[Idea] Souls-like Bonfires

Talk about the mods you'd like to see in Daggerfall Unity. Give mod creators some ideas!
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Macadaynu
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[Idea] Souls-like Bonfires

Post by Macadaynu »

Just thinking out loud here...

I don't really like the core combat gameplay loop of: kill an enemy, rest, quicksave.

I think this could be improved with adding something like the bonfire system in the Dark Souls games. So in every dungeon you can no longer manually save or rest, this can only be done at a bonfire. Therefore bonfires will act as checkpoints, thus adding a bit of tension whilst searching dungeons and keeping an eye on your supplies.

I believe this would also improve the dungeon exploration aspect, in that you are no longer just looking for a quest target, but you are always on the lookout for bonfires.

Bonfires could be spawned in random dungeon rooms (preferably in one of the many empty rooms you find), making sure they are not too close or too far from each other (Not looked at the code for this, but assuming it's possible). When a bonfire is discovered, a marker note could be added to your map to mark where it is, assisting with dungeon navigation.

Your HP/Mana/Stamina between bonfires would then have to rely on potions/spells to heal (could even limit the amount of potions you can use between bonfires, just like Dark Souls). So you could be given a certain amount of healing potions when you start a new game.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Ralzar
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Re: [Idea] Souls-like Bonfires

Post by Ralzar »

Have you checked out my Ironman Options mod? It is not QUITE the same, but you can set it to only save when you click campfires or fireplaces in dungeons.
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Macadaynu
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Re: [Idea] Souls-like Bonfires

Post by Macadaynu »

Ralzar wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 8:01 pm Have you checked out my Ironman Options mod? It is not QUITE the same, but you can set it to only save when you click campfires or fireplaces in dungeons.
Yeh I did notice that in the settings, but you'd still be resting after every combat encounter I assume. I wanted to combine the rest / save in a more Dark Soulsy way, so bonfires would be kind of exciting / relieving to discover.

Also not sure if your mod spawns extra fireplaces? I imagine some dungeons could have very few campfires

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Ralzar
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Re: [Idea] Souls-like Bonfires

Post by Ralzar »

No, but Climates&Calories lets you set up a campfire ;)

But yeah, limiting resting to campfires is something I have thought about. Heck, Climates&Calories will not let you rest if it is too warm/cold. So this should be doable.
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Macadaynu
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Re: [Idea] Souls-like Bonfires

Post by Macadaynu »

Ralzar wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 8:15 pm No, but Climates&Calories lets you set up a campfire ;)
Hmm then that puts you back in control of the saving haha. Although I guess it becomes more of a resource as your camping equipment will eventually break.

If I were to do this I think I would prevent you from using camping equipment in dungeons.

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Ralzar
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Re: [Idea] Souls-like Bonfires

Post by Ralzar »

Or rather, not use camp fires for saving. As you say, it is really random if there is a bunch of fires or none in a dungeon. So they are not very good candidates for this. Some kind of saving item would be better. I have been thinking of doing something like that for Ironman Options, but it's still on the drawingboard. Perhaps needing a piece of parchment and ink, which would be a limited saving resource. Or adding an item in dungeons. But that is a lot of work.
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Macadaynu
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Re: [Idea] Souls-like Bonfires

Post by Macadaynu »

Ralzar wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 8:43 pm As you say, it is really random if there is a bunch of fires or none in a dungeon. So they are not very good candidates for this.
I was thinking of randomly spawning new bonfires for when you enter a dungeon, ensuring all dungeon fires (existing and new) are adequately spaced apart. I'd need to look at the code if that's possible/easy enough though.
Ralzar wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 8:43 pm I have been thinking of doing something like that for Ironman Options, but it's still on the drawingboard. Perhaps needing a piece of parchment and ink, which would be a limited saving resource. Or adding an item in dungeons. But that is a lot of work.
Good ideas but as you say, a lot of extra work.

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Khrabanas
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Re: [Idea] Souls-like Bonfires

Post by Khrabanas »

I'll preface this by saying I don't have any experience in directly modding DFU other than loose file replacements, but I do play Soulsborne—specifically, the Chalice Dungeons from Bloodborne—almost religiously. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the chalices are a wonderful, unintentional successor to the labyrinthine, "two octopi mating" dungeons as featured in Daggerfall right out of the box (and thus, DFU by default). Ah, the joys of pulling a Theseus or teaching yourself how to triangulate and dead reckon out of necessity.

If you're familiar with how Chalice Dungeons work, you can feel free to skip these two paragraphs.
Unlike the "overworld" that is more or less seamlessly interconnected to one another, Chalice Dungeons are arranged in multiple layers—analogous to storeys in a building, increasing in difficulty as one descends (with an initial starting difficulty determined by the "Depth" rating of the chalice you created the dungeon from). Occasionally, like DF dungeons, these layers backtrack and connect to previous layers through side paths (as opposed to the elevator after a Layer boss, the main intended route), though in the typical Souls fashion of a door that only opens from the later end. The lamps/bonfires themselves are always arranged to appear in set locations: 1. The antechamber you first appear in when you first create and enter the chalice dungeon; 2. The beginning of the "main" area for any given Layer; and 3. In the Layer boss room, after defeating the boss but always before the elevator down to the next Layer.

For context and comparison, all naturally viable Chalice Dungeons (and most hex-edited ones, for necessity or user convenience) feature these structural points:
1. All Layers have a separate and distinct corridor connected to their entrance (whether the 'antechamber' or elevator) and to their end (boss room).
2. Potentially connected to these corridors are what are colloquially referred to as "Pre-Layer" and "Pre-Boss" areas—these do not have discrete lamps and not all chalices feature them in all locations, much like how not every potential connection in a DF dungeon block lines up with another block on the map.
3. Even though chalice Layers are distinctly labeled and apply separate scaling factors, they are contiguous and seamlessly interconnected. The only loading that is done is when you enter or leave the Chalice Dungeon as a whole, much like Daggerfall or the "overworld" areas of the rest of Soulsborne.
4. A Layer that, for some reason, does not properly connect to another Layer but does not have fully enclosed geometry opens out into empty space. This is just par for the course with how levels are designed, but it's especially notable because it, along with the fact that many Chalice Dungeons bear highly similar themed areas, suggests Chalice Dungeons are also constructed out of pre-arranged set pieces that are swapped out or shifted around to provide "randomness" when a dungeon is created.

Ergo, I would imagine the easiest but least elegant way to go about this is to actually incorporate "bonfires" by somehow designating their points on the block data that DF dungeons use, much like how Bloodborne defines its lamp points in set locales. Insofar as spacing between bonfires, you could possibly make a call that checks a minimum distance between each bonfire—if it detects another bonfire too close, then it removes the offender. Not sure if you want to do it as actual distance or some sort of estimation of walking distance (taking into account that a bonfire may be on a separate level entirely with no straight line of effect between them, for example).

I imagine you'll have to arbitrarily decide which section of a block is its "beginning" and "end", however, unless that's already defined somewhere. That might cause some wonkiness since quest targets in a dungeon can generally appear in any of those pre-defined spaces, so RNG might make your manual assignment of bonfires seem "backwards" relative to the quest target. Even then, it might still be weird relative to how a particular dungeon is setup; for example, Shalgora IIRC is a region I loathe to quest in because most of its dungeons are the ones with unconnected areas that you use unmarked teleporters between. Those dungeons are beyond annoying trying to rest in normally if something decides to get stuck out of bounds, let alone with stationary, sensible but challenging bonfire spots.

Alternatively you could play it safe and have bonfires at both points irrespective of whether one end connects to another block, resulting in a proliferation of bonfires locally, but not creating an overall oversaturation. See: Dark Souls 3; Dancer of the Boreal Valley + Lothric Castle, Dragonslayer Armour + Grand Archive bonfires. You walk all of maybe 20 meters between either of those, the latter doesn't even have enemies between each; but neither really do anything since the area between them is largely inconsequential anyways, being a transitory space between full areas.

To have true Souls-like bonfires, as in these are the only way you can recover your resources, you might have to rethink the interconnectivity of dungeon parts as a whole. Finding a shortcut back to your "recovery" spot while knowing you've actually cleared out an area is usually a key part of most areas with the exception of Dark Souls 2 where you tend to find additional bonfires deeper into a sub-section. That's less likely to happen if there's multiple paths through a section that don't converge, as Daggerfall is wont to do with some of its cross intersections and larger rooms/elevator shafts. Imagine having to go through upper Blighttown, reaching the bottom where you have to decide between going down the tree to Ash Lake or to Quelaag and Demon Ruins, but there wasn't a bonfire in that sewer tunnel. Most people would probably quit if the Great Hollow didn't have a bonfire of its own and they fell to their death on the way down. Or, imagine if the Great Hollow extended further upwards into the Depths, giving you an option to brave a different environment compared to upper Blighttown, yet didn't have a bonfire at the hypothetical border between the Depths and upper Great Hollow. The challenge of having limited resources and restocking starts feeling artificial, or at least unfair, at that point. I'm sure you already know but you will have to be very careful with the density of bonfires, and having more control over how dungeons are formed might help with that.

The other problem is potions or rather healing items in general. Dark Souls limits how many heals you have (with the exception of Humanity abuse), but in DF you can have as many healing items as you can shove into your pockets and not become overencumbered. Even with grasses having weight and carry limit in the remake of Demon's Souls, healing between save points is still a joke with enough preparation. We don't talk about DS2 Lifegems either. I don't really have an idea how to fix that other than drastically altering how Daggerfall works; it's important to consider that it is theoretically possible to never be hit at all and to take no damage whatsoever in the context of Souls games. The PC having far lesser HP (both current HP and potential HP through healing) and defence than any individual monster is okay because the player can activate 100% damage reduction (dodge) at will with the right timing and spacing. Meanwhile, Daggerfall's base is built upon pen-and-paper TTRPG rules where most actions and consequences are more of an abstraction than a clearly observed "big sword swings at you, you dodge out of its path." Especially telling is that the base classes have HP scaling like they were just transferred over from, say, DnD where the general consensus is that the basic party is composed of four characters engaged with one very tough creature or several weaker ones. Non power-gamed DF characters typically have similar or slightly higher HP values as equivalent level creatures, yet don't benefit from having their damage split up amongst multiple characters, nor can they reliably dodge incoming attacks (the Dodging skill and wearing armor are just modifiers to an existing dice roll, not active participation from the player) without abusing the AI's... questionable tactics. As bad as single fights are, the long-term battle of attrition is worse—it is entirely possible to need to rest a full 8 to 12 hours after fighting only a single rat, and that's... not good, especially if it adds up. These issues compound further with mods that add or increase the availability of healing methods or add other reasons to rest aside from healing (like, say, requiring actual sleep like a normal human being), needless to say, but compatibility with additional mods is probably a secondary concern.

I'm sure I sound like quite the prat; I don't mean to be discouraging—I love the idea of having a manageable consequence to failure since "you died, reload your last save" doesn't exactly do anything but waste my real world time. I'm just thinking of potential "feels bad/tedious" issues that might crop up as a result of limiting your ability to rest more than vanilla DF does. If anything, you might want to also consider what you already know: that dying in Soulsborne is not an end-state or even complete reset. You just lose fungible resources with the potential to reclaim them if you don't fail again, but you have to make it past the obstacles you cleared previously. Gold's not really the answer here; money is not actually a problem most of the time in DF, not even with loot overhauls—once you're past the first couple of levels, quests that reward you gold are actually profitable and if you do manage to get your hands on rarer materials or high value antiquities, you get a huge payout, more if you invest in Mercantile. And gold is easily turned into letters of credit or simply stored in a bank, so losing all gold on death doesn't really inconvenience you any more than carrying all that weight around does.

Game time might be the solution here. Usually if you're in a dungeon, you have a quest objective inside of it, and most quests are timed. If you, say, lost hours or even days between when you "die" and then "respawn" at the bonfire, you might risk failing the entire reason why you're in the dungeon. If you somehow made only slain enemies respawn as well, that's probably all that's necessary as a consequence for mistakes during exploration, unless you wanted to include loss of attributes/Maximum HP to a limit which... doesn't really seem to fit since we're not hollowing or anything in this game (plus that would require more scripting, its own solution, etc). Naturally, that's probably a lot of work to redo how the game handles PC death and definitely beyond the scope of "just" having limited save/resting areas in a dungeon. But I'd rather not lose the ability to save whenever I want because life happens, and permadeath is a no go because some deaths are just actual BS—unleveled dungeons with stronger monsters and complete RNG dungeon start while entering play literally next to two mummies is one of those situations. Challenging is fun and all, but that's more like some DM having a hissy fit and saying "rocks fall, everyone dies" while flipping over the game table...

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