Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)


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Post Friday, 20th May 2016, 21:34

Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Labyrinths basically go against DCSS' design philosophy in the purest way possible: they are a vault whose entire purpose is to allow the player to endure tedium in exchange for loot (you can bring up the minotaur and food cost, but if all we want is a vault that makes you spend food and fight a minotaur in exchange for loot, then make it cost food to enter and consist only a loot chamber with a minotaur and scrap the rest). Such a mechanic clearly doesn't belong in a game where trying to remove the existence of optimal but tedious gameplay is a core design philosophy. Maybe there are good components of labyrinths that can be preserved while removing the tedium, but they shouldn't exist in their current form.

Or at the very least, if they're going to stay in the game and not be reworked, remove the map rot. It seems to serve no purpose other than making Labyrinths even more tedious and annoying than they already would be without it.

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Post Friday, 20th May 2016, 21:37

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Just replace Labyrinths with an arena where you fight a few mythical monster uniques. The few "vaults" in Labyrinths that give loot tend to be spoilery/annoying (flight required, trapdoor spiders, etc.), and beyond that they barely cost any food to actually get through. Literally the only threatening part is fighting the minotaur, so just let us fight the dang minotaur.

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Post Friday, 20th May 2016, 21:42

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

That's kind of the entire point of the Labyrinth, and portals in general.
It's a break from the regular dungeon with their own set of facets.

I've never found the Labyrinth tedious, it's always exciting. :p
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Post Friday, 20th May 2016, 21:54

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

A labyrinth is a puzzle, and completing it is not exactly a "no-brainer." Granted, solving it and finding the minotaur is far from challenging, but it puts forth an obstacle that requires the player to think. Map rot is part of what contributes to it as well, since it requires the player to remember where he has been or be forced to go back and check. In practice, it might not be quite as exciting as I'm making it sound, but the point remains.

Removing map rot is fine, but definitely don't remove labyrinths.
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Post Friday, 20th May 2016, 22:17

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

I agree with labyrinth removal.

For anyone who plays console and wants to remove labyrinths, you can include the following in your rcfile:

  Code:
msc := message_colour
feature = labyrinth entrance {.,.,floor,.,blue}
msc += mute:distant snort
msc += mute:ticking.*clock
msc += mute:dying ticks
msc += mute:labyrinth
msc += mute:starvation awaits

It is technically possible for me to enter a labyrinth, but I do not get the labyrinth messages and the entrance is indistinguishable from floor, so it's not going to happen.
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Post Friday, 20th May 2016, 22:21

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

There's not much of a puzzle in the Labyrinth, it's just walking around until you find the correct path. It's not like you even need to pay particular attention to where you go and what paths you have already taken - often I can do it while sleepy or otherwise braindead, just by mashing keys to walk around in this or that direction without much rhyme and reason. The labyrinth would work just fine if the map rot was removed and autoexplore enabled; to incentivize players to try and find the optimal path instead of just pressing 'o', there could be a large amount of traps (perhaps some labyrinth-exclusive traps, or at least ones that are both relevant and not too tedious - monster summon traps, traps to increase hunger, the occasional Zot trap...
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Post Friday, 20th May 2016, 23:27

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

infinitevox wrote:That's kind of the entire point of the Labyrinth,
what a terrible point
infinitevox wrote:and portals in general.
the point of portals in general is to provide a risk/reward ratio that isn't 0, unlike labyrinths
Tiktacy wrote:A labyrinth is a puzzle, and completing it is not exactly a "no-brainer." Granted, solving it and finding the minotaur is far from challenging, but it puts forth an obstacle that requires the player to think. Map rot is part of what contributes to it as well, since it requires the player to remember where he has been or be forced to go back and check. In practice, it might not be quite as exciting as I'm making it sound, but the point remains.
what nonsense. public maze solving algorithms have existed since before your birth, and maprot places no requirement on players to remember where they've been, because they could just write it down, or use the automatically generated ttyrec.

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Post Friday, 20th May 2016, 23:30

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

milski wrote:Just replace Labyrinths with an arena where you fight a few mythical monster uniques. The few "vaults" in Labyrinths that give loot tend to be spoilery/annoying (flight required, trapdoor spiders, etc.), and beyond that they barely cost any food to actually get through. Literally the only threatening part is fighting the minotaur, so just let us fight the dang minotaur.


This would be my vote, personally. An arena portal vault could be interesting - kind of like an easier, 1-floor Zig.

Tiktacy wrote:A labyrinth is a puzzle, and completing it is not exactly a "no-brainer."


In what way is solving a labyrinth not a no-brainer? You just wander around until you find the Minotaur. Sure, there's some vague strategy to figuring out the path as you find the different tile types, but it's so simple and there's so much luck involved that it's never actually interesting, and the depth involved is only slightly above Candy Land.
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Post Friday, 20th May 2016, 23:47

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Yeah it's pretty much pure trial and error, there's no thinking involved really. You go down tunnels until you find one that gets you to the smooth walls, you go down tunnels until you find one that gets you to the black walls, you go down tunnels until you find one that gets you to the minotaur.

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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 00:38

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Well, there is a (not very complicated) strategy to solve the maze*faster* the problem is, really that there is no consequence for not solving it quickly enough.

Maybe some actual pressure on solving the maze quickly is called for. For a random example, the outer edge of the maze could eject you back to the dungeon, and the maze could gradually shrink. Or if you want to get nasty, more and more wall squares could randomly change to slime walls over time.
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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 00:54

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Personally I enjoy the lab as-is even after completing it tens (hundreds?) of times. I'm not against danger upgrades or removing map rot, but it's never a portal I don't enjoy entering.

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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 01:46

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Siegurt wrote: Or if you want to get nasty, more and more wall squares could randomly change to slime walls over time.

That is downright evil
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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 05:37

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Labyrinth should just be a long, twisty corridor made of stone, probably with width 2 or 3 and no branching or dead ends. Full of monsters just like any other floor. The twist is that, just like now, the loot and the only exit are at the end, under the minotaur. No retreat, no escape, win or die.

e: Obviously in this case there's no point to maprot or blocking autoexplore, since "solving" a labyrinth is trivial.

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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 06:41

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Disagree. I think all normal dungeon floors should function like labyrinth currently does. No 'o' spam and a cool boss and treasures on every floor!

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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 07:38

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

ontoclasm wrote:Labyrinth should just be a long, twisty corridor made of stone, probably with width 2 or 3 and no branching or dead ends. Full of monsters just like any other floor. The twist is that, just like now, the loot and the only exit are at the end, under the minotaur. No retreat, no escape, win or die.

e: Obviously in this case there's no point to maprot or blocking autoexplore, since "solving" a labyrinth is trivial.


so the labyrinth is linesprint?

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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 07:40

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

infinitevox wrote:
Siegurt wrote: Or if you want to get nasty, more and more wall squares could randomly change to slime walls over time.

That is downright evil

Probably i would add random no-loot exits to the map if i did that, give the player a chance to cut and run if things got too bad.
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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 08:07

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

duvessa wrote:the point of portals in general is to provide a risk/reward ratio that isn't 0, unlike labyrinths


Isn't the risk/reward ratio 0 for any portal except for the labyrinth? You can leave them as soon as you enter anyway, if you think that the challenge in there is too hard for you at that time...

I like labs the way they are. If you don't like them, just don't enter them.

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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 08:56

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Bring back the original Labyrinths, they were the best. No vaults, no items, no monsters except the minotaur at the end with the loot. Static layout.

Two changes: 1) don't make tiles forgotten out of LOS like they used to, this just makes you want to map the Lab on paper. 2) Add a timer to finding and killing the minotaur. If the timer runs out, you are teleported out (and can't enter again of course).
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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 15:11

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

ontoclasm wrote:Labyrinth should just be a long, twisty corridor made of stone, probably with width 2 or 3 and no branching or dead ends. Full of monsters just like any other floor. The twist is that, just like now, the loot and the only exit are at the end, under the minotaur. No retreat, no escape, win or die.

e: Obviously in this case there's no point to maprot or blocking autoexplore, since "solving" a labyrinth is trivial.
"in this case"

ichbins wrote:I like labs the way they are. If you don't like them, just don't enter them.
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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 17:58

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

ichbins wrote:Isn't the risk/reward ratio 0 for any portal except for the labyrinth? You can leave them as soon as you enter anyway, if you think that the challenge in there is too hard for you at that time...


This is technically sort of true, but Labyrinths have so little risk that it kind of negates it. Hence why I like the idea of keeping the "the only exit is in the treasure room" part but scrapping the "and to get there you have to solve a tedious maze that's basically impossible to fail but really boring."

I like labs the way they are. If you don't like them, just don't enter them.


An important part of the game's design philosophy is that playing optimal should ideally not include tedious behavior. Entering the labyrinth is nearly always optimal (unless your character is weirdly low on food or you don't think you can handle the minotaur), but also considered extremely tedious by many. Therefor, the labyrinth's existence violate's the game's design philosophy. "If you don't like it, don't enter it" doesn't work as long as entering labyrinths is generally optimal.

ontoclasm wrote:Labyrinth should just be a long, twisty corridor made of stone, probably with width 2 or 3 and no branching or dead ends. Full of monsters just like any other floor. The twist is that, just like now, the loot and the only exit are at the end, under the minotaur. No retreat, no escape, win or die.

e: Obviously in this case there's no point to maprot or blocking autoexplore, since "solving" a labyrinth is trivial.


This is similar to the arena idea (or at least, when I talked about the arena idea I was imagining the treasure room containing the only exit). I like it, personally. To me, the interesting thing about labyrinths is that you have to get to the end to find the exit. The thing that's not interesting is that the minotaur is the only part of the process that's actually challenging. So I'd be in favor of replacing Labyrinths with a different portal vault (doesn't make sense to call it a Labyrinth if it's linear) that keeps the "you have to complete the vault to escape" component but makes doing so non-trivial.

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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 21:13

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Quazifuji wrote:(doesn't make sense to call it a Labyrinth if it's linear)

Actually, that's the technical definition of "labyrinth": a maze with only one path and no branching or loops, also called a unicursal maze. Here's a famous example, the Chartres Labyrinth:
Image

You can't get lost, so it's more about making a cool shape than creating a puzzle. Of course, in modern usage we treat labyrinth as just another word for maze, but it certainly doesn't need renaming.

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Post Saturday, 21st May 2016, 22:19

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

So it's decided then! Change it from maze to labyrinth and remove map rot because it serves no purpose.

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Post Sunday, 22nd May 2016, 01:16

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

ontoclasm wrote:Labyrinth should just be a long, twisty corridor made of stone, probably with width 2 or 3 and no branching or dead ends. Full of monsters just like any other floor. The twist is that, just like now, the loot and the only exit are at the end, under the minotaur. No retreat, no escape, win or die.
I don't know if you're aware of this, but (Linley's?) original labyrinths had much less braiding than the current layouts. The "new" (think DCSS 0.3) layout came into being because developers actually like solving mazes, and I still do. (I realise that some players despise it; doesn't change the fact that I love to do a labyrinth to this day.)

I am very keen on keeping labyrinths as portal vaults, together with the minotaur as boss fight. If the current layout is to stay, then there are certainly ways how to make it less automatic. But I'll reserve that for another time, only posted for the historical comment.

Bottom line: Your (retro :)) proposal sounds interesting to me!
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Post Sunday, 22nd May 2016, 06:06

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Honestly if there's one change to labyrinths I'd like to see the most, it's to have the minotaur be a more powerful monster which stalks you throughout the maze(if the minotaur loses track of the player+exits field of view, secretly transport the minotaur somewhere nearby just barely out of view) so you have an incentive to find the exit quickly(before you are killed) and something to avoid so it's not just walking down corridors and sometimes fighting a hungry ghost or something.

I would also like having a more fight-centric linear labyrinth like ontoclasm's suggestion, though.

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Post Sunday, 22nd May 2016, 16:57

Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Shard1697: Yes, that would be interesting. Perhaps the minotaur should coming after you after a while, and be able to pass through walls (including stone and metal). That way, if you take too long, the minotaur will surprise you rather than the other way around. (And there could be a visible trail that leads to the exit once you kill him.)

If we want to keep the boss fight (I do), then the stalking you mention could be achieved by other monsters (such as undead minotaur derivatives).

In this tournament, I died twice to labyrinths: once when trying to reach it, and once to the minotaur. I like them a lot.

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Post Sunday, 22nd May 2016, 18:05

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

The minotaur can already be pretty scary. If it was made stronger I think sane strategy would be to avoid entering labs altogether. I consider that a bad thing.

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 00:23

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

4Hooves2Appendages wrote:The minotaur can already be pretty scary. If it was made stronger I think sane strategy would be to avoid entering labs altogether. I consider that a bad thing.

I think that part of the problem with the minotaur is that he can be anywhere from trivial to very scary, depending on when you encounter the labyrinth. Maybe lab portals need to generate in a more limited set of levels, and the minotaur and his loot balanced against a more predictable power level
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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 07:05

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Siegurt wrote:I think that part of the problem with the minotaur is that he can be anywhere from trivial to very scary, depending on when you encounter the labyrinth. Maybe lab portals need to generate in a more limited set of levels, and the minotaur and his loot balanced against a more predictable power level


The dangers also depends heavily on what loot generates. A minotaur with a wand and a Triple Sword is a lot more dangerous than one who just punches you.
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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 11:13

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Okay, I got a solution!
Loot in Labyrinth starts to decay from, say, 500 turns spent inside. Like in the volcano with lava flowing out of fissure or tunnels that shuts as the time goes. I can explane degrading loot: stupid minotaur breaks things that he can't understand. Wands loose their charges and breaks at some point, rods loose enchantment and max charge, weapons and armour enchantment decreases over time and everything become broken at 1000 turns passed. No unrands can be generated there and randarts can be broken too.
After 1k turns passed and everything is broken, lab walls start to shatter and occasional portals out apper. You can go kill minotaur just for EXP (and chunks!) or get away immideately.
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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 13:34

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

So that solution basically just increases the number of times you go into a lab and wander for a while and get nothing at all out of it (from the current rate, whereupon all the loot happens to be useless, to the new rate, whereupon maybe it was good but the path to the center happened to be on the other side of the map), you know that, right

There's no incentive for staying in a lab longer. In fact being in the labyrinth and paying permafood is already incentive to "solve" it as quickly as possible, so you can get back to the game you actually selected for playing. (Even if you love love love labyrinths, there's no grinding and no benefit to more time in the lab) Putting a clock on the labyrinth itself therefore doesn't fix anything.

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 15:59

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Lab idea from someone who really likes them:

1. Make them smaller and without maprot.

2. Have the minotaur be an invincible enemy. It still has health, but once you deal half of it's health, it retreats at high speed and regenerates. So, the idea is to beat off the minotaur, and then try to solve the maze before it comes back. Maybe have it teleport at half health instead and automatically heal. This contributes to the hunter concept other people have mentioned. It also rewards otehr strategies such as trying to stealth past the minotaur.
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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 18:16

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

So much talking about the issue, nothing being done...

Could we try this for a few weeks in trunk:
Increase (double, triple, whatever) the frequency of labyrinths.
Remove map rot.
Allow autoexplore.

Then, depending on the feedback, further changes could be made. Or they could be reverted entirely, whatever.

Sometimes it seems to me that not enough new things get tried in trunk, but of the things that do, too many them make it into stable.
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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 18:42

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Rast wrote:So much talking about the issue, nothing being done...

The thread has only existed for 3 days, be patient

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 19:45

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Rast wrote:Sometimes it seems to me that not enough new things get tried in trunk, but of the things that do, too many them make it into stable.
Both effects are psychologically very plausible (speaking as an absolute layman here). And "not enough"/"too many" subjective etc.

Do other projects of this type fare better?

I was the person who opened the project to many new developers (partly from very selfish reasons), and I did wonder whether Crawl might reach some kind of "too many devs to achieve decisions" syndrome, which I believed has afflicted Nethack. Conservatism is a very strong force, after a while (you can see this with players and developers). With stuff that's actually been added, there is an even higher barrier to revert, of course. If you, as a player/poster, want to do something about it, the only way I can see is to raise the point. Again and again, in the most mild-mannered way you can imagine. Be sure to post in a soft, hushed voice. :)

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 20:05

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

ontoclasm wrote:
Rast wrote:So much talking about the issue, nothing being done...

The thread has only existed for 3 days, be patient
pointing out that labyrinths are bad has been a thing for years, I doubt Rast was talking about this specific thread (if he was, then lol)

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 20:13

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

The forum's toxic at work again?

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 20:35

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

I don't think labyrinths are bad, but I think that
(1) It's possible that they would be improved by those two obvious basic changes.
(2) Those changes have been suggested so often that they should at least be tried.


dpeg wrote:If you, as a player/poster, want to do something about it, the only way I can see is to raise the point. Again and again, in the most mild-mannered way you can imagine. Be sure to post in a soft, hushed voice. :)

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 21:29

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

If you think autoexplore is good, then you honestly should think labyrinths are bad (from a design standpoint). Either crawl is a game that encourages exploration, or labyrinths don't belong in crawl.

This has nothing to do with whether labs are actually fun; there are lots of fun things that do not belong in crawl.

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 22:13

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

crate wrote:If you think autoexplore is good, then you honestly should think labyrinths are bad (from a design standpoint).

I really don't see why this would be true.

There's nothing wrong with having portal vaults where autoexplore does not work. Autoexplore is a great tool for exploring regular levels. That does not mean that we can't have special levels where it doesn't work.

Labyrinths are not like regular levels. The Abyss is not like regular levels. They are special.

Of course you can argue that exploring any level manually is tedious and you don't want to do that. But that's a matter of personal preference.
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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 22:31

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Ok so the thing is, when you make a game, you generally want it to have a good focus. If you just throw a bunch of unrelated things together, you have the problem that the people looking for some particular kind of content (say, mazes) have to slog through a bunch of content they aren't looking for. And then, when maze-lover does get to a maze, it kind of sucks since there isn't enough development time put into mazes since all that dev time was spent on things that aren't mazes.

Sometimes your game focus might be on creating a bunch of loosely-related activities (see GTA or Saints Row or whatever). That's fine, and since you know that's your focus and your audience knows that's the focus everyone gets what they want. Driving around in Saint's Row isn't as fun as it is in a racing game, and shooting things isn't as good as in an FPS, etc., but that's the point of the game so it's not a problem.

Crawl isn't a game like that. Crawl instead has a bunch of more-strongly-related content. The starting point is "roguelike", or perhaps alternatively "turn-based procedurally-generated dungeon crawler with a fantasy theme". Ok, cool. If you want, you can include exploration and mazes as a major feature of such a game. I can't really think of any examples right now, but I'm sure they exist. However, crawl actively tries to eliminate that content (by having autoexplore).

If you include a maze in crawl, you're actively working against one of the design decisions, one that is so intertwined in the rest of the game at this point that it's almost an axiom. I actually can't think of another game that is strongly-focused and tries to avoid a particular type of content and then later introduces a section focused on only that content that is expressly avoided elsewhere. You don't do it because there's actually reason to believe that a smaller fraction of crawl-players like mazes than people overall like mazes (because autoexplore is a big draw to crawl); and additionally, the fraction of crawl players who hate mazes is likely larger than the fraction of people who hate mazes. So you're actively making your game worse with this contradictory design.

The point is that crawl has decided that manual exploration is tedious; that's why it has autoexplore. You could go the other direction, and make a game where the exploration is important (perhaps you create a very strong clock of some sort so you are trying to take as few turns as possible), and if that game had labyrinths, that would make sense. If you go that direction, you never create autoexplore in the first place, since then you're removing point of the game.

Not coincidentally, the abyss is problematic for similar reasons (it's too different from regular crawl so it should be its own game, though this is not as obvious as it is with labyrinths), and I absolutely think it should be removed, but I'm not going to argue about it further in this topic.

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 22:36

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

Rast: So I presume that picture shows the horde of developers flushing out the last dissenting player?

crate: I understand where you come from, and I respect your point. But I don't believe the train of thought is as strictly logical as you indicate. Whenever you come up with a system (in almost any human endaveour), a very natural inclination is to make the experience more interesting by bending some of the rules. You can see this with Bach's fugues and I could claim that both components of labyrinths are just that: the first part (finding the portal) is about exploring differently than usual, and the second part (solving the maze) is a complete detour from usual crawling. You are completely entitled to disliking all about mazes (I know you do), and my analogy. However, I don't think that you can prove they're bad starting from autoexplore. We already know you hate them, no proof needed.

I am very much aware that labyrinths deviate from the game philosophy in several regards. I'll do what I can to keep labyrinths (as a portal vault) including the minotaur as a monster. Labyrinths have seen changes. Off the top of my head, some were: (1) turn the original, almost non-braided, labyrinths into the current mazes; (2) add labyrinth vaults; (3) add monsters; (4) labyrinth self-changing tieing with maprot; (5) at most one labyrinth per game.

The reasons they stuck at the current state are, in my opinion: (a) Developers who like them don't need to change them. (b) They come up rarely enough and/or take less enough to matter sufficiently for the rest.

The last point sounds cynical, but it also applies to this thread: sure, labyrinths could be better. But I think the issue is really smaller than so many others. If ontoclasm feels inspired enough to tweak them, that's fine. Perhaps this helps why "remove labyrinths" is a slogan that's bound to go nowhere. (I know that the OP is about much more than plain removal. But from the title alone I don't even feel encouraged to read what some disgruntled player came up this time.)
Last edited by dpeg on Monday, 23rd May 2016, 22:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 22:45

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

crate wrote:I actually can't think of another game that is strongly-focused and tries to avoid a particular type of content and then later introduces a section focused on only that content that is expressly avoided elsewhere.

Well, Crawl had labyrinths before it had autoexplore :)

I appreciate your elaboration on the subject. I still don't agree, though. But that's ok.
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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 23:52

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

dpeg wrote:Whenever you come up with a system (in almost any human endaveour), a very natural inclination is to make the experience more interesting by bending some of the rules. You can see this with Bach's fugues
If Bach followed the line of thought that supports labyrinths in Crawl, he would have composed something like this:
Image

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Post Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 01:20

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

DCSS really needs a sprint map called The Labyrinth where the minotaur is guarding the orb of zot instead of loot. Play as a troll for extra challenge!

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Post Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 04:24

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

dpeg: My arguments against labyrinths in this topic have nothing to do with the fact I personally dislike labyrinths, and I even said as much in my post. Please stop putting words in my mouth. This is why I find it really hard to talk to you, and perhaps I should stop doing so because it frustrates me. It is true that I am more inclined to make these arguments because I dislike labyrinths, but that is not the argument itself. I have been very careful to avoid "I think labs are bad because they are not fun" and similar.

My first post is not an actual argument against labs, so don't bring that up when talking about my arguments.

I really do think that if you take autoexplore as an axiom (i.e. starting point; you design crawl around the assumption it will have autoexplore) of crawl design then you pretty much must acknowledge that labyrinths make the game worse (it is important to note that labyrinths are not really optional content, since the loot they have is very strong). It is reasonable to argue that autoexplore is not an axiom of crawl design, though from my (outsider) view it appears to be pretty darn close if it is not an axiom. If you do not think that autoexplore is close to being an axiom of crawl design, then you can argue about that, and in fact I have no counterpoint. You are one of the devs, so you get to decide.

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Post Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 04:58

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

I find labyrinths to be a pleasant change of pace, and I personally enjoy solving them because they're "not crawl" but they're also easy to solve.

As an experiment, we removed map rot and permitted autoexplore in our fork, since people do occasionally complain about it being not-crawl, but I still solve it manually! (in part because autoexplore is really inefficient at solving mazes)
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Post Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 07:51

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

dpeg wrote: (I know that the OP is about much more than plain removal. But from the title alone I don't even feel encouraged to read what some disgruntled player came up this time.)


It was actually my frustration with maprot in the Labyrinth that started the post, but after giving it some thought I concluded that I'd like Labyrinths to see more significant changes than just the removal of maprot. But there's a reason I made sure map rot was mentioned in the post title, and also a reason that "rework" came before "remove".

My ideal scenario is not the removal of Labyrinths. My ideal scenario would be reworking Labyrinths in order to capture what the Labyrinth fans like about them while removing the aspects that others dislike. In other words, keep the flavor a maze-like structure, but find a way to make it feel more like a DCSS portal vault and less like a mini-game that many find extremely tedious. I like the idea that Labyrinths, as others have said, are a puzzle. The problem is that, in my opinion, Labyrinths are a very bad puzzle where solving them is almost pure trial and error and the amount of time it takes you to find the exit depends much more on random chance than your puzzle-solving ability. For example, I recently encountered one where I started very close to the darkest tiles, implying that I was near the exit, but actually had to move away from them all the way to the edge of the map and basically go around half the border of the Labyrinth to actually get to the Minotaur - there wasn't any skill or puzzle solving in figuring that out, just trial and error and slowly discovering that none of the obvious paths implied by the terrain worked.

This is also my issue with all the various ideas proposed in this thread about reducing the Labyrinth's reward or increasing its danger based on how long the player spends there. I think there's too little corellation between any sort of puzzle-solving skill and how long it takes to solve the Labyrinth to make this feel like a meaningful reward/punishment rather than an arbitrary one.

So my vote: Either find a way to make the puzzle-solving component of the Labyrinth more of an actual test of the player's puzzle-solving skill and less how many random guesses it takes before they find the right path, or scrap the puzzle component entirely and go with the linear path or arena idea.

Granted, everything Crate said applies to the puzzle idea, I think, and I do think Crate makes some excellent points. If DCSS is not a game about solving mazes or other puzzles, and it's also a game that focuses on a very specific set of skills rather than testing a wide variety through different minigames, then why does it randomly include a puzzle/maze level that seems to have little to no relationship to any of the main skills used in the rest of the game? If I wanted to play a game with puzzles and mazes, there are lots of games where those are core components. If I'm playing DCSS, it's because I want to play DCSS.

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Post Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 09:49

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

crate: I see. I'm pretty sure we're both better off not talking to each other, so let's just keep doing that.

Quazifuji: Many thanks for the explanation. I understand all of what you say. I made my point (will defend labyrinths as portal vaults including minotaurs to the death, don't care about details, am happy with status quo), and I guess most everyone made theirs. Recently, I prepared a list of things I believe should be changed in Crawl, and stuff like portal vaults (existing or new ones) are just too small to matter.
Perhaps I should've simply not replied to the thread, and let it runs it course (usually with Nothing Happens), but there were too many "Revert Foo" postings at the same time for me.

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Post Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 13:24

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

I regretted this post immediately after making it

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Post Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 14:04

Re: Rework/Remove Labyrinths (or at least remove map rot)

I feel that Labyrinths skirt the line very closely to that of NetHack and Sokobon AKA requiring the player to play a completely different game for a big boost in power for the one they were playing. I say 'very closely' because solving a maze isn't completely different from the regular gameplay in Crawl (there is the maze ending to Tartarus, after all, which I feel is a better maze due to the incentive driving environment and monsters inside), and I say 'requiring' because the loot from a labyrinth is more reliably useful/applicable to all characters, on top of being a better risk/reward ratio compared to other portal vaults.

Ideally, I would prefer Labyrinths to be more like a small maze (10x10 or 15x15) of mini-vaults/rooms, with the minotaur vault placed randomly inside (either as a single room or potentially scaling to take up 2x2 rooms). Each of the mini-vaults would have their own trap-like challenges, similar to the current Labyrinth vault themes, attempting to attrition the player down while they complete the rooms to locate the minotaur room for the actual loot. However, this would be much more effort than what should probably be put towards a portal vault (it almost sounds better as a Sprint idea), so I don't see this happening.

A quicker/dirtier solution to make labyrinths more interesting without altering them in a large way might be to add multiple minotaurs around the maze at random and move some of the reward loot into equipment that they generate with. This reduces the issue of the payload for a single monster and spices up the exploration/tension with the knowledge that you could run into a dangerous monster at any time (you could even make it so the labyrinth breaks down or reveals the path to the way out more after each minotaur kill if you wanted to), compared to monotonously following an empty corridor until you luck into the right path. The only issue I can think of with that solution is if a player would feel it to be optimal to fully explore the maze for every minotaur and their potential loot, so discouragement would need to be added to prevent that.
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