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» SmaugMuds.org » Codebases » SmaugFUSS » Object and mob balance
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Object and mob balance
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Post is unread #1 May 26, 2009, 8:10 pm
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Dingus
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I'm working with SmaugFUSS 1.9. I'm wondering if anyone here had any general guidelines about object and mob balance, or could point me to an article on it. I know the help files have a few general ideas about mob HP and armor class, but I was wondering if anyone had something more comprehensive, especially with objects. Thank you.
       
Post is unread #2 May 26, 2009, 9:33 pm
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Hanaisse
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Have you tried Herne's Smaug Building Guide ? It's very thorough and easy to understand.
       
Post is unread #3 May 27, 2009, 6:05 am
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Conner
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There are only two problems with Herne's Guide in this case:
  • It's a bit outdated, especially for someone using SmaugFUSS 1.9 as Dingus said in the original post that (s)he is.

  • It's based on the stock help files so if Dingus has already been through all the help files and, hopefully, all the included docs in the docs folder, (s)he's not likely to run across any new info about object or mob balancing.


  • The downside to trying to answer the question that Dingus posed here is that every person who responds with their guideline preferences is going to give different perspectives and I've, personally, yet to find any sites that really cover it. I suspect that the reason for the lack of balancing stat ideas on the web comes from folks not wanting to reveal too much info to players about how they've balanced their game world almost as much as the simple fact that "balance" means something different to almost each admin. Ultimately, my answer to Dingus would have to be that it's going to be a matter of what you feel works best for your world.
           
    Post is unread #4 May 27, 2009, 6:16 am
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    David Haley
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    Also, it's very hard to give balancing guidelines when games introduce their own skills, classes, races, and so forth.
    That said, it would be awfully nice if there were canonical values for the stock codebase.

    Has any thought gone into balancing the FUSS codebase, or has work focused on bug fixes rather than the game design?
           
    Post is unread #5 May 27, 2009, 6:59 am
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    Conner
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    It'd be an interesting experiment to see what canonical values we could collectively come up with for the stock codebase, but I suspect it'd prove pretty close to futile given how many participants would likely each have their own opinions about what is balanced and how widely varied those opinions would likely be.

    As far as I know, the work has focused on bug fixes with as little steps as possible towards game design since the goal of the project wasn't to do things in better ways but to fix what was broken. I don't believe any thought has gone into balancing the FUSS version of Smaug at all, at least officially. But I'm certain that Samson can, and will, corect me if I'm mistaken about that.
           
    Post is unread #6 May 27, 2009, 8:52 am
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    tphegley
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    I think the stock smaugfuss objects get loaded with fuzzy numbers in regards to mob level which I guess in theory might balance it?

    But my thoughts are that you should balance the game yourself as you create new things. Figure out what you want to use then balance around that mindset. So pretty much just make what you think is your balance point and work around that. *shrug*
           
    Post is unread #7 May 27, 2009, 12:43 pm
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    Quixadhal
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    I'm not sure how Smaug handles things (it's been a while), but in my antique Diku, I added fread_dice() to give myself the ability to have dice-style values in all things (mobs and objects), so that you didn't always get identical copies, but I could still balance things by hand.

    As an added bonus, I could use things right out of the AD&D 2nd edition books, if I wanted. :)

    I know some codebases out there (ROM) ignore most of the numbers and just auto-generate content by level... so a level 5 mob will always have a certain ratio of hit points, attacks, damage, loot. I absolute HATE that idea. Creative control should remain with the builders. If they want to make a giant monster that has 50d8 hit points, but is level 3 and hits for 1d2-1 damage, that should be easy enough to do. Just make sure the rewards scale appropriately, and that's the job of your admin (or whomever oversees the builders).

    Why would you want that? Well, it's a monster that won't one-shot newbies, but it probably can't be killed by them solo either (as it would heal faster than they could damage it).
           
    Post is unread #8 May 27, 2009, 12:54 pm
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    David Haley
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    Eh... "creative control" is all well and good until it destroys your game balance. It's difficult for one person to know the entire game so perfectly well that they can oversee several builders at a time.

    A better system would allocate a number of points per level, and those points can be spent on HP, damage, etc. This way, you let the builder scale mobs however they please, while keeping some guarantee that everything will be in some sane range. It's easier to balance the point system than it is a completely free-form system.
           
    Post is unread #9 May 28, 2009, 9:54 am   Last edited May 28, 2009, 9:57 am by 6Dragons
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    6Dragons
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    Balance is something every mud struggles with.

    6 Dragons mud I consider very well balanced, but it has taken years
    of tweaking to get there. I didn't have a good balance plan when I
    started. However, once you achieve that balance always you will
    need to tweak something here and there. Such is the nature of the
    beast. Just be mindful how it affects players. It is easy to lose some
    from small tweaks here and there. Heh, I am always against starting
    your own mud now, when there area 1500+ muds out there. Cause
    chances are there is one you'd love. However, if your determined to
    make a go at it now, you are on a good path. Plan, plan, plan before
    you start.

    Vladaar

           
    Post is unread #10 May 28, 2009, 10:22 am
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    Quixadhal
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    Assuming you have a MUD that has a reasonable player-base AND a good handful of builders (not at all a given these days), I prefer to balance things via gathered statistics, rather than trying to shackle the builders into a whack-a-mole mindset of automated balance code.

    Once you know your goals for the game, you should have a pretty good idea of how fast people should advance, and a good idea of how much content they'll need to consume to get from A to B. If you can log enough data, you can look for outliers that don't fit your expectations, and those are generally the things that will need adjustment.

    That's part of the reason I want SQL support in my game. It would be nice to have the game data pulled from there, but it is far more useful to log statistics about every kill, every quest reward, every death, everything you can without slowing the game's performance to a crawl. Even if you just dump all that to a file and then have a script push it to a database, it's gold for the mining. :)

    The good old AD&D rules used to say that typical mobs had (level * d8) hit points as a guideline. So, a simple query to check the average hit points of mobs when they are created should find all the level 50 dragons who have 10 hit points, and the level 1 death-squirrels that have 999 hit points. Anything that's an outlier will show up, and you can then refine your query further, or go look at the individual results. If the mob has too few hit points, but also loads with plate mail, or is a caster with nasty spells, or has less than normal rewards (garbage drops, no cash)... all is well.

    You may not be using D&D rules, but you better have SOME well-defined system, or you're already in trouble before you get started. If you change your system down the road, remember you really now NEED to go back and adjust all your content.

    If you're on your own, this is a LOT of work, and so wanting to automate it by code is very appealing. I still think it's a mistake, but that comes down to my not liking to be told that I can't do something because it doesn't fit the pattern. You can have a hot dog with ketchup, mustard, both, or chili. You can't have mustard AND chili, because it's not on the menu. Bah!
           
    Post is unread #11 May 28, 2009, 10:59 am
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    David Haley
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    The approaches aren't mutually exclusive. You can still drive your code-enforced balancing by gathering statistics, data analysis, etc. And for those cases where there truly is a reason for breaking the rules (and frankly, I think this is relatively rare) you can have manual overrides requiring approval from a sufficiently high-ranking imm.
           
    Post is unread #12 May 28, 2009, 2:17 pm
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    Conner
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    On my mud, FWIW, we have established guidelines for builders posted (in duplicate) several places to make it easier for them to reference as needed, our head builder examines each area manually for anything that stands out before we install that area, and I've got code that reports anything outside of our established guidelines. This system probably is far from perfect but it seems to be working well for us. Of course, rewarding players who report bug/typos seems to help immensely as well and we do that too. Effectively, we've got every area being run through four layers of "quality control": builder, head builder, code, players. Quite often, I help the head builder with her stage of the process as well given extra eyes to that stage. But, as Vladaar & Quixadhal said, balance is a tough game that you really never stop playing but ultimately it all comes down to planning and vigilance. As for what's a good balance, now that's the part where you're likely to get a different response from every one you ask. :wink:
           
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