Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

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Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Slartifer » 18-Feb-10 13:44

Hi folks! I've consulted this site, plus the Dungeon Master Encyclopedia, on and off for a couple of years and have found them to be an invaluable resource. I've been doing some testing of Dungeon Master 2 and have noticed a few things that are interesting, or are different from what is stated on the encyclopedia, and I wanted to share what I've learned.


SHIELDS & ARMOR

Shield defense power is definitely NOT ignored, despite what the Encyclopedia says. I ran 4 tests (with solo Torham) against one of the guards in the second village and recorded the damage I received with various armor setups. I tested with and without shields (2 Techshields @ 100, total of 200 defense) and with and without a typical set of strong armor (Techplate @ 160, Fire Poleyn @ 88, Techhelm @ 76, Mithral Hosen @ 40 = total of 364 defense). I mention the defense totals above cautiously as I am unsure of their impact. Also note that my tests were not extensive enough to have any confidence in minimum and maximum numbers, but the ranges listed should still be fairly average. Here were my results:

N Armor, N Shields: Avg 71, Range 30-123
N Armor, Y Shields: Avg 41, Range 27-61
Y Armor, N Shields: Avg 39, Range 15-68
Y Armor, Y Shields: Avg 28, Range 07-53

As you can see, just wearing the shields (I never used any actions on them) clearly had an impact on the damage received. However, this impact was smaller both in terms of actual reduction, and proportionate reduction, when other armor was worn. Looking at the damage ranges, shields also appeared to reduce damage more consistently (not stronger, just more consistently) than 4 pieces of armor with different defense ratings. I'm not quite sure what this means as far as mechanics of different body parts being targeted, etc., but shields definitely reduce damage.


WEAPONS & DAMAGE

I also looked into weapons and damage a little bit. My main goal here was just to figure out if, playing as solo Torham, I could do more damage over time by spamming a weaker but faster weapon, such as the dagger, with the first listed attack and just clicking as fast as possible. With a full party the wait time on weapons is never an issue, but with just Torham, there's time left over. The answer here is simpler: early on this is a great tactic, but once you face enemies with significant armor, low damage attacks do little to no damage. In fact the ONLY first slot attack I could find that could compete with the best third-slot attacks (Vorax Berzerk, Excysmyr Melee, Blue Steele Sever) was the Vorax's own Chop -- when spammed, it will do more damage over time than Berzerk, and use less stamina.

I was also able to discover that weapon strength and attack strength both affect damage done, but attack strength makes much more of a difference -- at least at high strength, high fighter skill, and against enemies with armor. That might be different under other circumstances.


STAT GAIN & CHAMPIONS

I looked very briefly at how your stats go up when you increase in skill level. I'm not sure it's exactly the same, but at first glance gains appear to be fairly similar to the ones described on this board for the original DM. I put this information into a spreadsheet and backwards-calculated what we would expect the stats of all 16 Champions would average WITHOUT their already-acquired training. The results were mostly unsurprising. I also added together Str, Dex, Wis, Vit, and Stamina to see who had the most points all around (omitting Health and Mana since gains made at high skill levels far outstrip, and do not depend on, original scores; and omitting Anti-Magic and Anti-Fire due to irrelevance; I also omitted Luck since (1) its effects are poorly understood, and (2) we don't even know if starting with a higher Luck will actually keep it higher throughout the game). Of note:

- The best all-around champions were Bane and Jarod (at 244) followed by Torham and Aliai (at 231); those four champions also have no specific problems or weaknesses. Equus was close behind at 229, but suffers from low Dexterity. The worst scorer was Cordain (at 193) followed by Uggo (at 198).
- Kol Del Tac, despite having mostly excellent scores, has an incredibly low base Stamina -- only 25! (The range for all other champions is 35-67.) Since Stamina gains are always dependent previous Stamina, this explains why his is always a persistent problem.
- All the hardcore magic-users have low Strength. Jarod and Saros are the most tolerable.
- Torham and Saros actually have negative base Mana, if you account for the skill levels they come with. Not that it matters.


EXPERIENCE GAIN

I also played around a bit with experience gain. I didn't use any kind of RAM watching tool, which would have made this process much easier and more precise, but I still concluded a few things.

- It was hard to tell if location affects experience gained as it does in DM and CSB. I suspect that either location or enemy difficulty plays a role, though.
- Compared to original DM, doing things while in combat seems to make more of a difference.
- Anecdotally, casting a new spell (or an old spell at a higher power level) seems more likely to trigger skill gain than casting an old spell. This observation could be explained in many ways, particularly by observer bias. But, it has persisted through all of my playthroughs.
- In practice, it was more effective for experience to just charge into battle swinging and casting wildly, than to attempt any kind of organized skill-practice session.
- Using weapon actions that are faster or give more experience helped speed things up, but not too dramatically.
- That said, attacking with daggers is definitely the fastest way to improve ninja skill.
- Attacking your own guard minions is a poor way to earn experience. This is in line with original DM where you need to be under attack to get the in-battle bonus.


I don't know how much of this is new, but hopefully it will be useful to someone. Comments are welcome. Criticism is especially welcome -- if I look to be making a poor assumption somewhere, or if I've overlooked something, please correct me!
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Christophe Fontanel » 18-Feb-10 22:17

I have removed the "ignored" keyword for shields on the DM2 items page.
For DM and CSB, I'm not sure what to do as I don't know if the shields are really ignored or not in these versions. Did someone check in CSBwin source code?
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Adamo » 18-Feb-10 23:40

Sophia did some searches about shields in DM/CSB:
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Slartifer » 19-Feb-10 02:54

Wow, neat. So I gather there is actually quite a bit known about mechanics in DM, extrapolating from the CSB source code... and presumably much of it applies to DM2 as well. Reading about the meaning of sharp resistance in that link was especially cool. Has anyone figured out anything about damage formulas in general?
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Adamo » 19-Feb-10 13:39

Damage formulas? Yeah, I think there was a thread somewhere about damage formulas used in DM/CSB code, but I can`t find it now. Again, ask Paul Stevens or Sophia, they should know that.
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Sophia » 19-Feb-10 20:36

A great deal about DM's internal formulas is known now, actually. The general damage formulas are definitely known-- I use them in my own attempting-to-be-accurate clone of DM, DSB. :)

So if you have any more specific questions about DM's formulas, I can probably help.
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Slartifer » 19-Feb-10 21:36

You mean more specific than "what are they?" :)

Well, I can think of a lot of numbers that presumably factor into damage done for various attacks on various targets. Weapon strength, attack strength, PC Strength, skill level, stamina level, monster defense, sharpness modifiers... PC Wisdom, skill level, spell power level... PC equipment, body part targetted, held shields, magic shield effects... Vitality, Anti-Magic, Anti-Fire, heck, Dexterity, Luck... the list could go on. I am really curious what the actual impact each of these things has on damage done.

This is at least mildly practical. For example, in my current solo rerun of DM2, I'm debating whether to go with the Techplate, the Fire Plate, or even the Cloak of Night. Knowing what the actual impact of the Techplate's high defense and Anti-Magic is, or the Cloak of Night's Dex bonus, would make that decision a lot easier.

If it would be easier to refer me to public source code somewhere, that's fine too. As may be apparent, I love this kind of game system deconstruction.
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Christophe Fontanel » 20-Feb-10 12:37

Sophia's investigation in CSBwin source code proved shields are not ignored so I have removed the "ignored" keyword on the DM and CSB items pages on the Encyclopaedia.

I'd like to point out that it is possible to add comments directly to the Encyclopaedia pages if you have a user account. I think it would be nice of you to add your discoveries directly on the Encyclopaedia so that people don't have to search in the forum for information that is confirmed to be true but not yet published by me on the Encyclopaedia.
Those who don't already have an account can just ask me one if they need to post something.
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Merudo » 26-Nov-16 07:51

About the stats of the Champions, I couldn't help but notice that the 4 heroes with the highest stats have very high stamina. Stamina also has a higher range (36-85, or 49 points) than other stats (30-60, or 30 points). Could it that you weighted stamina too heavily? Maybe 3 points of stamina should could the same as 2 points in another stats, or something?

Is the difference between a stamina 85 and a stamina 60 as noticeable as the difference between a strength 60 and a strength 35?
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Slartifer » 27-Nov-16 20:40

Wow, blast from the past. Thank goodness for email notifications.

This was six years ago, so I don't know what my original MO was, but I think Stamina is a surprisingly relevant stat. It doesn't take too long for moderately depleted stamina to have a painfully real impact on how effective your actions are. And as noted above, stamina gains seem to be directly dependent on previous stamina, so the proportions of the champions should hold up as they gain levels, something that is not true of most other stats.

However, you may be right that a lower weighting would be useful. The spreadsheet I used for this isn't really within arm's reach anymore, so... *shrug*
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Merudo » 29-Nov-16 06:06

I see! I understand stamina is important (Kol Del Tac is terrible!), but I've never really encountered stamina issues with my champions, so that's why I thought the stat was not that useful beyond a certain amount. For example, my Cletus always had plenty of stamina so I wouldn't rate Equus has having +15 stat points because of his better (85 vs 70) stamina.

You also computed the expected the stats of all 16 Champions would average WITHOUT their already-acquired training. I found the relevant numbers here. I was wondering, did you compute what would be the average stats, or did you compute the minimal stats the heroes could have (assuming scum saving for maximum gains)?
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Merudo » 29-Nov-16 20:31

]I computed the stats of each champion, if they had no level in any class. This allows direct comparison between champions. The table "Average Stats" are the average stats expected if the champion had average growth, and the table "Minimum Stats" are the minimum stats if the champion had maximum growth every level (through save scumming).

Note that the "Total" column exclude HP & Mana, for the same reasons mentioned in the first post.


Average stats:
Code: Select all

Champion     HP    Sta   Mana  Str   Dex    Wis    Vit    Total
Aliai        46.5  60.0   6.0  43.5  43.5   46.5   41.5   235   
Kol Del      48.0  25.0   0.0  53.0  54.5   35.0   48.0   216   
Anders        4.5  37.0  20.0  32.0  57.0   42.0   54.0   222
Het           2.5  36.0  21.0  34.0  47.0   51.5   36.0   204.5
Equus        65.0  66.5   2.0  55.5  26.5   36.0   49.5   233   
Graen         9.5  36.0  17.5  34.5  51.0   56.0   31.5   209
Cletus       54.0  49.5   5.0  56.0  26.5   32.0   49.0   213   
Bane         39.0  59.0   3.0  46.0  56.0   39.0   48.0   248
Odo          24.5  41.0   7.0  53.0  29.0   39.5   42.0   204.5
Cordain      19.0  48.5   6.5  33.0  39.0   39.5   38.0   198   
Tresa        18.5  51.5   8.5  45.5  51.0   40.0   30.0   218
Seri         13.5  57.0  10.0  30.0  46.0   48.0   43.0   224
Uggo         39.5  44.0   6.5  51.0  33.5   29.0   46.0   203.5
Jarod        38.5  67.0   4.0  36.0  57.0   49.0   39.0   248
Torham       29.0  48.5  -1.0  45.5  50.5   51.0   43.0   238.5   
Saros        51.5  41.0  -3.0  37.0  35.0   50.5   36.5   200


Minimum stats:
Code: Select all

Champion     HP    Sta   Mana  Str   Dex    Wis    Vit    Total
Aliai        43.0  57.5   5.0  42.0  42.0   45.0   41.0   227.5   
Kol Del      39.0  24.0   0.0  49.0  51.0   35.0   47.0   206   
Anders        0.0  35.5  17.0  31.0  55.0   39.0   53.0   213
Het          -3.0  34.0  18.0  33.0  45.0   50.0   34.0   196
Equus        59.0  62.5   2.0  53.0  23.0   36.0   49.0   223.5   
Graen         5.0  34.0  13.0  34.0  50.0   52.0   30.0   200
Cletus       45.0  46.0   5.0  52.0  23.5   32.0   48.0   201   
Bane         29.0  56.0   3.0  42.0  54.0   39.0   47.0   238
Odo          18.0  38.5   4.0  51.0  28.0   38.0   40.0   195.5
Cordain      12.0  45.5   3.0  31.0  38.0   37.0   36.0   187.5   
Tresa        13.0  49.0   7.0  44.0  48.0   38.0   29.0   208
Seri          8.0  54.5   5.0  30.0  46.0   45.0   41.0   216.5
Uggo         30.0  41.0   6.0  47.0  30.0   28.0   45.0   191.0
Jarod        34.0  64.0   1.0  35.0  55.0   46.0   38.0   238
Torham       19.0  44.5  -4.0  42.0  48.0   48.0   41.0   223.5   
Saros        48.0  39.0  -8.0  37.0  35.0   46.0   35.0   192


Based on this, I would make the following approximate tier list:

S tier: Bane (248), Jarod (248)
A tier: Torham (238.5), Aliai (235), Equus (233)
B tier: Seri (224), Anders (222)
C tier: Tresa (218), Cletus (213), Graen (209)
D tier: Het (204.5), Odo (204.5), Uggo (203.5), Saros (200)
E tier: Kol Del (216), Cordain (198)
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Merudo » 30-Nov-16 19:54

Interestingly, if you don't factor in Stamina, I get a different ordering:

Kol (190), Torham (190), Bane (189), Anders (185), Jarod (181), Aliai (175), Graen (173), Het (168.5), Seri (167) Equus (167.5), Tresa (166.5), Odo (163.5), Cletus (163.5), Uggo (159.5), Saros (159), Cordain (149.5)

We still see the familiar top characters (Torham, Bane, Jarod, Aliai). Kol & Anders are now along the top. Graen and Het do far better, while Equus & Cletus are doing poorly.

I'm still not sure how valuable stamina is. Except for Kol, I never had much problem with it. Stamina potions are also very easy to make, cost little Mana and are in fact one of the best way to train Priest levels.

Also I did not factor in Anti-Fire. However, there are quite a few fireball traps in the game. Should it be included in the overall stats? For example Cletus is persistently ranked less than Equus in stats, because his very high Anti-Fire is not factored in. Is that fair to Cletus?
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Merudo » 2-Dec-16 20:53

Oops, I made an error in my "Average Table". Here's the corrected table:

Average stats:
Code: Select all

Champion     HP    Sta   Mana  Str   Dex    Wis    Vit    Total   Total (No Sta)
Aliai        46.5  60.0   6.0  43.0  43.0   46.0   41.5   233.5   173.5
Kol Del      48.0  25.0   0.0  51.5  53.5   35.0   48.0   213.5   188.0
Anders        4.5  37.0  20.0  32.0  56.0   40.5   54.0   219.5   182.5    
Het           2.5  36.0  21.0  34.0  46.0   51.5   36.0   203.5   167.5
Equus        65.0  66.5   2.0  55.0  25.0   36.0   49.5   231.0   165.5
Graen         9.5  36.0  17.5  34.5  50.5   54.5   31.5   207.0   171.0
Cletus       54.0  49.5   5.0  54.5  25.5   32.0   49.0   210.5   161.0   
Bane         39.0  59.0   3.0  44.0  56.0   39.0   48.0   246.0   187.0
Odo          24.5  41.0   7.0  52.0  29.0   39.5   42.0   203.0   162.5
Cordain      19.0  48.5   6.5  32.0  39.0   39.0   38.0   196.5   148.0   
Tresa        18.5  52.0   8.5  45.5  49.5   39.0   30.0   216.0   164.0
Seri         13.5  57.0  10.0  30.0  46.0   47.5   43.0   223.5   166.5
Uggo         39.5  44.0   6.5  49.5  32.5   28.5   46.0   200.5   156.5
Jarod        38.5  67.0   4.0  36.0  56.0   47.5   39.0   245.5   178.5
Torham       29.0  48.5  -1.0  44.0  50.0   50.0   43.0   235.5   187.0
Saros        51.5  41.0  -3.0  37.0  35.0   48.5   36.5   198.0   157.0
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Re: Game Mechanics: Corrections, Observations & Questions

Postby Slartifer » 13-Dec-16 16:27

I need to rescind my "thank goodness for email notifications" comment. Gmail put one in my inbox, then two days later puts a nearly identical notification into spam. Bleh.

I'm fairly sure that for my stat calculations I used the average gains. I'm not excited by stat-scumming in general and I imagine it would be quite messy and slow to do in DM2 anyway.

I think the need for stamina depends a little bit on (1) what equipment you favor and how much crap you carry, and (2) what actions you favor. If you use weapon actions that are slower or use less stamina, or if you cast a lot of spells (which reduces the time you're using your weapons), it's less of a big deal than if you use the more damage-efficient weapon options -- which are generally some combination of fast or exhausting. Kol Del Tac is definitely in a league of his own in terms of how painful his stamina bar is, but I've found it to be relevant for everyone; again, it doesn't have to go down THAT far before you see a real drop in damage dealt. So I do think Equus's +15 Stamina over Cletus is relevant.

That said, it might not be AS relevant as the 16 points between Kol and Odo. However, I think similar arguments could be made for other stats as well.

I don't think fireball traps are a reason to include Anti-Fire, because you generally want to avoid those anyway.
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