What if .des files for online were private?


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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Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 13:36

What if .des files for online were private?

Right now, duvessa's assertion that you can look up the .des file for any vault you see and know the risks and rewards you're up against is absolutely right. For non-source-divers, they're all up here: https://github.com/crawl/crawl/tree/mas ... ce/dat/des

This is not great, I think, from a design point of view. Players willing to learn a programming language and check out some text files gain a substantial advantage (eg: Do I have a chance of meeting an ice dragon or ice fiend here? Can I dig to steal the loot from this portal vault without fighting the big bad?).

So... what if the .des files were in a private repository? I can see three obvious challenges:

* Offline versions of crawl would need to have a different set of .des files.
* Contributing vaults is one of the easiest ways to get involved in crawl development, and this would make that significantly harder.
* Since the existing .des files are public and well-known, it would take a bunch of vault redesigns before the private ones would present surprises.

... but maybe the elimination of the weird vault inspection minigame would be worth it?
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 13:38

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

I don't think it would be, since it's pretty much just duvessa and maybe a couple other people on these forums who actually bother to do that, and having contributing vaults be relatively easy is a very good thing IMO.

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 14:33

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

I know how to use Github, I have even checked Vault file a few times. (Like the Crypt:3 layout the first time I went there)

But if you don't know exactly what to look for this is not exactly easy either and time consuming. As a result I don't really bother now. This is probably a non issue in the grand scheme of things.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 15:05

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

Crawl encourage people to learn programming languages, don't touch this feature!!!

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 15:11

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

I've read Tavern since its introduction, and the dev wiki and Mantis for a long while before that, so I've seem some pretty crazy ideas. Scroll of inversion, starting characters at level 2, Ashenzari, etc.

However, changing Crawl's license in order to hide a design problem (not even fix it) is on a completely different level of insanity than everything I've seen so far. Like...how do you even respond to this?

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Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 15:20

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

That was a pretty good response ;-)

However: changing the license of .des files and changing the license of the overall crawl source are different things.

Do... do you have a different sort of idea for addressing this design problem?
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 15:25

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

njvack wrote:Right now, duvessa's assertion

And we are off to a good start...

I wouldnt have lost my streak to minmay's sigmund vault if i played the vault inspection minigame, i also wouldnt have lost my streak if i simply chose to not fight sigmund. Vault inspection is like digging through a dumpster, and since i havent done that, nor do i plan to, i cant tell you what the end results are.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 15:34

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

njvack wrote:However: changing the license of .des files and changing the license of the overall crawl source are different things.
No they aren't. That's not how the GPL works. You don't get to pick certain parts of your source code and say "I'm not sharing this part." If you could then the GPL would have no power to make you distribute your source code at all.
njvack wrote:Do... do you have a different sort of idea for addressing this design problem?
This is a direct and obvious consequence of having vaults in the game. Either don't have vaults, or reveal the entire vault when the first square of it is found.
dynast wrote:I wouldnt have lost my streak to minmay's sigmund vault if i played the vault inspection minigame
minmay never made a sigmund vault, bro.

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 15:37

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

duvessa wrote:
njvack wrote:Do... do you have a different sort of idea for addressing this design problem?
This is a direct and obvious consequence of having vaults in the game. Either don't have vaults, or reveal the entire vault when the first square of it is found.


Or assume [correctly] that no one but minmay is actually going to go look up vaults while playing.

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 15:48

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

duvessa wrote:minmay never made a sigmund vault, bro.

What? but... ugh.
http://crawl.berotato.org/crawl/morgue/ ... 015750.txt
Ok i did not see the "," in between(D:2: first_bread, minmay_circled_x, uniq_sigmund) and it was just coincidence that Sigmund was standing on your vault.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 15:50

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

duvessa wrote:
njvack wrote:However: changing the license of .des files and changing the license of the overall crawl source are different things.
No they aren't. That's not how the GPL works. You don't get to pick certain parts of your source code and say "I'm not sharing this part."

You could (and I would) argue that the vault files are configuration data, not source code. Even if they're code, if it's code in a different project that Crawl can interpret, they can indeed have different licenses. I can compile closed-source code with GCC and run it on linux.

Anyhow, who would sue over it? The copyright holders (in principle, the original vault owners unless copyright is transferred on submission) would be the people with standing to do so, and the entire premise of this would be to not use those vaults.

IN ANY CASE, everyone's response of "njvack you are crazy this is a bad idea" leads me to believe that I am crazy and this is a bad idea. Thanks!
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 15:58

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

njvack wrote:Anyhow, who would sue over it? The copyright holders (in principle, the original vault owners unless copyright is transferred on submission) would be the people with standing to do so, and the entire premise of this would be to not use those vaults.
I'd be pretty quick to complain about it.

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 16:02

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

How is source diving for vault definitions any different from source diving for monster stats, or spell formulas, or really any underlying mechanic, i mean in any open source game there are things you can learn by examining the source, i don't know why this is singled out as a problem....
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 16:06

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

duvessa wrote:reveal the entire vault when the first square of it is found.


This actually sounds like quite a reasonable step to me. Also do away with any vaults that have monsters that aren't obvious upon first entering the vault.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 16:17

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

Wow.

Guys, there is no licensing issue here. Anyone can run their own modification of crawl on their own servers and offer it as a public web/internet service without ever sharing any part of the source to the service they offer. This is very, very clear in the GPL. They even have an alternative GNU license that deals with precisely this "issue."

You are granted unlimited rights to use any program under the GPL, unlimited rights to modify programs licensed under the GPL, and unlimited rights to use modified versions of programs licensed to you under the GPL. The only catch is that if you make a binary or source distribution of the modified program to another party, it must also be licensed under the GPL. Offering a public network interface to a program is not distribution in this sense, friends. It's just another kind of private use.

e: And the fun doesn't stop there! If you pass the source of your modified version around within your company, that's not distribution. You can pass around patches to GPL'd programs with whatever license you want and if someone's interested enough to apply them to their copy, totally legit. If you think the GPL is going to keep someone from offering an alternate, closed source version of crawl, you've missed your guess.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 16:29

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

I was under the impression that njvack was proposing a change to mainline DCSS.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 16:35

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

My understanding of the OP is to offer alternate vaults on public crawl servers that are not available through the open source distribution and which would be new and secret. There would be no problem doing this. Server maintainers could pass "patches" among themselves privately and apply them without violating any license.

The issue with doing this is practical: Can you find people willing to make these secret vaults? Maybe you can, particularly if the idea is to later incorporate them into open releases.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 16:38

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

Well... why not just reveal the whole vault when you see a piece of it? I mean... apparently there are spoilery hints about vaults just going by the material and color of the walls, why not remove that huge spoilery problem and just show the whole vault?

Or just remove vaults. I know they add a lot of interesting stuff, but they go against the design goals in an important way, because players with the knowledge of how to look at the des files may as well have ash's scry ability permanently on when they encounter vaults, which is a pretty big advantage.

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 16:42

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

How about no?
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 16:47

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

duvessa wrote:I was under the impression that njvack was proposing a change to mainline DCSS.

No, there would still need to be public .des files (unless vaults went away); this would be swapping the .des files on the public servers. Which, again, I am now convinced is a silly idea.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 16:55

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

I think you're going to run into a lot of problems just revealing vaults and their contents to players on sight. The right way to go at the spoiler issue is to move to a procedural vault generation model. This would probably be a major undertaking.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 17:01

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

goodcoolguy wrote:I think you're going to run into a lot of problems just revealing vaults and their contents to players on sight. The right way to go at the spoiler issue is to move to a procedural vault generation model. This would probably be a major undertaking.

There is already a procedural dungeon generation model, vaults supplement programmatic content with human created content, in order to create peturbations in your expected content type.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 17:10

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

. . .

Is your point that vaults in crawl parlance are by definition designed by hand?

Good point... On the other hand, you could create "perturbations in your expected content type" through specially generated rooms or sections of levels with design goals similar to those of branch end vaults etc. that do not have the weakness of being easily predicted via source diving.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 17:22

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

Wow.

1. Yes, vaults are inherently spoilery. The two immediate solutions (either remove them all, or make them fully visible right away) are totally overshooting matters, in my opinion.

2. Vaults are very randomised. Both in layout and in monsters/loot.

3. Vaults aren't just there for flavour: they allow to set up terrain and/or monster combinations that just wouldn't occur through random generation.

I am not convinced there is a problem. Someone looking up des files does not constitute a problem for me. If a sizeable chunk of the player base would do it, then it might be a problem, and then I'd suggest more, and systematic, randomisation to deal with it.

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 17:55

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

njvack wrote:So... what if the .des files were in a private repository? I can see three obvious challenges:

* Offline versions of crawl would need to have a different set of .des files.
* Contributing vaults is one of the easiest ways to get involved in crawl development, and this would make that significantly harder.
* Since the existing .des files are public and well-known, it would take a bunch of vault redesigns before the private ones would present surprises.

... but maybe the elimination of the weird vault inspection minigame would be worth it?

this just leads to players keeping vault notes in a text file and sharing it ala gamefaqs

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 17:57

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

dpeg wrote:2. Vaults are very randomised. Both in layout and in monsters/loot.
This is not true.

dpeg wrote:Someone looking up des files does not constitute a problem for me. If a sizeable chunk of the player base would do it, then it might be a problem
Ignoring the usual awfulness of the "well, I don't do it so I don't care" argument, the problem isn't just looking at the vault definition. Vaults can appear in more than one game. So you get a similar advantage from recognizing a vault that you have already seen in another game. I hope you can believe that a sizeable chunk of the player base chooses to play the game more than once.

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 18:06

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

Presenting game features as problems.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 18:21

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

duvessa wrote:
dpeg wrote:Someone looking up des files does not constitute a problem for me. If a sizeable chunk of the player base would do it, then it might be a problem
Ignoring the usual awfulness of the "well, I don't do it so I don't care" argument, the problem isn't just looking at the vault definition. Vaults can appear in more than one game. So you get a similar advantage from recognizing a vault that you have already seen in another game. I hope you can believe that a sizeable chunk of the player base chooses to play the game more than once.

The first sentence is a wrong point of comparison: because looking up vaults is not something players can easily do, it does not fall under "don't do it, if you don't like it". It is a version of looking into the source to obtain more precise information. This can be done, and actually happens, and is not considered a problem (by us, that is).

About the second one: yes, a player can through experience gain an advantage with vaults. This is something that could be addressed through more randomisation (and stripping cosmetic parts of vaults), but you do not make clear why it is a problem in the first place. Experience will also tell you what kind of monsters expect. A new player won't know this, and might easily die to her first caustic shrike or his first orb of zot. Again, I don't see a problem.

Interesting how you avoid replying to my third point, which is the reason d'etre for vaults (as I see it).

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 18:31

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

Your third point is obviously objectively false. You can generate any terrain and/or monster combination randomly. That's what random means. Crawl just chooses not to allow all combinations to generate.
So clearly, you didn't actually mean what you literally said in the third point; you're not stupid. But I couldn't quite figure out what the figurative meaning of your third point was intended to be, so I just didn't respond to it. If you can rephrase it in a more explicit way so I can understand it, perhaps I would have an opinion on it.

dpeg wrote:About the second one: yes, a player can through experience gain an advantage with vaults. This is something that could be addressed through more randomisation (and stripping cosmetic parts of vaults), but you do not make clear why it is a problem in the first place. Experience will also tell you what kind of monsters expect. A new player won't know this, and might easily die to her first caustic shrike or his first orb of zot. Again, I don't see a problem.
One of Crawl's stated design goals is
  Code:
* clarity (playability without need for spoilers)
The interpretation of this that underlies this thread is "Spoilers should not provide a benefit to the player," so the new player not knowing what monsters do right away is a problem by that interpretation.
If, instead, you interpret it as "It should be possible to win the game without spoilers," then there is no conflict - and this entire thread is irrelevant in the first place, since having spoilery features like vaults doesn't, in itself, make the game unwinnable without spoilers. That interpretation is fine - after all, you wrote it - and seems to be the majority one among the devteam. But I do wonder why you didn't just say so in the first place instead of assuming njvack and me are arguing in bad faith.

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 18:52

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

duvessa wrote:You can generate any terrain and/or monster combination randomly. That's what random means. Crawl just chooses not to allow all combinations to generate.

The devs dont want crawl's map to be a huge mess or just a random set of rooms and corridors, because that would be just bland.
duvessa wrote:The interpretation of this that underlies this thread is "Spoilers should not provide a benefit to the player," so the new player not knowing what monsters do right away is a problem by that interpretation.

Only someone who doesnt know what a video-game is would interpret it that way. I think its clear the OP believes that in places where you can minimize or remove spoilers you should do so, and the discussion is if vaults is one of those things.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 18:58

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

dpeg wrote:The first sentence is a wrong point of comparison: because looking up vaults is not something players can easily do, it does not fall under "don't do it, if you don't like it". It is a version of looking into the source to obtain more precise information. This can be done, and actually happens, and is not considered a problem (by us, that is).


Wait, what? Vaults are just sitting in my crawl folder as a series of word documents. All I have to do is pick the right category and double-click to open, and then scroll down until I see what I'm looking for. I figured it was easy to look at on purpose, and that the only reason we didn't have a version that depicted the vaults in tiles mode is that nobody wanted to volunteer to maintain it forever and ever. Is it just coincidentally organized in a fashion that is convenient to me?

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 19:27

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

KoboldLord wrote:Wait, what? Vaults are just sitting in my crawl folder as a series of word documents. All I have to do is pick the right category and double-click to open, and then scroll down until I see what I'm looking for. I figured it was easy to look at on purpose

The way you describe it says otherwise.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 19:37

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

dynast wrote:
KoboldLord wrote:Wait, what? Vaults are just sitting in my crawl folder as a series of word documents. All I have to do is pick the right category and double-click to open, and then scroll down until I see what I'm looking for. I figured it was easy to look at on purpose

The way you describe it says otherwise.


Which part of what I said is the hard part, as you see it? Is it the part where I have to look in the 'lair' document if I'm looking for a vault in Lair and the 'orc' document if I'm looking for a vault in Orc, the part where I have to double-click on that document, or the part where I have to scroll down a word document until I see something that looks like what is on the screen?

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 19:49

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

KoboldLord wrote:Which part of what I said is the hard part, as you see it? Is it the part where I have to look in the 'lair' document if I'm looking for a vault in Lair and the 'orc' document if I'm looking for a vault in Orc, the part where I have to double-click on that document, or the part where I have to scroll down a word document until I see something that looks like what is on the screen?

The part where you have to alt tab away from the game. Im normally to busy playing, heck, i cant even bother to put touhou to play in the background, but i normally do, because the return of opening a music folder and selecting a album is bigger than going through a folder of text to study a vault to know its layout. Also, out of curiosity, how many times you usually do that per run?
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 20:12

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

KoboldLord wrote:Vaults are just sitting in my crawl folder as a series of word documents.
Discussion ends right here. What a disgrace.

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 20:16

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

KoboldLord wrote:
dynast wrote:
KoboldLord wrote:Wait, what? Vaults are just sitting in my crawl folder as a series of word documents. All I have to do is pick the right category and double-click to open, and then scroll down until I see what I'm looking for. I figured it was easy to look at on purpose

The way you describe it says otherwise.


Which part of what I said is the hard part, as you see it? Is it the part where I have to look in the 'lair' document if I'm looking for a vault in Lair and the 'orc' document if I'm looking for a vault in Orc, the part where I have to double-click on that document, or the part where I have to scroll down a word document until I see something that looks like what is on the screen?

For what its worth i do think that vaults should be compiled into the executable in some binary fashion, prior to normal distribution.

Really "source" material shouldn't be distributed with the final product if you want to keep calling it source material.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 20:56

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

dynast wrote:Also, out of curiosity, how many times you usually do that per run?


Usually whenever I see something that I think is cool, and I want to see more about it. Sometimes the vault designer added comments that are fun to read. Sometimes I read random vaults that I didn't encounter in game because they are interesting.

I don't worry terribly much about streaking most of the time, so I mostly only look up a vault for optimality's sake when it's pretty obvious and likely to be dangerous. Portal vaults that are new to me, depths encompass vaults, and vaults that have already proved to have something nasty in them, mostly.

dpeg wrote:
KoboldLord wrote:Vaults are just sitting in my crawl folder as a series of word documents.
Discussion ends right here. What a disgrace.


I don't know what to tell you. WordPad seems to handle reading and editing .des files just fine, and I've never had any trouble with it. The .des files are all text documents, so I would expect most similar programs to handle them without any trouble.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 21:25

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

What if the .des files were only available as part of the source code, and not, you know, just sitting in a folder on every installation of crawl.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 23:06

Re: What if .des files for online were private?

Closing, since this is not going to happen in any way - feel free to start a new thread for separate suggestions.

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