Shafts - Too common now?


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Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Monday, 15th April 2019, 22:40

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

delarado wrote:My memory may be failing me but I'm pretty sure that part of the reason I started this thread was because I got shafted three floors on swamp:1 despite having boots of flying active and died a few turns later to a pack of Hydras/Blink Frogs I got landed next to.

So While I like your idea, flying, somehow, does not prevent you from getting shafted.

I think there's a message like "You get sucked into the shaft".

Those hungry, hungry shafts.

I don't really like that all flight does is let you ignore water(and sometimes lava, aka deep water version 2). Not being able to avoid traps while in the air makes no sense. To me that either means flight should be reflavored to something else, like some sort of aquatic buff that lets you move freely in water specifically, or removed. I don't think something that only lets you ignore water(and/or lava) is very interesting and would rather it was just removed as a player available effect.

Temple Termagant

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Post Thursday, 18th April 2019, 05:53

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

I get the feeling that flight gives very conflicting messages, but I don't understand the ultimatum of change or remove. It does have a narrow application, but so do things like potions of degeneration, scrolls of torment, and scrolls of random uselessness. Unlike those things, flight gives people who make maps the opportunity to utilize it in interesting ways. It's just unfortunate such an application isn't used more.

Regardless of that, I do like the idea of expanding flight into a means of shaft immunity.

Swamp Slogger

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Post Thursday, 18th April 2019, 17:36

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

Torment has some devastating positive use cases, doesn't belong alongside degeneration (strictly to disincentivize quaff ID) and random uselessness (an ID pressure early game at best). Not only for undead species, but anybody with lig potions also.

Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 18th April 2019, 17:57

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

Just make every tile a shaft.

No more surprises.

Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 19th April 2019, 02:10

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

I do agree that I would prefer deliberate and mandatory hatches for specific branches or potentially even randomly as they are quite a bit more interesting than random shafts, which can range from game ending (early shafts especially with weaker races like mummies), annoying (in the case of late game characters that can simply burn a few magic mapping and make their way to the stairs), annoying (due to multiple shafts on the same floor), or interesting (shafts that put you in tense encounters that may require a few consumables to burn). The main changes I would consider about current shafts is to have a shaft time out of some kind (to prevent chain shafts taking you more than 3 floors or chain shafts where you go back up to the original floor and explore again and get shafted again), tone down the frequency of shafts to an average of 1-3 per game and introduce floors without up/down stair cases that instead have up and down hatches.

Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 19th April 2019, 03:35

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

I can say this until I'm blue in the face. I just checked the online database.

For 0.23 the current average shafts per won game is 2.24 (down from the 2.5 when I checked on just the tournament games).

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Post Friday, 19th April 2019, 05:41

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

ebering wrote:I can say this until I'm blue in the face. I just checked the online database.

For 0.23 the current average shafts per won game is 2.24 (down from the 2.5 when I checked on just the tournament games).
IMHO currently you are saying something like average number of deaths per won game is zero and thus we should increase difficulty. I mean when character gets shafted just once from D:1 to D:3, it can easily die. If then it is shafted again from D:3 to D:5 while still being XL 1-2, it is very likely to die. And those are just 2 shafts, below "average".
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 19th April 2019, 09:56

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

It would be interesting to know the average number of shafts per lost game.
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Post Friday, 19th April 2019, 10:42

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

Sprucery wrote:It would be interesting to know the average number of shafts per lost game.


Why? Many (most?) characters die on floor 1-2 without any shafts. Does it show if shafts are dangerous or not?
Probably it is possible to find characters who died to shafts (shafted and then died in 20-30 turns) and compare them in different versions.
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Post Friday, 19th April 2019, 10:52

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

ebering wrote:I can say this until I'm blue in the face. I just checked the online database.

For 0.23 the current average shafts per won game is 2.24 (down from the 2.5 when I checked on just the tournament games).


Hmm. Then maybe the frequency of shafts are ok - It could just be confirmation bias where I have had games with what felt like an excessive amount of shafts. I still do think there should be a some sort of shaft timeout though - I've had instances (seems to occur most commonly in lair branches and elf) where I get shafted go back to the original floor and get shafted again, which mostly just ends up being annoying.
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Post Friday, 19th April 2019, 10:57

ebering wrote:I can say this until I'm blue in the face.

I found a foto of you!
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 19th April 2019, 12:40

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

I guess the metric we want is "proportion of games where the character died after shafting before getting back to the original level". There should be an increase in this value, but whether the increase is too big would then be for the devs to decide.
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Post Friday, 19th April 2019, 14:08

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

Sprucery wrote:I guess the metric we want is "proportion of games where the character died after shafting before getting back to the original level". There should be an increase in this value, but whether the increase is too big would then be for the devs to decide.


I believe there is no milestone "Returned back to level shafted from" so the metric cannot be obtained.
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Swamp Slogger

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Post Friday, 19th April 2019, 16:53

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

VeryAngryFelid wrote:
Sprucery wrote:I guess the metric we want is "proportion of games where the character died after shafting before getting back to the original level". There should be an increase in this value, but whether the increase is too big would then be for the devs to decide.


I believe there is no milestone "Returned back to level shafted from" so the metric cannot be obtained.


You'd need something like that though. If you just compare shaft deaths in .23 to .21 or something you're going to get a similar rate of deaths per shaft, because the *result* of a shaft is similar. To really compare we'd need a "percent of shaft deaths compared to all deaths" or some such, between versions...with a way to consistently identify shaft deaths.

For gameplay purposes even that probably wouldn't be good enough. Players can die after a shaft, just as they can die from taking one too many steps forward. The time trap deaths become cancerous/bad for gameplay is when they result in unavoidable deaths. These are rare and it's not easy to get a metric on which scenarios are truly unavoidable. Getting 2x shafted into an OOD cyclops before you could have reasonably read-ID'd the few scrolls you had and dying in 1 hit is unavoidable. Dropping down one floor with the option to use wands or identified scrolls/pots to reliably survive isn't. There's a pretty wide grey area between such extremes.

Temple Termagant

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Post Saturday, 20th April 2019, 04:22

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

ebering wrote:I can say this until I'm blue in the face. I just checked the online database.

For 0.23 the current average shafts per won game is 2.24 (down from the 2.5 when I checked on just the tournament games).


Yeah, that stat addresses the original question of whether shafts are more common, but only in the context of people who won the game. It doesn't address any of the other questions raised in this thread regarding the application of shafts as a mechanic. It also makes it seem like patches are only intended to impact people who are capable of winning the game.

If you really feel like relying on numbers, how about looking at these metrics...

Determine patch impact on difficulty: Losses vs. Wins, Win rate of different calibers of players, Mean/Median/SD Length of Streak, Number of Streaks
Determine shaft impact on difficulty: Turns between Shaft Event and Death, Losses w/ Shaft Event vs. Losses w/o Shaft Event

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Post Saturday, 20th April 2019, 04:36

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

Crawl's design philosophy specifically says that having some unavoidable deaths in the game is okay. So even if you manage to find a case where a shaft has actually caused an unavoidable death, that wouldn't be a reason to nerf or remove shafts.

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Post Saturday, 20th April 2019, 13:18

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

duvessa wrote:Crawl's design philosophy specifically says that having some unavoidable deaths in the game is okay. So even if you manage to find a case where a shaft has actually caused an unavoidable death, that wouldn't be a reason to nerf or remove shafts.


What I see is that people are discussing the difficulty level. I don't understand your point.

You're saying essentially something like: if there were a game element that forced you to instantly die with a 1 in 3 chance each time you took a step, that because there are unavoidable deaths in crawl, there should be no reason to remove or modify that mechanic.

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Post Saturday, 20th April 2019, 18:34

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

There could be plenty of reasons to remove or modify that mechanic, but "this mechanic has the potential to cause an unavoidable death" would not be one of them. And my reason for that isn't "there are unavoidable deaths in crawl already" (I don't even believe there are unavoidable deaths in crawl currently), it's that the design philosophy is very clear that having the potential for unavoidable deaths is fine:
The possibility of unavoidable deaths is a larger topic in computer games.
Ideally, a game like this would be really challenging and have both random
layout and random course of action, yet still be winnable with perfect
play. This goal seems out of reach. Thus, computer games can be soft in the
sense that optimal play ensures a win. Apart from puzzles, though, this
means that the game is solved from the outset; this is where the lack of a
human game-master is obvious. Alternatively, they can be hard in the sense
that unavoidable deaths can occur. We feel that the latter choice provides
much more fun in the long run.
Instead, the arguments against it would be things like "this mechanic causes an excessive number of unavoidable deaths" (shafts don't) or "this mechanic doesn't have any counterplay" (shafts do).

You're right that many people are talking about difficulty instead, but I thought it was already well-known that the devs have no problem with making the game harder, so I didn't feel any need to clarify it.

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Post Saturday, 20th April 2019, 20:44

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

Yeah, but harder for who? ebering just showed that people who win are seeing less shafts per game. Why should the game be easier for people at the top end of the bell curve? Why is that the standard being used?

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Post Saturday, 20th April 2019, 21:14

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

There is more than one way to make a game harder. Increasing the random variables where death becomes a higher probability is one way, but there is also a way to force players to play better to deal with difficult situations which have more ways to react to them. I do believe there are unavoidable deaths. I've had some games where you start out on D:1 and the first things you encounter are a mob of jackals and other stuff, or you run into a guy with an acid wand and you're just toast. Maybe the random number generator could have produced an amazing set of rolls such that you would have survived, but in the cases where it didn't, and you didn't have any other options because you were cornered without the raw ability to win against the sheer volume of damage, it was for those games, unavoidable.

I think most people accept that a dungeon crawler has a random aspect to it, so unavoidable deaths are part of the genre. If your point was really just that there shouldn't ever be changes made based on the sole fact that there are unavoidable deaths, I guess I didn't understand why that needed to be said. I don't recall anyone saying there should be no unavoidable deaths in crawl??

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Post Monday, 22nd April 2019, 16:09

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

duvessa wrote:Crawl's design philosophy specifically says that having some unavoidable deaths in the game is okay. So even if you manage to find a case where a shaft has actually caused an unavoidable death, that wouldn't be a reason to nerf or remove shafts.


That's not quite what the philosophy implies. In general, crawl's mechanics/design try to be fair and overwhelmingly succeed. Because there are so many interactions, however, it is impossible to guarantee against extreme statistical edge cases when enough interactions stack up. Rather than damaging the game by trying to guarantee against them the development message effectively says that these rare cases are preferable to the cost of trying to remove them (hence the "out of reach" part of your quote).

That's quite different from intentionally implementing heavy RNG, which is inconsistent with crawl's actual mechanics. Fortunately, that doesn't seem to be what shafts are.

Best as I can tell in actual crawl experience, shafts are a candidate for least dangerous traps after D:1 or D:2 or so (that probably still goes to net traps though). However, if for some reason they were significantly more RNG-lethal there would in fact be a legit case for removing or reworking them. There just isn't evidence to support such an assertion.

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Post Monday, 22nd April 2019, 17:52

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

TheMeInTeam wrote:
duvessa wrote:Crawl's design philosophy specifically says that having some unavoidable deaths in the game is okay. So even if you manage to find a case where a shaft has actually caused an unavoidable death, that wouldn't be a reason to nerf or remove shafts.


That's not quite what the philosophy implies. In general, crawl's mechanics/design try to be fair and overwhelmingly succeed. Because there are so many interactions, however, it is impossible to guarantee against extreme statistical edge cases when enough interactions stack up. Rather than damaging the game by trying to guarantee against them the development message effectively says that these rare cases are preferable to the cost of trying to remove them (hence the "out of reach" part of your quote).

That's quite different from intentionally implementing heavy RNG, which is inconsistent with crawl's actual mechanics. Fortunately, that doesn't seem to be what shafts are.

Best as I can tell in actual crawl experience, shafts are a candidate for least dangerous traps after D:1 or D:2 or so (that probably still goes to net traps though). However, if for some reason they were significantly more RNG-lethal there would in fact be a legit case for removing or reworking them. There just isn't evidence to support such an assertion.

It sounds like you're both saying "Whether shafts are overly leathal or not is irrelevant to the question of whether or not they should be removed"
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Post Monday, 22nd April 2019, 19:59

Re: Shafts - Too common now?

^ I think that's not exactly my argument. I they *were* overly lethal (like despite optimal play 80% of the time you died to them or something) that would not be irrelevant, it would be grounds for removal or a massive rework outright. In reality that number is almost certainly < 5%, probably much less, which is what makes it irrelevant in this case.

That by itself isn't enough to say they're a good mechanic though, just that they don't fail a check on whether they're egregiously out of line with crawl in general. I mostly don't have a problem with them, other than how the change to traps made them more unintuitive. I also wouldn't care if they got removed, they don't add or detract from crawl enough for me to really push for something beyond a trap system where an unspoiled player/spectator isn't very confused.
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