Monday, September 10, 2012

Answering ATR party questions

On September, 1st, we celebrated the ADOM: The Resurrection virtual party on IRC. You can find the complete logs here, additionally a lot of questions were directed at me that I'm going to try answering in this blog post. So, warning ahead: This is going to be quite long :-) You can find the collected questions here. I have taken the liberty to omit separate answers to some questions that were included in other earlier questions and hopefully didn't forget anything important.

<frogzilla> What is the time plan for developing ADOM? When the first release is going to be out? When do you think you'll be able to finish the whole thing? 

We don't have a totally hard core time plan as many of the things that we intend to do carry a high technical risk and all estimates would be crystal ball like guess work at best. The current plan goes like this:

  • New prereleases will start at the end of September / beginning of October. Right now I'm pretty busy sorting all the administrative stuff out, consolidating the data, preparing the promised blog post on the statistical data and lessons learned from the campaign so that other roguelike authors hopefully will benefit, etc. Then I intend to start working on new content as soon as possible with no big master plan there as many things need inspiration.
  • Actual serious work in a controlled manner also will start in October everything beforehand would be "testing the waters". Contracts with Lucas, Krys, Zeno and Jochen should be fixed by then so that everyone can begin with his tasks.
  • I already have started working on the ADOM Lite RPG and hope to have it be done by Christmas, but no promises here, as I yet don't know how long the play testing process will have to run and how well that intermingles with the actual programming work.
  • I'l try to get the other physical reward levels done as early as possible during October to get these distractions off the list of things to be done.
  • Jochen already is mostly done with the infrastructural tasks and already has been fiddling with the NotEye integration, there are quite a few challenges to be solved in that area. This will be one of our very first priorities as we'd like to get the difficult technical questions tackled early on.
  • Next will be audio integration to have another area under control and to be able to utilize Lucas' compositions ASAP, too (we are going to try finishing something like 20-25 audio tracks plus some other audio effects so Lucas will be a busy man, too).
  • I expect to take the whole effort something like a year and we'll all be smiling if we get everything finished faster. But the graphics to be done by Krys all in all probably will take something like ten months full time work alone, so dreaming of everything being finished before a period of twelve months seems highly unrealistic.
  • We will have at least weekly prereleases starting in October for everyone who pledged to Wanderer level or above, everybody else will have to wait until we are finished.
  • UI improvements probably will be one of the last things we are going to tackle as I want to see how Steam integration, etc. work out in order to do the most reasonable UI improvements possible.
<AlterAsc> What goals are more likely to be seen first in nigtly releases?

We'll start with some easy stuff: New corruptions, new items, new artifacts and progress from there to new mini quests, new races and classes and then new complex quests. Everything else "coming at some point".

<yxhuvud> Are there any plans of shaking up the races a bit? The difference between say gray elves and high elves are not exactly overwhelming.

Currently: No. We'll focus on getting the content of the crowd funding campaign done. Afterwards: We'll see.

<Harkila-> Will there be a separate test team to check the game balance of 1.2.0? That was probably one of the reasons why 1.0.0 was so popular even after 1.1.x.

For now we plan to go with the prerelease testers that pledged for the Wanderer level and above. If for some reason that shouldn't work out, we'll think about something else. But as many of these people probably belong to the most experience and hardcore ADOM fans I figure that we already have a pretty great testing team installed :-)

<Alien-> All donors of $40 and above get a Deluxe license - is this one license per donor, or per donation (for those getting both RP book and a separate pledge)? 

It's "one license per donor", everything else would complicate things too much for higher level donors and never was announced in any case.

<alakoo> Will there be any changes in the talent system? many players find them rather mundane and often opt for a few known combos and choose all else rather randomly.

As for changes to races: That's something to be considered for releases once we are done with all the new content from the campaign. For now there aren't any such plans.

<pipe> Will the talent system remain? Many players find them rather cool. 

Nothing will change in that area for now.

<alakoo> Could a custom class be an option in future editions? 

You mean "custom" as in "defined by the player"? Unlikely but not impossible.

<frogzilla> Can you share some details about ADOM RPG? How similar will it be to ADOM, for instance? 

<Alien-> Would you consider more randomness in character generation? Say, each/most/some characters get either an extra starting talent, an ability score bonus, a random skill they wouldn't otherwise have, some unrelated item, etc...? 

This is a very interesting thought but again it's something to be considered after completing the crowd funding additions.

<Marek14> Shouldn't female drakelings be treated same as males by the shopkeepers? Or is there a way how to distinguish their genders? 

IMHO that's too much detail for the foreseeable future. Especially as shopkeepers are pretty keen and intelligent and probably don't have any problems differentiating their valued and beloved customers.

<Marek14> Any ideas for new monsters? I'd like a whole line of water dragons -- so they'd not be just Blup and his mother. Also, naked mole rats. 

Yes, I have a few ideas but I'm not yet willing to spoil you. Water creatures are not very high on my list, though. Especially water dragons as I love the idea of Blup and his mom being pretty unique. But it might be an interesting thought for ADOM II to pursue the underground and underwater empires of Ancardia. But that's beyond the scope of ADOM which will remain focussed on the Drakalor Chain.

<Harkila-> Will the Uberjackal feature (monsters getting really experienced by amount of kills) be toned down in 1.2.0? It's dumb to have regular chaos servants being much more dangerous than greater ones or chaos wizards in MT or D:50.

Yes, we'll look into that. I consider the current behaviour to be a kind of bug.

<Marek14> Are there any plans to improve savegame compatibility? If there will be weekly builds, it would be disappointing if players had to abandon all their characters every week. 

No, we won't be spending any time on that, especially not during the prerelease phase where we most likely will fiddle with a lot of pretty integral parts of the game. If we'd do that you'd never get to see that finished game given the resources we have.

<Harkila-> Could there be a place implemented where people could list the most annoying things in ADOM? to know what doesn't work and what simply divides opinions.

Discuss it on the official forum and post issues and RFEs to the official bug tracker. Nothing else is planned beyond that. We might introduce a closed forum for the prerelease testers but haven't come to a final opinion on that (mostly because I still don't know how to automatically register all applicable prerelease testers automatically for that forum - I'd hate having to moderate hundreds of them by hand).

<Alien-> Are you planning to make a public list of what rebalancing and fixing you intend to do? And if so, make it open for comments and suggestions? 

Our plans are based on the current content of the ADOM issue tracker (see above for the link). As we estimated our budget for that we are not very likely to take up hundreds of additional requests, at least not in a guaranteed manner.

<CheatMan> Do you already have an idea of what will be added to character creation for ADoM Deluxe? (like starsign selection, number of starting talents, selection of starting equipment, etc) 

Starsign and background selection are things I seriously consider. Additionally I'm thinking about point based attribute generation and alignment selections. Not much beyond that so far.

<evilk> What will the special abilities be that we can choose our heros++ boss monsters can choose out of? 

It's not yet finalized but it's also pretty high on our priority list to give donors enough time to make up their special monsters. You'll get to see them in some form we are going to mail to the applicable donors.

<Alien-> If once you consider the game complete and sensibly bug-free, will you likely consider it a closed case and turn your attention elsewhere, or might you release patches later on if you think up a great idea for a mini-quest, or something? 

The underlying goal given the funds we have received is two-fold: Make the free version of ADOM the best ever and make the Steam (read: commercial Deluxe version) the most appealing game of its genre. What follows depends on how successful we are with the latter part. If not enough people care about ADOM Deluxe my plans will point to ADOM II which has much more potential for future development, if ADOM Deluxe raises enough interest, ADOM has a shining and wonderful future with many more things to come ahead of it. Neither ADOM nor ADOM II probably will die again completely, but if ADOM Deluxe fails to connect, 90% of my awareness will turn back to ADOM II.

<chchjesus> Is there code in ADOM to detect save scumming? 

A little. But from a technical point of view it usually is not worth the effort to try to prevent such things.

<Harkila-> Why do trolls still need a manual for raising Bridge Building skill even though they're born with it? 

Bad long term memory :-) ?

<Marek14> At this point, difficulty of Infinite Dungeon reaches a maximum and then stays the same forever. Would it be possible to instead increase the difficulty without limits (albeit slowly)? 

Yeah, we could do that. Sounds kinda interesting. Please file an RFE at the official bug and issue database.

<Greif> Which of these weekly releases will be open for public? 

None. They are just for the Wanderer level donors (and above). We have not yet decided if there will be any public releases before finishing all the new additions... might seem like a good idea given the fact that the scope of the project increased tremendously but there are no specific plans so far. This probably actually will depend on how well things start running during the first couple of months. I wouldn't expect anything more than "once per quarter" at best though.

<Marek14> Will the $25 pledgers get some special channel how to report bugs in the prerelease builds? 

For the sake of simplicity we currently intend to use the official bug database for that.

<miikao> So, have you ever considered outsourcing the actual coding of adom to some trustworthy people? This way you could just say what you want implemented or fixed and just check whether you approve the changes they made... in case adom deluxe won't take off.

There problem with this is that "checking other people's changes" probably is the most boring activity I ever cold imagine. I only see three options: (a) do it myself (with a very small number of very close people like I try now with Jochen), (b) completely open source it and get rid of the responsibility to focus on ADOM II or (c) do a commercial company. As you asked for the case in which (c) doesn't apply and (b) is out of question for reasons amply discussed we now are at (a), so let's see how this works out :-)

<too_silent> Will all the changes require to almost rewrite the ADOM code? 

No. And we try very hard to avoid new features that would require us to do so as the effort is tremendous and probably would break tons of stuff. Features requiring major refactorings are featutes to be done in ADOM II ;-)

<Harkila-> How will the names of the donors be gathered? I'm sure many (including me) used a nick simply because they didn't want to disclose it with Indiegogo, not because they wanted that name visible finally.

Over the next couple of weeks a series of forms will be mailed to all the applicable donor levels to request the final names to be put into the Tome of Donors, on the memorial web site, etc. So don't fear - you all will get a chance to look the way you'd want to look like!
You need to be careful with your mail account, though, as I do not want to start tracking the account changes of hundreds and hundreds of people. That's your responsibility.

<iasov> I'd like to ask Thomas Biskup if he was influenced by the roguelike Omega.

If I remember correctly (it's been a long time) I started Omega once or twice at most (but my memory is a bit faulty on that). ButI do seem to remember Omega pictures with wilderness and stuff and yes, those pictures really inspired me and partially got ADOM and the Drakalor Chain where they now are.

<grobblewobble> How will the new roster of wandering monsters work? If you design a named kobold, will players meet it earlier in the game than if you design a named greater moloch? 

Yes, special monsters will roughly appear at the level they usually appear (probably a level or three later if they have particularly powerful abilities) so you really will have to consider whether you'd like to build some not so powerful beasty that might be encountered comparatively often or some very mighty boss monster that only few players ever will see. 

Boss monsters might get randomly created when the game requests a random monster. The chance for boss monster creation probably will be something like 1:50 or 1:100 (I still need to fiddle with that) so they aren't extremely likely in any case. I really want them to be something rare and memorable. One of the special powers might be "annoying" though meaning that your boss monster has a much higher chance of appearing ;-)

Ok, that seems to be about everything. Let me know if I forgot anything of importance (but don't turn this into a new Q&A - I'd like to get started working on ADOM seriously, soon ;-) )

(and thanks for the questions and the great party!)


  1. Thanks for this post. A closed forum for testers would be a very great idea IMO. If you don't want to accept all these people by yourself, I am sure you would find more than enough trustworthy and willing people that would gladly help with forum amongst the pledgers.

    Also, for special abilities for monsters/heroes to choose from --> I have already some abilities in mind for my monster and they exist already in the game already. If they are not on the list I would have to choose something else?

    1. Most likely. I will compile a list of abilities that I deem "implementable in a reasonable amount of time and without creating too many new special cases in the code" and that would be the subset to choose from. If there are great suggestions I might consider them but I'll probably post the set to the blog or forum before the mailing to the donors to get feedback and be able to consider it ;-)

  2. I don't see any reason to make such a subforum private. Most forum members were contributors anyway, and there's nothing wrong with having input from the wider community in discussion about the game's development. Plus an open forum is easy to add and maintain ;)

  3. We need gnomes to be a generic monster race. Just give them the same stats as dwarves or something. I want to make my unique moster Twidgie (from our D&D game) and she's a gnome. Also: still can't believe we almost doubled the goal!

  4. I just hope ADOM remains screen-reader friendly (i.e. that tiles can be turned off or we could run a pure console version like the previous winbeta.exe). And one feature I would really, really like to see is the ability to have the 'w'alk command stop at corners in corridors. Since TB is going through the code anyways, it shouldn't be too hard to implement a toggle for that. With these two things, (screen reader friendliness and a 'w'alk mode that stops at corners) there will be no problem for blind people to continue enjoying the best roguelike ever.

    1. I'm looking at making a Roguelike Radio ep about making games accessible to the partially sighted. Would you be interested in taking part if you have some knowledge about it?

    2. Please submit an RFE regarding the corner issue to the bug database at and we'll see that it gets handled at some point. I've always been pretty proud about how well ADOM is received among visually impaired people and would like to keep ADOM's strengths!

    3. @Darren: Sure, why not? I would like to raise awareness. More games for visually impaired people is always a good thing, and often it's just very minor things that make or break a game's accessibility. I've just enabled the E-Mail in the profile here, so you can contact me anytime you wish.

      @Thomas: Thank you. I've created an RFE on that issue just now and I'm totally excited on how ADOM 1.2.x will turn out.

  5. I have a slight request, and others probably would agree:
    please make an official, open prerelease before you start working seriously on the new version.
    many people who haven't donated anything still did help to get this funded, by contacting their networks and such. for these people it would be quite unsatisfying to see the request for donations whenever they start the newest version.
    so just wrap up some new prerelease, maybe including changes that could be done in a few seconds, and release that as the newest stable version. of course before anything gets added that could be groundshakingly full of bugs. maybe call it version 1.1.2...

    1. Yeah, I have to agree on this. ADOM fans have been fairly generous, it would be nice to see an unrestricted 1.1.2 released to the community. Currently it's kinda annoying to start up the newer version with the added splash screen, and from what I've heard it messes with ADOM Sage compatibility (which is hard to live without after all these years).

    2. We are working on that. The general community soon will get one more final public release before we enter the official beta program. To be announced ASAP!

  6. We will release a new prerelease version without the splash screen in the next few days. The prereleases after that will be only available to the >= $25 pledgers.