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DavidW

SCS and the difficulty slider

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What did I just read?

This is what happens when you put something through Google Translate, then put the results through Google Translate a few more times for good measure.

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I love this change!

I've been intimidated by SCS for a long time, but finally decided to give it a try *minus smarter mages*.  I'm only a little way through BG1 on an EET install (just before Davaeorn) but what I've seen so far is extremely impressive. The first time I saw Carbos use "Poison Weapon" -- and I realized if he hit me, I was dead -- I knew I was in for a ride.  (Now that I think on it, if I got hit I could have run to the clinic to beg for the healing potion and survived. How awesomely realistic! My monk PC still kicked his butt.)

I'm now a convert. :)I especially loved the improvements to Ulcaster. Priest's tendency to run, while Sanctuaried, healing on their way out of range is very clever. Kobold mess in Nashkel Mines was loads of fun. "Lesser Vampires" around Firewine from another mod inherited your vampire AI. Very engaging challenge! Centeol surprised me -- enjoyably tough fight. Looking forward to see what you did with the rest. I reminds me of what I do to the D&D modules that I adapt for my home table. :D 

I have a heavily modded, multi-megamod install, so I tend to greatly over-level (level 14 or so going into SoA). SCS provides a great bump up in difficulty to match my over-leveled and over-equipped party.  I've yet to see how it will scale by ToB, but I have good hopes. 

In any case, I've been itching to try out smarter mages, but was unsure how to handle the pre-buffing issue. There's no way I want all the craziness involved there, with nearly every early BG1 mage and bard coming at you with stoneskin :O. With your difficulty slider alteration plus widget, I can fine tune it all very easily -- even on the fly.  I've been pausing my current playthrough to wait for IWD-in-EET, and now I'll wait for a completed SCSv32 as well.

Cheers, and great work!

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Great mod and updates as always DavidW. The new prebuffing seems particularly awesome for people like me who were hoping for something in the middle of the previous settings, and with more variety for enemy mage defences.

I wasn't sure whether or not you wanted feedback on the difficulty slider, but I figured you might like to hear how they line up with the typical settings other people use. I'm probably what you're targeting with the "TACTICAL" setting. At least it is very close to what I usually use. There were only a couple of things I felt stood out.

The most notable is the mages using HLAs. In vanilla ToB, some mages already use them, (Vongoethe, for example) so it feels strange to get a downgrade when installing a tactical mod. And I imagine the motivation for a lot of people to start installing mods like this is to see enemies using all the abilities available to them. The difficulty induced by smarter mages is much less prominent in ToB than SoA, so I generally think it seems reasonable for some mages in ToB to get HLAs. I also feel a bit the same about the melf meteors. They were one of the cooler features of the mod, and didn't seem all that overpowering. It would be a shame not to have them on the "core rules"-esque setting, at least for some mages. The only other thing I can think of is maybe it would be nice to have a half way point on dragon hit points between the (rather low) number in the unmodded game and the tripling on HARDCORE. Maybe something between 50-100%?

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Feedback on the slider is very welcome.

There are some semi-arbitrary decisions going into difficulty choices. One main driver is that I wanted some difficulty setting that corresponded to the level at which I play the game myself - that's HARDCORE. Since I'm fairly wimpy about HLA use by enemies (on thematic grounds as much as anything else) that ends up displacing HLAs quite high. But there's no reason not to have mage HLAs come in at TACTICAL for special ToB enemies and then get nastier on INSANE and above.

I can also see the case for moving Melf down to Tactical; I'll trial that.

Dragons I'll delay for later. 300% is I think about right in terms of feel and flavor for the way I play, and I don't really want to make mechanical adjustments at the TACTICAL level -but that may be a mistake. Other views welcomed.

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I think dragons are a little weak even with the HP increase (mainly because they always fight alone and have limited spellcasting abilities outside of their special dragon breaths), but of course, it's somewhat determined by your play style and party setup.

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@DavidW

Can you make the "difficulty widget" an optional component?

The reason is immersion. No other mods add such things in the special abilities without having it optional. It's obviously individual, but I myself prefer not to be constantly reminded I'm playing with this or that mod.

One could also argue that the new system of integrating the AI into the difficulty slider makes things more immersive, which is great! But that makes this "widget" stand out even more. 

It's a fine feature for sure, for those that want it, but I see no reason it should be mandatory?

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From v32 Readme

"You can override these difficulty settings for each component separately. A new power has been added to your protagonist's innate ability bar; activating it will bring up a dialog menu that allows you to set a difficulty for each component that you have installed. (For a very small number of components, there are additional difficulty settings above INSANE: SUPER-INSANE and LEGACY OF BHAAL. These are, intentionally, only activatable using the fine-tuned control (or if you have Legacy of Bhaal installed); this is so you don't blame me when your tenth-level party gets eaten by liches using Dragon's Breath.)

If you find the difficulty-control power annoying (and if you have the cheat console enabled) you can remove the control via a dialog option. The control dialog can be activated by typing C:CreateCreature("dw#diffi"). (Power users can also set difficulty variables directly at the console; see under Customisation.)"

No need to make it an optional component, the only real thing needed is as always read the readme ^^

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On 12/28/2018 at 9:14 PM, Lightbringer said:

The first time I saw Carbos use "Poison Weapon" -- and I realized if he hit me, I was dead -- I knew I was in for a ride. 

To be fair, this is because Carbos is kitted as an assassin in 2.5, a bug which is being fixed in 2.6.

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38 minutes ago, krevett said:

From v32 Readme

"You can override these difficulty settings for each component separately. A new power has been added to your protagonist's innate ability bar; activating it will bring up a dialog menu that allows you to set a difficulty for each component that you have installed. (For a very small number of components, there are additional difficulty settings above INSANE: SUPER-INSANE and LEGACY OF BHAAL. These are, intentionally, only activatable using the fine-tuned control (or if you have Legacy of Bhaal installed); this is so you don't blame me when your tenth-level party gets eaten by liches using Dragon's Breath.)

If you find the difficulty-control power annoying (and if you have the cheat console enabled) you can remove the control via a dialog option. The control dialog can be activated by typing C:CreateCreature("dw#diffi"). (Power users can also set difficulty variables directly at the console; see under Customisation.)"

No need to make it an optional component, the only real thing needed is as always read the readme ^^

I know this already. But this requires using the console which is even more immersion breaking.

@DavidW

What do you think? 

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52 minutes ago, CamDawg said:

To be fair, this is because Carbos is kitted as an assassin in 2.5, a bug which is being fixed in 2.6.

And indeed is fixed by SCS v32.

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20 minutes ago, agnes said:

I know this already. But this requires using the console which is even more immersion breaking.

@DavidW

What do you think? 

If you don’t want it, just click on it right at the start of the game and select the option to get rid of it.

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14 minutes ago, DavidW said:

If you don’t want it, just click on it right at the start of the game and select the option to get rid of it.

I understand. But tell me, are there any reasons why this could not be the other way around? As in it's hidden by default and you activate the widget via the console? I mean, the only ones that will want to change settings like those are people that knows about the console, anyway. Meanwhile, more casual or new players could possibly be a bit confused by the widget. Also, the immersion people don't have to even see it. And if they want to, they can also just as well enable it in the console.

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