MOD Request: Auto-Cast

Forum for discussing the Torchlight mod toolset.

MOD Request: Auto-Cast

Postby AnalogKid » Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:46 pm

Spamming sucks. Everyone knows it. But probably due to time constraints, that's how the "vanilla" skills (especially for buffs and summons) ended up balanced. There are some mods that solve spamming by extending durations, but that eliminates 3 aspects of game balance that most players feel are important:

- Brief periods of inactive skill (no buff or fewer minions)
- Concentrated mana cost at what might be an inconvenient time
- Opportunity cost of spamming instead of continuing to attack

We know these were intentional balance counter-points because some skills' durations increase with higher ranks, getting "better" (i.e. needing less frequent spamming) as a result.

Still, spamming sucks. Everyone knows it. So my request is as follows:

A mod such that chosen skills can be automatically re-cast when needed. This would preserve all the original game-balance elements (except players forgetting to spam), and save everyone's frustration, fingers, and keyboards at the same time. There are different challenges for different types of skills:

Buffs have known durations, but need to interrupt the player. If he's auto-attacking, for example, the only thing I know of that will still take effect is potions. To use a skill, he has to stop attacking (or moving, for that matter), _then_ spam the buff. Autocast mod would have to either automatically interrupt him, or else keep trying to recast until successful when the player takes a break.

If the interrupt issue can be solved, the buff could recast 1 second after its duration expires (or whenever, don't want to be too perfect). I wonder if the shadow armor duration discrepancy was intentional, so as to create a period of vulnerability before the player knew he should re-cast SA (of course it lead to massive bugs).

Summons have unknown durations, because they can be killed. Perhaps a trigger can fire when a summon dissipates, regardless of whether it was from duration or from death.

Another solution to each would be to create a simple timer skill that checks every few seconds and spams whatever is needed. This way, the player could still manually spam if he wants more immediate response.

There are other ways to solve this problem (my favorite being permanently reserved mana for buffs/summons), but they would require completely new balancing because they don't have the risk of brief down-times, nor the opportunity costs of re-spamming. This approach is as close as I can imagine to keeping the original gameplay, but just removing the annoyance.

Autocast is guaranteed to occasionally fire at some inconvenient times, which is a perfect "price" to pay for the convenience, imo. One could also require the Autocast feature of each skill to be purchased with skill point(s), further balancing the benefits, if it seems necessary (alternatively: if Autocast is a constant overwatch timer for all skills, it could be its own skill and higher ranks would have the timer check more frequently, leading to smaller automated down-times).
AnalogKid
 
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Re: MOD Request: Auto-Cast

Postby TSPhoenix » Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:36 am

One thing I was looking at was if it was possible to make skills like Spectral Echo, Ember Sentry, all the auras, etc have a Mana per second cost.

IMO that'd solve the balancing issue as it would mean your mana would deplete quickly so you'd be encouraged to turn off skills when you need the mana. For instance having Entropic Aura and Spectral Echo on and then using skills would drain your mana fairly quickly. As opposed to casting both skills, then having a ton of mana to use against crowds.

I think this would not only make these skills way more enjoyable to use, but also more balanced and less abusable. That said looking at how Ember Lance and Devastate work, it seems its not going to be as simple as I thought it might be to make other skills operate similarly with a mana per second cost.
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Re: MOD Request: Auto-Cast

Postby Vector » Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:59 pm

A fundamental problem I ran into, which I think will equally effect you...

I have as of yet been unable to get any secondary skill called to play an animation, the primary skill calling it overrides any animation...

Even if I give a skill no animation and ask it to call a skill with an animation, it just doesn't play an animation... the skill it fires applies its EVENT_TRIGGERs but they don't get fired until/unless some other animation trips them with a HIT event before their triggers expire...

Unless someone has found a way around this, I don't think Auto Cast is going to be possible without an Ogre plugin of some sort.
Vector
 
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Re: MOD Request: Auto-Cast

Postby AnalogKid » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:09 pm

Vector wrote:I don't think Auto Cast is going to be possible without an Ogre plugin of some sort.

Well, that's very bad news, but thanks for the reply. It's looking like I'll have to rely on completely different balance mechanics in mods, which means lots of playtesting and tweaking to taste, and a very unique experience that won't be comparable to "normal" players' experiences. Bummer.
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