Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles


Although the central place for design discussion is ##crawl-dev on freenode, some may find it helpful to discuss requests and suggestions here first.

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Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 06:35

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

I still don't get it. Do those games with "your" targeting have monsters coming from all directions? Can PC move in all (4-6-8) directions? Because currently the thread reminds me attempt to change boxing rules based on chess existence. I mean I played space invaders but I don't see how it can work in crawl. Call it lack of imagination, yeah.
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Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 06:58

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

this argument is significantly different from saying "remove targeters" though. your original proposal sounds closer to something like "remove manual melee attacking and make tab the only method of melee combat", while this:
tealizard wrote:For my argument, the key difference between the games I'm talking about and crawl targeting is that in these games, targeting is seamlessly integrated with movement/orientation controls and the firing interface is simple usually consisting only of a trigger button (but perhaps also involving advanced options like alt-fire, subweapons, scopes, etc.).

is suggesting to keep targeters but have an "auto-targeting" mechanism (which also currently exists) be the norm. I'm not suggesting that games have crawl targeting as a norm, but the majority of games fundamentally have some mechanic which can be abstracted to targeting (again the only difference is how it's implemented, which includes notions like the quality of the UI.) in particular, this doesn't convince me that removing targeters is a good idea. for example:
I do not claim that there are no games that have targeting that resembles crawl targeting, only that this sort of targeting is not the rule in general. One point here is that arguing from a position that it is somehow ridiculous not to have crawl-style targeting reflects a very narrow view of video games. Many of the best video games have position-based "aim" or targeting precisely for the reason I advocate it here: It is concise and fluid. Arguments being made here about "running around" the targeting system look silly in this broader context. You would never hear someone say it's a problem that you have to maneuver in particular ways to hit a koopa with a fireball -- that's the whole point.

the developers of mario could have made the game even simpler by making it so that mario can't face left, or maybe mario automatically faces the closest monster. in this case, no one complains about having to target a koopa to kill it because you can turn left and right. if one day a new mario platformer was released and mario had new facing mechanics maybe people will complain. similarly, when zelda: ocarina of time was developed they could have made it so that z-targeting didn't exist and you could only attack a specific monster, but they didn't. i think it's clear that gameplay can be improved by giving the player some form of targeting (and by extension gameplay can be made worse by removing the ability to target) and you can't say that not having targeters is a fundamentally better experience (ignoring UI concerns)

to convincingly argue for the removal of targeters, you would have to explain why it is impossible to make a satisfactory UI for them in dcss. otherwise you are just arguing that the targeter UI should be improved, which is a non-argument
Last edited by CanOfWorms on Friday, 18th January 2019, 07:04, edited 4 times in total.

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Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 06:59

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

Nekoatl wrote:
tealizard wrote:The targeting so beloved by many in this thread does not, in fact, offer a lot of real decisions in actual play -- the situation where clever targeting is used is very much the exception.


Even if it's true that the majority of targeting decisions are not tactically relevant, there's still 2 problems with using this as a justification to get rid of targeting:

1) Meaningful decisions are important, and so we shouldn't remove them just because they don't happen all the time.

2) In cases where target selection doesn't matter, players can just accept the default target; and even in many cases where targeting does matter, players can quickly cycle through targets using the + and - numpad keys, meaning that any sizable efficiency gain would only be gained by removing targeting from cases where selection does matter. For ranged weapons in particular, there wouldn't even be any efficiency gain at all over Shift+Tab.

That said, I don't see a problem with adding an option to repeat the last cast spell (if it targets monsters) on the default target while some version of Tab (perhaps Alt+ or Ctrl+) is held. It wouldn't negatively impact cases where target selection does matter unless the player wants it to or is careless.

You can already set up a key to do this, see "automagic" in the options.
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Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 07:37

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

I think I gave good reasons to prefer melee-style targeting to arbitrary ranged targeting in my opening comments on the thread. As for this counterfactual version of super mario bros., I would want to see this version of mario become an all-time classic before taking it very seriously.

Some have suggested that there is something overly dumbed-down about moving to spell effects that do not have explicit targeting via the targeter, yet I have still not heard anyone speak to the point that many spells already have such mechanics and everyone seems cool with that. I don't hear a lot of talk about how these spells are just too dumb.

On whether or not it's possible to have ranged effects with explicit targeting substantially less cumbersome than it is now, I'm not interested in getting part of the way to the clean, fluid gameplay of melee combat. I want to go all the way. I don't think you have to make formal argument in coding theory to see that arbitrary selection of targets at range necessarily involves a significantly more cumbersome interface than melee combat or the sort of implicit targeting I advocate. There's also the question of whether having an interface for making repetitive non-decisions has much value in the first place.

To circle back to a point I mentioned earlier in the thread, beyond the interface and gameplay issue, there's also the issue that many of these explicitly targeted ranged spells are extremely similar to ranged weapon and evocable effects. There's potential for more diverse play here. (On the other hand, I think there's some agreement on this forum that the set of explicitly targeted ranged spells in this game is fairly repetitive and unimaginative.)
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Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 07:56

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

tealizard wrote:Some have suggested that there is something overly dumbed-down about moving to spell effects that do not have explicit targeting via the targeter, yet I have still not heard anyone speak to the point that many spells already have such mechanics and everyone seems cool with that. I don't hear a lot of talk about how these spells are just too dumb.


If you mean instant conjurations without explicit targeting, all those have self-harm to avoid being too dumb even when they don't deal damage to every monster in view (chain lightning, static discharge, Alistair's Intoxication, Ozocubu's Refrigeration, Olgreb's Toxic Radiance). Death channel, Aura of Abjuration etc. are not conjurations, they are closer to "enchantments" (they move along with PC) and mass confusion is a non-targeted version of confusion, all those affect every enemy in view.
Tornado does not care about enemy positions at all.
So I don't see a spell without targeting which affects not all monsters in view, cares about monster positions and is not self-harm.
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Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 08:23

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

tealizard wrote:I think I gave good reasons to prefer melee-style targeting to arbitrary ranged targeting in my opening comments on the thread.

yes, your argument is that ranged UI is bad. your proposed solution is "ranged targeting should be automated so it can be done in a single keypress", which is undeniably a user interface improvement, but it's not clear that this is necessarily a gameplay improvement. removing manual exploration and melee combat would also be a UI improvement since you have to memorize less keys, but it's not clearly an improvement to the gameplay; your posts don't suggest that you think it's an improvement either

tealizard wrote:As for this counterfactual version of super mario bros., I would want to see this version of mario become an all-time classic before taking it very seriously.

i'm not sure how this is helping your argument. it sounds like you're agreeing with me that if super mario bros was "simplified" in the ways I described, it would be worse

tealizard wrote:Some have suggested that there is something overly dumbed-down about moving to spell effects that do not have explicit targeting via the targeter, yet I have still not heard anyone speak to the point that many spells already have such mechanics and everyone seems cool with that. I don't hear a lot of talk about how these spells are just too dumb.

I don't dislike ice cream, but if I were forced to eat ice cream every day I would start finding things to complain about it; there is a big difference between having something in volume versus being limited to a small subset. I believe there are a few removed items that no one complained about (either before they were removed or after) other than minmay but that doesn't necessarily mean they were good designs

tealizard wrote:I don't think you have to make formal argument in coding theory to see that arbitrary selection of targets at range necessarily involves a significantly more cumbersome interface than melee combat or the sort of implicit targeting I advocate.

again, I'll bring up ocarina of time as a system that has targeting (z-targeting) and as far as I'm aware, no one has argued that the game would be better without it. the fact that nintendo, a game developer that highly values good UI, left it in suggests that it is possible to have targeting without being cumbersome

tealizard wrote:To circle back to a point I mentioned earlier in the thread, beyond the interface and gameplay issue, there's also the issue that many of these explicitly targeted ranged spells are extremely similar to ranged weapon and evocable effects. There's potential for more diverse play here. (On the other hand, I think there's some agreement on this forum that the set of explicitly targeted ranged spells in this game is fairly repetitive and unimaginative.)

you claim that having non-targeted spells would create more diverse play, but then you handwave the work required to show that. like any other poster who makes a proposal in GDD, you have some onus to actually design these spells so that other posters can pick at it to see if it will really create more diverse gameplay as you claim. in addition, developers have tried adding new "beams" like dazzling spray and glaciate, but they have their own issues, so it's not clear why non-targeted spells won't have similar issues

another way of looking at it: if having more non-targeted spells *will* improve gameplay, you should design and propose them, and then you can advocate for the removal of other spells, like how ignition was created to replace delayed fireball; there is nothing stopping these hypothetical spells from existing in the current game

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Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 11:23

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

I also argue above that arbitrarily targeted ranged combat reduces the importance of positioning and therefore compromises ranged combat gameplay. To be clear, I think this can be addressed through different approaches to targeting.

I've made some specific proposals, but people seem more interested in contesting the general criticism. From my perspective, the way to get into picking at specific proposals would be for you to pick at specific proposals.
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Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 14:57

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

So what I'm gathering from this is that instead of playing DCSS, or anything remotely related to DCSS or its contemporaries or its gaming history, you want to play an FPS. Is that fair to say?

Personally, my issue at hand with this discussion is that I can't picture what you want. Your examples continually use FPS games as inspiration but Crawl isn't even 3D, let alone first person. You use original Zelda as an example, being a real-time non grid based game, so any examples there are similarly unrelatable to Crawl. Your "point and click" interface that uses player position as a targeter is a tech that was only made possible after the advent and popular acceptance of 3D first person games, because you have to be able to point at something to click it. Nothing in Crawl is set up to recognize raycasting, nor has it ever been, nor will it probably ever be, because the style and mechanical parts of the game are incompatible with that concept.

It seems to me that you just want to play an FPS rather than play what Crawl actually is.

In addition, we've deviated significantly from the post topic and I'm not sure this belongs in GDD anymore.

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Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 16:23

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

CanOfWorms wrote:
tealizard wrote:I think I gave good reasons to prefer melee-style targeting to arbitrary ranged targeting in my opening comments on the thread.


yes, your argument is that ranged UI is bad. your proposed solution is "ranged targeting should be automated so it can be done in a single keypress", which is undeniably a user interface improvement, but it's not clear that this is necessarily a gameplay improvement.


Also for what it's worth, this UI improvement *already exists and is supported in the game* for ranged attacks and spells, you can set it up so that ranged targeting can be done with a single keypress, and when using those keys, it behaves in the "select randomly among the closest" fashion, that being one of the suggestions.

That it is already not optimal to use this all the time is obvious and makes it obvious why people *want* to have targeted attacks available.
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Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 16:43

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

I am not sure, Siegurt. When some people want to have targeting, that's because they like to make decisions (and feel smart when those decisions are actually smart), not just to increase their chance of winning. I mean if DEWz played like MiGl with tab and o because autotargeting/aitocasting would always choose the best option, why would I play DEWz?
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Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 17:28

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

VeryAngryFelid wrote:I am not sure, Siegurt. When some people want to have targeting, that's because they like to make decisions (and feel smart when those decisions are actually smart), not just to increase their chance of winning. I mean if DEWz played like MiGl with tab and o because autotargeting/aitocasting would always choose the best option, why would I play DEWz?

Tab is not always your best option as a MiGl or DEWz. It is *an* option for either one. It's probably the easiest option for non-challenging fights for both (presuming you have automagic set up for DEWz) For possibly-dangerous fights, DEWz has a wider variety of "optimal" options than MiGl, for example the optimal option for DEWz a lot of times is to use conjure flame, place it tactically, then use some sort of attack to kill things, however sometimes it's to use meph cloud, sometimes it's to summon a bunch of imps, etc. etc. Whereas MiGl usually has fewer options, particularly early on, to deal with threats (although it's primary methods of dealing with threats will usually deal with a larger number of them) I'm not sure how you're comparing the two.

I think I don't understand what you're trying to say here, in what fashion are decisions "smart" if they don't increase your winning chances? I assume you play DEWz because you like variety (?)
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Post Saturday, 19th January 2019, 00:07

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

So it looks like there are no takers on picking at specific proposals, as anticipated. The new arguments appear to be rule lawyering and "magic tab, accessible via your .rc file, is actually the same thing." I feel I've said what I wanted to say for now.
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Post Saturday, 19th January 2019, 09:46

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

Siegurt wrote:
VeryAngryFelid wrote:I am not sure, Siegurt. When some people want to have targeting, that's because they like to make decisions (and feel smart when those decisions are actually smart), not just to increase their chance of winning. I mean if DEWz played like MiGl with tab and o because autotargeting/aitocasting would always choose the best option, why would I play DEWz?

Tab is not always your best option as a MiGl or DEWz. It is *an* option for either one. It's probably the easiest option for non-challenging fights for both (presuming you have automagic set up for DEWz) For possibly-dangerous fights, DEWz has a wider variety of "optimal" options than MiGl, for example the optimal option for DEWz a lot of times is to use conjure flame, place it tactically, then use some sort of attack to kill things, however sometimes it's to use meph cloud, sometimes it's to summon a bunch of imps, etc. etc. Whereas MiGl usually has fewer options, particularly early on, to deal with threats (although it's primary methods of dealing with threats will usually deal with a larger number of them) I'm not sure how you're comparing the two.

I think I don't understand what you're trying to say here, in what fashion are decisions "smart" if they don't increase your winning chances? I assume you play DEWz because you like variety (?)
I was talking about dewz in theoretical crawl version where there is no spell targeting and the best spells are automatically cast at the best positions each turn.
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Post Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 22:44

Re: Make trog and oka stop showering you with needles

Confuse/para/curare needles are no joke right into the end game, unless you're trying to use them on liches and orbs of fire. Otherwise ridiculously dangerous uniques can be trivialized w/o MR check.

That said, it would be nice to have some kind of consolidation or sanity introduced to throwing weapon spam, including but not limited to needles. These are some of the hardest things on rote inventory management in the game, akin to old nemelex.
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