[proclick] new fork, hellcrawl


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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 10:46

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Btw, I saw someone suggesting using shafting at turn 3000 instead of dungeon hostility. Wouldn't that be good? You have 3000 turns for each floor, after which you are automatically shafted to the next. Maybe have the shafting always take you to a small start vault, so you aren't just lol dead on shafting.
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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 10:59

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

You aren't just "lol dead" with the current timer either. The game spawns high level summons on your location, you can theoretically escape them. There is some delay before it will do it again, so you can get to stairs even if for whatever reason you decided to ignore the many warnings leading up to the summons.

These guys are not pissed off that they died. They are pissed off that they're not allowed to take as long as they want to clear levels. They would say exactly the same thing about shafting. This was covered upthread.
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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 12:23

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Yes, but I wasn't talking about the current discussion. Generally speaking, if the objective is that of pushing people forward, isn't it better reached through direct shafting, compared to an indirect way like monster spawning?
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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 12:28

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Shafting is good b/c it is elegant. You don't need to learn any new mechanics to understand how it works: it is the typical means of transport btwn levels, imposed after a long time.

A problem with clocks is that they encourage a lot of tedious 'speedrunny' behavior when combined with players/characters likely to reach the turn limit. Sandman mentioned resting to 90%, not using autoexplore, etc. When you are a great player playing a powerful combo, you can get away with suboptimal play and therefore play with minimal interface screw. But for weaker players or players playing weaker combos, using these tedious (but not scummy in the kiting & luring sense) techniques is incentivized by the level clock (also by piety clocks which may or may not exist depending on your god).

By far the biggest offender here is the regeneration mechanic. Exploration-based regen sounds p cool, but would lead to the development of potentially undesirable strats such as 'noise-clearing' a portion of a level so you can return there later and heal.

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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 12:48

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

You don't merely want to prevent the player from staying on the level. You want to force the player to engage with levels in a somewhat normal way. Making them move around enough to find stairs to get to the next level and avoid getting killed forces them do that to some degree. Shafting them does not. More than that, the whole controversy about the current mechanic is coming from people who are mad that they're being forced off levels at all. You're talking about a compromise with nobody. We know the current mechanic prevents at least some forms of scumming and acts as a check on some bad tactical behavior. We don't know that shafting does either of those things.

Shafting is a bad idea.
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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 12:55

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Since people are now talking about explore-to-regen, I should clarify that pure explore-to-regen would not work. That would incentivize things like chaining shouting+moving and leaving obviously-empty corners uncleared to save healing for later, both of which would wreck pacing.

If hp/mp regen were switched over to an exploration-based regen system, it would need to be done in a way that allows storage of explored-tile healing -- either static charges up to a reasonable limit, or with dynamically dissipating charges that reduce over time. It should also include granting charges up to the limit for remaining unexplored tiles when departing a floor -- otherwise you're creating an incentive to run around and fill your charges before leaving.

(Using static healing charges runs the risk of players deciding that they have full charges and *now* they want to start saving unexplored tiles, thereby ruining pacing for those players who must already be having a hard time or they wouldn't bother.)

tl;dr: Rip Path of Exile's flask system, with flask charges granted only for exploration and taking downstairs, and be done with it -- but add turn-based flask charge leakage to counter player backtracking behavior. I wrote a little bit about this in this post, ctrl+f flask.

(I still think there's fun gameplay potential in using kill-to-regen as the sole regen mechanism, but that does nothing helpful with regard to disincentivizing DoomRL scumming.)

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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 13:01

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Yes, I wrote about something like this a while ago, ctrl-f elixir:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=23312&p=312770&hilit=elixir#p312770

I agree that turn-based leakage would be good too. Making high turncount behaviors reduce regeneration instead of increasing regeneration could be big. This definitely calls for some experimentation.
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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 14:12

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

At least replace cuurent turn number with ood timer in UI, it will help a lot when you see precisely how much time you have. Then I like shafting more than oods, especially with fun "pick up a rune on last turn"
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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 14:15

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

VeryAngryFelid wrote:At least replace cuurent turn number with ood timer in UI, it will help a lot when you see precisely how much time you have. Then I like shafting more than oods, especially with fun "pick up a rune on last turn"

Totally agree that if a hard timer is to be used, it should be prominently displayed.

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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 16:27

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Well this blew up in a hurry. I think further adjustment of the timer/antiscumming clock is warranted so I will be looking into some of the suggestions in this thread. Will try to clean up the implementation and interface; I'm not satisfied with the current version either. Decreasing the timer as you explore and fight is appealing, but seems tricky to communicate to the player. A dedicated "speedrun" difficulty with a very aggressive clock and various other tweaks might be cool. I'll see if I can throw something together for that in between the other stuff I want to work on.

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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 16:46

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Hellmonk wrote:Decreasing the timer as you explore and fight is appealing, but seems tricky to communicate to the player.


Well, displaying the timer would help a lot and you can display some basic description "Killing monsters and exploring decreases timer" either at the start of game (turn 1) or when timer expires for the first time.
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Post Sunday, 8th October 2017, 17:07

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

What about getting rid of some of the mobs and replacing them with more difficult singletons? For example, I think most folks will try to break up or lure a mob of ugly things into a corridor because letting them surround you is bad. So replace them with one or two big uglies. Really, I find fighting a single nagaraja to be more interesting (and far, far less grindy) than tabbing through ten plain nagas. Ditto with Orc Sorcerer vs a pack of purples and greens. Keep the difficulty and xp about the same, reduce the number of enemies is what I'm getting at.

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Post Monday, 9th October 2017, 23:15

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

The idea of showing the clock explicitly contains a kernel of goodness. I do not think that the timer is a significant factor in normal play outside of clearing a few longer levels, mainly vaults:$, so displaying a timer all the time would be bad. When you start getting the warning messages though, a status light like "Doom (499)" would be good.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 04:22

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

I disagree. There are players who like to plan their activity, it is kind of strategy game after all. If I see that I had 3k turns to clear a level and now I have only 1k left with most level still unexplored, I may abandon careful play at a dangerous vault.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 05:47

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

There's a tradeoff between how much information is shown on the screen and how distracting it is.

Some anecdotal comments: I cleared a huge transparent vault in Dungeon and I didn't come close to 3000 turns, or whatever the current limit is. The character was pretty strong, so it doesn't mean much.

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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 05:57

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

People who need 3.0 x 10^3 turns to clear normal levels will quickly acquaint themselves with the turn limit and turn counting behaviors needed to accommodate their peculiar style of play. In normal play, rubbing up against that limit is unusual but the player would be given very ample and easy to understand warning via the status light.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 06:57

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

A solution to the DoomRL scumming could be to disable waiting when there is no hostile in view and you are fully healed ("What are you waiting for, go get the ORB !").

I'm going to go on a limb and say that a player can't realistically manually wait (by moving back and forth or wielding/unwielding weapons) for the thousands of turns required.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 07:05

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

They could easily with macros. Many players use breadswinging macros for speed running already.

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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 07:25

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

@fingolfin: It is actually extremely easy to do such things. This is an elementary mistake many people make and that deserves some clarification. The issue is not standing still as such. A variation on doomRL scumming would be to patrol a part of the level where you can easily get to favorable terrain. This is probably better and faster than naive doomRL scumming in crawl. (It probably also nearly approximates tactics some people take a lot of pride in.*) You could shout a thousand times in a row. This can be accomplished easily with the repeat count command. I just did it in a local game. You can produce variations of this involving patterns of movement using macros and lua. There are probably tricks you can do with autotravel and waypoints to do the same without any scripting. Standing still is just one example of what a player might do that would constitute scumming.

The issue in doomRL scumming is not exploring and not engaging with the level in the spirit intended, but deriving some advantage. Giving the player an unlimited resource, like game turns, results not only in known bad behaviors, like doomRL scumming, but may also result in unknown bad behaviors that are difficult to predict due to the unfathomable nature of the infinite. If we confine the player to a finite space of possibilities, we can be more sure that our bases are covered just from making simple estimates of probabilities of various things and associated timescales, comparing to limits imposed, and so on.

*: For a few examples of ridiculous things you can do along these lines that improve your odds of winning substantially, especially early in the game: Pay obsessive attention to how much space you reveal while exploring. Double back on routes through systems of corridors to fill out known territory evenly keeping yourself as close to cleared areas as possible, with as many routes back as possible. In open areas, explore along walls and do scanline-type patterns of movement to fill out the black. This stuff is totally ridiculous, but it works and the more ridiculous you are about it, the better it works.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 08:22

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

watertreatmentRL wrote:*: For a few examples of ridiculous things you can do along these lines that improve your odds of winning substantially, especially early in the game: Pay obsessive attention to how much space you reveal while exploring. Double back on routes through systems of corridors to fill out known territory evenly keeping yourself as close to cleared areas as possible, with as many routes back as possible. In open areas, explore along walls and do scanline-type patterns of movement to fill out the black. This stuff is totally ridiculous, but it works and the more ridiculous you are about it, the better it works.

Why is controlling "how much space you reveal while exploring" totally ridiculous? Also, I can do everything mentioned in the paragraph and still never get close to 3000 turns on a level, especially early on.

It seems to me that you simply don't like this kind of super-cautious play, so you want to change the game so that nobody else should be able to play this way either. Not only is this wrong in principle, the proposed solution will not work in practice.

I don't want to bang on about it too much, but looking at the problem from the point of view of maximizing expected score provides an elegant, non-intrusive solution to this supposed problem. People who want to play super-cautiously can still do so, if they want to sacrifice some of their score. The rest of you can play however you like. It also avoids all this breakpoint nonsense.

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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 11:18

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

I'm sorry, your question is why is it ridiculous to reveal 1 tile per turn while exploring? You know autoexplore doesn't do that, so this is something you're doing manually, right? This may take thousands of turns to engineer and it definitely does make a difference. When people say serious winrate crawl is miserable, this is what they're talking about. It is not fun to play this way, which is a big part of why partisans of this style of crawl are so threatened by mechanics that cut against its signature moves. The only thing you gain from playing this way is your self-perception of having a reputation (in reality, no one actually cares) -- then someone comes along and says your reputation is for a degenerate, broken style of play. And you know they're not wrong!

You can pretend there's no problem all day and get offended on behalf of people whose preferred crawl experience new rules cut into. As long as there is no limit on the advantage you can derive from such insanity, the game suffers. I'm intrigued by the exploration regeneration with turncount decay ideas implojin brought up. I think this has great potential to reward aggressive, fast-paced play instead of the degenerate garbage that goes into winrate dcss. Some people will quit. Some people will resent hellcrawl. But hellcrawl will continue to improve. This is no different from if someone had come in and started getting pissed about removing food or lair or identification. I think some people will see this is the right way forward.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 11:32

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

watertreatmentRL

You keep saying what we think but you miss our point. We don't necessarily lure every monster before fighting them, we just want to be able to play normally. Simple question. Let's assume you can win a fight vs a dangerous monster without using any consumables but it will cost you some luring and 200 turns to regenerate HP. Do you think it is stupid to do so? Why? Is it smarter play to quaff your last haste/might instead? Not last one? What if you will run out of consumables playing this way? Not a big deal, just start another character?
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 11:41

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Your objection is not about 200 turns. Your objection is about 3000 turns. There's an order of magnitude difference between the reality and the numbers you try to frame the discussion with. Losing 200 turns does not cause you a problem unless you've already wasted 2800 turns.

e: And by the way, what happens if you waste all your 3000 turns? Do you die? No. You just have to leave the level. So the question of whether you use a consumable is a question of what your expected return on that consumable is in terms of marginal level completion.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 11:44

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

There is usually more than one dangerous monster on every floor. I rarely run out of 3k turns but I want to be able to have 200 turns which I currently don't have unless I carefully write down turn number when I enter new floor.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 11:55

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

watertreatmentRL wrote:e: And by the way, what happens if you waste all your 3000 turns? Do you die? No. You just have to leave the level. So the question of whether you use a consumable is a question of what your expected return on that consumable is in terms of marginal level completion.


I would agree with you if we had 3k timer displayed.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 12:06

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

You talk safe crawl, but you want to play chicken with the death timer. Unbelievable. Anyway, I suspect something like the status light thing will be forthcoming.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 12:11

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

watertreatmentRL wrote:You talk safe crawl, but you want to play chicken with the death timer. Unbelievable.


Well, that's because chicken play has more decision-making for me. Crawl is too easy as tactical game if you cannot run away, basically you have just a few options like "best spell to cast in this situation unless you want to save a few MP and cast a slightly worse spell", "best wand to use in this situation unless you want to save a few charges and use a slightly worse wand", melee characters are even less interesting with their standard "one weapon for all situations". Consumables are limited by design and if you rely on them to deal with monsters, you will eventually die (unless you are lucky to find more consumables).
As a chicken I make more decisions like "do I want to split this pack", "do I want to lure that monster and how far", "do I want to tele away immediately" etc.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 12:17

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

So I believe proper balance is to allow some limited luring/splitting and to display timer with unconditional shafting. Much of decision-making, no scumming, no surprises, player's fault in deaths.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 13:30

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

watertreatmentRL wrote:I'm sorry, your question is why is it ridiculous to reveal 1 tile per turn while exploring? You know autoexplore doesn't do that, so this is something you're doing manually, right? This may take thousands of turns to engineer and it definitely does make a difference. When people say serious winrate crawl is miserable, this is what they're talking about. It is not fun to play this way, which is a big part of why partisans of this style of crawl are so threatened by mechanics that cut against its signature moves. The only thing you gain from playing this way is your self-perception of having a reputation (in reality, no one actually cares) -- then someone comes along and says your reputation is for a degenerate, broken style of play. And you know they're not wrong!

You can pretend there's no problem all day and get offended on behalf of people whose preferred crawl experience new rules cut into. As long as there is no limit on the advantage you can derive from such insanity, the game suffers. I'm intrigued by the exploration regeneration with turncount decay ideas implojin brought up. I think this has great potential to reward aggressive, fast-paced play instead of the degenerate garbage that goes into winrate dcss. Some people will quit. Some people will resent hellcrawl. But hellcrawl will continue to improve. This is no different from if someone had come in and started getting pissed about removing food or lair or identification. I think some people will see this is the right way forward.

It's not an accident that this kind of vague theorizing is unrelated to anyone who actually plays crawl, even super-cautious crawl.

Here is a real game by zxc who played super-cautious crawl for a streak. He took one hour to clear D:1 (he found a gnoll with a net on D:1, among other things). It still took less than 3000 turns.

But, by all means, keep your fingers in your ears and go "la la la la", and act like criticism of a particular change must be made by reactionaries who hate change.

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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 14:10

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

What is so hard about this? The issue is not what people do, it's what people can do and what people "should" do if the only thing they care about in the world is winning the game of crawl they are playing. Anyone can get long streaks if they're willing to do things like the insane exploration tactics I described above. I've played this style of crawl and I've never lost doing it (though I have tired of actually doing it -- this is the impressive thing about long streaks, the willingness to actually do it). No matter how good guys like elliptic or zxc are at the game, they're still just men. They play a careful game to the degree they judge necessary to win consistently and the rest is for their personal comfort, what's fun for them within the bounds they feel a high degree of confidence with.

You have to design for the totally insane, theoretical robot construct of a player or you're making a game where people who don't want to take adderall to reach peak performance are penalized. It's like, you know, permacharms are a player nerf. You have more mp in combat without them if you constantly recast to keep them up outside of combat. They don't feel like a nerf because, as a sane meat-being, you've never experienced the raw power of recasting. The only reason you don't see people going nuts about that is that where there are literally people who lure and kite the hell out of everything and explore the way I described to achieve high winrates (or win crazy challenge conducts), there are no people who actually recast duration spells the way they should and think everyone else should have to.

The way you get better should be by more efficient, effective tactics, not by having an unlimited capacity for tedious optimization. The latter is the number one way you can improve your dcss game.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 14:44

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Explore-to-regen is now a thing that exists. Thanks entirely to those who expressed interest in this publicly and privately, without which I never would have been motivated to write this.

(In the spirit of bring the code or shut up, I highly encourage everyone here to go write their preferred solution so we can see once and for all which plays the best)
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 15:00

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

I eagerly anticipate this PR.
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Post Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 16:10

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Implojin wrote:(In the spirit of bring the code or shut up, I highly encourage everyone here to go write their preferred solution so we can see once and for all which plays the best)

I already wrote code for explore-for-regen two years ago, by the way.

I am all for this kind of "contest" (indeed, I suggested an experiment for a small part earlier), but we need to agree on the ground rules first. What I see in this thread is mostly just bait-and-switch, or motte-and-bailey if you prefer: saying that a timer is "anti-scumming" while its nothing of the kind. Let's agree in advance as to what exactly the timer is meant to accomplish, and how to measure it, and I will be happy to participate.

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Post Wednesday, 11th October 2017, 01:47

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

The main virtues of the concept implojin has talked about to my mind are:

1) The regeneration happens automatically without player action or control in the normal course of play,
2) It eliminates resting,
3) It is limited by exploration (space, which is finite, for the most part), not time,
4) Turn-based decay of your reservoir of regeneration means there is a built-in limit to the advantage of slow exploration, heavy kiting and luring, reexploration and low-exploration scumming, and all other forms of slow play,
5) It should eliminate kite/wait-to-regen tactics, e.g. pillar dancing, bugs bunny doors, etc.

I would rather see how implojin's code works and suggest tweaks/make further PRs than hack up my own version. I will say that anything based on giving the player items fails on at least two of the points above. I have my own outline of how it should work with formulas and so on, but the big question in my model is values of key parameters. It'll take a lot of reworking other game systems to get this right. It's a major project to get everything right.
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bel

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Post Wednesday, 11th October 2017, 04:48

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

I do not know exactly what Implojin's solution does, so I can't comment in much detail. I don't understand what the decay is for. It's basically like speedrunning, which was not supposed to be the direction people wanted to go towards.

I used heal wounds potions because I wanted to avoid things like "banking" unexplored areas so that one can go back and heal. The basic idea was to mimic DD of Ely: exploration gives piety, and piety is used for healing. It is trivial to tweak the solution to only have the "overflow" stored as potions.

In a later iteration, there were proposals to use ambrosia potions instead of heal wounds potions, to limit usage in combat. I never got around to implementing it.

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Post Wednesday, 11th October 2017, 11:51

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

As far as speedrunning goes we're already pretty far down that hole. Stair removal is a big step in that direction already. Very conventional dcss types seem to have a hard time seeing the difference between a 3000 turn limit on levels and speedrunning. Maybe there's something to their position.

Decay and a maximum useful exploration percentage around 75-80% per level will deal with the banking issue.
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Post Wednesday, 11th October 2017, 13:24

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

watertreatmentRL wrote:Weird mix of tough guy and "this game is too hard" going on here. I am not going to get in a record comparing pissing match with someone who can't win a game of hellcrawl.


You literally get into a "pissing match" with the 9 words following the phrase "I am not going to get in a record comparing pissing match."

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Post Wednesday, 11th October 2017, 13:36

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Guy drops into the thread whining about how hard the game is but how he's too good for the lower difficulty mode, then goes super saiyan when he gets called on it. Zero sympathy.
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Post Thursday, 12th October 2017, 02:53

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

For those who wanted to see what my vision of explore-to-regen is shaping up to be, I've pushed yesterday's initial hackjob to my github under the explore_to_regen branch here.
watertreatmentRL correctly inferred most of what I intend this branch to accomplish.

The numbers in that initial commit are not balanced at all, it's missing a few critical things yet, and further changes are coming. No PR until I'm happy with the result.


This implementation is shaping up to be quite unlike the initial idea of a straight copy of Path of Exile's flasks. I was originally thinking about that way back with regard to kill-to-regen. When instead using passive explore-to-regen with HP/MP leakage, many of the concerns described upthread become obviated.

I suppose I should mention explicitly that I see the HP/MP leakage (degeneration) rate as *needing* to be quite aggressive. Appropriate regeneration rates here are a matter of balance.

I am also currently leaning towards two additions to this system that I think would improve the play:
1) Adding single-use floor tiles that grant some amount of regen when stepped on, before vanishing for good. These would be rare-ish, but would neatly tie up a concern about maximum distance-to-regen-tile and vault layouts.
2) Adding a secondary *positive* incentive, above and beyond the regen clock, to encourage play that does not stutter-step. Discussions on IRC floated the ideas of per-floor scoring incentives and gold incentives. I still need to playtest things like Vaults and Depths layouts with more realistic HP drain numbers before I really want to commit to a secondary incentive, because I'd prefer to avoid adding unnecessary cognitive load.


@ bel : That's a neat thread, thank you for linking it. I think that a lot of the concerns people raised in that thread were valid WRT your implementation, primarily for three reasons: (please clarify if I am wrong about what your patches seem to have described, I haven't yet applied them to anything locally)
1) You rate of HP gain (potion distribution) does not seem to have been proportional to the character's max HP. This is a necessary step, I think. [[And a step that is not yet properly implemented in my above linked branch.]]

Handing out potions instead of automagically handling regen without *active* player button-mashing isn't really a good way to approach this.
2), it lets players stockpile HP above their max up to the amount of potions they're able to save.
3), it requires players to buttonmash whenever they need healing, which is a _lot_ over the course of a game.


There is one more concern that was brought up by eb_ in ##crawl: Ensuring that available player regeneration is at least somewhat proportional to the expected monster damage output on a given floor.
(Read: Make sure players have sufficient regen available to complete branch-end vaults.)
This can be handled in a couple of ways, but I think it would be sufficiently addressed by the increased placement of the above-mentioned single-use regen tiles in vaults/branch-end floors.


Here are some of the design notes I wrote up a couple nights ago before coding this stuff, they go into a bit more detail:
Spoiler: show
So, thinking about explore-to-regen, benefits and drawbacks of some different implementations present themselves:

From the standpoint of reducing meaningless button mashing, PoE-style flasks don't seem like a great approach. It works in that game (and potions sort-of work in other ARPGs) because those devs are trying to maintain player excitement through frenetic ability spam interspersed with periodic loot rewards. Extra button spam in that environment translates to a negligible increase in player load.

The question here is whether forcing a low-level background player engagement every few turns creates more compelling play or less compelling play than just getting out of the player's way as much as possible.

(A different framing of this view would be that they need their players to be constantly pulling the reward lever. Do we? Crawl has randomized reward payouts designed, intentionally or not, to tickle that part of the brain. I'd prefer to think that the DCSS team wanted Crawl's tactical choices to more strongly define the game, but in reality Crawl's combat systems remain pretty shallow, with many players opting out of anything more deep than o+tab/bump attacks, and even strong veteran players choosing to eschew actions that take many keypresses for the sake of making the game play more smoothly.)

(There's a lot of variety in DCSS' spells, but many of them still translate as "ranged damage of a different flavour". There's a lot of variety in DCSS' skills, but many of them still translate as "boost damage of a different flavour". Weapon choice in DCSS translates as "cleaving bump attacks, not-cleaving bump attacks, or ammo collection for ranged", with a couple of dickish traps for new players to fall into. None of these choices are particularly interesting, and players end up gravitating toward whatever will make their game play the quickest within the constraint of species aptitude, then pressing o+tab and bypassing the farcical attempts at bump attack differentiation.

This is starting to read more as a critique of "autofight" existing in a game where the selling point is nominally "deep tactical combat" than as a critique of offense differentiation, but oh well.



Anyway -- operating under the premise that Crawl *can* be compelling without training players to mindlessly tap its reward button -- I think that a regen system that tries to remain as unobtrusive as possible while still incentivizing forward movement is probably the right approach. To that end, things like refilling flasks (requiring the player to keytap) and dynamic buffs (requiring the player to monitor the current buff count) would be counterproductive.

Thus, a very simple solution presents itself: Disable resting. Add an always-on HP leak. Let revealing unexplored tiles restore HP.

The rate that you want to set the leakage is a function of how far you want the player to be able to reposition through already-explored space while still gaining HP. The further you allow this distance to be, the further players can/will be incentivized to constantly backtrack. (No more than 16 tiles, or twice-LOS, seems like a reasonable initial target pending playtesting.)
The leakage rate also has to be expressed in terms of percentage of max HP, else things like Fighting/Racial HP apt/+HP items would translate as "resistance to scum clock".
[[I expect there will be problems here later with regard to abilities that dynamically modify max HP, like dragonform/etc, but it needs to be written first]]


Note, too, that barring relocation abilities like teleport and blinking, this leakage rate then sets a maximum distance-to-regenerative-tile that you have to consider during floor generation. The higher the leakage rate, the nearer your downstairs/unexplored tiles/other regenerative tiles have to be, or you'll get reports of players walking down isolated map sections and being unable to get back out without dying. This would make enclosed map layouts much more dangerous, unless you add some other kind of secondary regenerative tile like single-use blood pools.

[[Lore tile names: Floor fungus, blood pools, royal jelly, snozzcumber patch]] [[could have different floor tiles regenerate different percentages of HP/MP]]
[[Feature thought: You could force-grant mutations to characters who consume enough of any type of pool through the course of the game.
"Fungal Skin", "Vampiric Lust", "Sweet Tooth", etc.]]


This might require a careful review of Hellcrawl vaults/encompass vaults. Alternately, you could give everyone Formicid self-shaft, but that seems like it would nullify a lot of the gameplay tension this system would otherwise induce.

(I guess you could maybe add an uncommon single-use item that shafts the player? This would keep the tension up most of the time, while still allowing the player an out if their floor generator creates particularly unfriendly terrain.)


The rate you set as the gain for revealing new tiles is purely a difficulty modifier. The collective rate when multiplied by the typical number of tiles-revealed-per-turn has to be higher than the rate of leakage. Too high and players will be able to roll over whatever you throw in their path. Too low and backtracking dead-end mapgenerator paths will be very punishing.

Large map size relative to exit presence will probably make this play less-well. It should work well on medium-size levels with reasonable amounts of downstairs. It would work poorly on large or very large levels with fewer downstairs.

(With respect to an exploration buffer, this already exists in the form of current HP / max HP!)


I expect these changes will put pressure on the magic system due to how intertwined fizzling/spell accuracy/overall spell balance is with rest-to-regen. This may or may not require a spellcasting overhaul, depending on the implementation details. If it does, that can be worked out after the initial explore-to-regen implementation is in place.

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bel

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Post Thursday, 12th October 2017, 07:05

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Implojin wrote:@ bel : That's a neat thread, thank you for linking it. I think that a lot of the concerns people raised in that thread were valid WRT your implementation, primarily for three reasons: (please clarify if I am wrong about what your patches seem to have described, I haven't yet applied them to anything locally)
1) You rate of HP gain (potion distribution) does not seem to have been proportional to the character's max HP. This is a necessary step, I think. [[And a step that is not yet properly implemented in my above linked branch.]]

Handing out potions instead of automagically handling regen without *active* player button-mashing isn't really a good way to approach this.
2), it lets players stockpile HP above their max up to the amount of potions they're able to save.
3), it requires players to buttonmash whenever they need healing, which is a _lot_ over the course of a game.

First, keep in mind that this was something I hacked over a few days. It's very rough. However, I think the idea is sound.
1. The rate of potion generation depends on the depth where you are on. The deeper you are, the more potions you get. This goes directly to the point raised by eb_. By the way, this will roughly translate to higher potion generation for higher max HP as well, but I don't think one should be looking at max HP: one should be looking at the hardness of the floor, which increases as you go deeper. In any case, this can be tweaked to have whatever function one wants.
2. Yes, that is the point. No healing is "wasted". I don't see why this is a problem. Also, see the comments on buffer below.
3. This can be trivially fixed by simply increasing the HP/MP directly instead of generating a potion, as long as there is no overflow.

The reason this is the right way to go, in my opinion, is that floor difficulty in crawl varies wildly. Some floors are easy, some are tough. Even within a floor, damage taken varies wildly. Therefore, one must allow some amount of "smoothing". This can best be achieved by having a buffer, which means something like heal wounds potions in inventory. The aim is to have a generating function which makes the buffer as smooth as possible, assuming good play.

When I playtested my patch, my experience was that I built up the buffer and spent it in the branch ends. To smoothen it out, I had planned to decrease the base rate of potion generation, with a bonus to generation rates in branch ends.

In your design document, I don't see any buffer mechanism (apart from max HP/MP). I am not sure this amount of buffer is enough. Crawl max HP/MP were not designed with this kind of play in mind, so one should not expect the numbers to be anywhere close to what would be required in practical play. Or you might need to special-case a bunch of stuff to make it work. I already see a lot of complicated stuff going on (or perhaps it just seems that way to me).

I don't understand the point of HP decay at all.
Last edited by bel on Thursday, 12th October 2017, 07:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Thursday, 12th October 2017, 07:14

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Current crawl punishes bad tactics by forcing you to use a consumable to survive. Good tactics is neither punished nor rewarded (you don't spend any consumables and you just regen HP before next fight).
As far as I understand suggested changes to HP regen work in a different way: bad tactics is punished in 2 possible different ways: you are lower on HP and you probably spent a consumable to survive. Good tactics can be punished by losing excess HP regen (you lost no HP in a fight and potential HP regen was wasted so you are encouraged to shout to attract a dangerous monster before exploring further).
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Post Thursday, 12th October 2017, 07:57

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

I tried the branch. It's rough, but the concept is sound. I remain convinced that a reservoir or "buffer" is necessary to avoid various issues involving banking and tedious manual exploration, but hp/mp "bleeding out" when the reservoir is depleted makes sense to me. It helps deter banking, among other things.
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Post Thursday, 12th October 2017, 08:12

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Just wanted to say I am highly opposed to explore to regen.

It will lead to tedious behaviour like keeping parts of the map deliberately unexplored so you can heal with them later.

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Post Friday, 13th October 2017, 17:00

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

I've been on the #removefood train since the first game i played in the year 2013, but if these are the serious alternatives i might have to rethink my position.

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Post Saturday, 14th October 2017, 01:57

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

I think we've reached well beyond the useful space for publicly discussing hellcrawl mechanics in a tavern thread.... but!

The serious alternative to food for hellcrawl is no food. We have had that for about a year. It is good. It is good because food in dcss doesn't do anything and removing it means a full game is interrupted fewer times, to the tune of one to several hundred.

DCSS would be a better game if food did what it's claimed to do. DCSS thought only considers the most extreme, unimaginative forms of scumming in connection with food, like naive doomRL 5 spam that operate on time scales of 10s of thousands of turns, when simple variations on them are over 10 times faster and achieve the same results. This is because dcss food is incapable of limiting the player on timescales below a couple thousand turns. This means there is a broad continuum of normal play, highly optimized play, and outright scumming.

Hellcrawl has made great strides getting rid of the really terrible time wasting stuff, like identification, food, and duration recasting, and fixing the difficulty curve with lair removal, branch restructuring, lots of spawn revisions, and so on. Winrate hellcrawl still looks a lot like winrate dcss. If you haven't played winrate dcss and you care about this subject enough to comment, you really owe it to yourself to play for streaks with random combos until you can do it reasonably well and think about what it took to get there. You may not like the way I argue, but I am not wrong about the problems with winrate crawl.

If dcss would be better with food that does what they say it's supposed to do, it would be even better if it opted for something that achieves those goals passively instead. That is where hellcrawl is now. Compressing the range of "highly optimized play" toward the normal side of the normal-scumming axis would immensely improve the game. And by the way, exploration regeneration means no resting, the most obvious remaining dcss button mashing hold over.
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Post Monday, 23rd October 2017, 15:03

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

This thread is suffering from a poor definition of the various problems.

So lets attempt to define what is "bad". This is far more necessary than I think some people are giving credit for because we must define the case/scenario in before we could ever write code to detect.

So what is one case? People doing excessive amounts of luring and kiting taking "too long" to win an encounter. Ok. Sure sounds pretty vague.

Let's take a common scenario that is also a very common cause of death; an orc pack with one or more orc priests.

Now what is "normal" here. Well lets just say for the sake of argument each orc takes on average three hits to kill (this is probably optimistic early on but for the sake of having a number let's use this).

Fine. You see one orc you kill it you move on. That took 3 to 6 turns or so (accounting for movement).

You see 3 orcs, you don't want to be surrounded and fighting in a way that allows you to surrounded is generally considered dumb unless you meet certain criteria. The fastest outcome is using an axe or some other aoe and under our number assumption would take something like 5 turns. More likely you kite or lure to somewher more favorable. On a non-open level this is probably less than 10 turns of movement then 9 turns of combat. So let's say 20 turns. An open level is considerably different and this turn count could explode out much higher, personally I just say fuck it and yolo it but some people are very anal.

You see 4 orcs and an orc priest. As most people know the priests can smite so you cannot sit in a corridor and and wail away on 4 orcs for 12 turns while the OP can kill in 3 turns at low levels. In general you need to either flee and come back (which is very hard to detect) or you need to use corners etc to obstruct LOS or you need to lure all of these tactics will burn turns. But how many turns? Personally I never do extended kiting. I never to the column dancing other people do. Literally I never do it and I have won HC like 10 times over the various versions. I never do it in normal crawl and have 15 runed at least 5 Op characters and various others. So when I run into the this situation I approach it from a similar mentality I will lure and kite in an ACTIVE manner, meaning I will only hit the wait button 1-5 times before I try something else. As a rule of thumb this can add something like 30 turns unless things go really weird. So this scenario is something like 50-100 turns(30 for luring and 20 for killing). This is of course, a SWAG. But at least its a number.

Now how many turns would the "aberrant" playstyle use? Probably alot more, something on the order of 5 to 10 times this turn count. Then for a level how many turns will this be if they do it on everything. Obviously thsi depends on how many mobs there are on the level and their nature (are they the type of thing certain playstyles MUST lure?).

Simply saying luring/kiting is bad mmmkay won't work, because well its an untrue and wrong statement. Luring and kiting is a neceassary tactic, but extreme overuse is considered to be a bad style of gameplay. So I would say you must be able to detect the charactistics of this gameplay and the style of gameplay necessarily has certain characteristics that standout.

Doing something like remvoing a fundamental mechanic like regen and healing etc. is a hamfisted and and inelegant solution to the problem that will cause many many cascading effects on to other aspects of gameplay.

Using the 3k turn count is an elegant but extremelty imprecise way of doing things. Its real issue currently is the imprecision, given the way that the dungeon and mob distribution (both in location, nature, and difficulty) its just dooomed to fail stupidly, unfairly and catastrophically sometimes, and its more likely to do that on run that deserve it the least (i.e. why are you fucking with someone who is already doing a hard run which obviously will take more time?).

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Post Monday, 23rd October 2017, 22:18

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

It's worth talking about the problem for sure because I'd define the problem as "kiting/luring is unfun and should not be a major part of the game". Importantly I think we can say there's a difference between finding some enemies and a) repositioning for best cover (eg moving a few turns back around a corner) or b) shouting around corners and kiting monsters back a significant distance.

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Post Monday, 23rd October 2017, 23:37

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

I've been playing a lot of XCOM 2 lately. It has pretty punishing turn limits for most missions, in fact some people hate the turn limits so much that they write quite popular mods to remove them. I see a lot of parallels to the discussion about anti-scumming/kiting/luring. This video sums up the debate pretty well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7L8vAGGitr8

* Players will play the most risk averse way possible
* Even if this isn't fun
* The game should make players take on risk
* But you have to be careful how you frame this risk, because forms of risk feel un-fun
* Things without a good in-universe explanation tend to feel un-fun

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Post Tuesday, 24th October 2017, 05:00

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Thank you for mentioning the mods! Maybe I will try xcom2 again, currently I feel I wasted 12$ for 1hour total play ((
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Post Tuesday, 24th October 2017, 13:35

Re: [proclick] new fork, hellcrawl

Time for an update.
Gnolls:
  • Use a variant on the Kobold system where you get a flat amount of skill points on levelup. They're a little weaker than gnolls in mainline crawl but the overall design ends up in a similar spot I think.
  • Don't have that weird item sensing mutation thing.
Demonspawn mutation reworks:
  • Foul stench facet gives 3 ranks of foul stench instead of only rot resistance at rank 1 (you still get rot resistance when you get foul stench).
  • Negative energy facet gives black mark / 50% deterministic torment resistance (like statue form) / black mark. Black mark rank 2 is 40% chance to trigger. Black mark always tries to apply antimagic or weakness, never draining.
  • Icemail facet ranks: half an icemail / ice spell enhancer / full icemail
  • Nightstalker is now a tier 3 mutation instead of tier 2.
  • Combined the ignite blood and hurl damnation facets: ignite blood (50% chance to trigger) / ignite blood (like the current version) / hurl damnation. You implicitly get flame cloud immunity when you get ignite blood.
  • Powered by pain will trigger more frequently.
  • Spirit shield facet gives the mp regen first, then the spirit shield.
  • New body facet: prehensile tentacle. Gives an increasing chance of the octopode "squeeze" aux with rank. At rank 3 it takes the cloak slot and can constrict.
  • New tier 2 facet: crystalline skin. Gives +6 sh / innate reflection / innate omnireflection (like warlock mirror). Omnireflection chance depends on total SH. Wearing warlock mirror won't improve it further aside from giving you more SH.
  • Removed passive freeze facet.
  • The first rank of the tier 3 facet should come earlier on average.
Jiyva rework
  • Uses exploration piety instead of item eating
  • Slurps some items directly when entering a floor, slurps some more over time. Does not spawn a billion jellies everywhere.
  • Moved slimify and most of the passives to lower piety levels to compensate.
  • Stat shuffling is less frequent.
  • New passive at high piety that gives you damage shaving.
  • Altars are guaranteed in early D like the temple gods, so you can actually play it.
New difficulty setting, speedrun:
  • Double experience, stairs and portals are mapped. After 650 turns on a floor you start rotting with increasing speed over time.
Clock stuff:
  • No clock in casual mode
  • Improved display and messaging for clock in normal mode: there's a status light for the last 500 turns and it'll properly force_more and interrupt when hitting that turncount. Further improvement is still in the works.
Other stuff:
  • New background: torpor knight. Start with ponderous plate, a +0 weapon, 35 chei piety, and a dream.
  • Removed background: abyssal knight. Lugonu altars are much more frequent in abyss: there's one guaranteed every time it shifts (though you might head in the wrong direction and miss it).
  • Disabled Nemelex, pending rework (unlike other god disables I want to revisit this one at some point)
  • Increased some piety costs that were inadvertently too low as a result of the fixed piety cost change.
  • Human exp apt increased to +2
  • Tengu get permaflight at level 5. No more temporary flight nonsense.
  • Beastly appendage is deterministic, always gives talons if it can and gives horns otherwise.
  • Deep elf elementalists don't dig, get airstrike again, should stop fireballing you from out of los finally.
  • Fixed the piety display so it actually updates every time piety changes.

Most of this is live on cpo already and should hit cbro within a few days. I'm going to update again within a week with some cool halloween stuff (and bugfixes).
Remove spell hunger.

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