Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Discuss anything about the original Dungeon Master on any of the original platforms (Amiga, Atari, etc.).
This forum may contain spoilers.
Forum rules
Please read the Forum rules and policies before posting.
Post Reply
User avatar
Gambit37
Should eat more pies
Posts: 13251
Joined: 31-May-00 11:57
Location: Location, Location
Contact:

Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Gambit37 » 23-Nov-18 10:25

The original mechanism for using the Hint Oracle in CSB involved quitting the game and rebooting your computer... which was a slow, boring process back in the day and quite a significant "penalty".

If the Hint Oracle could be picked up in DM and CSB as a usable item, what would be an appropriate in-game penalty for using it?

I've considered mana, stamina and health depletion but these seem a bit too easy to recover from.

Can you think of a good penalty that would make the player think twice about using the Hint Oracle?

Or is a penalty just mean and there shouldn't even be one?

Or maybe a Hint Oracle within the game itself is a bad idea?

Your input would be appreciated :)

User avatar
MasterWuuf
Ee Master
Posts: 736
Joined: 11-Sep-08 19:22
Location: Way Down Here, Louisiana

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by MasterWuuf » 23-Nov-18 14:36

There are a couple of places/puzzles which I remember to be worthy of 'hints'; meaning a person could eventually get disappointed with the game when they come across the puzzle.

The 'transport' room is one that comes to mind. I may have given up on it, the first time I played through Dungeon Master.

That was probably the first year the game came out (Atari ST). No internet. No friends playing and sharing their 'helps' on the game. I was able to get through and win with no help, so 'inexpensive' hints tend to make me think 'lazy person' hints.

Perhaps a 'non personal loss' penalty might be an interesting option?
I've always thought the dragon (Ty-REX) on the bottom floor was a disappointment. Could use of the 'hint' feature cause a dragon regeneration factor? It could be placed on that one floor (use the hint and 10 extra dragons show up on the level?

Using your imagination, you could make an immediate regeneration of 'difficult' adversaries wherever you decide would be more of a challenge.
"With a timid smile, MW withdraws his latest avatar"

User avatar
MasterWuuf
Ee Master
Posts: 736
Joined: 11-Sep-08 19:22
Location: Way Down Here, Louisiana

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by MasterWuuf » 23-Nov-18 15:05

Using the hint feature might cause the death of one of your heroes, dropping all their stuff on the ground and making your team travel back to a resurrection spot with the bones. No real penalty, I know, but a significant irritation in the game.
"With a timid smile, MW withdraws his latest avatar"

User avatar
Ameena
Wordweaver, Murafu Maker
Posts: 7144
Joined: 24-Mar-03 17:25
Location: Here, where I am sitting!
Contact:

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Ameena » 23-Nov-18 15:22

Eh, you could just reload and get them back that way ;).

Maybe the Hint Oracle could be a thing in the dungeon that you have to travel to, a bit like an Altar of Rebirth - just have a few of them scattered throughout the dungeon and make them a bit of an arse to get to but in a straightforward way (so that you wouldn't need hints to figure out how to get to the Hint Oracle ;)). Like put a load of monsters in the way or a press-button-and-run-fast-past-pits/fireballs speed test or something, I dunno. And then you could also give the Oracle a limited number of uses...or maybe each instance of the Oracle ("Oracle Altars" or whatever you want to call them) has a limited number of uses separate from the others. Or maybe using the Oracle "steals" a random item from your inventory and dumps it in a specific location you then have to travel to to get it back.

There's probably a bunch of different possibilities...those are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head :D.
______________________________________________
Ameena, self-declared Wordweaver, Beastmaker, Thoughtbringer, and great smegger of dungeon editing!

User avatar
Gambit37
Should eat more pies
Posts: 13251
Joined: 31-May-00 11:57
Location: Location, Location
Contact:

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Gambit37 » 23-Nov-18 15:41

@Masterwuuf: I like the idea that invoking the Oracle might cause actual death, but maybe it's a bit harsh :D I do like the idea that using the Oracle might summon creatures to be fought... perhaps the Oracle uses some kind of dark energy from the void and it awakens ethereal demons who are attracted by the invocation and can slip through the rip in space/time that the Oracle opened... oooh, yeah, that might work! Or it might just be really bloody annoying. But that's kinda the point: using the Oracle shouldn't be a completely free pass.

@Ameena Oooh, nice ideas! The Oracle altars could be a cool feature, but I'm not sure how the player would "tell" the altar what they want a hint about? The original CSB hint oracle reads the party location from a save game, and supplies hints related to the location. And I'd use a similar mechanism to be honest, so I think the party location is the best way of understanding where the player might be stuck. Perhaps then, the player has to drop some kind of marker in the dungeon where they are stuck, then travel to the altar to invoke it? Maybe the marker is an item created by a spell, and it can expire, so you have to be quick!

Lots of good ideas, keep 'em coming!

User avatar
terkio
Pal Master
Posts: 817
Joined: 10-Jul-12 18:24

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by terkio » 23-Nov-18 21:39

Assuming, there is plenty of food available, but a drag, a waste of time, hacking edible creatures for it.
I suggest, paying the oracle giving a lot of food.
"You can be on the right track and still get hit by a train!" Alfred E. Neuman

User avatar
ChristopheF
Encyclopedist
Posts: 1260
Joined: 24-Oct-99 12:36
Location: France
Contact:

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by ChristopheF » 24-Nov-18 09:28

In my opinion, searching for artificial ways to annoy, delay, kill or torture players is a bad game design recipe (sadistic designers or masochists players are free to disagree). So the Oracle should be free with no penalty.
If there is any kind of penalty (even a simple annoyance), people will save their game before invoking the oracle and reload their saved game right afterwards. Also this will push people to share their knowledge outside of the game so the solutions will ultimately become public (and without any penalty this way).
Just let people play how they prefer: either they want to discover as much as possible by themselves (that's my choice so I refrain myself from using hints) or they want to spoil themselves quickly because they don't want to search or they don't have the time.

User avatar
Gambit37
Should eat more pies
Posts: 13251
Joined: 31-May-00 11:57
Location: Location, Location
Contact:

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Gambit37 » 24-Nov-18 10:58

Thanks Christophe. Yep, this was my initial position too. But then I considered that some kind of penalty might be appropriate given the power of the Oracle. If FTL had been able to include the Oracle as an item in the original game, I wonder if it would have had a penalty?

User avatar
Ameena
Wordweaver, Murafu Maker
Posts: 7144
Joined: 24-Mar-03 17:25
Location: Here, where I am sitting!
Contact:

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Ameena » 24-Nov-18 11:52

I suppose it did have a penalty - a time-based one, as you had to do all the saving, loading, and disk-swapping that was necessary back then. Nowadays, none of that is necessary, not just because games are no longer on floppy disks but also because we have the Internet - it doesn't really matter what kind of hint features are in a game now, since most players can just instantly go online and Google for a forum or information site where previous players have already done all the work. Okay, if you're among the first to play the game then said info won't be there just yet, but I think if you're designing a game you now need to bear in mind that whatever secrets you put into that game are only gonna be secrets until someone solves them and posts the answers online for all to see ;).
______________________________________________
Ameena, self-declared Wordweaver, Beastmaker, Thoughtbringer, and great smegger of dungeon editing!

User avatar
Gambit37
Should eat more pies
Posts: 13251
Joined: 31-May-00 11:57
Location: Location, Location
Contact:

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Gambit37 » 24-Nov-18 12:03

Yes, I mentioned the original penalty in my first post and clearly that's not an issue anymore.

I'm not adding the hint oracle to a custom game, but going back and putting the hint Oracle into DM (as a fun addition) and eventually, CSB too. This is using Sophia's DSB engine which makes it all possible. So it's not about "protecting" hints to a new custom game, since everyone knows DM and CSB already. It's really just a fun nostalgic side-feature for us old-timers who remember the original games and their features. :)

I was just wondering if by doing that, there still needed to be a penalty for its use, but I'm now convinced there shouldn't be.

User avatar
terkio
Pal Master
Posts: 817
Joined: 10-Jul-12 18:24

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by terkio » 24-Nov-18 13:50

Good points just made here.
It makes me more thinking, the hint oracle is for gamers that want to play as much on their own.
There is no way to prevent cheaters to cheat, no point to waste time about that way of "playing", the Hint Oracle is not for them.
I played CSB, using no help but the hint oracle.
This said, a hint oracle for gamers that do play the game is great, IMO it is the right way for hints.
The author of the game can give well thought hints.
This is better than spoilers where players beg the author for hints, answered under pressure, lost in endless disorganised threads, dedicated to some of the players.
With the Hint Oracle the spoilers are embedded in the game, well thought, made to last.
"You can be on the right track and still get hit by a train!" Alfred E. Neuman

User avatar
Sphenx
Lo Master
Posts: 400
Joined: 9-Sep-01 09:23
Contact:

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Sphenx » 24-Nov-18 15:08

I quite agree with Christophe, and I would actually reverse the idea of penalty : why not instead give score points to player who solves a puzzle without using the available hint oracle ? Then you reward more a player that doesn't use the oracle rather than annoying him/her *more*.
If I had such thing to make, I may keep that score hidden until the end of game. That may also be used to add score bonus when secret rooms are discovered.
By the way, if the ingame time doesn't stop while reading the oracle, that may be kind of a soft and acceptable penalty since this is already the general mechanism when dealing with inventory, scrolls, chests, and will then require the player to find a calm place to search through the oracle to be not interrupted.

User avatar
Paul Stevens
CSBwin Guru
Posts: 4100
Joined: 8-Apr-01 16:00
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Paul Stevens » 24-Nov-18 18:40

Sphenx wrote:I quite agree with Christophe
As do I.

User avatar
Gambit37
Should eat more pies
Posts: 13251
Joined: 31-May-00 11:57
Location: Location, Location
Contact:

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Gambit37 » 25-Nov-18 14:40

I do too, now :) Thanks everyone for the input, it really helped. I'll implement the Hint Oracle without penalty.

User avatar
Ian Clark
Lo Master
Posts: 443
Joined: 25-Sep-99 13:07

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Ian Clark » 25-Nov-18 15:08

Have you ever played Waxworks? The player carried a crystal ball which was essentially a portable hint oracle. However, each time you used it, your psy stat dropped and if you used it too much, the stat dropped to 0 meaning you couldn't use the crystal ball again until you gained another level of experience. Perhaps something along these lines would be a viable alternative.

User avatar
Gambit37
Should eat more pies
Posts: 13251
Joined: 31-May-00 11:57
Location: Location, Location
Contact:

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Gambit37 » 25-Nov-18 15:20

Hey Ian, nice to see you again! :) Yep, my original thinking was along those lines, but I've now been convinced to let players use the Oracle without cost. (Though maybe a little deduction from Mana is fair: after all, it's the same way some of the DM items work already.)

Waxworks was great, I remember it was pretty gory...!

User avatar
Ian Clark
Lo Master
Posts: 443
Joined: 25-Sep-99 13:07

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by Ian Clark » 25-Nov-18 18:47

Nice to see you too. Unfortunately I only get chance to access these forums every couple of months now. I still have a load of RTC files saved on my hard drive that comprise several attempts at dungeons... one day I might string them all together into some sort of finished product. One day :D

slickrcbd
Journeyman
Posts: 89
Joined: 9-Dec-07 06:49

Re: Hint Oracle: penalty for use?

Post by slickrcbd » 10-Dec-18 07:15

ChristopheF wrote:
24-Nov-18 09:28
In my opinion, searching for artificial ways to annoy, delay, kill or torture players is a bad game design recipe (sadistic designers or masochists players are free to disagree). So the Oracle should be free with no penalty.
If there is any kind of penalty (even a simple annoyance), people will save their game before invoking the oracle and reload their saved game right afterwards. Also this will push people to share their knowledge outside of the game so the solutions will ultimately become public (and without any penalty this way).
Just let people play how they prefer: either they want to discover as much as possible by themselves (that's my choice so I refrain myself from using hints) or they want to spoil themselves quickly because they don't want to search or they don't have the time.
This has so much truth.
I'll point out The Sage from The Bard's Tale II.
You would need to consult him to get the location of the next dungeon, and you had to go in order because of what TVtropes calls "Beef Gates". In order to get the hint, you had to pay a fee. Except you have absolutely no clue what the fee is, other than more than the previous one (they were set based on what you asked about, asking for info on a magic item had a set 1000 gold penalty), but IIRC did not follow a liner or doubling pattern. Maybe there was a logarithmic or exponential one, but I was in junior high and did not take pre-algebra until at least a year after I played BT2, let alone algebra II. Anyways, if you guessed too low, The Sage would simply say "My memory fails me" and keep the money you gave him. If you guessed too high he'd give you the info you could have had for less with no hint that you paid too much.
No haggling about the fee, it's much like Priceline's "Name your own price" when they first started out.
It annoyed me that I'd often waste gold if say the second dungeon cost $2000 and I paid $4000 for the third dungeon only to find that that wasn't enough, I needed to pay $5000.
So I'd just reload. I did not find it a good mechanic.
Back when I was [first] playing Bard's Tale II on a real Apple IIGS there was no such thing as the World Wide Web, and GameFAQs.com was even more years away.

Putting a price for the Oracle would just make me do the same thing, reload the game. I'd even backup the save file if the game got cute by modifying the save file to make you pay the price.

Post Reply