Thursday, 5 September 2013

Hydra challenge, new NotEye, HyperRogue music and exploits

It seems that a lot of things have happened during the last month...

In the previous two weeks, Hydra Slayer was featured in the Reddit Roguelike Weekly Challenge. Players were asked to play Hydra Slayer and reach as deep as possible. You can see the results here.

I had some fun, and I hope that the challengers had fun too. Congratulations to ionfrigate for winning! :)

Still, I think that the Hydra Slayer challenge did not show the game's full potential... I mean, it was not as fun for the players and myself as it could be. For players competing for scores, I think it would be better to count the wounds gained during the 50 levels, instead of going as deep as possible (I think that the game gets quite boring after level 50...). Also, all of the high-ranked players have been playing as daughters of Echidna, which is unfortunate IMO, as they are the least interesting race for me: it is easier to construct an efficient weapon set for Echidna than for other races; using this efficient weapon sets is a rather boring calculation; and they seem to be more powerful than the other races. They pose an unique challenge due to being completely different than other races, but if I was organizing a competition, I would probably ban them.

Still, weapon sets that have been used by different players have been a bit different (one of them used a pick axe, which was surprising for me).

The challenge led to some improvements in Hydra Slayer!
Hydra Slayer 15.2 features:
  • The potion of knowledge is now usable only against a single enemy. This is actually more logical: when facing a bloody hydra and a vulture hydra, for example, you can choose whether to unblood the bloody hydra, or to analyze the vulture hydra.
  • Also, the potion of knowledge is now less useful on shadow hydras: it now shows three single handed attacks. Before this change shadow hydras were extremely boring for Echidnas, since for any respectable Echidna three attacks are enough to kill a shadow hydra, and thus shadow hydras boiled down to drinking the potion and noting the numbers. Especially boring when there were lots of other Hydras in sight, and the game had to analyze each of them, which takes a lot of time for ambidextrous slayers...
  • To nerf the Echidnas a bit, they are now slower to use items. Using items costs a turn, and throwing powder at hydras costs another turn (and the hydra attacks in the meantime while the powder is thrown!). I think that Echidnas need more nerfing, though, so please comment if you have any ideas for this.
  • Some bugfixes: shadow hydras are no longer detected with a right-click. Keys such as 'm' and 'f' now actually work when a hydra is stunned (previously, the screen tended to disappear right away in this case... this bug appeared in UberHunter's videos and I could not find the reason for it, but it was apparently caused by the stun animation). The semi-transparent part of the screen sometimes appeared in the wrong place, this is fixed.

Also, NotEye got some improvements. Some players know these improvements from the closed prerelease of ADOM, or from the Roguelike Bundle draft. Both of these were called NotEye 7.1 (I think), so the official release gets number NotEye 7.2.
The changes are following:
  • Minimap has modes: it can show the old typical minimap from colored boxes, but it can also show the original ASCII screen, or a graphical screen (in the Tile, Isometric, or FPP mode). So the player could play in ASCII mode and have a tiny FPP view in the corner, for example. Also the minimap is movable now, and the default placement is (supposedly) more intelligent.
  • The Noteye window is resizable.
  • A new 3x5 font added (especially useful for the ASCII minimap).
  • Some keys caused NotEye menu to crash in some situations, this has been fixed.
  • Added ChessRogue, Gruesome, Toby the Trapper, and Unstoppable to the NotEye menu.
  • Music now stops when NotEye loses focus. Also better handling of mouse out of the window.
  • Noteye looks for batch files in the 'batch' subdirectory, and can run games via these batch files.
  • Scrollable map. Holding the mouse close to the edge of the map area will cause the map to scroll. Look at the menu (NotEye menu, or some game menu) to center back on the PC. This also means that when the PC is on the edge of the map, the tiles mode will detect this and move the PC off the center, so that more of the map is visible.
  • Zoomable map. You can now zoom the map in the menu (by changing the tile size in the graphical mode submenu), or using Ctrl+Mousewheel.
  • You can now specify the max frame rate, to conserve the CPU.
  • Table streaming, to be used in integrated games, so that special events sent by ADOM will be streamed when creating a NotEye recording or playing via a NotEye server. The next prerelease of ADOM will display a nice, detailed animation when using the machines in the level with lots of guards and a huge shop! ;) (I was surprised when I saw that place first, so no details, go play ADOM yourself if you do not know what I mean)
  • For some games it is good to restrict the map to the original map area, this is better supported now.
  • An option to reserve space below the map appears in the menu now.
  • Fixed some minor bugs with the cache used for zoomed images.
  • Fixed some problems with FPP.
  • noteye_getevent() now actually returns the event.
  • "isosizes" now returns all the original parameters, too
  • NotEye scripts have access to "getkeystate" (e.g. check if Ctrl is checked) and "getticks" (for timing)
You can download Hydra Slayer 15.2 and NotEye 7.2 here.

Last but not least, I am collaborating with NeonCorridor: he is creating great music for HyperRogue. The songs which are ready are available here; comments are welcome :) For a long time, I felt that HyperRogue was complete except that music was missing, and this is going to be fixed in a few weeks. Also, Adam Borowski has discovered some exploitful strategies in HyperRogue, which allowed one to achieve unlimited scores while remaining safe (or practically safe). These are also going to be fixed in HyperRogue 4.0. Stay tuned!