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Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance [1.0]

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:35 pm
by Lork
Graceful Doom 1.0

Graceful Doom is an experiment to see if I could recreate the dynamics produced by pain chance in Doom without relying on random chance. Instead, a system similar to Poise in Dark Souls is used, allowing for a more "fair" and consistent experience than vanilla Doom. Depending on how tough they are, enemies will consistently resist weak hits, but can be reliably stunned by taking a large amount of damage all at once or overwhelmed by successive rapid fire attacks.

Pain chance is an aspect of Doom that is widely celebrated (it was mentioned in this video that has been making the rounds recently, for example) for serving as a novel way to differentiate enemy types and create unique relationships between certain weapons and enemies. However, I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds it a little frustrating that my success is at least partially determined by my ability to win a die roll rather than a pure measure of my skill. On the other hand, alternative solutions used by Doom's contemporaries such as Marathon, which had enemies get stunned every time they were hit, don't replicate the beneficial components of pain chance, so a more nuanced solution is necessary. Graceful Doom is my attempt to eliminate the randomness while preserving everything else.

The intent is to mimic the balance created in aggregate by the use of random chance in the original game as closely as possible. Each enemy type has a "Poise" value roughly based on their original pain chance and carefully tweaked to reflect the behavior expected of them and the tactics afforded by it - for example the Cacodemon's poise is just low enough for it to be reliably stunlocked by the chaingun or chainsaw, while the Baron of Hell can take a lot more punishment, but not so much that a well timed SSG shot won't interrupt its attack.

Due to limitations in the scripting system, poise damage is a direct conversion of the actual damage dealt to an enemy rather than a custom value for each weapon. As a result of this I've had to modify the damage dealt by each player weapon to make it do a consistent amount of damage based on the mean value of what it used to do. Otherwise stuns would still be somewhat unpredictable due to random damage variance. Honestly this seems like it's in the spirit of the rest of the mod anyway, so I don't think it's too big of a deal, if one at all.

I'm mostly done with it, but I'd like to get it out in the wild to make sure there aren't any bugs or other glaring flaws before I call it 1.0. Once I'm satisfied that no further changes need to be made I'll package it up with a proper readme and include instructions on how to easily integrate poise into your own monsters. Done!

I'm particularly interested in general impressions. When trying to recreate a system coming from a different angle, there's going to be some things that don't quite fit together the same way, so compromises must be made. I've thought hard about how to err on the "right" side in every case, but there's always something lost on the other side, so if you see anything that feels "wrong" or otherwise runs contrary to your expectations I want to hear about it!

Changelog:
Spoiler:

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:51 pm
by Big C
Interesting, gonna give this a shot---I always found the poise mechanic from Dark Souls really nifty, not leastly because it gave tank-type builds (my favorite in video games) a tactical advantage more interesting than "Has a ton of HP".

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance

PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:01 pm
by Lork
Big C wrote:Interesting, gonna give this a shot---I always found the poise mechanic from Dark Souls really nifty, not leastly because it gave tank-type builds (my favorite in video games) a tactical advantage more interesting than "Has a ton of HP".

Did you end up trying it? I'd love to hear what you thought about it if you did.

It looks like this doesn't really catch people's interest as a concept, but it's not embarrassing enough for people stop by and laugh at it. Truly the worst of all middle grounds. I mostly did this a learning exercise and it was successful in that regard, but it would still be pretty disappointing if nobody else even tried it out.

For my own part I find it to be a subtle improvement across the board and will probably be loading it alongside any vanilla mapsets I play in the future, but of course I can't really be a reliable judge of my own work.

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance

PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:29 pm
by wildweasel
Well, to be honest, this is certainly a good move for gameplay, because I've never particularly liked the existing reliance on one random value. Situations like chainsawing a demon or an Arch-Vile and not managing to trigger the pain state can be potentially lethal. I haven't actually tried it, but I probably should sometime.

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:03 am
by Dancso
I gave this a short try, admittedly it's kinda hard to get a quick impression, so I soon found myself spawning various higher-tier monsters to see how many shots they require to trigger a pain state.

Arch viles take 4 direct SSG shots to kill and will only feel pain once, technically they can feel a second one but it's really close to their death, you'd probably only see it using the chaingun or something of that caliber, and even then it's almost hard to take advantage of.
This roughly means you get to take a breather every second SSG shot (provided your bullets hit well), which feels rather intriguing, because it eliminates the chance of downing the vile without getting hit once in an area where you can't take cover. If you miss with a few pellets the second pain state might just be your saviour, though. Switching to a rapidfire weapon might be preferable if you know you've missed too many pellets.

Revenants... they can whoop your ass twice between painstates if you go at them with a chainsaw... I would no longer do that, unless you think you can pull of the melee distance trick where you back away just far enough that their swing won't hit, though I would consider that to be a very annoying fight, due to the "sticky" nature of the chainsaw.
Similarly to archviles, although they possess two pain states, you're unlikely to get the second one with an SSG, but that's not nearly as much of a concern, because they generally go down in two shots anyway, so your first shot might grant the only leeway you'll need.

Mancubi are fairly convenient to take down with a chaingun now, because they have a very little time window to fire a shot before they feel pain. If you start hurting them before they begin their "shooting standstill" state, they might just never get to fire at all.


Interestingly enough, this mod made me feel "unlucky" with my painstates, as if I had a higher rate of success with RNG. It probably stems from the fact that I'm usually banking on my first SSG shot stunning arch viles, and failing that I would consider it bad luck.
All in all this could be a decent mod to auto load, some purists might not like it, though I can definitely see it potentially used in Zandronum survival servers, for example.

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:34 pm
by Lork
Chainsawing revenants is a thing that people do? :shock: This is why it's good to get multiple perspectives on this kind of thing! Looking at it through that lens, I think my initial calibration of them was way off, so I'm going to try reducing their poise significantly. On the flipside, Mancubi seem a bit too convenient on second thought, so I'm going to bump their poise up just a tad. Both of these guys in particular make absolutely terrible test partners due to the huge amount of timing variance they can have between attacks, so the expectations we've all developed from however many hours of Dooming really are the best tool for the job.

I've uploaded a second version with the tweaked values, so feel free to try that out if you're interested.

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:55 pm
by Ethril
Lork wrote:Chainsawing revenants is a thing that people do? :shock:


I don't personally make a habit of it, but their painchance is high enough for it to be viable (slightly under 50%), albeit with a small amount of luck.

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:01 am
by Abba Zabba
Yeah, it's fairly viable, to the point where a minor bit of health pickups make taking down several one-by-one viable too. Mancubi push the envelope a bit, since a double napalm blast can outright kill you. Great mod, by the way.

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance [

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:22 pm
by Lork
So after a several month long hiatus during which I basically forgot all about this, I've decided that with a slight tweak to the way high poise enemies work, this is pretty much done. You can get version 1.0, proper readme and all from the link in the OP. I for one will be loading this alongside any vanilla wads I play in the future, and I hope you'll consider it too!

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:15 pm
by Princess Viscra Maelstrom
Abba Zabba wrote:Yeah, it's fairly viable, to the point where a minor bit of health pickups make taking down several one-by-one viable too. Mancubi push the envelope a bit, since a double napalm blast can outright kill you. Great mod, by the way.

i'm pretty sure that sawing Revenants is impossibly hard to do in vanilla Doom though. Arachnotrons, Mancubi, Barons and Arch-Viles are pretty much a no-no there i think.

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:22 pm
by Lork
Viscra Maelstrom wrote:
Abba Zabba wrote:Yeah, it's fairly viable, to the point where a minor bit of health pickups make taking down several one-by-one viable too. Mancubi push the envelope a bit, since a double napalm blast can outright kill you. Great mod, by the way.

i'm pretty sure that sawing Revenants is impossibly hard to do in vanilla Doom though. Arachnotrons, Mancubi, Barons and Arch-Viles are pretty much a no-no there i think.

He is talking about vanilla Doom, and it lines up with my testing of vanilla behavior. You should try singling out a given monster and just firing various weapons at it to see what happens some time; you might be surprised by the results. Arachnotrons, believe it or not have the exact same pain chance as Cacodemons and are actually much easier to stunlock because their firing sequence has a much longer startup animation. I also discovered that if you just sit in front of a Spider Mastermind and unload your plasma rifle into it until it's dead, you will barely take any damage most of the time. Who knew?

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance [

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:49 am
by Dr_Cosmobyte
I didn't. I am surprised no one came with a custom mod using your parameters. I am hyped to do a vanilla thing and would like to try this out! Can i have your permission? I will keep the values and parameters intact.

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance [

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:21 pm
by Lork
GAA1992 wrote:I didn't. I am surprised no one came with a custom mod using your parameters. I am hyped to do a vanilla thing and would like to try this out! Can i have your permission? I will keep the values and parameters intact.

You mean you want to do a vanilla level/level pack with this included? You're welcome to do that, although it might not be completely necessary. Graceful Doom is meant to be dropped in alongside vanilla level packs, so as long as you're not using ACS to spawn monsters or weapons, players should be able load GD with your wad and it'll work as intended, or not if they prefer. If you do intend to make use of ACS then you will need to include GD so you can spawn the poise versions of monsters and the fixed damage weapons, and that's fine by me... great, even. I want this to be a modder's resource of sorts. If you or anyone else wants to use it for your own projects, that would make me very happy - as long as you credit me, of course.

Let me know if you need any help with integrating it.

Re: Graceful Doom - A Nonrandom Alternative to Pain Chance [

PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:54 am
by Dr_Cosmobyte
Yeah, actually my intention is to do a little weapon mod. Some effects and stuff to take the player's attention until he/she can experiment the gameplay and get him tuned to the fact that there's a new painchance system. The monsters would remain the same, redefining every thing sounds like too much for me.

I'm a beginner, but i want to take it as a personal challenge. Hope i can get the job done.