Saturday, February 25, 2017

Fog of War descends upon Ancardia

Orcs tend to start with low perception..and thus can't see very far.

When deciding what features to add to graphical mode, one of our core rules is: graphical shouldn't show stuff that you don't know about in ASCII mode*. Just allow you to see more at a glance. So one promintent feature we haven't touched yet that fits this rule really well is Line of Sight.

How far you can see is dependent on your perception and modified by a wide range of factors. And yet ADOM does provide the current exact view range directly - the "l"ook command clearly states where your LoS ends by adding a "you recall:" prefix for tiles that are not currently visible.

However, the game doesn't give any clear visual indication, so we're experimenting with that right now. Zeno is doing his magic again so that you don't have any doubts where your sight range ends :)

This is a feature that you're likely to see both in ASCII and graphical mode. (Finally something new for ASCII veterans!). 

For graphical mode there's a subtle darkening of tiles beyond your sight range. The goal was to make it as gentle as possible while still having a clear border between visible and hidden tiles. Why go the subtle route? Internal testing showed that with very dark tiles outside of LoS, dungeons became really claustrophobic especially for short-sighted characters. Actually that sounds kind of cool, but might not be the best idea in the long run.

Line of Sight edges at 1:1 scale

So far we've decided that the LoS edge won't be very soft and rounded, so you can clearly see which tiles are visible. Downside is that the end result is rather rectangular and jagged. With soft round edges everything looks more natural, but sometimes it's confusing to work out which tiles exactly are currently visible. Gameplay and presentation clarity come first, so what you see in the image above is what we're going with for now. Obviously we'll be tweaking these values based on feedback :)

All in all it's a *really* cool addition, that changes the way ADOM feels. I've been quite surprised myself to see clearly how big an impact Perception and lighting conditions have on the game. It also makes the graphical playing field a bit more lively, that's always welcome!

PS. Speaking of feedback - some of you have been asking about improving some monster sprites to match their in-game descriptions better. We're already working on that and you can check out the progress and give suggestions in this RFE thread.

* I believe we have some exceptions to this rule, like item sprites being more informative than what you'd see in ASCII. But that hasn't been reported as a huge problem thus far :) and might change in the future.


  1. FYI, ASCII mode also has an option to 'H'ighlight all the spaces which are within LoS. However, it could definitely stand to be a lot less ugly.

    1. Thanks for the reminder, totally forgot. Shift+h activates the LoS highlight, so it's clearly info that is supposed to be available.

  2. Looks very cool! In important situations before in ASCII mode I've used the existing highlight feature, but by default it doesn't look great. In terms of a useful tactical addition this new feature is very welcome!

  3. Looking forward to see it! Needsless to say this would be really cool addition!

  4. Am I the only one still playing the "true" ascii version?? Always felt that the health-bars gave a slight advantage when playing the tile and not-eye versions. Not knowing how much health monsters have left always puts me on the edge. But I like that you are committed to keeping both tile and ascii version as alike as possible in terms of game-play.