Rework polearms


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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 30th January 2020, 17:23

Re: Rework polearms

b0rsuk wrote:What bothers me a lot with current reaching is that it makes every orc/gnoll/vault guardian fight a chore because I need to manually examine them to figure out of there are any reachers among them. I play the text version.

Control-X helps a lot when there's a group, you can quickly scan *all* of the monsters in LOS to see what they're wielding, rather than xv-ing them one by one. (of course you can also see what they're wielding when they come into view in your message log, but a lot of people skim that, and if multiple things come into view at once it doesn't help.) you can even hit the letter of the creature to highlight it with your cursor from ^X.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 12:02

Re: Rework polearms

TheMeInTeam wrote:
b0rsuk wrote:What bothers me a lot with current reaching is that it makes every orc/gnoll/vault guardian fight a chore because I need to manually examine them to figure out of there are any reachers among them. I play the text version.

That's going to stay the same no matter what as long as reaching/damage on getting next to tile exists. Maybe the text version could have a better UI for this?

It could; it does in Stoat Soup, where you'll be told, eg, "3 gnolls (2 polearms, 1 confused)". You still have to examine the individual gnolls to find which ones have polearms (unless they all do or none of them do), but getting this information in the monster list tells you to look.

I sent a PR for this to vanilla but they (not unreasonably) didn't accept it because they didn't like the implementation details.

I don't think I could now play a console version without this improvement (a very extensive set of monster properties are reported on, and also vanilla will only tell you anything at all in the monster list if there is only one monster of that type.)
I recall some text version players also missing out on the fact that the abyss rune vault has distinct tiles nearby that can be used to locate it more easily.

On console, those squares are a distinctive light magenta. The problem in console and tiles alike is not being able to see them, but knowing that those particular appearances signal a rune vault.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 3rd February 2020, 03:16

Re: Rework polearms

It's not limited to polearms; other items carried by monsters have the same problem. I think it's better to move towards the solution of monsters not using items at all. (Orc warriors can get more innate AC, gnolls can get innate reaching, centaurs/stone giants/etc can get spells that shoot an arrow or throw a rock, etc.)

What makes reaching unique is that it has a bunch of interface issues when used by the player, too.

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Shoals Surfer

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Post Monday, 3rd February 2020, 12:18

Re: Rework polearms

duvessa wrote:It's not limited to polearms; other items carried by monsters have the same problem.

We do launchers, wands, weapons of distortion.
I think it's better to move towards the solution of monsters not using items at all.

That's quite drastic (indeed, on reflection "monsters with items have slightly awkward console UI" -> "remove monsters using items" feels rather like the baby is going out with the bathwater.)
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Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Monday, 3rd February 2020, 13:53

Re: Rework polearms

There is no baby and that's not bathwater. Hellcrawl has removed a lot of monster equipment, particularly armor for low tier monsters like orc warriors, wizards, etc. There is still an insane amount of junk dumped into the game through monster equipment for no gain in gameplay. Of course, removing these items has no combat implications since the equipment only slightly adjusts numerical qualities of monsters, easily accounted for by changing their base values. Attack patterns like reaching, cleaving, ranged weapons etc. can of course be achieved through existing monster flags or abilities (maybe you'd need to add one for cleaving, but whatever).

This conservative mode of thinking leads nowhere. People with this way of thinking have no problem identifying issues or stumbling on them anyway, see comments about how you can "just" use a submenu to see what all the monsters with identical representation in the console interface but potentially different attack patterns really do, but cannot formulate or even countenance plans to address them. It's a completely sterile approach to the game. Might as well just stick to old versions.
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Tomb Titivator

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Post Monday, 3rd February 2020, 14:56

Re: Rework polearms

I rather like the variety in Orcs which is derived from their equipment

Even if it does lead to situations like "why won't this orc priest die?" ... "Oh Sh**, it's wearing plate" ...
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Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Monday, 3rd February 2020, 15:12

Re: Rework polearms

This is totally unresponsive. If you spent the time to think about the arguments people make about this, read things that have been written here, you would know that simply removing the equipment is not the end of the story.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Monday, 3rd February 2020, 18:18

Re: Rework polearms

Most of the supposed monster variety generated by item use is superficial, especially because monster default equipment is typically coded to choose between items that are similar to one another. There is not a significant difference between orc knight in chain mail and orc knight in plate; ditto for ancient champion with a great mace versus one with a great sword.

Excluding reaching (which is replicated by an existing attack flavor) and cleaving (which could easily be replicated by an attack flavor or monster flag), which aspects of monster item use generate variety? Armor and weapon base type basically stops mattering by Lair. Shields matter if your only spell is iron shot. Brands occasionally matter, most commonly in the form of distortion and early game elec and venom. Attack flavors that are close to these brands' properties already exist. Launchers and throwables matter, especially early on, but it's fairly simple to abstract that to an ability and put it on a different monster type. It's obviously better for game clarity to have "kobold assassins" with a curare dart ability instead of generating some small percentage of kobolds with curare dart stacks. Artifacts matter, very occasionally, so I guess you'd lose out on the random rF+++ Duvessa or +10 plate Edmund that happens once in 50 games. Consumable use matters, but is pretty infrequent and most relevant in the early game, where an acid wand centaur or haste potion Grinder can actually kill you. It's probably more frequently relevant as a form of item destruction.

Taken all together I would estimate that less than 50 monsters per game generate with items that change how you fight them, which is a pretty bad ratio for a game that will typically generate on the order of a couple thousand item using monsters. Most of the existing variation could be replaced with attack flavors, monster types, or abilities. The price of monster item use is that every game gets flooded with stacks of trash items that you autoexplore to and inspect, there's a ton of complicated and frankly ridiculous code governing how monsters evaluate floor items as better/worse than current equipment, modify attack delay based on weapon type, etc, and player item generation is inextricably tied up with the occasional good item that washes up from the tide of +0 robes and cursed -2 hand axes.

I do not expect mainline DCSS to do anything wrt monster item use in the near future, but I think conservatively you could remove ~75% of it without significant overhaul of other systems and I think it's worth seriously considering something more sweeping as a fork project.
Remove spell hunger.

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duvessa

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Post Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 00:49

Re: Rework polearms

Maybe there is some misunderstanding here, but it looks to me like you'd want to put an undue burden on the game developers.

I like the occasional heavily armoured orc wizard/priest (even if I wish the game warned me about them), and the existence of orcs/gnolls/vault guards/convokers with reaching/cleaving/projectile weapons. These attack brands don't change how everyone fights, but cleaving effects summoners a lot, and reaching necessitates some remanouvering most fights in which you encounter it. Also, freezing and holy wrath are dangerous for certain species.
If you'd want to turn all that into innate abilities whist keeping the current variety, have to make at least 4 monsters for every current equipment-using monster.
I don't expect anyone has time for that, and so I'd expect such a change to decrease variety
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Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 02:17

Re: Rework polearms

I think you're confused about how this stuff works.
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bel

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Post Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 21:23

Re: Rework polearms

The entire tangent about whether monsters should equip items is offtopic. This thread is about what to do with polearms, please keep wider topics to another thread.

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