Crawl Abridged


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Post Saturday, 25th April 2015, 17:44

Crawl Abridged

Crawl is too long! You spend too much time in a game doing the same thing over and over. It doesn't have to be that way.

There's Sprint, of course - but Sprint is not that much like the regular game in terms of tactics and strategy. You're constantly underleveled in Sprint, you gain piety too fast so that an invocations-only Qazlal follower is a good idea, and there's very little running away/picking your battles in Sprint.

Instead I have a suggestion. Crawl Abridged. The idea is that it's the full game of Crawl, except you skip (or "abridge") some repetitive parts of the game without missing out on the loot, xp, and piety. You get all the loot, xp, and piety that would have been in the abridged levels instantly upon completing a prerequisite level.
  • If there are abridged shops, the shops also appear once you complete the prerequisite level.
  • Permanent portals from abridged levels appear after completing the prerequisite.
  • Any timed portals from abridged levels appear one at a time after completing the prerequisite - if you enter and exit one timed portal, the next immediately appears. If any timed portal expires, you miss out on the rest.
  • Piety from abridged levels is based on the monsters that would have been present in the abridged levels, minus piety decay and some assumed use of your god's active abilities. This has to be tuned for each god to approximately match regular crawl.
  • The number of potions, scrolls, and phantom mirrors received from abridged levels is cut in half, on the grounds that you would have used some of them. This does not apply to scrolls of enchant armor, scrolls of acquirement, scrolls of enchant weapon, potions of beneficial mutation, potions of cure mutation, or other items that have a permanent effect.

To complete a prerequisite level means to kill 90% of the monsters in it.

Crawl abridged consists of the following levels.
D1-10 unchanged, because I find this part of the game interesting. Lair is guaranteed on D8-10, orc is guaranteed on D9-10.
D:14 contains the vaults entrance. D:11-13 are abridged, and D:14 is the prerequisite for them.
D:15 contains the depths entrance.
Lair consists of Lair:2, lair:7, and lair:8. Lair:2 is the prerequisite for the abridged levels Lair:1, Lair:3, and Lair:4. Lair:7 is the prerequisite for Lair:5 and Lair:6.
Orc consists only of Orc:4, which is the prerequisite for the abridged Orc1-3.
Elf consists of Elf:2 and Elf:3. Elf:2 is the prerequisite for the abridged Elf:1.
Swamp consists of Swamp:4 and Swamp:5. Swamp:4 is the prerequisite for Swamp:1-3.
Shoals consists of Shoals:4 and Shoals:5. Shoals:5 is the prerequisite for Shoals:1-3.
Spider consists of Spider:4 and Spider:5. Spider:4 is the prerequisite for Spider:1-3.
Snake consists of Snake:4 and Snake:5. Snake:4 is the prerequisite for Snake:1-3.
Slime consists of Slime:6. Slime:6 is not a prerequisite for Slime:1-5; the xp from Slime:1-5 is simply missing, since most people just dive straight to slime:6 without clearing.
Vaults consists of Vaults:4 and Vaults:5. Vaults:4 is a prerequisite for Vaults:1-3.
Depths consists of Depths:4 and Depths:5. Depths:4 is a prerequisite for Depths:1-3.
Zot consists of Zot:1-5 unchanged. My reasoning is that many players such as myself dive straight to zot:5, and this diving is strategically interesting.
The vestibule of Hell is unchanged
Hell branches consist only of their final, seventh level. The previous six levels are simply missing.
Pandemonium has the following change: if there are pan runes you could still get, every pan level is guaranteed to contain one of them. This is achieved by generating and discarding Pan levels that don't contain a rune until one is generated that does contain it.
Abyss is unchanged.


Additional changes for Crawl Abridged, aimed at speeding up gameplay and reducing annoyance:
  • No monster spawning.
Is it really fun to keep getting interrupted as you rest? It's not.

  • Instead of bottling blood from corpses, vampires carry a flask of blood, which functions like an infinite stack of potions of blood.
  • Other characters that can eat chunks carry around a "cornucopia," which functions like an infinite stack of chunks that do not decay.
  • For ghouls, the cornucopia is called a "rotting corpse" (just for flavor).
My reasoning here is that chunk management is an irritation, but doing away with food entirely would eliminate the consideration of starving during a fight, which is sometimes relevant.

  • Characters have a "cart." A cart is an auxiliary inventory of infinite size. At any time, you can move items between your inventory and your cart, including items you are wearing or wielding; the only purpose of the regular inventory is so that items can be accessed with a single letter.
Inventory management is nothing but a pain that almost never makes anyone make real compromises. Let's get rid of it.
Last edited by Berder on Saturday, 25th April 2015, 18:07, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Saturday, 25th April 2015, 17:52

Re: Crawl Abridged

If you coded this I would try it, I think crawl would benefit from getting cut in half.

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Post Saturday, 25th April 2015, 18:30

Re: Crawl Abridged

I believe that there's developer concensus on this: the game is rather too long. (This referes to the standard game, i.e. three runes and win. I don't think there is concensus for the extended game, that's also much less relevant.) The game has been shortened for a while, and continues to do so: just now a new trunk branch has been set up where the four Lair subbranches are cut down to four levels (from five). This is a pretty slow approach, but (a) we have the time, and (b) it means that the risk of distorting global balance is low.

re: Sprint: Might be a good idea to adjust the piety factor.

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 00:38

Re: Crawl Abridged

Really it seems like the easiest way to shorten the game (course it'd take retuning after) is straight half the length of everything and multiply the amount of XP monsters give by 2 to give similar HP totals per branch.

  • Dungeon: 8 levels deep.
    • Orc: 2 levels deep. Found on D:5-6.
      • Elf: 1 Level, Deadly. Found on Orc:2.
    • Lair: 4 levels deep. Found on D:4-6.
      • Shoals/Swamp: 3 Levels deep. Found Lair: 2-3.
      • Spider/Snake: 3 Levels deep. Found Lair: 2-3.
      • Slime: 3 Levels deep. Found Lair: 4.
    • Vaults: 3 Levels deep. Found D:7.
        Crypt: 2 Levels deep. Found Vaults: 2.
        • Tomb: 1 Level, Deadly. Found Crypt:2.
      • Depths: 3 Levels deep. Found D:8.
        • Zot: 3 Levels deep. Found U:3.

Portals:
  • Vestibule of Hell: Unchanged.
    • Gehenna: 3 Levels Deep.
    • Cocytus: 3 Levels Deep.
    • Dis: 3 Levels Deep.
    • Tartarus: 3 Levels Deep.
  • Abyss: 3 Levels Deep. Rune found 2-3.
  • Pandemonium: Change? [Find runes faster? I guess]
I'm beginning to feel like a Cat God! Felid streaks: {FeVM^Sif Muna, FeWn^Dithmenos, FeAr^Pakellas}, {FeEE^Ashenzari, FeEn^Gozag, FeNe^Sif Muna, FeAE^Vehumet...(ongoing)}
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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 01:11

Re: Crawl Abridged

bcadren wrote:Portals:
  • Vestibule of Hell: Unchanged.
    • Gehenna: 3 Levels Deep.
    • Cocytus: 3 Levels Deep.
    • Dis: 3 Levels Deep.
    • Tartarus: 3 Levels Deep.
  • Abyss: 3 Levels Deep. Rune found 2-3.
  • Pandemonium: Change? [Find runes faster? I guess]

If there's anywhere, anywhere in Crawl I would *not* shorten, it would be Hells. The seven levels of diving is excellent.
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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 01:49

Re: Crawl Abridged

I am not a very good player. My mouth is a foul pit of LIES. KNOW THIS.

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 03:40

Re: Crawl Abridged

bcadren wrote:Really it seems like the easiest way to shorten the game (course it'd take retuning after) is straight half the length of everything and multiply the amount of XP monsters give by 2 to give similar HP totals per branch.

This is similar to what Sprint does, but there is a problem with it when it comes to piety gain. Suppose the game is half as long, with half as many monsters and half as much explorable territory.
  • suppose piety gain is multiplied by two to compensate, like in Sprint. What does this mean? It means you can use god abilities twice as often per enemy; this changes the balance and makes certain gods like Qazlal much more powerful
  • suppose piety gain is unchanged. What does this mean? It means you can use god abilities the same amount per enemy as you currently can, which preserves that balance. But it also means that by the time you reach 5* or 6* piety you'll be twice as far along in the game, which wrecks that balance.
  • Is there a middle ground? Suppose piety gain is multiplied by 1.5. That means you can use god abilities 1.5x as often per enemy - which changes one kind of balance - but by the time you reach 5* or 6* piety you'll be 1.5x as far along in the game, which changes that balance too. So there is no middle ground. Whatever multiplier you choose, the game balance will be changed.
My solution fixes this problem by giving you set amounts of piety after completing a level, while piety use within the level is like normal, so that it preserves the piety balance of the game.
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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 06:54

Re: Crawl Abridged

Berder wrote:
bcadren wrote:Really it seems like the easiest way to shorten the game (course it'd take retuning after) is straight half the length of everything and multiply the amount of XP monsters give by 2 to give similar HP totals per branch.

This is similar to what Sprint does, but there is a problem with it when it comes to piety gain. Suppose the game is half as long, with half as many monsters and half as much explorable territory.
Easier solution. Double piety gain. Increase piety costs of abilities and conduct breaks (maybe not all the way to double because of all the ability breakpoints in piety).
I'm beginning to feel like a Cat God! Felid streaks: {FeVM^Sif Muna, FeWn^Dithmenos, FeAr^Pakellas}, {FeEE^Ashenzari, FeEn^Gozag, FeNe^Sif Muna, FeAE^Vehumet...(ongoing)}

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 12:04

Re: Crawl Abridged

Berder wrote:suppose piety gain is multiplied by two to compensate, like in Sprint. What does this mean? It means you can use god abilities twice as often per enemy; this changes the balance and makes certain gods like Qazlal much more powerful

Why not just multiply piety costs for abilities by 2?

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 13:37

Re: Crawl Abridged

bel wrote:
Berder wrote:suppose piety gain is multiplied by two to compensate, like in Sprint. What does this mean? It means you can use god abilities twice as often per enemy; this changes the balance and makes certain gods like Qazlal much more powerful

Why not just multiply piety costs for abilities by 2?

That could work, however then you have fewer uses of abilities in a single fight before your piety drops too low. So it's not quite the same.

The other consideration is that fights can be divided into two categories - those where you do need or want to use piety abilities and therefore lose piety over the course of the fight, and those where you don't need piety abilities and therefore gain piety over the course of the fight. If you cut out the monotonous parts of the game while keeping branch ends, you reduce the number of piety-gaining fights by a lot, while reducing the number of piety-losing fights by only a little. It follows that the factors by which you change piety gain or costs can't simply be the factor by which the game is shortened, but have to be fine-tuned.

Also, which fights are piety-gaining and which are piety-losing depends on the god. So the factors can't be the same for all gods; they have to be customized for each god.

The solution I propose requires less fine-tuning to maintain the balance of the current game.
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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 15:39

Re: Crawl Abridged

I very much like the idea of 3-rune Crawl being compressed and accelerated (more dramatically than currently planned).

I like Sprints a lot, but they feel more like puzzles than an adventure. I couldn't recommend someone start learning Crawl on a Sprint. But an exploration game that was paced closer to Sprint would be excellent.

I'm in the same general ballpark as Berder that D stays interesting for quite a while, and the branches tend to turn into slogs. Most characters I lose in mid-late game are because I am getting bored/careless, sometimes bored/could-not-care-less. I almost never play extended.

Trying to simulate level completion sounds awkward. Dropping levels and scaling up XP and rewards seems simpler. That said, I'd play either if it was coded up. I agree that balance would take some experimental tuning, not just for piety.

bel

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 16:57

Re: Crawl Abridged

Berder wrote:That could work, however then you have fewer uses of abilities in a single fight before your piety drops too low. So it's not quite the same.

The other consideration is that fights can be divided into two categories - those where you do need or want to use piety abilities and therefore lose piety over the course of the fight, and those where you don't need piety abilities and therefore gain piety over the course of the fight. If you cut out the monotonous parts of the game while keeping branch ends, you reduce the number of piety-gaining fights by a lot, while reducing the number of piety-losing fights by only a little. It follows that the factors by which you change piety gain or costs can't simply be the factor by which the game is shortened, but have to be fine-tuned.

Also, which fights are piety-gaining and which are piety-losing depends on the god. So the factors can't be the same for all gods; they have to be customized for each god.

The solution I propose requires less fine-tuning to maintain the balance of the current game.

This seems correct, however, I don't like your way of "simulating" completion of a level by killing 90% of the monsters. What if there is some unique on Swamp:4, which you need to skip? There could be other problems, like if you dive to Swamp:5 from Swamp:4 you are basically losing out on a lot of stuff. Right now, if you want, you can dive Swamp: 1-4 as much as you want and just do Swamp:5 (for instance if you are speerunning, but even otherwise, if you don't feel like completely exploring the levels).

Perhaps just make it so that getting the rune from Swamp:5 means you did all of a branch (appropriately scaled by some factor, say 3/4) .

mps

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 17:15

Re: Crawl Abridged

1 non-slime lair branch instead of 2, all branches shorter by at least 1 level, 10 levels of dungeon, generate only two hells per game, only two pan runes per game (one demonic, one pan lord) with only five non-reenterable pan levels (no infinite pan, cannot go back once you've exited), no abyss rune, but generate end branch-like vaults instead of runes and portals to zigs there, for a total of 8 runes, only 2 required for zot, though requiring 3 would have the virtue of making the game considerably harder. I would throw in a "portal rune" -- a timed portal with 3 levels of increasing intensity, which could be based on current ice caves and volcanos.

Basically, I think you can carve a better game out of current crawl by generating less of the content in any given game. In fact, I think even the above outline is too much. It would be better to cut things down to 7 runes and give the player a choice of doing something like vaults and tomb or lair and slime (i.e. an exclusive or choice that rules out doing both), but with a version of tomb that's more crypt-y and a version of vaults that's more orc/elf/bailey-y.

The idea behind no-reentry and timed entry rune branches would be to keep extended from being purely a matter of patience and giving the player decisions that actually count.
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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 17:46

Re: Crawl Abridged

dpeg wrote:just now a new trunk branch has been set up where the four Lair subbranches are cut down to four levels (from five).
This was just pushed to master, btw.
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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 18:05

Re: Crawl Abridged

dpeg wrote:I believe that there's developer concensus on this: the game is rather too long.

I wouldn't agree with that.

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 18:17

Re: Crawl Abridged

reaver wrote:
dpeg wrote:just now a new trunk branch has been set up where the four Lair subbranches are cut down to four levels (from five).
This was just pushed to master, btw.

What do you mean by pushed to master?
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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 18:26

Re: Crawl Abridged

ajon wrote:
reaver wrote:
dpeg wrote:just now a new trunk branch has been set up where the four Lair subbranches are cut down to four levels (from five).
This was just pushed to master, btw.

What do you mean by pushed to master?
"It's in Crawl proper now" basically.

If you start a new game on CPO, it will have 4 level Lair rune branches. Within a day or so, that will be true of most public servers. Players who compile Crawl themselves will automatically receive the 4 level Lair rune branches change the next time they update. Unless there's an active reversion/testing indicates this change is worse than the status quo, 0.17+ will have 4 level Lair rune branches.
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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 18:32

Re: Crawl Abridged

Or to shorten that, "Master" is another way of saying "trunk"
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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 19:13

Re: Crawl Abridged

njvack wrote:If there's anywhere, anywhere in Crawl I would *not* shorten, it would be Hells. The seven levels of diving is excellent.

I wouldn't miss two levels of it per Hell, personally. Sure, that dive is fun the first time, maybe, but when you have to do it four times in a row, it really feels extensive. I just did a 15 rune game, and while Pan's dice-rolling probably lasts the same amount of time as completing the structured Hells, getting the four hell runes feels like it takes ages and ages.

PleasingFungus wrote:I wouldn't agree with that.

I generally agree that I don't mind the game's length at all, though I do think that some parts of the game go on too long. I really start to hate doing Lair after 5, and I find the Hells to be unimaginably interminable. I also find myself growing impatient in the Abyss and Pan, both of which I feel could have faster runes/rune levels.

In my mind, Crawl would be more fun with 3 levels per Lair Branch, a 5-level Lair, 5-level Hell branches, fewer non-lord Pan levels, and an Abyss rune that shows up a lot quicker. I'd also cut an Orc level and maybe an Elf level. Then, and I realize this is what would probably be least popular, I'd make up some of that with an additional branch somewhere, maybe a second Vaults branch and sub-branch, but that's a pipe dream that will never happen.

Of course, I respect the fact that I bet we all feel differently about various game areas, and finding the happy medium in a kitchen with this many cooks is tough!

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 19:14

Re: Crawl Abridged

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 20:25

Re: Crawl Abridged

Berder wrote:
bel wrote:
Berder wrote:That could work, however then you have fewer uses of abilities in a single fight before your piety drops too low. So it's not quite the same.

This can be remedied by setting piety cap to 250 or 300.

That could affect balance due to piety-dependent abilities. Alternatively, double neither piety gain nor cost, but set * ** *** **** ***** ****** breakpoints to lower pieties, ie not 30 50 75 100 120 160 but 15 25 35 50 60 80.

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 21:47

Re: Crawl Abridged

mps wrote:1 non-slime lair branch instead of 2


Dpeg has twice said he's intrigued by this idea... other devs?

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 22:11

Re: Crawl Abridged

all before: That's not really the way it works! Pretty few developers frequent this forum, and actual development talk almost never takes place here. Moreover, PleasingFungus already said that he's not necessarily in favour of further cuts (in other words, it'd need some proper reasoning to go on cutting levels).

For the record, the restriction to one easy Lair rune branch has some appeal to me not for shortening the game, but for avoiding an overly easy rune branch end (there are other, more complicated ways to achieve that).

Finally, there's lots of talk about making the game much shorter. I don't have much to add to what I already said apart from: (1) these are quite easy changes (check what Sprints do), so you can fork and try them out! (2) strategic scope needs size, both spatially but also to allow build-changing or switching gods. For an extremely well designed and polished game with a much tighter focus, see Brogue.

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Post Sunday, 26th April 2015, 23:33

Re: Crawl Abridged

njvack wrote:If there's anywhere, anywhere in Crawl I would *not* shorten, it would be Hells. The seven levels of diving is excellent.


It's 28 levels in most games that bother with them and they're pretty much the same every time. I can see the charm of having a part of the game where you go through fast and don't screw around exploring and killing everything, but really the rest of the game should be more like that. It shouldn't be a special 28 level treat in hell.

I'd also point out that a 2 hell vestibule makes some strategic difference. You may actually want to scout it out to see what's there to make adjustments to your build and decide what you need to pick up/buy.
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Post Monday, 27th April 2015, 03:51

Re: Crawl Abridged

mps wrote:It's 28 levels in most games that bother with them and they're pretty much the same every time. I can see the charm of having a part of the game where you go through fast and don't screw around exploring and killing everything, but really the rest of the game should be more like that. It shouldn't be a special 28 level treat in hell.
I actually think Hells (2-6) could stand to be a bit harder. I mean I once ran into a vault that placed all three downstair cases together and was a little bit of a challenge [would have been more of one without cBlink]; but otherwise the 'diving' part is generally pretty easy and monotonous for me. The first floor actually is interesting though [I've found myself situationally grinding Hell Branch: 1 before; IE went into the vestibule; too much together at the entrance; ?tele to try to face lesser stuff at once, end up running into hell. Grind in Geh: 1 for a bit before coming back out.
I'm beginning to feel like a Cat God! Felid streaks: {FeVM^Sif Muna, FeWn^Dithmenos, FeAr^Pakellas}, {FeEE^Ashenzari, FeEn^Gozag, FeNe^Sif Muna, FeAE^Vehumet...(ongoing)}

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Post Tuesday, 28th April 2015, 21:25

Re: Crawl Abridged

I would be happy to ditch Orc 1-3, Swamp/Shoals/Spider/Snake/Vaults 1-4 and all of Depths. Most of the time, if I can get a character down to Lair 8, that character is pretty much got the game made. The branch ends, uniques, hubris and occasional cat-paw-on-keyboard are the main threats left. Slogging through the intermediate levels feels like quaffing an experience potion, except it takes more keystrokes.
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Post Tuesday, 28th April 2015, 22:31

Re: Crawl Abridged

bcadren wrote:I actually think Hells (2-6) could stand to be a bit harder. I mean I once ran into a vault that placed all three downstair cases together and was a little bit of a challenge [would have been more of one without cBlink]; but otherwise the 'diving' part is generally pretty easy and monotonous for me. The first floor actually is interesting though [I've found myself situationally grinding Hell Branch: 1 before; IE went into the vestibule; too much together at the entrance; ?tele to try to face lesser stuff at once, end up running into hell. Grind in Geh: 1 for a bit before coming back out.

bcadren I tried to stop myself from saying this but I couldn't help it. What you are doing is a crime against semicolons, brackets, and parentheses everywhere.

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