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Subject: rec.games.roguelike.angband FAQ part 1

This article was archived around: Mon, 10 Nov 2003 08:36:30 +0000 (UTC)

All FAQs in Directory: games/roguelike
All FAQs posted in: rec.games.roguelike.angband, rec.games.roguelike.announce
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Archive-name: games/roguelike/angband-faq Last-modified: 2003-10-24 Version: 0.3.1 Posting-frequency: fortnightly Maintainer: James Andrewartha (trs80@tartarus.uwa.edu.au) URL: <ftp://clockwork.dementia.org/angband/Help/angfaq1.html> URL: <http://tartarus.uwa.edu.au/~trs80/angfaq1.html>
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Angband Frequently Asked Questions - Part 1 (Non-spoilers) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Originally compiled and maintained by Jason Holtzapple. Previously maintained by Ben Harrison (benh@phial.com). Currently maintained by James Andrewartha (trs80@tartarus.uwa.edu.au). For Angband 3.0.3 - May be inaccurate with other versions and variants. Modified in most recent update: 1g, suggested by pelpel. Angband FAQ Part Two (Spoilers) is available separately, however it is not up to date. Based on the source code, and information provided by: Jules Bean, Scott Bigham, Matt Craighead, Joseph W. DeVincentis, Ben Harrison, Jason Holtzapple, Randy Hutson, Stephen S. Lee, Rick Lim, Steve Linberg, Ross Millikan, Adam Schenker, Andrew Schoonmaker, Cliff Stamp, Billy Tanksley, Charles F. Teague II, Pat Tracy, Otto Martin, Tom Harris, Mynstral, David Thornley, Eytan Zweig, pelpel, Chris Kern, Leon Marrick and others. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Table of Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Angband FAQ - Part One: 1. General Information a. What is Angband? b. Who is Morgoth? c. On what computers can I play? d. What is the latest version? e. How do I get the latest version of this FAQ? f. Who's the current maintainer? g. Version History 2. Obtaining Angband and related material a. How to get Angband b. FTP sites c. WWW sites d. The Angband Newbie Guide (TANG) 3. Technical Information a. Expanding ZIP archives b. How do I use an old savefile or savefile from another platform? c. What is a "patch"? d. How do I compile Angband myself? 4. Creating Characters a. What is maximize mode? b. What is preserve mode? c. Player stat creation d. Birth options 5. Gameplay Questions a. How do I set game options and what do they mean? b. What effect does turning off haggling have on the price of items? c. How does shopkeeper rotation work? d. What is auto-scum? e. How do the cheating options work? f. What are the messages I get upon entering a new level? g. What causes a "special" feeling? h. How do I exchange weapons in Angband? i. What do the minuses in the name of a piece of armor mean? j. The game tells me that I must "Study" but I can't learn any new spells. What is going on? k. How does the fractional speed system work? l. How do I autopickup my ammunition? m. Introduction to macros n. How do I save macros? 6. Questionable gameplay techniques a. Savefile abuse b. Stair-scumming c. Monster farming d. Summoning/Polymorphing 7. About rec.games.roguelike.angband a. General notes b. Glossary of terms c. Questions on r.g.r.a d. Victory (or YAWP) posts e. Stupid Death (or YASD) posts f. Why do so many players seem to dislike or even hate Nethack? g. What's the weird code in some people's .sigs? h. Angband IRC 8. Suggestions for future versions that have been considered a. I've got this really great idea for Angband ... b. Let the player store money in his/her home. c. Increase the player's carrying capacity. d. Let players give or sell their items to other players. e. I want a real-time multi-player Angband! f. Increase the size of the player's home g. Allow the player to wear a ring on each finger h. Allow the player to load saved games after death i. Dungeon levels should be persistent 9. Programming Questions a. Where can I obtain the source code? b. To what extent can I modify the source and release modified versions? c. Is there any easy way for a non-programmer to hack the game? d. What are the *_info.txt files? e. I know how to program C, where can I get an introduction to Angband programming? f. C is ugly, can't I program in Lisp instead? g. Why doesn't wizard mode work in the version that I have? h. What is the borg? Why doesn't it appear in the version that I have? i. How do I use the borg? j. How do I generate auto-spoilers? k. What is CVS? 10. Variants a. Angband Variant FAQ b. What is OAngband-style Combat? c. What is the JLE patch? 11. Miscellaneous a. The game says that I'm missing a spellbook when I try to learn some new spells. What's the reason for this? b. What happened to player ghosts? c. What license is Angband distributed under? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Angband FAQ - Part One ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. General Information ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1a. What is Angband? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Angband is a single-player, text-based, dungeon simulation derived from the game Moria, an enhancement of the old unix game Rogue. It is often described as a "roguelike" game because the look and feel of the game is still quite similar to Rogue. Angband features many enhancements over Moria: unique foes, artifacts, monster pits and vaults to name a few. Many of these new creatures and objects are drawn from the writings of J.R.R Tolkien, although some of the monsters come straight from classical mythology, Dungeons & Dragons, Rolemaster, or the minds of the orginal Angband coders. The ultimate goal of the game is to develop a character strong enough to defeat Morgoth, who lurks around dungeon level 100. Upon doing so, you will receive the exalted status of "winner" and your character may retire. Angband is a reference to Morgoth's "prison of iron." 1b. Who is Morgoth? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Morgoth was 'the Dark Enemy of Middle-Earth' during its First Age. He was banished by the Valar (offspring of Eru, "god" of J.R.R. Tolkien's world) at the end of the First Age and thus never appears in The Lord of the Rings, set during the Third Age. Sauron, who does figure into those tales, was the most powerful of his servants. Read Tolkien's 'The Silmarillion' for more on the legends of Middle-Earth. 1c. On what computers can I play? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The most recent version of Angband can be played on Unix (including Linux and X Windows), Acorn, Amiga, Macintosh, Power Macintosh, Mac OS X, Windows, 286, 386 and OS/2-386 systems. Pre-compiled binaries for most of these systems are available. With the introduction of version 2.7, it has become much simpler to port the code to any machine with a decent C compiler. See the source code and question (3d) for more details. In particular, there is a version of Angband for PocketPC (formerly Windows CE) available at <http://mirrors.mksecure.com/angbandce/>, but there isn't a version of Angband for PalmOS, although you can get ports of iRogue and uMoria for PalmOS at <http://roguelike-palm.sourceforge.net/>. 1d. What is the latest version of Angband? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Angband 3.0.3 is the most recent stable version. 1e. How do I get the latest version of this FAQ? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Both parts of the FAQ are posted to rec.games.roguelike.angband fortnightly, although Part Two is currently in hiatus, pending updating. Part One is an official Usenet FAQ and is also posted to rec.games.roguelike.announce, rec.answers and news.answers. Part One (as an official Usenet FAQ) is archived at rtfm.mit.edu <ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/games/roguelike/angband-faq> and at www.faqs.org <http://www.faqs.org/faqs/games/roguelike/angband-faq> Part One of the FAQ is available on the FTP site in both HTML and text forms: * Angband FAQ Part One as HTML <ftp://clockwork.dementia.org/angband/Help/angfaq1.html> * Angband FAQ Part One as text <ftp://clockwork.dementia.org/angband/Help/angfaq1.txt> 1f. Who's the current maintainer? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Robert Ruehlmann (rr9@angband.org) is the current maintainer of Angband. 1g. Version history ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- This would be incomplete without a short Moria history as well: The first version of Moria was was written by Robert Alan Koeneke and Jimmey Wayne Todd Jr in 1983 for VAX machines. It was ported to Unix in 1987 under the name 'Umoria' and further maintained by James E. Wilson. In 1990, Alex Cutler and Andy Astrand, students at the University of Warwick, England, decided to write a Tolkien-based game based on Umoria 5.2.1 and Angband was born. Their intentions were to keep, or even strengthen, Moria's firm grounding in Tolkien lore. Their original changes included greatly expanded monsters and items (including uniques and artifacts), level feelings, pseudo-ID, activation, monster pits and vaults. The resulting heavily-customized Moria was not intended for outside release, but merely as a local version of Moria, to run only on Warwick's Unix system. Sometime in its development, before it was released and ported, the existing Unix code got the unlikely version number 'Angband 2.4.Frog-knows'. Over time, various people released various changes to Angband, including Sean Marsh, Geoff Hill, Charles Teague, and Charles Swiger. Ben Harrison, the immediate previous maintainer, performed a large and comprehensive cleanup of the code over several years, starting when he released version 2.7.0. For a more detailed history, including current contributers, see the Angband help file "version.txt" for some more information. The oldest version of Angband still available is 2.4.Frog-knows, the source is available at <http://www.funet.fi/pub/unix/games/angband/Angband-2.4.x/source/old/ang-2.0.tar.Z> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2. Obtaining Angband And Related Material ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2a. How to get Angband ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- You can get Angband in several different ways. The most common is to download it from a FTP or WWW site, as listed in questions (2b) and (2c). You can download either a precompiled version (available for most platforms, except Unix/Linux), which you only need to decompress to run, or the source code, which you have compile yourself - see question (3d) on how to do this. Another way to get Angband is via CVS - see question (9j) for how to use CVS. If you have a Debian GNU/Linux system, the "angband" package is available in the non-free section. Angband is also sometimes sold on CD-ROMs containing many free games - while this method of distribution is not strictly permitted by the license, it is not a big deal. See question (11c) for more detail on this. 2b. FTP sites ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- There are several useful Angband FTP sites. These FTP sites are often not accessible with the FTP function of a web browser. If you experience trouble, make sure your browser is using passive FTP or try a non-web browser FTP client. To learn how to use FTP, read the Roguelike Games FAQ <http://www.faqs.org/faqs/games/roguelike/info-ftp/index.html>, posted every week to rec.games.roguelike.misc. * Official Angband Development FTP site <ftp://clockwork.dementia.org/angband/> * Official Angband Mirror FTP site <ftp://ftp.greyhelm.com/pub/Games/Angband/Angband-2.7.x/> * European Angband Mirror FTP site <ftp://ftp.sunet.se/pub/games/Angband/> * Australian Angband Mirror FTP site <ftp://ftp.planetmirror.com/pub/angband/> 2c. WWW sites ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- There are lots of Angband WWW sites. Quite a few are geared towards particular variants or platforms. * Official Angband Home Page <http://www.thangorodrim.net> * Angband code page - put it in your .sig <http://www.harris.ukgateway.net/angband/code.html> * Angband Links page at Thangorodrim - lists many, many Angband sites <http://www.thangorodrim.net/links.html> 2d. The Angband Newbie Guide ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- An excellent source of gameplay information is available from The Angband Newbie Guide (TANG), by Chris Weisiger. TANG is available in the in-game help system, or from <http://www.thangorodrim.net/TANG/index.html> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3. Technical Information ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3a. Expanding ZIP archives ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- When using "PKUNZIP" to expand a distribution archive, be sure to use the '-d' option to create the 'lib' subdirectories, or they will have to be created by hand. This is not necessary with "WinZip". On Linux or Unix systems, use the '-aL' command line options to "unzip" so that text files are converted to UNIX (LF) end-of-line format. 3b. How do I use an old savefile or savefile from another platform? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The latest version of Angband only imports savefiles from version 2.9.0 or newer. If you want to import from version older than 2.9.0, including MacAngband 1.0 - 2.0.3 and PC Angband 1.4, you will first have to import it into Angband 2.9.3, and then into Angband 3.0.3. However, some older savefiles will lose some information during the import (for example, pre-2.7.8 savefiles may lose all or part of the monster memory and/or object memory). Savefiles are platform-independent. Be sure to use 'binary' FTP if that is your method of transfer. On a Macintosh, use the Import... menu item to import savefiles lacking the proper type ('SAVE') and creator ('A271'). 3c. What is a "patch"? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- A patch is a modification to Angband that alters the game in some way. Some patches add more features to the game, while others change the gameplay. Many patches are available from the patch page on Thangorodrim <http://www.thangorodrim.net/development/patches.html> The method of installing patches varies from patch to patch. For example, a LUA patch only requires placing some files in 'lib/script'; many others require the game to be recomplied. For the patches that require recompilation, there are sometimes pre-compiled patched versions available. If you want to apply multiple patches, you'll almost certainly have to compile your own copy of Angband. 3d. How do I compile Angband myself? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- To compile Angband, you need two things - a C compiler, and the Angband source. You can get the source from the FTP sites listed in question (9a). Most unix systems (including Linux) come with a C compiler (either cc or gcc). For Windows, you'll need to have either a commercial C compiler, eg Microsoft Visual C++ or Borland C, or download a free C compiler, eg DJGPP (will only make DOS versions of Angband) or Cygwin. For Macintosh, the commercial C compilers available are Metrowerks Codewarrior (at least version 5 to compile recent Angband version), while the Macintosh Programmer's Workshop is free from Apple (although this is untested with recent versions). Once you have both of these, go into the "./src" directory, and edit the appropriate "makefile.???" (??? = mac for Mac, ami for Amiga etc.) for your system, and config.h to set the compile-time options you want. Or, if you have a unix system, you could try the autoconf system - type "./configure" to use this. Then you can start the compilation, either by typing "make" or selecting the appropriate menu option in your compiler. The above are only general instructions - for more detail about compiling Angband for your particular system, see the Thangorodrim compiling page <http://www.thangorodrim.net/compiling.html> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4. Creating Characters ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4a. What is maximize mode? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- All characters receive stat modifiers based on their race and class (Half-Trolls get an INT penalty, Priests get a WIS bonus, and so forth). The maximize mode flag determines how these modifiers are applied to the character's actual stats. Since this obviously affects character creation, the value of this flag must be chosen before you create your character (birth options). As an example of how this works, imagine rolling up a High-Elf Mage. High-Elf Mages receive a combined racial and class bonus of +6 to INT; for purposes of illustration, let's say the stat roller rolls a 17 INT (the highest possible value before modification). In non-maximize mode, the +6 bonus is applied much as if the character quaffed six Potions of Intelligence. The positive side of this is that your character can get a starting INT of around 18/70, since each "potion" can give them more than 10 percentiles once they are past 18. The negative side of this is that this 18/70 is now your character's base INT, and without stat-boosting items, he/she can only push their base INT up to 18/100. In maximize mode, the +6 bonus is applied as though the character had swallowed a Ring of Intelligence (+6). The negative side of this is that your character can't get a starting INT above 18/50 (17 plus the +6 "ring" bonus). The positive side of this is that although the effective INT is 18/50, the base INT is only 17; once you've pushed your character's base INT up to 18/100, the effective INT without stat-boosting items will be 18/160! On the flip side, our High-Elf Mage also gets a combined -4 penalty to STR. In non-maximize mode, this is treated like quaffing four Potions of Weakness, but your character's STR can still be increased all the way up to 18/100. In maximize mode, you've effectively got a Spleen of Weakness (-4), which means that your character's maximum possible effective STR, without stat-boosting items, is 18/60 (18/100 base plus the -4 penalty). In summary, then in non-maximize mode, your character will get bettter starting stats, and all stats will max out at 18/100. This typically makes the early game easier, while in maximize mode, your character's starting stats aren't as good, but the primary stat(s) will max out above 18/100, while the "off" stats will max out below 18/100. This typically makes the end game easier. [Contributed by Scott Bigham] 4b. What is preserve mode? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Preserve mode" is named because having the mode on preserves artifacts. Characters created with preserve mode off will sometimes get a "special" feeling upon entering a level. This means that the level contains a pit, vault, or artifact. Any artifact which is lying on the floor when the player leaves the level will be lost forever. Characters created with preserve mode on do not get the "special" feeling, but as long as an artifact is not identified, it will show up again. (If you ID an artifact and leave it on the floor it will disappear forever once you leave the level.) See questions (5f) and (5g) for more information on level feelings. [Contributed by Chris Kern] 4c. Player stat generation ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Once you have chosen the race/sex/class of your character, their stats will be generated. There are several methods to do this, which one is used will depend upon what birth options are set (see question (4d)): Autoroller You will be presented with a list of the six character statistics (STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, CHR) and their maximum possible values for your race/class. Enter the minimum desired value for each stat, or leave it blank to accept any value. Once you have done this for all the stats, characters are rolled up until one that meets the minimums you gave is obtained. You can then accept or reject this character - if you reject it, more characters are rolled up until another one that meets your minimums is created. Point-based Each of your internal statistics starts at 10, which you can increase by spending some of your 48 points. The number of points required to increase a stat increases relative to how many points you've already put into that stat. Any points not used are added to your starting gold at 100 GP per point. Non-mamixise mode does not give better starting stats than maximise mode with point-based generation. Basic If you don't select point-based or autoroller, characters are rolled up one at a time and presented for you to accept or reject. 4d. Birth options ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Birth options are game options (see question (5a)) that only affect starting characters. Any changes you make to the birth options will take effect the next time you create a character. During character creation, you will be asked if you want to modify the options; this is the only time you can change birth options and have an effect on the current character. In some variants you have to press the "=" key to set the birth options during character creation. Some birth options (and the questions that have more detail on them) are maximise (4a), preserve (4b) and ironman (7b) modes, whether the autoroller or point based systems are used (4c), and whether to cheat death (5e). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5. Gameplay Questions ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5a. How do I set game options and what do they mean? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- They are set using the "=" command. To see what the various options mean, access the List of Options help menu with the "?" command. Doing this while in the options menu will jump you to the help section for the option that is currently selected. 5b. What effect does turning off haggling have on the price of items? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Turning off haggling causes all prices to be determined as the "best" price that could have been acheived via haggling, modified by a special ten percent "transaction tax". This tax is not applied if haggling would not have been necessary in the first place (if the item is very cheap or very expensive, or you have a good haggling history for the item, or you have a good haggling history with the shopkeeper). So, normally, it is possible to get a better deal by taking the time to actually haggle with a shopkeeper. 5c. How does shopkeeper rotation work? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The shopkeepers will change, but this can take a long time. Be patient. When they do change, all items in the shop are marked down by various percentages (from 10-90%) and all haggling and insult counters are reset. Different shop owners will give different prices for items for various reasons, and no shop owner will ever pay more for an item then the amount mentioned in the header of the shop's inventory list, which varies from 5000-30000. 5d. What is auto-scum? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- With autoscum enabled, the Angband dungeon generator will stop only on levels that it considers "good enough". The deeper in the dungeon your character, the "better" the level must be. See question (5f) for an explanation of what contributes to this calculation. If your character is not in preserve mode, the game will always stop on any "special" level. 5e. How do the cheating options work? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enabling any of the cheating options will mark the current savefile as a "cheater", and your character will be unable to make the high score list. Each option activates some special behavior which may make the game easier in some way. The various "peek into xxx creation" cheating options will cause the game to announce the creation of "interesting" occurances of the relevant topic. The "peek into something else" option will cause the game to accounce all changes involving shops. The "know complete monster info" cheating option will grant your character complete information about every monster. The "allow player to avoid death" cheating option will allow your character to "cheat death" whenever he would normally die. This causes your character to be fully healed, and instantly teleported to the town level. 5f. What are the messages I get upon entering a new level? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- These are known as "level feelings" and give the general rating of the level. You will only get them when you enter a level if you've been on the previous level long enough. Otherwise you will get a "Looks like any other level" message. "Long enough" is 1000 game turns, adjusted by your speed. For a normal speed character, this would be 100 player turns. Many players say that only "good," "very good," "excellent," "superb," and "special" levels are worth exploring, but this of course a matter of opinion. Valuable objects, artifacts, pits, nests, vaults, out-of-depth creatures and out-of-depth non-cursed objects all contribute to the "rating" of a level, and thus to the resulting "feeling". 5g. What causes a "special" feeling? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- A "special" feeling (about a level) only occurs if, when the level was first created, it contained an artifact, a monster pit, a monster nest, or a vault. As your character gets deeper in the dungeon, there is less of a chance that monster pits, monster nests, and vaults will cause "special" feelings. See the spoiler "dungeon.spo" for more detail. If you are playing in preserve mode, you will never receive a "special" feeling. 5h. How do I exchange weapons in Angband? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- There is a fairly simple way to exchange weapons using a default macro. Using the "{" command, inscribe your "primary" weapon with "@w1@w0", and your "secondary" weapon with "@w2@w0". The "X" command will then switch between the two, and you will be also be able to use the command "w1" and "w2" to explicitly wield the primary and secondary weapons, respectively. 5i. What do the minuses in the name of a piece of armor mean? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a to-hit penalty for wearing heavy or inflexible armor. Such armor, if not identified, will not show the penalty but it will still be in effect. 5j. The game tells me that I must "Study" but I can't learn any new spells. What is going on? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your character is missing one of the more powerful books containing spells that s/he can learn. See question (11a) for more detail. 5k. How does the fractional speed system work? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Basically, time passes in the world in small units called "game turns", and during every "game turn", each entity (the monsters and the player) receives some "energy" points, based on its "speed" rating. When an entity acquires at least 100 energy points, they must perform some action (such as move or attack or rest) which consumes some of their energy points. The higher the "speed" rating, the faster "energy" points are acquired, so more actions can be performed in a given number of "game turns". A "normal" entity has a speed of 110, and receives 10 energy points per game turn. A "slow" entity has a speed below 110, and receives between 1 and 9 energy points per game turn. A "fast" entity has a speed above 110, and receives between 11 and 49 energy points per game turn. Note that the number of energy points received per game turn is approximately equal to the speed minus 110, but the actual equation is more asymptotic. The current speed of your character, if not "normal", is displayed as "Slow (-N)" or "Fast (+N)", indicating the distance of the speed from "normal". The most obvious effect of speed is in combat, but it also affects the rate of food consumption (extremely fast characters must be careful not to starve), and the number of "player turns" that a character must spend on a level to get a level feeling on the next. 5l. How do I autopickup my ammunition? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Inscribe (the "{" command) it with "=g", then whenever you walk over an item that's the same as one inscribed with "=g" in your inventory, you will automatically pick it up. For more useful inscriptions (including how to stop fighting with your shovel), read the Really Quick Guide to Magic Inscriptions <http://www.fragment.com/~jl8e/angband/inscriptions.html> 5m. Introduction to macros ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- See the Angband help file "playing.txt" for a good introduction to macros, and to the "user pref files" in which they can be saved. Since macros are stored in user pref files, and not in your character's savefile, if you quit without saving your new macros to a user pref file, they will be lost. Angband will automatically load several "user pref files" when a character is loaded, for example, if I am playing a high-elf mage named "Fearless" on some kind of Macintosh computer, in graphics mode, then the user pref files "pref.prf", "graf.prf", "user.prf", and "Fearless.prf" will be autoloaded, which will themselves load "pref-mac.prf", "graf-mac.prf", "graf-xxx.prf", and "user-mac.prf". In this example, new macros sould be saved either in "user-mac.prf" or "Fearless.prf". A very in-depth treatment of macros is given in the Angband Macro FAQ <http://www.thangorodrim.net/help/macrofaq.txt> 5n. How do I save macros? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Use the "%" command. Option 2, "Dump macros," will allow you to save all the current macros into a user pref file. There is currently no way to only save newly added macros. If you are on a multiuser system, all pref files will be saved to ~/.angband/Angband, otherwise they will be in the 'lib/user' directory. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6. Questionable Gameplay Techniques ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6a. Savefile abuse ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Angband follows the same behavior when a character dies as many of the other rogue-like games. When a character dies, that's it, game over. Information on monsters that the character has seen (monster memory) is retained, but the player must start again. This is in contrast to most fantasy role-playing computer games that let you restore your game from a savefile if you die. Angband also differs from most commercial games in that there is no puzzle solving as such. This behavior has given rise to backup savefile abuse, which entails making a copy of the savefile to another part of your disk, and in the unfortunate event of death, moving it back to its original location and restoring the game. Almost everyone uses backup savefiles at the start, but as soon as your players stop dying with great frequency, you should probably stop using them. Your play experience will become more rewarding as a result. You certainly do not have to stop using backups, many players never do. As long as you enjoy the game, who cares? However, when posting winner posts to the newsgroup, you should note if you used backup savefiles. Note that it is possible to compile Angband with a variety of options which attempt to prevent savefile abuse and other security problems, but this normally only applies if you are using some version of UNIX. 6b. Stair-scumming ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stair scumming is a technique primarily used to generate levels with artifacts (special weapons and items). It involves loitering around a stairway for a certain number of turns on a "non-special" level, then using the stairway to force the game to generate a new level. If the new level is not "special," the process is repeated. The technique may also be used to force the storekeepers in town to refresh their inventory of identify and word of recall scrolls, restore stat and life-level restore potions, and light sources, since they restock every 10000 game turns (1000 player turns for a character at normal speed). This is also known as "town scumming". The first type of scumming is a more serious abuse than the second. There has been much discussion on the newsgroup on how to restrict this type of abuse. It will likely remain unresolved because of the personal decision involved, i.e. you don't *have* to stair scum. Also, many of the proposed fixes (for this and other forms of scumming) have negative gameplay effects for people who don't stair scum. 6c. Monster farming ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Involves cloning monsters with good treasure drops in the hopes of getting good items and gaining experience. Effective with ancient dragons, wyrms, druj, and many others. Can be dangerous, considering the power of the monsters. Also used in regards to "worm farming," which is an easy (albeit boring) way to quickly gain experience at low levels. This leads to the "golf ball" trick, in which a golf ball is placed upon a key to hold it down. This then repeats a macro that performs the worm farming for you. For more details about this method, see the Angband Macro FAQ <http://www.thangorodrim.net/help/macrofaq.txt> Finally, when you don't have enough money to afford that Ring of Speed in the black market, you can engage in "townperson scumming", killing the people generated in town for the (small) amount of gold they drop. Since some townspeople are dangerous for low level characters and/or don't drop much money, this sort of scumming (like most others) is an exercise for the high-level and patient. 6d. Summoning/Polymorphing ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Summoning and polymorphing monsters at low experience levels can be dangerous if the new monster is more than your character can handle. Summoning deep in the dungeon is perilous for any character. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7. About rec.games.roguelike.angband ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7a. General notes ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The newsgroup serves a dual-purpose role, supporting both game development and gameplay discussions. If you write new program code for the game, don't post it (unless it is really short); upload it to an ftp site and give a pointer. Also, since Angband and its variants are still in active development, this newsgroup has high traffic. 7b. Glossary of terms ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Common Abbreviations: * C?W - Cure (Light/Serious/Critical) Wounds * DSM - Dragon Scale Mail * FA - Free Action * GCV - Greater Checkerboard Vault * GoI - Globe of Invulnerability * HA - Holy Avenger * OoD - Orb of Draining * OOD - Out Of Depth * PDSM - Power Dragon Scale Mail * Phial - Phial of Galadriel * RGRA - rec.games.roguelike.angband * RLL - Potion of Restore Life Levels * RNG - Random Number Generator/Random Number God * RoS - Ring of Speed * WoR - Word of Recall * YAAD - Yet Another Annoying Death * YABWP - Yet Another Borg Winner Post / Yet Another Borg Winning Player * YACD - Yet Another Character Dump * YAFM - Yet Another Funny Message * YASD - Yet Another Stupid Death / Yet Another Silly Death * YASM - Yet Another Stupid Move / Yet Another Strange Message / Yet Another Silly Message * YAWP - Yet Another Winning Player / Yet Another Winning Post Definitions: * Borg - An automatic Angband player. Must be enabled at compile time. Precompiled versions of the game do not often come with the Borg. * Graveyard - a monster nest filled with undead creatures. * Ironman - a style of play in which you cannot go up stairs or recall to town once in the dungeon, and/or other restrictions. Can be enforced by setting birth options. * Nest - Similar to a pit, but containing an inner room and a random assortment of monsters of a given type. Monsters vary by depth, so a Nest deep in the dungeon can be very nasty. * Pit - A 19x5 room filled with a certain type of creature. * Vault - A special room that comes in two flavors, lesser and greater. They will often contain out-of-depth monsters and good items. * Vanilla - Angband itself is often called "Vanilla" when speaking of the many variants, which usually just have names with one or more letters tacked on it front of the word "Angband" (or sometimes, just "band"). * *band - Angband and all its variants. Generally used when discussing features common to all (or most) variants. * Wizard Mode - Used mainly by Angband coders to debug the game. Allows object creation, telepathy, etc. It is enabled by default, but can be turned off at compile time. * Zoo - A monster nest filled with animals. See also the Angband acronym page <http://www.thangorodrim.net/acronyms.html> 7c. Questions on r.g.r.a ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Don't let the amount of technical information discussed deter you from asking a question, but do browse this FAQ (and the table of contents of Part Two as well) and read some recent postings before posting yourself. Questions on strategy, bug reports, suggestions, and amusing stories related to the game are all welcome. If you give hints, you should be fairly sure that you have accurate information (or you may qualify your statements with a comment on your uncertainty). Although there isn't any plot to speak of, information about monsters or items is considered spoilers by some, so it's polite to marked them with "SPOILER" in the subject line. 7d. Victory (or YAWP) posts ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Victory posts are where you get to boast of your crowning achievement, the defeat of Morgoth. A victory post commonly gives the equipment list and statistic screen for the lucky King or Queen (through the 'C' command), plus a short summary of the game including highlights such as especially lucky treasure finds or near-death experiences. With a victory post you should state some facts like which version of Angband you are playing and whether you used backup files, cheating options, wizard mode. If you are a die-hard player and win with a self-imposed restriction (like "no artifacts") mention this as well so others will shower you with even more glory. 7e. Stupid Death (or YASD) posts ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is where you post your depressing stories about your poor, late alter ego. Other people may be able to empathize with you and console you; others may be able to offer tips so that you won't fall into the same trap again. Also, you teach others about your experience and help them avoid the same mistake you made. Posts that are in the form of a short, amusing tale often provoke a positive response from other readers of the group and do wonders at relieving stress. 7f. Why do so many players seem to dislike or even hate Nethack? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Nethack's atmosphere is less serious than Angband and sometimes just plain silly. Many people enjoy and play both games, there is just a different philosophy behind Nethack. Also, Nethack thrives on hundreds of individually-scripted responses to different situations in the game (using an uncursed wand of wishing while confused might give a totally different result than using it while posioned on a full moon), while Angband tries to avoid these. 7g. What's the weird code in some people's .sigs? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Some people place a copy of their Angband code in their .signature. The Angband code is similar to the Geek code and lists various things about your current character, playing style and thoughts on various aspects of Angband (and variants). You can encode your Angband code and decode others using the guide at the Angband Code page <http://www.harris.ukgateway.net/angband/code.html>. An example of an Angband code follows: A(2.9.1) DS "Niehao" HEM L:41 DL:2200' A+ R- Sp w:Ringil(+20,+23) A L H- D- ?c f- PV+ s- TT? d- P++ M+ C? S- I+ So- B-- ac !GHB SQ? !RQ V? 7h. Angband IRC ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Want to talk to people in real time about Angband? Then join #angband on the WorldIRC network <http://www.worldirc.org/>. There's generally people active all through the day, from all around the world. The channel infobot, Gandalf, has many features, including searchable artifact spoilers for all major variants. There's also a stats page <http://everything.vaevictus.net/index.pl?node_id=424> and a gallery of some of the regulars <http://angband.oook.cz/gallery/>. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8. Suggestions For Future Versions That Have Been Considered ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8a. I've got this really great idea for Angband ... ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- While you are free to raise any Angband-related topic on rgra, there are a number of topics that have been discussed many times before. Therefore, before posting on any of the topics in this section, you should check the rgra archives at <http://groups.google.com/> and check to see if you really have something new to consider. Also, Angband and its variants have many things that are a matter of personal opinion, and so there is no often no "right" way that a particular feature should be. In any case, the opinions that matter are the variant maintainers'. So, if there's something that the variant maintainer refuses to change, consider starting your own variant and doing it your way, rather than argue over it with them. Another reason why suggestions are not used is that they would change aspects of Angband that are essential to its nature. Angband has a long history, and so has developed a certain character over the years. Some changes, while they might make a good game, or even a better game than Angband, would likely make a game that is not Angband. To some extent, variants exist to address this, but even so they tend to adhere to the core Angband principles. 8b. Let the player store money in his/her home. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- This would make the monetary theft attack useless. Omega features a bank. Nethack allows players to keep money in bags so it can't be stolen, but this allows the whole bag to be stolen! 8c. Increase the player's carrying capacity. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- This idea involves giving the player more item slots or the creation of items like "bags of holding." If the character was allowed to carry a nearly unlimited supply of items, then there would be no strategy involving careful selection of equipment and inventory, which is an integral part of the game. 8d. Let players give or sell their items to other players. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- That would make the game trivial for low level players with friends and make rare items much easier to acquire. The "pawn shop" in town falls into this category. In Nethack, players can do this indirectly, because its "bone" files contain the inventory of the dead player. The roguelike FAQ contains a list of multi-player roguelike games, where this might be an option. 8e. I want a real-time multi-player Angband! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- There are two variants that offer this - MAngband <http://www.mangband.org/>, which is based on Vanilla, and ToMENet <http://www.tomenet.net/>, which is based on Vanilla and ToME. For more details read the Angband Variants FAQ, detailed in question (10a). 8f. Increase the capacity of the player's home ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The limit on the size of the home is part of the game balance of Angband - it forces the player to make choices about what they store and what they throw out. There are occasionally suggestions about having museums in the town to store particularly bad junkarts etc. in (and they cannot be removed from the museum), and there have been a few patches posted to the newsgroup that do this. 8g. Allow the player to wear a ring on each finger ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Again, allowing the player to wear only two rings is a game balance decision. As it stands, the player is forced to consider which combination of rings is best for their situation, also rings are powerful enough that 10 of them would make the player unstoppable. ToME allows possessors to wear more rings depending upon what body they are possesing, but this is balanced by bodies with many ring slots tending to not be able to wield a weapon or wear armour. 8h. Allow the player to load saved games after death ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- This goes against a core premise of Angband (and many other roguelike games): that death is final. However, you can resurrect a dead character by loading the savefile in wizard mode, but doing so will mark the savefile, meaning that the character will not be able to make the high score list. It is trivial to get around this restriction by save-scumming (see question (6a)), but it is unlikely that a save-scum feature will ever be added to the game. Conversely, Angband will probably not make it harder to load saved games after death, for the simple reason that any measures it takes can be easily circumvented outside of the game, and also inconvienences the player. In the case of ADOM, which corrupts savefiles after a game is loaded, there exist a number of utilites to backup savefiles to prevent the loss of a character due to a (program or computer) crash. 8i. Dungeon levels should be persistent ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Angband requires the player to kill many monsters to obtain the experience and equipment necessary to kill Morgoth, however few monsters are generated on previously cleared dungeon levels. Also, storing the entire dungeon requires a great deal of memory, which would prevent Angband from running on low-end systems (yes, people still use them). Storing just the dungeon layout and other variations on persistent levels hav been discussed, but nothing much has come of them. Several variants have experimented with persistent levels, including GSNband. Nethack and ADOM also have persistent dungeon levels. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 9. Programming Questions ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 9a. Where can I obtain the source code? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The source code for the most recent version is available via anonymous FTP. * Official Angband Developement FTP site Source directory <ftp://clockwork.dementia.org/angband/Source/> * Official Angband Mirror FTP site Source directory <ftp://ftp.greyhelm.com/pub/Games/Angband/Angband-2.7.x/Source/> * European Angband Mirror FTP site Source directory <ftp://ftp.sunet.se/pub/games/Angband/Source/> * Australian Angband Mirror FTP site Source directory <ftp://ftp.planetmirror.com/pub/angband/Source/> 9b. To what extent can I modify the source and release modified versions? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- You are free to rewrite sections of the game code and release your own version of Angband, provided that you retain copyright notices and proper credits, and do not attempt to make a profit in any way. The license is discussed in more detail in question (11c). 9c. Is there any easy way for a non-programmer to hack the game? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Figure out the format of the 'lib/edit/*.txt' files, edit them, delete the corresponding 'lib/data/*.raw' files (deleting them is not necessary in recent versions), and restart the game. This should not be done unless you know exactly what you are doing (or at least have a fairly good idea). These files should be treated in the same manner as "source code", and for those of you who do not know what this means, realize that changing such files may result in unusable savefiles and/or unexpected crashes. You have been warned! But don't let this warning scare you off. Most (if not all) of the 'lib/edit/*.txt' files have documentation describing their format at the top of the file. Changing values within each entry is not likely to mess up your game. However changing the order of entries, or what each item is does require a good knowledge of Angband internals, since there are still quite a few hardcoded limits. In any case, you should keep a seperate set of 'lib/edit/*.txt' files (or even a complete second copy of the game) for fiddling with rather than messing up the savefile of your character who's just about to take on Morgoth. Another way of changing the game is to write LUA scripts. LUA is a small scripting language embedded into Angband (version 3.0.0 and greater), ToME and ZAngband (recent development versions). Depending on the variant, you can add new races, classes, objects and stores. This is similar to editting the lib/edit/*.txt files described above, except that LUA is much easier to read. The main advantage of LUA, however, is that you can actually write small programs in it. For example, if you have a new spell you want to put into the game, you can define its effect as a combination of various other spells, add it to a spellbook and set its cost completely in LUA. You can also have LUA programs execute when certain events occur. This allows people who don't know C to customise the game to a greater extent than previously. 9d. What are the *_info.txt files? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The 'lib/edit/*.txt' files used to be called *_info.txt (eg a_info.txt for artifacts, r_info.txt for monsters) instead of the current artifact.txt and monster.txt etc. However, since this change was only recently implemented, most variants (and people in the newsgroup) still call these the *_info.txt files. 9e. I know how to program C, where can I get an introduction to Angband programming? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Have a look at <http://www.thangorodrim.net/development/index.html>, especially the "Angband coding style" <http://www.thangorodrim.net/development/coding_style.html> and "The Caveman Guide to Angband Programming" <http://www.thangorodrim.net/development/caveman-programming-guide.html>. These pages contain an introduction to the Angband codebase and programming style. Once you've read these, the best way to start learning is to make your own changes! Use the wizard mode to test (that's what it's there for) and pick up any bugs. Lather, rinse, repeat. However, it's probably best to start with simple changes, and not attempt to add/rewrite entire subsystems until you have a good idea of how the code works. 9f. C is ugly, can't I program in Lisp instead? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, you can. LAngband <http://langband.org/> is a reimplementation of Angband in Common Lisp. It is designed around a plugin strategy, with different variants as different plugins, although currently there only exists an (incomplete) Vanilla plugin. It also sports a new SDL-based interface using either ASCII or graphic tiles. 9g. Why doesn't wizard mode work in the version that I have? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The debug commands are intended as a debugging tool for programmers. While it is enabled by default, your system administrator may have disabled it for space or other reasons on a multi-user system. You can always activate the debug commands by compiling your own version of Angband (or by getting somebody else to do it for you). Using the debug commands will "mark" your character's savefile, and you will be unable to make the high score list that character. See the source code for more information. 9h. What is the borg? Why doesn't it appear in the version that I have? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The borg commands allow an automatic player to control your character. It is not currently enabled with most pre-compiled versions of Angband because of the additional memory and disk space required, but some special pre-compiled versions do include the borg commands. You can always activate the borg commands by compiling your own version of Angband (or by getting somebody else to do it for you). Using the borg commands will "mark" your character's savefile, and you will be unable to make the high score list that character, unless SCORE_BORGS is enabled at compile time. See the source code for more information. 9i. How do I use the borg? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Use the "control-z" command to access the borg commands, if they have been included in the version you are using. When prompted, you may start the borg using the "z" key, and stop it by pressing any key. See the source code for more information. Be warned that the borg may contain bugs! 9j. How do I generate auto-spoilers? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- You must have a version compiled with ALLOW_WIZARD and ALLOW_SPOILERS, which is most versions these days. Enter wizard mode, then type control-a and a double quote ("). 9k. What is CVS? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- CVS is a means of letting multiple developers work on the same project at once. It can also be used to non-developers (ie most of us) to download the most absolutely recent version of a game without waiting for an official release. This has some advantages and disadvantages: often bugs are said to be "fixed in CVS", which means that if you are suffering from a bug you should upgrade to the latest CVS version. However, since CVS is the development version, some features may be broken or not fully implemented. The Angband CVS can be accessed at <http://angband.oook.cz/cvs.php>. You will have to compile it yourself (see question (3d) for details). Scott Holder is currently doing daily compiles for Windows, which are available at <http://angbandcvs.homedns.org/>. A good guide on how to use CVS is the CVS HOWTO at <http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/CVS-RCS-HOWTO.html>. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10. Variants ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10a. Angband Variant FAQ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Julian Lighton maintains an FAQ listing all the known Angband variants. It is posted regularly to the newsgroup, and is also available from <http://www.fragment.com/~jl8e/angband/faq.txt>. For each variant, it lists the most recent version, development status (active or inactive), author(s)/maintainer(s), web site and download location, as well as a brief description of the variant. 10b. What is OAngband-style Combat? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oangband-style combat de-emphasizes the number of blows and the plus to damage. The base damage dice are much more important, slays and brands are more powerful on weapons with low hit dice, and critical hits and the plus to hit make a greater difference. As of February '03, DrAngband (version 2.9.3+), ZAngband (2.4.0+), and Sangband (0.9.9+) use some version of it. Some people have expressed the opinion that OAngband combat should be adopted by Angband. However, this is not going to be done (at least in the near future) because too many people feel that such a fundamental change with major implications everywhere in the game should be reserved for variants rather than Vanilla (the same applies to a wilderness, set or random quests, lots of new races or classes, multiple dungeons, etc.). 10c. What is the JLE patch? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The JLE patch (by Jonathan Ellis) is a set of files (*_info.txt and help) that alters the distributions and types of monsters, objects, and artifacts. It also adds many new items, most from D&D, or such variants as Oangband, PsiAngband, and Zangband. Many people feel that the JLE patch adds new interest to the dungeon at depths of 3000' and greater. It has been integrated into Angband since version 3.0.0, and many variants have adopted all or portions of it. It is available (with installation instructions) from the Thangorodrim patch page <http://www.thangorodrim.net/development/patches.html>. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 11. Miscellaneous ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 11a. The game says that I'm missing a spellbook when I try to learn some new spells. What's the reason for this? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- You are missing a book containing spells that you can learn. More often than not, your character needs one of the books that can only be found in the black market or deep in the dungeon. Only 4 of the 9 mage or priest spellbooks are readily available in town. 11b. What happened to player ghosts? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Player ghosts were removed in Angband 2.7.9, during a code cleanup by the then maintainer (Ben Harrision), who thought they were a hack. There have been proposals to put them back in, but none have come to fruition yet. Also, some variants (including DrAngband, OAngband and ToME) have reimplented player ghosts. 11c. What license is Angband distributed under? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Angband has the following license: Copyright (c) 1997 Ben Harrison, James E. Wilson, Robert A. Koeneke This software may be copied and distributed for educational, research, and not for profit purposes provided that this copyright and statement are included in all such copies. Other copyrights may also apply. In addition: All changes made by Ben Harrison, Robert Ruehlmann, and many other Angband developers are also available under the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE. Note that this doesn't influence the current distribution, since parts of the source are still only available under the old Moria/Angband license. Until all parts of Angband are distributed under the GPL the only valid license remains the original Moria/Angband license. This second license is due to an ongoing attempt to dual-license the source code under either the traditional license or the GPL (code-user's preference), but many of the earlier contributors are hard to reach for their permission to this change. There is more information about Angband and the GPL at <http://www.thangorodrim.net/development/opensource.html> So what does the above mean? Basically you can give Angband to anyone, but are not allowed to charge someone for it. In theory, you can't sell a CD containing Angband to someone, but in practice you could sell them a blank CDR, and then burn a copy of Angband for them on that CDR free of charge. Downloading off the internet etc. is all legal as well. If you are making a variant, the license does not compel you to release the sources. However, not releasing the sources is frowned upon by the Angband community, and it is likely that a large portion would not run it, either on principle or because they need the sources to compile for their particular system. There is more that could be said about the license, but it's boring legalese that would just clog up this FAQ. If you want further information, look at the above webpage, and browse the rgra archives at <http://groups.google.com>. Debates over the Angband license have a tendancy to get heated and most of the time don't accomplish anything. Be careful if you are considering raising this topic (especially along the lines of "I don't like the GPL.") ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------