piles of magazine batteries in some unspecified way (randomly, based on pool size or something else).
  • Lost granularity - each tool would need to allow only batteries of specific sizes, meaning we'd need "heavy duty batteries" for welders and those batteries would not fit in smaller tools.
  • More keypresses for each reload - you couldn't just reload with any battery, you'd need to pick one
  • Double battery capacity toolmod gone - would need to be replaced by oversized battery compartment mod
  • Mod compatibility
  • NPC AI would need some fixes
  • Some battery-using recipes would need to be reworked

Which ones are MUST FIX before the migration?
Do we want it fast or do we want it well done? Or maybe not at all?

The hidden health stat is supposed to represent immune system function, toxicity of diet, ability of the body to deal with hardships and so on.
It is the difference between eating salads from fresh vegetables, and eating deep fried lard, chasing it with coke and popping a multivitamin to meet the daily requirements.

The problem is, it is mostly random, barely affected by diet. A lucky meth addict can feasibly end up healthier than an unlucky health nut who somehow manages to find fresh fruit all year long.
A stack of apples a day won't keep the doctor away, unless you're really good at throwing them.
Related issue: - tl;dr the randomness is so strong that it looked like there is a bug that caused health from food to have an effect opposite to the intended one.
Trying to work around this requires gorging on the fruit past satiety, accelerated metabolism or some sort of bulimia.

To fix this, we'd need some sample diets and expected health ranges for them.
Simple ones would work best. For example, diet of potato chips and energy drinks (nothing else) resulting in health in range of [-20, -50] after 14 days, and diet of cranberries and mineral water giving range of [50, 100] after a month.
Alternatively, someone to crunch the math and provide a bunch of plots for how could it look.

Health is in range [-200, 200], but values below -150 and above 150 should probably be reserved to hardcore abuse (advanced alcoholism, faulty bionic) and strict health fanaticism respectively.

Food morale stacking is an old problem. A single food item means nothing (+5 morale is nothing), a whole stack of those is like +15 which is less than music, but you can drink 10 different alcohols for +300 morale.
The stacking needs to be weaker. Bonus points if we also get non-stacked food morale to matter.

One thing that is NOT a solution is making the character bored of food for a long time (longer than one day). This would do nothing against stacking and only prevent the more natural bonus from "I ate a good meal today" effect.

I'm thinking something like penalizing multiple morale effects of the same sign:
Highest morale effect applied with no penalty, second one at 75% effect, third 50%, fourth 25% and the rest would be dropped. Or some other stepdown (square root? linear division?).
That way good meal, good drink and music would stack, but nibbling on 10 types of junk food wouldn't.

Possible additions (not solutions on their own):
  • Could apply only to same morale categories: food would not stack well with food, books would not stack with books, but food+books would stack without penalties
  • Dropping alcohol fun and turning most of it into fun from being drunk (rather than fun of drinking alcohol). Nice wines would still give the taste bonus, but washing down cheap fruit wine with moonshine wouldn't help.
  • Same as above for other drugs. In the category stacking system, all drugs would have a "chemical" category, so that heroin+alcohol wouldn't stack perfectly

I compiled a list of easy tasks that need doing:

Mostly json stuff, no compilation required.


Supporting that Lua interface takes far more work than porting all the known Lua scripts to C++ and supporting that.

How many mods actually make use of that Lua interface? How extensively?

Adding something for zombies to say could be a lot of flavor for relatively little work. And it would be easy to contribute more - just json text.
The only problems from the code side would be making zombies not aggro at each others' sounds (except calls for help) and not spam the message box with zombie conversations about brains while player is trying to read the important combat messages. I know relatively good solutions to both, so let's just keep this thread about theming.

Do we want the zombies to talk?
Having zombies occasionally say human stuff while not seeing player around would betray their position in a more flavorful way than having them stumble around loudly all the time.
Typical idle zombie stuff could be just muffled phrases people say to no one in particular ("where did I put...", "what was I doing?", "cold here", "when we eatin'?"), dialogue with people who don't exist ("of course, you see...", "can you turn up the heat?"), mixed with some less normal themes ("lost my eye", "need to murder neighbor").
Aggroed zombies would say different things: sound angry ("I'll fuck you up!", "get out now!"), scared ("mommy help!", "what did I do to you?", "he has a gun!") even while attacking relentlessly, accuse player of being a zombie ("it's one of THEM!", "she just bit me!"), or even sound more friendly than hostile ("excuse me, what's the time?", "hey there sexy", "yo, hold up!")
No actual conversations because that's too hard to implement.
Probably without any simulated muffling. After all, NPCs can speak perfectly clear through gas masks and mi-go parroting likewise can be understood at great range, in the middle of gunfight, by a semi-deaf gunner. It would not make much sense to have zombies say "brainsh" when an illiterate, drugged up mutant with mouth tentacles and a gas mask speaks perfectly clear English. Cutting start/end would be better than muffling.

But talking zombies would be rather weird. We could just have them make sounds: moan, groan, bang their chests (hulks need to do that), gurgle and scream.
Screaming zombies that occasionally say something would also work.

Then there is the third option: zombies as "death from the stars". Just alien entities, no human behaviors left, more machines than animals. Those would only shriek if their role is shrieking.

Our current melee system is pretty simple: when you attack, you attack with currently wielded weapon. Then you get bonus attacks due to mutations (if you have them).

How about this:
  • When attacking, game enumerates all possible attacks
  • Some of them are pretty weak most of the time: headbutts, elbow strikes, pistol whips
  • The attacks get some random permutation to accuracy/expected damage every time
  • The effectiveness of attacks is evaluated based on enemy (for example, armor is subtracted from damage)
  • Attacks are weighted somehow: usually just by DPS, but sometimes by being finishing strikes (dropping monster to 0 hp or less) or special effects
  • Best one is picked and executed

The advantages are:
  • Natural execution of ideas like kicks, weird martial art tricks and so on
  • Sensible dual wielding: not double damage at extra move cost or anything, just more opportunities for attacks
  • When wielding an unwieldy item (tank full of water), you no longer become very vulnerable - you can now kick and maybe even bite
  • Mutations don't need to grant extra attacks, just modify existing ones (beak is just mutant bite, horn headbutt is just mutant headbutt, claw strike is just human scratch turned not-useless)
  • Naturally extends to multiple attacks per weapon, such as haft strikes and halberd chop/thrust/hook
  • One-handed weapons have the advantage of keeping a hand free for off-hand strikes

Disadvantages are:
  • Complexity in implementation
  • Complexity in understanding without a good UI showing all the chances

DF has something relatively similar.

Worth the effort?
Of course this is a post-0.D idea, there is no way it is going to be in this stable.

The current mutation system: is grindy, is only really accessible in the "endgame" (except for genetic chaos mutants), breaks the balance of traits vs stats (not THAT important in multi-pool, but still), and ignores the whole set of point values already written for mutations.

My idea of a fix is:
Mutation choice being affected by how good you are already.

Rough idea of algorithm:

First, we want to find the "intended mutation score":
  • Sum point values of traits and mutations player has
  • Add stats to that
  • Add mutagen quality to that
  • Subtract some value representing average character (sum of stats + sum of traits you can get in a typical start)

  • Generate some mutation sets by copying the current mutation list and adding and removing random (available) mutations to it
  • Rate the mutation sets in similar way to the rating for player
  • Randomly pick one set, preferring those rated closest to "preferred mutation score"
  • Mutate towards this set

As a result:
  • Mutagen quality becomes an easy to understand setting, allowing adding cheap mutagens (that mostly suck) and rare designer mutant ones that grinders grind towards
  • Can add targeted mutagens without upsetting the balance, by simply having them require a mutation set with specific mutation in it
  • Mutants become as balanced as mutation point scores allow. This of course would mean buffing (or giving huge negative scores to) shit mutations before it goes fully live.
  • Getting a bad mutation stops being an "ah shit, purify time" moment, since the point score means it is just a high-risk-high-reward thing (rather than high-chance-to-drink-purifier one)
  • Starts become more balanced against each other. Could need some defense mechanism against pure skill starts, which would become pretty great under this mechanic

Point score isn't the most realistic thing out there, but neither are perfect creatures immune to disease, damage, pain, poison and so on.
IRL everything is about tradeoffs: if you're strong you need to eat more (bears sleep through winter, elephants eat all day), if you move fast you either eat a lot or are very light, if you resist poison your metabolism is impaired in some way to allow going around that poison. The requirement system for mutations (need herbivore for grazer etc.) is too specific to catch such tradeoffs, so a gamey point system will most likely do a better job at also being realistic.

I'm thinking:
  • Grafts - NPC doc action only. Not sure about effects.
  • Mutagen sci-fi magic - acquire mutations (weighted slightly towards negative) but also unbreak limbs. Good for early game characters who don't mind mutating but need to unbreak limbs, while bad for late game designer mutants.
  • Install specific CBM on limb - instantly heals limb to full, but takes slots until removed and sets HP back to 0 on removal. Could have more effects - some desirable, some not
  • Advanced medkit (nanobots or other sci-fi) - rare and uncraftable, but unbreaks (one? all?) limbs
  • Power armor/exoskeleton - doesn't unbreak the limb, but for as long as it is working, allows treated all limbs as unbroken (with some penalty)

Perception is useful now - it affects ranged (heavily), night vision and crits. So now intelligence is the weakest stat.
Everything you can have with it, you can have without it. It does not affect most scaling, limits of crafting, book locks etc. It's just pure quality of life - faster reading, less likely to fail crafting, will get CBMs sooner.
Unless you use Dragon martial arts, but that's a very specific case.

Changing intelligence to a more general "mind" stat would allow it to actually have a role it can't be replaced in.
Say, keep all the stuff it affects right now, but also add (some of):
  • Willpower: resistance to pain, tiredness, addiction, morale scaling. Possibly some HP scaling.
  • Better mutation rates? That is, scaling mutation bad/good rate with intelligence with some "you control the alien goo in your body" handwave explanation.
  • (Once they land)Better CBM limits

Basically, intelligence needs something you want when you have everything. Not something that will make you strong faster, but something you still want when you are strong.

Any more ideas?
They shouldn't be anything like:
  • Crafting boosts - that's just quality of life, unless it provides recipes that can't be gained otherwise
  • Limits to interface for those with low intelligence - artificially limiting information goes badly in vast majority of cases
  • Limits to control for those with low intelligence - no crap like "if you have low int and addiction, you autodrink nearby booze"

Now, it would be better to keep intelligence as such, but I don't really see good ways of making pure intelligence shine. The "most endgame" use of intelligence is dragon style, which is not pure intelligence flavor-wise, just gamey "scales with intelligence".

Would post this in drawing board, but it doesn't allow polls and I'd like to know the popular opinion too.

Current regeneration makes sleep very important, but in a rather bad way: you will want to knock yourself out with drugs just to sleep. For example, get wasted on vodka on ambien.
This slows the game down, but only till the next sleep. When you finally fall asleep, your wounds mend really fast - from almost-dead to full health in 12 hours of sleep.
It also doesn't make sense that your wounds only heal when you sleep, but sense is no big deal.

One of the answers would be to allow some of the regen to happen without sleep.

Possibly with some extra limitations, but those would have to make sense (no tedious bullshit like having to manually activate wound cleaning action every x hours).
Possible requirements for the regen to be fast could include:
  • Adding/dedicating one vitamin to regeneration, then having that vitamin drop fast, but have no negative effects (other than slow sleepless regen) when not availaible
  • Repurposing the global "healthy" value to change much faster (week for full swing from horrible to perfect) and affect mostly just regen
  • Adding some sort of "well fed" effect to add what would basically be food regen
  • Having traits. There is a "regeneration" mutation, but at the moment it is pitiful. Limiting the passive regen to those with "fast healing" or better could be interesting.

Horrible ideas that will not happen:
  • Adding regeneration, but making it so slow that it is there only for flavor. If it is to be there, it needs to have a gameplay role.
  • Tedious but cheap bullshit requirements like washing wounds. Unless someone adds a "do chores" button that will handle it automatically. But unless you want to be the one to add it, assume no one will and do not suggest adding it.
  • Making sleep regen so slow that downtime goes from a single day to a whole week, like it is with broken limbs (which are a horribly implemented mechanic)
  • Making regen so fast that you only need an hour to heal from near death. HP is already stupidly binary (alive/dead), despite the game balance trying to be based on the notion of having some actual downtime.

But then, it may be just that DDA needs that downtime.

What does it need to be usable?

How should an entry look?

I mean the interface.
Not "I'd like more bandits" or "more quests", but "To add more interesting NPCs, I need the ability to specify x".

The Bunker - Gameplay, Tactics, and General Discussion / New pain formula
« on: September 24, 2016, 07:07:22 AM »
The pain formula has been revised (by me). Pain accumulates slightly faster, but the penalties are lower.
Before, tiny scratches (less than 4 damage) would not cause any pain due to pain being rounded down. Now the rounding is probabilistic, meaning that 100 hits for 1 damage and 1 hit for 100 damage will result in similar pain.
Speed penalty is heavily scaled down. It starts out at low pain, but needs huge pain values to get crippling.
Stat penalties are similar - they will start earlier than before (due to more pain per hit), but will take more and more pain per point of stat taken away.

The primary change in the gameplay is that there is a bigger leeway for minor to moderate failure. You can afford to take a few bruises and cuts and don't need to kite each and every semi-dangerous critter.

HP is now more important. "Tough" trait is still not good, but may be useful in some cases. "Pain resistant" stops being great. Due to lower penalties from pain, "High adrenaline" goes back to low tier (reminder that adrenaline currently works as 100% efficient pain killer - this can and does save lives). Slow and fast healer get more important, but still not enough to really matter, as regeneration speed is still huge.

Stronger painkillers are less of an overkill now, but also less necessary.

Armor coverage is less important since you can take those few hits now.

So far it plays more "fun" to me, since there is more action now, but it's just me.
Thoughts? Adjustments?
Simple suggestions can also go here, but anything more complex than "revert fucking everything, I want to lose all stats when I stub my toe", "make weak pain matter more", "buff painkillers to compensate" or "make pain affect stamina recovery" is unlikely to happen.

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