ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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 Post subject: QuickTome [20 Mar 2017]
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:10 am 
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Halfling

Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:34 am
Posts: 100
The marketing description
QuickTome is a mod for ToME4 aimed at making the game shorter and more convenient to play, yet also a bit more challenging. It aims to accomplish this by streamlining quests, removing boring levels, and removing various forms of grinding for experience and items.
QuickTome is split into many addons that are fully compatible with each other and can be used in any combination. Most of them are also compatible with most other addons. This lets you tweak the gameplay experience to suit your preferences, should you want to.

If you're just looking for new classes, talents, and items, these are not the addons for you. However, if you're tired of doing tier 1 zones at level 10, chasing sandworm tunnelers, and waiting for the game to save twice every time you change zones, QuickTome might be exactly what you wanted all along.

The descriptive description
The past few weeks I've been uploading some addons that accomplish small parts of the goals described above, since y'all seem to have no problem with playing unfinished stuff. Eventually I hope to have a complete set of addons that fully accomplishes the design goals. Right now there's still obviously a lot left to do, but that will shrink with time.

QuickTome's design goals from most important to least:
Code:
- Eliminate grinding. I define grinding as "reward without proportional risk".
    Therefore this includes scouring low-level zones at level 10, killing NPCs in towns for experience and items,
    farming summoned creatures for artifacts, etc. Another example is sitting on some safe level and using a rune
    1000 times so you can learn a prodigy.
- Eliminate interface screws. An interface screw is an effect that cripples the game's interface in some way
    and could be worked around by other means. For example, invisible monsters don't appear in the interface,
    yet you usually know exactly where they are anyway. This aspect of invisibility is an interface screw.
    Blindness is another example. A third example is negative HP values being displayed as "unknown"; you can
    calculate the actual HP value by poring through messages.
    Interface screws make sense in real-time games like shooters. But in a turn-based game you could simply
    keep track of monster positions on a piece of paper or something, so adding interface screws does not
    improve gameplay at all.
- Avoid promoting slow gameplay. One of the most common complaints about ToME4 is that divinations are essential
    for high level play because it's so advantageous to see every monster on the level and carefully manipulate
    them before they even appear in your line of sight. This is why QuickTome will remove monster detection.
- Shorten the game. We feel that some of ToME's zones are tedious or boring in a game that is meant to be replayed
    many times. Therefore, QuickTome removes some of the easier zones and levels from the game.
- Eliminate "housekeeping" tasks like talking to NPCs to get quests. These don't involve any decisions, you just do
    them every game, so there is no reason to have them.
- Correct flagrant intra-game balance issues. For example, vanilla Eden's Guile and Wanderer's Rest have such good activated
    abilities that they are outright centralizing.
    (Race and class balance are too far gone for me to have any hope of even noticeably improving them at the moment.)
- Make the game challenging on Normal Roguelike difficulty. I believe the popularity of Nightmare indicates that Normal
    is too easy, and it would certainly be best for Normal to be the "default" difficulty since it doesn't have the
    bizarre scaling artifacts that other difficulties do. I think that this can mostly be accomplished as a consequence of two
    higher design goals: eliminate grinding, and reduce slow gameplay. Both take away overly safe options for the player
    (free experience, guaranteed artifacts in a level range, divinations). If this results in making Insane and Madness
    impossible even for Archmage (which is what people claim whenever I mention I'm removing divinations), I think
    that's an acceptable sacrifice.
    If these aren't sufficient, I prefer reducing player power (amount of experience, items, etc) to increasing enemy power,
    because ToME4 already suffers from *extreme* power creep.


The QuickTome Addon Set
Download entire set in one zip file

"Convenience" addons with little or no effect on balance:
Orb of Communication (1.0.1) - Allows talking to some NPCs, notably alchemists, without visiting their towns. Also lets you buy combat training/shoot/staff combat/mindstar mastery without going to the corresponding towns.
Improved Recall (1.0.13) - Allows you to teleport between zones with the Rod of Recall, skipping the worldmap.
Arena Skip (1.0.0) - Removes the Agent of the Arena quest and gives you the generic talent points at level 10 instead. The experience and items from the arena level are not compensated for.
Melinda Tweaks (1.0.0) - Removes the gameplay utility of speaking to Melinda's father. You get the artifact upon leaving the Crypt of Kryl-Feijan with her, and South Beach enemies no longer provide items or experience.
Remove Stat Requirements (1.0.4) - Removes stat requirements from talents and items, as well as most of the silly grindable prodigy requirements like "use a shielding rune 1000 times". Does NOT remove talent requirements (heavy armour still requires armour training, talents still require learning lower talents in the same tree), level requirements (tier 4 talents still require being level 12), etc.
Resource Tweaks (1.0.3) - Natural regeneration for mana, vim, equilibrium, psi, positive energy, and negative energy, regardless of class. Also lets all characters breathe underwater (but not inside walls or while being constricted).
Event Changes (1.0.0) - Right now it just removes the thunderstorm event, but expect changes to other events later.
Vault Tweaks (1.0.0) - Makes some vaults less annoying (fewer diggable walls, poisoned water, etc.)

Addons that make bigger changes to the game:
Sight Overhaul (1.0.9) - Locks sight radius at 10, removes lighting system, removes divinations, blindness has no effect on the player-controlled character, FOV is symmetrical, player-controlled character always sees invisible/stealthed creatures, and more
Zone Overhaul (1.0.23) - Removes some zones and some sources of grinding. Prevents you from doing all tier 1 zones in one game. Increases experience and item quality a bit to partially compensate. The game is mostly trimmed down to the desired size at this point, but it's likely that levels will shrink in the future.
Creature Changes (1.0.2) - Right now it just makes jellies/oozes/etc less annoying, but expect more substantial changes later (removing a lot of harmless monsters entirely, in particular).
Item Tweaks (1.0.5) - Nerfs the most egregiously broken artifacts, buffs a few of the most egregiously useless ones, and makes a few other convenience oriented changes.
Remove Escorts (1.0.0) - Exactly what it says on the tin.
Remove Traps (1.0.0) - Removes generic floor traps. For now, traps from talents are still allowed.


Other recommended addons
Square Field of Vision - Guaranteed compatible. Makes field of vision square, which removes a lot of the bizarre stuff that arises from movement and sight/ranges using different geometry.
Half-Cost Category Mastery - Guaranteed compatible. Lets you improve the mastery of two categories by spending only one category point, making mastery a less obviously bad option. You still need a full category point to unlock new categories or inscription slots.
Improved Auto-explore and Rest - It's just good. I can't guarantee compatibility with future versions since it's not mine, but since I use it myself, if any compatibility issues appear they will probably get attention.
Enhanced Object Compare - Makes object compare actually usable for rings and offhand weapons, along with lots of other cool stuff. Again, if compatibility issues arise they'll probably get my attention.

Some "plans" for the future
- Make all floor spaces on every level connected, such that there are no "islands".
- Nerf (or even remove) digging.
- Remove "respeccing" talent points, even in towns.
- Remove all traps. Come up with some other mechanic for glyphs, and let rogue/archer/skirmisher just be weak; it's better than the alternative of being strong solely because of trap abuse.
- Remove impact of luck on friendly fire and maybe some other things.
- Remove Extract Gems, but make alchemist gems permanent (like in zTome)
- Remove item drops from town NPCs.
- Reduce level sizes in a lot of zones.
- Make Willful Tormentor passive.
- Remove lava and poisonous water.
- Improve Rod of Recall teleportation enough that everything in the game can accomplished without ever visiting the worldmap.
- Remove a lot of trivial monsters - molds, plants, jellies.
- Mostly or entirely remove friendly fire (this is actually hard, because friendly fire is *good* in certain cases like shivgoroth form, so cases like that need to be addressed). Walking near your own volcano while wielding Life Drinker should not make you kill yourself with blood grasp.
- Probably remove summons from everything except summoner and *maybe* oozemancer/doomed/demonologist. The AI in this game is way too defensive for summons to be an acceptable mechanic.
- Maybe give all NPCs life and resource regeneration, not just the player. This is to eliminate cases like doing 20% damage to an enemy then teleporting away and repeating until it's dead. The problem is that life regeneration has to be *really fast* to truly prevent this behaviour, so it's hard to think of a good way to do it.
- Somehow change shields etc. so that it isn't optimal to slowly explore while constantly refreshing them?
- I would like to remove projectile speed and make all projectiles instant, but some of the implications of doing this (mainly to do with enemy projectiles) are uncomfortable, so it probably won't happen.

Questions that I suspect will be asked, so I'm answering them in advance
Q: Where should I report a bug?
A: You can email me (address is included in every addon), or post in this thread, or PM me. I don't really have a preference.

Q: Is this compatible with [DLC addon]?
A: Yes.

Q: Is this compatible with [third-party addon]?
A: It's all open source, feel free to figure it out yourself. I even include some compatibility notes in the addon descriptions. For the most part I am not interested in poring through other addons.

Q: Why not just keep developing zTome instead of doing this?
A: This is a long answer. The first thing you should know is that zTome is actually pretty old; it started with beta 22 of ToME4 if I recall correctly. This is before addon functionality was added, so zTome was a separate module. Then when it came time to release it to the ToME4 community, it had to be converted into an addon. And that sucked. I wasn't familiar enough with the engine, things that made sense in a module became horrible hacks when put in an addon, and every time a new ToME4 version was released the whole process practically had to start again. Add in online events and the fact that I was an especially bad programmer at the time, and the whole thing just became unmaintainable. So if I updated zTome to the current ToME4 version, it would be a matter of rewriting the whole thing. If I'm going to rewrite the whole thing, why not abandon the baggage of the horrible hacks and constant bugs*, and call it something new. Also, the name "QuickTome" actually makes sense to people that weren't in a specific irc channel in 2012.

*Admittedly QuickTome also has some horrible hacks already, but that's game modding for you.

Q: Are you going to update Runic Golem?
A: No, that addon was satire about all the other races/classes that add nothing to the game except gimmicks. It was never supposed to be playable.


Last edited by minmay on Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:00 pm, edited 13 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:55 am 
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Low Yeek

Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:53 am
Posts: 5
hi minmay, excellent stuff!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:29 pm
Posts: 2
this is outstanding, I've come to enjoy a lot of things about this game, but 500 hours playthroughs are not one of them

also praise be to fov changes and light removal, praise be

I'll get this downloaded when I get home


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:13 am 
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Halfling

Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:34 am
Posts: 100
String wrote:
Any chance of making that quick travel rod of recall a separate download?

If anyone sees String around, let them know their feature request has been implemented after only 2 years and 3 months.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:24 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 2:31 pm
Posts: 1251
Location: South Africa
I downloaded the "set"... but how do I install them as a set? (just extract to the addons folder?)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:35 am 
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Halfling

Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:34 am
Posts: 100
yes, same as with any other addons


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2015 2:12 pm
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I registered specifically to say that I find this set of modules to be absolutely delightful. Thank you for the excellent effort so far and I'm eagerly waiting for further developments.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:10 am 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:46 pm
Posts: 2275
Location: Ambush!
I made a Yeek Archmage to try this set of addons out.

http://te4.org/characters/52902/tome/18 ... 9aad=52902

- - - BUG REPORT - - -

1/ Used world map to get to the Ritch Tunnels.

2/ Exit Ritch Tunnels -> teleport to Murgol's Lair

3/ Exit Murgol's Lair -> to World Map ... but it dumped me on the unreachable Southern Continent and I now can't find any way to get to the rest of the game.

Welp, that was quick.

_________________
Check out my addons: Nullpack (classes), Null Tweaks (items & talents), and New Gems fork.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:15 am 
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Halfling

Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:51 am
Posts: 82
This is a laudable project--Best of luck!

_________________
milo wrote:
Odd. My friendly Inner Demon fearscaped me. Guess that's how they say hi.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 6:13 am 
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Halfling

Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:34 am
Posts: 100
Doctornull wrote:
I made a Yeek Archmage to try this set of addons out.

http://te4.org/characters/52902/tome/18 ... 9aad=52902

- - - BUG REPORT - - -

1/ Used world map to get to the Ritch Tunnels.

2/ Exit Ritch Tunnels -> teleport to Murgol's Lair

3/ Exit Murgol's Lair -> to World Map ... but it dumped me on the unreachable Southern Continent and I now can't find any way to get to the rest of the game.

Welp, that was quick.
Fixed, thanks for the report.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:00 pm 
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Halfling

Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:34 am
Posts: 100
It's been nearly a year and a half since I edited the OP, but I've still been quietly updating QuickTome. In particular, a while ago the length of the game was finally shortened to about the desired length - I'd still like to make a few more cuts (particularly to level sizes and the amount of weak monster/item spam in the late game) but they're relatively minor.
I don't plan to make a version of Zone Overhaul for Embers of Rage, but the official addons are still otherwise supported.


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