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Topics - dtsund

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Discussion / A Beginner's Guide to DoomRL
« on: April 02, 2013, 23:45 »
Crossposting this from another forum, because I think this is a good place for it.  The first three lessons will go up rapid-fire, since I've already written them; the rest will go up as I write them.  All of this is based on the version, which is current at the time this was written.

A Beginner's Guide To DoomRL, Part 1: Avoiding Damage

(I'll be using the graphical version for this series, but will be mentioning what things look like in the console version.  Normally, I don't play in such a small window as this; I either play in console or fullscreen graphical, depending on my mood.)

I'm not going to talk about the controls; if you want to see those, you can just hit ? at any time in-game.  I'll just say that they're rather simpler than those of, say, NetHack.  Instead, let's talk about the, uh, HUD.  It's mostly pretty self-explanatory.

At the top of the screen is your message buffer.  If you've ever played a roguelike before, you already know what this is, and if you haven't, well, you'll figure it out quickly enough.

At the bottom, we first have the player's name, in blue.  Below that are health and experience indicators; the game doesn't make this obvious, but Doomguy has 50 HP (by default; I'll cover the two ways this can be increased in a later update).  Below that is an indication of my current Tactics setting, which can be "cautious", "running", or "tired"; I'll cover those shortly.

Doomguy here currently isn't wearing any armor; I'll cover that when he finds some.  He does have a pistol, however, which deals 2d4 damage on a hit.  All players additionally start with a few extra bullets and two small med-packs, which each restore just over 25% of your maximum health (except on the easiest and hardest difficulty settings).

Finally, Phobos Base Entry is the name of the current area.  All games begin here.  When you completely clear out a level of all its enemies (unlike some roguelikes, DoomRL doesn't normally have respawning enemies), the name of the area will turn blue.

There's also a minimap above the area name.  If you're playing in console mode, you don't get one of them; you just see the entire level at all times.

Nothing to do for now but advance to the left, to get to the marine base where all the action takes place.  The first room has two more small med-packs for the taking...

...but as Doomguy reaches out to take one, a former human (light gray h for you console players) bursts into the room!

Unlike other top-down, ASCII-friendly roguelikes, DoomRL is primarily a game about ranged combat.  Whereas most NetHack characters would charge straight at the former human, Doomguy prefers to shoot at it.

Like so.

After a few shots, the former human is dead.  But Doomguy took some damage himself; former humans come armed with the same pistols (light gray }) Doomguy starts with, and a bullet hit him for 4 damage.

All former humans also come with 24 extra rounds of 10mm ammo (light gray |), suitable for use in any of the game's bullet-based weaponry.  Doomguy picks them up and reloads his pistol.  While he has no use for the former human's pistol himself (it's no different from the one he already had), he does make sure to scavenge its remaining ammo by unloading it (shift-U).

Opening a door, Doomguy sees a second former human, and this one's perfectly positioned to show off one of the game's main means of avoiding damage: taking advantage of cover.

When you're behind a wall tile, as Doomguy is here, enemies won't shoot at you.  Of course, this won't work from all directions; I've marked the squares from which enemies won't shoot at Doomguy in the above image.

With the impunity afforded him by his cover, Doomguy kills the former human.  At one point, the former human, in his approach, left Doomguy's line of sight; you can still shoot at squares outside your LOS, albeit at a hefty accuracy penalty.  The message "You hear the scream of a freed soul!" indicates that an enemy just died somewhere on the level outside of your vision.

Advancing again, Doomguy sees a third former human.  This time, I'm going to try showing off a second way he'll be avoiding damage:

Sidestepping projectiles.

Any time you move in DoomRL, enemies have a chance to fire at the space where you were previously, instead of the space you're now standing in.  Exactly how big of a chance depends on a number of factors; some enemies are more accurate than others, and there are things you can do to make sidestepping more likely to work.  DoomRL may be the first roguelike ever to make circle-strafing a viable tactic!

While I was dancing around trying to adequately capture a sidestep, another former human shows up.  Rather than stand here and fight both of them, I retreat to cover...

...after I start running.

By presing the tab key, you can change Doomguy's tactics from cautious to running (or from running to tired), as now seen in the lower-left corner.  While running, Doomguy becomes much more evasive; projectiles are less likely to hit you, and your chance to sidestep successfully is greatly improved to boot.  There are two downsides, though.  First, while running, Doomguy is a lot less accurate himself.  Running is usually a defensive thing.

And second:

After you stop running, either willingly or when the status runs out, your tactics change to tired.  Tired is functionally identical to cautious, except that you can't start running at will, and the only way to revert to cautious is by healing yourself or finishing the current level.

Just ahead is a former sergeant (dark gray h).  They're significantly more dangerous than former humans; instead of 2d4 pistols, they carry 8d3 shotguns (dark gray }) and a reserve of 30 shotgun shells (dark gray |).  Shotguns deal more damage per shot, cannot miss, and affect a wide area, but have the disadvantages of losing damage over distance (7% per space, to be precise, if you care) and needing to be reloaded after every shot.

Of course, once he's dead... again... Doomguy takes the shotgun for himself.

In the next room are the stairs to the next level.  Doomguy equips his shotgun and advances.  In DoomRL, once you move past a level, you're done with it; there is no returning.  Make sure you've gotten everything you want from the floor!

First, some new terrain types.  Crates (# of various colors) provide cover, but are destroyed fairly easily; don't rely too heavily on them in the presence of imps or other enemies with explosive attacks.  Supply crates (the crates with the yellow triangles on the corners; more brightly colored #) can be destroyed even more easily, but often contain goodies.  The blue stuff (==) is water, which is mostly the same as normal ground.  Later on, some levels will have other liquids that damage you when you walk through them: acid (==) and lava (==).

Also, on entering the floor, Doomguy gets a level feeling ("You shiver from cold...").  I'll talk more about those in a later update; this one means there's an entrance to a special level on the floor.  Let's bust open those supply crates (by shooting them, of course) and see if there's anything good in them!

Jackpot!  A large med-pack, which can be used to restore Doomguy to 100% health, and a set of green armor!

Green armor reduces incoming damage by 1 when worn (to a minimum of 1; this is true of all armor).  It's... the weakest armor in the game, but about the best I could've expected this early.  Later on, you'll commonly find blue armor (which grants 2 protection) and red armor (which provides 4).

The (100%) next to the armor in the HUD is its integrity.  Each time Doomguy gets shot at, he'll lose both (a reduced amount of) health and some armor integrity; when it hits 0%, it's destroyed.  Armor can be repaired by picking up armor shards, so if you've got a really good piece of armor on hand, it's usually best to take it off before it gets completely trashed so you can repair it later.  As for the [1/1]... when armor gets sufficiently damaged, it starts protecting you less.  There's no significant effect on green armor's protection, but blue armor only provides 1 protection when it's below 50%, and red armor drops to 2 and 1 protection when it respectively hits 50% and 25%.  All this is another good reason to take a good set of armor off when it's been damaged.

This concludes the first lesson.

Next time: I'll talk about the game's items, powerups, and monsters.

Fairly self-explanatory report; I took the Fireangel trait on my most recent run in, and still took what seemed like full damage from nearby explosions.  Firing a rocket launcher at a wall several squares away damaged me, as did taking indirect hits from enemy explosives.

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