How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?


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Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 08:07

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Getting rid of packs would also have the important benefit that you don't have to boringly grind through an entire pack. Just have the one monster but have it be more dangerous and give a lot more xp.
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Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 11:55

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

duvessa wrote:here's another thing i forgot: get rid of "pack AI", or just packs altogether. being in a pack effectively kills a monster's speed, it's silly (and makes the game easier) that escaping from 5 death yaks in a pack is easier than escaping from a single death yak that isn't in a pack. regular non-pack swapping also produces some goofy stuff but not nearly as much as packs

I don't understand this: how does being in a pack kill a monster's speed? If you are adjacent to a death yak while fleeing, I am not sure if there is any sequence of moves which will result you in not being adjacent to one, independent of whether it's in a pack or not. There can of course be a butterfly or similarly harmless monster, which you can manipulate to take the place of the death yak.

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Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 12:36

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

le_nerd wrote:Remove all species except Op and all background except Wn. Or make nice variations of Op, more tentacles, less tentacles, more amulet slots, even less armor slots. OpWn forever!


This is not a way to make crawl harder. It is just a way to make crawl harder for those who didn't want to play OpWn.

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Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 15:32

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

bel wrote:
duvessa wrote:I don't understand this: how does being in a pack kill a monster's speed?

Sometimes pack monsters switch places with each other repeatedly when they should be pursuing you. Patches welcome!

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Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 17:46

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

FR: monsters shouldn't try to switch with an equal or stronger monster

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Post Monday, 7th September 2015, 18:58

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

tabstorm wrote:So, let's post things that would make the game harder in an interesting way, especially things that will never go in anyway since this is CYC. By "interesting" I'm thinking of things that aren't just tests of patience.

I'll start: Smaller floors would make luring enemies to cleared areas less of a good idea. It will never go in because it would be too big of a change.


I see now! Until now I never understood why some good players think that faster monsters would be an improvement in gameplay. I never quite understood it, before, because monster speed 12-15 still means, I can still retreat for approximately the diameter of LoS; and I, personally, rarely retreat more than that even for speed 10 monsters. Simply, because I Can't be Bothered. (There are exceptions, they are rare enough to not be tiresome for me. By Depths I only do it if I have a venerable Charlie Foxtrot.) Also, I kill most things and after Lair basically everything, including many dangerous uniques if I can. Because avoiding means possibly multiple retreats and I Can't be Bothered. Victory is marginally less important for me than playing without this kind of nuisance on a large scale.

tabstorm wrote:Even if you made the whole game like the early game wrt danger it would still be a pain in the ass in some sense imo. Imagine having to treat every floor like that floor on D:3 where you're always trying to avoid ogres. I would probably get tired of it after the 50th time.


Amen!

Basically, it is still a test of patience. For me a speedrun is fun exactly because it is not a test of patience. But, it is hard to make the game not a test of patience without a radical overhaul. It is not like I expect this to happen. At least the game allows people to enjoy it in different ways.


That gives me an idea. From what you write, I think the solution would be to have optional victory conditions that enforces some of the behaviour that make speedruns interesting for you. It should be something more immediately tangible than score. Comparable to ascensions with more than 3 runes, for instance (except that more than three runes don't make the game harder). For instance: If you satisfy a set of conditions, you get an additional title like "master adventurer" (cheesy, but I don't have better ideas for a name right now): "XXXX, the Slayer, Master Adventurer (level YY, HP ZZZ) ... Escaped with the Orb ..."

High level players could chose to regard only those runs as achievements. While newbies and people like me who still need some leeway for experimentation could disregard it for the time being.

I don't want to dilute the fundamental idea by getting elaborate on half-baked suggestions about what the conditions could be. They should be "clear" in the sense that you're never in doubt whether your next step would violate them or not. I don't know. Maybe if crawl had a clear concept of "engagement", something like "never retreat more than X steps from an engagement" with a visual indicator of how many steps you're still allowed. Just brainstorming here. Or: Before leaving a level, kill every unique that you have seen. Maybe after adjusting some of the uniques. (That would have the additional benefit of providing uniques with an actual value in game mechanics. But again: Maybe that's actually a very bad idea. Just brainstorming.)
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Post Monday, 7th September 2015, 21:58

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

So out of curiosity, I started messing around with the source code and some things about crawl are pretty well designed :D I was curious to see if I could just simply reduce the entire dungeon and branches by about a 1/3 and it's actually quite easy, although it requires a redesign of the contents of the 5 floors the main dungeon now is.

I think if we wanted to make a variation of crawl specifically just designed for people who've beaten it a few times, that would be the first step. Here's some ideas for how I think crawl would look to make it fun again for an experienced player, a lot of which I've already coded up.

-Massive size cut (1/3 size) (still need to do piety rebalancing, and monster balancing on main floor e.g.)
-Removal of time consuming obvious choices
*Auto-ID items on pickup
*Replace food with extremely light draining
-Sweeping nerfs and buffs to spells where appropriate
*Nerfs to haste and clink
*Bump down every conjuration dual or triple school spell by a level (e.g. iron bolt, and firestorm, but not orb of dest or mystic blast), while increasing spell level of summons
*Various other nerfs and buffs to spells
-Have mutation chance for contamination be based on contamination cubed (with a ceiling), no longer exempting small amounts of contam
-Radioactive stairs :3 (since removing perma stairs is a PITA)
-Massively higher variation in loot, so you actually feel like you're playing a roguelike.
-Considerable reduction in spell availability while reducing high level spell failure, so game feels different each time.
-God rebalance (lol trog)
-Removal of the temple.
-Race rebalance
-Random characters only
-Magnify aptitudes of races so every race beyond the weird ones past level 15 isn't mostly the same
-Rebalance races and never cut hp below average
-Consumable reduction (shortening the game actually handles this)
-Turning over the difficulty curve so early game is easier than end game, possible due to cutting dungeon size.
-"wanderer" version of race, like demonspawn or draconian on crack.
-Player speed 8


I personally don't think it's really possible to keep experienced players happy while keeping crawl a good game without massive changes. So I don't really think making trunk harder would be a good idea. I think the only way to liven the game up would be an unofficial hack.

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Post Monday, 7th September 2015, 22:54

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

I also think unofficial variants would be good for Crawl: they provide a place to test high-risk changes and probe alternative design directions. It's a shame that Crawl Light hasn't been updated in over a year: I guess merging in the 0.11 portal_branches rewrite proved to be too difficult, or dtsund lost the free time to work on it.

DBRO hosts a few minor variants, but none of those are as far-reaching as what greedo proposes (or as Light).

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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 00:49

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

greedo wrote:-Rebalance races and never cut hp below average
...I'm not entirely sure you know what "average" means
greedo wrote:I personally don't think it's really possible to keep experienced players happy while keeping crawl a good game.
I think that "Crawl can either be fun for people who know how to play it, or it can be a good game" is a false dichotomy. And an exceedingly pessimistic one.

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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 02:03

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

If I thought that I wouldn't still play it now would I? What I mean is, the changes that would make the game more fun for experienced players would lessen the experience for regular players. Particularly the length of the game, which is fine for most players since many of them will be discovering stuff for the first time, but not so much for people who have seen it all. But also some attempts to make the game harder for a select few like juggernauts and hunger cobs, these really don't benefit a new player much.

Also, fun hacks are fun.

Edit: By average, I just meant max hp from human.

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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 06:16

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

I would probably do something like this if I was making a "variant" (it would actually be pretty dissimilar to the current game, so it might be better to say "a game inspired by crawl")

-No food.
-Smaller maps.
-No upstairs. Branches are reduced to special floors that you must go through and retrieve the rune on to descend. There would be roughly 5 special floors in a game and 20-25 normal ones.
-The game has roughly 30 floors. There is no orb run, you get the orb on the hall of zot (the last floor) and leave it to win. There is no abyss, either.
-No floor traps. I don't think things like move-s or remembering which tiles are safe to traverse are positive things, nor do I think the "Keep monsters from walking over traps!" thing is a good reason to "feature" them.
-If I was a purist about people waiting for millions of turns for enemies to approach them, I could add a meter that would invoke the power of zot at you after spending too long on a floor.
-Smaller numbers for player and monster data.
-No monsters that forcibly reposition the player away from themselves, or monsters that keep distance, or monsters that block you from approaching. Especially remove merfolk avatars, red devils, thorn hunters, wind drakes, octopode crushers. Actually, just remove all former Forest monsters. They might be "interesting" but they annoy me a lot. No naga sharpshooters or shock serpents either. Also, no water-only monsters that stop autoexplore to let you know that you sense a disturbance nearby.
-Temple is on D:5. All gods are there. This is heretical to people who like to adapt to whatever gods appear. This is "my" variant, so I'm doing this because I almost always know what god I want to take before I start a game, I just want to get them and not get frustrated because they spawned on D:9 in a disconnected vault or something.
-Simplify combat formulae.
-Less fine-graining of delay. There's too many cases to remember. I don't think you need more than 4 speeds: Normal, fast, very fast, slow.
-Merge weapon schools into "melee". Make weapons each do something distinct tactically and maybe give different races small bonuses for using certain types. Apts just lock races into certain weapon types in general. This is heretical to people who like to adapt to floor drops. I'm not a huge fan of this play style.
-I like how some games have skill trees, but I don't know how I would do one in a game inspired by Crawl.
-No Tomb.
-No energy randomization.
-No Felids, Centaurs, Spriggans, or Deep Dwarves (or they would be very dissimilar to their current versions).
-Display equivalent of Sequell data in an advanced option under xv.
-Probably no summoning, necromancy, or charms. There are some neat things with allies that you can do but I think it's too easy to break the game with them. Maybe they're ok as god abilities. I think Charms might work better as items.
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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 06:24

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Get rid of caster enemy books, "lichify" them all instead (at the moment if you see Erolcha casting invisibility, you know that it cannot banish you - all casters should be less predictable, like liches).

Also intelligent monsters should have "more intelligent" AI, there are huge things you can do with just AI changes.
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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 06:46

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

greedo wrote:Bump down every conjuration dual or triple school spell by a level (e.g. iron bolt, and firestorm, but not orb of dest or mystic blast), while increasing spell level of summons

I mean, a lot of your other proposals in that post are what, but this one is simply what.

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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 10:23

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

greedo wrote:Particularly the length of the game, which is fine for most players since many of them will be discovering stuff for the first time, but not so much for people who have seen it all.


fwiw, when i started playing i felt like the game was way way too long, but now i've gotten more or less used to it. though i'd still enjoy it more if it was cut in half.

(fr: randomly generated sprint maps)

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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 11:48

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

tabstorm wrote:I would probably do something like this if I was making a "variant" (it would actually be pretty dissimilar to the current game, so it might be better to say "a game inspired by crawl")
...


That would be an entirely different game. I'm sure a good one and may even a better one; but saying this is inspired by crawl is like saying that ToME is an Angband clone. Not meant as nitpickin, though, you did write it would be dissimilar. Just wondering. The better players seem to be deeply disaffected with crawl. Maybe I should stay away from the community.
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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 12:05

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Utis wrote:The better players seem to be deeply disaffected with crawl. Maybe I should stay away from the community.

I don't think there are many games where you could play for hundreds of hours without wanting to change a thing. This is especially true for a game like Crawl, where it's pretty easy to grasp the underlying mechanics enough to understand how you'd actually change things.

Neil is right, in any case; we really should have a cool Crawl Lite variant. In an ideal world, the game would have the ability to do multilevel sprints, which would be a pretty good way to offer a proper "light" version of the game. A full fork would be fine too, though.

Don't let the "better players" scare you off. They're like Statler and Waldorf, the crotchety Muppets; as much as they complain, there they all are, still watching from the balcony.

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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 13:13

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

It's really not that different from how I would play a speedrun, aside from no upstairs, abolition of the curent min-delay/weapon skill system, no ally spell schools, and no abyss/tomb. In practice you often find the god you want in temple, food barely does anything (except hungry ghosts are kind of annoying now), floor traps don't do much, energy randomization almost never does anything, lots of people don't like summoning anyway, etc. There's no reason to have some of these mechanics when they mostly just end up annoying people but still place a memory burden on the player. I think this is more of a refinement of the game mechanics.
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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 14:53

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

tabstorm wrote:-Smaller numbers for player and monster data.

I agree with everything except for no summoning or necro even though I never enjoyed using allies in any game. But aren't the numbers already as small as they can get? Level 1 monsters have like single digit damage and hp. It's not like having 3 digit hp is more confusing than 2 digit.

edit: I enjoyed using some allies in ToME - the oozemancer bloated oozes and the temporal warden temporal hounds. Compared to other allies, they're much closer to "spells that also serve as dispensable meatshields". Maybe the ability to easily reposition your allies and their dispensability is what it takes to make allies fun, at least for me.
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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 15:29

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

It's not so much that I have a problem with any singular proposition. It's more that in my opinion the gestalt of all of them together indicates a different game. ToME did start as an Angband variant. Playing crawl, I do enjoy those situations most that are like a tactical puzzle that needs to be solved. But redesigning the game in order to weed out anything but what leads to such situations -- that would lead to a game that is closer to chess than to a roguelike RPG. (Not what you wrote. Just radicalizing to clarify the point.)

I'm not going to defend floor traps, food or gimmicky monsters. I wouldn't mind to see them gone. I'm not overly attached to any particular feature or forumula. But change too many of them and you have a different game. I do think, for instance, that the general fact that crawl has very complicated formulas is an integral part of the game. And that it has a lot of elements that require the accumulation of knowledge. Acquiring this knowledge is for me an essential part of the fun. Streamline all that too much and, yeah, maybe it's a better game (chess is), but it's a different one.

I mean, I like chess a lot (though I'm also very bad at it). In particular, I love solving chess puzzles (though, I'm very bad at that, too). I wouldn't need crawl for scratching that particular itch, except that chess doesn't provide those puzzles on the background of an immersive dungeon exploration fantasy.
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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 16:10

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Utis wrote:It's not so much that I have a problem with any singular proposition. It's more that in my opinion the gestalt of all of them together indicates a different game. ToME did start as an Angband variant.

The only "roguelike" that wasn't a reaction to/informed by a prior game in the genre is Rogue itself, more or less. If, for example, TabstormCrawl or Dungeon Crawl No Soup ended up evolving into a different game altogether, that'd be fine and rad, in my opinion.

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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 16:47

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

archaeo wrote:If, for example, TabstormCrawl or Dungeon Crawl No Soup ended up evolving into a different game altogether, that'd be fine and rad, in my opinion.


It is. I just happen to like some of the quirkiness of the current one.

EDIT: Indeed, RIP, hammers. That was one of the little quirks that I liked. :(
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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 17:12

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

I agree with pretty much all of tabstormcrawl's features and I'm sure I'd enjoy playing it more than I enjoy playing dcss "straight", but, aside from "no upstairs", none of its features imply higher difficulty.
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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 17:55

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Utis wrote:It is. I just happen to like some of the quirkiness of the current one.

In that case, you should be relieved, since absolutely 0% of the ideas in this thread are actually things that are happening to the game (except removing food, because I Want To Believe). While the Tavern loves to work itself up over hypothetical changes, in reality, the devs are going to continue their measured curation of the game, in large part because they've been doing that for years now and the game is still seeing steady player growth every tournament.

FWIW, I still think a bunch of these ideas would make incredible gods/species, especially reducing map size, removing upstairs, or culling popcorn.

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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 18:23

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Aw, c'mon. I mean, I'm aware that debating stuff in CYC isn't going to affect the future of crawl. Nor whether tabstormCrawl (which might be an excellent game on its own right) will ever come to be. We're just discussing.

Love the idea of a god that makes maps smaller, though.

Ceterum censeo, I'd like to see more things like Crazy Yiuf's hammers added rather than removed.
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Post Tuesday, 8th September 2015, 18:51

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

I made the "removing upstairs god", and at least the version I made was not seen as much fun. You can play it on dbro under the name "Wulndraste" or "No Backtracking God", I forget which.

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Post Wednesday, 9th September 2015, 03:51

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Sar wrote:
greedo wrote:Bump down every conjuration dual or triple school spell by a level (e.g. iron bolt, and firestorm, but not orb of dest or mystic blast), while increasing spell level of summons

I mean, a lot of your other proposals in that post are what, but this one is simply what.


Thankfully crawl is open source, so my only limitation to doing insane crazy stupid shit with it is how many hours there are on a weekend.

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Post Wednesday, 9th September 2015, 08:17

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

I don't think anybody who thinks Crawl is too easy also thinks that level 9 spells are overpowered. But hey, I might be wrong.

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Post Thursday, 10th September 2015, 03:18

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Ah you misread that, or I typed it wrong. This meant the reverse. E.g. iron shot ->5 Firestorm ->8, shatter stays at 9

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Post Thursday, 10th September 2015, 05:23

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

No, it's definitely my fault. Whoops, sorry!

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Post Thursday, 10th September 2015, 09:04

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Increase monster movement speed substantially when not in LoS, and tweek the AI so that they patrol more rather than just move about randomly. This will make 'safe zones' far less so. Also tweek the OOD spawn timer, so that there is a steady flow of increasingly difficult monsters on a floor, ramping up exponentially to finally match the difficulty per turn count that exists now. You can either tweak XP downwards (would also make the game much harder and frankly its needed there is too much XP) or hinge the new loads on the number of original monsters still left on the level.

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Post Sunday, 13th September 2015, 23:52

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

So I started work on a variant, no idea if this will actually work for people since it crashes on my other computer on "loading maps...":

http://www.mediafire.com/download/pg0gu ... wl-ref.zip

^ in crawl-ref/source/crawl.exe

It only has a few hours work put into it so don't expect any balance yet, although I've had a few YASDs with it. Balance and reworking will be done later. main features:

-Dungeon is 5 levels, branches are 2, lair is 1., various spell nerfs and buffs I mentioned earlier. Large reduction in potions/scrolls. Temple on D1. Experience, monster level, item level appropriately ramped it.
-no food
-id on pickup
-constant mild draining to replace hunger
-start with a cure pot and telescroll to make the difficulty of the game more weighted to later game
-base movement delay 12
-All contamination can potentially cause mutation, although dramatically les so for mild contam. Stairs contaminate you, which gives small contamination, but quickly becomes a high risk of mutation if you immediately go back up.

Bugs:
-aforementioned crash on certain computers
-uniques and vaults are of the actual dungeon level I think, so expect to fight grinder on D:4 alongside hill giants and ugly things.
-various debug message junk still left in
-armor/weapons seem to have only negative quality. Not sure if crawl is getting confused with higher level items being in the upper dungeon levels or what. Jewelry unaffected.

Edit: Also, hate to make people guienea pigs, but anyone who does download it, tell me whether or not it works for them. It works fine on my laptop, but the other computer might just not be that great. This happened before even writing any code of my own so it must be either a random or an installation issue. Much more annoying would be if it only works on the laptop I compiled it with, but I need to know -.-

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Post Monday, 14th September 2015, 15:43

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

I'd try it if it were mac compatible and/or had source code I could compile...

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Post Monday, 14th September 2015, 21:14

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

all before wrote:I'd try it if it were mac compatible and/or had source code I could compile...


It looks like the zip file does include source code, though certainly it's not as easy to use as a github repo would be.

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Post Tuesday, 15th September 2015, 03:20

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Yeah pretty busy this week, I'll push it to a repo if I have time, but I'm admittedly not super familar with git and figured a precompiled would be easier to use for most people. If not I'll do that by the weekend at least.

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Post Friday, 9th September 2016, 23:16

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Add a new branch for extended. Put in a bunch of enemies that counter the tactics that make crawl easy (Irresistible dimensional anchors, something like quicksilver dragons that can dispel tp/haste, lack of stairs or safe areas like abyss/pan, high speed to prevent kiting). Then all the veterans can have their challenge, and bad players like me can still get wins sometimes.

Spider Stomper

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Post Saturday, 10th September 2016, 00:51

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

@greedo Someone already invented crate_crawl for you. Their name is crate.
I'm with tasonir on this one.

Slime Squisher

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Post Saturday, 10th September 2016, 07:22

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Hey, I didn't see this thread when it was posted. This is a good topic.

For what it's worth, here's a nonexhaustive list of some ideas I've had kicking around in the back of my head, wanting to implement in a branch:

Dungeon Blitz:

(spoilering for length:)
Spoiler: show
- Staircases removed. All level exits reflavoured into one-way portals/hatches.
- Overall dungeon pathing thus becomes one-way downward only. (Goodnight, stairdancing.)
- Length of all branches, including Dungeon, roughly changed to floor(DCSS-branchdepth/4).
- Monster respawns are disabled. All generation happens at floorgen.
- Shaft traps are either disabled, or changed to only affect monsters.
- Roughly triple experience granted upon monster kill.
- Also reward half experience for all remaining monsters on the floor if you take an exit portal with things still alive.
- Item generation at floorgen increased to somewhere around 2x to 3x.
- Base absdepth for monster/item picks for each floor is weighted towards the middle of each DCSS-equivalent branch area. Monster sets for any vaults generated will pull from the DCSS-equivalent of the bottom of each branch.
- For each floor, pull from the .des layouts of the DCSS-equivalent branch:$, modified as necessary to include an area to place the exits.

- On each floor, initially open ~3 exits. Two of those exits close when timers are tripped. One timer is turncount based, the other is realtime. It would require playtesting to determine appropriate timer values here, but something like 1k turns / 2 minutes per floor might be an initial target guess.
- Floor turncount and floor realtime timers will be visible from the main window of the UI. A global realtime timer will also be visible.
- It would probably be appropriate to either disable autoexplore for this branch, or rewrite it to be turn efficient. The inefficiency of its DCSS implementation would probably put the player past any floor turncount timers just for pressing 'o'.
- Fast floor exits lead to alternately: Different areas, or deeper absdepths, depending on the location.
- Exits should use positioning announcements similar to DCSS portal announcements.
- Item generation density and absdepth for monster/item generation are higher for the resulting floor when taking the fastportals, lower through the slowportals.
- The above boosts stack if you take an exit before either timer has tripped.
- Something special will happen if you pick up the Orb and take the final exit in time, after having taken a double-fast exit from every floor. (SotN-style invert dungeon? Something else?)

- Reduce player inventory size to roughly 13 to 18 slots: 1 Weapon slot, 1 Unified Ranged Weapon slot, 1 Unified Offhand slot, 1 Body Armour slot, 1 Unified Aux slot, 3 Jewellery slots (2 ring, 1 amulet), ~5 general item slots, ~5 consumable item slots.
- The amount of available general and consumable slots here would have to be played with to find a good balance.
- It might also be worth merging the Jewellery slots with the General item slots to simplify things.
- Rework the inventory interface so that you can press a single key while standing over a floor item to swap what's on the floor for what you have equipped in that slot. This should take zero turns.
- If standing over a stack of items, bring up an inventory choice menu as in DCSS, but equip directly to slot, taking zero turns.
- Allow a shift-keybind (or an rc option?) to confirm item swaps, if the player really wants it.
- After swapping an equipped item, the previously equipped item is destroyed.

- Targeting of ranged weapons, evokables, and spells will now default to a single keypress with no confirmation, casting the previously-cast spell (or the first spell on your list if none have yet been cast), and autotargeting as appropriate (nearest monster for damaging spells, selfcast for buffs, targeting interface for clouds). The old confirmation+target selection+spell selection interfaces will be moved to shift+keypress.
- If unbound keybinds can be found or made, each consumable item slot and general item slot will receive its own slot use keybind. (1,2,3,4,5, q,w,e,r,t maybe? Many of those functions will have been obviated from other changes, many of them are duplicated with other binds, those that aren't will need alternate binds.)

- As mentioned above, the ranged weapon slot will be unified to include all ranged weapons. This includes throwing items. Throwing items will retain their charges, mulch at 100%, and merge upon pickup similar to the reworked evokables (detailed below). Launchers will no longer require ammo, ammo will be removed. Ranged weapon slot use will now require no swap or quiver or confirmation, you will only need to press f to autofire at the nearest monster. Targeting selection should still be available on shift+fire (F).
- Needles and blowguns will be merged to a single charge-limited general slot item with a curare effect. Adjust base damage to compensate for the loss of launcher enchantment. (Sorry, needlestabbers.)
- Possibly remove /slowing due to the new blowgun similarity. (I like curare's flavour better, and there are already enough hex effects attached to evocations skill.)
- As mentioned above, all aux armour items will have their slot type merged to be swappable between a single available aux slot. This may call for increased aux item bonuses for some items.
- Change magical staves to be equipped in the unified offhand slot. Possibly allow the offhand slot to equip a racial-size appropriate "small" weapon when not two-handing, as another alternate slot choice to staves and shields. Also possibly add more offhand slot item choices here, if they would be appropriate as passive effects, as the unified general item slot is more intended for active effects. (Orb of scrying with passive ash/xom reveal effect? Other orbs?) Staves of energy will probably need to be changed to increase the rate of mana flask recharge to accommodate this intent, rather than remaining with the old hunger/active use.


- Remove the identification minigame. The intended accelerated pace and limited inventory of this branch doesn't coexist well with ?id. All items start identified.
- Remove useless items as part of the ?id removal. Goodbye !degen, goodbye ?random uselessness, etc.
- Remove scrolls of recharging.
- Replace potions with flasks, detailed below.
- Remove food and hunger.
- Rework all evokables such that each evokable type only takes up one general slot, and adds its charges to your existing slot if you attempt to pick one up while already carrying an identical type. As mentioned above, ?recharging is removed. Experience-recharging elemental evokers will probably have to be readjusted to either use a charge based system, or recharge at a slower rate, due to the global experience gain increase.

- Disable passive health and mana regen. Add health/mana(/other) flasks that recharge at a predetermined rate on monster kill and take up an equipped consumable item slot, similar to Path of Exile's style. Flasks and scrolls will be the only items allowed to take up an inventory consumable slot.
- Add flasks for each of the old potion effects to item generation lists, possibly retaining the PoE-style variance in flask recharge rate and strength of granted bonus. This would require playtesting to determine if it's worth slowing down the player by presenting increased flask choice; it would obviously be more in line with the intent of the branch to unify and simplify for the sake of playspeed, but I really liked PoE's flask system.
- Start each character off with 1 health flask. Adjust starting flasks (mana/other) based upon starting class.
- Grant full HP/MP replenish at levelup.
- Grant some amount of equipped flask charges upon taking a floor exit. Anywhere from 1/2 to 1/5 of a refill seems appropriate, but this would likely require playtesting.

- Change spellcasting as follows:
- Player Spells always hit. Monster spells still run through the DCSS hit checks. (The player is a Big Damn Hero, and it's magic, I ain't gotta explain shit.)
- Memorisation is removed.
- Carrying a book in one of your general slots adds its list to your available spells, dropping it destroys the book and removes them from your castable list.
- Spell failure is removed.
- Spell XL requirements remain.
- Spell MP costs remain.
- Spellpower effects remain.
- Spell failure removal will likely need to be compensated, either with a slight upward adjustment in spell levels, or with adjustments to the absdepth at which various books will spawn.
- Some spell effects may need to be adjusted to compensate for hitting at 100% rate (iron shot?, etc.), do this as appropriate.
- Spellcasting targeting interface to be adjusted as detailed above, similar to ranged weapon and evokable interfaces.
- With the removal of resting and the transition toward a monster kill based regen system, spells will likely need a reliability boost. The intent of these spellcasting changes is to transition spells toward being highly reliable ways to clear danger, that are counterbalanced by a reduction of (highly limited) available general item slots.


- Overall dungeon layout (with DCSS-equivalent depth monster sets, outside of any generated vaults) would look something like this:
- Dungeon:1 > 2 > 3 // (DCSS-equivalent floors: Dungeon:~1.5, ~4, ~9)
> Lair:1 // (Lair:3.5)
> Portal:1 // (One random portal floor exit placed in the above floors, at one of these depths:)
:: Early == Sewer, Ossuary, :: placed after D:2
:: Mid == IceCave, Bailey, :: placed after D:3
:: Late == Labyrinth, Volcano :: placed after Lair
> Orc:1 // (Orc:2) (Possibly swap a power-adjusted Elf and Crypt here? There don't seem to be many good swaps for this area.)
> LairBranch:1 // (chosen from: Swamp:2.5, Shoals:2.5, Snake:2.5, Spider:2.5) (Choice available by passing the fast timers in Orc. 1 random portal closes with each failed timer.) (This floor is skippable, with exits at each branch entrance that can move straight to Vaults, but there is a Trove in Vaults:1 that requires the LairBranch rune to access)
> Vaults:1 // (Vaults:2.5)
> Depths:1 // (Always use an encompass vault here, pulled from around Depths:3)
> FinalRuneFloor:1 // (chosen from: Vaults:$, Abyss:4, Slime:6, Crypt:3) (Choice available by passing the fast timers in Depths. 1 random portal closes with each failed timer. The timers for Depths should probably be longer than the standard timers, because an encompass Depths:3 equivalent as standard will require a bit more attention.)
> Zot:1 // (Zot:$) (exits placed: 1 final exit, 1 "extended" exit, and 1 secret global-timed exit) (secret exit always closes first, secret exit also closes if you have failed the global realtime timer (10 minutes? This is Blitz.), to reach extended exit you have to pass either the turncount or realtime timer for Zot:1 only)

> Optional "extended" floors past Zot, which also have final exits placed within:
> Hells:1 // (chosen from: Tomb:3, Tar:7, Geh:7, Coc:7, Dis:7) (choice available with fast timers as above)
> Pan:1 // (chosen from: Cerebov, Lom Lobon, Gloorx Vloq, Mnoleg, Holy Pan) (choice available with fast timers as above)
> Zig:6 // (This is too long, probably just cut Zig. Otherwise make it into a second chance at the secret exit at the bottom, only if you've failed no more than 1 timer for all floors.)

I've probably forgotten to mention some things, I had an old design document around somewhere. There's inspiration here from games like DoomRL, Spelunky, and Path of Exile, among others. The overall intent is for the resulting game to become a coffeebreak roguelike with encouragement for speedrunning, where the player can selfselect difficulty as the game progresses depending upon how well the character is doing. The target difficulty is somewhere around "Highly difficult, but not unfair, and still possible." I want the traditional roguelike player to be thrown off balance by the timers, the intent is to force quick and accurate play. Balance adjustments will undoubtedly be necessary.

A lot of these changes are things that you can't put into DCSS without fundamentally changing the game to something else, but I think they would be pretty fun to try to play with. Unfortunately, every time I start working on implementing them I find myself quickly discouraged at the amount of work necessary to implement all of this in DCSS' code, and find myself doing something else instead. I had a branch with some of this stuff implemented years ago in what must have been 0.13 or 0.14, but it never went anywhere.

Maybe this post will inspire implementation, more probably not, but maybe someone can take something from it.


edit: Can't believe I posted this in response to a year old thread necro. Oh well.

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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Saturday, 10th September 2016, 16:39

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

It would probably be easier to just start over with mostly new code... there is a lot of questionable mechanical stuff in current DCSS anyway. Honestly, think about how much development time has basically gone into fixing mistakes in the base Crawl. I have not played the original but it must have pretty much been a shit show.
remove food

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Post Tuesday, 20th September 2016, 21:08

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

I think intelligent mobs should chase you up the stairs. Not only when they are adjacent to you which they can today. It is logical that if they are chasing you and are a few squares away that they can see that you are climbing upwards. Hoved animals like yaks wouldn't be able to though because they don't have the ability to walk in stairs. But bipeds can so they should.

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Tuesday, 20th September 2016, 21:24

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

bjourne wrote:I think intelligent mobs should chase you up the stairs. Not only when they are adjacent to you which they can today. It is logical that if they are chasing you and are a few squares away that they can see that you are climbing upwards. Hoved animals like yaks wouldn't be able to though because they don't have the ability to walk in stairs. But bipeds can so they should.


Crawl is not based on what would logically happen in real life, but what is best for gameplay. If that was true, then many unwinnable situations would occur. For example, almost no character can beat an ogre on d2. If an ogre is there, then you basically have to run away. If the ogre can easily follow you up/down stairs, then you will never be able to get away, and that character is basically doomed (unless you fight the ogre over and over, resetting the fight via pillar dancing whenever your health goes within the one-shot range).

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 04:47

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Shorten all the branches by a lot and dont increase xp/item generation to compensate.

Dungeon: 10 floors
Everything else: 2 floors

Make abyss/pan not give any items or xp.

Boom, everything solved.

Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 09:57

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

tabstorm wrote:It would probably be easier to just start over with mostly new code...
This is a good way to end up with a dead, dysfunctional project.

This does not only apply to Crawl: I've seen the desire to rewrite from the ground up often, and for all the right reasons. But the effort has always been underestimated, and people had to give up. Perhaps you know that Brent Ross' 4.2 was exactly about a rewrite? He had code that was working technically, but without the balance. He never officially abandoned the project, but it was dead. Erik and Darshan rescued by taking the old, bad code base and slowly injecting stuff from 4.2 into it.

Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 10:05

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

lethediver wrote:Shorten all the branches by a lot and dont increase xp/item generation to compensate.

Dungeon: 10 floors
Everything else: 2 floors

Make abyss/pan not give any items or xp.

Boom, everything solved.
What does "everything" mean? I fully understand that it's fun to throw around radical proposals. And I support forks who just do that. But you may understand that our approach is a lot more conservative... one reason being that we can: we have the time, it doesn't matter for future players if we reach properly short dungeon in one version, or in ten. But the slower approach will end up there with better balance.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 20:21

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

I'm still a big proponent of making consumables more interesting/situational. Change ?Blink to ?Swap, so you have to switch with a monster in LoS. Have ?Tele also teleport anything adjacent to you. Make there be very few "get out of danger" buttons, and instead have "mitigate the danger" buttons.
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Post Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 20:25

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Make ?Tele and ?Blink give temporary status -Read, make potions of HW and curing give temporary status -Potion, remove wands of tele/hasting/HW.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 20:53

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

+1 to removing the big three wands - they suddenly make valuable resources near-infinite.

Remove all charms which you cast before a battle and they see you through it (Oz's Armour and Haste are the obvious ones) - or make them cause draining at an interesting level. They are unfun - recasting and waiting out contamination are both dull - as well as powerful. Unlike low level charms, which are situational and interesting (I'm thinking of Infusion, Song of Slaying).

More monsters who control the player's movement (like manticore, vault warden, thorn hunter) in clever ways I can't think of off the top of my head.

One stair per level.

Monsters wander more.

Monsters loiter near stairs.
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Post Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 20:58

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Odds wrote:+1
One stair per level.
Monsters loiter near stairs.

So then you are doomed when an ood ogre camps near the upstairs on d2? Or when grinder is next to the d3 stairs? A MiBe might be able to kill them, but weaker combos will not.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 21:07

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

arandomperson12 wrote:
Odds wrote:+1
One stair per level.
Monsters loiter near stairs.

So then you are doomed when an ood ogre camps near the upstairs on d2? Or when grinder is next to the d3 stairs? A MiBe might be able to kill them, but weaker combos will not.

By monsters loitering near stairs I meant *after* you entered the level wandering monsters tend to like stairs - it's a way of making escape hard, not entrance. The thrill of having to run around a still-dangerous level to get out of trouble is way more interesting than running up stairs.

You do still get a problem if Grinder is randomly by your only stairs when you first enter. You could put in more hatches. Or just have two sets of stairs not one.
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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 21:15

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

Dpeg: most of the un-fun things about crawl would be less un-fun if players dont have to do them over... And over... And over... Shortening the game will be good, in particular shortening the length of time the player spends dealing with any given set of surroundings, monsters, obstacles... Pacing is important in video games, particularly the speed with which a player is exposed to thematic+strategic novelty. Too fast is confusing, too slow is monotous. You want the player to feel like they hit a stride, then change things up before they can fully veg out and go autopilot.

8 level floors like lair are the straight opposite of this idea. The only reason players dont HATE lair is because you reach it when the game is still modestly difficult, there are still significant char building decisions to make, lack of consumables, plus the fact that lair is really well designed compared to some other branches (zot and pan with their ridiculous packs of same-y monsters none of which require significant strategy or thought to deal with)
Last edited by lethediver on Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 21:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 21:16

Re: How would you make Crawl harder, in a fun way?

If some monsters require stairs, then maybe the monsters or their spells are too problematic? Confusion-chains, paralysis when player cannot have any MR items etc.
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